TarheelDem

Last active
20 hours, 42 minutes ago
  • That’s why I was so pleased that you framed this story the way you did. It got to something more fundamental that you have been implicitly reporting on for some time.

  • A very provocative report in the way you have framed it, Kevin.

    Some very interesting issues out of it. Provokes some fundamental questions.

    1. If there ever is such a thing as a democratic state, why would it need state secrets (even if protected absolutely) or an intelligence agency to ferret out the secrets of other states. Especially because the presence of this type of secrecy is the first corrosive of democratic governance.

    2. Is not the presence of official secrets the duty of the press to report to the people and to the world, and is that not the obligation of the press in every nation? If not, why not?

    3. How is it that the activities of parliamentary committees are not public?

    4. What is the role of and intelligence agency beyond being a clipping service of open-source media reports and widely traveled gossips? What exactly are we paying $50-60 billion dollars for as citizens in continuing to fund the US intelligence community? What types of skills and activities? How do we know when our money is well-spent and how do we know a grift?

    5. Is not a Chancellor who was born and grew up in the DDR expected to at some point to have come into contact, if not been employed, by the CIA? What would be the political repercussions of that knowledge being found out? To what extent has the government of the DBR been networked into the OSS and then the CIA from the beginning? Is there more or less than meets the eye in this flap over an outed CIA agent?

    6. Most large bureaucracies have competitive factions. To what extent is the exposure of the CIA activities one part of the US bureaucracy carrying on office politics with another with Chancellor Merkel and her government as foils?

    Just some thoughts that came out of this very rich presentation of this story.

  • Isn’t BCBS-Mass a Wellpoint company? As in the folks who wrote the ACA bill out of Max Baucus’s office.

  • TarheelDem commented on the blog post 1 In 4 Americans ‘Open To Secession’

    2014-09-19 14:14:23View | Delete

    Playing with the cross-tabs is kind of interesting as to who those 1 in 4 are. Also, “Don’t know” outpolled them.

  • As I remember that was a 10-year subsidy figure. Given the fact there is compared to the best health care systems a trillion-dollar or more gap that results from waste, profit, and inefficient administration, more cuts are likely only if the tax portions of the Affordable Care Act are repealed and the regulations on insurers lifted. So far, the subsidized costs are coming in below the budget, mainly because there are a number of states who have not extended Medicaid coverage levels. And there has been some trim-back in the total $2 trillion cost of all heath care in the US per year in the past year.

    IMO, the next policy fight is to end deductibles, co-pays, and balance billing. These are the pre-existing conditions, rescissions, and lifetime caps issues after implementation of Obamacare and form policy leverage to reraise single-payer solutions and the necessity of converting student loans to grants (including for health careers).

  • The reality of the annual enrollment period is approaching. I’m not sure how that falls relative to the date of the fall mid-term, but the price-change experience there could affect people’s opinions if it registers before election day.

    For most people, it’s the reality of what they got and what they are contending with that will determine how that affects their vote, and for some people it won’t at all. Case in point, an interview with a lady in Kentucky who loves her Obamacare coverage but is voting straight Republican because she’s been a Republican all her life.

    In our case, we have totally subsidized Obamaare at the bronze level. It’s major advantage when my wife broke her leg in the spring was that it held down the pricing of services even though we had not used up our deductible and still had around $225 in co-pays and $300 in balance-billings. YMMV based on state insurance commissioners.

    It is very clear after five years that the legislation that was put in place was written by Wellpoint and shoved through Congress by using Max Baucus’s effective veto over legislation that involves government finances. Progressives should remember this fact of Senate power if they ever are lucky enough to have one of their own in the Senate Finance Committee chair. The power to stop is an awesome power indeed. Just look at what Jesse Helms accomplished over his career by not being afraid to be called Senator No. You can thank him for Ban ki Moon, a clear result of the US Congress’s reform in the way it appropriates money for the UN.

  • TarheelDem commented on the blog post Once the American Dream

    2014-09-19 09:38:40View | Delete

    I tried to comment twice. I’m giving up for now.

  • TarheelDem commented on the blog post Once the American Dream

    2014-09-19 09:38:07View | Delete

    When I comment on the substance of the diary, the system eats it. Is this a database collision when two comments are submitted almost simultaneously?

  • TarheelDem commented on the blog post Once the American Dream

    2014-09-19 09:32:36View | Delete

    Testing – missing comment syndrome.

  • TarheelDem commented on the diary post Changes to MyFDL by Jane Hamsher.

    2014-09-18 11:11:48View | Delete

    Applause. Thanks, Jane and Brian, for as clear an explanation as I can imagine under the circumstances. (I administer a small WordPress site with no customization on vendor servers and I understand the technical issues with integrating other stuff with WordPress. You folks have done very well with this. Not trivial migration issues behind the [...]

  • TarheelDem commented on the diary post Changes to MyFDL by Jane Hamsher.

    2014-09-18 10:28:44View | Delete

    Thanks for the heads up, Jane. Hope that the tech staff is mapping out a way to get HTTPS by default and encryption by default as the technology becomes available. As best I can tell there is a global tech movement in this direction, especially in the open-source world. Best of luck to your technical [...]

  • TarheelDem commented on the blog post The Aggregating of Polling Aggregators

    2014-09-17 16:35:24View | Delete

    There’s a great number for GOTV activities.

    Is anybody doing any calculating of combined margins of error in those aggregations?

    Just how far off is this aggregation likely to be?

  • TarheelDem commented on the blog post Obama Has No ISIS Strategy

    2014-09-17 14:31:37View | Delete

    They likely would be pissed. But would that cause them to stop going after ISIS? That’s the bit about autonomous actions. The US doesn’t take down Assad, just provides aid to Saudis and Qatar to.

    Also, I made no claim for it being logical, just that that seems to be where the DC thinking is right now. And likened it to the Reagan-era logic of having Iran and Iraq fight each other while we armed both. And we both know how that came out.

  • TarheelDem commented on the blog post Obama Has No ISIS Strategy

    2014-09-17 09:03:59View | Delete

    And the Pop Warners are in the Senate and House Foreign Relations committees.

  • TarheelDem commented on the blog post Obama Has No ISIS Strategy

    2014-09-17 09:02:58View | Delete

    The President after bipartisan consultation and consultation with his national security and intelligence community direct reports stated the Washington consensus strategy. And branded it as his own, which automatically draws a relatively known percentage of obstruction and criticism to occupy the chattering classes while the military does its actions in Iraq and/or Syria or allows allied members of the “coalition of the whatever” to do their actions as autonomous tactics. Who said the White House didn’t learn anything from Occupy?

    Qatar gets to use Jabhat al-Nusra to attack Assad from the south. Saudi armed and trained FSA (whoever they are) and ISIS attack and overthrow Assad. Then Iraq with the assistance of the US and Iran take on ISIS. And the US claims to have beaten Putin–again. Israel is happy. The Saudis are happy. Iran is happy. Qatar is happy. What could possibly go wrong.

    Those aren’t cross-purposes. Those are the brilliant parts of the consensus strategy. It balances everyone just like Reagan and Rumsfeld did in the Iran-Iraq War.

    Coherence is overrated.

  • TarheelDem commented on the diary post Good News from Sweden – Sort Of by Deena Stryker.

    2014-09-16 19:17:46View | Delete

    The far-right parties original supporters come overwhelmingly from the center-right, but their ascension is typically marked by defections from the left.

    Say a little more about this shift in the parties. A center-right party splits and a little bit of the radical left allies with it? Is this an anti-immigration alliance to protect native-born workers from [...]

  • TarheelDem commented on the diary post A Modest Proposal for Dealing with ISIS or ISIL or Whatever by Ohio Barbarian.

    2014-09-16 17:03:03View | Delete

    Oil is important strategic reserves for militaries — control at any price. Military is largest user of oil in all countries. Civilian economy can be totally renewable energy and the strategic “interest” in bodies of oil will continue. One reason the “drill, baby, drill” policy is stupid if one is really concerned about US national [...]

  • TarheelDem commented on the diary post A Modest Proposal for Dealing with ISIS or ISIL or Whatever by Ohio Barbarian.

    2014-09-16 16:31:57View | Delete

    That’s an accurate observation OB IMO. If the last sentence was false, we would long ago be free of fossil fuels altogehter.

  • TarheelDem commented on the diary post A Modest Proposal for Dealing with ISIS or ISIL or Whatever by Ohio Barbarian.

    2014-09-16 16:22:04View | Delete

    In this situation, both Russia and Iran have acted as stabilizing forces–because stability reduces the likelihood of US troop presence back on the Tigris and Euphrates and potentially clears US naval presence from the Persian Gulf. What I can or can’t support doesn’t matter in the decision-making that is going on. If you have more [...]

  • TarheelDem commented on the diary post A Modest Proposal for Dealing with ISIS or ISIL or Whatever by Ohio Barbarian.

    2014-09-16 15:56:40View | Delete

    I’m done with your trolling.

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