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Re: Trump presidency

Posted: Thu Nov 08, 2018 10:17 pm UTC
by Thesh
Pfhorrest wrote:Even the right-wing adoption of "identity politics" is itself an example of the same kind of thing I was laughing(?) at, the right taking a thing that they perceive to be an egregious fault of the left, something they love to complain and complain about the left doing, and then suddenly going "right then, I'll do that terrible thing back to you too!" even though it was never being done to them in the first place.



I think the identity politics thing is more about the fact that they see the change, and not the status quo, along-side the fact that when the status quo benefits white men, any politics that seeks to achieve equality automatically means less money for white men - the situation is easy to exploit with propaganda, especially when they already believe that free market capitalism is inherently equitable. The other economic problems we are facing with things like less in pensions as well as millennials living at home for longer with more expensive tuition just compounds all of that - if wages were actually increasing, and if the actual quality of life in this country wasn't declining for many people, then maybe people wouldn't see equality as such an attack on them, personally.

It would just be nice if they would direct their anger at capitalism and stop thinking about the past as being such a great place.

Re: Trump presidency

Posted: Thu Nov 08, 2018 11:16 pm UTC
by ObsessoMom
Meanwhile...while we're all distracted...

Trump Administration Quietly Unveils New Rules Targeting Birth Control and Abortion (Source: The Rolling Stone)

...on Wednesday...Trump’s Department of Health and Human Services quietly finalized two rules empowering employers, universities and nonprofits to refuse birth control coverage to women.

A third rule, also announced Wednesday, would require insurers on the Affordable Care Act marketplace to charge women a separate monthly bill for abortion coverage — a change that advocates say would be so prohibitively expensive it could force insurers to stop offering the procedure altogether.

Under the Obama administration, only certain churches and religious organizations were exempt from an ACA provision requiring employers to offer insurance plans with coverage for birth control. The new rules, set to take effect in January 2019, would make it much easier for any organization to deny coverage — all they have to do is claim they have “sincerely held religious beliefs” or “non-religious moral convictions” against birth control. The new rules make any coverage, essentially, voluntary: “Entities that object to covering some, but not all, contraceptive items would be exempt with respect to only those methods to which they object.”

Re: Trump presidency

Posted: Fri Nov 09, 2018 12:25 am UTC
by CorruptUser
Just want to comment as a health actuary. The birth control and abortion rider? That's going to have a negative price; people taking that rider will have lower health costs, because births are fricken expensive even without complication, and premature babies are the most horrifying expense any insurer will ever have to deal with.

Well, were the most expensive. In the next few years, it's going to be hemophiliacs, as ostensibly there is a cure coming out at a $500k per year for 10 years price tag. And unlike premature babies, reinsurance has outright refused to cover this cure by "lasering" out these members, i.e., refusing to pay the first $500k for a hemophiliac member.

Oh, and the hemophiliacs at $5m? Not actually the absolute most expensive case in the near future. Not even close; there's an orphan drug coming out at a THIRTY FIVE MILLION DOLLAR price tag. I don't want to be crass and say that we should, you know, let someone die, but with thirty five mil I could save far more than one life if I spent it on a struggling school district housing and other services for the homeless replacing the water pipes in Flint, Michigan hiring the mafia to strongarm the pharmaceutical company into making that particular drug a mere $50,000 one third of a fighter jet.

Re: Trump presidency

Posted: Fri Nov 09, 2018 1:41 am UTC
by The Great Hippo
I mean, I get your point (I think? Presuming your point is the absurdity of a 35 million dollar price tag), but I also want to stress that the alternative to letting people die is to not let pharmaceutical companies extort sick people for 35 million dollars.

Re: Trump presidency

Posted: Fri Nov 09, 2018 2:10 am UTC
by CorruptUser
But they don't extort the sick people directly, they extort the insurance companies who, due to the way the ACA is structured with the APTC, end up passing virtually all of it on to the taxpayers if Individual or to, well, everyone if on Group.

Yes, part of my point is the absurdity of the price tag, but part of it too is just from a societal standpoint, the value of a human life (and I mean value in a darker sense).

Re: Trump presidency

Posted: Fri Nov 09, 2018 3:24 am UTC
by sardia
I get that abortions saves money, but there's no way in hell any republican would ever charge women MORE for not getting an abortion. Pesky facts can't get in the way of controlling women's bodies.

Re: Trump presidency

Posted: Fri Nov 09, 2018 3:34 am UTC
by WriteBrainedJR
CorruptUser wrote:Just want to comment as a health actuary. The birth control and abortion rider? That's going to have a negative price; people taking that rider will have lower health costs, because births are fricken expensive even without complication, and premature babies are the most horrifying expense any insurer will ever have to deal with.

Hopefully the insurance companies do the right thing and actually structure their plans this way. Presumably the people who support these policies are a mix of misogynists who want to control women and corporate shills who just hate the idea of labor getting anything more than the minimum tipping wage out of their employers. Employers who just want to opt out of paying for things will opt into paying less to cover BC. The ones who support misogyny on principal will have to choose between their "principals" and their pocketbooks.

Re: Trump presidency

Posted: Fri Nov 09, 2018 3:36 am UTC
by WriteBrainedJR
sardia wrote:I get that abortions saves money, but there's no way in hell any republican would ever charge women MORE for not getting an abortion. Pesky facts can't get in the way of controlling women's bodies.


I'm guessing that the people who run insurance companies are more loyal to their bottom line than any political party. They're the ones who get to set the cost of insurance policies, not SCROTUS and definitely not the RNC.

Re: Trump presidency

Posted: Fri Nov 09, 2018 4:02 am UTC
by The Great Hippo
Oh, yeah. Insurance companies don't give a fuck about political policies; they give a fuck about money. If paying for abortions saves them money, they will pay the shit out of those abortions.

The disconnect between good, practical business decisions and unreasonable political positions is both amusing and frustrating. For example: I work in the petroleum industry. One thing we're talking a lot about now is how extreme weather conditions pose a significant risk to our facilities, and how we need to update our safety standards to address the increases in temperature, floods, and rising water-levels.

Businesses can't ignore global climate change; doing so would cost lots and lots of money. Everyone in the room accepts that it's happening. We just don't talk about why it's happening.

Re: Trump presidency

Posted: Fri Nov 09, 2018 6:56 am UTC
by CorruptUser
<rant>
In fairness, the oil industry itself isn't inherently to blame for climate change, any more than a grocery store is at fault for someone being obese. While the oil industry can be blamed for lobbying and misinformation campaigns, climate change has been known about and in pop culture for many decades. It's us, the public at large, who are to blame. We know our cars are bad, but the bulk of us choose to live more than walking distance from work, we try to avoid public transportation, and we just like the comfort of an SUV instead of a compact. We know in the back of our minds that manufacturing smartphones is one of the dirtiest industries known to man, yet not only do we put up with phones that barely last two years, this is the system we actually want because we have to show off that we have the latest phone instead of something from 5 years ago, even though our phones really don't need to do more than text, call, and browse the internet. We all know that red meat isn't exactly the most efficient use of land, yet we crave it in quantities that simply aren't healthy. At some point, we have to come to terms that all the problems we have, have us as the common denominator.
</rant>

Re: Trump presidency

Posted: Fri Nov 09, 2018 7:50 am UTC
by sardia
CorruptUser wrote:<rant>
In fairness, the oil industry itself isn't inherently to blame for climate change, any more than a grocery store is at fault for someone being obese. While the oil industry can be blamed for lobbying and misinformation campaigns, climate change has been known about and in pop culture for many decades. It's us, the public at large, who are to blame. We know our cars are bad, but the bulk of us choose to live more than walking distance from work, we try to avoid public transportation, and we just like the comfort of an SUV instead of a compact. We know in the back of our minds that manufacturing smartphones is one of the dirtiest industries known to man, yet not only do we put up with phones that barely last two years, this is the system we actually want because we have to show off that we have the latest phone instead of something from 5 years ago, even though our phones really don't need to do more than text, call, and browse the internet. We all know that red meat isn't exactly the most efficient use of land, yet we crave it in quantities that simply aren't healthy. At some point, we have to come to terms that all the problems we have, have us as the common denominator.
</rant>

That's a stupid rant. errr I mean I disagree because you discount political change over selfshaming. It's incredibly hard to get everyone to act better. You need institutions that guide, punish, and mandate behavior. A simple line in the tax code can save more tons of carbon than an entire city full of dogooders.

Re: Trump presidency

Posted: Fri Nov 09, 2018 7:55 am UTC
by SDK
sardia wrote:A simple line in the tax code can save more tons of carbon than an entire city full of dogooders.

And yet, the do-gooders need to exist in order to get that change to happen.

Besides, you can legislate all you want, but at the end of the day we need to show that life is possible without SUVs, without driving individually or flying everywhere we need to go, without an unsustainable level of energy usage. Eventually legislation is going to need to confront those lifestyle choices, if not directly, then indirectly. It'll make things a lot easier if half of us are already well on the way to making that happen.

Re: Trump presidency

Posted: Fri Nov 09, 2018 2:37 pm UTC
by CorruptUser
The legislation is what we the public want it to be. If there truly was the willpower to create functioning mass transit in the US, it'd have already existed. Yet we not only shun mass transit, but we built suburbs specifically to make it impossible to survive without a car, thus keeping out the poor and inadvertently causing obesity due to the inability to walk anywhere. Hell, some of the suburbs don't even come with sidewalks. So once again, our own damn fault, not the fault of the people who gave us exactly what we ask for; cheap fuel.

Re: Trump presidency

Posted: Fri Nov 09, 2018 3:14 pm UTC
by Zohar
I find this conversation a bit naive about how lobbying and voting actually works. In this election in CO people had to vote yes or no on proposition 112. A yes vote means you can't drill or frack for oil or gas in CO within 2500 feet of residential areas, the current limitations are 500 feet. This would severely handicap the oil and gas industry in CO.

The "yes" campaign had about $800K budget for it. The "no" campaign, backed by huge energy companies, spent $34 MILLION. In the weeks leading up to the election, at least a quarter of the ads I've seen (on YouTube and other streaming channels) were all about "protecting jobs and unions" and "supporting our families" and "don't let CO's economy be destroyed!". Almost every day I saw people with "Vote No on 112" in major intersections in Denver. I haven't seen a single advertisement or volunteer for the "yes" campaign.

The measure failed. Please don't tell me it's all about the voters and that the energy companies aren't to blame.

Re: Trump presidency

Posted: Fri Nov 09, 2018 3:42 pm UTC
by sardia
I understand that, but don't lay it all at the feet of evil corporations. For example, organic non evil bananas cost a few cents more on a cheap product. People still won't buy it. Same with non evil clothes that cost more. https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&source= ... gWF71qJPPr

Re: Trump presidency

Posted: Fri Nov 09, 2018 4:03 pm UTC
by Dauric
sardia wrote:I understand that, but don't lay it all at the feet of evil corporations. For example, organic non evil bananas cost a few cents more on a cheap product. People still won't buy it. Same with non evil clothes that cost more. https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&source= ... gWF71qJPPr


The flip side of this is "choosing to work close to where you live". I work where I can get a job, "where it is" is often less important than "does it pay my bills". Housing too is often a question of "What can I afford" not "Is it close to where I can get a job." I live out in the suburbs because it's cheaper to own a house and commute than it is to rent an apartment in the "downtown" that is close to the office I work in. Places that have lots of available jobs also have expensive housing.

Using public transit is a vicious circle. The buses don't go where I need to go with the frequency I need to get to and from work in a timely manner, they don't get my money, the public transit can't expand to have more bus lines running where and when I need to go.

The solution would seem to be government subsidies for housing and public transport, but the voting public doesn't vote for those bills (when they show up). This gets murky as well, because the private organizations that lobby against having to pay increased taxes to pay for those subsidies have large war chests to fight those bills (See Zohar's post above about Proposition 112), and those war chests don't just go towards publishing advertising, they go towards advertising research to figure out exactly what psychological buttons to push in order to get the votes they want, and the output of that research is terrifyingly effective.

Re: Trump presidency

Posted: Fri Nov 09, 2018 5:23 pm UTC
by CorruptUser
I lived in Providence, RI for a while. You avoided public transport during non-rush hour simply because the people on it were just awful. Drugs, booze, etc. Once saw a guy keep screaming that Obama took his money and that he was going to kill the president, and watched in horror as he got on the same bus as me; I got out and waited for the next one. Every night there was someone passed out drunk at the bus station, and the park next to there was unusable at any time other than broad daylight.

This is not a unique situation. But, the cities can't permanently bar the unemployable dregs of society from public transport, at least not in RI, as they literally have no other means of transport, so in effect the dregs push out everyone else. If you wanted to know why Rhodies put up with the mafia "encouraging" people to go to another state back in the 80's, well, that's part of it.

Re: Trump presidency

Posted: Fri Nov 09, 2018 5:39 pm UTC
by freezeblade
Alternatively, in the San Francisco bay area we have a half-way decent public transportation system (buses plus light rail), which quite a lot of people use. Sure, there is an amount of "riff-raff" and crazies who ride BART, but it is a known quantity and adds to the quirky aspect of our area. We are currently in the process of expanding the lines further out from the city, as more people have to move further afield.

Re: Trump presidency

Posted: Fri Nov 09, 2018 5:41 pm UTC
by jewish_scientist
Who wants the Messianic Judaism conversation be spun off into its own thread? I thought I should ask before writing a really big post about what I missed.

Re: Trump presidency

Posted: Fri Nov 09, 2018 5:53 pm UTC
by sardia
Please separate the Jews from Jesus.

Why is Trump denying he knows the acting attorney general? He usually saves that until they get trouble.

Re: Trump presidency

Posted: Fri Nov 09, 2018 6:41 pm UTC
by Chen
Zohar wrote:I find this conversation a bit naive about how lobbying and voting actually works. In this election in CO people had to vote yes or no on proposition 112. A yes vote means you can't drill or frack for oil or gas in CO within 2500 feet of residential areas, the current limitations are 500 feet. This would severely handicap the oil and gas industry in CO.

The "yes" campaign had about $800K budget for it. The "no" campaign, backed by huge energy companies, spent $34 MILLION. In the weeks leading up to the election, at least a quarter of the ads I've seen (on YouTube and other streaming channels) were all about "protecting jobs and unions" and "supporting our families" and "don't let CO's economy be destroyed!". Almost every day I saw people with "Vote No on 112" in major intersections in Denver. I haven't seen a single advertisement or volunteer for the "yes" campaign.

The measure failed. Please don't tell me it's all about the voters and that the energy companies aren't to blame.


At what point does it fall to people to actually do their own research rather than just listening to advertising though? I mean political advertising clearly works but I've always wondered why people actually give credence to these ads. I mean watching the political ads on TV its just laughable. They're so overdramatized and spouting half-truths.

Re: Trump presidency

Posted: Fri Nov 09, 2018 6:41 pm UTC
by jewish_scientist
Maybe he already knows they did something bad and he is being proactive.

P.S. I am I correct in assuming that thread would go in the Serious Business section?

Re: Trump presidency

Posted: Fri Nov 09, 2018 6:51 pm UTC
by The Great Hippo
Chen wrote:At what point does it fall to people to actually do their own research rather than just listening to advertising though? I mean political advertising clearly works but I've always wondered why people actually give credence to these ads. I mean watching the political ads on TV its just laughable. They're so overdramatized and spouting half-truths.
The political ads are targeted at specific groups, and don't represent the totality of their political strategy.

Even if they did, the fact that people are easy to fool in no way abdicates your responsibility to not fool them. I can con you with the same trick a thousand times over, and it never changes the fact that I am conning you. Exploitation is wrong -- full stop.

Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, still shame on you -- because trusting others is never something we ought to shame people for.

Re: Trump presidency

Posted: Fri Nov 09, 2018 6:53 pm UTC
by Thesh
Chen wrote:At what point does it fall to people to actually do their own research rather than just listening to advertising though?


When we prove the existence of free will.

Re: Trump presidency

Posted: Fri Nov 09, 2018 7:27 pm UTC
by Dauric
Thesh wrote:
Chen wrote:At what point does it fall to people to actually do their own research rather than just listening to advertising though?


When we prove the existence of free will.


Kinda this really.

When I said marketing research is "terrifyingly effective" I meant it literally, it's a cynical field that getting too far in to will make you question the idea of free-will, independent action and any intrinsic value to being a human being*. The outcome of a lot of that research shows human beings, as a group, are generally predictable in a "stimuli-in : action-out" kind of way. While there are exceptions, they're so numerically rare that they don't make a whole lot of difference to the predictability of the group as a whole.

*In my distant history I wanted to get in to computer game design, so I enrolled in a Multimedia and Computer Animation degree. The school's emphasis was on "Graphic Design" more descriptively known as "Commercial Art", I've learned more about the field of marketing than I really want to know in an "I accidentally read the preface to the Necronomicon" kind of way.

Re: Trump presidency

Posted: Fri Nov 09, 2018 8:02 pm UTC
by Zohar
Also, Colorado has one of the longest voting ballots in the country. It was three pages long this year. I'm pretty sure some groups use this as an exhaustion tactic to make people skim things and not vote.

Re: Trump presidency

Posted: Fri Nov 09, 2018 9:14 pm UTC
by Dauric
Zohar wrote:Also, Colorado has one of the longest voting ballots in the country. It was three pages long this year. I'm pretty sure some groups use this as an exhaustion tactic to make people skim things and not vote.


IIRC the big chunk of this year's ballot was "Should Judge so-and-so of some-judicial-district keep his position for the upcoming term". At least where I live there wasn't a lot on the ballot other than state and federal elections. I understand Denver itself had more.

But, yeah, Colorado regularly has three to four pages of ballot to parse while you're voting, and to say the voting guide is "dry reading" understates the "eating packets of silica gel" quality it has.

Re: Trump presidency

Posted: Fri Nov 09, 2018 9:50 pm UTC
by freezeblade
Zohar wrote:Also, Colorado has one of the longest voting ballots in the country. It was three pages long this year. I'm pretty sure some groups use this as an exhaustion tactic to make people skim things and not vote.


Is that it? Mine (in Oakland, California) was 5 pages front and back (Mail in ballot, for accuracy).

Re: Trump presidency

Posted: Fri Nov 09, 2018 10:21 pm UTC
by Zohar
freezeblade wrote:
Zohar wrote:Also, Colorado has one of the longest voting ballots in the country. It was three pages long this year. I'm pretty sure some groups use this as an exhaustion tactic to make people skim things and not vote.


Is that it? Mine (in Oakland, California) was 5 pages front and back (Mail in ballot, for accuracy).

You are a hero among men, congratulations on your victory, I guess?

Re: Trump presidency

Posted: Fri Nov 09, 2018 10:34 pm UTC
by The Great Hippo
Well, *my* voting ballot was a six hundred page proof that P = NP.

Re: Trump presidency

Posted: Fri Nov 09, 2018 11:22 pm UTC
by SDK
freezeblade wrote:
Zohar wrote:Also, Colorado has one of the longest voting ballots in the country. It was three pages long this year. I'm pretty sure some groups use this as an exhaustion tactic to make people skim things and not vote.


Is that it? Mine (in Oakland, California) was 5 pages front and back (Mail in ballot, for accuracy).

Seriously? I guess I never really considered what is fully entailed in the ability to vote for your judges. That sounds awful. I mean, I already thought the idea of voting for judges was awful, now I just think it's even more so.

Maybe Canada can make that a selling point. "Move to Canada! We only make you choose one or two things each time you vote!" Even the idea of my ballot being one full page makes me wary.

Re: Trump presidency

Posted: Fri Nov 09, 2018 11:39 pm UTC
by Angua
Yeah, in England the main reason you'd reach a page is due to the number of candidates running.

Re: Trump presidency

Posted: Fri Nov 09, 2018 11:43 pm UTC
by CorruptUser
Or if you wanted to see the topless teenager on page three.

Spoiler:
British newspaper

Front page: "Are pedophiles lurking in YOUR neighborhood?"
Page three: "This girl just turned 16, check out her knockers!"

Re: Trump presidency

Posted: Sat Nov 10, 2018 4:27 am UTC
by Magnanimous
Almost all of the races on my ballot (in Seattle) were for judges, and all but one were unopposed. I read the biographies of the two candidates in the contested race, and they were both just "I'm a judge, here is my judge history, I got a JD from <university>, and if elected I promise to do judge things".

I guess having them be elected positions is a form of checks and balances, but apparently our current judges are doing fine.

Re: Trump presidency

Posted: Sat Nov 10, 2018 1:02 pm UTC
by sardia
Magnanimous wrote:Almost all of the races on my ballot (in Seattle) were for judges, and all but one were unopposed. I read the biographies of the two candidates in the contested race, and they were both just "I'm a judge, here is my judge history, I got a JD from <university>, and if elected I promise to do judge things".

I guess having them be elected positions is a form of checks and balances, but apparently our current judges are doing fine.

Judge elections are hard because nobody tells you how racist or bad they are. Questions like are they harsher on minorities? Are they corrupt because they accept campaign contributions from lawyers that they then preside over? Are they having sex with their court people?

Re: Trump presidency

Posted: Sat Nov 10, 2018 4:28 pm UTC
by Angua

Re: Trump presidency

Posted: Sat Nov 10, 2018 4:33 pm UTC
by ObsessoMom
Re: finding out info on judges:

Spoiler:
From the bio she submitted to Voter's Edge California, here...

https://votersedge.org/ca/en/ballot/ele ... 2018-11-06

...I learned that Patricia D. Benke of California's Fourth District Court of Appeals is an award-winning novelist, so I looked up her books on Amazon.com.

I'm really not sure if her side career makes her better or worse as a judge, but I certainly found it interesting.

Re: Trump presidency

Posted: Sat Nov 10, 2018 10:35 pm UTC
by Thesh
Angua wrote:In lighter Trump news - Trump cancels visit to WWI cemetery due to light rain.


There might be another side of that story:

https://www.emptywheel.net/2018/11/10/i ... d-lawyers/

Re: Trump presidency

Posted: Sat Nov 10, 2018 10:49 pm UTC
by Angua
I can't tell if that's better or worse...

Re: Trump presidency

Posted: Sat Nov 10, 2018 10:55 pm UTC
by The Great Hippo
I mean, it's "good" if he's actually taking this issue (the egregious conflict of interest that Whittaker's appointment represents) seriously, though he's likely taking it seriously for all the wrong reasons (ie, he's worried about the political fallout).

I still find the media's obsession over matters of tone inappropriate. Deciding not to visit the WW1 memorial is a political faux pas, sure -- but in of itself, the story doesn't merit much attention. It strikes me as the Democrat equivalent of failing to wear a flag lapel pin.

It's a token gesture. Tokens can be important, yes -- but there are so many better things to be concerned about. Criticizing him for this comes off to me as hypersensitive.