Comments Posted By sknabt
Displaying 1 To 10 Of 37 Comments

WHY GEITHNER HAS GOT TO GO

"GOP Senators won’t make a stink because the issue of Geithner’s taxes isn’t on the radar. And the reason its not on the radar is because the press is not covering the issue the way they should and frame it as an 'pic Fail' (a term we will be using a lot over the next 4 years I suspect) of the Obama Administration to live up to their own campaign promise to reform Washington and change the way the government does business." [emphasis added]

Ah yes. Any conservative in any argument can parrot the liberal media cover-up meme. Funny, a Google search of "Geithner taxes" using their news filter grabs 4,333 hits.

The real story is the mainstream media isn't obsessing over the issue as much as right-wing talk radio, the red blogs, and Fox News is. Proof of left-wing bias. ;)

Do I think Geithner is probably fudging? Probably. Want to kick him to the corner over this? Fine. We'll probably lose a very (if not the most) competent man for the job. But that's okay, I'm sure we can dig up someone else.

But the real issue here is a chance for the far right to sanctimoniously thump their chests and poke a stick in the eye of Obama, the real target.

That's how we can have Rush Limbaugh and his clones obsessing over a couple hundred dollar Edwards haircut while ho-humming over Palin spending obscene amounts on cloths and a personal make-up artist.

While I don't condone Geithner dodging taxes since I pay mine, I'm not going to kid myself right-wingers aren't going to hyperventilate over any candidate Obama selects unless he/she shares their tax-cut cure-all simple-mindedness and preference for economic Darwinism.

You're as hypocritical as Obama. And the point about the media is being made not just by the right but by many others as well - including Burns in Politico and MSNBC among others.

Excuse the sin because the guy is the "most qualified?" The irony is killing me.

ed.

Comment Posted By sknabt On 16.01.2009 @ 14:50

THE MASSACHUSETTS HEALTH INSURANCE BOONDOGGLE

Rick,

Hilarious. I'm guilty of "spin" as you go on to rant about "idiots in the Democratic party" which is nothing but partisanship.

My "spin" is traced to an insurance class I took back in college. A fundamental principle of insurance is pooling risk.

The concept of mandating health insurance participation is that letting, say, the young healthy demographic opt out restricts the pool to heavier consumers of health care that jacks up costs. Plus, the uninsured - even under McCain's approach - aren't going to be refused emergency health care so the insured end up paying for much of these costs anyway. So don't start thumping your chest I'm making your argument for you.

Overlooked in your partisan reaction to my discussion of an idea to help fix Massachusetts' plan is the heart of McCain's approach follows the same strategy. I'm suggesting offering cheap, catastrophic insurance to help solve Massachusetts' problem, an idea McCain would agree with.

However, he gets there is a curious way more wed to conservative's addiction to tax cuts (or, more specifically, tax credits in this case) being the universal fix-all for everything from deficits to jock itch rather than sound insurance theory.

McCain hopes to force us all out of employer coverage by removing their tax credits for providing us coverage while substituting them with more or less offsetting tax credits. Medical savings accounts would further help ease the pain of paying for health insurance.

The assumption is this would be enough for folks to afford catastrophic insurance policies with high deductibles. Most people would pay routine procedures out of pocket providing a greater disincentive to use health care services relative to modest co-pays typical of most employer's plans which, in turn, would reduce medical costs for all - basic supply and demand.

To increase competition amongst insurers, McCain will allow people to cross state borders to buy health insurance.

You see the obvious flaw with his plan. Where's the pooled risk in his every man, woman, and child for themselves approach? Through my employer, my health insurance is very affordable because I share the same risk pool with all employees. Under McCain's plan I'm on my own and since I have a serious pre-existing condition I'm going to see my premiums jacked through the roof. Based upon the personal experiences of a friend with a pre-existing condition forced to look into buying a catastrophe plan in the open market, there's a reasonable probability I'd fall into the ranks of the uninsured under McCain's plan.

Which brings us to the uninsured. Small businesses. The self-employed. People not in large pools need access to health insurance that's priced based on a large risk pool. Universal plans like Massachusetts', Clinton's, and Obama's hope to provide one through private insurers. Which brings us back full circle to the force them in versus choice argument.

Now you'll argue you're far more generous than McCain and double the tax credit. I'm still far in the red and doesn't that send the projected costs of the McCain play skyrocketing past, say, Obamas'?

As we both agree, there's no free lunch and, in the end, the costs are shifted to the insured.

My only worry - and my larger point - is that health care in America is so expensive I'm not sure any plan is an affordable fix. Having some insight into, say, the general incompetence of many hospitals in managing their costs and accounts/receivables, I don't share your partisan opinion of playing the stereotypical conservative who simply blames government for everything.

Comment Posted By sknabt On 11.01.2009 @ 20:25

The choice argument is a curious one.

The typical example is of the young person choosing not to pay for health insurance. They're early in their careers so they lack the money to purchase health insurance and tend to be healthy so they don't need it. Sounds reasonable until an uninsured 20-something needs major health care.

In the state I'm in (I assume it's typical) they can't be refused emergency treatment in a hospital. You complain that universal health care forces the medical profession to work for the IRS. In this case, they get to be a collection agency. Problem is, there's legal limits on collections, again in my state, and, as a practical matter, I understand from a friend who used to work for a medical billing subcontractor these costs are often absorbed by the hospital. Which is to say, it's passed onto insured folks like myself.

People not in my state may not be so lucky regarding collections. We've all heard the horror stories of folks losing their houses and driven into bankruptcy by medical bill collectors. I personally know a man who, despite being protected under the law, became mired in debt giving into medical bill collectors hounding him for tens of thousands of dollars in claims - he was ignorant of his legal rights.

When complaining about the "skyrocketing" costs in Massachusetts you pretend the current system isn't suffering from serious medical inflation. Why not ask the question if it's worse in Massachusetts is it fixable?

Reading the Examiner editorial, one problem appears to be the Massachusetts plan includes unnecessary treatments. Perhaps part of the fix is to offer through private insurers a 'cafeteria' range of plans so low-income and young people can opt into a minimal catastrophic plan.

Ideally, all people from the elderly under Medicare to young people in perfect health just joining the work force would be covered in a universal plan. As a practical matter, I'm not sure we get there because the real issue is that health care in America is insanely expensive regardless the approach we take.

Which leaves us with the 'choice' of the status quo where millions are uninsured, a number that's likely to grow over time, and most of the rest pray their employers keep eating the high rate of medical inflation or offer health insurance at all OR we dramatically raise taxes to cover subsidies for the millions who can't afford premiums under any system.

This week I heard that the quality of health care in America for those who are insured ranks 30-something in the world based upon outcomes. Yet, we're at or near the top in costs. So, essentially, the status quo is very high price, so-so quality. Odd that this is the system you choose to defend.

I personally have a history of cancer. So if I get laid off, I'll never find affordable health insurance. Based upon the experience of another, when you fall into that category you essentially can't get any health care except maybe pain killers until you become so sick you end up in the emergency ward.

Keep shilling for the status quo. I guess it's a logical extension of the right-wing ideology of destructive capitalism.

Thank you for proving my point so spectacularly. "Passing on the costs to the insured" will cause the premiums offered by the government to either go up substantially or cause the government to invest the difference. Within 5 years of the introduction of any national health insurance program, costs will have doubled.

And who said anything about maintaining the "status quo?" There are a variety of plans and they all deal with reforming the current government mess - largely responsible for skyrocketing costs in the first place - and substituting tax credits (about twice what McCain was offering) and, for those who are uninsured but want health insurance, a government run group plan that would include individuals and small businesses administered by a consortium of private carriers but estimated to cost about 1/5 of what the Democratic plans are topping out at. What's important is to stop the precipiate rise in the cost of premiums. Any hope that any plan on earth can reduce premiums is idiotic - unless you want to ration care at the same time.

There is no possible way that national health insurance will do what proponents say it will do nor cost what they say it will cost. To believe otherwise is to believe in the tooth fairy - cute but utterly devoid of logic and completely unaware of history.

Face it. There's no spin you can put on mandated plans that doesn't involve the coercion of massive numbers of people and the certainty that the program like every single other entitlement program ever invented by government, will cost many, many times more than we are confidently told by the idiots in the Democratic party who have saddled us with so many failed social experiments.

ed.

Comment Posted By sknabt On 11.01.2009 @ 14:59

IS 'BARACK THE MAGIC NEGRO' RACIST?

Many years ago a conservative friend turned me onto Rush Limbaugh's now defunct television show.

Limbaugh's typical modus operandi was to use weasel words to provide an out masking really questionable talking points.

Where my tolerance for his shtick ended was when, best I can recall, he ran a clip of apes or monkeys acting up in a drive-thru zoo. They were beating on cars or whatever. I forget Limbaugh's lines but essentially he implied they were behaving like blacks.

Naturally, the NAACP complained. The next show Limbaugh waved a small press clipping of the NAACP's complaint in the air like a soldier waving a medal of honor. Beaming with pride, he carefully parsed his words to feign innocence which gave him an excuse to replay the tape.

While I don't personally think Rush is a racist, he's clearly a tone-deaf partisan ready to using race baiting bigotry to attract attention to himself. I dumped his television show after that embarrassed I got sucked into watching it at all.

His "Barack the Magic Negro" skit falls right in line. I've heard Rush apologize for it by dissecting it bit by bit to prove its innocence.

The problem, Rick, is Rush's acting up is radioactive. The title of the song alone is offensive. You and your far right buddies can flap your jaws all you want trying to apologize for it but who's going to listen except the same old dittohead crowd that was bobble-heading their satisfaction from day one?

Once upon a time I thought the right-wing talk radio propaganda machine was an RNC strength. However, this election cycle that group of extremists ran their course. The difference, IMHO, is when Rush and his ilk started spewing their talking points they were fresh ideas. However, America's experienced most of this stuff in practice so the old spin can't mask new realities.

Comment Posted By sknabt On 27.12.2008 @ 17:45

DEAR COMCAST...

Rick, for once we're in near agreement. Comcast is on my list of worse customer service companies in America. When a right-winger bitches about government inefficiencies and poor service I counter with Comcast and they usually shut up. ;)

It's one of the few companies whose service was so incompetent and rude I, like you, wrote a very nasty letter to their management. For example, when I had cable installed a neighbor with some digging equipment had to bury the cable for me because Comcast let it lay there for months. Later, when they over-billed me and I complained to a customer service rep she admitted they screwed up but was so pissed off she screeched "Next time we'll get you!"

In my experience, once Comcast gets my service running it is dependable and of reasonable quality. However, change anything at your own risk. A friend and I picked up a digital package special at the same time. We literally called within two minutes of each other canceling the service, got two different service reps, and - huge surprise - got two entirely different responses on billing.

Want more horror stories? I've got plenty of 'em!

It's beyond the case of a monopoly leading to incompetent, lazy service. Where I live there are 4 choices. Of course, there's always satellite providers Dish and DirectTV. But, in addition to Comcast, there's Verizon's excellent FIOS.

With many of the people I know dumping Comcast (mostly in favor of FIOS which offers faster/cheaper/more reliable Internet), I thought for sure they would learn to compete. Nope. Their prices just went up and rarely a month goes by without someone I know griping bitterly about a bad Comcast service experience.

My main reason for not switching myself is the hassle of giving up my email address (I got the exact address I wanted by picking them when they started Internet service and sincerely doubt I'll ever be that lucky again) but there are even limits to that. How much am I willing to be price gouged by Comcast for that privilege?

From what I understand Comcast's problems are rooted in your request for them to buy Mediacom. Comcast went though a huge growth spurt gobbling up local cable providers (what they did in my area) and paid huge premiums per subscriber leading to huge price spikes followed by never ending price hikes.

Comment Posted By sknabt On 7.12.2008 @ 12:47

OBAMA, THE PROMISE BREAKER

Gee, Rick, we all thought you'd be happy he's not keeping his promises considering the panic attack you had over him during the election. But I guess that's the role of the loyal opposition to kick him no matter what he does because he's on the wrong team. ;)

Comment Posted By sknabt On 3.12.2008 @ 23:47

SHARP LEFT TURN AHEAD

I don't know if Barack Obama is going to be overwhelmed by history like Dubya and make the equal horse's ass out of himself or he'll be one of the great memories to inhabit the White House and they'll find some way to carve his mug on Mt. Rushmore. Likely in between.

But, IMHO, the lefty netroots are going to be disappointed both by Congress and Obama.

"Impeach Bush!" The netroots have been screaming for it and the right-wingers have tied themselves into hysterical knots expecting it. Yet, Pelosi, Reid, and Company roll into DC with a majority and quietly kick it to the curb.

Yet, the right-wingers keep on bashing them as extremist nuts; the left-wingers think they see the promised land.

Sure, Congress will be left of center but centrist it will be and Obama will keep them steady on that course. It's their only safe course to remain in power for the long haul.

Health care will be a compromise bill, if it passes at all.

Like Bush, Rove, and Company shamefully used the social conservatives, particularly evangelicals, Obama will use the lefties. They'll whine and whimper but they'll stomach it because the alternative is unthinkable.

The far right and the far left while composing the critical base of party support are too radical to rule for long. They get on their knees each election to be used as a stepping stool for party bosses climbing to power.

Comment Posted By sknabt On 7.11.2008 @ 22:32

HOW TO STEAL OHIO

Rick, I think you've stumbled upon a new McCain election strategy. Sue over the results and let the Supreme Court hand him the presidency. Worked for Bush.

Comment Posted By sknabt On 14.10.2008 @ 06:39

MORE ON THOSE "ANGRY, RACIST GOP MOBS"

Rick, conservatives have created a lot of hypocritical stink about liberal hate web sites by magnifying the words of a few anonymous commenters (while ignoring hate comments on conservative blogs). How many editorials have you posted concentrating on this hypocrisy?

BTW, today CNN's Reliable Sources (the so-called "Clinton News Network") held a roundtable on the topic of people at McCain and Obama rallies shouting out angry statements. Nor is it the first time I've heard it discussed outside of conservative Fox News. So your "not a peep from the media" doesn't really register with me.

It's like the conservative meme the so-called liberal media doesn't cover ACORN or Ayers. Yet, somehow I learned all about it beyond the RNC data-mined talking points obsessed over on Fox News, America's election HQ for John McCain.

Comment Posted By sknabt On 12.10.2008 @ 16:41

OBAMA SUPPORTERS UNDERCUT CANDIDATE'S CRITIQUE OF MCCAIN

Rick,

While I don't begrudge Sarah Palin a tanning bed, at $12,000, it is a couple orders of magnitude greater an extravagance than John Edwards' $400 haircut which conservatives wouldn't let go of.

So if you want to go after liberal hypocrites why spare your buddy conservatives who were, IMHO, far more hysterical over far less?

Comment Posted By sknabt On 23.09.2008 @ 23:40


 


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