Congress does its job. Sorta. For now anyway. And the Prez gets all presidential.

Well whoop-dee-do . . . your congress critters managed to pass something or other tonight.

Then a few minutes ago the Prez made some remarks in the Press Room. And he was good. Really good. The comments were organized, to the point and there were no  wasted words. More of that please!

55 responses to “Congress does its job. Sorta. For now anyway. And the Prez gets all presidential.

  1. Yup, I can’t wait for the next round ….

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  2. There’s nothing for any American to celebrate in the last bastion of patriotism in Congress caving into the enemy and giving them what they want just to avoid political backlash that would have been fueled by enemy media.

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    • Well jonolan, I of course reject just about everything in that comment except that there’s nothing to celebrate. My ‘whoopdedoo’ was meant as sarcasm.

      That said, happy New Year!

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      • That’s sort of funny, Moe, since you’ve said essentially the same thing, albeit less bluntly and honestly worded, about Democrat politicians and defense spending and funding wars.

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        • I’m missing the point here . . .

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        • The point that you claim to reject my assertions while making the same one yourself, just from the other side of the conflict and on a different specific issue.

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          • Damn, you found me out again 😆

            Yes I’ve certainly damned pols, even my own, for playing to the audience instead of doing what’s right, I”ve damned them for restricting certain freedoms (the eternal eye in the sky and that old Totall Information Awareness) – both sides. But jonolan, when you use words like ‘enemy’ (twice!) it disturbs me a bit. I just don’t see things that way. There will always be self serving politicians and there will always be powerful people trying to resttrict our rights,, no matter if we live in a tribal enclave or a country of 300 million people. They aren’t the enemy; they are adversaries. Societies have fought them forever – sometimes violently, sometimes with civic action. You sound like you would choose the violent path.

            Or is this just a matter of semantics?

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            • To some extent it’s a matter of semantics, to some extent it’s not. An adversary is an opponent, but normally in a situation of lesser importance or consequence and malice on any part may not be involved. An enemy is something different, both due to malice and/or the dire situations normally involved.

              As for what path I would choose in dealing with them – it’s not a choice at all. It’s a series of actions that will end with whatever methodology finally works.

              Also – you limit things to these shadowy “powerful people” when the rank and file are just as dangerous in the long run.

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    • I also notice in this comment that you think you’re surrounded by enemies? 53% of the electorate plus the media – that’s one big chunk of America there.

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      • Isn’t every American surrounded these days by domestic enemies, Moe? Liberals and Progressives, along with their media shills and handlers have been foolishly allowed to propagate to the point where they’re clear and present dangers to America.

        Or, from your point of view, aren’t you beset by enemies – those who want America to remain as she has been, or has been perceived to be, instead being turned into the nation you want her to be?

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        • I don’t know about Moe, but I don’t consider conservatives my enemies…just people with a different opinion. I assume I’m always going to live in a society surrounded by people with different views, which is why we’ll have to meet in the middle most of the time.

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          • 20 or 30 years ago I would have agreed with you, eurobrat, but times have changed and there’s no middle ground or compromise – other than of one’s core beliefs – available on most of the fundamental issues we’re facing today.

            As either Americans or Liberals must eventually win these struggles and as these struggles are over the fundamental shape and character of the nation’s future, the opposition must be classed as the enemy.

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            • @jonolan

              It sounds like you wont have an issue pointing the gun and pulling the trigger if a civil war breaks out. 😦

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            • I do realize that is how people feel these days, and this is why we’re entering a very dark and dangerous time. How long before the “enemy” has to be shipped off somewhere or destroyed? When people start believing there’s no middle ground, that’s when the pain and misery starts.

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              • I would guess that would be in the next 10 years or so, eurobrat, though it could come a bit sooner if there’s an “event” of some sort.

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                • Ugh. No wonder I’m feeling frightened and paranoid.

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                • @jonolan

                  “If you have enough bad things to say you have a good chance of being a prophet”

                  Bang, bang you visionary. 😉

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                • Or, T4T, if the government trained you to analyze the state and stability of societies and you’re not afraid to apply that training to your own, you may just say things that people fear and are unwilling to accept.

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                • @jonolan

                  Man, that almost sounds like Osama Bin Laden. What do they call that, blowback or something like it.

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                • Yeah, “blowback” is the popularized slang term for when your overseas intel op ends up causing unforeseen complications for your own country and its interests.

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        • jonolan, let me add to what I just said above. Sometimes I react before I’ve thought things through – I have now reread your comments, especially this one (3:37pm) above and I find I agree. I’m not sure we’d agree on the kind of nation we want to be and I continue to beleive that using language as provacative as you do sometimes de-legitimizes what you’re actually saying.

          We probably we agree that vigilance is essential for human rights to be secured, although I don’t think we’d agree on what is to be guarded against.

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          • It seems that you and I, Moe, are willing to engage the rare denizen of the right, like jonolan, who is at least inclined to discourse as opposed to the usual practice of simply trading slogans. But even he slips into that mode occasionally. In a comment below I disparaged that in the resolution of the cliff,

            ” . . . your side got tax rates “permanently” pegged at unrealistically low rates for most people . . . ”

            jonolan could not understand that a liberal such as I could possibly want to actually pay for all the things that society needs and wants from a paternalistic and beneficent government, a government that we could afford if not for unnecessary wars, a grossly inefficient tax code, and the outrageous for-profit healthcare system. The cultural meme that most citizens want everything given to them for nothing has been repeated so long and so loudly (and famously by Mitt Romney) that anything to the contrary is unbelievable. Hence, anyone who does not support his policies is easily seen as an “enemy”.

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            • Two problems with your statement: you’re unlikely to be one of the ones paying for the handouts, and America’s healthcare system is by far better than one run by the government – both fiscally better and better based upon outcomes.

              But, all that aside, we’re back to the fundamentals of the war between Americans and Liberals; Americans do not want a paternalistic government as we know that is a very bad thing, being inevitably abused and resulting in either abject tyranny, total socio-economic collapse, or both.

              Don’t get me wrong – Utopia is a beautiful concept. You just can’t get there from here unless something really bizarre to Man’s very essence.

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              • @ jonolan

                You said,

                “America’s healthcare system is by far better than one run by the government – both fiscally better and better based upon outcomes.”

                Do you have a closed mind on that subject? If so, read no farther. But I perceive that you are both intelligent and articulate, if misinformed, so I recommend to you and other readers what should be a counter-intuitive revelation at this link. The author, of this pithy, intelligent and scathing article, Phillip Longman, has a current edition of his book on the subject available on Amazon, and its reviews on that site are worthy of a read as well. Fair warning: Longman’s article at the link is lengthy and will actually require brain effort to absorb.

                Also, I can not let your remarks about “liberals” pass without comment. By separating liberals from “Americans” you are saying that we are unpatriotic – I don’t know how else that can be interpreted. When you descend into demagoguery that way, you begin to lose the respect and interest of this reader. And, it makes me wonder about your motivation for commenting on sites like this one.

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                • No, I don’t have a closed mind on the subject of healthcare and there’s nothing in the way of the facts that Longman presented which go against anything I have either research or experienced (dealt with VHA as both provider and patient). I’m, in disagreement with his conclusions in many cases though.

                  More importantly though, hospital care is only a very small fraction of healthcare. It’s not even the most important part of it.

                  National healthcare and medical innovation will sharply decline, to America’s and the world’s detriment. Profit is what drives that innovation.

                  Nationalize healthcare and the overall quality and quantities of healthcare professional will sharply decline. Profit is again, and sadly, what drives many to the field. The VHA is NOT a good statistical indicator for this; those in the VHA serve the Vets for much better reasons than prestige and paychecks.

                  And, let us remember that the VHA was as bad as it was portrayed to be before it was reformed from within. Do you really believe that such reform would have happened if they’d not been circling the drain of loosing their funding? When, pray tell, would a government which is willing to borrow $trillions a years ever be in danger of loosing funding?

                  And finally, do you really want a single entity, the government, to have to final say on what treatments will be administered to the rank and file or to deal with the ancillary laws that they would pass to either actually cut costs or claim were for cost-cutting measures?

                  This is not to say that healthcare is AOK in the US; it sucks in some ways. That’s not a flaw in the healthcare system though; it’s a flaw in the People’s psyches and in their expectations of the medical system.

                  *******

                  No, Wheeler; I don’t think Liberals are unpatriotic. I just know that you’re faithful and loyal patriots of a nation that you want to bring into being, a nation that is other than America. In point of fact, you’re fine patriots that are at odds with me and the nation that I defend.

                  Truth to be told, as much as I rant against the Liberals and Progressives, they’re mostly a better grade of enemy than I had to deal with in Central and South America, Asia Minor, or Africa.

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              • @ jonolan,

                I’m pleased to get a thoughtful reply out of you, even if it is wrong and inconsistent. Why inconsistent? Because in your previous statement you said,

                ” . . . America’s healthcare system is by far better than one run by the government – both fiscally better and better based upon outcomes.”

                The famous IOM report of a month ago gave the lie to your statement., as does Longman’s study. The present system costs some 2 1/2 times what it should and is rife with medical errors that ought to horrify the entire population. In comparison, Longman presents a living example of what is possible for a system that fixes both problems and yet you cling to the meme that pretty bells and whistles and lots of high-tech tests beat a scientific systems approach with patient outcomes placed ahead of the profit motive.

                You ought to be ashamed at being suckered by the Medical Industrial Complex which is made up of people like Richard Stephenson, the FreedomWorks board member and millionaire founder of the for-profit Cancer Treatment Centers of America and who paid former House Majority Leader Dick Armey $8 million to stop bad-mouthing the industry. For a guy with an open mind you sure are stubborn.

                And yes, I did recognize how bad the VA system was before reform. While that shows how bad a government bureaucracy can be, its reform shows how good it can be, and more importantly it provides a perfect model for the fix. Meanwhile, ObamaCare not withstanding, the present model is intolerable and doomed to failure, in my opinion.

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                • I’m afraid that you’re the close-minded and stubborn one here. Wheeler. From the sound of it, all you see is people making money off of what you think should be free and, therefor, everything they do must be wrong and anyone that says that they can be done without must be right.

                  Costs won’t go down by nationalizing things unless you also change the very model of people’s expectation of medical care but quality of care overall will decline due to the loss of research and innovation.

                  As for medical errors – Just HOW do you think that putting the government in charge would EVER reduce errors or provide for better accountability for those errors? Looked at the Post Office recently? Or just about anything run by the govt.? Ever had a problem with them that needed timely resolution?

                  Remember, I never said the system was objective even close to great. I just said that it’d be better than one the government ran. That’s largely because, insofar as I can see, there’s no way that a government-run scheme would ever address what is wrong with the system; it’d just add its own problems on top of them.

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                • Nonsense, jonolan. I have never said it should all be free – far from it. In fact you even questioned my assertion before that taxes in general were too low for reasonable expectations for government services. And your assertions such as questioning how government could reduce errors appears to confirm my suspicions that you declined to read the Longman article. You are not only being an ideologue, you are inconsistent in the process. Sloppy.

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                • True, you never said it should be free. You just want only certain people to pay for everyone’s care via taxes, so you only want it free for some and don’t seem to like anyone making money off it…or much else, given your previous comments. A semantic failing on my part.

                  I did, however, read the article – apparently better than you did because it did not address how the government could reduce medical errors in general practice. It only stated that the particular sort of doctors who gravitate to the VHA have a better than average track record of avoiding them.

                  Finally, I’ve been anything but inconsistent. You may not like my facts and you most certainly hate the conclusions I draw from them, but neither those facts nor conclusions have changed in this discourse.

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                • jonolan, you say that Jim ” just want only certain people to pay for everyone’s care via taxes”. We already do via Medicare. We already do.

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                • I’m aware of that, Moe, and I find it objectively reprehensible that we do and subjectively even more vile when I consider what a boondoggle and mess Medicare is. “Doc Fix” anyone so that they can keep claiming that it works and is well-run fiscally?

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                • @ jonolan,

                  1. Once again, I do not expect healthcare to be “free” or paid for “only by certain people”. But I do believe that the tax structure should be progressive, and you and I will certainly differ about what that ought to look like. But I will say that a negligible cost, or “free” would be fiscally, well, unhealthy. Everybody needs to have skin in the game.

                  2. I believe that healthcare workers, including doctors, should be paid good salaries, but I submit that it is neither necessary nor justified to make them “rich”. How might “rich” be defined? I don’t know, how about $200,000 a year, not $500,000? Not free. Get that, olan?

                  3. The Longman article certainly did address how the government could reduce medical errors in general practice. That’s what the article is about for heavens sake. What reduces errors in the model is the systems approach, e.g., electronic health records, collaboration of specialties, diagnostic software and standardized produres. That you can’t see that is why I thought you didn’t read the article, but I believe you when you say you did, so the problem apparently is that you read it with your ideological filter firmly in place. And by the way, the Post Office is far from the inefficient organization you seem to think it is. While highly regulated by Congress the USPS hasn’t received any direct taxpayer money since the early 1980’s and they are currently innovating and downsizing in a very difficult financial environment. Again, ideological stereotypes are getting in the way of your objectivity.

                  4. In my opinion the whole country would benefit if the VA approach were to attract only the more idealistic kind of doctors, not those who want to get rich in the process. You might have a problem with that, but that’s my kind of doctor and I submit that with a government scholarship program to train them, sans crushing educational debt, that approach would produce plenty of debt-free healers who not only want to make a very good salary but who are primarily dedicated to human welfare.

                  3. You’re right, I shouldn’t have said “inconsistent” – I thought about that just after I hit “enter”. You are nothing if not consistently ideological. Mea culpa.

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                • Help me out here, Wheeler. How is the VHA’s past modernization and adoption of techniques already in use in the private sector any form of model of how the government would improve that private sector by taking it over?

                  And, as for the doctors’ salaries, are you hoping to get rid of malpractice suits too? The premiums for malpractice insurance are over 100K per year.

                  I’ll say this though – I’d prefer doctors being doctors because they feel that calling instead of doing for the money. There’s not enough people like that though to meet the demands of our populations. Even taking the “money lovers” into account, we’re already critically short of medical personnel.

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                • @ jonolan,

                  I’m running out of thread here, olan, so this will likely be the last I can squeeze in on this post.

                  I’m glad your interest is piqued. If you will kindly refer to the Longman article you will see that what makes the difference is not a package of techniques so much as the package itself. It is a systems approach, similar in concept to what the aviation industry uses. The tools are pretty much common sense, check lists (absurdly simple, but vital), electronic records and the like. But what really makes it work is prioritizing preventive, long-term care ahead of what is tops in the present system, i.e., through-put for money. In the present system the more patients a doctor sees, the more money is collected, but when you reward based on good patient outcomes rather than money, doctors become free to follow their healing natures.

                  I haven’t thought about the malpractice problem much but I do know that under a single-payer system it makes sense, just as it works for the armed forces, that the government would assume that liability. And there’s no doubt that under a VA type system there would be far fewer medical errors to trigger lawsuits.

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                • jonolan – re my 1pm comment yesterday – I meant to say Medicaid, not Medicare. That has no self funding structure. Medicare does though it needs to be re-structured.

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                • Moe, you’re statement was correct for BOTH Medicare and Medicaid. Both are heavily subsidized through federal taxes, though Medicare wasn’t meant to be and the Feds try to hide the extra taxes that pay for “Doc Fix,” without which Medicare would either be officially insolvent or few, if any, doctors would accept Medicare patients – not that many do now as it is due to its antiquated and sub-par reimbursement schedule.

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                • @jonolan – I keep hearing that many docs don’t take it. I have been on Medicare for five years. I’ve never been turned away by a doc or a lab and i don’t know a single person who has. On the other hand, when I had employer insuraance – until 2008 – I had a limited network and sometimes had to struggle with the insurance company over whether something was covered or not. At least with Medicare, they make it clear as a bell what is andd isn’t covered and that info is easy to find.

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                • Not that you likely will, but don’t leave FL except for AZ. The issues finding a doctor who’ll accept new Medicare patients is much more of a problem outside those two state, both of which have large retiree populations.

                  I might get worse there too though. Some industry surveys indicate that various provisions in Obamacare are causing doctors, even in FL and AZ, to consider no longer accepting Medicare patients due to the required 10% reduction in fees / reimbursements…which were already significantly sub-par, though that is more true for specialists than GP’s.

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  3. Biden and McConnell at least get enough done to do something while kicking the can at the same time.

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    • Government by ‘crisis aversion’. How long can this kind of behavior go on Frank?

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      • Well … as long as the people let it. And because people give Congress low rating, except for their person, the nation is stuck in the muck and the people elected to govern chose not to govern.

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        • I think we’d agree that the permanent campaign is killing our form of government because no one governs anymore; instead, they’re running for re-election – all the time.

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          • Yep … especially on the House side.

            Lincoln (movie) helped confirm that pathetic, party-first behavior goes with the job.

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            • The two year cycle does that. Senators go into campaign mode in the last two years of a term. Presidents are always in campaign mode until they’re elected to that second term. Maybe we should be rethinking htis whole thing. . . .

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              • The Foundering Fathers constructed a good plan. Let us not forget that senators were originally appoint by state officials elected by the people … then political parties got in the way, so that was amended. Thus, I tend to take George Washington view of political parties functioning in their interest over that of the nation or the people.

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  4. Really jonolan, you should be celebrating because your side got tax rates “permanently” pegged at unrealistically low rates for most people and still reserved the options for making mischief, throwing obstacles at the economy, throwing the Obama administration into financial crisis and undermining confidence in government every few months for the foreseeable future. And since the primary objective of the Republican party is the defeat of the “enemy”, a.k.a., Obama, and not the recovery of the American economy, I don’t know why you aren’t doing handstands.

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    • Unrealistically low rates for most people? I don’t even know what you mean by what, Wheeler.

      The productive people are already taxed at punitive levels and America corporate tax rates are the highest in the world, driving businesses and jobs overseas. Or did you mean the eater and takers who, while sucking from the taxman’s tits and gorging at the trough of public largess, pay nothing back into the system, at least at the federal level.

      If you mean the latter, we can almost agree – though taxing the nonperforming is even less profitable for spendaholics in DC than taxing the productive citizens.

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  5. The President was magnanimous and, well, presidential. Contrast that with Boehner telling Harry Reid to “Go f**k yourself” as he repostedly did. Class will out.

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  6. Well this Show is ended…..

    Stay tuned for a repeat come March…..

    Thank Goodness for ole” Joe Biden coming to the rescue after Boehner and the President struck out….

    The pattern seems to be to rescue the Speaker from his OWN people in HIS House…..

    Remarkable, eh?

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    • Remarkable indeed james . . . and what’s coming in March is downright dangerous – these last weeks have been theatre compared to what’s coming.

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  7. So let’s see, in 2008 Obama and Pelosi and Reid controlled the Universe . They were going to turn the economy around when they got their ginormous stimulus and green energy voodoo passed . But a funny thing happened on the way to the forum, it did not work . Then the Tea Party and the Republicans took over the House and guess what, problem solved it was all their fault now . It worked wonderfully cause our Lord and Master got his $ 6 Trillion credit card renewed by the American voter .;

    Republicans still retain nominal control of the House, while Democrats picked up enough seats to cause trouble . Things could not possibly be better in La La Land . Obama can pretend he cares about the deficit, while running it into the stars . Republicans fight between themselves and Barry sits back smiling and blaming them for his failures .

    Why aren’t you guys happy ? This is as good as it gets in real life .

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