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Member since: Mon Apr 5, 2004, 03:58 PM
Number of posts: 92,090

Journal Archives

03/01 Mike Luckovich: Gettin' hot in here.


02/28 Mike Luckovich: Priorities


@PolitiFact rates sanders' latest claim from the #DemDebate "mostly false"


Defending his signature health plan — a single-payer system known "Medicare for All" that would move all Americans to government-funded coverage — Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders argued that the massive health care expansion would actually save the system hundreds of billions of dollars.

Sanders’ figures come from a study published Feb. 15 in The Lancet, a British medical journal.....

Our ruling

Sanders said a recent study suggested Medicare for All would save $450 billion annually and saves 68,000 lives.

That study does exist. And it cites some evidence. But many of its assumptions are flawed, and experts uniformly told us it overestimates the potential savings. It cherry-picks data in calculating mortality effects.

This statement has some truth, but ignores context that would create a dramatically different impression. We rate it Mostly False.

02/27 Mike Luckovich: A happy pandemic


Washington Post-Why Bernie Sanders's repeating Cuban propaganda rankles so many Latinos

sanders praise of Cuba is pissing off an important segment of voters https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2020/02/25/why-bernie-sanderss-repeating-cuban-propaganda-rankles-so-many-latinos/

The first thing to grasp is that Cuba’s global reputation for having an excellent education system isn’t a result of the quality of its education system. As scholars have long known, Cuba’s overall educational performance is middling for the region: roughly similar to that of many other Latin American countries that brought their literacy rates from round-about 75 percent in the 1950s to not-far-from 100 percent today.

Yes, Cuba made education available free to everyone through the university level. But so did countries such as Argentina, Ecuador, Uruguay and Mexico. There was never any need to build a police state to bring people to school — an insight so obvious, it’s ludicrous to even have to write it.

In reality, Cuba’s reputation for educational prowess is mostly a product of a relentless, multi-decade propaganda campaign. Virtually every speech by every Cuban diplomat and regime admirer for the past seven decades has made a point of praising Cuba’s supposed literacy miracle. Cubans who have left know the propaganda only too well, and understand why a government desperate to establish its legitimacy in the face of the mass impoverishment of its population would turn to it again and again.

To Cubans and Venezuelans — who have witnessed much the same kind of propaganda — talk of Cuban educational prowess grates not because it’s wrong, exactly, but because it serves as a simple way to identify who’s ready to be duped by regime apologists. We know propaganda doesn’t need to be entirely false to be profoundly damaging. So we despair when we hear it parroted by those who ought to know better.

The bottom line is that when you associate yourself with an ideology whose past contains some of history’s worst crimes, you take on a special duty to denounce. When those denunciations come hedged with qualifiers that rest on propaganda lines, they ring entirely hollow.

Even With New Pay-Fors, Bernie's Agenda Still Has A $25 Trillion Hole


Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders has made some extraordinary promises in his campaign for president, including free health care, a federal jobs guarantee, universal forgiveness of all student debt, and radical expansions of nearly every government program from Social Security to housing subsidies. When asked at a CNN town hall last night how he would pay for this gargantuan expansion of government, Sen. Sanders presented moderator Chris Cuomo with a new document that Sanders claimed detailed how he would pay for his proposals. But don’t be fooled: these numbers still don’t add up, and Sanders should be pressed to explain his magic math at tonight’s debate.

The first problem is that the list of Sanders’ proposed spending increases is incomplete. Sanders has proposed costly plans for K-12 education, expanding disability insurance, paid family leave, and more that were not accounted for in the new document. He also grossly understates the cost of his Medicare for All plan by citing a flawed analysis that neglected to incorporate the costs of specific benefits Sanders proposes, such as universal coverage for long-term services and supports, and failed to account for how offering universal health-care benefits more generous than those offered by any other country on earth would increase utilization of health services.

Sanders and his surrogates regularly claim that critics are wrong to focus on how much Medicare for All increases government costs because it would reduce the total cost of health care. But independent analyses from the Urban Institute and Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget have concluded that even with the aggressive price controls he has proposed, Sanders’ Medicare-for-All framework would actually increase national health expenditures by up to $7 trillion. Sanders himself also admitted in a 60 minutes interview this weekend that his Medicare-for-All plan would likely cost around $30 trillion, yet the list of “options” Sanders has offered to pay for them (options which, it should be noted, he has never explicitly endorsed enacting together) would together cover less than 60 percent of that amount by the Sanders campaign’s own accounting.

In January, the Progressive Policy Institute published comprehensive cost estimates of the proposals offered by each of the leading candidates for president before the Iowa Caucus. After incorporating new proposals that Sanders has released since the publication of our analysis and minor methodological updates, PPI concludes that Sanders has now proposed over $53 trillion of new spending over the next 10 years – an amount that would roughly double the size of the federal government. Our estimate is, if anything, overly charitable to Sanders, as it accepts most of the Sanders campaign’s cost estimates outside of Medicare for All and assumes significant overlap in the costs of his proposed federal jobs guarantee and other spending proposals. Other analysts have estimated the total costs of Sanders’ proposals could be anywhere between $60 trillion and $100 trillion over 10 years. ,,,,

Sanders’ proposed pay-fors don’t even come close to covering these costs. The document Sanders published last night, along with others released earlier in his campaign, claim to collectively raise less than $43 trillion in new revenue – meaning that he’s at least $10 trillion short. But the revenue projections Sanders uses for his tax proposals are well outside the mainstream of what independent analysts at the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget, Congressional Budget Office, Tax Policy Center, Penn Wharton Budget Model, and others have estimated. After reconciling Sanders’ latest list of pay-fors with these independent estimates, PPI concludes that even if Congress were to adopt every single revenue option Sanders has offered for consideration, it would fall almost $25 trillion short of his proposed spending increases over the next decade – leaving a gap nearly equal to the total value of all goods and services produced by the U.S. economy in one year.

No, Bernie Sanders' Discussion of Cuba's Castro is Nothing Like Obama's


Eric Levitz in New York Magazine on Monday makes the case that Bernie Sanders’ 1985 interview admiring some aspects of Fidel Castro’s regime in Cuba was roughly the same as Barack Obama’s 2016 discussion of Castro. This is in large part just an amplification of ideas flying around Twitter this week, as in the tweet pictured above. A quick look at Sanders’ and Obama’s statements shows why this analysis is entirely incorrect.

In 2016, Obama was addressing hundreds of young business and social entrepreneurs from across Latin America in Buenos Aires, Argentina. If you read the transcript of his talk, you see immediately that Obama, in his signature style, was reinforcing the message of pragmatism and evidence-based decision making — as he puts it “be[ing] practical and just choos[ing] from what works.” He was in fact arguing against ideology, at a time when he must have been watching the destabilizing effects the surge in ideological politics was causing not just in the United States but in other countries long considered staid and practical.

In discussing Cuba, Obama relayed direct conversations he had with the Castros, insight into the diplomacy of highlighting policy areas where there might be more agreement in order to create common ground with space to push for change in other areas. I doubt many would think it rational to approach a nascent foreign relationship with a guns blazing, take no prisoners attitude, especially when any agreement depended on the other country’s support. Obama was relaying one relatively high stakes conversation with foreign leaders to another unaligned audience in a foreign venue. I expect it does not take an expert in international relations to see the U.S. interest in pitching this information a certain way for both of these audiences.

In contrast, Bernie Sanders’ 1985 interview was not conducted for foreign consumption or to support U.S. national interests, and it did not come at a time of opening up in the U.S.-Cuba relationship. Instead, it was given for a local public access TV show. It was effectively a vanity project giving Sanders a platform to expound his views of politics and the world. Because of this, the messaging here is all Sanders. Further contrasting Obama, it was rooted in ideology, with Sanders opening, “As a socialist, the word socialism doesn’t frighten me,” before launching into his discussion of self-described socialist regimes. While you could argue the interview might not be a perfect snapshot of today’s presidential candidate’s innermost thoughts, it was a clear statement of what Sanders believed at the time and unfiltered by the degree of drafting and review Obama’s messaging on this topic would have undergone....

From this brief look, we can see that Obama’s talk involved a little flattery, a little spin, and a good deal of appealing to an audience that he saw as future leaders. In contrast, Sanders’ words were simply praise without an intentional objective towards a defined audience. Conflating these two discussions is flimsy, misleading, and indicative of the pro-regime propaganda captured in Sanders’ own sentiment.

Statement from Biden Campaign on sanders not knowing the costs of his massive programs


Politico-Florida Dems in uproar after Sanders' Cuba comments

I think that sanders made a major mistake in praising Castro. trump will bury sanders with negative ads with these quotes and I fear that down ballot races in Florida will suffer if sanders is the nominee https://www.politico.com/news/2020/02/24/florida-dems-uproar-sanders-cuba-comments-117213

Bernie Sanders says he’s the Democrat best-equipped to defeat Donald Trump in November.

But Florida Democrats insist he‘s the worst-equipped after Sanders’s refusal Sunday night to thoroughly condemn the Cuban Revolution. His comments on 60 Minutes sent shockwaves through the nation’s biggest battleground state, where Democratic members of Congress, state legislators and party leaders warned that his nomination — and Sanders’s self-described “Democratic socialism” — will cost them the biggest battleground state of them all.

“If Bernie Sanders is atop the ticket, it’s going to make it tougher for all of us to win in Florida,” said Fernandez, who has endorsed Sanders’s rival, Joe Biden. “No one really sees Sanders winning Florida and I don’t think his campaign does either.”

As a state with an influential cross-section of Latinos whose families fled leftist Latin American regimes and violence, Sanders embrace of far-left leaders and his past refusals to wholeheartedly condemn Latin American strongmen and the Soviet Union have long been seen as fatal flaws.

Sanders on Sunday did nothing to allay those concerns in a 60 Minutes interview where he was asked about his 1985 comments stating that the Cuban people didn’t “rise up in rebellion against Fidel Castro” because “he educated their kids, gave their kids health care, totally transformed society.”....

But that could change under the kind of sustained assault that Trump’s campaign is waiting to unleash once he becomes the nominee -- Florida is a must-win state for Trump.

Operation Chaos-trump supporters and trump PACs are supporting sanders

How many of sanders votes are due to trump supporters crossing over as part of a new Operation Chaos
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