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  • PCM commented on the diary post Parenting Without God by Dennis Trainor Jr.

    2014-09-15 06:54:19View | Delete

    A religious term: disciple. It shares a kinship with the term, discipline.

    But it means follower or devotee. Nice try, though.

  • PCM commented on the blog post American Hospitals Waste a Shocking Amount on Administrative Costs

    2014-09-09 18:22:01View | Delete

    I’m not going to bother digging up the citation, but administrative costs for American physician practices are around four times higher than they are for Canadian practices, for pretty much the same reason.

  • PCM commented on the blog post “Please do not think me irrelevant”

    2014-09-05 15:51:43View | Delete

    “Caravan of Jihad” is a great title! I can hear it now:

    People get ready
    There’s a caravan of jihad
    Don’t need no baggage
    You just get on board


  • PCM commented on the blog post Federal Reserve Survey Shows Wealth Inequality Worsening

    2014-09-05 15:29:17View | Delete

    Wealth inequality is worsening? But we have a Democratic President and a Democratic Senate! How can this possibly be? /s

  • PCM commented on the blog post Obamacare Subsidy Case to Go Before Full D.C. Circuit Court

    2014-09-04 16:45:55View | Delete

    I interpret erik’s “we” as meaning Big Health.

  • PCM commented on the blog post Can you please stop torturing your tortured analogies?

    2014-09-04 14:37:39View | Delete

    I agree wholeheartedly with the premise of this article. Munich Accord analogies should be reserved exclusively for Obamacare.

  • I appreciate the write-up, Kevin. You did a nice job of excerpting the red flags. I especially liked Hirsh’s unwittingly revealing use of corporate language to evaluate Greenwald and his work. (Has Greenwald, Inc., peaked? Is his stock dropping? Is he damaging America’s brand?) But I also liked his assumption of facts not in evidence (endless and seemingly indiscriminate exposure of American national-security secrets; a genuine present danger to Americans; a threat that is … growing more dangerous). It’s hard to say to what extent Hirsh is vindictively envious of Greenwald et al.’s accomplishments as real investigative journalists and to what extent he’s just personally and financially scared of displeasing their enemies. It’s probably a mix of both, with an extra serving of the latter.

  • PCM commented on the blog post The Roundup for September 1st, 2014

    2014-09-03 12:31:17View | Delete

    Oh, I should most definitely have added that French workers also get heavily subsidized, very high-quality daycare for their kids. That’s a big one.

  • PCM commented on the blog post Rahm Emanuel Given $100,000 By Comcast Before Backing Merger

    2014-09-03 08:43:14View | Delete

    I have always regarded Emanuel as a vulgar, foul-mouthed boot-licking corporatist who’s a pox on emblematic of the Democratic Party and the nation.

    Fixed that for you.

  • Right: the fact that our representatives, around 50% of whom, Democrat and Republican alike, take revolving-door payoffs in the form of lobbying positions alone, haven’t enacted any effective legislation against revolving-door payoffs is our fault. It’s not just the fox guarding the hen house, it’s the fox designing the hen house in the first place.

    I suppose there could be room for an enterprising “third party” to guard against revolving-door payoffs via a uniform private contract with their candidates, with substantial compensatory and punitive damages going to the party in case of breach. In some ways, it might actually be a preferable approach to legislation: (1) it would be a great screening tool to weed out self-serving opportunists; (2) it would be a great selling point for the party that adopts it; and (3) unlike congressional ethics committees and DOJ lawyers, the party would have an incentive to sue.

  • PCM commented on the blog post The Roundup for September 1st, 2014

    2014-09-02 11:41:28View | Delete

    Ralph Nader (writing in CounterPunch) is right about the Democrats being doomed, but exorting them to use a piddling $10.10 federal minimum hourly wage as a rallying cry is a depressingly unambitious, lesser-of-two-evils ploy.

    The gross minimum hourly wage in France is $12.27 an hour; the net (take-home) minimum hourly wage is $9.90 an hour. Purchasing power parity takes the real value of the French wage down (especially in Paris) compared to most American locales, but on top of the wage itself, French workers get comprehensive national health insurance, five weeks of paid vacation, paid sick leave, paid maternity leave, and — for the most part — protection from termination without cause.

    American employment law still draws more of its inspiration from the feudal system and the antebellum South than from modern democratic conceits. But that’s what you get in a federal system that encourages a race to the bottom in labor standards between states, with parochial labor unions that fight for the betterment of their own members alone and sell out their non-union brethren at the drop of a hat, and a single, specious “left-wing” party that is funded by big business and led by millionaires.

    A few days ago, a fellow FDL commenter posted a remarkably prescient Hunter S. Thompson quote from the early 70s. It’s worth reposting in full here:

    I have never been much of a Party Man myself … and the more I learn about the realities of national politics, the more I’m convinced that the Democratic Party is an atavistic endeavor — more of an Obstacle than a Vehicle — and that there is really no hope of accomplishing anything genuinely new or different in American politics until the Democratic Party is done away with. It is a bogus alternative to the politics of Nixon. [Emphasis added]

    —- Fear and Loathing: On the Campaign Trail ‘72

    Final thought: Nader writes that a Democratic minimum-wage bill died in the Senate because it could not pass the 60-vote filibuster threshold, somehow forgetting to mention that the Democratic majority could repeal the filibuster any time it chooses to. Minimum-wage earners (and the slightly better-off workers who subsidize their Medicaid and food stamps) desperately need relief, but I’m not sure that shilling for a party that’s done at least as much as the Republicans to outsource most of the country’s higher-wage blue-collar jobs is the right way to get it.

  • PCM commented on the diary post Man Who Defrauded EPA Calls EPA “Fraudulent” on FOX by Connor Gibson.

    2014-08-30 17:03:56View | Delete

    Ah yes, John Stossel. During the national “debate” on healthcare “reform,” I tried to track down the origin of a widespread canard that the only reason Cuba’s infant mortality rate was better than ours was because Cuba forcibly terminated any pregnancy that showed any sign of trouble and didn’t count stillbirths as infant deaths. I [...]

  • PCM commented on the blog post What Consumer-Driven Health Care Really Means

    2014-08-29 11:52:17View | Delete

    When my cancer-stricken mom’s insurance company arbitrarily started limiting coverage of her $1500-a-month anti-nausea meds to four pills a month (each pill good for something like half a day), I immediately filed an internal insurance-company appeal. And in the appeal, I let them know that I was already preparing a summons and complaint to be served on their registered agent the moment we received a denial or the decision deadline was up. The insurance company backpedaled within a couple of days. (Of course, the anti-nausea meds never should have cost $1500 a month — at Costco! — in the first place, and wouldn’t have under any of our peer countries’ healthcare systems, which monopsonistically bargain or set pharmaceutical prices.)

    My favorite incident though, was the surprise $30,000 balance-billing for her gamma knife treatment. It took a dedicated home-hospice-care social worker three months of haggling to get it down to $10,000.

  • PCM commented on the blog post What Consumer-Driven Health Care Really Means

    2014-08-29 10:54:41View | Delete

    The entire Congressional Progressive Caucus — the nominal co-sponsors of national single-payer bill HR 676, “Expanded and Improved Medicare for All” — voted for the Unaffordable Care and Patient Protection-Racket Act, which consecrates the specious consumer-driven healthcare model. Alan Grayson voted for it. Jim McDermott voted for it. Bernie Sanders voted for it. John Conyers, HR 676′s original sponsor, voted for it. I think that answers your question as to whether there are any Democratic Caucus members who “would dare challenge their fellow members AND their party leadership.”

  • PCM commented on the diary post Over Easy by Ruth Calvo.

    2014-08-28 22:12:48View | Delete

    I have two important observations: First, if it’s not going to hold me up for more than, oh, around two or three full seconds, I hold the door open for pretty much anyone as an everyday courtesy. For someone who could obviously use the help — people with their hands full, little kids, an adult [...]

  • PCM commented on the diary post Hobby Lobby: A huge gift to the left. Who’s your Daddy? by Rex.

    2014-08-19 10:44:04View | Delete

    “THIS” what?

  • Well, their all-payer system operates on a canton-by-canton basis and would continue to do so under single-payer, which, from an administrative and price-bargaining point of view, is pretty stupid for a country with such a small population. Sometimes I wonder if it’s because the industrious, hardworking German-speaking cantons don’t want to end up subsidizing the lazy, good-for-nothing French-speaking cantons, and the industrious, hardworking French-speaking cantons don’t want to end up subsidizing the lazy, good-for-nothing Italian-speaking cantons, and none of the industrious, hardworking German-, French-, and Italian-speaking Swiss want to end up subsidizing the lazy, good-for-nothing Romansch speakers. ;-)

  • PCM commented on the blog post White House Rolls Back Lobbyist Ban

    2014-08-16 12:35:05View | Delete

    I first read about this somewhere else and posted the following:

    Obama hired Wall Street bankers to head Treasury, hired the for-profit health insurance executive that Senator Max Baucus had hired to write the Affordable Care Act, to co-ordinate implementation of the Affordable Care Act, hired corporate representatives to negotiate the Trans-Pacific Partnership and the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership, and hired a lifelong cable and telecoms lobbyist to head the Federal Communications Commission. And that’s just off the top of my head. In this broader context, rescinding the cosmetic, semantic ban on registered lobbyists serving on government advisory boards hardly seems worth mentioning.

    Admittedly, Obama’s hiring a Monsanto lawyer and lobbyist to head the FDA’s Food Division was also at the top of my head, but the sentence was already pretty unwieldly…

  • Interestingly, in Switzerland’s canton-by-canton all-payer system, some major insurers have failed to unite with the others to collectively bargain provider price schedules in the past few years. This is one reason — but by no means the only one — a citizens’ initiative on replacing canton-by-canton all-payer with canton-by-canton single-payer will be held in 2015 or 2016. Polls show it has a decent chance of passing.

    In France’s functional single-payer system, instead of manning up and passing a badly needed, across-the-board hike in the physician fee schedule, chickenshit politicians instead started allowing physicians to balance-bill, beginning under Giscard and PM Raymond Barre in 1980. The practice has expanded to the point that today around 90% of specialists in Paris balance-bill. France still has a very good healthcare system, compared to ours, but balance-billing has greatly increased patient out-of-pockets and the cost of private medigap insurance and is establishing a de facto two-tier system. Well, at least they tell you upfront what your’re going to be charged, which is rarely the case here.

    Remember: In other developed countries, the goal of the healthcare system is to provide all reasonably necessary and helpful care to everyone who needs it at the most reasonable cost. In the United States, the goal is for “stakeholders” to extract as much money as humanly (and inhumanly) possible from patients, patients’ families, and taxpayers until (and after) the patient dies.

  • PCM commented on the blog post White House Rolls Back Lobbyist Ban

    2014-08-16 11:34:15View | Delete

    The facts of Caperton v. Massey Coal are what happens next. Roberts, Alito, Thomas, and Scalia were A-OK with those facts, and only the moribund remnants of Kennedy’s ethical conscience — probably encouraged by an antifascist minority that was significantly more impressive then than it is now — prevented SCOTUS from endorsing de facto judge-buying. Given Kennedy’s subsequent votes in Citizens United and McCutcheon, I have to wonder if he wouldn’t go along with the rest of the fascist wing if Capterton were decided today…

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