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26  General Politics / Individual Politics / Imperial/Modern Russian Flag vs. Soviet Union Flag on: March 12, 2017, 12:48:37 am


https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flag_of_Russia



https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flag_of_the_Soviet_Union
27  General Discussion / Religion & Philosophy / Re: Is suicide wrong in this hypothetical? on: March 12, 2017, 12:17:21 am
People who commit suicide find no peace in death either.  And even if you don't believe in God, would you really want to find out if that is true or not? 
28  General Politics / International General Discussion / Re: What happens to Israel if the majority of their foreign funding is cut? on: March 12, 2017, 12:09:13 am
If the United States divests itself of its client state, Israel will have to find itself another protector -Russia, perhaps?   
29  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / Obstacles Mounting for GOP Tax Reform Effort on: March 12, 2017, 12:04:11 am
And due in no small part to the difficulties they're experiencing trying to repeal and replace Obamacare:

Quote
President Trump and congressional Republicans will have to overcome mounting obstacles if they want to enact tax reform legislation this year.

The fight over legislation to repeal and replace ObamaCare has the potential to slow down the agenda, and there are serious disagreements among Republican lawmakers about what the tax-reform legislation should look like.

Leaders of the tax reform effort have set an ambitious timeline. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said on Fox Business this month that his goal is to have legislation signed by August.

But that timeline may slip. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) on Thursday said that he thought finishing the bill would take longer than that.

At an event hosted by Politico, McConnell said that tax reform is a “very complicated subject” and said it was easier to do the last time Congress overhauled the tax code in 1986.

Back then, Republicans and Democrats were both committed to tax reform, and lawmakers agreed that the legislation would not add to the deficit. Now, tax reform will need to be a Republican-only endeavor, he said.

McConnell noted that Congress would have to finish ObamaCare repeal legislation before it turns its attention to tax reform. This is because congressional Republicans want to pass legislation on both topics using budget reconciliation — allowing the bills to clear the Senate with only a simple majority — and the fiscal 2017 budget contains instructions for healthcare legislation.


http://thehill.com/policy/finance/323506-obstacles-mount-for-tax-reform
30  General Politics / Individual Politics / Re: Post your ideology on: March 11, 2017, 12:25:12 am
My ideology (if we can encapsulate it in a simple statement) would be that I trust government more often than not, but not without ambivalence. 
31  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / Re: Ryan: This is Our Last Chance to Repeal Obamacare on: March 10, 2017, 11:40:26 pm
As an addendum, Speaker Ryan mentioned that should the GOP effort to repeal and replace Obamacare fail, it will be a 'momentum-killer' for the rest of their agenda.

If that doesn't motivate you to ensure they fail (and fail miserably) by calling and/or writing your congressman and senators, I don't know what will.  

^Is that $400 a month or a year?

Monthly. 
32  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / Re: How about cap a household's healthcare-related spending at 10% of income? on: March 10, 2017, 11:24:39 pm
Switzerland already does this, I think. 
33  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / Re: Ryan: This is Our Last Chance to Repeal Obamacare on: March 10, 2017, 11:03:03 pm
This thread is a classic example of why the Right in Europe is not comparable to the Right in the United States. The European Right is far more big government than we are and find the American right baffling in their opposition to single payer. They are far more open to the welfare state than we are.

I, myself, don't back favor universal healthcare, Medicare for all, or single payer & and would prefer to restructure healthcare along the lines of guaranteeing more competition, restricting Medicare benefits to the truly needy, etc. while mandating a floor of coverage and care that would be of a quality nature. It's funny, because my position is to the right of Farage.

Something like Switzerland, perhaps?

Quote
Swiss healthcare is outstanding. Its combined public, subsidised private and totally private healthcare system create an extensive network of highly qualified doctors (many of them from elsewhere in the EU) and hospitals, the best equipped medical facilities and no waiting lists, but it all comes at a price: around 10 percent of the average Swiss salary goes towards health insurance premiums. ­ There is no free state health service in Switzerland.

Unlike other European countries, the Swiss healthcare system is not tax based or financed by employers but is paid for by the individual through contributions into health insurance schemes. The system is universal but it is administered by individual cantons. This means that everyone living in Switzerland must have basic health and accident insurance (Soziale Krankenversicherung / Assurance maladie / Assicurazione-Mallatie). You pay monthly premiums to the insurer and you also have to pay a contribution towards the cost of medical consultations and treatments. Each family member must be insured individually. Babies are insured from birth but to continue cover, you have to take out health insurance for a child within three months of the birth. Children don’t need to be insured by the same company as their parents. As at 2014, an adult pays around CHF 400 in health insurance premiums.

The Swiss franc (CHF) has nearly the same value as the US dollar, so CHF 400 works out to nearly $400.00.
34  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / Re: Ryan: This is Our Last Chance to Repeal Obamacare on: March 09, 2017, 04:10:57 pm
Tbh 2012 was their last chance to repeal Obamacare.

2012 was their last best chance, as that program was then too new to have acquired a constituency of its own to defend it.

2017 is their last chance, period. 
35  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / Ryan: This is Our Last Chance to Repeal Obamacare on: March 09, 2017, 03:17:32 pm
Interesting -so if the repeal effort fails this year, Obamacare will become as entrenched as Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid:

Quote
House Speaker Paul Ryan said Thursday that Republicans in Congress are facing their last, best chance to end Obamacare.

“This is the closest we will ever get to repealing and replacing Obamacare,” he said at a news conference, after delivering a 20-minute PowerPoint presentation to pitch GOP leadership’s health care overhaul.

Ryan emphasized that the GOP plan — which has faced strong resistance from conservative lawmakers for what they say amounts to an insufficient dismantling of the law — is narrowly tailored so it can win passage in a closely divided Senate. Through a procedure known as reconciliation, Republicans can secure Senate passage of the bill with a simple majority, rather than the typical 60-vote threshold most major legislation must clear.

But reconciliation rules sharply restrict the provisions that Republicans might otherwise include when revamping the health care system.

“It really comes down to a binary choice,” Ryan said. That choice? The current system or the House proposal, which he said can’t be changed dramatically or it risks getting blocked in the Senate.

http://www.politico.com/story/2017/03/paul-ryan-obamacare-repeal-last-chance-235877
36  General Politics / Individual Politics / Re: French Presidential Election: First Round (April 23, 2017) on: March 09, 2017, 09:24:14 am
Macron -unlike the nihilistic Russophiles here, I don't want the European Union to fall apart.  In its earlier incarnations, it has maintained peace and stability within its member states for decades, and I don't want to imperil that by having it break up.  We can afford having Britain leave, but France seceding would destroy it. 
37  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / Re: Rep. Jason Chaffetz Suggests Dispersing Federal Agencies Across the Country on: March 09, 2017, 09:20:20 am
This is a good idea. Washington, DC has been largely sheltered from the economy experienced by the rest of the country thanks to the influence the federal government and its agencies have on the local economy. It's unnecessary for all these agencies to be so centrally located today, so why not redistribute them across the country? That could help revitalize some struggling local economies. I'd say send most of them to the Great Lakes and the poorer parts of the South.

To a limited extent, this dispersal has already begun -decades ago in fact, with the War (now Defense) Department moving across the Potomac to Arlington County, the CIA moving to Langley in Virginia, the National Security Agency to Fort Meade in Maryland, and we have the prospect of the FBI moving to Greenbelt.  And that's just off the top of my head.  Though we could certainly have more federal agencies moving out of the DC area entirely -the bulk of them, actually.  On top of other reasons mentioned here, dispersal makes sense from a national security standpoint.  You don't want to have the prospect of a weapon of mass destruction (either from a state or non-state actor) destroying the machinery of government in one fell swoop. Never leave all your eggs in one basket, in other words.



 
38  General Politics / Individual Politics / French Presidential Election: First Round (April 23, 2017) on: March 09, 2017, 12:32:02 am
http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-38220690

39  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / Rep. Jason Chaffetz Suggests Dispersing Federal Agencies Across the Country on: March 09, 2017, 12:13:14 am
Not such a bad idea, actually:

Quote
Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah) wants to do more than drain the swamp. He wants to dismantle it piece by piece and redistribute it to the rest of America.

Chaffetz, who chairs the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, proposed a resolution Wednesday that says Congress thinks it is unnecessary for federal agencies to be located in the District.

The committee held a hearing Wednesday and planned to vote Thursday.

The nonbinding resolution raised the ire of local Democratic lawmakers already fighting efforts by the Republican majority to intervene in the District’s local laws and policies pertaining to gun control, assisted suicide, subsidized abortion and legalized marijuana.

Chaffetz’s measure — which he called Divest D.C. — dovetails with President Trump’s federal hiring freeze and his calls to “drain the swamp.”

WashPo
40  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / Re: Atlas Name for New Healthcare Bill? on: March 08, 2017, 03:46:42 pm
Kellyanne Conway pushes back on ‘Trumpcare’ label: He never said he wants his name on health care bill

Definitely call this bill and any other Obamacare repeal/replace bill Trumpcare now. 

Yeah, that pretty much settles it:

'Trumpcare' it is then! 
41  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / Re: WaPo: Bernie is ruining American politics by telling truth, calling Trump a liar on: March 08, 2017, 03:43:05 pm
I like Bernie more than I like some of his supporters...  Tongue
42  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / Doctors and Hospitals Oppose Obamacare Repeal/Replace Bill on: March 08, 2017, 03:38:59 pm
Just looking at the list of those who support this bill says volumes about how awful it is:

Quote
Since congressional Republicans released the repeal-and-replace plan on Monday, a stream of medical and health advocacy groups, and AARP, have come out against it. Supporters of the bill so far are largely limited to those who would most directly benefit from its passage — groups that represent industries and individuals whose taxes would be cut, including the United States Chamber of Commerce and Americans for Tax Reform, a conservative anti-tax group.

On Wednesday afternoon, all major hospital groups, including the American Hospital Association, the Association of American Medical Colleges, the Catholic Health Association of the United States and the Children’s Hospital Association, came out against the Republican bill. “As organizations that take care of every individual who walks through our doors, both due to our mission and our obligations under federal law, we are committed to ensuring health care coverage is available and affordable for all,” they wrote. “As a result, we cannot support the American Health Care Act as currently written.”

The American Medical Association, which has nearly 235,000 members and calls itself “the voice of the medical profession,” sent a letter to leaders of the two committees on Tuesday saying it could not support the Republican bill “because of the expected decline in health insurance coverage and the potential harm it would cause to vulnerable patient populations.” In particular, the group came out against a plan to replace the sliding, income-based premium tax credits provided under the Affordable Care Act with fixed credits based on age. The current system, it said, “provides the greatest chance that those of the least means are able to purchase coverage.”

America’s Essential Hospitals, which represents public and other hospitals whose patients are disproportionately poor, also criticized the Republican bill on Tuesday, saying its phaseout of the Medicaid expansion and its plan to change Medicaid financing to a fixed amount of money for each person in the program would harm its members and their patients.

NYT
43  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / Kremlin Sets Out to Prove Trump was Their 'Useful Idiot' All Along on: March 07, 2017, 11:47:01 pm
Kremlin-backed media turns on Trump

Quote
Kremlin-controlled news outlets used to root for Donald Trump’s election. Now they’re reveling in the chaos and division of his early presidency.

“Sessions Scandal: ‘U.S Headed to Constitutional Crisis,’” reads a March 3 headline on the website of the Kremlin-funded English-language network RT.

“Immigrants See American Dream Fade in Wake of Surge in Hate Crimes,” Sputnik News, another English language outlet bankrolled by the Kremlin, reported the same day.

“America is in the grips of hatred,” the Russian television commentator Dmitry Kiselyov told viewers of the Rossiya 1 network on Sunday night. The popular host, appointed directly by Russian President Vladimir Putin, suggested the political discord could lead to violence in gun-friendly America — “a dangerous combination with free-flowing firearms,” he said.

It’s not that the Kremlin-controlled outlets which all but explicitly rooted for Trump to defeat Hillary Clinton last fall have changed their view of the New York mogul. It’s that Moscow’s main goal was always to undermine the U.S. political system, regardless of who is in the White House, experts said.

“The Russian government is savoring the severe damage to America’s international image as a result of the tumultuous first weeks of the Trump administration’s tenure,” said Andrew Weiss, a former Clinton White House National Security Council official for Russian affairs.

That’s particularly true given dimming hopes in Moscow that Trump can now deliver on his pledge to cooperate with Putin.

http://www.politico.com/story/2017/03/donald-trump-russia-media-235755
44  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / Re: Atlas Name for New Healthcare Bill? on: March 07, 2017, 03:21:43 pm
Screw the Poor -but Trumpcare works just as well.  And when Democrats regain the trifecta, we should work on repealing and replacing this monstrosity ASAP.  
45  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / Re: Only 5 months until child molester Hastert gets out of jail on: March 07, 2017, 03:13:42 pm
Donald Trump (who ogles his own daughter, and fantasizes about having sex with her) will welcome him with open arms. 
46  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / Senate GOP Leaders Prepared to Ram Thru Repeal/Replace Obamacare Bill on: March 07, 2017, 02:32:04 pm
Assuming, that is, the GOP passes the bill in the House.  They don't want to waste any more time than they have to on this, and are prepared to stifle debate if that's what it takes to get this off their checklist:

http://www.politico.com/story/2017/03/obamacare-gop-repeal-lindsey-graham-235765
47  General Politics / International General Discussion / EU Considering Its Own Army and Nuclear Arsenal as US Withdraws on: March 06, 2017, 12:14:36 pm
Now we're seeing the beginnings of a remilitarized Europe, all thanks to Trump:

Fearing U.S. Withdrawal, Europe Considers Its Own Nuclear Deterrent

The Interpreter
By MAX FISHER
MARCH 6, 2017


BERLIN —
Quote
An idea, once unthinkable, is gaining attention in European policy circles: a European Union nuclear weapons program.

Under such a plan, France’s arsenal would be repurposed to protect the rest of Europe and would be put under a common European command, funding plan, defense doctrine, or some combination of the three. It would be enacted only if the Continent could no longer count on American protection.

Though no new countries would join the nuclear club under this scheme, it would amount to an unprecedented escalation in Europe’s collective military power and a drastic break with American leadership.

Analysts say that the talk, even if it never translates into action, demonstrates the growing sense in Europe that drastic steps may be necessary to protect the postwar order in the era of a Trump presidency, a resurgent Russia and the possibility of an alignment between the two.

Even proponents, who remain a minority, acknowledge enormous hurdles. But discussion of a so-called “Eurodeterrent” has entered the mainstream — particularly in Germany, a country that would be central to any plan but where antinuclear sentiment is widespread.
----------------------

E.U. Moves to Create Military Training Headquarters

By JAMES KANTER
MARCH 6, 2017


BRUSSELS —
Quote
Foreign and defense ministers of European Union members reached a deal on Monday to create a headquarters for military training operations — setting aside, at least for now, concerns that the step might lead to the establishment of a “European army” to rival NATO.

France and Germany support the proposal and have pressed the European Union to do more to ensure its own defense and counter the threat of terrorism.

Britain has long opposed anything that resembled a European military command — but it has voted to leave the European Union, and that has altered the dynamic of the debate. With the United States appearing to take a step back in its role in the world, the core pair of France and Germany is pushing the European Union to take greater responsibility for its security.

The European Union and NATO have overlapping memberships: Of the 28 nations in the European Union, all but six — Austria, Cyprus, Finland, Ireland, Malta and Sweden — also belong to NATO. Albania, Iceland, Norway and Turkey are in NATO but are not part of the European Union, as are Canada and the United States.

The creation of the union’s headquarters is specifically intended not to undermine NATO’s role.
48  Presidential Elections - Analysis and Discussion / 2020 U.S. Presidential Election / Re: Gillibrand/Heinrich on: March 06, 2017, 10:50:01 am
I like both Gillibrand & Heinrich... and I originally thought Heinrich may be good on a ticket- But I have about decided that Heinrich is too lacking in the charisma dept.  

I think a better ticket that includes someone who is somewhat palatable to moderates (that is younger, from the SouthWest) would be:

Castro/Sherrod Brown.

(that is assuming Castro is very visible on cable news the next 2 years... and proves to be very credible & likeable with his messaging).

Or Gillibrand/Brown.
49  Presidential Elections - Analysis and Discussion / 2020 U.S. Presidential Election / Re: Democrats finally starting to realize why they lost in 2016: Hillary Clinton on: March 06, 2017, 10:48:37 am
Shouldn't this thread be on the 2016 presidential elections board?
50  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / Re: Most Americans Believe Trump-Russia Connections Need Further Investigation on: March 06, 2017, 09:01:10 am
A new poll is out showing most Americans support having a special prosecutor investigate these connections:

Quote
Despite claims from the White House that no such ties exist, 65 percent of respondents to a new CNN/ORC poll released Monday morning said the investigation into connections between President Donald Trump and the Russian government should be handled by a special prosecutor.

The Trump administration and congressional Republicans have thus far been resistant to the appointment of a special prosecutor even after Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced last week that he would recuse himself from all Justice Department investigations into alleged Trump-Russia ties during last year’s presidential campaign. That announcement followed reports that Sessions had met multiple times with Russia’s ambassador to the U.S. during the presidential race, a period during which Russia was engaged in a campaign of cyberattacks intended to aid Trump’s candidacy.

(...) Fifty-five percent of those polled said they were either “very concerned” or “somewhat concerned” by reports of Trump’s connections to Russia, which include Sessions, former national security adviser Michael Flynn, former campaign chairman Paul Manafort and former foreign campaign adviser Carter Page, among others.

http://www.politico.com/story/2017/03/poll-trump-russia-special-prosecutor-235707
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