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101  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Journolist word of the day: "Cruel" on: September 06, 2017, 07:12:38 PM
Wouldn't 'cruel' be the opposite, bringing your children to live where they are illegal.  Signing an Executive order that violates federal law and the constitution.  Circumventing Congress and leaving the people you say you are protecting one election and one signature away from reversal of the policy?  Cruel, if you ask me.

That said, isn't it embarrassing for our state media that they are so easily exposed for their unoriginality, collusion and plagiarism.  

It begs the question, who is your puppet master?  These montages have been putting themselves together since the 'gravitas' the Dick Cheney pick brought, what young George Bush lacked - according to (all of) them.

This is worse than the old Soviet Union; they only had one channel of state-run, Orwellian bullsh*t.
102  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Get Ready for Technological Upheaval by Expecting the Unimagined on: September 06, 2017, 02:59:23 PM
I was looking into this author, a Harvard Econ Prof, author of 'Scarcity: The New Science of Having Less and How It Defines Our Lives", and I came across this current article:

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/09/02/business/economy/get-ready-for-technological-upheaval-by-expecting-the-unimagined.html?_r=0

ECONOMY

Get Ready for Technological Upheaval by Expecting the Unimagined
Economic View
By SENDHIL MULLAINATHAN SEPT. 2, 2017

The best way to prepare for the future may be to prepare for change. Credit Tim Cook
Self-driving vehicles could upend the transportation sector and eliminate a million or more jobs. Algorithms that decode M.R.I.s put a whole medical subfield at risk. And the list of professions and sectors soon to be obsolete grows steadily by the day.

New technologies are rattling the economy on all fronts. While the predictions are specific and dire, bigger changes are surely coming. Clearly, we need to adjust for the turbulence ahead.

But we may be preparing in the wrong way.

Both history and psychology tell us that our capacity to predict the future is limited, while our capacity to believe in such predictions is unlimited. We have always been surprised.

Rather than planning for the specific changes we imagine, it is better to prepare for the unimagined — for change itself.

Preparing for the unknown is not as hard as it may seem, though it implies fundamental shifts in our policies on education, employment and social insurance.

Take education. Were we to plan for specific changes, we would start revamping curriculums to include skills we thought would be rewarded in the future. For example, computer programming might become even more of a staple in high schools than it already is. Maybe that will prove to be wise and we will have a more productive work force.

But perhaps technology evolves quickly enough that in a few decades we talk to, rather than program, computers. In that case, millions of people would have invested in a skill as outdated as precise penmanship.

Instead, rather than changing what we teach, we could change when we teach.

Currently, all the formal education most people will receive comes early in life. Specific skills may be learned on the job, but the fundamentals are acquired in school when we are young. This sequence — learn early, benefit for a lifetime — makes sense only in a world where the useful skills stay constant.

But in a rapidly changing world, the fundamentals that were useful decades ago may be obsolete now; more important, new essential skills may have arisen. Anyone helping a grandparent navigate a computer has experienced this problem.

Once we recognize that human capital, like technology, needs refreshing, we have to restructure our institutions so people acquire education later in life. We don’t merely need training programs for niche populations or circumstances, expensive and short executive-education programs or brief excursions like TED talks. Instead we need the kind of in-depth education and training people receive routinely at age 13.

In addition, we must recognize that economic upheaval at the macro level means turmoil and instability at the personal level. A lifetime of work will be a lifetime of change, moving between firms, jobs, careers and cities.

Each move has financial and personal costs: It might involve going without a paycheck, looking for new housing, finding a new school district or adjusting to a new vocation. We cannot expect to create a vibrant and flexible overall economy unless we make these shifts as painless as possible. We need a fresh round of policy innovation focused on creating a safety net that gives workers the peace of mind — and the money — to move deftly when circumstances change.

Finally, we can learn from the economist Joseph Schumpeter’s prescient analysis of entrepreneurs. He noted that for new innovations to spread and improve our lives, there will always be creative destruction. For new firms and sectors to arise, some of the old ones must die.

Even if we should be humble in predicting that self-driving vehicles will upend the trucking sector or drone delivery will decimate supermarkets, we can be confident that some creative destruction is coming.

Our current policies — and impulses — are to resist such destruction. If a large manufacturer is set to close, subsidies and other policies kick into action to prevent that shutdown. But while we may save a factory, ultimately we hinder the rise of new technologies; rather than propping up incumbent firms we ought to enable innovation to take its course.

If that idea makes you uneasy, it is probably because our current policies do nothing to protect the most vulnerable from the costs of all this destruction. We resist letting factories close because we worry about what will become of the people who work there. But if we had a social insurance system that allowed workers to move fluidly between jobs, we could comfortably allow firms to follow their natural life and death cycle.

In the 1990s, Denmark began adopting what has been called “flexicurity,” combining policies that promote a flexible economy — allowing creative destruction as needed — with those that promote security for workers. The Danes have also emphasized lifelong learning, giving workers income support as they transition between jobs and circumstances.

By contrast, the current approach in the United States could be called “flex-nosecurity,” which hardly seems the appropriate way of preparing for an economy of rapid change.

There are surely many other ways of preparing for upheaval. We should broaden the current conversation — centered on drones, the end of work or the prospect of super-intelligent algorithms governing the world — to include innovative proposals for handling the unexpected.

One problem is that social policy may seem boring compared with the wonderfully evocative story arcs telling us where current technologies might be heading. How can the minutiae of unemployment insurance compete for attention with movies describing the birth of Skynet, the diabolical neural network in the “Terminator” series?

Yet even science fiction teaches humility.

Take “Star Trek.” The future it imagines is wondrous to the point of bordering on the impossible. The laws of physics as currently understood are circumvented so that ships can travel faster than the speed of light. Unfathomable technologies are routine. People can be disassembled atom by atom and transported somewhere else, keeping their memories and consciousness intact. Any kind of food can be instantly replicated.

Even the inventive “Star Trek” writers peering into the future, though, could not imagine a completely self-driving Starship Enterprise. While at times the Enterprise appeared to have some autopilot capacity, it routinely relied on a navigator to pilot it and was even equipped with a view screen that looked suspiciously like a car windshield.

The safest prediction is that reality will outstrip our imaginations. So let us craft our policies not just for what we expect but for what will surely surprise us.

Sendhil Mullainathan is a professor of economics at Harvard.
103  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Economics, Piketty debunked continued on: September 05, 2017, 02:52:55 PM
I took another look at this because people on the left or looking for balance are still quoting and recommending it.

For anyone interested, please listen to this interview debunking Piketty up, down and sideways.  His little technical flaws make his thesis false.  His dates and basic facts are wrong such as when tax rates were raised in the US during the great depression.  Among his flaws he completely ignores depreciation, meaning that all capital ever put into use is still of full value and in use.

http://tomwoods.com/thomas-piketty-refuted/

All his errors are coincidentally in the direction of supporting his flawed thesis, not in random directions.

As with all leftists, they measure income and wealth of the lower earners without counting their income or wealth.  Housing capital is not capital or wealth, for example.  WIth the rich, they tell how much higher their income and wealth is without accounting for the actions we are already taking (taxation) to limit and discount their income and wealth.

Among those debunking Piketty is Piketty:
http://ww2.cfo.com/the-economy/2015/03/economist-piketty-backtracks-inequality-theory/

His work that ignores capital flight is not as popular in Europe, already plagued by capital flight.

Wages depend on productivity of labor which is dependent on labor.  To fight against capital is to fight against wages.  Who knew.

One who believes his own proposed tax on wealth is not doable is ... Piketty.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QIGM9ga1sWc
http://dailysignal.com/2015/02/18/economic-research-refutes-piketty/
http://www.salon.com/2015/01/02/joseph_stiglitz_thomas_piketty_gets_income_inequality_wrong_partner/
http://www.realclearmarkets.com/articles/2014/04/22/the_systematic_errors_in_thomas_pikettys_new_book_101016.html
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QIGM9ga1sWc
https://www.amazon.com/Pikettys-Capital-Theory-Destructive-Program-ebook/dp/B00M0D69S2
https://economics21.org/html/problems-piketty-1307.html

I don't look for economists to predict the future.  I will happily settle for economists who can analyze the past and the present correctly.

Search this thread or "Piketty" in topic search for more on this.
104  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: North Korea's ultimatum to America-- serious read! on: September 05, 2017, 01:44:29 PM

Superbly reasoned and articulated.  She agrees with the view held around here and takes it further in reasons and persuasion.
[I'm not able to cut and paste out of the article]

"If you appease an enemy on behalf of an ally, then you aren't an ally."

Needing China on this, indefinitely, means we can't effectively confront China on other things, South China Sea, trade, etc.

This is tied to the same problem with Iran.  Not only Japan and most Asian countries need to go nuclear, so does Saudi, Egypt, Jordan and others in the Middle East.

If the US does not directly defeat the North Korean threat now, we are no longer a superpower and nuclear non-proliferation is longer the policy of the world.  This kind of threat is permanent if not stopped.
105  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Hillbillary Clintons long, sordid, and often criminal history on: September 05, 2017, 10:35:59 AM
"She [Michele] could run but it doesn't sound like it is in her DNA like Barry's."

That's right.  She would enjoy the Madrid trip and the money, power and security more without the scrutiny.

She may be smart enough to know that her very high popularity, like Hillary's at a different point, came from mostly staying out of the fray.

The first great woman President will be one who did not rise solely on her husband's coattails.

For the 2020 thread, Nikki Haley is the next woman to have that opportunity.  She could very well be the next VP if something should happen to Trump (or Pence).
106  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: 2020 Presidential election on: September 05, 2017, 10:25:12 AM
Very interesting read, but this is not the thread for it.

Curious what thread do you think, for comments.  I'll try 2020 Presidential with mine, but the article did include this:  "the cultural division between privileged, government-connected elites and the rest of the country has turned twenty-first century politics in America into a cold civil war between hostile socio-political identities."

Maybe this is just politics as usual, always changing while staying the same and the pendulum swinging. 

It seems to me that over the last dozen years: 
Establishment Republicans (Bush) failed to be consistent, competent or conservative and the result was a hard left turn.
The Left turned too far to the left and the country rejected that without embracing anything conservative or Republican. 
Now Trump and the Republicans flounder with no governing theme, no legislative success and losing support, and  the Democrats are not winning them back. 

What is left is a political opening a mile wide for a new leader to march through somewhere between the Trump message and sanity and no one seems to know how to capture it or where to go with it.

What we (always) need is better overlap of a great leader, a great message and a great direction.

The only person I see who could unite more than one faction and lead this country in amy positive direction now  is VP Mike Pence, and only if DT slipped off the stage without too much fanfare... which I don't see happening.

As we face more and more of the unknown and see a complete inability to govern, what we get is more and more of the status quo.  We've had wide swings in the electoral everything and what I see at least in my world is the same high taxes, same over-regulation and same leftist media-education-government complex with mutually assured hatred with the largest group they call the deplorables.

We need a leader who can change minds, in a positive way, not just ride a wave.
107  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Russian conspiracy, Comey, related matters on: September 05, 2017, 09:09:27 AM
Andrew McCarthy is right.  After Pres Obama basically said she wouldn't be prosecuted, the only suspense left was to find out if the FBI (and DOJ) were real agencies or merely puppets of the corrupt leadership.

"It would not have been possible to prosecute Mrs. Clinton for mishandling classified information without its being clear that President Obama had engaged in the same conduct. The administration was never, ever going to allow that to happen."

What she did as a cabinet official and got away with is HIS Presidential legacy.  Most politically corrupt administration ever.

It's funny to see how these "principled" people now refuse to take an oath of loyalty to a new boss.  Moral relativism, circumstantial integrity, selective professionalism?  State Dept, EPA, IRS, FBI, NSA, DOJ, and most of the Appellate and Supreme Court, paraphrasing the folks at Instapundit, just think of them as Democratic operatives with big titles and rest all makes sense.

Political appointee Loretta Lynch did not recuse herself without knowing the fix was already in place.  The only piece of the justice system they didn't control was an unknown weakness in the foundation of the electoral college Blue Wall.
108  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: time to fight back on: September 05, 2017, 08:44:39 AM
"...Hillary is listening to the NY feminist crowd and planning on running again though Bill does not agree and knows her chance has come and gone and thinks she is too old

Until she is 6 feet under she will be "running"."

She is running now, to stay relevant, and losing.

The tell-all book by a Hillary-insider people might like to see would be Bill Clinton's, if they ever split and if he ever really told what he saw.  How it must have felt to have his instincts and skills and then sit silently and watch her flounder!

What keeps her even on the curiosity stage is that there still isn't anyone (else) who resembles a leader of that party.  

Besides 4 years older and a proven two-time loser, another difference for Hillary is 2020 is that she would have no power to clear the field.  If she ever resembled a front runner again, she will take their fire.  It would be quite an septuagenerian circus to see Hillary, Biden, Warren, Sanders fight publicly amongst themselves about who is irrelevant, who is dishonest and who is a failure.  For once I might agree with all of them.

Hillary isn't the unqualified Democrat former First Lady we should fear in 2020...
https://www.washingtonpost.com/graphics/national/obama-legacy/michelle-obama-popularity.html
109  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: MY question to Andrew on: September 03, 2017, 06:19:54 PM
Is, what do we do about this now?  I am not inclined to just drop this and let /Clinton / Obama off?

Could anyone imagine the uproar from the Compost and Pravda and Complicit news network if a Republican President had subverted the law in this way?

http://www.nationalreview.com/corner/451053/not-comeys-decision-exonerate-hillary-obamas-decision

Right and we all knew it when it happened.  If words mean anything, Comey was the lead investigator at best, not the prosecutor by any stretch.  When the AG recused, shouldn't that responsibility go up the chain, maybe downward, not sideways?

110  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Pathological Liars [Science] Climate Change made Hurricane Harvey more deadl on: September 01, 2017, 10:05:04 AM
This should go under education and tenure, why can't they fire people like this?

https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2017/aug/28/climate-change-hurricane-harvey-more-deadly

It's a fact: climate change made Hurricane Harvey more deadly
Michael E Mann

Why do they publish this under "opinion" when the author says it is fact?

It it's global, why isn't he commenting on the coldest summer in 48 years in the north country too?  Is it fact that humans caused this weather event too?  What about the dearth of hurricanes since his last prediction?

Sea level rise started WHEN?   https://www.e-education.psu.edu/earth107/node/907



https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wbsURVgoRD0
111  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / re. How to exit from the Iran nuke deal, Access to Military Sites on: September 01, 2017, 09:29:34 AM


Sad that John Bolton says he has lost access to President Trump.  He perhaps should have been the Sec of State or at least a well informed, contrary voice.

More detail on Iran nuclear deal here:

http://isis-online.org/isis-reports/detail/verifying-section-t-of-the-iran-nuclear-deal

Verifying Section T of the Iran Nuclear Deal: Iranian Military Site Access Essential to JCPOA Section T Verification
112  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The US Congress mischaracterized as whores? on: September 01, 2017, 09:18:53 AM
Notable and quotable ...

P.J. O’Rourke long ago characterized that bunch as A Parliament [Congress] of Whores, an insult to hard-working hookers the world over, who at least (I’m told) deliver the services they have agreed to provide.

   - Ammo Grrrl blog / Susan Vass  http://www.powerlineblog.com/archives/2017/09/thoughts-from-the-ammo-line-182.php
113  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Public Sector Unions about to lose in the Supreme Court? on: September 01, 2017, 09:00:43 AM
http://www.powerlineblog.com/archives/2017/08/expecting-defeat-in-supreme-court-public-sector-unions-try-to-slow-exodus-of-members.php
114  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Islam in Europe, Why France Turned a Blind Eye to the Murder of Sarah Halimi on: September 01, 2017, 08:48:49 AM
I'm not sure what all the questions are here.  Is being a radical Islamic murdering terrorist grounds for an insanity plea in France?  Is torturing, murdering a Jewish woman and throwing her off a third story balcony a prosecutable crime [or just a cultural difference?], is it okay to not report what everyone in the neighborhood knows happened in the mainstream media if you all all afraid it might affect the result a contentious election?

http://www.meforum.org/6888/france-turned-blind-eye-to-murder-of-sarah-halimi

Why France Turned a Blind Eye to the Murder of Sarah Halimi
115  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Comey started drafting statement exonerating Hillary Clinton before FBI intervie on: September 01, 2017, 12:28:28 AM
She was exonerated for lack of intent.

The interview asked no questions about intent.

The law didn't even require intent.

Why wait for the interview when the decision wa already made at a higher level.

Nothing can surprise anyone after what the IRS did to opponents of President Obama trying to organize against him - the worst mis-use of American government power in my lifetime.

The fish stinks from the head.

The only thing that connected better than 'build the wall' was 'drain the swamp'.

Their filth caused the Trump phenomenon, and now they complain about it.
116  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Issues American Creed (Constitutional Law and related matters) David Stras on: August 31, 2017, 08:18:04 AM
There is a political issue in that Minnesota's Senators Amy Klobuchar and Al Franken are blocking Trump's nomination of Minnesota Supreme Court Justice David Stras to the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals, but that begs the question of whether work of this judge who has been smeared, slandered and libeled is out of the constitutional law mainstream.

https://www.minnpost.com/community-voices/2017/06/justice-stras-should-be-confirmed-us-court-appeals

http://www.powerlineblog.com/archives/2017/08/al-franken-thinking-it-over.php
117  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: McCain on: August 30, 2017, 10:52:47 AM
Not clear to me-- for what was McCain pardoned?

http://www.snopes.com/politics/mccain/warcriminal.asp

Better to attack McCain for his involvement in the Keating five as a (formerly?) corrupt politician then to attack him for his service to our country as an injured and tortured prisoner of war.
118  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Canadian Data: Allocating scarce resources in demand - takes money! on: August 29, 2017, 05:42:21 PM
As I understand it, access to healthcare is either controlled by price, or by rationing.

Right.  But rationing is based on price too.  They call it free but that doesn't mean your access isn't based on costs and money.  "Free" healthcare has a money cost to the government, to the taxpayer.  The doctor has a cost.  The room has a cost.  The nurse, the equipment, the supplies, the parking lot, everything.  

Canada has a 270 day wait for basic orthopedic services.  47 weeks for Neurosurgery!!!  See link.  How do you know now what Neurosurgery services you might need in 47 weeks??!!
http://globalnews.ca/news/3084366/q-a-how-long-are-medical-wait-times-in-canada-by-province-and-procedure/

Medical wait times in Canada, measured in double digits of weeks, are getting worse, not better.  They are a feature, not a bug, of their system.  The queue allocates scarce resources - by denying them.  Canada could lower wait times and ease their rationing anytime they want to - by spending more money.  Hire more doctors, invest in more equipment, build more facilities, serve more patients.  But they don't - because of money.

Pittsburgh has more MRI machines than Canada.  http://healthcare-economist.com/2008/02/11/pittsburgh-has-more-mri-machines-than-canada/  The southwest suburbs of Minneapolis have more MRI machines than Canada. I could still get a picture taken today, by spending money.  Canada knows how to buy more machines and hire more doctors and doesn't.  Money IS the limiting factor.

I know this is all obvious to everyone here, but we need to successfully address the liberal argument that it is immoral to allocate something as important as healthcare based on money.  There is no way around it.  Healthcare costs money.  Money is even more of a limiting factor in socialistic systems because their economies produce fewer resources needed to pay for things like healthcare.  And as you pursue sameness / equality, you necessarily lower the quality for many or most to accomplish that.

Canada has the advantage of something we will never have, a large, innovative, neighbor country right across the border to go to if and when your own system fails.  

Tens of thousands of people come from 50 states and 140 countries every year to visit Rochester Minnesota, home of the Mayo Clinic.  The Boston Globe calls them "reluctant tourists". https://www.bostonglobe.com/lifestyle/travel/2015/06/27/rochester-thrives-destination-medical-center-for-reluctant-tourists-flocking-mayo-clinic/i9FTkn3KHbobH5hOo8sqUJ/story.html
No doubt they would rather be treated near home or be on a beach somewhere, but this is how they CHOOSE to spend their time and their money at this point in their lives.

Cost is only one factor in affordable healthcare.  The other factor in affordability is income/wealth.  Grow the economy stupid (paraphrasing Bill Clinton).  Grow economic liberties.  Grow incomes and accumulate wealth to pay for things that may come up that are important to you - like medical treatment.

What is the Canadian equivalent of the Mayo Clinic?   (crickets)  
Mayo has a travel/communications office in Canada:  http://www.mayoclinic.org/departments-centers/international/locations/mayo-clinic-offices/canada
How come Presidents Reagan, H W Bush, Saudi King Abdallah, Jordan King Hussein, Iraqi President Jalal Talabani and so many others all came to Mayo.  Hugo Chavez went to Cuba; how did that go?  None of those who can choose, choose Canada.  What would they do there, wait??

Using Canadian or liberal logic, maybe the city of Rochester, MN would make even more on their hotel and restaurant traffic if the wait times were 47 weeks...
https://www.fastcompany.com/3041355/the-65-billion-20-year-plan-to-transform-an-american-city
http://dailysignal.com/2010/02/09/the-canadian-patients%E2%80%99-remedy-for-health-care-go-to-america/
119  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Health Care Pricing Shouldn’t Be Like Nuclear Codes on: August 29, 2017, 10:23:46 AM
First, please read or re-read the previous post by G M in this thread.  Canada wouldn't treat a bladder infection because the guy was going to die anyway.  People (on the left or in a dream world) think we can remove money from healthcare by making it free but scarce resources get allocated one way or another.  The question isn't just right or wrong but WHO should make that decision.  If private citizens and their families make those choices with their own resources, the government would have more resources left to help when help is needed. !!!
----------------------------------------------------------------

One thing we should all agree on where government can play a role is to get healthcare pricing out in the open...  How can there ever be anything approaching a free market if we can't ever know prices?

http://www.realclearhealth.com/articles/2017/08/29/health_care_pricing_shouldnt_be_like_nuclear_codes_110717.html

Health Care Pricing Shouldn’t Be Like Nuclear Codes

By Greg Borca
August 29, 2017

Ask just about anyone what the most closely held secret is in America, and odds are they’ll either say the nation’s nuclear codes or the formula for Coca-Cola. Yet running a close third is the actual selling price of pretty much everything in health care.

The health care industry, especially the large players that dominate the landscape today, keep the actual dollars paid for care hidden amongst themselves, often obscured within complex contract language. Yes, there are “published” prices, but they bear little resemblance to the reimbursements providers and payers are agreeing to behind the curtain.


Consumers can see evidence of this moving target for pricing when they offer to pay cash directly to a provider versus going through a payer (aka an insurer) at the negotiated rate(s). The differences in pricing negotiated in contracts between providers and payers can be much greater.

The result of all this secrecy is that the per capita cost of something every single American needs has tripled over the last 20 years, rising to become nearly one-fifth of the gross domestic product. Yet no one seems to understand how to change this trend because if they did they’d be proposing a workable solution.

Worse, as long as there is a lack of financial transparency, it is impossible to take the steps that will create meaningful competition across the health care industry. Without competition, pricing will continue to rise needlessly, exacerbating all the issues that are being discussed in Congress right now.

Here’s why the lack of transparency around provider pricing is so effective at killing competition: When payers enter into negotiations with providers, their biggest bargaining chip is the number of members they can drive to that provider. So if health payer A has 3 million members in the market and health payer B has 1 million members, health payer A may get a contract that includes a much greater reduction off the published prices than health payer B.

Health payer A can then elect to offer slightly lower premiums than health payer B. Since the most important consideration for many consumers in selecting a health plan is their premium cost, health payer A gains a distinct market advantage. Add in a few high-deductible health plan (HDHP) options that shift more of the cost to the patient, and health payer A can gain even more market share.

This system of unknown selling prices is also why passing a law that enables insurers to sell across state lines won’t matter. When an insurance company enters a new market, it must negotiate pricing with local providers. The pricing it is offered is normally based on how many members it can direct to a provider. Since it starts out with zero members, it will pay much higher prices than the established insurers. The result will be higher premium costs. It then becomes a chicken-egg scenario. To secure competitive pricing the insurer must secure a large number of members. It cannot secure a large number of members, however, until it lowers its premiums. The new player is, in effect, locked out of the market.

What’s interesting is that health payers and providers didn’t always work together in such lockstep. Twenty-five years ago, the relationship was much more contentious. It wasn’t uncommon to read news stories about hospital systems that failed to reach an agreement with a particular payer and was thus terminating its contract and dropping out of the network. That is unheard of in this day and age.

It is also why those few startups that do manage to get off of the ground tend to rely on inventive strategies, such as narrow networks for high-cost procedures and broader networks for primary care. This two-tier approach is unorthodox but provides smaller insurers a way to find a foothold in larger markets.

If Congress really wants to bring down the cost of health insurance and spur competition, the solution is obvious: Level the playing field by requiring the health care industry to publish prices and costs and adhere strictly to those benchmarks. If an individual organization offers a discount to any player (including the federal Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services), that now becomes the new price for everyone.

The creation of this type of price transparency will offer several consumer benefits. With pricing leveled and readily available for review, no single payer will have a huge, hidden cost advantage over the current competition.  An equal baseline for pricing will encourage payers to improve efficiency and reduce costs, and increased competition will furthermore help keep premium costs in check.

Level pricing will enable new, more efficient payers to develop, allowing for easier access to health care markets in other states.

Enabling such price transparency will allow consumers to shop for the best combination of quality and affordability; think Travelocity or Progressive, but for the best deal on health care in your area. This will be especially helpful as bundled payments and other value-based care options grow in popularity. Right now, if you call a provider and ask how much knee replacement surgery will cost, they won’t be able to give you a fast answer because it will depend on which insurance you have and which plan you’re on. With set pricing, you’ll be able to look it up online and compare.

Where final pricing is conditional on factors such as the state of the patient’s health, transparent pricing will make it easier for payers to deliver an instant explanation of benefits that will show patients exactly what their costs will be rather than being shocked by the costs months after the appointment or procedure. As more consumers adopt HDHPs, knowing those costs will be invaluable to both the patients and the providers who need to collect from them.

Perhaps the most important benefit, however, will be the freshly invigorated spirit of entrepreneurship that will drive down costs through innovative technologies and health care models we haven’t even imagined yet.

Think about how much cheaper air travel became after deregulation, thanks in large part to Southwest Airlines. Once Southwest started offering direct flights to destinations all over the United States for $39, every other airline had to slash its prices or perish. Consider what car buying is like now that automobile manufacturers publish their prices on the Internet for all to see.

Most of the current health payers are still using legacy green screen computing technologies from the 1980s. Why? Because they can. Startups entering the market using technologies designed for the digital age will create a need to modernize the established payers’ technology systems and processes so they can drive down their internal costs to compete with the startups’ significantly lower premiums.

These competition-driven efficiencies will lead to more options in the health insurance marketplace for consumers at lower costs, finally making affordable health care for all a reality. Not by government edict, but by intelligently harnessing the forces of the free market, which should satisfy all political persuasions.

The current system is unsustainable, but it is fixable. It’s time to quit treating health care pricing like it’s the nuclear codes and instead make real prices transparent to all.
120  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Nature, BWCA boundary waters video, Minnesota Canada lakes, forests, wilderness on: August 29, 2017, 10:13:25 AM
A drone photographer in the family captured on photo and video of the 'cabin' (I helped build) and the area in the boundary waters where we like to hang out. 

https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B9RiZOVuZxcpWlljeVFQQmRTV28/view?usp=sharing

I recommend taking a group, family or friends, on a week long canoe trip in this area if you like this kind of thing, have the strength and energy to do it and want to get away for a moment.   http://bwca.com/
121  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: North and South Korea on: August 29, 2017, 09:57:08 AM
"We have already basically heard from Bannon and others that pro active military measures are off the table."

My take on that was that Bannon was contradicting Trump by saying that, and was out immediately afterward.

It is said about the President, one thing he doesn't lack is courage.  Maybe so, but a strike on NK requires a level of courage beyond building a shopping center or anything Clinton, Bush or Obama ever did.

At the very least, I expect an Osarik* type strike within about 48 hours of getting the information straight about what just happened.  

* Israeli air strike carried out on 7 June 1981 which destroyed an Iraqi (Saddam) nuclear reactor under construction 10.5 miles southeast of Baghdad.  That took courage and the world condemned it.  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_Nations_Security_Council_Resolution_487

To Un: Oh, look, we can hit any of your sites anytime we want to.  Hit 2 or 3 of his most threatening sites including the launch site of the latest missile and do it soon so people know which Dear Leader caused it.

Or we can sit by and let the world and our allies be held hostage by one more murderous tyrant.
122  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: North and South Korea on: August 29, 2017, 08:09:56 AM
If I have this right, haven't the Japanese now allowed the precedent and by so doing given the Norks the option of putting them into the 18th century at will?

Time will tell but I am thinking this was the game changer, allows Trump to tell China that Japan and many others are going nuclear now unless the NK threat is shut down.

As Clinton, Bush, Obama should have known, this doesn't get easier later.

It is hard for me to believe this will go by answered.
123  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Lunacy, Let them re-name New York on: August 28, 2017, 03:16:38 PM
Last week Michael Savage was having fun coming with ideas to change names in New York that could be offensive to anyone at all.  Thanks to DeBlasio commission yet another study to look at offensive names statues (like Christopher Columbus circle)...

http://dailycaller.com/2017/08/17/new-york-is-named-after-a-horrendous-slave-trader/

New York Is Named After A Horrendous Slave Trader

New York, both the city and the state, is named after the house of York and particularly for James Stuart, then Duke of York, one of the most successful slavers in colonial American history.
124  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Trump Transition/Administration on: August 28, 2017, 03:09:23 PM
I don't know what to make of Tillerson frankly.
when i hear him on TV like the weekend interview with Chris Wallace he sounds very reasonable but then i read very negative things about how he has not really taken over the State Department and just defers to Obama philes
that many positions are simply still not being filled
perhaps he has too much on his plate
I just am not sure .

Tillerson's job is talk and Mattis' job is action.

Trump "speaks for himself" is only controversial if people want it to be:
http://www.cnn.com/2017/08/28/opinions/tillerson-trump-values-miller-sokolsky-opinion/index.html

The incident did not affect him, why be drawn into it?
125  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Pathological Science: AGW causing extreme heat and droughts on: August 27, 2017, 10:50:41 PM
MN: coldest, wettest summer in 48 years
http://addins.kttc.com/blogs/weather/one-of-the-coolest-summers-so-far/
126  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Bacha Bazi paedophelia on: August 27, 2017, 07:55:56 AM
A fair and reasoned opinion YA, to which I would add my particular refrain about peeling off Pashtunistan from both Afghanistan and Pakistan.

I also like Michael's analysis.  I'm wondering if the Pashtuns are the good guys, the bad guys or just a separate group.

Bacha Bazi
http://www.independent.co.uk/voices/comment/an-afghan-tragedy-the-pashtun-practice-of-having-sex-with-young-boys-8911529.html
127  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Cognitive Dissonance of the left, Reminiscing Obama on: August 25, 2017, 07:00:23 AM
While the left dreams of going back to the wonderful days of the Obama administration, they might recall that the number of people added to the food stamps roll increased by a number equal to the population of 13 states.  The number who newly entered government healthcare was of course greater than that.

http://dogbrothers.com/phpBB2/index.php?topic=1467.msg96549#msg96549


The years under Mr. Obama have not been kind to Democrats. When he took office in 2009, Democrats had an effective 58-seat majority in the Senate, had a staggering 256 seats in the House and held 28 governorships.

They lost the House and ceded the majority of governorships in 2010, held serve in 2012 with Mr. Obama’s re-election, then lost control of the Senate in 2014 and control of the White House this year. All told, Democrats have shed 63 House seats, 10 Senate seats and 12 governorships.
http://m.washingtontimes.com/news/2016/nov/14/obamas-legacy-democratic-losses-party-chaos/
128  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Cognitive Dissonance of the left, Millenials on: August 25, 2017, 06:53:17 AM
“If Millennials ever wake up to how badly they’ve been robbed and by whom, the political reckoning will be earth-shattering.”

https://pjmedia.com/instapundit/254456/

FUNDAMENTALLY TRANSFORMED: Millennials are falling behind their boomer parents.  JANUARY 13, 2017

With a median household income of $40,581, millennials earn 20 percent less than boomers did at the same stage of life, despite being better educated, according to a new analysis of Federal Reserve data by the advocacy group Young Invincibles.

The analysis being released Friday gives concrete details about a troubling generational divide that helps to explain much of the anxiety that defined the 2016 election. Millennials have half the net worth of boomers. Their home ownership rate is lower, while their student debt is drastically higher.
https://www.cnbc.com/2017/01/13/millennials-are-falling-behind-their-boomer-parents.html

If Millennials ever wake up to how badly they’ve been robbed and by whom, the political reckoning will be earth-shattering.   - Stephen Green at Instapundit
129  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: India/Indian Ocean (and India-afpakia and India-China) on: August 24, 2017, 09:02:36 AM
YA,  Great post as always!

Denny S wrote this about Venezuela:  "Democracy by Consent of the Military"
http://softwaretimes.com/files/democracy+by+consent+of+th.html

Totalitarianism or whatever we call the Chinese system also requires ongoing Consent of the Military.  As Chinese society itself gets more and more open, the closed nature of the communist party, the ruling politburo and the military leadership up and down must get more and more challenging to keep in line.

I always wonder when the people of China will rise up and throw out the rulers.  In fact it is the military, not the people, that have the power to end the regime. 

Also, their perception of total invincibility is chipped away when they lose standoffs in Tibet, South China Sea or North Korea.  Very interesting to hear about their own behind the scenes challenges, having to move local military leaders away from their areas of familiarity, for example.
130  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Just won't go away (HRC) on: August 24, 2017, 08:40:41 AM
"She is running in '20. "

Notwithstanding that I haven't paid you yet for being 2/3rds wrong in 2016...
I will bet you:
a) she doesn't run in 2020
b) she won't win the nomination if she does run
and c) she won't be elected if she does win the nomination.   ))

I tortured myself watching the Sunday shows last weekend and heard R's and D's all talk negatively for hours about Trump and how the Republican party are all in disarray without one mention that the Dem party is the one hopelessly in disarray.

Republicans are always only one great leader away from snapping out of their own disarray, and Trump captured that void, while Democrats are incapable of accepting a great leader if he or she were even out there.  Hillary, even if she was competent, charismatic and not a crook, had to abandon all of what made her husband successful in order to gain the endorsement of the far left that are her party.  There was no argument remaining to say she would make America Great Again.  In order to get Ellison, Warren, Sanders, occupy wall street and black lives matter all on board, all she was left with saying was that she would make us into a Venezuela of the North.
131  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / American History, Comparing Reagan to FDR? Steven Hayward on: August 24, 2017, 08:13:09 AM
Correcting revisionist history, only Reagan biographer Steve Hayward could differentiate Reagan from FDR so persuasively incorporating all of this in a short essay.  Trump, Reagan, John F Kennedy, Karl Marx, FDR, Coolidge, Eisenhower, Clinton, Obama, Romney, Truman, Taft, Churchill, New Deal, LBJ, Great Society, Goldwater, Nixon, Greenspan, constitutional originalism, fascism, capitalism, moral hazard, governing philosophies, rhetorical choices and discipline, working class voters, The Forgotten Man, conservatism, libertarianism, Keynesianism, centralized regulation, social insurance, limiting principles of liberalism and more - all seamlessly woven together.

http://www.claremont.org/crb/basicpage/will-the-real-ronald-reagan-please-stand-up/

Will the Real Ronald Reagan Please Stand Up?
By: Steven F. Hayward
August 17, 2017

Henry Olsen’s revisionist thesis in The Working-Class Republican is that Ronald Reagan’s political career was devoted to perpetuating rather than repudiating Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal. “The man many label as the twentieth century’s most conservative president,” Olsen contends, “was more than a casual backer of FDR.”

Working-Class Republican should be understood in the context of Olsen’s warnings, repeated frequently over the past decade, that Republicans were failing utterly to offer a compelling message or policy agenda for “Reagan Democrats,” the white working-class voters crucial to the landslide victories of 1980 and ’84. Instead, Olsen warns, the GOP has focused on the investor class and entrepreneurs. Whatever the abstract merits of that approach, it overlooks the simple fact that most voters are not entrepreneurs, but employees, averse to risk-taking. And the optics are as bad as the policies. When challenging Mitt Romney for the Republican presidential nomination, Mike Huckabee said pointedly, “I want to be a president who reminds you of the guy you work with, not the guy who laid you off.”

By degrees, Olsen figured out that the interpreting Reagan was like viewing an Impressionist painting: only by stepping back could we see the picture correctly. Virtually all Republicans today represent themselves as Reaganites, but what if they are looking only at narrow brushstrokes?

Olsen’s is the latest revisionist account of Reagan, and by far the boldest. Gene Kopelson has argued that Dwight Eisenhower was Reagan’s most decisive influence and model, Irving Kristol that he was the first neoconservative, and such liberal writers as Richard Reeves and John Patrick Diggins that he really was a pragmatic moderate after all. Has Olsen unearthed the Reagan Rosetta stone?

Olsen has more to worry about from those who endorse his thesis than from those who reject it. Recent liberal fans will use Reagan’s supposed “pragmatism” to attack Republicans for moving far to the right. Reagan could not win the GOP nomination if he was a candidate today, they claim. In 2009, an audacious Jonathan Rauch National Journal article argued that because Reagan compromised with the opposition, agreed to some tax increases (but never the ones the liberals wanted) and fell short of some of his declared goals (such as a balanced budget), he was not a Reaganite. Jacob Heilbrunn, writing in the Los Angeles Times, also concluded that Reagan’s greatness “rested precisely in his readiness to abandon his conservative principles.” This transparently insincere charge, embraced by people never fond of Reagan or conservative principles, has managed to gain plausibility through sheer repetition in liberal media echo chambers. This faction will treat Working-Class Republican as a vindication.

Orthodox conservatives, on the other hand, think Reagan represented a direct lineage to Barry Goldwater and the self-conscious conservative “movement” that began to take shape in the 1950s, the time when Reagan was changing his political views. The apotheosis of this Reagan is his remark in an interview with Reason magazine in 1975: “I believe that the very heart and soul of conservatism is libertarianism.” Olsen uses Reagan’s own deeds and words, even from that same Reason interview, to make clear that Reaganism cannot be reduced to libertarianism. Olsen is right to direct our attention to Reagan’s departures from a schematic conservative or libertarian orthodoxy, both in rhetoric and policy choices. Due to his dazzling success, conservatives have come to treat Reagan as the embodiment of their cause, as well as the model for aspiring Republican politicians, thereby distracting us from the idiosyncratic conservatism that was the product of an utterly unique mind. The question of authentic Reaganism goes beyond historical interest or ideological nostalgia, since it bears on the deep confusion conservatives and the Republican Party feel in the aftermath of Donald Trump’s nomination and election. This question is at the heart of Working-Class Republican.

Olsen is not the first to emphasize the continuity between FDR and Reagan. Richard Neustadt, a leading presidential scholar for decades at Harvard, called Reagan “a New Deal Republican” very early in Reagan’s presidency. And then there’s a significant comment Reagan made in his diary in January 1982, when he was under attack for his proposed budget cuts: “The press is dying to paint me as now trying to undo the New Deal. I remind them I voted for FDR 4 times. I’m trying to undo the ‘Great Society.’ It was LBJ’s war on poverty that led to our present mess.”

This statement is true if deduced from most of Reagan’s actions as governor and president. With only two partial exceptions, he did not attempt to alter New Deal-era social insurance programs in any significant way. First, Reagan made a half-hearted, half-baked attempt to scale back Social Security in 1981, and then expressed disappointment in his diary that the Greenspan Commission he appointed to extricate him from this political mistake did not propose bolder reforms. Second, in 1985 Reagan’s budget proposal unsuccessfully attempted a serious cutback of New Deal-era farm subsidies. By contrast, he rebuffed a 1986 GOP effort on Capitol Hill to curtail Social Security and Medicare.

Reagan was fond of saying, publicly, that “we launched a war on poverty, and poverty won.” Nonetheless, the oft-cited diary entry about the New Deal and Great Society doesn’t quite parse. Reagan was giving speeches against overweening government, and worrying about the implicit socialism of Democratic liberalism, well before the Great Society was launched in the early 1960s. He wrote to Richard Nixon in 1960 about John F. Kennedy: “Under that tousled boyish haircut is still old Karl Marx—first launched a century ago.” Was Reagan somehow clairvoyant, anticipating what liberalism would become under the Great Society?

Sorting out Olsen’s argument requires, first, asking whether it’s too broad ... or too narrow. Reagan himself said that FDR was his model for how to conduct the presidency, especially in its public dimensions. Reagan praised FDR’s fireside chats. Entirely novel when FDR started them, Reagan emulated their style and conversational format, especially FDR’s confidence-inducing disposition. Though Reagan’s admiration for FDR may have been more a matter of style than substance, the style of presidential leadership should not be deprecated. As Winston Churchill said, “Meeting Roosevelt was like taking your first sip of champagne.” (I’ve often wondered how much the end of Prohibition was an unquantifiable boost to FDR’s presidency.) Nevertheless, the contrast with Roosevelt’s Democratic successors today is obvious; Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders are more like a gulp of castor oil.

Olsen would not disagree, but his case rests on substance over style. Reagan’s long-time economic adviser Martin Anderson once told me that despite Reagan’s general kind words for FDR and the New Deal, he could not recall Reagan ever endorsing a specific New Deal policy, though Olsen’s account provides a different answer to this question. But if anyone wants to see Reagan as the heir of the New Deal, he has to get past one of Reagan’s most famous critiques of it—his 1976 remark that “Fascism was really the basis for the New Deal.” Democrats lustily seized upon this remark to make trouble for Reagan in 1980, and the media obliged by hounding Reagan about it in “news analysis” articles. Rather than backpedal, Reagan, to his campaign managers’ consternation, stoutly defended his comments. In August 1980 Reagan told dumbfounded reporters: “Anyone who wants to look at the writings of the Brain Trust of the New Deal will find that President Roosevelt’s advisers admired the fascist system. . .  They thought that private ownership with government management and control a la the Italian system was the way to go, and that has been evident in all their writings.” This was, Reagan added, “long before fascism became a dirty word in the lexicon of the liberals.”

If Reagan’s guiding purpose really was the continuation and elaboration of the New Deal, we should first clarify the New Deal’s meaning. For one thing, if Olsen is right, his larger argument goes beyond Reagan and makes us confront more directly how the Democratic Party has abandoned the New Deal, even if it defends its programs from any reform today. Reagan liked to say, from his earliest days in politics, that “I didn’t leave my party—my party left me.” This has been dismissed as mere rhetoric, but Olsen’s analysis makes us take it more seriously, since it explains why many Trump voters abandoned the Democratic Party in the belief that it has abandoned the New Deal.

And it suggests there is a breathtaking opportunity for conservatives, if only they would realize it. If today’s liberals are going to give up on liberalism, why not steal FDR away from them—returning the Democrats’ favor. In the 1930s, for example, FDR said, “I think it is time for us Democrats to claim Lincoln as one of our own.” In one of his last speeches as president in October 1988, Reagan put it this way:

The party of F.D.R. and Harry Truman couldn’t be killed. The party that represents people like you and me, that represents the majority of Americans—this party hasn’t disappeared. The fact is we’re stronger than ever. You see, the secret is that when the Left took over the Democratic Party, we took over the Republican Party. We made the Republican Party into the party of working people; the family; the neighborhood; the defense of freedom; and, yes, the American flag and the Pledge of Allegiance to “one nation under God.” So, you see, the party that so many of us grew up with still exists, except that today it’s called the Republican Party.
So what was the New Deal? There are some good conservative accounts of it, such as Amity Shlaes’s The Forgotten Man (2007) and New Deal or Raw Deal? (2008) by Burt Folsom. Conrad Black offers the only conservative biography of FDR, finding him a “champion of freedom,” but chiefly on the basis of his World War II role rather than the domestic issues that interest Olsen. Perhaps the best book about the deeper domestic politics of the New Deal from a conservative point of view is one of the oldest, Raymond Moley’s After Seven Years (1939), which told of his disillusionment with the New Deal’s descent into decay and corruption after a good beginning.

At a minimum, the New Deal can be said to comprise four essential attributes: 1) Keynesian counter-cyclical spending (partly in the form of public works); 2) immediate relief from destitution and new long-term social insurance (especially Social Security); 3) more aggressive and centralized regulation of industries in ways that at times verged on direct economic planning (this was the fascistic part—think of the National Industrial Recovery Act); and 4) putting the New Deal’s programmatic machinery to partisan uses, culminating in the perpetual motion machine captured by Harry Hopkins’s famous slogan, “Tax, tax, spend, spend, elect, elect.”

Of these four aspects, Reagan really only matches up well with 2), relief from destitution and support for social insurance. He had no truck with Keynesian spending, and always recoiled at government regulation. But Olsen’s on to something important regarding Reagan’s acceptance of social insurance. In fact, he could have made this main point even stronger. The New Deal emphasized work, even putting people on the government payroll if necessary, but was also willing to provide support for people unable to work, like mothers and the elderly. With the exception of his fondness for punitively high tax rates, Roosevelt was not a redistributionist. Roosevelt’s social insurance outlook implicitly operated according the old distinction, which Reagan occasionally made explicit, between the “deserving poor” and those who had no legitimate claim to public assistance. Olsen rightly points to the example of Governor Reagan’s California welfare reforms, which coupled tighter eligibility standards and a work requirement for able-bodied adults with larger welfare grants for the “truly needy.”

Working-Class Republican dwells on Reagan’s frequent use of the term “social safety net” (Olsen’s emphasis), though the “social” modifier is unnecessary to understand Reagan’s meaning. I once did a word search of presidential statements throughout the 20th century using the phrase “safety net.” Hoover used it twice, and that’s about it. As far as I can tell, FDR never uttered the words. Reagan revived this term, though some recent articles give him credit for originating it. (The “safety net” formulation may trace back to Churchill during his Liberal Party reformist period from 1904-1910.)

The central fact about Reagan’s use of the term is that in the 1980s the Left hated it, because it represented a rebuke to income redistribution, a commitment that had gradually taken hold of the Democratic Party. Recall the National Welfare Rights Organization and the rise of social programs as entitlements in the 1960s. When Reagan opposed Nixon’s guaranteed annual income proposal, the Family Assistance Plan, in 1969 and 1970—the only governor in the country to do so—he said in a TV debate that “I believe that the government is supposed to promote the general welfare; I don’t think it is supposed to provide it.” If welfare was centralized in Washington, Reagan knew, reform would be all but impossible and there would be a bias toward increased spending in the future. “It would only be the first installment,” Reagan observed. “Raising the annual family grant would become an election-year must.” Despite Reagan’s intense and active opposition, the Family Assistance Plan was primarily killed by the Left, because its income transfer was too small. Some smart leftists today recognize this failure to get a foot in the door as their single biggest strategic blunder of the last 50 years.

“If there is one area of social policy,” Reagan began to say in his standard stump speech, “that should be at the most local level of government possible, it is welfare. It should not be nationalized—it should be localized.” Reagan practiced what he preached, and preached what he practiced. While president, it was not unusual for him to send personal checks to citizens who wrote about their their hard times in letters his correspondence unit selected for him to read. In one 1982 speech, Reagan argued that if every church and synagogue in America adopted one poor household it would not only reach everyone in need but would do a much better job providing help than a government bureaucracy. In another 1982 speech to the NAACP (amidst a fierce recession), Reagan argued that the Great Society had done more harm than good for black Americans. Liberals howled with indignation about both of these heresies.

In the 1930s leftists complained that FDR “saved capitalism” and prevented a socialist revolution by his palliatives. It is not a stretch to see him in alignment with Reagan on this point. While FDR oversaw the launch of the federal government’s largest welfare program, Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC), he recognized the moral hazard of unqualified relief, remarking about the risk of dependency and perverse results from an undisciplined welfare state. As he told Congress in 1935:

The lessons of history, confirmed by the evidence immediately before me, show conclusively that continued dependence upon relief induces a spiritual and moral disintegration fundamentally destructive to the national fiber. To dole out relief in this way is to administer a narcotic, a subtle destroyer of the human spirit.... It is in violation of the traditions of America.
Reagan quoted this remark a few times during his campaigns in the 1970s (along with FDR’s embrace of a balanced budget in the 1932 campaign), to the annoyance of Ted Kennedy and Arkansas’s young governor Bill Clinton, Democrats who bitterly protested Reagan’s larceny. Reagan put it this way in his memoirs: “Franklin Roosevelt, Jr., often told me that his father had said many times his welfare and relief programs during the Depression were meant only as emergency, stopgap measures to cope with a crisis, not the seeds of what others later tried to turn into a permanent welfare state.” Certainly today the utilization of Food Stamps and disability has grown out of proportion, and have become ersatz general welfare programs, both contributing to the opioid epidemic in ways FDR warned against.

Olsen’s case rests on a careful reading of Reagan’s speeches and articles, noting subtleties and distinctions that escape many readers. In the 1960s Reagan never attacked the Great Society without offering his sharply contrasting positive alternative: the Creative Society, based on self-governing citizens’ initiative, wherein “government will lead but not rule, listen but not lecture.” As his put in in his first inaugural address in 1981, government exists to “work with us, not over us; to stand by our side, not ride our back.” Now and then Reagan’s heirs have attempted to emulate this practice. One thinks of Newt Gingrich’s “Opportunity Society” in the 1980s and Paul Ryan’s “Ownership Society” more recently. But neither is as capacious as Reagan’s outlook, nor were they sustained rhetorically. (Reagan was a big believer in repetition, something that Donald Trump almost alone seems to understand instinctively.) The biggest defect of liberalism in the post-New Deal era is that it has no limiting principle. There is no social problem for which there isn’t a new or expanded government program, and for which money isn’t the core of the solution. Reagan understood the need for limits and discipline, cautioning in 1967: “The time has come for us to decide whether collectively we can afford everything and anything simply because we think of it.”

Equally significant is how, as Olsen notes, Reagan rarely used the term “conservative” in his general public speeches, or even “Republican.” He restricted his use of these terms to select audiences, like party gatherings or Conservative Political Action Conferences. His famous “Time for Choosing” speech is the model for his unique and effective rhetorical practice. Olsen is correct to distinguish the conservatism of Reagan’s “Time for Choosing,” more personal and narrative in form, from Goldwater’s abstract anti-New Dealism. While a deeply conservative speech in most ways, Reagan declaimed that it was neither partisan nor ideological, but a matter of plain common sense.

While this distinction might not survive close logical analysis, as a matter of practical political rhetoric Reagan was undoubtedly correct. One can see the parallel in Barack Obama’s “no red America, no blue America” theme in his famous 2004 keynote speech. It explains Reagan’s enduring appeal to millions of non-ideological voters who have no difficulty supporting the general principle of government assistance for struggling citizens, but oppose the abuses of government programs that most liberals deny or dismiss. (One of the few liberals who took the problem seriously was Bill Clinton, who ran on “ending welfare as we know it” in 1992. He understood that working-class voters resented an out-of-control welfare state, and in 1996 acceded to the Reaganite welfare reform plan devised by congressional Republicans.)

Reagan would never have used “makers and takers,” the phrase that caught conservatives’ fancy for a time under Obama. Recall how Mitt Romney’s infamous remark about the “47 percent”—another comment Reagan would never have made—crippled his campaign. The lesson here is that conservatives like Ted Cruz who boast of being “Reagan conservatives” on the stump are talking in a way that Reagan himself never did. No one can imagine Reagan calling himself a “Coolidge conservative.”

Beyond the programmatic considerations Olsen explores, there is more to be said about FDR’s overall political philosophy. Doing so is tricky, in part because a consistent Roosevelt hard to find, and Reagan was nothing if not consistent for most of his political life. Nearly every historian likes to focus on FDR’s changes of course and improvisations, as exemplified in his endorsement of “bold, persistent experimentation.” Shlaes concludes, on this basis, that FDR was “intellectually unstable.”

But it is possible to make out a serious core to FDR’s thought, especially in his 1932 Commonwealth Club Address. There, Roosevelt partly repudiated Woodrow Wilson’s Progressivism (especially its rejection of individualism and the American Founding), while embracing the defective political economy of Progressivism, which held that the era of competitive entrepreneurial capitalism was over. FDR’s orientation toward preserving middle-class and working-class opportunity is paramount in his outlook, supporting the case that the New Deal was conservative of the American political tradition in ways that the Progressive Era was not. Radicals criticized the New Deal on this basis in the 1930s, and today’s Democrats have reacquired that older Progressive disdain for the American political tradition. Many now call themselves “Progressives” rather than “liberals.”

While Reagan can be said to have shared this middle-out disposition of FDR’s, two aspects of FDR’s political outlook are particularly difficult to square with Reagan’s. First, there was his language about “economic royalists” and “malefactors of great wealth.” Roosevelt had a penchant for “hunting rich men as if they were obnoxious beasts,” Churchill cautioned in an otherwise laudatory 1934 essay, which expressed enthusiasm for the New Deal and FDR’s leadership capacities. At one point early in World War II, FDR proposed a 100% income tax rate starting at $25,000 (roughly equivalent to $390,000 today). Reagan never supported punitive taxation of this kind, nor shared any of FDR’s indifference to capital investment. (Moley reported that Roosevelt especially hated talk of “business confidence.”) Reagan was always a future-oriented technophile, a believer in the innovation of entrepreneurs.

A related important contrast is between the proposals for an “Economic Bill of Rights” that both men offered as president. Roosevelt’s 1944 roster formed the core of today’s liberal agenda—a right to housing, a job, food, and health care, for starters, all requiring government provision. Such guarantees of course, efface the older liberal distinction between rights, as limitations on government power, and benefits, as privileges within the limits of resources. Reagan stood FDR’s understanding on its head in his 1987 proposal for his own Economic Bill of Rights, which harkened back to the old restraints: a balanced-budget requirement, supermajorities for tax increases, a constitutional spending limit, and an explicit prohibition on wage-and-price controls.

The second sharp, unbridgeable difference between FDR and Reagan is related to the first. FDR regarded the Constitution as an impediment to his desires, as seen by his intemperate attacks on the Supreme Court, culminating in his ill-advised court-packing scheme at the start of his second term. This was another place where Churchill criticized Roosevelt, most notably in a 1936 essay written before the court-packing scheme:

Taking the rigidity out of the American Constitution” means, and is intended to mean, new gigantic accessions of power to the dominating center of government and giving it the means to make new fundamental laws enforceable upon all Americans.
Reagan, a thoroughgoing if early constitutional originalist, understood this point instinctively. For the New Deal’s architects, centralized regulatory power promised many benefits and few risks, though there are fragments suggesting FDR might have had misgivings. FDR remarked in 1938:

We need trained personnel in government. We need disinterested, as well as broad-gauged, public officials. This part of our problem we have not yet solved, but it can be solved and it can be accomplished without the creation of a national bureaucracy which would dominate the national life of our governmental system.
And it is nearly forgotten that FDR drew back from the full implications of his attacks on “economic royalism.” “Let me emphasize,” he also said in 1944, “that serious as have been the errors of unrestrained individualism, I do not believe in abandoning the system of individual enterprise.” On balance, Franklin Roosevelt was probably more dubious about a jihad against the malefactors of great wealth than his Republican cousin Theodore.

It should be recalled that Reagan’s announcement speech for his 1976 campaign (though not, significantly, his 1980 campaign) began with a criticism of the New Deal:

Back in the Depression years there were those who promised to overcome hard times. Franklin Delano Roosevelt embarked on a course that made bold use of government to ease the pain of those times. Although some of his measures seemed to work, he was soon moved to sound a warning.  He said, “[W]e have built new instruments of public power in the hands of the people’s government...but in the hands of political puppets of an economic autocracy, such power would provide shackles for the liberties of our people.”

Unfortunately, that warning went unheeded. Today, there is an economic autocracy, born of government’s growing interference in our lives. Yet Washington, for all its power, seems powerless to solve problems any more.
It would be worth knowing what Reagan had in mind by saying that some of FDR’s measures seemed to work. Reagan’s broader point connects closely with two of his favorite themes: First, that this form of centralized government would divide the nation effectively into ruling elites and “the masses.” One of his most emphatic lines in the “Time for Choosing” speech, and often repeated in his 1970s radio addresses, was “I, for one, resent it when a representative of the people refers to you and me, the free men and women of this country, as ‘the masses.’” Second, it would deform the Constitution. As he put it in a 1979 letter to a friend, “The permanent structure of our government with its power to pass regulations has eroded if not in effect repealed portions of our Constitution.”

This does not necessarily mean Olsen is wrong about Reagan and Roosevelt beyond the social insurance parallel. As Reagan himself observed, “As smart as he was, I suspect even FDR didn’t realize that once you create a bureaucracy, it took on a life of its own,” which shows Reagan’s residual regard even for FDR’s possible blind spots. Working-Class Republican maintains a tight focus on Reagan, but Olsen may not give his subject enough credit for being a more profound, independent, and original political thinker than Roosevelt, for Reagan transcends FDR in many ways. (The comparison would be even stronger if Reagan’s foreign policy philosophy and statecraft were laid next to Roosevelt’s, but that would require a separate book. It’s noteworthy that Reagan liked to quote Harry Truman in foreign policy remarks, but seldom FDR.) If anything, Reagan should be thought of more as in line with Lincoln, which Olsen nods toward in a couple of places, especially Lincoln’s inclination to “put the man before the dollar.”

More broadly, Olsen’s argument raises an important question for us to consider today: was the early conservative movement mistaken to oppose the New Deal categorically, seeking from Taft through Goldwater to roll it back in toto. If so, just where and how should conservatives anchor their philosophy of social insurance? The disjointed, demoralizing efforts to repeal and replace Obamacare show that this debate is not merely about history. Above all, it provides valuable perspective on how Donald Trump, of all people, seems to have recaptured Reagan’s ability to reach working-class voters. Trump is indeed a powerful communicator, but not in the same league as the man called “the Great Communicator.” Maybe Trump will run for reelection in 2020 as the heir of FDR, and only then will the Republican Party come out from under the distorted shadow of Reagan. Stranger things have happened lately.

Steven F. Hayward is a senior resident scholar at the Institute of Governmental Studies at UC Berkeley.
https://www.amazon.com/Steven-F.-Hayward/e/B000APZKLO
132  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Venezuela on: August 23, 2017, 11:25:25 PM
quote author=captainccs:
"Where did Ami Horowitz pick up the idea that in Venezuela we have income equality? Not true."

Socialism (in the US at least) is sold as the promise of greater equality - at the expense of all other things, like keeping the fruits of your own labor and investment, having a positive incentive-based economy or rising the tide that lifts all boats.  They screw up everything else and then fail to make gains on equality as well.



133  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Cognitive Dissonance of the left, Answering Bernie on: August 23, 2017, 11:40:29 AM
will be a lifelong project...

"These days [2011], the American dream is more apt to be realized in South America, in places such as Ecuador, Venezuela and Argentina, where incomes are actually more equal today than they are in the land of Horatio Alger. Who's the banana republic now?"
https://www.sanders.senate.gov/newsroom/must-read/close-the-gaps-disparities-that-threaten-america


Answering Bernie:
May 30, 2016
http://www.libertynewsdaily.com/blog-929-flashback:-bernie-sanders-praised-socialist-venezuela-as-model-for-ending-income-inequality

In an essay lamenting what he described as the intractable income inequality of the American economy, Senator Sanders declared: “These days, the American dream is more apt to be realized in South America, in places such as Ecuador, Venezuela and Argentina, where incomes are actually more equal today than they are in the land of Horatio Alger.”

Despite receiving trillions of dollars in oil revenue over recent decades, Venezuela is in the midst of an unprecedented economic collapse, owing precisely to the redistributionist programs that Sanders has extolled as a model for the U.S. economy. Grocery store shelves are barren, hospitals have no access to vital medicines, rationing is under way, and riots have begun to coalesce in the streets of Caracas.

Ecuador’s President, Rafael Correa, is preparing to leave a country mired in a deep recession and facing a currency crisis. Like Venezuela, Ecuador has been ruled by a socialist government that was able to subsidize its social engineering projects through oil revenues. The end of the oil boom has left the government without the means of paying for its programs, and as Correa prepares to leave office – most likely turning it over to Vice President Lenin Moreno – he used a recent earthquake as a pretext for a huge tax increase.

Argentina, the third of Sanders’ economic role models, is a country with immense natural and industrial wealth that has seen its economy strip-mined by a kleptocratic government. Under President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner, the government’s official statistics agency, Indec, released a steady stream of fabrications to disguise the country’s decline – which were accepted at face value by credulous people like Bernie Sanders. Now that Kirchner is out of office, Indec has corrected the statistics, and the story they tell of the country’s economic reality is frightening.“Commiserations Argentines, ”began a recent essay in the Financial Times. “You are now poorer than the Chinese, Bulgarians, Azerbaijanis, Turkmen, Mexicans, Malaysians and Gabonese, not to mention your beloved neighbours in Brazil. All is not lost, though. You are still a smidgen better off than those in Botswana and war-torn Libya.”


134  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Sen. Bernie Sanders 2011, The American Dream is in Venezuela on: August 23, 2017, 11:11:00 AM
http://dogbrothers.com/phpBB2/index.php?topic=2177.msg105790#msg105790
https://www.sanders.senate.gov/newsroom/must-read/close-the-gaps-disparities-that-threaten-america

This passes for wisdom on The Left.

Kill off incentives, private sector income and wealth and the Venezuelan economy is what you get.

Who is questioning Bernie on this now?
135  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Cognitive Dissonance of the left, Disparity make us a Banana Republic on: August 23, 2017, 11:05:31 AM
This was referenced by the pollster in GM's income equality Venezuela video.  A keeper for all threads.

We must pursue sameness, no matter the cost.  In 2011, we had not turned far enough left; we had not yet redistributed enough income.  Venezuela was on a better path!  For his clairvoyance, Sanders went on to become the leader of the American Left.

https://www.sanders.senate.gov/newsroom/must-read/close-the-gaps-disparities-that-threaten-america

Close The Gaps: Disparities That Threaten America,  Bernie Sanders
Friday, August 5, 2011

Washington, it seems to us, is focusing on one gap -- between spending and revenue -- to the exclusion of others. That's unwise, because these other gaps also pose threats to America and its social structure. They, too, ought to be closed.

Take the jobs gap, which doesn't need much explanation. There are far fewer jobs than people seeking work, which is why unemployment is close to 10 percent or higher, if you count those who would like a job but have given up looking. According to economist Laura D'Andrea Tyson, writing last week in The New York Times, the U.S. economy would have to add about 12.3 million jobs to return to employment levels that existed before the 2008-2009 recession blindsided America. A quarter of a million people enter the labor force each month. At the current pace of recovery -- which is to say slower than slow -- closing this gap could take 10 years or more. Talk about a lost decade.

Closing the jobs gap might be easier if there were a solid commitment to closing the investment gap. Unlike other rich nations and, we hasten to add, developing countries such as India and China, the United States doesn't spend nearly enough on education and work force training; research and development; and vital infrastructure such as bridges, roads and air traffic control. This is what's known as "non-security discretionary spending," which is a misnomer. Investing in these areas would actually help strengthen America and secure the future. Yet spending in these categories accounts for less than 10 percent of all federal expenditure, and the share has been falling and is likely to fall further in the grip of the Scissorhands caucus that has taken control of Congress.

Finally, and most worryingly, there's the widening wealth gap. The inequality of incomes in this country has been well documented and much commented on, to wit: The richest 1 percent of Americans now account for almost a quarter of the nation's income, creating an imbalance even worse than the days of the Rockefellers and the Vanderbilts.

Less remarked, however, is the fact that America's wealth gap is also a race gap. As the Pew Research Center reported last week, the median wealth of white households is 20 times that of black households and 18 times that of Hispanic households. Think about that. In 2009, the typical black household had $5,677 in wealth -- defined as assets minus debts; the typical Hispanic household had $6,325; the typical white household, by contrast, had $113,149.

The disparity is twice as large as it was in the two decades prior to the Great Recession and the largest since the government began publishing such data a quarter century ago. The downturn has been particularly hard on blacks, who are twice as likely to be unemployed as whites.

Moreover, according to the Pew analysis, the wealth gap widened between 2005 and 2009 because minorities disproportionately reside in states hit hardest by plummeting house values -- Michigan, California, Arizona, Florida and Nevada, where median house prices fell as much as 50 percent .

White households saw house values decline as well, of course, but they tended to be cushioned by other assets that many black and Hispanic households don't have, including savings accounts, pensions and stocks.

"What's pushing the wealth of whites is the rebound in the stock market and corporate savings, while younger Hispanics and African Americans who bought homes in the last decade -- because that was the American dream -- are seeing big declines," Timothy Smeeding of the University of Wisconsin told The Associated Press.

These days, the American dream is more apt to be realized in South America, in places such as Ecuador, Venezuela and Argentina, where incomes are actually more equal today than they are in the land of Horatio Alger. Who's the banana republic now?
136  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Economics, Coercive 'Paternalism' vs economic freedom with inequality on: August 23, 2017, 10:46:35 AM
Taking a bit of the Venezuelan story over here including GM's video for illustration.
----------------------------------------------------------
Coercive 'Paternalism' vs freedom with inequality

On the right, what went wrong in Venezuela is a stupid question, too obvious for words.  Socialism led to economic collapse.  On the left, it is the missing question, seldom or never asked.

Hugo Chavez was the hero of the American Left.  Some were explicit; others just argued we should implement all the same policies here. 
"These days, the American dream is more apt to be realized in South America, in places such as Ecuador, Venezuela and Argentina, where incomes are actually more equal today than they are in the land of Horatio Alger. Who's the banana republic now?"  - Bernie Sanders, August 5, 2011  https://www.sanders.senate.gov/newsroom/must-read/close-the-gaps-disparities-that-threaten-america

A year ago I asked my closest, then-leftist confidant the question:

If socialism is so great, how do you explain what is happening in Venezuela?

For background, I even included the following information: 
The story of Chile’s success starts in the mid-1970s, when Chile’s military government abandoned socialism and started to implement economic reforms.  In 2013, Chile was the world’s 10th freest economy.
Venezuela declined from being the world’s 10th freest economy in 1975 to being the world’s least free economy in 2013 (other than North Korea).
http://dogbrothers.com/phpBB2/index.php?topic=1307.msg98285#msg98285

She answered with the best explanation possible:  Maybe they (the socialists) went too far.
I agree and would add at least two exclamation points, They went too far!!
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IaCSdtG4MmI

Coercive Paternalism versus Income Inequality

No one on the right wants zero public sector or no safety net, but we want to limit the powers of government and enlarge the liberties of the individual.  In a freer, market-based economy, income inequality is a fact - a feature, not a bug.  Some people make more money than others.  Some work harder, smarter, longer hours or more than one job chasing a dream.  Some keep making more and more over the working lifetime as they get smarter, more experienced and have more invested. Others hang out on discussion boards...  The fruit of our labor is one reason why labor gets done, goods produced and services provided.  The fruit of our investment, too.  Without fruit of your labor, goods don't get produced and services don't get provided.  It's not rocket science but we keep steering away from what is known to work best.

Coercive Paternalism is the ideal of The Left.  http://www.nybooks.com/articles/2013/03/07/its-your-own-good/  I kid you not! You don't want or need free choice when 'smart-planners' can do that for you and do it better.  http://dogbrothers.com/phpBB2/index.php?topic=1518.msg71031#msg71031 

You don't get to equality without coercion.  And then you don't get there anyway.  Big powerful government is a feature not a bug in real world socialism.

In Venezuela, they pursued the policies and dreams of the American Left.  We should thank them and pay them for their experiment.  They took from the rich and they gave to the people, well actually the government, on behalf of the people (the government).  But private sector capitalism requires private sector capital and they chased it away.  Ironically, Public sector investment also requires a vibrant private sector to support it - and they chased it away.  It's a fact, not a cliche, that eventually you run out of other people's money [Margaret Thatcher].

Among the endless ironies of the left is that as you pursue equality and grow poorer, inequality worsens anyway.  Compare Chavez' daughter with median income or see President Obama's record in the US.
http://dailycaller.com/2015/08/10/iron-fisted-socialism-benefited-hugo-chavezs-daughter-to-the-tune-of-billions-reports-say/
http://publications.credit-suisse.com/tasks/render/file/index.cfm?fileid=AD783798-ED07-E8C2-4405996B5B02A32E
https://www.counterpunch.org/2016/02/26/during-obamas-presidency-wealth-inequality-has-increased-and-poverty-levels-are-higher/

Who knew?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l5KUadzyV9A
"How important is income equality to you?"
"Really important!"

Good luck with that.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bDm2-1NZBLw
137  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Venezuela on: August 23, 2017, 09:29:23 AM
Invalid link just means the embed video tool doesn't work anymore with youtube. Must click on the link.

Income equality is first level thinking, right out of our schools and colleges.  The Venezuela experiment proves it is the wrong approach.
138  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Venezuela on: August 21, 2017, 11:14:55 PM
Posted to Twitter and The Motley Fool.

I posted it on Free Republic:
http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/3579489/posts

And I sent it to Powerlineblog, Steven Hayward, and Wall Street Journal, Best of the Web.
139  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Venezuela on: August 21, 2017, 06:09:15 PM
"Our" article is up on Sparta Report.  Now make it go VIRAL...

https://www.spartareport.com/2017/08/venezuela-banning-imports-products-used-opposition/
https://www.spartareport.com/

Venezuela Banning Imports Of Products That Could Be Used By Opposition

Maduro increasing his control of Venezuela
COMMENTARY
By Patrick Pulatie  Last updated 5:44 PM Aug 21, 2017 

With the Charlottesville riots, the Barcelona terror attack, and the relentlessness of the media challenging President Trump, the Venezuela situation has faded into the background. But Venezuela remains the tinder box that it has been for many years.

President Nicolas Maduro continues to put the clamps on the opposition party and the people of Venezuela. His current efforts involve preventing the opposition from obtaining the resources needed to prevent an uprising of the people.  He has done this by imposing strict new import restrictions. Here is a message from a source in Venezuela.

Now under Maduro we have a new prohibition, importing anything that protects against riot police such as gas masks, bullet proof vests, metal balls and marbles (could be used as projectiles), knives, sports padding gear, helmets, etc

But it goes even further: Banned first aid stuff:

Antacids, gauze, cream to treat burns, bandages, eye drops, bicarbonate, etc.

I asked a drug importer to bring me milk of magnesia. Sorry, antacid, banned article! I don’t have an issue with the riot police, I’m CONSTIPATED. Tough! Eat prunes.

Here is the list from my courier service (of banned items.)
Dear Customer:
 
Due to the new customs regulations in our country, the importation of the following products is strictly prohibited. This restriction is mandatory, without exception.

PROHIBITED ARTICLES

– Gas masks

– Bulletproof vests

– Air guns, ball guns, of paint and ammunition related to this type of article

– Sling shot of any type

– Pepper spray

– Pepper gas holder

– Paralyzing electric pistols (electroshock guns)

– Metal balls

– Meters, gauges

– Articles containing gas / compressed air

– Knives of all kinds (including machetes and axes)

– Police clubs

– Protective sports goods

– Camouflage articles

– Helmets of any type

– Chest protectors

– Bats and baseballs

– Masks

– Facial Protectors

– Kneepads

– Elbow pads

– Fishing leads

– Bows and arrows

– Safety glasses

– Inflatable balloons

 FIRST AID PRODUCTS

– Antacids

– Gauze

– Creams for Burns

– Salts

– Eye Drops

– Bicarbonates

– Etc.

Medical supplies are tagged as “war materials”
The crackdown on imports that could be used by the people to defend against the Maduro regime only serves strengthen the control of the government over the people. Where it ends is unknown right now, but it does not look good for the people.

 
140  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Venezuela and The Left, Coercive 'Paternalism' vs freedom with inequality on: August 21, 2017, 04:57:48 PM
On the right, what went wrong in Venezuela is a stupid question, too obvious for words.   On the left, it is the missing question.

(As just noted), Chavez was the hero of the American (US) left.  Some were explicit; others just argued we should implement all the same policies here.

A year ago I asked my closest then-leftist confidant the question? 

If socialism is so great, how do you explain what is happening in Venezuela?

For background, I even included the following background information: 
abandoned socialism and started to implement economic reforms. In 2013, Chile was the world’s 10th freest economy. Venezuela, in the meantime, declined from being the world’s 10th freest economy in 1975 to being the world’s least free economy in 2013
http://dogbrothers.com/phpBB2/index.php?topic=1307.msg98285#msg98285

She answered with the best explanation possible:  Maybe they (the socialists) went too far.
I agree and would add at least two exclamation points, They went too far!!

Coercive Paternalism versus Income Inequality

No one on the right supports zero public sector or zero safety net, but we want to limit the powers of government and enlarge the liberties of the individual.  In a freer, market-based economy, income inequality is a fact - a feature, not a bug.  Some people make more money than others.  Some work harder, smarter, longer hours or more than one job chasing a dream.  Some keep making more and more over the working lifetime as they get smarter, more experienced and have more invested. Others hang out on discussion boards...  The fruit of our labor is one reason why labor gets done, goods produced and services provided.  The fruit of our investment, too.  Without fruit of your labor, goods don't get produced and services don't get provided.  It's not rocket science but we keep steering away from what is known to work best.

Coercive Paternalism is the ideal of The Left.  http://www.nybooks.com/articles/2013/03/07/its-your-own-good/  I kid you not! You don't want or need free choice when 'smart-planners' can do that for you and do it better.  http://dogbrothers.com/phpBB2/index.php?topic=1518.msg71031#msg71031 

But you don't get to equality without coercion. Big powerful government is a feature not a bug in real world socialism.

In Venezuela, they pursued the policies and dreams of the American Left.  We should thank them and pay them for their experiment.  They took from the rich and they gave to the people, well actually the government, on behalf of the people (actually the government).  But private sector capitalism requires private sector capital and they chased it away.  Ironically, Public sector investment also requires a vibrant private sector to support it - and they chased it away.  It's a fact, not a cliche, that eventually you run out of other people's money [Margaret Thatcher].

Among the endless ironies of the left is that as you pursue equality and grow poorer, inequality worsens anyway.  Compare Chavez' daughter with median income or see President Obama's record in the US.
http://dailycaller.com/2015/08/10/iron-fisted-socialism-benefited-hugo-chavezs-daughter-to-the-tune-of-billions-reports-say/
http://publications.credit-suisse.com/tasks/render/file/index.cfm?fileid=AD783798-ED07-E8C2-4405996B5B02A32E
https://www.counterpunch.org/2016/02/26/during-obamas-presidency-wealth-inequality-has-increased-and-poverty-levels-are-higher/

Who knew?
141  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Venezuela on: August 21, 2017, 11:55:10 AM
Thanks GM.

From Google translate:

Dear Customer:
Due to the new customs regulations in our country, the importation of the following products is strictly prohibited. This restriction is mandatory, without exception.

PROHIBITED ARTICLES
- Gas masks
- Bulletproof vests
- Air guns, ball guns, of paint and ammunition
related to this type of articles
- Sling shot of any type     
- Pepper spray
- Pepper gas holder
- Paralyzing electric pistols (electroshock guns)
- Metal balls
- Meters, guages
- Articles containing gas / compressed air
- Knives of all kinds (including machetes and axes)
- Police clubs
- Protective sports goods
- Camouflage articles
- Helmets of any type
- Chest protectors
- Bats and baseballs
- Masks
- Facial Protectors
- Kneepads
- Elbow pads
- Fishing leads
- Bows and arrows
- Safety glasses
- Inflatable balloons

Products of FIRST AID
- Antacids
- Gauze
- Creams for Burns
- Salts
- Eye Drops
- Bicarbonates
- Etc.
142  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / How (Healthcare) Markets Work, Denny S, Software Times on: August 21, 2017, 11:26:42 AM
I would love to see Denny S get more involved on more of our threads here.  I recall a collection posted at GilderTech called Denny's Pearls that is worthy of its own thread.

In this piece dated April 2, 2017 he lays out some factors I had not thought of and articulates  other ones better than I have seen previously.  It is very difficult to put the magic of the free market to words; only a few people have been able to do it.  Mostly we just see the damage done by its absence.  I hope it is okay that I post this...  I would like to also put this in Economics - Science thread as the principles in play are not unique to healthcare.

A different article recently pointed out that healthcare inflation should be compared with our service economy, not goods, but still the question remains, why does an aspirin cost $10 apiece or a hospital room thousands per day while the price of computer power and so many other things keeps falling?  We are treating more afflictions with more new treatments all the time but why are no cost saving innovations being made to older, established  treatments?  Something is wrong and missing because of our tampering, skewing and destroying of the free market.
--------------------------------------
How (Healthcare) Markets Work, by Denny Schlesinger

http://softwaretimes.com/files/how+healthcare+markets+wor.html

At a forum I frequent I was challenged to explain why a universal healthcare system is more expensive and less efficient than a free market one. The challenge was posed by an anesthesiologist at a small town clinic.

What if I could convince you that universal health care made economic sense...that if might actually save you/us money?

Adam Smith knew that markets worked but he didn't know how or why so he invented the "invisible hand" to account for it. In the 240 years since The Wealth of Nations we have learned about the workings of markets. The things that we discovered include that markets are complex systems meaning they are not predictable in detail but we do know the kinds of effect that inputs have on prices and availability of goods and services.

What do you think happens when someone without insurance (or the ability to pay out of pocket) gets appendicits? Do you think they just stay home and die?

Think again. They come into the hospital, get taken care of, and then they don't or can't pay their bill. The hospital and staff "eats" the expense. Next time you look at your hospital bill and see the $10 charge for aspirin, you'll understand why. The hospital needs to meet their expenses.
In other words, you are already paying for their care through your higher insurance rates needed to cover those who didn't pay.
Now think about it: if no one had to avoid getting care because of money, they would get their health problems taken care of early, and at less expense. I promise you, waiting until things are unavoidable (like not getting your blood pressure treated until you show up with a stroke) is vastly more expensive than pre-emptive care.

Your example is just one data point -- anecdotal to boot because you don't know the costs involved -- insufficient to come to a definitive conclusion. It also contains a conjecture (bolded by me) that I will show to be false.


Rotating governor used with steam enginesSystems are governed (controlled, moderated, regulated) by feedback, positive and negative. The easiest to understand "negative feedback" mechanism is the rotating governor

The faster spin pushes the weights outward and slower spin lets them drop. This movement is used to control the fuel supply keeping the machine at a constant speed.

An easy to understand "positive feedback" is the screeching of audio systems when the mike is placed too close to the speakers. The mike picks up the increasing volume feeding it right back into the amplifier and out the speakers.

Every input to the market is either positive or negative feedback. If I don't buy something today that's negative feedback, please lower the price if you want me to buy. If the government gives a subsidy that's positive feedback designed to amplify production. Once you think in terms of feedback you understand how the invisible hand works. This is how the law of supply and demand works. The law of supply and demand is the market governor.

What seems miraculous about supply and demand is how millions of independent transactions filter through the system to set prices. I doubt anyone has yet been able to model how that happens, but it happens in every free (independent transactions) market system. The end result is the optimum distribution of scarce goods and services from a cost point of view. The problem is that this distribution might not be socially acceptable and society will insert new feedback to change the shape of the distribution. No matter how noble the intentions, the end result is a less cost effective market.

In an unregulated market the feedback comes from millions of independent transactions. Add extraneous feedback and the economic efficiency drops. I've been pondering for years why the American healthcare system is so expensive. Blaming it on price gougers is not a good answer even if it is part of the answer. One has to dig deeper, search for the causal feedback gone amok. My observations lead me to believe that paternalistic employers were at least part of the problem (see link below). By improving their worker's lot they changed the feedback entering the market creating unexpected distortions one of which was to reduce the efficiency of the market, in other words, by making stuff more affordable for their own workers they shifted the burden to the rest of the market participants.

My first employer, IBM, gave me free healthcare insurance. I didn't have to worry or even think about healthcare costs. My bit of negative feedback disappeared! I want the best, let the free insurance deal with it. With changes in the economy and in the labor market, paternalistic packages (except for higher management) became too expensive. By this time, since the cost of healthcare was basically unknown, the visible culprit of high healthcare costs was the insurance industry. In fact, the healthcare insurance industry itself had been derailed. The purpose of any insurance is to protect wealth. Fire insurance can't protect a home from fire, it can only protect the owner from the cost caused by the fire. Healthcare insurance originally was designed to protect against the cost of unexpected medical care under the assumption that the ordinary health maintenance costs were to be included in the ordinary household budget like rent and other services. Unfortunately the insurance coverage morphed from the transfer of risk of high cost medical treatment to prepaid medical care. That is clearly not the purpose of insurance but it sure makes premiums go up and is highly profitable for insurance companies. But is also alters the feedback the market receives as the payer is not the patient but the insurer.

One easy remedy for the broken healthcare insurance industry is high deductibles which cause the patients to inject feedback into the healthcare industry, feedback that has been sorely lacking for years. Everybody should be a payer!

...  (more at the link)

Now let's put it all together: Insurance morphs into prepaid healthcare, angiograms go from when-needed to standard of care. More business for doctors, more business for hospitals, more business for the pharma industry, more business for insurance companies and, from what I have read, there is no payback in extended lifespans. On the other hand, if the standard of care procedure is not done, it's a good reason for a malpractice suit. This is what happens when your health is not in your hands but in the hands of experts.

Here again high deductibles are your friend, they force you to make a better evaluation of your situation, they give you back control over your health, over your body.

In general terms, market regulation is negative feedback designed to even out the playing field while incentives and subsidies are positive feedback. A free market advocate should accept a minimum of necessary regulation and the least amount of incentives and subsidies. The government has enough venues to provide incentives and subsidies such as the Manhattan Project, DARPA's Internet, the Interstate Highway System, and the Moon landing project to keep industry on the leading edge. The rest should be left to the free market.
143  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Prohibited Imports in Venezuela, August 21, 2017 on: August 21, 2017, 10:51:22 AM
I reached Pat at Spartareport.com and he is putting it together for story to publish tomorrow.  Once published, I will see how many other blogs and sites we can get to point to it.

I think it would still help to get this image converted (OCR) to a readable and translatable text, but my computer has been unable to do that.  http://softwaretimes.com/pics/prohibited-items.png
144  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Prohibited Imports in Venezuela, August 21, 2017 on: August 20, 2017, 11:50:34 PM
Thank you.  I will do my best to get this published and circulated.  Will link and keep you informed.  Secondly, please let us know by private message what we can send under what labeling to you.
-------------------------------------------------
Prohibited Imports in Venezuela, August 21, 2017, from verified, local, first-hand source:

"Now under Maduro we have a new prohibition, importing anything that protects against riot police such as gas masks, bullet proof wests, metal balls and marbles (could be used as projetiles), knives, sports padding gear, helmets, etc.

But it goes even further: Banned first aid stuff:

Antacids, gauze, cream to treat burns, bandages, eye drops, bicarbonate, etc.

I asked a drug importer to bring me milk of magnesia. Sorry, antacid, banned article! I don't have an issue with the riot police, I'm CONSTIPATED. Tough! Eat prunes.

Here is the list from my courier service. It would be wonderful if you made it available to blogs and the American press."



Carriers have to make sure these items are not shipped in, NO EXCEPTIONS.

This is an abuse of human rights!


Can someone please try to convert the image to text.  I would like to translate the list to English for distribution in the US.
145  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Prohibited Imports in Venezuela, August 21, 2017 on: August 20, 2017, 11:09:02 PM
Thank you.  I will do my best to get this published and circulated.  Will link and keep you informed.  Secondly, please let us know by private message what we can send under what labeling to you.
-------------------------------------------------
Prohibited Imports in Venezuela, August 21, 2017, from verified, local, first-hand source:

"Now under Maduro we have a new prohibition, importing anything that protects against riot police such as gas masks, bullet proof wests, metal balls and marbles (could be used as projetiles), knives, sports padding gear, helmets, etc.

But it goes even further: Banned first aid stuff:

Antacids, gauze, cream to treat burns, bandages, eye drops, bicarbonate, etc.

I asked a drug importer to bring me milk of magnesia. Sorry, antacid, banned article! I don't have an issue with the riot police, I'm CONSTIPATED. Tough! Eat prunes.

Here is the list from my courier service. It would be wonderful if you made it available to blogs and the American press."



Carriers have to make sure these items are not shipped in, NO EXCEPTIONS.

This is an abuse of human rights!
146  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Political Economics, Minimum Wage Disaster, new study August 2017 on: August 18, 2017, 06:10:15 PM
http://papers.nber.org/tmp/62829-w23667.pdf

ABSTRACT
We study the effect of minimum wage increases on employment in automatable jobs – jobs in
which employers may find it easier to substitute machines for people – focusing on low-skilled
workers from whom such substitution may be spurred by minimum wage increases. Based on
CPS data from 1980-2015, we find that increasing the minimum wage decreases significantly the
share of automatable employment held by low-skilled workers, and increases the likelihood that
low-skilled workers in automatable jobs become unemployed. The average effects mask
significant heterogeneity by industry and demographic group, including substantive adverse
effects for older, low-skilled workers in manufacturing. The findings imply that groups often
ignored in the minimum wage literature are in fact quite vulnerable to employment changes and
job loss because of automation following a minimum wage increase.

Grace Lordan
Department of Social Policy
London School of Economics

David Neumark
Department of Economics
University of California at Irvine

Ms. Lordan and Mr. Neumark show that mandating higher wages kills jobs for low-skill workers across a range of industries. According to the authors, older workers in manufacturing are hit particularly hard, with women and African-American workers also suffering disproportionate harm:

Overall, we find that increasing the minimum wage decreases significantly the share of automatable employment held by low-skilled workers. Our estimates suggest that an increase of the minimum wage by $1 (based on 2015 dollars) decreases the share of low-skilled automatable jobs by 0.43 percentage point... In particular, there are large effects on the shares of automatable employment in manufacturing, where we estimate that a $1 increase in the minimum wage decreases the share of automatable employment among low-skilled workers by 0.99 percentage point... Within manufacturing, the share of older workers in automatable employment declines most sharply, and the share of workers in automatable employment also declines sharply for women and blacks.

Our analysis at the individual level draws many similar conclusions. We find that a significant number of individuals who were previously in automatable employment are unemployed in the period following a minimum wage increase.
---

The authors also warn that the universe of jobs that can be done by machines is expanding, and will likely soon include such occupations as taxi drivers and bricklayers. This means that minimum wage laws could do more damage in the future than they have in the past.

According to the Democrats’ new “Better Deal” economic agenda, “increasing the minimum wage will provide economic security for all working Americans.” But it’s hard for Americans to have economic security if they’re not working.

https://www.wsj.com/articles/a-brief-history-of-minimum-wage-disasters-1502823330
-------

What's that again?  This is the National Bureau of Economic Research, not a right wing blog.  Which side favors policies that hurt older workers, women and African Americans disproportionately?  Why don't they disclose all of that before they poll who favors it and who opposes the policy!
147  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Nature, volcanoes under glaciers on: August 18, 2017, 12:09:39 PM
ccp, right, they already wrote global warming into it:
the glaciers are melting and thus removing counter pressures *off* the volcanoes so that the pressure from inside the Earth  will be not be subdued and thus there will be  more eruption.

But in fact, ice mass has been increasing in Antarctica.  Who knew?  That is no matter when your industry is government funding tied to public alarm.

But what about the opposite.  We found 90 volcanoes on earth that we didn't know about, yet warming,  statistically zero in the last 20 years anyway, is primarily human caused.  If we don't even know all the volcanoes on the planet, what else don't we know?

https://www.livescience.com/40451-volcanic-co2-levels-are-staggering.html

Seldom or never mentioned in the CO2 debate is that atmospheric heat trapping is what makes life possible on
earth.

Total human emission per year equal 1% of existing atmospheric concentration levels.  The origin of "human cased" emissions into the atmosphere happens to be the atmosphere.  While warming in the last 20 years has become statisticallyezero, existing CO2  levels, with correct mathematical rounding, is zero parts per thousand (400 PPM) of atmospheric concentration.  CO2 is essential for life and we're not exactly suffocating in it, decreasing levels would be much more reason for alarm.

Also not mentioned is that at least half pf human emissions are either absorbed by the earth or escape from the atmosphere.  

Further not mentioned is many types of energy not requiring subsidy, such as safe, zero emission, nuclear power sources are available.  Reliance on fossil fuels is a temporary choice.  We could easily move our grid off of fossil fuels and same for most of the transportation sector - if we chose to do that.

148  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Gender wars , victimhood, intolerance, facts, google on: August 17, 2017, 12:32:27 PM
I'm not as sensitive as others to the victimhood of women in technical fields since my mother was an aerospace/aeronautical engineer and my daughter a math major earning more in her first year than most men in our family ever made.  

By taking on the Google dissident, The Economist draws more attention and validity to his claims IMHO:

https://www.economist.com/news/21726276-last-week-paper-said-alphabets-boss-should-write-detailed-ringing-rebuttal

By re-printing this graph and attempting to refute his inferences, they re-publicize the merits:



The side that chooses to categorize individuals by the group they belong to, as if that is their defining quality, brings with that the statistical differences measured in those groups.  If a population has a different mean and similar standard deviation, and if that measure and difference is meaningful, then the differences in numbers of people is far more extreme at the edges of the distribution.  

A better idea than diversity obsession in race would be for us to become as nearly a color blind society as possible, and in gender hiring and promoting, how about trying to be gender blind and merit based?
149  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Nature, subglacial volcanoes in West Antarctica on: August 17, 2017, 11:59:47 AM
http://www.geos.ed.ac.uk/homes/rbingha2/48_2017_Vries.pdf

Scientists discover 91 unknown volcanoes beneath ice sheet in Antarctica.

The number of known volcanoes in the region just tripled.
 
Climate science is indeed settled, we just don't know what it is.

When these erupt, it will be 'human-caused'.
150  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Trump Transition/Administration, McMaster continued on: August 17, 2017, 11:36:42 AM
Reading two sides of this story and with VDH on his side, I will just keep an open mind about the value of this guy.  Here is the Jerusalem Post with military opinion that McMaster is a friend to Israel:  http://www.jpost.com/American-Politics/Former-top-Israeli-security-officers-McMaster-is-a-friend-to-Israel-502294

And I notice a Powerline post taking a second look at what was written previously:

"I continue to have reservations about him. However, I now believe that one of my posts on the subject was unfair and needs to be revisited. "  http://www.powerlineblog.com/archives/2017/08/mcmasters-obama-holdovers-a-second-look.php

If nothing else I think we can assume he is hundreds of times more competent and more right thinking than whoever would be in that position if the other side had won.
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