Weekend Open Thread

“True courage is not the brutal force of vulgar heroes, but the firm resolve of virtue and reason.”

–Alfred North Whitehead


33 Community Comments, Facebook Comments

  1. JohnInDenverJohnInDenver says:

    Daily Kos has a bit on Sen. Bennet doing an interview with Katy Tur.

    Article is fairly scathing … comments following are more direct and more scathing.

    • VoyageurVoyageur says:

      So, unless you support Medicare for all, with it's 30 trillion hit at taxpayers and guaranteeded alienation from thelabor movement, you arecast into the outer darkness.

      Daily Kjos is stupid.

      • ParkHill says:

        I think you skipped the part where your premiums go down by 30 trillion.

        • VoyageurVoyageur says:

          You mean the part where employer premiums go down by 30 trillion while individual taxes/ premiums go up $20 trillion?  Yeah, I skipped that part.  

          But, surely, your employer will pass his savings on to you?


          • kwtreekwtree says:

            • Conserv. Head Banger says:

              Retirees don't get "paychecks." Many of us like our Medicare Advantage plans, but enjoying your health insurance is forbidden under Warren and Sanders' plans.

              • kwtreekwtree says:

                Under your Medicare Advantage Plan, you still pay premiums and copays, and you are probably restricted to in-network doctors.  

                Under Medicare for All, you choose your doctor regardless of “network”, and don’t pay premiums or copays. Warren has laid it out in detail in this op ed, which is also posted on her website.

                Unless you’re different than most people, you want to keep the doctors and care facilities you like. It isn’t the “insurance plan” you like. 

                • MADCO says:

                  Well- this is just not true.
                  My insurance plan is fine.
                  And it makes up approx 30-35% of the value of my compensation- active employment and paying pension.

                  I earned it.
                  I'm not going to get a raise when it goes away. INstead, I'll just pay higher taxes.

                  Approx 80-90 million Americans feel the same way – and almost none of them will vote for Warren or Sanders.

                  • Conserv. Head Banger says:

                    I agree with MADCO. The whole summary about Medicare for All is to strip 150+ million people of their health insurance in order to provide insurance for 15-20 million uninsureds. In other words, just like in the old Soviet Union, government will "solve" everything. I made a conscious choice of the service I want and I don’t need the far left trying to substitute their decision making for mine.

                    And aren't you being just a little arrogant to assume that you know what I want and don't want?

                    • kwtreekwtree says:

                      CHB, I wrote:

                      Unless you’re different than most people, you want to keep the doctors and care facilities you like. It isn’t the “insurance plan” you like. 

                      So you’re in the minority in terms of actually liking your plan, not just your providers. That’s your prerogative, and I’m not under any illusion that my arguments will change your mind; I just want to get the facts out there.

                      Here’s the link to that Politico / Morning Consult study about what most healthcare consumers want. They (we) want to keep our doctors so that there is continuity of care, even through job and income changes. 

                      Previous Morning Consult polling has also indicated Americans who are against Medicare for All on the grounds that it would reduce the role of insurance companies may be inadvertently conflating their payers and providers. Among adults who said they opposed the system, 62 percent said they are more likely to support the plan if they could keep their doctors and hospitals.

                      As far as costs go, to MADCO’s point, higher tax costs are offset completely by lower premium and copay costs, with better health outcomes because of better efficiency ( medical staff can focus on providing health care, rather than on denying it or pricing it for max profit). You can see that graphically in the Rand Study for the New York Health Act, which gradually replaces private insurance via a progressive tax.

                       Right now in America, in your community, people are dying from lack of access to healthcare. I’ve lost several friends that way.How many more must die before America joins the rest of the industrialized world to offer public health care for all?

                    • MADCO says:

                      I don't agree because: most people do not understand their insurance plan.
                      They sure as hell don't understand the alternatives.

                      Of course, most people don't understand their car, smart phone, food, electricity, etc, etc. And yet we don't see serious people advocating for consumer choice to be eliminated.

                      Is it arrogant when the PUC assumes they know what consumers want for water, gas or electricity? No.

                      Medical insurance is not blue jeans. Or bread. Or clean air or tap water. Individual medical policies are complex. Group plans? Fuggeddaboutit. Medicare is not easy.
                      What most people focus on is the present and the past. But But medical insurance is all about predicting the future.

                      MFA that has no copays, no deductibles, no network, preauthorization required – is ridiculous.
                      It puts the consumer of medical services in charge – and it's like saying anyone who owns a car will know how to fix it.  Rebuild my transmission?  no – I need a new one.

                      Physical therapy and weight loss? Pfft – I need surgery and pills.

                      In the political moment – MFA is a loser.
                      The opposition campaigns are too easy:
                      Hey – seniors and diabled Americans on Medicare: the lefties are going to blow it up because it is too expensive. You earned your Medicare over a lifetime of work.
                      Everyone else: your doctor visits are going to be like filing taxes or visiting the DMV. Is that really what you want?

                    • VoyageurVoyageur says:

                      So, kiwi, you're saying that with medicare for all, people will stop dying?



                  • kwtreekwtree says:

                    You don’t get a raise- you get to keep the $500-$800 of your check that you normally spend on health insurance premiums- which, in effect, is a raise. You also have no (or low) copays. 

                    There are different plans out there, and the sausage will get made in legislative chambers assuming that Dems take the Senate and White House – but my thought, like most of America, is to start from what we want – universal coverage and access to health care, rather than negotiating it all away from start.

                    Medicare for All, with no premiums or copays, at least as likely a scenario as you actually showing up for a Pols meetup. 😉

      • Diogenesdemar says:

        Nah, just some time in purgatory. . .

        . . . until you finally see the light.

        That hellish outer darkness is reserved exclusively for the worst of the worst — 10% tippers, people who don’t begin looking for their credit card in the checkout line until after the clerk has rung up the total, Hickenlooper doubters, and other vile blasphemers.  (I’ll be the guy using a flashlight trying out barbecue sauce recipes.)


    • Duke CoxDuke Cox says:

      The mugwumps will hate this story but I give a hat tip to Katy Tur for asking the questions we should all be asking.

  2. itlduso says:

    The weekend funnies.  Check out this hilarious segment by Jimmy Kimmel titled, "Mar-a-Lego".  I'm on the floor each time I watch it.


  3. itlduso says:

    Why has everyone forgotten that Trump and Manafort orchestrated a change to the GOP platform during the 2016 RNC convention to remove support for arming Ukraine against Russian aggression shocking the entire convention?  Trump’s antipathy toward Ukraine for Putin’s benefit started long, long ago.


  4. harrydobyharrydoby says:

    Adam Smith's Invisible Hand of the Market is giving the O&G industry quite a spanking.

    After years of handing shale producers fistfuls of money to grow production as rapidly as possible, Wall Street is demanding they operate more efficiently and cover their costs without heavy borrowing.

    Basically, investors want producers to shift from spending more than they make and using debt to fill the gap to generating surplus cash and providing them a return.

    “Banks and debt investors no longer want to throw good money after bad money until they see some light at the end of the tunnel. And with $50 oil and $2 gas, there is only darkness,” Rollins said.

    Even if oil prices somehow found a way to rise to $100 per barrel again, that would actually prove a curse, Johnson said, setting off a frenzy among shale producers that would lead to another collapse.

    “$100 oil will lead to $20 oil,” she said.

    Wells drilled in shale formations are different than conventional wells in that they offer a huge payout early on and decline rapidly, by as much as 65% to 80% after the first year.

    Production eventually steadies, but at much lower levels. That early surge is good in generating cash flow upfront and in taking advantage of higher prices.

    But it also means that producers have to keep drilling or face a big drop off in production.

    • Diogenesdemar says:

      Rule 37/b . . .

      It’s never a Ponzi scheme unless you’re a Republican talking about government benefits programs, Michael.

      Corollary: Government giveaways to the wealthy are “economic stimulus” and “needed incentives,” but definitely not “benefits programs.”

    • Duke CoxDuke Cox says:

      This isn't a surprise. Posters like Pete Kolbenschlag, Michael Bowman, kwtree, and others have laid out details of this Ponzi scheme for a long time.The chickens have come home to roost for the Oily Boyz.

      The Aramco IPO is likely to raise billions for Saudi Arabia. How much pressure will they be under to raise prices? None.

       The investors are telling the shale drillers to put more skin in the game from Hip National Bank…

      Something they are unlikely to do.

      • Duke CoxDuke Cox says:

        Update…I just read that Iran has announced it has recently discovered another big crude resource. Over 50 billion barrels. They are already 4th in the world in proven reserves.

        Time for the Lords of Petroleum to see if T***p can extort someone on their behalf…instead of his.

    • notaskinnycooknotaskinnycook says:

      I read that this morning, Harry. They've had it coming for a while. I've seen this movie before and I know how it ends. It's going to be 1982 all over again.


      • Diogenesdemar says:

        I’m thinking more like 2008? . . . 

        Yeah, if it were just the offender oil companies collapsing that  would be one thing, but since everything this millennium is leveraged to the hilt and beyond (always with other people’s money) we’ve already seen this movie before when debt is unrepayable.

        Whatever year it is, we know it’ll be the little people who suffer while the wealthy miscreants and companies get another too-big-or-important-or-something bail-out.

        Destroying the economy while irreparably destroying the planet; I guess it’s good work if you can get it? . . . 



  5. kwtreekwtree says:

    Comrade Cory and Moscow Mitch

    grinning it up on a Colorado Dems store tshirt near you, just in time for the holidays.


    • harrydobyharrydoby says:

      We need a T-shirt with Trump and Putin too. The Russians have not only bought influence in the U.S. through Trump, they have been similarly successful with Boris Johnson and the Conservative Party.

      Amazing what a 3rd world economic failure under Putin, whose economy continues to suffer due to its dependence on Oil & Gas, can do with a few million here, a few million there.  Money, power and politics is a toxic brew that a handful of foreign and domestic billionaires have decided is the best way to maintain their influence to the detriment of just about everyone else.

  6. Diogenesdemar says:

     “Economies of scale,” “synergies,” “lower prices for consumers,” “new and improved services.” “the resultant negative effects of globalization,”  . . . 

    . . . lies, lies, lies, lies, lies, lies, lies

    . . . a fascinating new book, “The Great Reversal: How America Gave Up on Free Markets.” In one industry after another, he writes, a few companies have grown so large that they have the power to keep prices high and wages low. It’s great for those corporations — and bad for almost everyone else.

    Many Americans have a choice between only two internet providers. The airline industry is dominated by four large carriers. Amazon, Apple, Facebook and Google are growing ever larger. One or two hospital systems control many local markets. Home Depot and Lowe’s have displaced local hardware stores. Regional pharmacy chains like Eckerd and Happy Harry’s have been swallowed by national giants.

    Other researchers have also documented rising corporate concentration. Philippon’s biggest contribution is to explain that it isn’t some natural result of globalization and technological innovation. If it were, the trends would be similar around the world. But they’re not. Big companies have become only slightly larger in Europe this century — rather than much larger, as in the United States.


    Whirlpool’s 2006 purchase of Maytag is a good example. The Justice Department rationalized the deal partly by predicting that foreign appliance makers would keep the combined company from raising prices. But Whirlpool later successfully lobbied for tariffs to keep out foreign rivals. Washers, dryers and dishwashers have all become more expensive.

    The consolidation of corporate America has become severe enough to have macroeconomic effects. Profits have surged, and wages have stagnated. Investment in new factories and products has also stagnated, because many companies don’t need to innovate to keep profits high. Philippon estimates that the new era of oligopoly costs the typical American household more than $5,000 a year.

    Big Business Is Overcharging You


    The only people that lie more to the American public than Donald Ttump and his Misadministration are American are-people-too corporations.

    • Conserv. Head Banger says:

      "Home Depot and Lowe's have displaced local hardware stores…………."

      Depends on location. The local Ace Hardware store near me in Lakewood does a booming business. It may help that the nearest Lowe's and Home Depot are a couple miles away.

      While the "local Trumpies" will vocally deny it, I've read that manufacturing in the US has gone into recession. And thanks to Trump's additional tariffs, those more reliable foreign washers and dryers are even more expensive.

      "One or two hospital systems control many local markets………"  And if the system happens to be owned or managed by the Catholic Church; and this is well documented; the level of services available, especially for women, drops off. Thanks to "religious freedom," it's how religious ideology takes precedence over Constitutional rights.

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