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Has U.S. Democracy Been Trumped? Bernie Sanders wants to know who owns America?

#14381 User is offline   y66 

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Posted 2019-December-04, 09:05

Adam Schiff @RepAdamSchiff Dec 2 said:

Our report lays out overwhelming and uncontested evidence that Trump abused his power to coerce an ally into doing his political dirty work.

For Congress, the question is not of fact, but of duty, responsibility and allegiance to our own oath of office.

https://twitter.com/...0573597697?s=20

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#14382 User is offline   Winstonm 

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Posted 2019-December-04, 10:22

On a serious note: This is a quote from NYT opinion written by Bob Bauer:

Quote

The last of the papers, Federalist No. 85, linked demagogy to its threat to the constitutional order — to the “despotism” that may be expected from the “victorious demagogue.” This “despotism” is achieved through systematic lying to the public, vilification of the opposition and, as James Fenimore Cooper wrote in an essay on demagogues, a claimed right to disregard “the Constitution and the laws” in pursuing what the demagogue judges to be the “interests of the people.”


I read yesterday a new poll had found that 43% of Republicans agreed that they would be O.K. if there were no Congressional checks on presidential powers, that this president should be free to do as he pleases.

This was an increase of about 16 points over previous polls. This thinking is anathema to constitutional order. It is a vote for a king rather than a president. And it is quite dangerous thinking.

I do not understand how one could think this, nor do I understand how to counteract that type thinking.

“It’s just so unfair that American companies aren’t allowed to pay bribes to get business overseas,” Trump whines
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#14383 User is offline   y66 

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Posted 2019-December-04, 13:58

Congressman Denny Heck (D-WA) announced today that he will retire at the end of his term in November 2020.

Quote

Dear Friends:

With the bulk of the Intelligence Committee’s work on impeachment behind us, Thanksgiving week provided me with a good opportunity for rest and reflection. I thought a lot about the privilege it is to serve the people of the 10th Congressional District and to be one of only approximately 12,000 people in our Republic’s history to serve in the US House. This is important work and there are many parts to the job I deeply love.

...

In the spirit of complete openness, part of me is also discouraged. The countless hours I have spent in the investigation of Russian election interference and the impeachment inquiry have rendered my soul weary. I will never understand how some of my colleagues, in many ways good people, could ignore or deny the President’s unrelenting attack on a free press, his vicious character assassination of anyone who disagreed with him, and his demonstrably very distant relationship with the truth.

As has been observed, however, to some degree he is a symptom and not the cause or at least the only cause. The truth is that civic discourse began degrading before him. At times, it is as though there are no rules or boundaries. Success seems to be measured by how many Twitter followers one has which are largely gained by saying increasingly outrageous things, the more personal the better. There are simply too many hyperbolic adjectives and too few nouns. Civility is out. Compromise is out. All or nothing is in.

None of this discouragement in any way diminishes the bone-deep gratitude I feel for the privilege to serve in Congress and for all who have made this incredible journey possible — my family, the voters of the 10th District, my staff and all the countless people who have extended a thousand kindnesses along the way. So, unless it hasn’t been clear enough: Thank you! But it is time for me to retire.

I make this decision completely confident that there will be outstanding people step forward to take up the challenge to represent this beautiful corner of our great land. My only wish is that whomever emerges will remember the eternal wisdom of my former colleague John Dingell who was the longest serving member of the House in US history (59 years and 21 days) and who recently passed away. He would tell all incoming freshmen smart enough to seek his advice: “You have a very important job, a VERY important job . . . and you’re not a very important person.”

John taught us that we don’t “have” power but that we hold it in trust. It has been a privilege to hold this trust the last many years.

I promise to “run through the tape” until the end of my term and continue to work hard and give it my best. But after that, Paula awaits as well as at least two books I will write. And more movies and sleep and time at the cabin. Washington State so has it over Washington, D.C.

Finally, after more than 40 years of intermittent public service, know this: I got more out of it than I gave it, and I gave it all I had.

Gratefully,

Denny Heck

You hate to see it end this way. A cabin in Washington State sounds like a good escape plan.
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#14384 User is offline   Winstonm 

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Posted 2019-December-04, 14:21

View Posty66, on 2019-December-04, 13:58, said:

Congressman Denny Heck (D-WA) announced today that he will retire at the end of his term in November 2020.


You hate to see it end this way. A cabin in Washington State sounds like a good escape plan.


It sounds good until the brownshirts find it and haul you off for reprogramming.
“It’s just so unfair that American companies aren’t allowed to pay bribes to get business overseas,” Trump whines
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#14385 User is offline   johnu 

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Posted 2019-December-04, 15:58

View PostWinstonm, on 2019-December-04, 10:22, said:

On a serious note: This is a quote from NYT opinion written by Bob Bauer:



I read yesterday a new poll had found that 43% of Republicans agreed that they would be O.K. if there were no Congressional checks on presidential powers, that this president should be free to do as he pleases.

This was an increase of about 16 points over previous polls. This thinking is anathema to constitutional order. It is a vote for a king rather than a president. And it is quite dangerous thinking.

I do not understand how one could think this, nor do I understand how to counteract that type thinking.


I don't know if that question was ever polled before, specifically during Obama's 8 years, but I am 100% certain that when the next Democrat is elected president and Fox Propaganda Network starts their 24/7 defamation campaign, that 43% will be reduced to close to 0% within a couple of years.
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#14386 User is offline   y66 

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Posted 2019-December-04, 18:02

Laurence Tribe @tribelaw 1h said:

@RepSwalwell showed how misguided @JonathanTurley’s strange views of the impeachment power are.

House Judiciary Dems @HouseJudiciary 1h said:

@RepSwalwell notes to GOP witness Jonathan Turley, that his arguments against impeaching Trump are identical to his arguments defending a judge who was impeached for bribery in 2010, and who was convicted in the Senate unanimously.

https://twitter.com/...7270322176?s=20

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#14387 User is offline   y66 

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Posted 2019-December-04, 22:15

From Peter Baker at NYT:

Quote

WASHINGTON — When times turn tough, presidents can hop on Air Force One to escape the country for a while and stride purposefully across the world stage. But the world stage was not so friendly this week for President Trump, who landed back in Washington on Wednesday night to confront a grim couple of weeks ahead.

Mocked by peers behind his back at a NATO meeting in London, Mr. Trump abruptly canceled a news conference and bolted early, only to fly home to a capital in the throes of judging whether he is fit for office. After hobnobbing with the queen, the president now faces the daunting likelihood that by Christmas he will become the third president impeached for high crimes and misdemeanors.

The NATO meeting had seemed like an opportunity to demonstrate his global leadership like Presidents Richard M. Nixon and Bill Clinton sought to do with overseas trips during their own impeachment struggles. Scheduled long ago, the meeting allowed Mr. Trump and his allies to assail his domestic foes as “unpatriotic” for proceeding with an impeachment hearing while the commander in chief was overseas and gave him a chance to boast of his success in pressing the allies to invest more in defense.

But the visit was soured by a contentious meeting with President Emmanuel Macron of France and a hot-mic video that captured other world leaders making fun of Mr. Trump. In response, a sullen president said one of the leaders caught talking on the video, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau of Canada, was “two-faced,” and then slipped out of town without the scheduled wrap-up session with reporters, seemingly intent on not further spoiling the image of a successful visit.

“The Fake News Media is doing everything possible to belittle my VERY successful trip to London for NATO,” he wrote on Twitter as Air Force One streaked across the Atlantic. “I got along great with the NATO leaders,” he added, claiming credit for persuading them to increase their military spending, although wildly inflating the actual numbers. “No increase for U.S., only deep respect!”

Quarreling with foreign leaders, of course, never troubled Mr. Trump before and in some ways has domestic political appeal with a Republican base that cheers on his defiance.

“The president has never been much bothered by shaking up international conventions, so tussling with foreign leaders, by those standards, isn’t a bad thing from his perspective,” said Antonia Ferrier, a former aide to Senator Mitch McConnell, Republican of Kentucky and the majority leader. “For many Americans, having their president stand up to foreign leaders is a sign of strength.”

Sam Nunberg, a former political adviser to Mr. Trump, said the optics of the London visit would appeal to different elements of his base. “He held contentious press conferences with world leaders who are disdained in conservative circles while also getting the all important 10 Downing Street visit and greeting with the queen at Buckingham Palace, which always plays well with mid and high income voters,” he said.

Still, Mr. Trump seemed bothered by the conversation between the other leaders. Mr. Trudeau seemed to deride Mr. Trump for going off schedule to answer questions from reporters on Tuesday. “He was late because he takes a 40-minute news conference at the top,” the prime minister told Mr. Macron, Prime Minister Mark Rutte of the Netherlands, Prime Minister Boris Johnson of Britain and Princess Anne.

“You just watch his team’s jaws drop to the floor,” Mr. Trudeau said at another point in the video, expressing astonishment at Mr. Trump’s behavior. The other leaders are seen smiling in seeming sympathy or adding their own unheard comments to the discussion.

The overheard conversation came after Mr. Trump and Mr. Macron had engaged in a somewhat testy public session earlier in the day. “Let’s be serious,” Mr. Macron chided the president at one point during a discussion of Islamic State fighters.

At a separate session with reporters, Mr. Trump had complained that Mr. Macron’s recent comments bemoaning American disengagement with NATO had been “very, very nasty.”

The joking may have touched a nerve with Mr. Trump, who has long resented elites he felt did not show him proper respect or welcome him into their circles, whether it was Manhattan business titans or Washington political veterans. He visibly seethed in 2011 when President Barack Obama ridiculed him from stage during a black-tie Washington dinner.

“Trump doesn’t just want to be in the club, he wants to be the unquestioned leader and center of attention,” said Gwenda Blair, a Trump biographer. “It had to be both humiliating and infuriating that the other heads of state who were mocking him were untouchable by tweet or insulting nickname, but no doubt he was already calculating the next round of tariffs he would send their way.”

Foreign trips were a relief for Mr. Nixon and Mr. Clinton at similar points in their presidencies. As Watergate bore down in the summer of 1974, Mr. Nixon traveled to the Middle East and then the Soviet Union, reinforcing his peacemaking initiatives. Mr. Clinton similarly headed to Russia and Northern Ireland just after a grand jury appearance in 1998 and then later in the fall to the Middle East.

But in both cases, any relief was short-lived. Mr. Nixon ended up resigning weeks after getting home, and Mr. Clinton was impeached by the House only days after his return. The complaints about impeachment interfering with foreign policy rang loud then as well; Mr. Clinton was in the midst of bombing Iraq for defying international weapons inspectors even as the House took its vote.

There is no escape for Mr. Trump either, not in foreign cities, not in the Oval Office and not on the television he stares at upstairs in the White House for hours each day. His presidency is tethered to impeachment, his legislative agenda mostly on hold, his foreign policy overshadowed, his re-election on the line. He takes refuge in the boisterous and jam packed campaign rallies he holds and in the morning and evening lineups on Fox News.

While in London, Mr. Trump defiantly declared he would not watch the opening of the House Judiciary Committee’s impeachment hearings because he would be too busy conducting affairs of state, even as he lashed out at Democrats as “deranged,” “sick,” “nuts,” “crazy” and, in one case, a “maniac.” But while his blue-and-white jet headed back to Washington, he (or aides operating his account in his name) nonetheless blitzed out a couple dozen tweets recirculating posts from Republican allies castigating the hearing as it progressed.

At the White House in his absence, the atmosphere was somewhat surreal. The televisions around the building were tuned to the various news networks, especially Fox News, as they broadcast the hearing, but the volume was usually muted and aides sought to go about their business.

The White House refused to participate in the hearing, arguing that the process has been rigged by partisan Democrats, but it did send a couple of aides to sit in the hearing room and monitor the proceedings.

The assumption there, as elsewhere, was that the hearing changed no minds and the course of the next few weeks is already set — the House will probably vote by the end of the year to impeach along party lines, and the Senate will then hold a trial in which the president will not be convicted, setting him up to litigate the case during his re-election campaign.

“While I wouldn’t say impeachment is a good thing for the president, it is a highly divisive and partisan issue breaking down on party lines,” Ms. Ferrier said. “It has not changed people’s minds on the president. His approval ratings are remarkably consistent, in particular with Republican voters, and he clearly relishes a fight.”

But some who have been through this before said it was hard to put it aside. Dennis Ross, a foreign policy specialist who accompanied Mr. Clinton on his trip to the Middle East days before he was impeached, said that an impeachment vote remains part of a president’s legacy, even if it does not lead to his removal.

“Even though he may feel that he will be acquitted in the Senate because Republicans will not break ranks, and however much he tries to turn this to his advantage at a later point, the truth is no matter how you slice, it you can’t run away from the fact you were one of the few presidents who was impeached,” Mr. Ross said. “He obviously likes to be singled out, but not like this.”

The optics in London were good for Trump? I am at a loss to understand how that could be true even if the meeting was as successful behind the scenes as NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said it was.
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#14388 User is offline   Winstonm 

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Posted 2019-December-04, 23:03

Off-topic, but I changed my signature to a favorite of mine. I've tried to imagine what those promises are he has to keep - what is he doing out late and with miles to go before he sleeps? I envision deliveries of firewood, or maybe a doctor making house calls.
“It’s just so unfair that American companies aren’t allowed to pay bribes to get business overseas,” Trump whines
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#14389 User is offline   johnu 

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Posted 2019-December-05, 03:01

View Posty66, on 2019-December-04, 22:15, said:

From Peter Baker at NYT:


The optics in London were good for Trump? I am at a loss to understand how that could be true even if the meeting was as successful behind the scenes as NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said it was.

Sources have reported that our NATO allies were briefed on how to respond if the Manchurian President threatened to withdraw the USA from NATO in a totally random impulsive act (probably suggested by Putin). With that background, the meeting, even if absolutely nothing got done, was an absolute success. :rolleyes:
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#14390 User is offline   johnu 

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Posted 2019-December-05, 03:16

View PostWinstonm, on 2019-December-04, 23:03, said:

Off-topic, but I changed my signature to a favorite of mine. I've tried to imagine what those promises are he has to keep - what is he doing out late and with miles to go before he sleeps? I envision deliveries of firewood, or maybe a doctor making house calls.

Quote

Whose woods these are I think I know.
His house is in the village, though;
He will not see me stopping here
To watch his woods fill up with snow

My little horse must think it queer
To stop without a farmhouse near
Between the woods and frozen lake
The darkest evening of the year

He gives his harness bells a shake
To ask if there is some mistake
The only other sound's the sweep
Of easy wind and downy flake

The woods are lovely, dark and deep
But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep,
And miles to go before I sleep

Mixing movies instead of metaphors, I always remember the Charles Bronson movie Telefon where part of that poem is used to "wake up" Soviet KGB sleeper agents. Not to be confused with the Manchurian Candidate.

Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Q
Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Q
Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Q
Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Q

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#14391 User is offline   johnu 

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Posted 2019-December-05, 04:25

Why would anybody want Medicare for all??? What's wrong with the current system?

Brits Can’t Believe U.S. Health Care Costs In Viral Video: ‘Shut The Fridge!’

Quote

“Man, so if you’re poor, you’re dead,” one woman said after being told how much money she would have to hand over for an inhaler.

1

#14392 User is offline   Winstonm 

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Posted 2019-December-05, 08:04

Keep in mind Alex Jones was invited to the White House to visit Trump.

Quote

A former staff member at Alex Jones’s far-right conspiracy site Infowars has admitted to making up stories for Jones about the threat of Shariah law within the U.S. Writing for The New York Times, Josh Owens expressed his regret for helping Jones spread Islamophobic misinformation. The former Infowars video editor said that he made up lies about Islamberg, a Muslim community north of New York City, and accused it of harboring terrorists. After being told in interviews that the people of Islamberg were “kind, generous neighbors,” Owens writes that they decided to lie. “The information did not meet our expectations, so we made it up, preying on the vulnerable and feeding the prejudices and fears of Jones’s audience,” he wrote. “We ignored certain facts, fabricated others and took situations out of context to fit our narrative.”

“It’s just so unfair that American companies aren’t allowed to pay bribes to get business overseas,” Trump whines
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#14393 User is offline   y66 

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Posted 2019-December-05, 08:31

Matthew Yglesias @mattyglesias said:

Shouldn’t Trudeau and Macron have been mocking Trump in French?

My first reaction was incredulity that world leaders would act this way in public. That lasted half a second. The only thing more difficult than ignoring Trump is respecting him.

Edit: Will Trump now propose that we build a wall on the northern border and make Trudeau pay for it?
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#14394 User is offline   y66 

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Posted 2019-December-05, 12:09

Happy to see Dems pushing for a speedy vote on impeachment. That's what Trump says he wants too so I think we have a consensus.
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#14395 User is offline   y66 

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Posted 2019-December-05, 13:36

From The Legal Debate About Impeachment Is Over by Joshua Geltzer at The Atlantic:

Quote

The expert witness called by Republicans agreed that the quid pro quo—if proved—would be an impeachable act.

Quote

During yesterday’s House Judiciary Committee hearing, the three law professors called by the Democrats and the one law professor called by the Republicans disagreed on a lot. They disagreed on what George Washington thought of executive privilege. They disagreed on what Alexander Hamilton intended by insisting that impeachment be included in the Constitution. Perhaps more to the point, they disagreed on whether, at least right now, the House of Representatives should refer to the Senate articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump.

But the hearing was ultimately about the law. In particular, it was about whether, as a matter of law, the conduct Trump is alleged to have engaged in qualifies as an impeachable offense. And on that key point—the real point of the entire hearing—there was no disagreement whatsoever. All four witnesses’ answer was simply yes.

That wasn’t surprising, of course, coming from the Democrats’ witnesses—Noah Feldman, Pam Karlan, and Michael Gerhardt. Feldman’s opening statement set out with unmistakable clarity his legal conclusion: “President Trump’s conduct described in the testimony and evidence clearly constitutes an impeachable high crime and misdemeanor under the Constitution.” Karlan’s and Gerhardt’s bottom lines were virtually identical, agreeing that Trump’s effort to trade congressionally authorized weapons for Ukraine and a White House meeting for the dirtying of Trump’s political rival Joe Biden by the Ukrainian government met or exceeded the constitutional standard.

But the Republicans’ legal expert brought a surprise, if one that received too little attention. Jonathan Turley submitted an extensive written statement, in which he disagreed with his fellow witnesses in myriad respects. But as he delivered his opening oral remarks, he cut to the heart of the matter: “The use of military aid for a quid pro quo to investigate one’s political opponent, if proven, can be an impeachable offense.”

It was easy to miss this line, especially as Turley quickly returned to railing against what he consistently characterized as an impeachment process moving too hastily. But this was it—the whole ball game.

This was the legal question to be answered at yesterday’s hearing. This is the legal question that every member of the House Judiciary Committee will have to answer when they vote on whether to refer out of committee articles of impeachment. And this is the legal question that every member of the whole House will have to answer when they vote on whether to send to the Senate articles of impeachment for a trial there.

Indeed, this is the legal question underpinning it all: Do the facts, as alleged, constitute an impeachable offense?

On this, there was unanimity among yesterday’s four witnesses. On this, there was a clear, single answer to emerge. And that answer was yes.

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#14396 User is offline   johnu 

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Posted 2019-December-05, 14:05

View Posty66, on 2019-December-05, 08:31, said:

Edit: Will Trump now propose that we build a wall on the northern border and make Trudeau pay for it?

First, he will build a wall around Hawaii to keep foreigners like Obama out of the US of A. B-)
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#14397 User is offline   y66 

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Posted 2019-December-05, 14:07

View Postjohnu, on 2019-December-05, 04:25, said:

Why would anybody want Medicare for all??? What's wrong with the current system?

Brits Can’t Believe U.S. Health Care Costs In Viral Video: ‘Shut The Fridge!’

What's wrong with a health care system that costs more than the health care systems in Singapore, Australia, Canada, UK, France, Germany and Switzerland and, since 2014, has resulted in declining average life expectancy? It depends who you ask.

From Irene Papanicolas et al at JAMA (2018):

Quote

In 2016, the US spent 17.8% of its gross domestic product on health care, and spending in the other countries ranged from 9.6% (Australia) to 12.4% (Switzerland).

The proportion of the population with health insurance was 90% in the US, lower than the other countries (range, 99%-100%), and the US had the highest proportion of private health insurance (55.3%).

For some determinants of health such as smoking, the US ranked second lowest of the countries (11.4% of the US population ≥15 years smokes daily; mean of all 11 countries, 16.6%), but the US had the highest percentage of adults who were overweight or obese at 70.1% (range for other countries, 23.8%-63.4%; mean of all 11 countries, 55.6%).

Life expectancy in the US was the lowest of the 11 countries at 78.8 years (range for other countries, 80.7-83.9 years; mean of all 11 countries, 81.7 years), and infant mortality was the highest (5.8 deaths per 1000 live births in the US; 3.6 per 1000 for all 11 countries).

The US did not differ substantially from the other countries in physician workforce (2.6 physicians per 1000; 43% primary care physicians), or nursing workforce (11.1 nurses per 1000).

The US had comparable numbers of hospital beds (2.8 per 1000) but higher utilization of magnetic resonance imaging (118 per 1000) and computed tomography (245 per 1000) vs other countries.

The US had similar rates of utilization (US discharges per 100 000 were 192 for acute myocardial infarction, 365 for pneumonia, 230 for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease; procedures per 100 000 were 204 for hip replacement, 226 for knee replacement, and 79 for coronary artery bypass graft surgery).

Administrative costs of care (activities relating to planning, regulating, and managing health systems and services) accounted for 8% in the US vs a range of 1% to 3% in the other countries.

For pharmaceutical costs, spending per capita was $1443 in the US vs a range of $466 to $939 in other countries.

Salaries of physicians and nurses were higher in the US; for example, generalist physicians salaries were $218,173 in the US compared with a range of $86,607 to $154,126 in the other countries.

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#14398 User is offline   Zelandakh 

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Posted 2019-December-05, 14:08

View Postjohnu, on 2019-December-05, 14:05, said:

First, he will build a wall around Hawaii to keep foreigners like Obama out of the US of A. B-)

Sometimes a whole ocean isn't enough to keep the undesirables out... :blink:
(-: Zel :-)
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#14399 User is offline   y66 

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Posted 2019-December-05, 19:25

From Paul Krugman at NYT:

Quote

Almost exactly one year has passed since Donald Trump declared, “I am a Tariff Man.” Uncharacteristically, he was telling the truth.

At this point I’ve lost count of how many times markets have rallied in the belief that Trump was winding down his trade war, only to face announcements that a much-anticipated deal wasn’t happening or that tariffs were being slapped on a new set of products or countries. Over the past week it happened again: Markets bet on an outbreak of trade peace between the U.S. and China, only to get body slammed by Trump’s declaration that there might be no deal before the election and by his new tariffs on Brazil and Argentina.

So Trump really is a Tariff Man. But why? After all, the results of his trade war have been consistently bad, both economically and politically.

I’ll offer an answer shortly. First, however, let’s talk about what the Trump trade war has actually accomplished.

A peculiar aspect of the Trump economy is that while overall growth has been solid, the areas of weakness have come precisely in those things Trump tried to stimulate.

Remember, Trump’s only major legislative accomplishment was a huge tax cut for corporations that was supposed to lead to a surge in investment. Instead, corporations pocketed the money, and business investment has been falling.

At the same time, his trade war was supposed to shrink the trade deficit and revive U.S. manufacturing. But the trade deficit has widened, and manufacturing output is shrinking.

The truth is that even economists who opposed Trump’s tax cuts and tariffs are surprised by how badly they’re working out. The most commonly given explanation for these bad results is that Trumpian tariff policy is creating a lot of uncertainty, which is giving businesses a strong incentive to postpone any plans they might have for building new factories and adding jobs.

In that case, however, why doesn’t Trump do what the markets keep wrongly expecting him to do, and call it quits? His continuing tariff obsession seems especially strange given growing evidence that it’s hurting him politically.

It’s important to realize that Trumpian protectionism wasn’t a response to a groundswell of public opinion. As best as I can tell from the endless series of interviews with white guys in diners — who are, we all know, the only Americans who matter — these voters are driven more by animosity toward immigrants and the sense that snooty liberals look down on them than by trade policy.

And public opinion seems to have become far less protectionist even as Trump has raised tariffs, with the percentage of Americans saying that free trade agreements are a good thing as high as it’s ever been.

So Trump’s trade war is losing, not gaining, support. And one recent analysis finds that it was a factor hurting Republicans in the 2018 midterm elections, accounting for a significant number of lost congressional seats.

Nevertheless, Trump persists. Why?

One answer is that Trump has long had a fixation on the idea that tariffs are the answer to America’s problems, and he’s not the kind of man who reconsiders his prejudices in the light of evidence. But there’s also something else: U.S. trade law offers Trump more freedom of action — more ability to do whatever he wants — than any other policy area.

The basic story is that long ago — in fact, in the aftermath of the disastrous Smoot-Hawley tariff of 1930 — Congress deliberately limited its own role in trade policy. Instead, it gave the president the power to negotiate trade deals with other countries, which would then face up-or-down votes without amendments.

It was always clear, however, that this system needed some flexibility to respond to events. So the executive branch was given the power to impose temporary tariffs under certain conditions: import surges, threats to national security, unfair practices by foreign governments. The idea was that nonpartisan experts would determine whether and when these conditions existed, and the president would then decide whether to act.

This system worked well for many years. It turned out, however, to be extremely vulnerable to someone like Trump, for whom everything is partisan and expertise is a four-letter word. Trump’s tariff justifications have often been self-evidently absurd — seriously, who imagines that imports of Canadian steel threaten U.S. national security? But there’s no obvious way to stop him from imposing tariffs whenever he feels like it.

And there’s also no obvious way to stop his officials from granting individual businesses tariff exemptions, supposedly based on economic criteria but in fact as a reward for political support. Tariff policy isn’t the only arena in which Trump can practice crony capitalism — federal contracting is looking increasingly scandalous — but tariffs are especially ripe for exploitation.

So that’s why Trump is a Tariff Man: Tariffs let him exercise unconstrained power, rewarding his friends and punishing his enemies. Anyone imagining that he’s going to change his ways and start behaving responsibly is living in a fantasy world.

If you lose all hope, you can always find it again -- Richard Ford in The Sportswriter
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#14400 User is offline   johnu 

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Posted 2019-December-06, 04:02

View Postjohnu, on 2019-December-05, 14:05, said:

First, he will build a wall around Hawaii to keep foreigners like Obama out of the US of A. B-)

Yep, those new border walls are impossible to climb.

Trump Says His Border Wall ‘Can’t Be Climbed.’ Watch.

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Trump has declared the barrier both “impenetrable” and “unclimbable.” He claimed that 20 unnamed “world-class mountain climbers” were brought in to test the wall with no success. “This wall can’t be climbed,” Trump declared.

And now, the rest of the story: ICE brought in 20 seniors in their 80's and 90's in wheelchairs from a nearby long term care facility and none of them were able to climb the wall. To be fair to the seniors, they might have been able to climb the wall if they had been able to get out of their wheelchairs. :lol:

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And it can clearly be scaled on the actual border barrier as well, as shown in a video in Mexicali, just south of Calexico, California, posted by Deseret Sun photojournalist J. Omar Ornelas. The climber in the video uses a simple rope ladder to get up the wall and then slides down the other side. A second man slides back down on the Mexican side after a vehicle stops in front of them.

I haven't been keeping up with the latest in scientific discoveries, but what is a ladder and when was it invented? B-) I'll bet not many people knew that these ladder things could be used to climb up high structures.

I still don't know why they didn't build a a moat filled with sharks with frickin laser beams attached to their heads which would protect the border 100% with no wall required.
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