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Everything posted by overtone

  1. I haven't seen much evidence of conservative "thinking" people ever coming to an understanding of the concept of "not theirs", when money is involved. Even their guru, Jesus, after taking time out and breaking things down into very. simple. steps. - - "Whose picture is on this coin?" - - had to admit general failure: as he put it, it's easier to get a camel through the eye of a needle than explain the concept of money that is not theirs to conservatives.
  2. Not mine. That is a response and treatment decision, that can be made regardless of diagnosis. There is no intrinsic value in ignorance. One does not improve one's health care, in abstract, via ignorance. There's no intrinsic gain. 1-3 are simply and completely true, and yes, 4 does follow. I did not agree that cost was a necessary factor in any stage of any comparison of health care systems. I excluded it. As the chosen statistic makes possible, quite elegantly, one can roughly but informatively compare health care systems independently of cost, and I wish to do so as one part or stage in my approach. I wish to do that because I'm usually talking to fellow Americans and one common argument in the US is that we may pay a lot more overall but we get the best care available overall. The fact that we don't, statistically, is telling - in my opinion, and in my experience dealing with Americans. The efficiency argument is muddled, with Americans, unless that initial situation has been made clear. Whatever they are, they are summarized in the overall statistic of survival after diagnosis. The goal is comparison of the systems overall, the big picture, not particular treatments. Quote from the abstract: Exactly. Don't do that, was my point. Don't use five year survival rates, and don't use rates "estimated to correct for competing causes of mortality", and don't compare just a few cancers or whatever. Take the big, summary, overall numbers by disease for the whole slew of major diseases and throw them up on a chart like the one I linked, and look at it. If the statistic I used was accurately compiled, and my memory sound, (and the chart I could find, and linked, supports it) that is false. That was the point.
  3. You're missing the point. 1) The availability of earlier diagnosis of major diseases helps - even dramatically - sometimes. 2) In a health care system in which early diagnosis of major diseases is often not available, this benefit is often not available. 3) There is no major disease in which earlier diagnosis itself harms the patient by shortening their lifespan after diagnosis 4) So health care systems can be compared by survival times after diagnosis for major diseases without worrying about whether early diagnosis actually helps, significantly, in every single disease. You won't go far wrong, get an inverted comparison, etc., overall. If your comparison verdict ends up riding on just one or two cancers, it probably isn't significant anyway. We were looking for a rough but indicative statistic for comparing entire systems. Your only concern would be overtreatment, excessive diverted resources - and this would only apply if the more expensive country were the one featuring the meaninglessly longer survival times, which is not the case - really, seriously, not the case - with the US.
  4. The Republican Party has been taken over by American fascism, yes. That's its current dominant ideology. This is no longer even an open secret - it's comfortably acknowledged, and the term is used routinely and accurately by anyone who can't be damaged by the PC police. US Lefties have been calling Trump "Il Douche" for months now. Taibbi compares his speech preparation routine to Mussolini's in a recent Rolling Stone article, and describes the theatricality of the show (Taibbi is an example of those who have long recognized the obvious but are still subject to PC concerns professionally, so cannot use the actual term analytically). That's mainstream, sort of (nobody like Taibbi has a chance at power chair in the major media, but he does get hired and paid by a legit magazine and occasionally invited as a guest on TV). Americans are only wary of the label, not the ideological reality, of fascism. Especially in the former Confederacy and its post Civil War extension northwest, where the antecedents of comfort with fascist governance highlight the living history of the region, it's not a radical or particularly extreme ideology. They just don't want to be confused with Nazis, because that would imply they were odious crackpots.
  5. The rise, corruption, evildoing, and fall of the Shah was not a result of Carter foreign policy (the incoming government was so hostile to Carter they aided in Reagan's election, more or less out of spite - although the missiles and other goodies Reagan traded to them were welcome). And the result was not disaster from the Iranian's point of view (liberation from tyranny seldom is) while the suffering and death that ensued was largely the work of others (including Americans - Party of Personal Accountability, remember?) The Iranians didn't start any wars, impose any sanctions, screw things up all over the Middle East, anything like that, in the wake of their Revolution. Neither did Carter - he was out of office. The biggest difference between the Iranian Revolution and the overthrowings since? ( - Tunisia, Egypt, Iraq (by foreigners, but still), Libya, Sudan, Syria, etc ) - it established some genuinely democratic government, and wasn't taken over by radical jihadists. So the question would be: what went right in Iran that went wrong everywhere else? Living in a fantasy world of rewritten history and physical delusion - What Must Have Happened, Given That Things Went To Hell But It Wasn't Our Fault, Is What Happened - is not really a bipartisan trait in the US. It's something the Republican Party does, kind of as a brand characteristic. Among Republican voters, a clear majority - 2/3 or more - believe multiple significant items in that list. The only thing Obama ever did that was "too big for his britches" was walk in the front door of the White House, rather than the servant's entrance.
  6. But all I am doing is comparing health care systems. Even all else being equal in prognosis, treatment, or amelioration of suffering, (which is true of no common disease) availability of earlier diagnosis is better, a characteristic of a better system - T or F? I'm assuming that a situation in which an entire country's people suffered no net penalty for a major fraction of them lacking access to early diagnosis of major diseases is rare. Take cost out of the equation and you could probably get first class boutique medical care in rural Zaire. The dark side of the moon. One strength of the statistic is that it does not depend on the reason for the poor performance.
  7. The best statistic I have found for quick and dirty comparison is not lifespan, which varies by many factors, but length of survival after diagnosis with one of the few dozen major diseases that can kill you. It works for me because it incorporates, summarizes the net effects of, and corrects for, a whole lot of factors difficult to measure individually, including preventive care (early diagnosis), ability to afford therapy (such as drugs, better food, etc), quality of diagnosis and treatment (too early hospital release, home care etc), tendency to impose worthless or more expensive treatments and therapies for whatever reasons, poverty leading to increased disease vulnerability, and so forth. In other words, it corrects for the common tendency to confuse input with output, expense and sophisticated capability with delivered benefit. And it works because it splits out differences between different cultures and medical care establishments in handling different diseases - stroke in Japan, diabetes in Polynesia, cardiovascular disease in the US, cirrhosis in Russia, cholera prevalence here and there - that can warp comparison stats. So somewhere on the internet, easy to find a couple of years ago, is a color coded chart featuring the 34 First World Country health care systems, compared by the survival times after diagnosis of each of many diseases (the big killers), these times coded as above, at (within one standard deviation), or below, the median of the other 33. A three value code: green, yellow, red. And countries vary by disease - some countries do better with certain diseases, worse with others, etc. Some countries (easily guessed) do better with almost all diseases. {edit in: found a related and similar chart, not quite as pointed but that I believe derives from the same data set, here: http://jama.jamanetwork.com/article.aspx?articleid=1710486 figure 4} The US is arguably, by eyeballing the prevalence of reds and greens and yellows, the worst of the lot, overall. Not just bad - the worst of the 34. One can make an argument for Turkey, but that's its only rival for the bottom performance. Almost no above median ranks, for any disease (iirc maybe one, two?) . Many below median ranks. It's not just that the US doesn't get good value for its extraordinary expenditures, but that it doesn't get First World standard performance from its system. The US system is lousy, way below average, even before the burden of its enormous cost is figured in. And this is something one can blame, pretty much, within reason, on the Republican Party. Of course various rightwing conservative Democrats played a part (especially before 1960) and many circumstances come into play (especially: race) but the primary obstacle to establishing one of the known superior setups for medical care delivery in the US for the past forty years or so has been the Republican Party.
  8. Ordinary rightwing conservatives have always been able to work with the Clintons. That's because the Clintons are ordinary rightwing conservatives. The question is not whether her fellow moderate rightwing authoritarians will be able to work with Clinton. The question is whether any current Republican leadership or powerful Congressmen will. And if they do, whether any of the more centrist or even the few leftwing folks can prevent another rollback of New Deal provisions, another round of deregulation, another NAFTA or CAFTA or TPP, another bubble and bust, and eventually another TARP accompanied by all the effects of extreme income inequality; punctuated by the bankruptcy of Obamacare, another doubling of the costs of medical care, a massive invasion of the US economy by Chinese "investment", and the bankruptcy of several large American cities. Followed by plagues (when medical care goes, bad things happen), floods (infrastructural and climate based), fires (forest and - from the service breakdowns in the cities - building), maybe even a little war and famine along the southern borders.
  9. Sure. And he's been on Republican TV - Fox, etc - at least an hour or so every week for years now. That's a big advantage in a situation like the one coming up on Tuesday, where the candidates simply don't have enough time. Meanwhile, polls are not very reliable here but they do have Trump leading every Super Tuesday State except possibly - only possibly - Texas and Arkansas, with his smallest indicated winning margin - 6 points over Rubio - in Minnesota. And he's much closer to beating Cruz in Texas than Rubio is to beating him for second - that's the biggest single prize, it's proportional, and Rubio is getting buried so far. The good news is that Trump is not very close to the winner-take-all cutoffs in any large State, and only some of those delegates are to be awarded proportionately by district, so Rubio probably won't get shut out the way he did in South Carolina. Here Trump is in Virginia snaffling off some more Cruz and - significantly - Carson votes: http://www.theblaze.com/stories/2016/02/24/ready-you-inspire-us-all-pat-robertson-to-trump-at-regent-university/?utm_source=TheBlaze.com&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=story&utm_content=ready-you-inspire-us-all-pat-robertson-to-trump-at-regent-university Here's a calculator you can use to see the depth of the hole Rubio is in: http://www.realclearpolitics.com/epolls/writeup/the_gop_race_for_delegates_an_interactive_tool.html The fairy tale world of the American wingnut is elaborate beyond belief. It has one central principle: corporate authoritarian rightwing government always knows what it's doing, and never fucks up. Everything else is adjusted to support that as a central fact.
  10. Trump didn't do any of that in Nevada, and he spent less than half the money Rubio spent there. Meanwhile Trump has a huge advantage if campaign time is limited in a given State, because he's been a regular on Republican TV in the Republican living rooms for years now. http://mediamatters.org/video/2016/02/22/newt-gingrich-you-could-say-that-trump-is-the-c/208720 Meanwhile, all the big States on Super Tuesday are proportional, either by State or by district, unless some candidate carries a landslide margin - the smallest cutoff is 50%. This situation is made to order for Trump. I can't speak for the Southeast States, and anything including massive snowstorms can happen over the coming week, but note that not long ago Minnesota handed Jesse Ventura something like 40% of the vote in a general election, and regularly sends to Washington people like Michele Bachmann, Paul Wellstone, and Al Franken. People with mouths. Trump's discourtesy and vulgarity hurt him quite a bit, but when it comes to actually choosing Abe Lincoln isn't on the ballot. Right now Rubio is polling very well in MN, but these same polls give him a nine point lead over Clinton head-up in the general, and that ain't happenin'. So there's something wrong with them. The press around MN is also fawning over Rubio, and the media is playing up his long list of endorsements in the State, but the press is despised by Republicans and the endorsements are from people like Tim Pawlenty who look good to people from other, distant States. (The local rightwing talk radio jocks gave Pawlenty the nick "One Term" when he was elected guv, and were only disappointed because a bunch of Blue Dog Dems crossed Party lines in the general). So it's looking tough for the young man, despite the reassurances of the self-appointed flywheels in the punditry and poll jockeys. He can do it, but he might have to pick up a pair of glasses like Perry (and Franken, btw), get a new image. (Last time I saw him give a speech on TV, he was visibly dry in the mouth - wetting his lips, working up saliva - but there was no water glass visible. He may not be able to drink water in public any more - which may actually be a handicap)
  11. Both are true, as demonstrated by the '08 Crash etc: the laws have been corrupted, and bad stuff allowed the enforcement has been corrupted, and illegal stuff left unpunished. What Angelo Mozilo did was significantly illegal. What BP did at Macondo was significantly illegal (and killed people). What the tranchers and raters did in the derivatives market was against the law. What the guys who rigged the LIBORG rates did was against the law - the US law, in several cases. What the executives overseeing the robosigners and mortgage steerers and automated foreclosure riggers did was a violation of criminal statutes. And so forth. These are matters of public record.
  12. Which extends the concerns about corruption to whoever ruled or legislated in that fashion. The Court ruling on Citizens United was not a sign that huge cash contributions to a campaign no longer indicate corruption, after all. It was a sign that the Court is under the influence. Currently, sure. But potentially? Thing is, it's a lot harder to extricate one's country from this kind of stuff than it is to prevent it. And we are not as far from Second World - banana republic - status as people seem to assume. Notice that every evaluation that gives the US a comfortably high status rating includes per capita income, mean household income, etc, among its major and emphasized criteria. That's essentially a confusion of input with output. If you ignore income, the US looks to be "at risk" - running the bottom edge of a lot of First World criteria, and dropping over time. There is such a thing as the richest banana republic in the world. If you don't turn around, you run the risk of ending up where you are going.
  13. Jon Huntsman - the last figure standing in the Republican Integrity arcade shoot - just tweeted that he would support Trump for President. He was speaking for the "No Labels" facade group.
  14. Political corruption is probably measurable by dollars from individual or family controlled interests, and the trend is significantly bad if appearances have any relationship to reality at all. K Street is significantly engaged in corruption, bribery, and influence - calling it "lobbying" is lipsticking a pig. Ex: John Kasich is not a disgraced former Congressman who traded on his political position for personal wealth, but a respected candidate for the Presidency - despite his career and circumstances being public information. There is a published corruption appearance index for economies, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Corruption_Perceptions_Index and the score of the US in it should disturb any American - especially when one considers that the sheer amount of money available amplifies whatever opportunities exist, observes that the trend in "appearance" for the US is supposedly favorable over the past few years, and notes the apparent correlation between letting businessmen do whatever they want to do and an appearance among those businessmen of there being less corruption - duh. "Verifiable data" would include such matters as the Iraq War, '08 Crash, and TARP bailout physical circumstances, which were simply criminal - period. When crime is public and unpunished like that, when the wealthy are in fact above the financial law even after the law itself has been publicly altered in their favor, that is hard physical evidence of corruption. Congressional committees are being employed to harass and persecute scientific researchers, at the behest of rich people whose interests are threatened by physical circumstance. That is hard physical evidence of corruption. The public discourse dealing with political issues of significance to specific centers of wealth and power in the major media news outlets is coordinated, in phrase and focus and choice of spokesman, and omits entire aspects of these matters. That is hard physical (statistical) evidence of corruption. Other trends aligning the US with future banana republic status: 1) consolidation of land ownership, and increasing exploitation of public land by private interests. 2) concentration of wealth - the "400 families" syndrome 3) increasing economic reliance on raw commodities - the "oil curse", and the source of the term "banana republic" 4) decreasing socioeconomic mobility, stratification of social and economic classes 5) increasing debt, both public and private, without increased taxation of the consolidating wealth. 6) Increasing absentee ownership of major economic and physical resources It's probably a lot easier to avoid or prevent a slide into bananadom than it is to dig one's way back out. The land reform opportunity the US took advantage of with the Civil War and the Homestead Acts, for example, is never coming back - future deconsolidation of land ownership in the US will involve taking the land away from wealthy and powerful people.
  15. That's not the main Law. The Law of Heaven On Earth: "Eat And Be Eaten" The Law of Hell On Earth: "Eat Or Be Eaten" They are not the same Law.
  16. Any human being actually tone-deaf would be unable to speak any of the major Chinese languages, or recognize the difference between a question and a statement in English.
  17. Rubio needs to win more primaries than Trump wins from now on, to have a chance. He needs to win more primaries than Trump and Cruz combined, to have a decent chance. Actually win them - beat Cruz and Trump both, simultaneously. He needs that to have a good chance of overcoming Trump's lead in the delegates. If he picks up every single one of Jeb's votes, and stalls there, he's sunk - and I privately suspect Clinton will get share of even them, in any State that allows crossover primary balloting. He has to pick up close to 2/3 of Cruz's current support, on top of essentially all of everybody (nontrump) else's, to come out of the Convention with the nomination. And the fundies tend to be bigots - Rubio doesn't look as white as Cruz, and his religious affiliations are all over the place but highlighting Roman Catholic (which doesn't make him any more white). Plus he's kind of - how to put it - slow on the trigger. He's rated higher among people who haven't heard him talk much. He's not the favorite, right now. And most of the primaries on Super Tuesday award delegates by district and statewide proportionately given normal vote totals, with fairly high cutoffs for winner take all - Rubio not only has to win them, he has to win them big enough and by district. If all he does is, say, invert the percentages by which Trump won SC in the five largest States, he'll come out of Super Tuesday still well behind in the delegate count. And if Trump does in Georgia and Tennessee what he did in South Carolina, takes Alaska by a good margin, comes in a strong second to Cruz in Texas, and holds in the high 20s% (finishing strong second at worst) everywhere else, he'll come out of that bad day for him with a delegate lead in the hundreds. Even Betfair, a foreign site whose common member thinks Trump is some kind of American joke, has Trump over Rubio, and a better than 50% shot to win the nomination. edit in: Saw something genuinely funny on CNN, right after they announced that Trump had received every single delegate from SC - all 50. The yakgroup around the format desk was weighing in with bafflement regarding Trumps popularity among the religious in SC, and then one said this, or words to this effect (going by memory on the quote): "Now that Trump has established his credibility, we {the general news punditry} should probably start paying attention to his campaign." No kidding. "Start" is a firm quote, as is "credibility". The rest of them nodded in agreement, and went on to matters of contention.
  18. Knotting his tie wider, so his head would look less like a vegetable on a stick, apparently didn't turn things around. So waterglass Rubio is stepping into the Klieg lights, the hopes of the nation on his shoulders - which would look a bit more comfortable under a Cub Scout neckerchief. The last time, 2000, the Rep ticket discarded the whack, combined the evil and dumb on the one ticket, and everybody knew (wink, nudge) that the dumb wasn't going to be running everything. I doubt Cruz will accept either discard or VP. Neither will Trump. So the path forward is a murky one.
  19. And the chorus of the pundits are all saying the same thing: "nobody saw this coming". Nobody except the actual "left" - the bloggers, genuine liberals, and so forth. You know, the people who have been consistently correct in their assessments of US economics and politics for decades now. The fact that nobody on TV saw this coming six months ago means that the people who saw it coming were not, and still are not, on TV. Why is that? Relax, it's all pandering bs. It will ruin American social and economic policy, both foreign and domestic, but it's still bs. Except the tax cuts continuing the cratering of the economy of the non-rich, of course - that's serious - but there's no difference between Trump and any other major Republican politician in that respect. That's been the Party's reason for existing since 1980. So there's nothing to fear, for a Republican Party voter, except the fact that your entire Party has been a sewer of batshit incompetence and malign evil eroding the foundations of America for forty years, and the damage is approaching critical life support issues. Trump is just part of the Limbaugh, Reagan, Gingrich, Cheney, Ailes, Murdoch, Palin, Atwater, Rove, Haggard, Koch, Axis of Family Values. He fits right in. He belongs. There's nothing any scarier about him than the R after his name on the ballot.
  20. Kasich went from influential roles in the House Committees involving welfare reform, Medicare provisions, and banking regulation as well as preferential taxation (with a side trip into impeaching Clinton just before Gramm slid the worst of the deregulatory provisions into a House budget bill directly under Kasich's purview, more or less guaranteeing no veto or even discovery), from those roles in the House, where his office was a must stop for every Medicare and SS and financial industry lobbyist on K Street, into lucrative paid work for Fox Television bashing Clintons and other Democrats, highly paid sinecure board memberships in companies that made such things as those Kasich-influenced government-paid scooters you see advertised on TV, and last but not least a job that made him a millionaire if he wasn't one already: a six year gig as managing director of the investment banking services of Lehman Brothers in his home State of Ohio: the exact role in the exact industry he and his budget initiatives and his tax policy efforts and his buddyship with the likes of Gramm had deregulated the most significantly and handed the biggest tax breaks. His last year paid directly was 2008, the year of the Crash and TARP, "earning" six figures in salary he could write off his house against, and more than 400k in a "bonus" taxed at the capital gains rate - just as the legislation he had fought for provided. So he's a nice guy. Great. He and most of the rest of those guys on the Republican stage would be in jail, if the US had functioning anti-corruption laws.
  21. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Quipu There are accounts of quipu being used to tell, or remind the teller, of narrative accounts, but they are anecdotal. The only solid translation of any of them so far has been as numerical records, counts and sums of counts, the kinds of records merchants and government officials would keep. The Spanish burned them, by policy. No clearer indication of the purpose of the Spanish Conquest is imaginable.
  22. Hence my mild but insistent objection to language like this: "it's all got spin, left and right". Most of it has spin: right only. I think they would rather have Clinton than Cruz or Trump. More reliable, stable, "reform" = more reliable tax cuts and power entrenchment for them. W was fun, and enriching, but he came close to costing them the goose itself. And this Party base they built is suddenly worrying - they weren't paying attention, and now that they are getting a better look they see some infelicities.
  23. There is no consistently "left" spin in any major American source of news. It's not even encountered in individual reporting events very often. Unspun recountings of physical fact often appear described in the major media as spun"left", or from the "left" viewpoint, and this practice goes back decades now - witness the rightwing corporate boycott of Scientific American after its analysis of Reagan's Star Wars initiative.
  24. Not in the national political scene, with high Party status. The ones that don't beat the drum are more extreme, not moderate.
  25. They are on the wingnut fringe. Rand Paul is one of three members of Congress - two Senators and a Representative - to have received 100% ratings from the John Birch Society. As of 2015. https://votesmart.org/interest-group/1627/rating/8763?p=1&of=#.VsPQU1IYI4M James (Snowball) Inhofe only made 90%. The notion that the "non-establishment" Republicans are different in a good way from the "establishment" ones, that there is somewhere and somehow a cadre of Republican politicians with achieved national stature who are not part of what the Republican Party has become, is wishful thinking. It's been too long and too far down this road.
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