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Member since: 2002
Number of posts: 534

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I am worried FOR Hillary Clinton tonight.

All I can say is that I hope Trump's entire entourage, including Trump himself, are forced to go through a metal detector and a frisk. I woke up from a nightmare this morning where Trump shoots Clinton on stage. The man must be close to a mental breakdown at this point, and narcissists, when they are pushed past the breaking point, can become dangerously violent.

Nate Silver has Iowa in Blue on Nowcast

Iowa - 51.8 Clinton /48.2 Trump


If Trump gets crushed, will the Dixiecrat/Tea Party/Alt-Right contingent get ejected by GOP?

The Alt-Right movement (which I believe is the mutated form of the Dixiecrats of the 1960s) has been dragging the GOP so far to the right right over the last fifty years that the GOP can no longer field a primary candidate that will win in the general election, and after 2020, when redistricting will occur with a much more favorable map for the Dems, will end up losing the House and Senate as well (assuming the Democrats don't take and keep the Senate this year and 2018).

The GOP doesn't have the demographics right now to remain competitive, but to get to a point where they do, I think the only thing they can do is jettison the tea party, and let if fall into third party obscurity. Anyone see it differently?

National Enquirer: Clinton gains 130 lbs, in poor health and in danger of dying

In case you're wondering about where the real low information voter from is getting their news, just take a look at the tabloid rack of late. Significantly this all popped up just about the time that people started questioning Trump's sanity. I've been watching these (the Enquirer in particular) for a few weeks now, and you'd be forgiven for thinking that Trump doesn't even exist in the NE"s bizarro world view of reality, save as an Ayn Randian Saint.

Obama appears perplexed by Trump's "rigged" election comments.

I love his face here. It's almost a classic WTF expression.

Best Buy Fading Fast

I have, in general, had some of the worst retail shopping experiences ever at a Best Buy. Two hours to get a replacement phone because the person selling it couldn't figure out how to work the sales software, phone sent back for repair and losing the memory card, appliances that lasted two months before dying, generally impossible to get help when you want it but getting pestered when you're obviously just browsing, computers that had obviously been returned and repackaged, missing critical pieces. In general, this is a sign that the managers don't care - they aren't paying their employees enough, aren't training them, and are accepting massive turnover simply as the cost of doing business on the cheap. I miss FutureShop.

On the other hand, I also don't necessarily see the electronics oriented stores lasting much longer anyway. Targets, Costcos, Fred Meyers, etc. are all moving into the same space, the Internet is making it easier to order directly (and usually at better prices and reasonable shipping), and the market's changing fast enough that stock obsolescence becomes a major issue. Of course that trend, taken to its logical conclusion, will be that nobody has a job, which is a bigger part of the picture than any idiocy on the part of Best Buy, but, yeah, BB's days are numbered.

Personally I would agree here

save that I think the currency is wrong, and that it is only meaningful to make such valuations after a person has died.

A firefighter who saves lives contributes far more to society than a commodities trader who enriches himself. A teacher who teaches the next generation of writers, scientists, artists or engineers is immensely valuable. A parish priest who counsels troubled teens and helps turn around lives is in his own way more valuable than a pope who serves to enrich the church. The scientist who discovers new laws of physics, the artist who challenges us to challenge our assumptions, the musician who creates and performs even when the crowds are not there, these people bring real value into our world.

On the flip side, there are people who are not worth the air they breathe. Some are lazy, selfish, deliberately ignorant, cruel for cruelty's sake. Others are greedy, taking advantage of others so regularly that they only see others as "marks". Some seek power in order to dominate others, enrich themselves or their patrons or see others suffer. Others profit directly from the suffering of others.

Most people who measure their worth in dollars have difficulty in understanding this, because devotion to duty, self-sacrifice, compassion, kindness, creativity and invention deriving from curiosity can seldom be measured in terms of dollars. They assume that because something is priceless, it is worthless. Nothing can be farther from the truth.


I've wondered that about McCain for a while now. He struck me during his run in 2008 as not being as sharp or focused as I remember him in the past, and he has become increasingly extremist after having been at least a pragmatic conservative for most of his career. Lately most reports show him as being irritable and occasionally confused, and I have to wonder if the presser he did during the briefing may have been a memory slip of fairly epic proportions. He is 76 years old, and seems older to me. I don't watch him that closely, but would be curious about whether other people have seen evidence of senile dementia.

Psychopathy = Sadism + Narcissism

The psychopathic personality enjoys inflicting pain and dominating others, and typically has a very highly focused sense of "me". They are extroverts who are able to mimic social expressions and body language well, are pathological liars, and generally see others either as competitors or prey. Everything is about them. I think there is a very real difference between psychopathic personalities and Aspergers - Aspergers generally do have a very weak sense of "me", they tend to be intuitive and empathic (watch Aspergers and High Spectrum Autistics with animals) but they have trouble interpreting human facial or body language. Both can be very focused, but the Asperger is focused more on external phenomenon and curiosity (the Ooooh Shiny!) while the psychopath is focused on themselves and their own self-promotion. Both can be methodical, but the psychopath often is also a pathological liar (even to themselves), whereas most people on the Autism spectrum have difficulty lying or deception of any sort. I can see an engineer as a killer, but they would kill out of curiosity. A psychopath would do so seeking attention, and plays games with others to achieve dominance.

I believe that Romney was a Narcissist, and there are hints that he had the capability of being a sadist, though I don't think that was a dominant part of his personality. He was just too self-absorbed to be capable of sparing any attention to others. I still think we dodged a very real bullet with him, however.

A Culture of Corporate Dependency

The mindset of corporations is to leave no profitable niche untapped, and to create dependencies where none existed before. In the aftermath of World War II, there was a labor shortage as pent up demand caused unemployment to reach its lowest point in history. The jobs involved were generally labor intensive, and many companies employed doctors on staff to handle the frequent injuries such labor entailed. However, doctors are expensive, and they too were in high demand, so many companies began to offer a stipend to cover doctor visits as doctors either went into private practice or started working for the mega-hospitals that also emerged after WWII.

As health care costs began to rise, it made sense to pool funds, since in general disease and injury costs were comparatively rare on an individual basis - the number of people who were sick or injured at any given time was sufficiently low that companies investing into the pool would only tap it when injury did occur, which meant that over time, you ended up developing a tidy profit. What's more, the people being covered were generally men and (a few) women in their prime of life - mid twenties to early sixties, were reasonably affluent, and were usually in good health.

Such pools naturally attracted speculative investors, who realized that if they had control over these buckets of money, they could invest it in other areas. So they bought out the company pools and established themselves as insurance companies, and then began expanding that pool to cover higher and higher risk people via higher deductibles, as well as investing outside of the health care domain entirely.

That's when things began to go south. More than a few insurance companies wracked up losses in other areas through bad bets, and they rose rates to compensate. Health care providers invested in new technology, which had to be amortized, and the pharmaceutical industry, seeing an increasingly captive market, expanded their own R&D while at the same time taking larger amounts off the top for administrative purposes, as did the insurance companies themselves. In the 1970s there was an attempt to reform the industry with Health Maintenance Organizations, but these eventually went from a gateway to being a facilitator of the health care complex. Demographics caused problems as well, as their core pool aged and placed higher and higher demands upon the system. In essence, the health insurance industry ended up building on a Ponzi scheme that sustained itself for about fifty years, but is reaching a point where the number of new investors into the scheme cannot cover the accumulated debt and bad investments of all previous investors.

Today, the system is collapsing, and like so much else that the private enterprise system has created, it has left the mess to be picked up by the taxpayers. Yet the insurance companies don't want to lose the pots of money they have - they simply want the government to pick up those people that are a net loss for them. Since many of those same insurance companies are now partially or totally owned subsidiaries of the giant investment banks, those banks are also vehemently opposed to reform. The pharmaceutical and medical supply companies are generally opposed, since much of the cost of drugs and the like are in effect hidden by what the insurance company does cover, as are costly procedures performed by the hospitals.

I'm not sure where things will end up. My suspicion is that in the end, ObamaCare will end up as the two tier system it is today - individuals will either buy directly into the government pool or into a private insurance pool. Employers will get out of the insurance business altogether.
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