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May 14, 2016 12:29 AM UTC

Weekend Open Thread

  • by: Colorado Pols

“Desperation can make a person do surprising things.”

–Veronica Roth


117 thoughts on “Weekend Open Thread

            1. Well, the way you worded it, the mere act of taking a position causes the reform.   That is Berniethinking.   We of the Hillarious persuasion understand it is a long, complex, process, just as health care reform is and was.

            2. Not at all what I said. Somebody's getting a little hyper-sensitive in the face of the looming end of the line for her fave's presidential campaign. And BTW I've said all kinds of nice things about him so maybe you should look elsewhere for someone to take it out on. Shouldn't have to look far. Oh, hi there V.wink

              1. Hillarions proclaim Hillary's inevitable win. No one can stand before her. Therefore, the positions she takes now, matter. And the positions she refuses to take (i.e., no support of reinstating Glass-Steagal) also matter.  We of the Bernie persuasion understand that when candidates refuse to take tough stances, that we can infer support for the status quo.

                1. Yes, what candidates say matters.  To pick an example not entirely at random, when a third party review of a candidate’s plan shows it would add $20 Trillion to the debt in ten years, it makes fiscally responsible voters — who are the majority — distrust not just that candidate but the party to which he is now attached as well.   As to Glass Steagall, the world has changed a great deal since it was cobbled together in the 1930s.  I would want to look at existing regulations such as Dodd Frank and others before just shooting from the hip.   I saw a debate between Barney Frank and Robert Reich over Bernie's mindless break up the banks when they reach a certain size just because we can plan.  Frank offered reasoned and much more logical yardsticks for regulatory review.   So I'm not about to endorse a similarly mindless talking point just to make Occupy Wall Street happy on their way to the polls to vote for the Green Party.

                  1. Nice try changing the subject, but back to Glass – Steagal – it is just one tool to limit banking activities that have damaged the economy. In particular, G – S bans combining commercial and investment banking activities. Some, not all, of the banks and institutions which caused the 2008 meltdown were engaging in these "mixed" activities.

                    Hillary Clinton has made some public policy statements, in particular on enforcing the Volcker rule, which are encouraging. Her proposal  (which BC posted at the top of this thread)  to bar financial executives from serving on the Board of the Fed, is also encouraging. I just don't see any valid reason why she wouldn't include reinstating Glass/Steagal in her "toolbox" for financial reform.

                    If you want to change the subject to a concrete discussion of Bernie Sanders' proposals and how they are paid for, do that – but post your links to sources. Otherwise, a mysterious "third party" is right at the level of Bill O'Reilly's "Some people say that…."


                    1. Link is at the bottom of the column.  The subject has not changed.Bernistas can't add, so why should I take their unverified pledges at full value?? You guys also sream for protectionism.  How did that Smoot Hawley thing work out anyway?  No, mindless reimposition of Glass Steagall isn't a very good idea.

                1. Frankly, you obviously crave attention, so I'll provide it:

                  "You are a most notable coward, an infinite and endless liar, an hourly promise breaker, the owner of no one good quality.” – W. Shakespeare, All's Well that Ends Well

  1. Farmer Trump runs goats on his golf courses in New Jersey – for tax deductions.

    Goats are a great way to hold down invasive plant species without toxic pesticides, but somehow I doubt that Trump has much interest in being green on his green.

    Kos diarist pollwatcher thinks that tax evasion will be Trump's undoing. I doubt that Trump's base will care – if anything, tax evasion is just one more way that their hero sticks it to the hated Federal government.

    Meanwhile, taxes and tax policy continue to be a hot topic in the Presidential election; Sanders has now released his 2014 tax return.  My guess on the reason for delay is Jane Sanders' $4900 income from her position as a Commissioner on the Texas Low-Level Radioactive Waste Disposal Compact Commission (TLLRWDCC). The TLLRWDCC oversees disposal of Vermont's radioactive waste in the relatively safe WCS site in Andrews, Texas. Still, Sanders' opponents continue to berate him for his role in shipping Vermont's waste to Texas 20 years ago, which resulted in contaminating another small Texas town, prior to the compact which designated the WCS site.

    That is the problem with nuclear energy production – nobody wants the waste, and there is nowhere truly safe to store it.

    On taxes, Democratic candidates continue to promote dueling tax and finance proposals. For comparison, check out Trump's tax plan.

  2. This is a public service announcement!!!!

    the Eurovision final is on at 1:00 today. For the first time ever it's being broadcast in the us on Logo TV.

    and the interval act will be Justin Timberlake (Logo can't show that part for some reason.)

    1. David, are you going to take your victory lap re: calling the Trump nomination about 8 months ago?  I admit that I was wrong on that one.

      1. Nope. That's a case of wishing I was wrong.

        I'll add this – I can see him beating Hillary. I think Hillary will win but she could well lose. A clear majority of the voters want someone who's not a career bought & paid for politician.

        Here's hoping that even more they want someone competent.

  3. Dems take note: Trump being allowed to lie to the press at almost every interview or press conference:

    [T]he news media now faces the challenge of Donald Trump, the presumptive Republican nominee for president. Trump makes Four-Pinocchio statements over and over again, even though fact checkers have demonstrated them to be false. He appears to care little about the facts; his staff does not even bother to respond to fact-checking inquiries.

    But, astonishingly, television hosts rarely challenge Trump when he makes a claim that already has been found to be false. For instance, Trump says he was against the 2003 invasion of Iraq, but research by BuzzFeed found that he did express support for an attack. He said the White House even sent a delegation to tell him to tone down his statements —and we found that also to be false.

    Yet at least a dozen television hosts in the past two months allowed Trump to make this claim and failed to challenge him. There is no excuse for this.

    This is from years of ignoring the lies, letting them pass unchallenged, and not refudiating (sic) them. Fox News, Hate Radio, Republican officials feel they can pretty much lie at any time and get away with it…….and that's because they can!

    Needless to say, if Dems lied like this they's be hounded out of office or out of an election. And they are certainly called out for far less, so the press can show they aren't biased and because both sides

    Treating lies the same for Dems and Repubs is not going to happen anytime soon. And Dem candidates and strategists should plan accordingly.

    1. Saw five minutes of MSNBC today wherein they pointed out all the ways he's lied about thousands (not even two) of Syrian refugees, few women and children, mainly fighting age young men (2% fit that description with 50% children and  25% men and women over 60) flooding our country with no documentation (lots of documentation required in a process that takes as much as two years to check and recheck everything) yadayadayada.

      I think we're seeing a new development with the media turning to investigating all those lies now. The latest audio of Trump pretending to be a non-existent spokesperson to brag about how many women want him seems to have been some kind of turning point. Oddly, all evidence points to The Donald leaking it himself. How crazy is that, GOP leaders now supporting handing the nuclear codes to this guy? Of course, Zap, at least he’s not Michael Bennet, right?

      1. We already have one — mj promises to send three bucks to bernie every time we say Free Stuff!  Tee hee.  But serously, follow the link. Bernie's program is $18 trillion shefeort of paying for itself over ten years.  It may not be free stuff but it sure isn't paid for.  If you prefer "mastercard stuff," be my guest, but this is fiscal irresponsibility on a scale worse than even George Bush.

        1. but this is fiscal irresponsibility on a scale worse than even George Bush.  

          That is a preposterous statement, which you cannot verify. C'mon V., keep it real. You are starting to sound like Moddy.

          1. Read the link Duke.  Brookings and Urban Institute are highly respected.  They predict an $18 trillion deficit over $20 years.  Yes, that is fiscal iresponsibility on a scale even worse than George Bush.  It can't just be wished away.

            1. I did. It sounds like the antidote to Reaganomics to me. One mans' fiscal irresponsibility is another mans' political and economic revolution. Incrementalism is dead!. Feel the Bern!

              1. Duke, endless borrowing is what Reaganomics was all about.  This isn't an antidote, it's more of the same.  At least make an effort to pay for this stuff.  And don't pretend you can just soak the rich.  America is berning.  Call the Fire Department!  

                1.  And don't pretend you can just soak the rich 

                  Yes, we can…and it is about time we do so. What you call "soaking the rich", many would call  "leveling the playing field". I am among that "many". 

                  1. Here's the problem.  Bernie"'s plan already soaks the rich.  And it only covers about a third of the cost of his new spending.  Ok, I realize there is no point arguing with the fact free bernie campaign.  In the end, the Easter bunny will pay for all that free stuff.  Pigs will fly.  The term "soak the rich" by the way, originated with Huey Long, not me.

                    1. I am a Huey Long fan, by the way. Not for his penchant for corruption, but for his prowess as a populist.

                    2. re: duke on Huey:

                      If you haven't read T. Harry Williams' "Huey Long", a pulitzer prize winning biography, you have a treat waiting you.  As for corruption, Huey certainly never stole more than his fair share, but he did turn a blind eye to underlings like Abe Shushan.  Fascinating man, and read "The Earl of Louisiana" and you'll find his brother was awesome as well,

          1. It ain't erroneous, BC.  Read the link — Bernie's tax increase is $18 Trillionshort of paying for his spending increase over ten years.   If that ain't free stuff, what do you call it?

            1. You know very well what I mean. I'm not going to explain it again as if you're a child who needs another diagram drawn rather than a highly intelligent curmudgeon who can't resist dialing it up to 11 when pushing people's buttons long past the point where it's useful or constructive.

    1. I stand corrected. The other day I erroneously posted that Bernie's free stuff would add $21 trillion to the national debt in the next decade. So it looks like it will only be $18 trillion. That's better. Bernie-Bots, please accept my apology.

        1. The $18 trillion cost of Sanders proposals is bullshit.

          Per Sanders:

          "I think most of the expense that they put in there, the expenditures have to do with the single-payer healthcare system," he continued. "They significantly exaggerated the cost of that, and they forgot to tell the American people in that article that that means eliminating the costs that you incur with private health insurance."

          Per Paul Waldman, Washington Post:

          …the bulk of what Sanders wants to do is in the first category: to have us pay through taxes for things we’re already paying for in other ways. Depending on your perspective on government, you may think that’s a bad idea. But we shouldn’t treat his proposals as though they’re going to cost us $18 trillion on top of what we’re already paying.

          Per Common Dreams:

          To put it bluntly, the estimates (which were prepared by John Holahan and colleagues) are ridiculous. They project outlandish increases in the utilization of medical care, ignore vast savings under single-payer reform, and ignore the extensive and well-documented experience with single-payer systems in other nations – which all spend far less per person on health care than we do.

          The authors’ anti-single-payer bias is also evident from their incredible claims that physicians’ incomes would be squeezed (which contradicts their own estimates positing a sharp rise in spending on physician services), and that patients would suffer huge disruptions, despite the fact that the implementation of single-payer systems elsewhere, as well as the start-up of Medicare, were disruption-free.

          1. Well, if bernie says it ain't so, that settles it.  I'll stick with Brookings.  Your claim that it saves individuals money may be true but its irrelevant if those savings aren't somehow transferred to the public purse to pay for these runaway expenses.  Your plan neglects that detail!  Show me an independent analysis by a respected agency that backs up bernie's claim not his web site.


            1. Sorry, V, the report you cite does not come from The Brookings Institute. Rather, it originates from an organization loosely associated with BI and dominated by ex-appointees of the Clinton administration – neo-liberals all. The author of the article upon which the CBS story is based is not even an economist. 

              In any event, to paraphrase Mark Twain, "There are liars, damn liars and economists."

                1. Compared to what- our current healthcare and insurance scheme? My wife and I shell out $16,000 per year in premiums and face another $12,000 in co-pays and out-of-pocket expenses for "healthcare." 

                  If single payer health care is so expensive, why does every developed nation that has government run universal healthcare spend less than the US?

                  I read the "study." They did not account for the savings that would be gained from a single payer system where the government negotiated – even dictated – prices that providers and drug companies could charge. They just assumed that healthcare costs would remain the same or continue to rise.

                  1. I, too, have supported a healthcare/insurance company, United Healthcare, for nearly two decades. In that time my premium has averaged about $280/ purchase a health plan with a deductible I have never met. I am a very healthy guy with a mild heart irregularity that I control with bio-feedback and diet/exercise.. I do not take prescription drugs.

                    In the fifteen or so years I have been covered, I have given United Healthcare in excess of $50,000 and they have, on the rare occasion I have filed a small claim, spent money on postage to tell me they are paying nothing. It's a great deal.

                    Medicare in two months…finally.


                    1. You will love medicare, duke.  The major gap is dental, but for the first time in your life, you won't be one illness away from bankruptcy.





                    2. 8 months for me. Can't wait. Husband's had it for over 4 years now. Just in time for a few minior medical emergencies too. Love it. And it's much more efficient than any private insurance we've had. Sometimes they takes so long to pay you're getting notices before the claim is processed. Fewer, not more, layers of bureaucracy than in much of the private sector.

                  2. Are you only counting that calender State Department Hotties"?  Or are you including that famous photo spread of. Hillary and Elizabeth Warren playing volleyball at the beach in  Watch out for Warren, FYI  that woman can really spike the ball.

                  3. I don't doubt you are getting screwed, james.  But the question before the house is does the proposed Bernie care plan have an adequate financcial base.?  The answer appears to be "not even close."  It would add $18 trillion to the deficit in 10 years.  Paul Krugman says berniecare is riddled with magic asterisks — supposed savings to be identfied later.




                    1. Dodd's point is a good one. No, pols aren't the true scientists but neither is economics a true science. You can find a group of economists to support the theory and policies that most appeal to you and, as a group, they have a pretty poor record of accurately predicting cause and effect.

                      This is not to express an opinion one way or the other on the  projected cost of Bernie's policies. I don't think Bernie is particularly good at the whole pesky details thing.

                      I also don't see much evidence for putting unquestioning faith in the calculations and predictions, so often proven wrong, of economists, neither those who ally with Brookings or with liberal think tanks. Economists in general are rarely, if ever, completely disinterested objective "scientists". 

                    2. That's the old false equivalence trap, BC.  Independent analysts calculate Bernie would add between $14 and $18 trillion to the debt in 10 years.   You say they aren't perfect so let's just assume Bernie won't cost anything?


                      Go back to Reagan.   He promised a massive tax cut would actually produce a massive increase in revenue and that this revenue increase from the lower tax rate would pay for his increase in military spending and balance the budget.   Virtually every mainstream economist said that was crazy.  Art Laffer and a few other kept neocons said this modern miracle of the loaves and fishes would indeed occur.

                      We cut the Taxes and increased military spending.   The deficit rose astronomically.   Finally even Reagan had to roll back part of that tax cut, and George H.W. Bush rolled it back some more.    Finally, Bill Clinton raised taxes anew.   Laffer and his cronies said that would shake business confidence and cause anew recession.   Actually, it led to the longest sustained boom un in our history and large budget surpluses.  Indeed, Clinton's taxes and spending would have eliminated the debt entirely by 2010.

                      So in comes George W. Bush.   He again boosts defense spending and pays for it with a big tax CUT because, you know, that Laffer curve thing worked out so well under Reagan.   We never in our history tried to pay for a war by cutting taxes.   It turns out the reason we never did that before was that we weren't that stupid!  Bush's policies led to even bigger deficits, a rotting infrastructure, and billionaires ripping off the system while paying less in taxes than their secretaries,

                      The thing is, mainstream economists like Joe Stieglitz and Paul Krugman called every one of these turns accurately.   Laffer and his fellow whores were wrong, every time.

                      Now, mainstream economists say Bernie's tax increases don't come close to paying for his spending increases,leading to an hike in the debt of between $14 and $18 trillion over ten years.   You say they are all fools and we might as well take Bernie at his word because things worked out so well when we took Reagan and W. at their word.

                      When will we ever learn?

                    3. Had to use this reply V.  We're talking past each other. My observation is not about equivalence, false or otherwise.  I wasn't saying that Dodd was necessarily right about anything other than the fact that economics is not science and economists aren't scientists. That's pretty self evident from centuries worth of empirical data. 

                      And let's not pretend that your constant refrain of "free stuff" is not meant as an insult to needle those to the left of you. Not even you could possibly believe that and trust me, nobody else does.

                      You apparently enjoy being caustic so much you don't care at all about the need for Sanders supporters and HRC supporters to come together to support your darling in the end. You obviousy don't care about convincing anyone of your arguments because you're smart enough to know you don't do that by being insulting. 

                      Fortunately most HRC and most Sanders supporters have more sense than that. When enough of us do come together to beat Trump, elect HRC and a Dem Senate majority it will be no thanks to your self indulgent flame throwing. Or Zap’s, for that matter. But don't let that stop you. Enjoy. We're going to elect the Dem candidate, who will be HRC barring an indictment, without your "help" anyway.

                    4. It sure doesn't take much to get you to mount your horse and ride to the Bernie Bros ramparts to protect their tender ears from the terrifying sound of "free stuff."  

                    5. Say all the stupid juvenile stuff you want to, V. The rest of us will still get your gal elected for you. No worries.

            2.  V said: Show me an independent analysis by a respected agency that backs up bernie's claim not his web site.

              I included two from respected reporters: The Washington Post analysis, and the Common Dreams analysis. Below, I'm only going to discuss Sanders' health care plan, not the college tuition plan, as that's a separate discussion.

              These articles linked to Physicians for a National Health Program, (PNHP) and National Nurses United,

              The PNHP site, "How Much Would a Single Payer System Cost?" cites 25 national and state peer – reviewed studies by governmental agencies such as the Congressional Budget Office, and General Accounting Office, by health consultants such as the Lewin Group, by economist Gerald Friedman,  the Economic Policy Institute, etc, going back 25 years (1991-2015).

              Each of these studies confirms that going to a single payer system, in which there are initial set-up costs, but then consumers do not have to pay health insurance premiums or copays, and instead pay 3- 6% taxes (unless they are exempt like seniors on Medicare), would save 10- 30% on administrative costs, and that "The net cost of achieving universal insurance coverage under this single payer system would be negative.” (CBO 1993)

              This is essentially Bernie Sanders "Medicare for All" plan.  It's also the economic framework of the Coloradocare plan, except that Coloradocare sets up a nonprofit to administer the plan.

              So if 25 years of governmental agencies, health consultants, doctors, nurses, respected economists, saying that yes, a single-payer, Medicare-for-all plan would save the government and everybody money doesn't convince you, then you might have to admit to being unconvince-able. Unless, of course,  Hillary about-faces to endorse a real single-payer plan, instead of her current, "Let's Fix Obamacare" talking point, which, by the way, has no plan for implementation. 

              1. You fall into the same trap over and over, MJ.  First you argue that single payer would overall cost less than the current system.  

                I think you are correct.

                Next, you fail to finance this better system!

                You want to argue medicare for all saves $8,000 10,000 per family.  That sort of sounds right, though accounting for the employer share and what happens to it is tricky.   But while that is good news for the customer, it's a disaster for the plan because that revenue is NOT replaced.  Bernie's tax increase, mostly on the rich, is way too small to meet the loss.  The result is catastrophic deficits.

                Look at your own Colorado Care.   It recognizes the loss of revenue from individuals and offsets it with a ten percentage point increase in the income tax.   For me and a lot of seniors, we pay more than we get, but that at least subsidies other users.  There is no similar across the board tax increase in Bernie Care.  Yes, we soak the rich but it does;t begin to offset the loss from middle class users.

                That's why I have long advocated Canadian single pay, financed by a national Value Added Tax.  

                That would replace the revenue now provided by employers and employees.  VAT is passed on to customers, but so is the current system — in the end, businesses only have the revenue they get from customers.   Colorado care uses the income tax not a VAT, which is more practical in a single state.  On balance, Colorado customers would probably save on the exchange but they would still pay a pretty healthy fee, or tax if you prefer.   That's as it should be.  Bernie care has no such offset, which is why it runs about $2 trillion a year in the red (though that number admittedly includes other parts of his plan like free college.)

                It's one thing to claim that single payer would cost less than the present system.   It's quite another to finance that shift, and move the savings from column A to column B.  Colorado Care at least makes a serious attempt to make that shift by upping everyone's income tax. Bernie care utterly fails to finance the windfall it provides existing customers.

                1. Obviously, you didn't read Sanders full Medicare for All plan, nor will you ever. So, I've copied it here below, and apologies to long suffering Polsters for taking up byte space that could have been sweating Keyser gifs.

                  Revenue is replaced on one hand by tax increases, and on the other by employee and employer 3% and 6% fees. Sanders does include income tax increases, to wit:

                  The Plan Would Be Fully Paid For By:

                  A 6.2 percent income-based health care premium paid by employers.
                  Revenue raised: $630 billion per year.

                  A 2.2 percent income-based premium paid by households.
                  Revenue raised: $210 billion per year.This year, a family of four taking the standard deduction can have income up to $28,800 and not pay this tax under this plan.

                  A family of four making $50,000 a year taking the standard deduction would only pay $466 this year.

                  Progressive income tax rates.
                  Revenue raised: $110 billion a year.Under this plan the marginal income tax rate would be:


                  37 percent on income between $250,000 and $500,000.

                  43 percent on income between $500,000 and $2 million.

                  48 percent on income between $2 million and $10 million. (In 2013, only 113,000 households, the top 0.08 percent of taxpayers, had income between $2 million and $10 million.)

                  52 percent on income above $10 million. (In 2013, only 13,000 households, just 0.01 percent of taxpayers, had income exceeding $10 million.)

                  Taxing capital gains and dividends the same as income from work.
                  Revenue raised: $92 billion per year.Warren Buffett, the second wealthiest American in the country, has said that he pays a lower effective tax rate than his secretary. The reason is that he receives most of his income from capital gains and dividends, which are taxed at a much lower rate than income from work. This plan will end the special tax break for capital gains and dividends on household income above $250,000.

                  Limit tax deductions for rich.
                  Revenue raised: $15 billion per year. Under Bernie’s plan, households making over $250,000 would no longer be able to save more than 28 cents in taxes from every dollar in tax deductions. This limit would replace more complicated and less effective limits on tax breaks for the rich including the AMT, the personal exemption phase-out and the limit on itemized deductions.

                  The Responsible Estate Tax.
                  Revenue raised: $21 billion per year.This provision would tax the estates of the wealthiest 0.3 percent (three-tenths of 1 percent) of Americans who inherit over $3.5 million at progressive rates and close loopholes in the estate tax.

                  Savings from health tax expenditures.
                  Revenue raised: $310 billion per year. Several tax breaks that subsidize health care (health-related “tax expenditures”) would become obsolete and disappear under a single-payer health care system, saving $310 billion per year.


                  Most importantly, health care provided by employers is compensation that is not subject to payroll taxes or income taxes under current law. This is a significant tax break that would effectively disappear under this plan because all Americans would receive health care through the new single-payer program instead of employer-based health care.


                  ps. I had to look up a Value Added Tax (VAT tax). It sounds like a non-transparent tax which increases at each stage of consumption. So when I go in to see a doctor, I really wouldn’t have any idea what a standard visit would cost, let alone any “extras”. And if Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio are for it, I’m agin it.

                  1. "This year, a family of four taking the standard deduction can have income up to $28,800 and not pay this tax under this plan.

                    A family of four making $50,000 a year taking the standard deduction would only pay $466 this year"

                    Well said,  That's about the median family income so you just admitted about half of all taxpayers will paying little or no tax, while saving thousands from the premiums they now pay.   Now, please explain why this massive drop in payments into the system will generate the extra money needed to pay for all the new goodies in the system while eliminating co-pays!  It is mathematically impossible, but then, that is the core of Bernista philosophy — math sucks!


                    1. BC's right….this is a chain-jerking game with you, and I'm done playing. Your circular reasoning (Sanders plan creates an 18 billion deficit because my source says it's an 18 billion deficit! Read my source!)

                      Sanders plan is paid for. You may or may not like how he proposes to pay for his programs, but they do in fact go into substantial detail, and it does add up, unless you use the erroneous assumptions in the Urban Institute article you cited. Those erroneous assumptions included assuming no savings from single payer, massive increases in health care usage, private HMOs overhead under single payer is  6% instead of 2-3%, and private HMOs still get to call the shots on health care costs.

                      Yes, the poorest health consumers, like the family of four (w 2 wage earners) making $28,000 / year would pay no taxes. Did you not get that their employer would be paying 6% and the employee(s) 3%?  That's where that $420 per taxpayer came from. And yes, you would partly be subsidizing these folks health care, as would I and most other Americans. As we do now.

                      We could always be like Peter Boyles and tell the immigrant mom in labor to go have her baby in the dumpster, but we are a better country than that.

                      Clinton's plan to "Fix Obamacare!" is short on detail, although she does have some reasonable tax fixes which are, at bottom, not much different than Sanders' fixes.

                      You're reduced to repeating yourself, as am I. So let's call it a day.  At least, this time, we didn't indulge in mud-slinging or ad hominem insults. Congratulations.

                    2. Well, every independent analyst has put the net cost of Bernie's plan at between $14 billion and $18 billion.   But you won't believe anybody but Jeff Weaver so there is no point in further argument.  But no, neither one of us went ad hominem, which is a rare achievement for a no good, low-down, lying blatherskite like you….ooops, sorry about that.   Old habits are hard to breaksmiley

                  2. The VAT is basically kind of sales tax.  It's built  into the price of the product, as most other taxes ultimately are.  It is not specific to health care.   Basically, with a 10 percent VAT, you'd pay 50 cents on every $5 Big Mac that would go to offset the cost of the quadruple bypass you will eventually need because you ate so many big macs.  I';s a mainstay in the European social democracies and helps pay for those health care systems you rightly admire.  

                    BTW, Ted Cruz and Mario Rubio are also in favor of motherhood and Apple Pie, both of which I expect you to denounce furiously!

      1. Apology not acceped Frank.  Rechecking the study, the $21 trillion number is indeed right.  It's $18 trillion in new debt — plus $3 trillion  in interest over the same ten years on the new and existing debt.  Not surprisingly, the study predicts interest rates will increase.  

        1. …qualifies as insanity to me…
          I wonder…did InBev have to get permission from Heineken and Molson to change the name of Budweiser to “America”?
          …just wondering…

            1. I actually drained a few longnecks back in the late 70s.. Budweiser was so popular in Summit county (#1 county per capita, nationwide), the company sent the Clydesdales up for our 4th of July parade that year.

              I haven't had one in a while…

              1. PBR is much better in that class of beer if you're in the mood for that sort of thing. Don't hold its having become hipster ironic against it. It was just the best of the commonly available college budget commercial brews in Illinois back in the 70s when I was drinking it at the campus bars.

                We got excited when a friend visiting Boulder let us know he was bringing back some of that legendary and not yet available east of the Mississippi Coors one year but the excitement didn't outlast the first watery bland swallow. It was right back to PBR.

                I get nostalgic for one about once a decade.

              2. Making Budweiser Great Again! (a recipe):

                Step one:  Gather the necessaries — One tallneck bottle of regular Bud or varietal, your favorite tall beer glass. 

                Step two:  After opening the Budweiser, gently pour it out completely on the ground.

                Step three:  Fill your beer glass with any real beer.  (One of my personal current favorites is Xingu.)

                Step four:  Sit down and relax, enjoy your beer.

                This recipe works equally well with the entire Budweiser line — it is especially satisfying with one of their "light" or "flavored" varieties.

  4. Here's a thought provoking critique of the Democratic Party going back to FDR:

    When activists recall a Democratic Party that cared about ordinary people, what they really have in mind are the social movements and revolts that forced the party to respond to the needs and demands of those on the streets. There would have been no New Deal without the Hoovervilles, rent riots, sit-down strikes, and Communist Party activism of the 1930s. There would have been no Great Society without Civil Rights protests in the South and rebellions in more than two hundred cities across the country during the 1960s.

    The Base – Boston Review

    1. It's also possible the Democratic Party would not have been a bitter end defender of slavery without Nat Turner's Rebellion. Let's not forget it had a lot of evil in its past.

  5. Watching the U.S. Farm Report this morning, I heard some breaking news…I think.

    It seems that, after a long courtship, German chemical giant BASF is interested in buying our own monopolistic, agri-chem, corporate bad boy, Monsanto. But a jealous rival steps up to make a better offer…Bayer chemical. (Now we're talking monopoly boys)

    Glyphosate for all!

    Oh…btw…congrats to Excel energy for committing to a big, new, wind farm out east. Maybe it has been reported here before, but I just heard about it on the replay of Colorado State of Mind on PBS.

    ps…now is a bad time to buy soybeans.

    1. From NPR  – Sugar beet growers are being dragged kicking and screaming to a non-GMO crop. However, the only way the farmer quoted in the article can see it, a cocktail of more pesticides would have to be sprayed on the beets more frequently.

      This will cause a lot of turmoil here in NE CO sugar beet country. I think that it's a conversation worth having.

      My sister has an auto-immune disorder. She's been able to stay almost symptom free by eliminating pesticides and GMO foods from her diet.

      1. GMO foods are ultimately the world's last, best, hope for avoiding famine.   That doesn't mean, however, we should make promiscuous use of chemicals like roundup.  My wife, myself and my daughter all have immune disorders but nobody in our family wants the Luddites to win.

      2. I'm not against the responsible use of herbicides and pesticides, but I'm not drinking the Kool-Aid that, as a farmer, simply applying 'within the limits of the label' is 'responsible'.

        I also don't believe GMO's are our 'last great hope.'  If we spent a fraction of our war budget on our soft power (our ability to teach the world to fish, so to speak,  we'd could feed the world.

        Theres a reason the Monsanto name is loathed by many. Anyone who has spent time on Capitol Hill during Farm Bill debate knows they are thugs.

        Monsanto tried to merge with Syngenta recently; their name is literally and figuratively poison. That failed, so they are reportedly in talks now with the biggest war profiteer from Hitler's reign: Bayer. 

        While we (the American public) are assured that glyphosate is safe (even though It's banned in more countries than not), 39 random members of the European Parliament submitted urine tests for traces of glyphosate. Every single one of them came back positive, and at levels 10 times the amount deemed safe in drinking water. 

        It's going to take the fruits of a revolution to reign this monster in and deal with important matters like the Toxic Substances Control Act.  It's likely to matter little who is sitting in the big chair at 1600 Penn – if this revolution doesn't get the Know-nothing's off Capitol Hill – we better get use to having our food supply bathed in this poison. 

        As for the sugar beet farmers – they have lots of options. This problem only highlights just how sick our Farm Bill has become regarding what we do/don't incentivize. 

        1. It does no good to teach the world to fish when the oceans are dying from climate change and overfishing.  Yes, thats why we need GMOs for such things as blight resistant potatos and the ability to make cellulosic ethanol instead of wasting corn for it.  As to sugar beets, we can buy sugar from brazil and cuba for much less than we can grow it here.  But you know that.

          1. Potato blight is a much different issue than Round-Up Ready soybeans (now 95% of the market) and corn.  We're drowning in glyphosate. We could produce half of our liquid fuel needs from the ag and forest waste we generate annually. But that would mean the API cabal would be getting their oxen gored. We don't lack in resources, we're bankrupt in political will. 

            1. As I said, michael, I don't particulary want to drown the world in roundup.  But as the article I linked notes, there are some desperate problems gmos. Could fix.  I refuse to outlaw surgeon's scalpels because jack the ripper misused his.  And when did Monsanto become the devil?  I thought that was Archer DanielsMidland's job!

          2. I thought  someone had figured out how to make fuel from silage; or does it still take more energy to create than it produces?

            1. I don't think we're there yet but thats the holy grail. And it doesnt matter if you use more energy than you create, it's the form that counts.  I.e, use solar energy to make alcohol from silage, and drive your car without using dinosaur poop

      1. I didn't know about it. Thanks for the link. I find US Farm Report to be endlessly informative. They don't talk about hemp much, though…smileyMore people should get up early on Sunday to watch it. Just to see the advertising and their selection of topics is very telling about the state of modern agri-business…

      1. Are you only counting that calender “State Department Hotties"? featuring Madeleine and Hillary? ;Or are you including that famous photo spread of. Hillary and Elizabeth Warren playing volleyball at the beach in  Watch out for Warren, FYI  that woman can really spike the ball.

        sapiosexual. One who finds intelligence the most sexually attractive feature. “

            1. V., my friend, If there were justice in the world, then surely Hillary Clinton should have the Secret Service find out who you are, catch a flight to Denver, drive to your house, walk up to you… and give you a big hug.

              You are a true champion for your candidate, V., and while your judgement is faulty, your loyalty and tenacity are noteworthy and inspirational…and a big pain in the ass.wink

              Carry on…..

  6. You're going to see a lot of videos and reporting about the Nevada Democratic convention, particularly if you're active on social media or read Daily Kos.

    Some will be from Sanders supporters alleging that the Chair, Roberta Lange, improperly shut down debate on a platform motion, seconded it herself, and called the convention closed.

    Some will be reporting from mainstream news reporter Jon Ralston stating that no impropriety happened; there were more Hillary supporters in attendance, and voting on rules followed existing rules even if changes to rules were not allowed. You will hear that the 58 Sanders delegates who were not allowed to enter and vote were not registered as Democrats.

    You will hear that they were registered as Democrats, but somehow those registrations were "lost". You will hear that fights broke out. You will hear that one person collapsed and needed medical attention.

    Infamous fake video producer James O'Keefe from Breitbart News with the "Veritas Project" is pushing an old video (from 9/10/2015) purporting to show Hillary supporters improperly registering voters in a partisan manner. You don't need me to tell you that O'Keefe has zero interest in any Democrat being elected as President, and maximum interest in dividing the Democratic party.

    I'm not taking a position on this, as I haven't sorted out for myself exactly what happened 5/14/16 in Nevada. Only a two delegate advantage went to Clinton, so this is not a dealbreaker either way in terms of delegate math.

    But be aware that there are at least three sides to this story; the DNC / Clinton camp side, the Sanders side, and the Republican /O'Keefe side. I have been squashing the latter when I see it on Facebook, as it is going viral, old video or not.  Keep a cool head, don't fan the flames…..and please Don't let the O'Keefe side win.

    1. Well, yes, the long civil war is about over.   But Donald J Orc has released the full foulness of Mordor and is marching to lay waste to the shire.   The battered pikemen of Sir Bernie of the Mountain Green and the weary archers of Hillary the Fair must unite in one last battle.   The day may come when the forces of men and women flee the field before the hordes of fascism.  But believe me — that day is not this day.

    2. PR…And here I thought we were debating the merits of health care policy and how much it does, or doesn't cost. Shows to go ya. I agree it went on too long, way past the "nobody is changing their minds about any of this stuff" point. That's what happens when Polsters must have the last word.

      For you, it may be over. For me, if Bernie's candidacy is to mean anything, the ideas he stuck his neck out for (single payer health care, debt-free affordable college tuition, like the rest of the industrialized world has) need to still be pushed to the top of the "to do" list. And Hillary, if she wants the votes of the energized progressive base, needs to earn them by proposing and promoting them, too.


      1. yeah, I kind of thought we were substantive too, and I don't think a debate that compares a 2.2 pct surcharge on one plan with a 10 pct surcharge on a different base can be said to be partisan and bitter.  Okay, maybe we did go on too long, but I'll put our "link to your sources" challenges up against a lot of stuff.  There are worse sins than number crunching and if I wasn't old enough to be your father I might suggest a couple of themsmiley

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