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101  General Politics / Political Debate / Re: Debate Canada's Healthcare System on: October 04, 2016, 07:19:19 pm
While I'm ok with the Canadian system, it has some serious flaws that I think American progressives dismiss too easily.

Single payer systems have to control costs. How do they do that? Some of it comes from bargaining power, but most of the savings come from rationing care. This takes the form of very long wait times, fewer specialists and difficulty finding a family doctor. Rationing is disproportionately felt by chronic patients.

In practical terms it means having to book doctor's appointments 6-8 weeks in advance, waiting in the emergency room for over eight hours, or waiting two years for a hip replacement. Canada's healthcare system is excellent if you are healthy or need acute care, but it doesn't serve chronic patients well. If I broke my leg or had cancer, I'd rather be in Canada. If I needed a hip replaced, I'd choose the States in a heartbeat.

Eight hours is identical to the average wait time in the ED for my local hospital.
And, like roughly a third of the people living in my county, I don't even have a primary care physician. I tried to find one when I moved here and no one could see me within three months. With wait times like that, why bother? I'm young and I have no chronic conditions. I can always go to urgent care if I need to.

Hmm. That's strange. Canada's long had a reputation for the worst emergency rooms among countries with 'socialized medicine', much less the USA. The chart below suggests much, much better wait times. Perhaps you live an extreme outlier? This is just anecdata, but I've been/taken people to emergency about half a dozen times and the two times it happened in the USA (Orlando and middle of nowhere in Maine) were hours less wait time than my Canadian visits, and the American situations weren't very serious.



Interestingly enough, the study behind the chart indicated that wait times were generally less in rural areas.

If you're in a *really* rural hospital in the United States you might be one of less than half a dozen ED visits in a day, so I can understand why that would be so. My local hospital is definitely toward the worse end of things, but it's not that unusual for an ED visit to be an all-day excursion in the US.

(Speaking anecdotally, the single time I visited, I was seen in less than 20 minutes. But that is only because I was experiencing severe anaphylaxis from an allergic reaction to amoxicillin. My experience was highly atypical.)
102  Presidential Elections - Analysis and Discussion / 2016 U.S. Presidential Election / Re: Are you disappointed with Gary Johnson this cycle? on: October 04, 2016, 06:00:44 pm
He's an ex-Republican running as a Libertarian. What in Christ's name is there to be disappointed about when you're starting from a premise like that?

(Other than Bill Weld, I mean.)
103  General Politics / Individual Politics / Re: Would support a line-item veto for the president? on: October 04, 2016, 05:59:00 pm
Ideally, no, but the US Congress is so singularly awful and dysfunctional that I'm not even sure that I want it to exist at all at this point.
104  General Politics / Political Debate / Re: Debate Canada's Healthcare System on: October 04, 2016, 05:56:31 pm
While I'm ok with the Canadian system, it has some serious flaws that I think American progressives dismiss too easily.

Single payer systems have to control costs. How do they do that? Some of it comes from bargaining power, but most of the savings come from rationing care. This takes the form of very long wait times, fewer specialists and difficulty finding a family doctor. Rationing is disproportionately felt by chronic patients.

In practical terms it means having to book doctor's appointments 6-8 weeks in advance, waiting in the emergency room for over eight hours, or waiting two years for a hip replacement. Canada's healthcare system is excellent if you are healthy or need acute care, but it doesn't serve chronic patients well. If I broke my leg or had cancer, I'd rather be in Canada. If I needed a hip replaced, I'd choose the States in a heartbeat.

Eight hours is identical to the average wait time in the ED for my local hospital. And, like roughly a third of the people living in my county, I don't even have a primary care physician. I tried to find one when I moved here and no one could see me within three months. With wait times like that, why bother? I'm young and I have no chronic conditions. I can always go to urgent care if I need to.

I don't think you're wrong, I just think that you're overemphasizing what the US system does better. And for those of us living in rural areas or small cities, or numerous other "underserved" areas, we don't even benefit from most of those advantages.

Yes, if you're the right kind of person, with the right kind of insurance, living in the right kind of place, you might be able to get the procedure that you need completed more quickly in the United States.  You will pay more for it, though. And there's a much higher chance that it was recommended to you even thought it's not even necessary. And, worst of all, you're probably less healthy in the first place.
105  Presidential Elections - Analysis and Discussion / 2016 U.S. Presidential Election / Re: Why do so many white supremacist leaders and groups proudly support Trump? on: October 04, 2016, 01:57:05 pm
Seems odd that the presidential nominee of one of America's two major political parties is getting the unashamed endorsement of actual Nazis/Stormfronters/Klansmen, etc. I don't remember many of these people endorsing or even voting for Mitt Romney, John McCain, or George W. Bush, for example.

That's funny, because I certainly do. The Republican Party has been an instrument of white supremacy for a long time.
106  Presidential Elections - Analysis and Discussion / 2016 U.S. Presidential Election / Re: Bill Clinton attacks Obamacare ; calls it the "Craziest thing in the world" on: October 04, 2016, 01:44:26 pm
Have you guys been paying any attention to the exchanges lately? Is anyone here paying attention to rising premiums? He's right. The ACA needs work, and even HRC's platform acknowledges this. "Like any new policy," implementation needs to be an iterative process.

The biggest problem with the ACA is that Congress is a nonfunctional political cancer and unable to do its part to work on the law and adapt it based on what works and what does not. The second biggest problem is that the federalist framework doesn't work when Republican-controlled states are totally noncooperative.

This should be totally non controversial, and the sensationalist hacks treating it like a gaffe -They're always covering gaffes, aren't they? Presumably because they're too stupid to discuss anything else. - deserve to be dropped down an elevator shaft.
107  Forum Community / Forum Community / Re: Opinion of BRTD on: October 04, 2016, 09:20:20 am
"Arguing with BRTD feels like kicking a baby.  He is just so tragically uninformed that I almost feel sorry for him."
108  Presidential Elections - Analysis and Discussion / 2016 U.S. Presidential Election / Re: Trump Suggests That Soldiers Who Suffer From PTSD Arenít ďStrongĒ on: October 04, 2016, 06:23:08 am
Isn't the issue that one of the big reasons there is so much trouble with veterans and PTSD is precisely the notion that suffering from PTSD is an indication of weakness, in a culture and environment which very naturally abhors weakness and praises strength?

And so no matter what Trump's intentions were and what else he said this is really, really bad.

I think the relevant contrast is with how he talks about immigrants, women, racial minorities, etc.

And while I don't want to say that PTSD is exaggerated, Trump's biggest mistake is equating PTSD with suicide in the first place. I think that the two most important misconceptions regarding suicide and the military are the following:

(1) The rate of suicide among veterans and active-duty military is not all that different from the rate of suicide among similar men who never served. Depending on how you adjust for region, rurality, and age, (and whether you believe that it's appropriate to make the comparison in those terms) the rate could actually be much lower relative to the rate for those who never served. Serving in the military is less of a risk factor than working in farming, fishing and forestry or construction occupations.

(2) Most veterans and active-duty members of the military who kill themselves are never diagnosed with PTSD and have never seen combat. Among those in the military, most suicide attempts occur before, not after, deployment.

So even most of the well-intentioned reactions here are getting the relationship between PTSD, suicide, and military service in the United States very, very, wrong.
109  Forum Community / Off-topic Board / Re: Atlas's Favorite Wood on: October 04, 2016, 06:01:21 am
Nothing smells better than apple.

110  Forum Community / Forum Community / Re: Seriously, my fellow lefties... on: October 03, 2016, 10:18:39 pm
Actually Maine is holding a referendum on ranked choice voting this year.

Minneapolis already uses it for city elections.

a.k.a. "the LePage/Cutler rule"... the Maine referendum is a response to local circumstances, not a part of any national effort. Other than tat, none of this stuff is even seriously discussed outside of a few cities where Republicans are, in effect, a minor party.

Still I don't see how voting for two utter lunatics is going to force that to happen, if as you said Nader didn't. That sounds more like something that should be worked toward in the grassroots, as there is a big movement in Minnesota at least.

My point is that I don't take the sanctimony very seriously.

(Moreover, if Trump won, I would probably lose my job, my girlfriend could lose her health insurance, my younger brother could lose his health insurance and could easily wind up homeless as a direct result... and that's just what comes to mind immediately. It's absurd for a bunch of smug, smarmy morons on this forum to tell me that I'm only voting a certain way because I don't really have anything at stake in this election.)

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I'm also still asking why voting for Hillary instead of the Green ticket even if you actually prefer her is not the right thing to do. Because I have yet to hear anyone make such an argument (although to be fair I've yet to hear any arguments for voting Green that amount to much more than "HILLARY CLINTON IS A NEOLIBERAL IMPERIALIST WARMONGERER blah blah blah" style jfern rants.), or why Hillary voters have more of a "feel good" or identity politics mindset.

Uh, no, you totally misunderstood my post. I think that most people who aren't loyal partisans vote for the candidate whom they believe best reflects their values. That is what I am doing, and I have no reason to doubt that HRC's supporters are doing the same.
111  Forum Community / Forum Community / Re: Seriously, my fellow lefties... on: October 03, 2016, 09:59:06 pm
Actually Maine is holding a referendum on ranked choice voting this year.

Minneapolis already uses it for city elections.

a.k.a. "the LePage/Cutler rule"... the Maine referendum is a response to local circumstances, not a part of any national effort. Other than tat, none of this stuff is even seriously discussed outside of a few cities where Republicans are, in effect, a minor party.
112  Presidential Elections - Analysis and Discussion / 2016 U.S. Presidential Election / Re: Trump Suggests That Soldiers Who Suffer From PTSD Aren’t “Strong” on: October 03, 2016, 09:51:34 pm
The couple of lines that are getting a lot of play sound gross and betray some serious and harmful misconceptions about PTSD, but most of the coverage is taking Trump out of context on this one. The rest of his statement showed compassion despite being as vapid as most of what Trump says. There are a lot of groups for whom Trump seems to have no empathy, but veterans are not one of them. (He's still willing to take advantage of them for personal gain, obviously. Let's not get crazy.) There are about twenty things that he's said within the past twenty-four hours that are more disturbing than this.
113  Forum Community / Forum Community / Re: Seriously, my fellow lefties... on: October 03, 2016, 09:41:49 pm
I just imagine how dumb any of this reasoning would look in the future. I'm sure there were people who voted for Hitler because Hindenburg had health issues or the Social Democrats had the wrong tax policy or their faith prevented them from voting for a Catholic party or whatever.

But in retrospect that was dumb and so is any reason you come up with for not voting Clinton.

In hindsight a vote for Hindenburg means making Hitler Chancellor.  I guess Clinton would be ☭Thalmann in this analogy?

...this hyperbole also reminds me of something that no one has mentioned in this thread: Support for instant runoff voting, runoff elections, proportional representation, public funding for elections including minor party candidates, or anything like that is not on the agenda for either Democrats or Republicans, to say nothing of something as basic and obvious as ending the electoral college. If there were any lessons to be learned from the 2000 election, focusing on any of these electoral reforms would have made much more sense than blaming Nader for everything and cursing his name forever.

Obviously, we have to make our decisions about how to vote based on the the rules that we actually have. But if Democratic and Republican candidates want to attract the votes of people whose consciences pull them toward minor parties, even one party making a serious effort to advocate for these changes would be a big deal. This hasn't happened. It will probably never happen, for obvious reasons. But this failure makes it more difficult to take the high-octane moralists seriously. Those wasted votes don't need to be wasted votes, but an electoral system in which they are "wasted" is apparently a more comfortable one than one in which they make a difference.

The rules don't need to be this way, but even in their efforts to win over voters who lean toward minor factions, there's no serious initiative to change them.
114  General Politics / Political Debate / Re: Debate Canada's Healthcare System on: October 03, 2016, 09:24:58 pm
Most of this kind of discussion focuses on "care," with very little mention of health outcomes or quality of life. As far as I am concerned, this is an extremely strange and backwards way of comparing "healthcare systems," whatever that term really means.

We know that the US system is more expensive, so on that count it is an obvious loser. But which country has a lower (age-adjusted) rate of hospitalizations? In which country does a person have a longer life expectancy? In which country is the burden of chronic disease less severe? Which country has a lower share of obese adults and current tobacco smokers? These are the important questions, and they depend more on behavioral and environmental health factors than on anything else, and are more affected by the work of public health departments than clinicians.

(1) Life expectancy at birth: According to the World Health Organization, life expectancy at birth for Canadians as of 2015 was 82.2, compared to 79.3 in the United States. Canada also ranks lower than the United States on the most common causes of premature death: Road fatalities, homicides, suicides, and drug overdoses.

(2) Hospital admissions: As of 2009, there were 131 hospitalizations per 1,000 people in the United States compared to only 84 per 1,000 people in Canada.

(3) Smoking rate: 1,154 cigarettes sold per adult in Canada compared to 1,083 per adult in the United States as of 2014, but slightly lower rates of smoking among both men and women in Canada.

(4) Obesity: The mean BMI for adults in the United States is 28.8, the prevalence of obesity among adults is 34%, and 67% of adults are overweight. In Canada, the prevalence of obesity among adults is 28%, and 64% of adults are overweight.

(5) Chronic disease: Compared to Canada, the United States has higher rates of diabetes, COPD, high blood pressure, heart disease, the list goes on...

You can find a handful of indicators that the United States performs better on (e.g. cancer survival rates, wait times for some procedures), but not enough to undermine the general truth, which is that (A) on average, Americans spend more on healthcare, live more sickly lives, and die earlier and (B) those averages tend to mask wider disparities than are present in other rich countries.
115  General Politics / Political Debate / Re: Debate Canada's Healthcare System on: October 03, 2016, 08:41:32 pm
I like the current US system better. Private>Gov Owned(Not a socialist)

You realize that about three-fifths of healthcare spending in the United States is either (1) public insurance (e.g. Medicare, Medicaid, Tricare) or (2) private insurance for public employees - i.e. almost entirely covered by public funds? The share of public spending grows even larger when you include federal subsidies for people who buy their insurance on the individual market.

In fact, with the sole exception of Norway, per capita healthcare spending in the United States outpaces other major countries even when private healthcare spending is excluded entirely.
116  Forum Community / Forum Community / Re: Seriously, my fellow lefties... on: October 02, 2016, 10:11:56 am
Uh, why? I don't see how voting for a bunch of fringe kooks could ever be the "right thing to do" especially after Bernie Sanders has already caused the Democratic Party to adopt a truly progressive platform and direction with workable solutions, unlike Stein's incoherent proposals such as that quantitive easing for student debt thing.

I am not a "progressive."

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I also don't see how anyone voting Hillary is doing so for the sake of feelings or an identity payoff when we're voting for her simply because she is the candidate running closest to our views.

That's good for you. Unfortunately for me, no candidate or platform on the ballot comes particularly close to my views, although Clinton and Stein are clearly closer than Johnson, McMullin, and the Republican candidate.

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Here's the AAD quote by the way:

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Not that it's important to the point at stake, but I'm no longer planning to vote for her - I won't tolerate a physician who lies opportunistically when it comes to important matters of public health.

I guess I decided that I needed to stop thinking of myself as a special snowflake and vote for the Green ticket despite serious objections to both of the people who are on it and its fairy-dust platform.

117  Presidential Elections - Analysis and Discussion / 2016 U.S. Presidential Election / Re: How could any decent person vote trump? on: October 02, 2016, 09:34:32 am
I wonder how Trump would be polling if SCOTUS wasn't at stake?

When is the Supreme Court not at stake in a presidential election? I doubt that there's been any period in American history during which the actuarial odds of any member of the Supreme Court dying within the next four years were below 50%.
118  Forum Community / Forum Community / Re: Seriously, my fellow lefties... on: October 02, 2016, 09:30:57 am
For the record Averroes has stated on AAD that he is not voting for Stein due to her anti-vax pandering and even kookier running mate.

Ah, okay. Good tbh. Stein's awful.

I've been very critical of Stein, but I don't remember saying that I wouldn't be voting for her. The closest that I've come to claiming anything like that was a comment about how I was almost at the point of "voting for Clinton as the least of four evils." I am very supportive of the Greens in New York State, and no one other than (maybe) some of us here will bother tallying votes for other left-alternative candidates in this election. I'm not even sure that there will be another option on the ballot here, and, unlike Nevada, New York State doesn't tally votes for NOTA.

I'm not quite 100% committed to this: There is some chance that I'll vote for HRC on the Working Families party line. But probably not. It won't be a ballot that I enjoy casting either way, so it amuses me when I receive criticism from Clinton supporters about voting for the sake of my feelings, or for the identity payoff, or to show that I'm special, or whatever, when the reverse is more accurate: In the short-term, I would feel better about voting for Clinton, and it would be a lot easier to cast that vote. I just don't believe that it's the right thing to do.
119  Forum Community / Forum Community / Re: Opinion of Wonkette on: October 02, 2016, 09:12:24 am
Any blogger who refers to a woman running for office as a "cunty hag" is awful.
120  Presidential Elections - Analysis and Discussion / 2016 U.S. Presidential Election / Re: Trump a literal cuck, pressured second wife to pose nude for Playboy on: October 01, 2016, 10:37:59 pm
"Let's transplant the primitive soul to the ultramodern New York, inject his soul with the noise of the subway, of the 'el, and may his brain become a long street of buildings 224 stories high."
121  Presidential Elections - Analysis and Discussion / 2016 U.S. Presidential Election / Re: Trump accuses *Hillary* Clinton of infidelity on: October 01, 2016, 10:25:58 pm
It's times like this that I can only wonder what his campaign staff thinks.

The same thing that they think about everything he does: "How can I leverage this into money and publicity?"
122  Presidential Elections - Analysis and Discussion / 2016 U.S. Presidential Election / Re: Is Trump the new Akin? on: October 01, 2016, 10:22:52 pm
The key difference here is that, as the Republican nominee, Trump has the national party by the balls. You can't quietly withdraw financial and logistic support from a presidential campaign, effectively conceding the contest to focus on other races. It's going to dominate national headlines every day between now and he election, whatever happens, and that will continue to affect Republican candidates in competitive races everywhere.

And, of course, most of this information isn't new. Anyone with a pulse and a functioning frontal lobe knew enough about Trump to know that this would happen. Though it's easier to ignore something like that when your career depends on ignoring it, I suppose.
123  Forum Community / Forum Community / Re: Seriously, my fellow lefties... on: October 01, 2016, 10:12:09 pm
What makes the refusal to vote for Hillary Clinton even worse, is that the people who refuse to vote for her can't comprehend the idea that, yes, this country and, more broadly, the world could easily become a toxic heap of radioactive sludge that would be deadly to all, regardless of one's skin color or one's religious preference or one's sexual orientation. Ultimately, our continued existence as a species is what is at stake in this election: we have a candidate who is mentally unstable and one who is not. We have one who believes that climate change is a hoax and one who acknowledges that is real. We have a candidate who believes that the Geneva Convention's binding rules of war ought to be shredded and we have a candidate who pledges to respect the Geneva Convention. I could go on and on and on like this but you get my point: we are standing on a precipice right now. There's a clear choice between someone who embodies evil in every possible way and someone who is totally palatable. Make the right choice and feel proud about this. Own your decision to vote for Hillary Clinton and feel proud about it: you are doing your part to save the world and you will be pumping the breaks on the doomsday train.

I don't think I'm exaggerating about this: over the past few years, the world has become increasingly dangerous, increasingly intolerant, increasingly militaristic and increasingly Evil. No more. I'm not willing to put up with this anymore and my vote for Clinton has symbolic value as a vote against the monsters who thrive on bigotry and hatred and Know-Nothingism and militarism and racism and ignorance. Make it stop: vote for Clinton.

A vote for Clinton has symbolic value against militarism?  Good grief.

Of course it does; being a hawk is not the same as being a militarist. The idea that there's a comparison between LBJ and, say, Hideki Tojo is insane. There is no comparison. Hawks don't glorify war. Militarists believe that war is morally good, worth pursuing. Make no mistake, Trump is a militarist and his fanboys would love to annihilate civilians. They must be stopped.

edit: more generally, Trump has consistently undermined the idea that human life has value throughout his campaign by bullying, harassing and trashing entire groups of people and engaging in vicious character assassinations of "little people" like Alicia Machado for no apparent reason and his supporters love it. These sentiments lay the foundations for militarism.

One of the reasons Clinton is seeking out and getting hawkish support is because Trump is supposed to not believe America has a "role in the world."  I doubt many complained that of Tojo.  Trump represents an amoral foreign policy, which might be called "realist" if it were more grounded in reality. Clinton is the one who has more explicitly championed bellicosity as serving a grand moral purpose.  She'll leave her trail of dead, combatant and civilian, in the far corners of the world. Granted she may feel bad about it being necessary.

"Take the oil."

"I would bomb the sh**t out of them."

"I would bomb the hell out of those oil fields."

Look, the fact that Clinton actively sought to be potentially the last presidential candidate endorsed by Henry Kissinger before he spends an eternity in hell is a significant reason why I can't stomach voting for her, but the difference here clearly is not just a matter of Clinton knowing how to dance. The best-case scenario under a Trump administration is a foreign policy no less sociopathic than that offered by Bush, McCain, and Romney, but with even less respect for human rights and international norms.
124  Presidential Elections - Analysis and Discussion / 2016 U.S. Presidential Election / Re: Trump accuses *Hillary* Clinton of infidelity on: October 01, 2016, 10:04:02 pm
Our cabaret is a gesture. Every word that is spoken and sung here says at least this one thing: that this humiliating age has not succeeded in winning our respect.

*slow clap*
125  Forum Community / Forum Community / Re: Seriously, my fellow lefties... on: October 01, 2016, 09:48:41 pm
The last conversation that I had like this one involved a guy in a kitschy necktie at my door and ended with him trying to leave me with a copy of The Watchtower.

I can't tell if this is in reference to being proselytized to or in reference to moralistic political uninvolvement, and thus whether I should feel validated by it or chastened or some combination of both.

I'm tempted to leave this ambiguous, but it's the former.

I don't really understand why people treat voting as some extension of their personality where it's important that they can feel nice or whatever?.

Because no important election has ever been decided by one vote.
The statistical probability that one's vote is the decisive one is smaller than the probability that one dies in an accident on one's way to the polling station.

Not to mention that the amount of random error in the vote count, even at the state level and with electronic counting, is at least in the dozens of votes and probably closer to the hundreds. It's pretty obvious that there's no consequentialist case for voting in the first place (unless you need to put in an appearance at the polling place for the sake of meeting social obligations and expectations, I guess).

In my experience there's a huge amount of variation in what even many very educated people will tell you about the ethics of voting when you ask them why it's important to vote and how you should select a candidate. Many of them jump straight to the shockingly and transparently weak "deciding vote" argument.
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