Closing Thought–28Oct19

Guns!

I thought that would get some attention!

Before I go any further let me state beyond any confusion…I am NOT an advocate of super restrictive gun laws. Got That?

We know by watching our favorite news station that gun violence seems to be on the rise….and of course when that happens the conversation turns to some sort of gun control…..and then the debate starts and the insults and the lies and then total break down of any constructive dialog is gone.

Does that sort of sum up the never ending gun conversation?

Did you know that gun deaths are rising across the the US except in the two states with restrictive gun laws……

U.S. gun deaths have have surged over the last several years, according to a new study published in the journal Health Affairs.

Since 1999, researchers from the University of Michigan found that the annual rate of people killed by firearms had remained relatively stable, hovering around 10.4 deaths per 100,000. But from 2015 to 2017, a new pattern emerged, and the rate began to skyrocket, ultimately increasing by around 14 percent over the previous 15 years.

Nearly one-fifth of all people living in the United States who died at the hands of a firearm since 1999 were killed over a three-year period.

The study reported that only two states, California and New York, and the District of Columbia saw firearm mortality rates decline across most demographic groups (such as race, sex and age) in recent years. This is notable considering these jurisdictions’ relatively strict gun laws.

https://www.newsweek.com/gun-deaths-united-states-firearms-1463911

If you actually read the article then you probably have an opinion….right or wrong…..

How about a history of gun rights in this country…..

To say the history of gun rights is contentious would be an understatement. It is a history that has become guided by political ideology and cultural attitudes more than by facts.

For more than a decade, I have researched, written, debated, and discussed the history of gun rights, and its legal ramifications. I am not anti-gun, anti-Second Amendment, associated with communism, or some other negative stereotype used by gun-rights advocates to “pigeon hole” anyone who does not wholly subscribe to the tenets of gun-rights theology.

https://www.americanheritage.com/history-gun-rights-america

There’s a lot going around about the Second Amendment.  Some on the left have been spreading a little rumor that it isn’t necessarily about protecting any right of the individual.  Some say it doesn’t hold water compared to the government’s ideas on ensuring public safety.

Let’s not forget that the Amendment, “A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed,” isn’t our only clue to determine what the founders thought of the right to bear arms. They’ve left behind plenty of writings which outline the purpose of the 2nd Amendment.

The Founding Fathers Explain The Second Amendment — This Says it ALL

One last thought…..

Many people find this obvious. It’s hard to imagine what else the Second Amendment could possibly be intended to do. James Madison wrote the Second Amendment in the aftermath of a bloody war for independence from a tyrannical empire. The first shots of that war were fired to resist disarmament. Can anyone truly believe that Madison wrote the Second Amendment with, say, hunting or target shooting in mind? It’s a preposterous notion.

But, let’s suppose that we’re not sure what “arms” the Second Amendment refers to. How might we figure out what the authors of our Constitution and Bill of Rights were thinking when they used the term “arms?” Were they thinking about “weapons of war,” or something else?

The Right to Bear Which Arms? – 2A Interpretation and the Federalist Papers

Thoughts?

You have mine…now what about yours?

I Read, I Wrote, You Know

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Can We Afford Medicare For All?

One very popular, (at least with the voter, not so much with the industry)…I wrote a post a few months ago that got the ire of the health industry demanding that I explain how we will pay for the program……please check out the comments on that post……https://lobotero.com/2019/03/04/medicare-for-all/

So in that vane I have read a piece that will help explain how this can be paid for……

Health care is Americans’ number-one priority, based on recent polls, so it’s no wonder it’s been a hot topic in the Democratic primary.

Every candidate is offering a plan, ranging from Joe Biden’s Affordable Care Act upgrade to Bernie Sanders’ “Medicare for all” that would abolish private health insurance. Even the president is joining the bandwagon and unveiled his own Medicare plan.

On the high end, a full-scale single-payer heath care system would come at a steep price: I estimate about US$40 trillion over 10 years.

There is, however, a simpler and less costly path toward single-payer, and it may have a better chance of success: simply strike the words “who are age 65 or over” from the 1965 amendments to the Social Security Act that created Medicare, which would mean virtually everyone would be covered by the existing Medicare program.

https://www.commondreams.org/views/2019/10/07/how-us-could-afford-medicare-all

I say we can and must fund a policy of health care….I do not care what we call it just that it gets done and soon.

There is more….there is the LIE that hospitals will close with Medicare For All…..call this what it is manure (I was being polite)…….this lie was spread by a Dem candidate, Delaney…..

Delaney’s staff told us his talking point came from three sources. First: the fact Medicare pays hospitals on average 87 cents for every dollar of costs. Second: a federal report suggesting that “more than two-thirds of hospitals are losing money on Medicare inpatient services.” Third: Delaney, his staff said, “has been asking this question at the rural hospitals he has visited over the course of the campaign.”

Experts we spoke with offered a different take — mainly, that his evidence is not strong enough to support his claim. In addition, they told us that the potential impact of Medicare for All on hospitals would be much more nuanced — it is not at all clear that “every single hospital” would close, and while some would do worse, some might do better.

Delaney’s Debate Claim That ‘Medicare For All’ Will Shutter Hospitals Goes Overboard

I will be honest (more than the people that would lie this proposal out of existence) this Medicare For All is just a re-name of the old single payer…..and is it for all?

This “is an issue that affects, literally, every single person in this country,” he said. “Even putting the medical issues aside, it’s an economic issue. The way we finance health care promotes economic inequality.”

Medicare-for-all, in the purest sense, largely would replace private health insurance with a single, government-run program covering most everyone. It would be similar to traditional Medicare, the current federal health insurance program for most adults over 65 and young people meeting federal disability requirements, hence the name.

Sounds simple? It’s not.

https://www.propublica.org/article/medicare-for-all-is-not-medicare-and-not-really-for-all-so-what-does-it-actually-mean

Both sides of the issue have put so much stuff out there that this whole issue as become, to use my grandmother’s words, clear as mud.

We need a program that will help the population get the adequate health care they need and at a reasonable price……you will hear and read many versions of this please do some research and get the real story not some sanitized crap we always get.

On an up note—-a health industry insider is telling the tale of the profit system of the industry…..

Eleven years ago, after a moment of reckoning at a country health clinic in Tennessee, Potter left a high-ranking job as head of corporate communications at Cigna to tell the truth about the excesses and abuses of the health insurance industry. Since then, he has worked hard to spread the word, authoring two best-selling books, Nation on the Take (with Nick Penniman) and Deadly Spin, and founding the nonprofit investigative journalism site Tarbell.org, named after muckraking Progressive Era reporter Ida Tarbell.

Now, among all his other efforts, activist Wendell Potter has become president of Business for Medicare for All, the only national business organization working for single payer health insurance. This group of the economically pragmatic lends expertise and credibility to the cause of reform at a time when many, including some of those running for the Democratic presidential nomination, question the viability of single payer.

https://www.commondreams.org/views/2019/09/30/healthcare-reformer-wendell-potter-profit-system-unraveling

You want to know why your medical bills are so high……ask Sen. Moscow Mitch…..

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell promised last month that he would block a drug pricing plan introduced in the House, calling it a “socialist” program that would do “damage to the healthcare system.”

Now, new analysis by the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office has found that drug plan, put forward by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, would in fact save Medicare $345 billion over a decade.

The bulk of this savings would come from allowing the program to negotiate lower prices with pharmaceutical companies — something that is currently banned by law — to save money on the insulin and other expensive medications.

https://shareblue.com/mitch-mcconnell-nancy-pelosi-medicare-prescription-drug-pricing-plan-345-billion-congress/

So please stop blaming Obama for the higher prices and start blaming the slugs that are making the higher charges possible…..Moscow Mitch and his Ilk.

I await the industry hit man to make his presence known.

Until then a bill offered up by Speaker Pelosi to lower drug prices according to the CBO would save Medicare millions….

Democrats quickly touted the projected savings to show that their bill would effectively lower drug prices. 

https://thehill.com/policy/healthcare/465491-cbo-pelosi-bill-to-lower-drug-prices-saves-medicare-345-billion

But not to worry a Pharma friendly Dem, Rep. Neal, is crushing the lower drug pricing bill……like he is paid to do…..

Following the lead of pharma-friendly Rep. Richard Neal, Democrats on the House Ways and Means Committee this week crushed several progressive amendments to a House drug pricing bill that would have expanded the number of medicines covered by the legislation and extended lower costs to the nation’s tens of millions of uninsured.

The Intercept reported Wednesday that Neal, a Massachusetts Democrat and chairman of the Ways and Means Committee, warned his Democratic colleagues against offering any amendments to the Lower Drug Costs Now Act of 2019 (H.R. 3) during the committee’s markup of the legislation on Tuesday.

https://www.commondreams.org/news/2019/10/24/led-pharma-friendly-rep-richard-neal-democrats-crush-progressive-amendments

Not to worry…..if your meds are expensive then you probably will not get a break….the staus quo remains.

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Baghdadi–Death Of The Salesman

After 5 years of trying to rid the world of the leader of the ISIS Caliphate the US has overseen his destruction…..

President Trump grabbed the world’s attention Sunday with major news: Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi was dead. Now details are emerging about the US military raid against the Islamic State leader. Turns out one of Baghdadi’s wives and a courier were arrested this summer and revealed his location in a part of Syria where rival al-Qaeda groups hold sway, US officials tell the New York Times. An elite Army unit devised and rehearsed the raid, which involved eight American helicopters flying from Iraq to an area north of Idlib city in western Syria, drawing gunfire on the 70-minute trip. Commandos then blew out a wall of Baghdadi’s compound and killed several people in a gun battle. For more:

  • ‘Whimpering and crying’: Trump said Baghdadi killed himself and three children using a suicide vest, “whimpering and crying and screaming all the way.” All true? “Well I don’t—I don’t have those details,” Defense Secretary Mark Esper said on This Week, per ABC News. “The president probably had the opportunity to talk to the commanders on the ground but, clearly, the guy was a coward and a murderer.”
  • Russia first: Nancy Pelosi praised military and officials behind the raid, per USA Today, but said “the House must be briefed on this raid, which the Russians but not top congressional leadership were notified of in advance.” Trump said he didn’t tell Pelosi because “I wanted to make sure this kept secret.”
  • The Kurds: The Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces called the raid a “joint operation” between Americans and Kurds, per the Washington Post. Kurds provided more intel than anyone, a US official tells the Times, even after Trump ordered US troops to leave Syria and let the Kurds battle Turkish forces alone.
  • Witnesses: A family in Syria apparently witnessed the night raid. “They said foreign soldiers with machine guns stormed in and took [people] away,” a Syrian journalist tells the Independent. “People they had never seen before. … When they left, after taking prisoners and killing the rest, a plane came and struck the house to completely destroy it.”
  • Trump’s team: The White House has released images of Trump and his national-security team stoically watching the raid, per USA Today. One Twitter user contrasted it with President Obama’s staff observing the Osama bin Laden raid.
  • Who was Baghdadi? A jihadist whose Islamic State captured Iraqi and Syrian territory, establishing a “caliphate” that was lost in 2019 fighting against US-led forces. Baghdadi also inspired terror attacks worldwide, per the Wall Street Journal.
  • Not over: More attacks on terrorists in Syria may follow, a US defense official tells CNN. Indeed, Newsweek reports that US strikes killed Islamic State spokesperson Abu al-Hassan al-Muhajir in Aleppo province on Sunday.

The announcement of the death by Trump turned into a 40 minute of him, Trump,  being victimized and getting no credit for his amazing (in his mind) presidency and his person.

With the death of Baghdadi the barbaric group known as ISIS will soldier on…they will not disappear because their leader popped the cork on his suicide vest……

While US officials are taking the death of ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi as a major victory, analysts are saying it is unlikely that this will spell anything like the end to the ISIS organization, or its insurgency.

It is not immediately apparent who Baghdadi’s successor would be, as little is known publicly about the inner workings of ISIS. His death clearly means a leadership reshuffle, however, and for such groups in the past, that has often meant worsening insurgencies as new leaders try to put their stamp on the organization.

Indeed, with ISIS barely existing in Iraq or Syria anymore,  it is possible that ISIS leadership might come from a different region. ISIS has active affiliates across Asia and Africa and becoming the new hub for the group might give those groups a major shot in the arm.

Ultimately, some are seeing ISIS as potentially reinvigorated by Baghdadi’s death, and even if that doesn’t happen, the individual affiliates are likely to keep plugging away no matter who is in charge.

(antiwar.com)

My question now is….who will get the $25 million reward for the location and death of Baghdadi?

I believe that is enough said about the SOB….He is dead and the world is a better place.

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Professor’s Classroom

Yet another re-blog from a post in 2007……this is a tricky one…..
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chuq

In Saner Thought

OSIM! And time for the lesson. Morning class!

This subject has been in the news now for years, the ping-pong match has gone to and fro. But where did it start?

When was the first anti-gay legislation enacted in America? Give me when, where, why and what.

I realize that is not much to go on, but any other info and google would make it too damn simple and easy.

You may begin.

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Hard Realities Of Syria

The US has pulled its troops out of Syria…some say it was a “cut and run” move……some say he gave Russia an opening for more presence in Syria……….some say the Trump gave his buddy Erdogan everything he had wanted for Syria…..

There some hard realities that must be considered……like what was the end game for our Syria invention? To destroy ISIS? What?

U.S. troops are leaving Syria, and yet what happens there will continue to affect U.S. interests, both regionally and globally. 

Tens of thousands of Islamic State terrorists imprisoned in northeastern Syria could escape, unleashing foreign fighters to sow havoc in their homes in Europe, Asia, and the Middle East. The Turkish offensive could displace as many as 300,000 Syrians, exacerbating the already monumental challenge of addressing the basic humanitarian needs of the 6 million Syrians who have taken refuge elsewhere in their country, and the nearly 7 million who have fled altogether. Russian President Putin is pointing to the U.S. withdrawal as a reason to turn to Moscow for security guarantees.

U.S. policymakers tasked with finding a way forward need a clear-eyed understanding both of American goals and objectives in the region and of the constraints placed on the United States by political, economic, and military realities. Acquiring this understanding requires an unflinching look at various hard truths. Among them:

https://www.defenseone.com/ideas/2019/10/10-hard-realities-americas-next-syria-policy/160699/

According to The American Conservative the failure of our Syrian policy is the 4 “A”s……

The ceasefire agreement brokered by Vice President Mike Pence and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Thursday accomplishes very little outside of putting window dressing on a foregone conclusion. Simply put, the Turks will be able to achieve their objectives of clearing a safe zone of Kurdish forces south of the Turkish border, albeit under a U.S. sanctioned agreement. In return, the U.S. agrees not to impose economic sanctions on Turkey. 

So basically it doesn’t change anything that’s already been set into motion by the Turkish invasion of northern Syria. But it does signal the end of the American experiment in Syrian regime change, with the United States supplanted by Russia as the shot caller in Middle Eastern affairs.

The Four A’s of American Policy Failure in Syria

Apparently all the GOP criticism has gotten to our Dear Leader….he has ordered armor back into Syria…..

America will never desert Syria’s oil, President Trump promised Thursday—and he suggested that if the Kurds want protection, they should move closer to the oil. Syria’s oil fields “were held by ISIS until the United States took them over with the help of the Kurds,” Trump tweeted. “We will NEVER let a reconstituted ISIS have those fields!” He added that he had enjoyed a conversation with Syrian Kurdish commander Mazloum Abdi, and “perhaps it is time for the Kurds to start heading to the Oil Region.” A Pentagon source tells USA Today that the US plans to send troops, tanks, and armored vehicles to protest oil fields in eastern Syria, just weeks after most American troops withdrew from the country.

Sources tell the Wall Street Journal that the White House is considering having around 500 troops and dozens of tanks in northeast Syria, though the Journal‘s sources say no final decision has been made yet. Under pressure from GOP lawmakers including Sen. Lindsey Graham, Trump left around 200 troops in the area after earlier ordering the pullout of all US troops. A defense official tells NBC that the number of American troops—who would again be operating alongside the Syrian Democratic Forces, the mostly Kurdish force that Abdi leads —has not been settled on yet, but “we’re not talking thousands.” Analysts say that although Trump spoke of protecting the oil from ISIS, the deployment may really an effort to prevent it being seized by Russia or the Assad regime.

Illustrates just how powerful FOX has become…..they help the president with his foreign policy decisions…..

One last thing from a Neocon perspective…..Is Anything Salvageable in Syria?

For the past eight-plus years this writer has done his best to try to convince American officials that what happens in Syria does not stay in Syria; that Syria matters enough to the security of the United States and the safety of its citizens to merit a comprehensible objective and a consistent (if flexible) strategy.

That effort—in and out of government—has failed.  Two successive American presidents, absolutely sure they knew it all and needed no advice, have unintentionally but decisively advanced the work of America’s adversaries.  After eight-plus years of responding to gratuitous setbacks with specific proposals on national security objectives and an accompanying, fully resourced strategy, recent events pose a relevant question: Is anything at all salvageable from the latest mega-blunder?

Syria: Is anything salvageable?

All this is just sad…..

BUt not to worry when this impotent foreign policy goes to crap….Trump and the Slugs will just blame Obama and/or the Democrats…..they, Trump and Slugs, refuse to see the error of their moronic decisions.

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