Thursday Open Thread

“The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place.”

–George Bernard Shaw

20 Community Comments, Facebook Comments

  1. Davie says:

    President Donald Trump has left Vietnam without the nuclear deal he was hoping to strike with North Korean Kim Jong Un — a stinging result for a president seeking a foreign policy win to carry into 2020.

    The two sides appeared on the cusp of signing an agreement on some incremental nuclear disarmament vows, but scuttled those plans at the last minute.

    No doubt, the new storyline Sarah Huckabee Sanders will be peddling is that *rump was just there to pick up his to-go order of Dim Sum and Kimchi

  2. Zappatero says:

    Why we have a “Cory Gardner” in the first place:

    The biggest political malpractice of Democrats since Clinton was not making it clear that they were the party of Social Security. Embracing deficit fetishism, flirting with privatization, fearmongering about the Trustees report, Simpson-Bowles wankery, obsession with Grand Bargains. "We must cut benefits so that they don't cut benefits" was the basic mantra even when I was in grad school, the kindest interpretation of which meant that the cuts would be slightly less and fall less on the poorest of seniors.

    Im looking at you, Mark Udall and Michael Bennet. 

  3. Pseudonymous says:

  4. ParkHill says:

    WOTD from Axios: "Health Care Spending is More than the Parts You See"

    Employer paid health insurance is the crux of the transition to Medicare for All/Most. Why should I as an employer provide health insurance when my employees can get it cheaper from the Obamacare? 

    Obamacare has greased the slippery slope to government insurance by making the incentives obvious to both employers and employees.

    Why it matters: To really understand how Medicare for All or any other big change in health care financing would affect them, people need to understand how they would impact their overall family health budgets. Few people think about the other health costs they pay: their taxes to support health care, or what their employers are paying towards premiums (which is depressing their wages).

    Between the lines: Consider this hypothetical example of a total family health “budget”:

    The Browns, a family of four with at least one member in poor health and a $50,000 income, have standard employer coverage much like 156 million other Americans. They spend $9,250 per year (19% of their income) on health.
    This includes $3,950 (8% of their income) in out-of-pocket health spending, $3,900 (8% of their income) in health insurance premiums, and, although they are almost certainly not aware of it, approximately $1,400 (3% of their income) in state and federal taxes that fund health programs.
    The Browns are not taxed on the contributions their employer makes toward health insurance premiums, which economists generally say offset wages. Their employer is contributing an additional $13,050 to their health insurance premiums, as well as $750 in Medicare payroll taxes.
    When combined, the Brown’s spending on health care and the money spent by their employer on their behalf totals a considerable $23,050. And remember, they make $50,000.

    So their out-of-pocket premiums are only $325/month, while their employer pays $1,100 – they must belong to a good union.

    (Yes, Axios made an error by not adding the $13,000 employer contribution to their $50,000 income. )

    Compare Employer Paid Insurance to Obamacare:

    As a single, guy, my Obamacare Silver Plan was about $1,000 per month, which was subsidized in some years when my income was low. For the first time in years, I actually have employer insurance, which costs me $500/month out of pocket, but also includes vision and dental. I can assume that my employer is paying more or less $1,000.

    If my employer said, "To hell with it, I'll pay you $1,000/mo and I'll no longer have to deal with my HR PITA."  Both my employer and I would come out ahead. 

    What about the Good Union Family in the Axios example? Both employer and family would come out much better than my situation if the employer just gave them a $1,000/month health-care stipend. A 4-person family with $62k/year income, would have subsidized Obamacare premiums. 

    Employer-paid insurance across the country is already in steep decline along with average wages. Obamacare has shown that changing over to Medicare for All is just a matter of time.

  5. Pseudonymous says:


    Beto O'Rourke won't challenge John Cornyn for Senate, paving way for presidential bid

    Numerous people close to O'Rourke said they expect him to announce his presidential campaign within weeks. O'Rourke on Wednesday wouldn't reveal his political plans except to say he has made up his mind. 

    "Amy and I have made a decision about how we can best serve our country," he said in an exclusive statement to The Dallas Morning News. "We are excited to share it with everyone soon."

  6. Diogenesdemar says:

    We have a repeat winner, again, in our daily “WTF State?!?” contest.

    Now wait just a  . . .  ummm, er, ah . . . gol’darned . . . minute —

    I guess the whole state of Virginia, every effin’ body, has decided it has some kind of bi-partisan civic duty to make their idiot racist neighbor in the White House look sorta’ normal by comparison???

  7. JohnInDenver says:

    Sabato has peered into the Crystal Ball to see The 2020 Electoral College: Our First Look. I guess we can begin counting down the 614 days until we know if they are right or not.

    Spoiler alert: 


    — Our initial Electoral College ratings reflect a 2020 presidential election that starts as a Toss-up.

    — We start with 248 electoral votes at least leaning Republican, 244 at least leaning Democratic, and 46 votes in the Toss-up category.

    — The omissions from the initial Toss-up category that readers may find most surprising are Florida and Michigan.

    — Much of the electoral map is easy to allocate far in advance: About 70% of the total electoral votes come from states and districts that have voted for the same party in at least the last five presidential elections.

    Toss ups are Arizona (11), Nebraska's 02 district(1), Wisconsin(10), Pennsylvania (20) and New Hampshire (4).


  8. Davie says:

    So what does a pathological liar like *rump do?  Well, lie of course!

    President Trump ordered his chief of staff to grant his son-in-law and senior adviser, Jared Kushner, a top-secret security clearance last year, overruling concerns flagged by intelligence officials and the White House’s top lawyer, four people briefed on the matter said.

    Mr. Trump’s decision in May so troubled senior administration officials that at least one, the White House chief of staff at the time, John F. Kelly, wrote a contemporaneous internal memo about how he had been “ordered” to give Mr. Kushner the top-secret clearance.

    The White House counsel at the time, Donald F. McGahn II, also wrote an internal memo outlining the concerns that had been raised about Mr. Kushner — including by the C.I.A. — and how Mr. McGahn had recommended that he not be given a top-secret clearance.

    The disclosure of the memos contradicts statements made by the president, who told The New York Times in January in an Oval Office interview that he had no role in his son-in-law receiving his clearance.

    Asked on Thursday about the memos contradicting the president’s account, Sarah Huckabee Sanders, the White House press secretary, said, “We don’t comment on security clearances.”

    Except when she does:

  9. Davie says:

    Another former Republican speaks out:

    Republicans Sink Further Into Trump’s Cesspool

    What they left out of their questioning of Michael Cohen says more about the degradation of my former party than anything they said.

    The ethic that became the norm at the Trump Organization —- defacing the truth and disfiguring reality in the service of Donald J. Trump — is the ethic that has become the norm of the Republican Party and the American right.

    This is what some of us who are conservatives and who have been lifelong Republicans have warned since Mr. Trump began his quest for the presidency — that his corruptions would eventually become theirs.

    It didn’t take long.

    When this story is finally told — when the sordid details are revealed, the dots finally connected — the Republican Party will be the political and institutional version of Mr. Cohen, who squandered his integrity in the service of a man of borderless corruption.

    • Duke Cox says:

      It is difficult to see the truth when the truth makes you obviously guilty of some great harm done to something you love. Republicans have harmed this country. Corporatist Democrats have aided and abetted them.

      T***p is the net sum of all the greed and arrogance that is part and parcel of the staggering race for wealth unleashed on the world by Citizens United and similar decisions. Republicans own him. 

      The Jim Jordans of the world are blinded by their own greed, racial hatred, or some unholy desire to control the world around them and make it safe from all the brown and browner people… and hippies like me. 

      Republican leaders and their lust for power have pointed a loaded T***p at their collective head…and the hammer is cocked. 

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