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14 hours ago, Old Man said:

One wonders what Tulsi thinks of the Turks’ invasion of her buddy Assad’s country. 

 

Hardly a fair assessment of the non-relationship between Tulsi and Assad.

 

Just because you're willing to attempt diplomacy with the leader of an evil empire doesn't make you a supervillain.

Unless you'd apply that same logic to say Obama trying to work with Iran or Trump walking into the DMZ to meet the leader of North Korea.

 

Does Tulsi have actual policy positions you disagree with?

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17 hours ago, ScottishFox said:

It's not that Americans don't want these things.  We just don't trust the lying, greedy idiots in office (present and past) to get the job done.  What is more likely to happen is that they'll raise our taxes - again - and then completely fail to provide what they've promised - again.

 

You know, after working in a scrutiny committee where we have spoken to government offices and private companies when something has gone wrong or not accomplished its goals, I have had a MUCH easier time tracking responsibilities and money through the government offices than through private companies.  And when things go wrong with government offices, we could suggest changes to the way they accounted for things or made decisions and those suggestions usually resulted in changes to make scrutiny better.

 

There are a number of big private companies that have lost billions of pounds (many of them banks) where we end up not only failing to hold any individuals responsible for losing the money but throwing them wodges of public money to ensure they do not go out of business.  We get lots of businesses asking the government to make policy to support their industry (usually at the expense of what their products cost the public) and then fail to pay their workers a living wage or withdrawing their healthcare as a way to force an end to a strike.

 

It is trendy to say Government cannot run anything, that private businesses are a better model for government services.  However, for businesses to thrive there needs to be a credible possibility for them to fail (efficiency is not driven by a desire to be the best but a fear of what will happen when a more efficient business cuts your grass).  The problem is that you do not actually want a hospital, a school or even a prison to fail.  It is rare for such businesses to fail in a clean way where the patients, pupils or prisoners do not suffer in some way.  It is also rare for the owners of such businesses to suffer in anything like the same way - the CEO is often out and into another well-paid job as are the board and others.  The failure of the organisation seems to stick to them less prominently than it does to the shop-floor workers who may find it MUCH more difficult to find new jobs.

 

I am not saying government run is good by default, indeed there is much that government organisations should take from private businesses in achieving efficient business practice but I think that if a private company wants to dip into the public trough, or commit to providing a public service, then they need to be prepared for a much closer scrutiny of their finances than they would otherwise be prepared to do.  

 

A rant, sorry, but the casual use of government-run equating to bad is one of my triggers...

 

Doc

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1 hour ago, ScottishFox said:

 

Hardly a fair assessment of the non-relationship between Tulsi and Assad.

 

Just because you're willing to attempt diplomacy with the leader of an evil empire doesn't make you a supervillain.

Unless you'd apply that same logic to say Obama trying to work with Iran or Trump walking into the DMZ to meet the leader of North Korea.

 

Does Tulsi have actual policy positions you disagree with?

https://www.bellingcat.com/news/mena/2019/08/04/tulsi-gabbards-reports-on-chemical-attacks-in-syria-a-self-contradictory-error-filled-mess/

 

Denying Syrian chemical weapons attacks is not a good look for a presidential candidate, of either party.  

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Donald Trump's walking into the Korean DMZ to meet with Kim Jong-un was a photo op, to provide something Trump could sell to his audience as a great accomplishment. Other than giving Kim international recognition and an enhanced aura of legitimacy as a world leader, the meeting has led to no change in North Korea's behavior or policies.

 

Barack Obama did work with Iran, producing an agreement to curb nuclear proliferation. Whatever you may think of that deal, it was a tangible product of diplomacy.

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1 hour ago, Doc Democracy said:

A rant, sorry, but the casual use of government-run equating to bad is one of my triggers...

 

I'm not saying privately run is automatically good nor ethically done.

 

I'm saying our government has a track record of failure to meet obligations and inexplicable disappearances of large sums of cash.

If I could have kept the majority of my tax dollars throughout my life I would be able to retire now instead of 15+ years from now. 

The very nice people that said they'd sock my money away for the future saved exactly 0 dollars and spent every penny.  Then when the birthrate fell they gave up any pretense of being able to prop the program up in the future.

 

For bonus points I get to watch my wife doctor shop as the number of doctors who won't accept Medicare skyrockets since the bureaucratic burden far outweighs the low rates they pay on services.  More and more physicians are giving Medicare a hard pass.

 

I'm old and quite jaded at this point.  As Dave Chappelle would say, "I don't believe these mother!@#$ers."

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14 minutes ago, Lord Liaden said:

Donald Trump's walking into the Korean DMZ to meet with Kim Jong-un was a photo op, to provide something Trump could sell to his audience as a great accomplishment. Other than giving Kim international recognition and an enhanced aura of legitimacy as a world leader, the meeting has led to no change in North Korea's behavior or policies.

 

Barack Obama did work with Iran, producing an agreement to curb nuclear proliferation. Whatever you may think of that deal, it was a tangible product of diplomacy.

 

I think that deal stank to hell and back, but I recognized it as a real diplomatic effort.  I just extend that courtesy to other politicians.

 

Trump's photo op also was an attempt to appease the insane ego of North Korea's leader.

 

I'm just saying Gabbard's willingness to speak with Assad does not equate to denying he's committed horrible atrocities on his own people.  It's just an attempt to work with a foreign power to negotiate something better than yet-another-war for the USA.

 

Given how expensive these stupid, ineffective foreign wars are I'm inclined to vote for any candidate that makes staying out of future wars a priority.

 

I don't like Trump.  I do like that he chose not to attack Iran when he was heavily pressured to do so.  I do like that he wants out of Syria.

 

American regime change games have gone badly again and again.  We just need to stop.

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1 hour ago, ScottishFox said:

The very nice people that said they'd sock my money away for the future saved exactly 0 dollars and spent every penny.  Then when the birthrate fell they gave up any pretense of being able to prop the program up in the future.

 

 

It wouldn't hurt for someone to do an analysis of what our government has done with its money over the last x (50?) years, and what places money has disappeared from.

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1 hour ago, ScottishFox said:

If I could have kept the majority of my tax dollars throughout my life I would be able to retire now instead of 15+ years from now. 

The very nice people that said they'd sock my money away for the future saved exactly 0 dollars and spent every penny.  Then when the birthrate fell they gave up any pretense of being able to prop the program up in the future.

 

For bonus points I get to watch my wife doctor shop as the number of doctors who won't accept Medicare skyrockets since the bureaucratic burden far outweighs the low rates they pay on services.  More and more physicians are giving Medicare a hard pass.

 

Hmm.  You do understand that Government social care programmes never have and never will be about accumulating a pool of money and paying out of it?  I know that is how people often portray it, as paying in before drawing out.  It is not how it was designed and not how it works.

 

As for doctors?  I don't trust them.  They were the most vociferous opponents of the NHS when Nye Bevan proposed it and fought it every step of the way.  Like anyone, doctors will spend their time doing what earns them most.  When they say they cannot afford Medicare, what they mean is that it would not provide the quality of life they desire. 

 

The answer by the state should be training many more doctors, free of monetary debt but tied into a decade of 'national service' making sure everyone has access to basic healthcare.

 

Doc

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18 minutes ago, Doc Democracy said:

As for doctors?  I don't trust them.  They were the most vociferous opponents of the NHS when Nye Bevan proposed it and fought it every step of the way.  Like anyone, doctors will spend their time doing what earns them most.  When they say they cannot afford Medicare, what they mean is that it would not provide the quality of life they desire. 

 

I mean - that is pretty much true of everyone.

 

I don't disagree that doctors and especially dentists have decided they have to retire millionaires somewhere along the line, but if you limit the field to the very best and very brightest and you make them go through 10+ years of training and ridiculous work hours - not exactly shocking that they want to be handsomely compensated.

 

Literally everyone should do whatever job earns them the most.  And I don't mean just money.  I mean in the sense of whatever it is that you want from a job.  Get THAT job and get the best deal you can.

 

I do like your idea for getting more doctors produced  - a lot.  It's a great trade off for people who couldn't afford the traditional route.  There are a lot of people who would be great physicians or able to work in other healthcare roles, but simply cannot afford the cost of schooling.

 

In America they've made it so hard to get through medical school that it seems like most of our doctors are getting educated in Russia / India and then migrating here.  We throw away so many good candidates with the impossible cost of the schooling and the stupid work hours they put on doctors.  Does the ability to work 24 hour shifts really speak to a students intelligence as much as it does their CON score?  Who wants to go to the ER and get a doctor that is on their 23rd hour without sleep?

 

 

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4 hours ago, Doc Democracy said:

The answer by the state should be training many more doctors, free of monetary debt but tied into a decade of 'national service' making sure everyone has access to basic healthcare.

 

 

Actually thought about this not long ago, and more or less came to the same conclusion.  If you want to drive down costs for a field, you a) redevelop how people are trained for that field, and b) make sure competition is actually going on in that field.  The problem is that health care is tricky, as the concept of competition in healthcare is a loose concept at best.  If quality was high across the board, and we automatically cover emergency care, maybe...

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On 10/7/2019 at 5:49 PM, Lord Liaden said:

Less war for America, in the short term, maybe. More instability in the Middle East, very likely. Resurgence of the Islamic State almost guaranteed, because the Kurdish forces are one of the main checks on it. Buttressing the Assad regime, because it will cripple a rival, and pro-American, power block in Syria. Which will increase Russia's influence in the Middle East, through its proxy Assad, as well as its existing military and trade alliance with Iran.

 

Not to mention the potential deaths of many Kurds, American allies, to likely Turkish aggression. An historical record of almost any major event in this region of the Middle East over the past two centuries could end with the postscript, "And the Kurds, of course, were screwed again."

 

Yeah, we've screwed the Kurds big time.

 

The city of Nashville has the largest Kurdish population in the United States. Mostly of or descended from Northern Iraq, but still as a Tennessean I feel like I just watched someone throw a neighbor out of a 10th story window.

 

And there's not a thing I can do about it :(

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UFC straw weight champion Weili Zhang ran into Visa issues and was contacted by none other than Tulsi Gabbard who offered to help her get everything sorted out so Weili can reach America and defend her belt.

 

If Tulsi turns out to be an active MMA fan I'm going to have to lock that vote in.

 

Anti-war AND an MMA fan?  Perfect.

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Fox news poll out today shows support for impeach&remove at 51%, the first time a majority of voters support removal of 45.  At the time of Nixon's resignation, public support for removal was at 57%.  I think, if those numbers move up a bit further--around 53-55%--you will see at least one Republican senator, probably Romney, come out publicly in support of removal/resignation.  If it goes above 55%, there will be more than one.  People who support removal at this point are highly unlikely to EVER vote to re-elect 45, and are also likely to look askance at Republican senators who vote to acquit him.  So opinion numbers in the mid-50s or higher would/will be alarming/catastrophic for them, regardless of the base's loyalty.  They still need the support of independents and conservative Democrats to get reelected.  

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Trump's pronouncements and tweets (never has a medium's name suited a politician's tone better) have been all the wrong moves. His doubling and tripling down on answering his critics and accusers with threats, character assaults and increasingly hyperbolic pronouncements just convince more and more people that he's out of control. His refusal to cooperate with investigations, even forbidding one of his officials to answer Congressional subpoena, make him look like he's trying to hide his guilt. His rash impulsive actions ignoring the counsel of his own experts are pushing even his allies to contradict him. 45's obvious meltdown in the face of being so far out of his depth is becoming impossible for any but his most fanatical devotees to overlook.

 

Sadly, he still has enough fanatical devotees, and enabling sycophants, to cause a lot of problems before he finally leaves the Oval Office, however that happens.

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1 hour ago, Starlord said:

Pulling out of Syria is certainly not helping his support with Republicans, either.

 

It should.

 

Pulling out of the endless quagmire of wars in the Middle East should earn any politician the support of both parties.

 

We have a very bad track record when it comes to regime change.  It generally results in something worse than what was already there.

 

How about America takes care of America and other countries put on their big boy pants and take care of themselves.

 

We have no business constantly meddling in the wars of other countries.  Unless you count military-industrial-complex profits.

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33 minutes ago, ScottishFox said:

How about America takes care of America and other countries put on their big boy pants and take care of themselves.

 

We have no business constantly meddling in the wars of other countries.  Unless you count military-industrial-complex profits.

 

I'm sympathetic to wanting to stop involvement over there.  I plainly wish international politics was that simple.  But I have to disagree.

 

This action has basically established the groundwork there for creating a new ISIS.  It's already happened, just with the Kurdish forces being bombed by Turkish ones.  I'm not sure anything we do going forwards is going to fix that.

 

The only way that might be prevented is if all of the Kurdish forces, and all forces and countries sympathetic to them, happen to get completely wiped out.

 

Yes, getting involved in that part of the world was greedy and stupid.  But simply dropping it all onto the floor isn't actually going to address the problem of how we created that mess to begin with.  It's literally the whole criticism of how we trained Osama bin Laden and created ISIS playing over again in real time.  We are now possibly watching it happen, and arguing over whether we should care that it's happening.

 

And I'm sure the MIC wants those profits now, but they are probably going to collect huge in the future by us perpetually de-stabilizing that region.  In the same ways as always.

 

What should have been the right move?  Probably warning Kurdish forces that this was going to happen, and literally not giving Turkey permission to bomb them overnight.

 

What's the right move from here?  Right now, who the heck knows...

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7 minutes ago, ScottishFox said:

 

It should.

 

Pulling out of the endless quagmire of wars in the Middle East should earn any politician the support of both parties.

 

We have a very bad track record when it comes to regime change.  It generally results in something worse than what was already there.

 

How about America takes care of America and other countries put on their big boy pants and take care of themselves.

 

We have no business constantly meddling in the wars of other countries.  Unless you count military-industrial-complex profits.

 

Walking away from allies and leaving them to be slaughtered ... is just incredibly messed up.

 

Looking outward to the world and at times taking up international burdens has increased US strength and made the world a better and safer place.  I know it doesn't seem  that way when you watch news, but the last 70 years have been some of the most peaceful years the world has ever seen.  Unfortunately, peace is not considered very news worthy.  When a dictator looks at a vulnerable neighboring country and decides not to invade out concerns over how the US or NATO might react, this generates no headlines.  Yet, we know by looking at the numbers that countries invading their neighbors plummeted during the American Century.  This has created an international environment where both the US and the world have flourished.

 

If America First becomes our doctrine going forward and not just an aberration of the Trump administration,  mark my words, the US and world as a whole will suffer as a result of our inaction.

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1 hour ago, ScottishFox said:

It should.

 

Pulling out of the endless quagmire of wars in the Middle East should earn any politician the support of both parties.

 

We have a very bad track record when it comes to regime change.  It generally results in something worse than what was already there.

 

How about America takes care of America and other countries put on their big boy pants and take care of themselves.

 

We have no business constantly meddling in the wars of other countries.  Unless you count military-industrial-complex profits.

 

With that last sentiment I agree. And I don't object to America pulling back from foreign wars generally. But the way Trump has decided to implement that policy here is incredibly short-sighted. By abandoning a people to attack from Turkey who have literally fought and died against America's enemies -- so American soldiers have not had to -- in a region where the US has major strategic interests, Trump has opened the door for the renaissance of ISIS, forced more of the region to align with Russia out of self-preservation, and dramatically damaged America's credibility as a reliable and trustworthy partner for any future endeavor in which the US will need international help (and it will).

 

Yes, the lives lost in Turkey's attack will be Kurdish lives, not American (unless Kurdish-Americans join the fight). But I don't believe our compassion for our fellow human beings should stop at our borders.

 

Also, those "big boy pants" you want other countries to pull up? In many cases the United States was one of those who pulled them down.

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BTW this latest move by Trump is consistent with his habit of pulling out of international agreements negotiated by his predecessors: the PPTA, NAFTA, the Iran nuclear deal. I've become convinced this isn't due so much to any firmly-held objections to them, as to Trump's desire to eclipse those presidents before him, particularly Barack Obama, by erasing their accomplishments and replacing them with monuments to himself. In the case of NAFTA in particular, after excoriating it for so long as "the worst deal in history," Trump accepted what was essentially NAFTA with a few tweaks. All he wanted was something he could sell to the public as his great achievement.

 

The danger in this, as I've read and heard several commentators point out, is that it convinces the rest of the world that any agreement with the United States can be counted on to last, at most, for the term of one president.

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1 hour ago, Lord Liaden said:

In the case of NAFTA in particular, after excoriating it for so long as "the worst deal in history," Trump accepted what was essentially NAFTA with a few tweaks. All he wanted was something he could sell to the public as his great achievement.

 

It was this, in particular, that was illuminating to me.

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