Hillary Clinton announces her VP pick (from here)

In Virginia today is the last day to register to vote for the next election. In less than a month, on November 6, 2018, we will vote in the midterm elections. Will our vote change anything? Why or why not? Why should we vote? Who and what should we vote for?

Here is an inspiring thought. Here is an alternate reality. What if our president today were Hillary Clinton? What do you think would be different? Did your vote change anything then?

We can’t change the past, but we can consider the past. We can contemplate what might have been different. We can learn from what happened. We can work to improve our choices.  So I ask for your comments. What have you learned from the last two years? What would have been different if H. Clinton had won? Would her presidency have been better or worse? What has Donald Trump done that convinces you that he was a better or worse choice?


  1. Trump is now tweeting that Republicans will “totally protect people with Pre-Existing Conditions”. That while signing a order that specifically allows insurance companies to get around that Obamacare requirement, and while his administration sides with Republican State plaintiffs seeking to overturn those exact provisions. Black is white, up is down, lies are truth. Nope, Tom, no lying going on here.🙄

      1. Medical insurance, in particular, is form of herd risk spreading.

        Think about lots of wildebeest and a few crocodiles. If all of us wildebeests cross the river together as a herd, there is less chance for each one of us to get picked off by a crocodile than if we spread out and go across in single file. Each member of the herd individually lowers his risk by acting socially rather than individually and the herd benefits as well.

        Now suppose the crocodile were to convince the fastest, most healthy members of the herd not to stay with the slower members, but instead to run out ahead and dash across single file on their own? They would get picked off and then when the younger and older individuals finally came along spread out by speed days later, they would be easy pickings for the crocodiles to just pick them off and stash their carcasses in the river too.

        The Republicans have been crocodiles about Obamacare for years and now they want to tell us they love the herd mode of risk spreading. It’s just a lie.

        Your point?

        1. @tsalmon

          If your house has already burned down, it is too late to “spread the risk”, that is, buy insurance. Can you figure out why?

          If someone helps buy you a new house, and you buy the insurance after it has burned down, at that point it is charity.

          Maybe you ought to look up “charity” too. It is foolish to confuse charity with some kind of entitlement. However, you don’t understand insurance.

          1. With regards to the risk spreading benefits of healthcare, I disagree with your analogy, but that issue has nothing to do with the fact Republicans are bald face lying about it so let’s go ahead and use it. For years, Republicans have been saying that they were against regulating insurance companies so that they must insure houses that are already on fire and have done and continue to do everything they can to stop such regulation, but now Republicans are saying, of course they will make those bad insurance companies insure burning homes.

            Are they lying now or were they lying then? As a Christian, as long as you get what you ideologically want, should it matter to you that you must participate in a lie in order to get it?

          2. @tsalmon

            You don’t like my analogy? Then let’s used yours. Preexisting conditions? If the crocs already have you, is it not too late to think about sharing the risk?

            To lie we generally use words. When words mean whatever we want them to mean at the moment — like a living Constitution — what is a lie? Can you define “lie”? Since you are not doing too well with “insurance” or “charity”, I wonder.

          3. Hey, Tom.. I’m interrupting your brotherly love with something you might wish to consider.

            Rather than asking the question as you have about the “what if Hillary had won”.. try asking these…

            What do you anticipate happening politically as a reaction to the Dems NOT winning the House or Senate in a couple weeks… in other words.. no change?

            What do you anticipate happening politically as a reaction if Trump gets re-elected in 2020?

          4. @Doug

            I am happy enough with Trump and Republican Congress. The Democrats behave like a bunch of spoiled brats. I have no desire to see them back in charge. Undoubtedly, however, the Democrats will continue their tantrums.

          5. Ah, you know that you must have lost the point, good brother, when you try to change the subject. Under your own anology, Trump is either lying to you or he is lying to those who believe preexisting conditions should be covered.

            And Trump is not alone. Seeing that Obamacare, and particularly this provision of Obamacare, has become imensely popular, even amongst Republicans, many Republicans, including your own Ted Cruz, have decided suddenly that they were for coverage of preexisting conditions all along.

            Point, set, match. 😉

          6. @tsalmon

            Declaring victory and then retreating? That’s a shame. I thought we were still defining our terms, but you want to claim an empty victory.

            If you are going to call someone a liar, you really ought to understand the meaning of the word. The mass media, however, has called Trump a liar. So he, not they, must be one.

            What about “popularity”? Do you understand the meaning of that word? It seems you would equate “popularity” with success. There is, however, a problem with socialist programs. Consider Margaret Thatcher’s response to a question.

            Q: There are those nasty critics, of course, who suggest that you don’t really want to bring [the Labour Party] down at the moment. Life is a bit too difficult in the country, and that … leave them to sort the mess out and then come in with the attack later … say next year.

            A: I would much prefer to bring them down as soon as possible. I think they’ve made the biggest financial mess that any government’s ever made in this country for a very long time, and Socialist governments traditionally do make a financial mess. They always run out of other people’s money. It’s quite a characteristic of them. They then start to nationalise everything, and people just do not like more and more nationalisation, and they’re now trying to control everything by other means. They’re progressively reducing the choice available to ordinary people. (from => https://www.snopes.com/fact-check/other-peoples-money/)

            Is Venezuela a success? How can you say that it is not? But, of course, it is not. Yet don’t you think many people thought it was at first?

            “Rights” that don’t exist. Promises that cannot be kept. Leaders who self-righteously demand great powers in the name of the People. Enemies wrecking the dreams of a socialist Utopia. These are all the children of lies piled upon lies.

          7. @Tom
            I need some advice. When would be a good time to get health insurance, if you suffer from cystic fibrosis, Turner syndrome, Tay-Sachs disease, or any other genetic disorder? After all, all of them require treatment, but they are pre-existing conditions at birth. When is a good time to pick up health insurance, when you suffer from diabetes and lose your job and the health insurance going with it, because the company you worked for folded?

            What is your proposal for these kinds of situation, Tom? Force insurance companies to give you coverage for your disease despite the pre-existing condition? Go set up a charity fund on your behalf and hope? Go away and die? From your perspective, what is the solution to the problem of medical costs and pre-existing conditions?

          8. Tom,

            You are just using your old fallback, a binary reductionist argument that every systemic issue is just totalitarian socialism versus anarchistic capitalism, as a deflection to the real issue – lying. You know that even if one accepts your ludicrous argument that forcing insurance companies to cover preexisting conditions equates to rampant Venezuela style socialism in the form of government enforced charity, Cruz, Trump and many other Republicans are now proclaiming that they are in favor of rampant Venezuela style socialism in the form of government enforced charity. Did they lie to you when they proclaimed that government should not enforce such preexisting conditions coverage or are they lying to everyone else when they now say government should enforce this coverage?

            The more you deflect from the plain fact of Republican lying on this issue, the more obvious it is that I’ve already won the argument. 😁

          9. @Tsalmon

            What I am telling you is that it is not possible to insure someone for preexisting conditions. We had a healthcare system based upon an imperfect economic model that worked for most people. The lie is that government could make it perfect.

            Instead wrecking the system for everyone else, the Trump administration will come up, if it is allowed to do so, with some kind of welfare system for people with preexisting conditions.

          10. Doug, I’ll take a crack at your questions.

            If Republicans maintain a firm hold on Congress and Trump gets re-elected, it will continue the erosion of basic values and the spread of corruption in government, but the I don’t think the world will end. I have actually been pleasantly surprised at the resilience of our basic institutions of democracy in opposition to the moral corruption that is Trump and Trumpism. Also I think the Democrats tend to knee jerk panic to Trump even it isn’t really that big a deal or even when Trump does something right. It makes them look reactionary to and aloof from average people.

            We live in a time and a generation where individualistic, zero sum materialism and fame is especially prized, and ideals like service, honor and sacrifice are considered naive and passé. How else could something like Reality TV, where people are willing to wade naked through slime and eat worms for 15 minutes of fame, be so popular? How else could the essence of that genre, Donald Trump, become the leader of the Free World?

            The military service ran up against infecting influences of this social corruption about twenty years ago. The services have mostly overcome it by returning to core values of integrity such as service, honor, sacrifice, honestly and loyalty. They recognized how much young people actually crave these greater moral goods in the face of the current hollowness of materialism.

            I predict that eventually there will be a backlash to the moral emptiness that is exemplified by Trumpism. But that return to center will have to begin with the kind of inspired moral leadership that has yet to successfully emerge in the Democratic Party elite.

          11. Good of you to endeavor an opinion on an answer to those couple questions… but to me it seemed a bit generic. While I certainly didn’t stipulate any ‘rules” in responding to them given it was a suggestion for Tom to try a more adventurous and relative trip into a possible reality than the complete fiction of his Hillary question.
            While you broad stroked your reply I was personally leaning toward a more cause & effect result given the tenseness of the nation. On the surface, if The Dems keep Congress it likely matters very little that Trump would be impeached even if Mueller has first hand evidence that Trump killed someone out in Fifth Ave. in broad daylight… forget whatever he can prove or who he can indict about Russian involvement or 2016 election hanky panky or tax evasion. Won’t matter. The Left will feel defeated unless, like you said, someone with positive charisma shows up on the playing field for 2020, and that doesn’t look well from my vantage point. If Trump wins re-election in 2020 it will feel like just giving up for that 55-60% who don’t support Trump.
            Random violence will continue for years to come.

          12. “What I am telling you is that it is not possible to insure someone for preexisting conditions.”

            Tom, have you ever actually purchased health insurance outside of what your employer provides. Most working people don’t. And being a woman is a preexisting condition for pregnancy you know.

            Most of the risk spreading in health care took place when unions negotiated health care insurance coverage for their members and their families at individual large paternal employer companies, and that coverage included preexisting conditions. Other nonunion companies and employees piggybacked on that new employment market benefit. However, particularly as the paternal, lifetime employee has gone away, employment is not a good way to risk spread health care. Fear of the losing preexisting coverage creates a market artificiality that traps employees from moving to jobs where they will be more productive and receive more pay. In other words, it artificially prevents both efficient employment markets and more effective, efficient broader risk spreading in insurance markets. The problem is decoupling employment from the insurance market.

            Aging is also a preexisting illness that we all share in common. Using your analogy, all our houses are already slowly burning down in this regard. When you are no longer employed and you need health insurance the most is when it would be prohibitively expensive on the open market. Medicare was created as life time herd risk spreading. It forces every member of the herd to pay for the older members now so that theirs will be paid for when they too get older.

            All that is, however, irrelevant to the question of Republican lying. Even if you are saying now that Republicans are in favor of a new government welfare program just to get rid of mandatory universal coverage and mandatory coverage of preexisting conditions, regulations that, enforced in tandem, private insurance markets are quite willing and able to do, then Republican still are either lying about their new found love of socialism now or they lied about it when they said they wanted to get rid of us of such socialism. It’s just lies built on lies built on lies. But that doesn’t bother you?

          13. @tsalmon

            Tom, have you ever actually purchased health insurance outside of what your employer provides. Most working people don’t. And being a woman is a preexisting condition for pregnancy you know.

            Always trying personalize the discussion or make it look like anyone who would dare to disagree with you lacks compassion, but what it comes down to is you want the politicians you elect to tell other people how to spend their money. That is stealing. Not everyone wants your Utopia.

            When an employer wants to provide health insurance for their employees, that sounds great, but what happens if you change jobs? What about problems like preexisting conditions? What about the competitiveness of smaller companies, particularly when government subsidizes employer-provided health insurance through tax laws?

            Why do we want our health care tied to our jobs? Because some politicians know better than everyone else? What do our employers know about the subject?

            When we elect our leaders, we do an awful job. No matter who wins, half the population is not happy. You love Trump, right? Yet here you are advocating an unconstitutional program that is working better under Trump than the clown we named it after. This is your party’s primary issue, and you wonder why I think Liberal Democrats should just mind their own business and let everyone else do the same?

            Aging is a preexisting condition? Yep! And programs like Social Security and Medicare are driving the national debt. Go figure. We are running out of “other people’s money”.

          14. @Tom

            To paraphrase your point on charity: If you can not find somebody who is willing and able to pay for your medical care, then it sucks to be you. Curl up and die already.

          15. @marmoewp

            That statement has more to with your own thoughts than anything I said.

            Our communications with another person can get garbled for various reasons. We can state our message poorly. We can use a noisy communications medium (People usually don’t usually try to talk with each other outdoors in a hurricane.). Or we can talk to someone who cannot or will not understand.

            If you are determined to hear what you want to hear, there is nothing I can say that will change that.

            All I have observed is that charity is not a function of government. When government start redistributing the wealth, eventually the costs outweigh the benefits. If we were good enough to make government-run charity work, we would not need a government.

          16. “Tom, have you ever actually purchased health insurance outside of what your employer provides.”
            TSalmon, you say this…but you’ve also mentioned that Obamacare is popular. This makes me wonder if you have done the same anytime recently? Obamacare has been catastrophic to small business owners.

            Most working people don’t.
            Agreed. Do YOU know any of these people?

            Here’s a small starter.

          17. Liz,

            The answer to your question is: no, I haven’t ever purchased health care insurance on the open market. I pretty much went from being a military brat to being married to a phone company employee to being in the military to helping my union negotiate health benefits at an airline to Tricare in retirement. Other than a short stint as a law student when a medical emergency may have bankrupted us, like most folks, I have always had top flight company or government provided health insurance. Haven’t you and your family?

            And that’s my point. Most people, wether they have preexisting conditions or not have managed to have their risk spread over some larger employment group. And that’s also the problem. Coupling health insurance to employment makes it particularly difficult for the self employed and small, even high paying employers to afford coverage. It also makes it difficult to leave an employer for even a higher paying job. Forget about preexisting conditions, a small employer can be bankrupted by just one of their employee’s children contracting an expensive illness. However, do you seriously think that even large employers (like the airline your husband works for) really wants to be in the health care insurance business?

            Obamacare was hatched up in a Republican think tank and designed to start decoupling health care insurance from employment and start risk spread over larger, more competitive private exchanges markets. Had the Republicans not been so hell bent on destroying Obamacare, I could easily imagine a situation where the airline that I worked at came to ALPA and told us that they would give us a raise to go out and purchase our own equal or better quality individual policies on a highly competitive exchange system l, and we would have jumped at the chance.

            If Obamacare’s key provisions had been encouraged and improved, I can imagine every large employer in the country would benefit from getting out of the health care insurance business and it’s spiraling costs.

            Only three major health care insurance companies now administer (at exorbitant profits) and negotiate health care for every major employer in the nation. Health care right now is not a real market with numerous buyers and sellers looking for price and value. If we actually had numerous insurance companies competing at real state and nation wide risk spreading efficiencies, health care costs (not just health insurance costs) themselves can be lower.

            How much do you think our major international corporations are harmed by having to compete with every other industrialized country in the world that has socialized medicine? How much of the price if a new Ford truck do you think is health care costs?

            What we had before was not working and Obamacare was the Republicans best shot at a market based approach. Despite what blind ideologues may say, a combination of good risk spreading regulation and dynamic market efficiencies could make ours the best, most universal and cheapest health care system in the world. Because of Republican ideological intransigence, we will probably end up with socialized medicine because both the workers and the employers will ultimately demand it.

            Despite Republican attempts to destroy it. Obamacare is working better in the states that embraced it. People don’t want to go backwards.

          18. “Haven’t you and your family?”
            Yes. But I know many many people who use private insurance, and I know what the ACA did to them. This includes my sister and brother’s families. Their premiums went through the roof (doubled), and deductibles more than doubled. When your deductible is five figures, that’s not really a deductible so much as a catastrophic cap. And they’re paying thousands a month for that cap.

            ”Obamacare was hatched up in a Republican think tank and designed to start decoupling health care insurance from employment and start risk spread over larger, more competitive private exchanges markets. Had the Republicans not been so hell bent on destroying Obamacare, I could easily imagine a situation where the airline that I worked at came to ALPA and told us that they would give us a raise to go out and purchase our own equal or better quality individual policies on a highly competitive exchange system l, and we would have jumped at the chance.”

            Not if the prices weren’t controlled. With rates more than doubling every four years who could afford it?

            ”If Obamacare’s key provisions had been encouraged and improved, I can imagine every large employer in the country would benefit from getting out of the health care insurance business and it’s spiraling costs.”

            But that wasn’t the result….Obamacare had the OPPOSITE result. Results were very bad for the majority of participants. THAT is the problem. Maybe it could have been improved upon, but since the results were the opposite direction of the goal that doesn’t seem forthcoming.

            Per the rest, yes, insurance monopolies are big problem. Beyond the scope of this thread I think. They’re buying up clinics too, which is a troubling development. New clinics simply cannot compete….as soon as they perform the required census to put in the new facility, the insurance company builds it instead. Takes very deep pockets, high court fees, and many years just to have the opportunity to compete. It’s a mess.


          19. Heh, Tom…healthcare is one topic where there are no winners (though hopefully this will change soon). The system has become terribly complicated….it has become a combination both maximizing crony capitalist gouging with the maximum of socialistic bureaucracy. I could rant on a long while (and yes, the comprehensive fouling-up of the nation’s health-care arrangements, so as to make them considerably worse than they had been before was in great part the responsibility of the woman who tried to be president in that last election).

          20. I’m wondering if TSalmon remembers (or if marmoewp has even heard) when Clinton took away the military healthcare benefits for retired veterans over age 65? This when Hillary was in charge of the nation’s Healthcare Task Force.

          21. @Liz

            Except for the fact that some animals are more equal than others (the vanguard), Liberal Democrats believe in spreading the pain. They have it confused with spreading the risk.

          22. Liz,

            Sorry, been away and just saw this.

            Health care is between one third and one quarter of our economy and climbing. You, like all Republicans, offer critical whataboutimsms without solutions.

            We all have anecdotes. You have a sister having trouble getting health care. I have a daughter with Parkinson’s who will be severely jeopardized by the loss of preexisting coverage. You throw out ridiculous allegations about Clinton taking away coverage for military retirees over 65. I’m a military retiree. My wife is over 65 and I’m under 65. She has Medicare Part A & B with Tricare for the rest (same as I will when I turn 65) and I get my health care at the base. Her care is arguably much more personalized and better than mine.

            Everybody’s got a stupid opinion on this based on little more than what works for their friends and family (myself included), Republicans answer for 10 years has only been repeal without any actual replacement, but now they are lying and saying that they were for covering preexisting illnessness all along – with what plan, how? It’s a just a big, damnable lie.

            Tens of millions of people have health care that didn’t have it before. Under Obamacare my daughter is not facing bankruptcy if she leaves her job or it leaves her.

            Tom, doesn’t like it when we personalize this, but you, Tom and I all have (government provided?) health insurance. No matter what side of a complex multi-trillion dollar problem we come down on, it can not help but be personal when Republican politicians are lying to our faces, want to simply destroy, and couldn’t corral all the blind ideologues in their party to find a solution if it was to save our lives.

          23. @tsalmon

            Here is a whataboutism for you. What about when the money runs out?

            Government fixes problems by throwing other people’s money at problems. When government does that, it takes money that might be better spent elsewhere. We don’t know because we never see what might have happened. We just see the “whataboutisms” that bullies were able to accomplish using government force.

            It is a fact of life. When someone spends someone else’s money on someone else, the costs go through the stratosphere. Easy come. Easy go.

            Half the Federal Budget goes to Social Security and Medicare, and Democrats want Medicare for everyone. Eventually, the money will run out and, and government will ration health care services. We will wait in lines for bureaucrats to decide who gets what. That’s not compassionate. That’s nuts!

          24. Tom,

            “Here is a whataboutism for you. What about when the money runs out?”

            Tom, you are long on problems and short on solutions. What is your solution so that old folks like you and I don’t find ourselves on the street after one illness? My daughter got PD when she had employer provided insurance, so what is your solution so that she can keep that coverage if she leaves her job or her job leaves her? What are the rest the largest most successful economies in the world doing? How could we come up with a compromise between government and free enterprise that could be better (you know, like Obamacare?)?

            You don’t know, and you offer only scare tactics propaganda in place of answers.

            But that is not the issue. The issue is lying. It is a lying for Republicans to say that they are suddenly in favor of protecting preexisting conditions coverage when they are not and never have been, isn’t it? Isnt it a bald face lie a lying for Republicans to say that they want to save preexisting conditions coverage when all the have done and continue to do is eliminate it, without any solution?

          25. @tsalmon

            I don’t have a cure for old age. Uncle Sam does not one.Taking our money and spending it is not a solution.

            You worried about people who don’t save for retirement? Is bankrupting the country is a solution for that? There is no end to the problems politicians can claim the ability to solve.

            You worried about lying politicians? Voting Democrats is a solution for that? They cannot even obey the Constitution.

          26. So, if we set aside the fact that you are all opinion with expertise, and have no actual solutions just destruction, what this really comes down to is that it is ok for you to participate in a lie to the American people as long as Republicans get elected with the lie.

          27. Tom,

            When lying becomes the only way to sell your anti-government ideology to the American people, because, you know, those voters are too dumb to know what’s really morally good for them anyway, then what does that say about the moral merits of your ideology to begin with? If lying is to become a Republican sacred sin, then how long will it be before blatant stealing and cheating become sacred for you as well? How long then before the sacred killing starts?

            We disagree as to whether solving certain problems as a community through government is immoral. Compared to the rest of Republicans, the rest of America and the rest of the most successful democratic governments in the world, you are an extreme outlier in this odd ideology. Regardless, even if you think it immoral, and the rest of us sincerely, honestly disagree, it is quite obvious that Republicans’ lying to get what they want is blatantly immoral. One is an obvious intentional sin that is being fomented by Republicans and the other is, at worst, as John says, just a mistake.

          28. @tsalmon

            You can’t win your argument on the merits so you obsess on the evil you find in Trump and Republicans. I suppose you think I am doing the same, but here is the difference. We already know people are evil. It is silly to prove it over and over again. What matters is that we try to do what is right and pray for God’s help. Socialism is stealing. It is wrong.

          29. @tsalmon

            I suppose I should mention this. I am sick of defending Republicans from stupid accusations. A lie goes round the world before anyone realize it doesn’t make sense. Republicans ran on repeal and replace. Replace means what? Do you really think I was happy with what those idiots might come up with?

          30. “You can’t win your argument on the merits so you obsess on the evil you find in Trump and Republicans.”

            My argument is that Trump and the Republicans are lying, specifically about their past and/or present stance on preexisting conditions. As for the underlying issue that Republicans are lying about, you don’t have any solution to the problem. You obviously don’t understand the problem. All you have is sweeping ideological opinions that you think somehow substitutes for actual knowledge about anything or an actual answer for the real issues that are deeply effecting peoples’ lives. What you have is a one trick pony that you can’t ride and that you can’t plow, but boy doesn’t he do that one worthless trick over and over again.

            Of course, we are all sinners. What does that have to do with this particular lie? Who is asking you to defend the Republicans as without all sin? Listen to yourself. It’s absurd for a Christian to excuse and participate in the sin of lying because just we all sin. You know that. That the Republicans are lying in this regard isn’t an opinion; it’s an issue of fact which you can either defend somehow or admit.

            Quit acting like you and the Republican Party are some kind of victims here. The voters are the ones being lied to. We are the victims.

          31. In fact Tom, if the Republicans are somehow are telling the truth, despite hundreds of votes and speeches to the contrary, they suddenly found Jesus when it come to helping their constituents with preexisting conditions, then you ought to be the one upset because they lied to you up to this point.

          32. @tsalmon

            Has it occurred to you that you are lying to yourself? What is your justification for socialized medicine? Everybody does it. What did we tell our children when they came home with that excuse?

            Face it.
            1.You can’t justify what you vote for ethically. Your “solutions” infringe upon the rights of others, undermining religious freedom.
            2. You can’t prove your “solutions” produce better results than the private market and plain old charity. When our government redirects massive resources just to implement Utopian schemes, we don’t even know what we gave up.
            3. Your “solutions” make people dependent upon the government, encouraging them (and yourself) to vote to protect their sacred cows (“I got mine.”). In fact, Liberal Democrats vote to protect rights that don’t exist. Instead of voting to protect the rights of their neighbors, Liberal Democrats use special “rights” as an excuse to vote to force their own pagan beliefs upon their neighbors.

            You drape yourself in the mantle of compassion, but why do you personalize your arguments? Why do you attack Trump personally instead of condemning his policies? Is it about what is good for you and your tribe, or is it about what is good for the country?

          33. Tom,

            I’m not lying because I simply disagree with you nor do I think that you are lying because you disagree with me. I honestly think that you sincerely believe the extreme ideology that you keep ranting as if it’s the only truth in the world and you amongst all us mere humans have the exclusive lock on it. I just think you don’t know what you’re talking about, not that you are intentionally telling a factual untruth.

            It is not disparaging Trump to say he is just plain lying any more than it is disparaging a bank robber to say that you just saw him rob a bank or about a murderer that you just saw him murder someone. It just is. The question is whether or not you wish to participate in that.

          34. @tsalmon

            Live and let live is an extreme ideology?

            Look around. We are arguing over WHO should pay for medical procedures that have only been around for a short time. Meanwhile, we are experimenting with different forms of government. I favor protecting our constitutional republic. Our Constitution is quite unusual. In that sense, a constitutional republic is as extreme as it gets.

            Because the refuse to be bound by the Constitution (It’s alive!) what Liberal Democrats advocate (as a practical matter) is majoratarian tyranny. The modern variant is Socialism, but the idea is old.

            Majoratarian tyranny is unusual only because it quickly leads to plain old tyranny, Nazism and Communism are just modern examples. Otherwise, majoratarian tyranny is not especially unusual.

            So, yes, compared to you I suppose I am an extremist. For some reason, however, I am just disappointed you don’t share my extremism.

          35. “Live and let live is an extreme ideology?”

            Well, I don’t know, but it’s a good thing that wasn’t Jesus’ philosophy. He apparently demonstrated a far less casual, far more active approach to sacrifice.

          36. @tsalmon

            Jesus sacrificed Himself for the sake of others, not others for the sake of others, or others for His own sake.

            Luke 9:23 English Standard Version (ESV)

            23 And he said to all, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.

            We pick up our own cross willingly.

          37. “You throw out ridiculous allegations about Clinton taking away coverage for military retirees over 65. I’m a military retiree. My wife is over 65 and I’m under 65. She has Medicare Part A & B with Tricare for the rest (same as I will when I turn 65) and I get my health care at the base. Her care is arguably much more personalized and better than mine.

            You have that coverage now because Bush (junior) brought it back. Thought you had relatives who were WWII veterans? Maybe they didn’t tell you. Since my father was a WWII veteran, I remember when they took away his coverage very well. Veterans took it to court, all the way up to the USSC. Took years (again, very surprise you haven’t heard of this). Eventually they got the Tricare for life.
            If you are going to throw barbs about “ridiculous allegations” you really need to inform yourself better.
            Found this in five minutes, don’t feel like looking further. Should be enough to make the point:

            Click to access a480417.pdf

            In response, a number of bills have been introduced seeking to expand military health care options. In the 108th Congress, at least two of these bills (H.R. 58 and S. 56) cite a “promise” or “commitment” as the rationale for provisions that would “restore health care coverage to retired members of the uniformed services.”3 Although previous attempts to pass such legislation have failed, Congress substantially expanded the military retiree health care benefits via the FY2001 National Defense Authorization Act.4

            A couple of years back the subject of healthcare in his private clinic came up (friend and former flight doctor). I asked about the ACA. He told me he never sees it because the deductible is so high for all practical purposes it didn’t exist. That would coincide with the observations of friends and family as well. But here is a link to data, showing definitely the effect Obamacare had on insurance premiums as a whole over the course of only a four year timeframe:
            Average individual health insurance premiums increased 147% between 2008 and the first two months of the 2017 open enrollment period

            Average family health insurance premiums increased 177% between 2008 and the first two months of the 2017 open enrollment period

            Now, it is true I haven’t cited a lot of “cures”…one small cure is being enacted now with legislative changes in generic drugs (thank you Trump). It’s not a panacea, it’s a start. It will take a while. Took a while for our healthcare system to get this messed up too. But as you can see above in the link provided, since super-expensive healthcare is the underlying problem a “solution” that produces a doubling of premiums and deductibles in a four year timeframe is more like a poison than a cure.

          38. Just to add, from the link above…note the deductibles also doubled in that four year timeframe. Average for a family in 2013, 4230. Average for a family in 2017, 8352. ACA deductibles were far higher than that, judging by what I’ve been told. I guess I could look it up but since the above so clearly makes the point doesn’t seem necessary.

          39. FWIW, the site I linked to initially (Medical Economics, which gave Obamacare an F) is a good, non-biased site that offers different perspectives from a lot of physicians. Those are hard to find. It’s certainly not pro-Trump.

            While I’m engaging on my morning blab, I’ll offer one small “fix” for medicine…in Ireland doctors go straight to medical school after high school. Money saved, whatever four years of superfluous education would be (plus interest on the loan). We should bring back hospital nursing diplomas, instead of the ridiculous superfluous increases in ostensibly education and training (basic RN needs a masters to work at a number of facilities now…I can, as an RN with an advanced degree, tell you what a master’s is worth as an RN….less than an Associate’s degree. This is not to be confused with the master’s programs for Nurse Practitioners/anesthetists, which are very good programs that save money).

          40. Liz,

            So Republicans have done and continue to do everything that they can for the past 11 years to get rid of Obamacare’s keystone provisions (the individual mandate, Medicaid expansion and preexisting conditions protections) and now you wonder why premiums CONTINUE to rise? So once again, were Republicans lying to you when they said that they wished to get rid of preexisting conditions coverage or are they lying now to an American that likes these protections when Republicans say that they want to protect that coverage? What is their plan to risk spread preexisting conditions coverage ?

            As the song goes “Tell me lies, tell me lies, tell me sweet little lies”….


          41. @Tsalmon

            Think about what you want. You want to pretend that healthcare coverage for a preexisting ccondition is “fair”, that other people have an unassailable obligation to pay up, that it is not charity, that it is a right. And you are accusing other people of lying if they don’t deliver what you want the way you want it. Sorry to disappoint you, but none of us have the right to make others pay for what we want or need. It is a lie to say otherwise.

            Civility is only possible when we recognize that other people have inherent rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. When we, even as the majority, are unwilling to recognize such rights, civility is becomes meaningless concept. All that matters is which side submits to the will of the other. Hence, Liberal Democrats heap abuse with name calling, and they have even tried to frame Trump with fraudulent evidence. Is violence from Liberal Democrats unlikely? No. That is where using the government to steal leads.

          42. The failures of Obamacare over the Obama years are all Republicans’ fault.
            The economic success in the last two years since he has left office are all Obama’s victory.
            That about sum it up?

          43. “Now Liz, you know that that does not answer the question, don’t you?”

            Now, Tsalmon, your response to my rejoinders would illustrate exactly why it’s pointless to answer questions.

          44. You want to have a debate about how to solve a complex problem that effects more than a quarter of our economy. I’m am just not willing to pretend to be knowledgeable enough have that discussion with any determinative authority, and even if I were, it would take several treatises that neither one of us wants to write and most sane folks wouldn’t want to read anyway. But yea, of course, ignorance never keeps us from claiming God’s own will in our opinions.

            I like your ideas about lowering medical staff training costs. Because of your background, you probably have a unique insight about medical costs and care.

            However, the merits or faults of a system that has never been supported by Republicans aside, what does that have to do with the Republucans current lies on their supposed sudden support of preexisting conditions? To use a colorlul metaphor, the Republicans are peeing on our shoes and trying to convince us that they suddenly made it rain.

          45. @tsalmon

            I suggest you consider the title and subject of the post. You keep explaining how little you know, but at the same time you think you are qualified to elect someone who thinks she is qualified to run everyone else’s business. And you don’t think that’s a lie. Sigh….

          46. Ha Tom,

            I don’t know how to do heart surgery either but that would not keep me from picking a heart surgeon out if I needed one.

            Even Little Marco admitted that, if the Republicans had to run on their resume, then Hillary was going to be President. I voted for someone who was probably the most qualified person ever to run for President. You voted for a proven pathological lier whose only qualification was being a massive, lifetime conman and a fraud.

            You have reason to apologize for the National embarrassment that is your porn star bribing President several times a day. I have no regrets about my vote. You’re the one who is apparently do rack with the cognitive dissonance of the reality of your pick that you have to endlessly run Trump against some extreme caricature of an imaginary President Hillary Clinton just to make you feel better.😏

          47. Good one Tom. Yea, what kind of fool Republican thinks he can actually tell the truth like that and then expect to get elected? Trump sure showed Rubio how to lie his way to victory. But then again, what was Lying Ted’s excuse?🤨

          48. Well, physically I’ve grown up.. I’ve even grown out sideways. Politically I’ve grown frustrated. But mentally.. I’ve… evolved.

          49. @Doug

            When we say we have evolved, that is dangerously ambiguous. Just as we can “progress” in the wrong direction, evolution doesn’t necessarily equate with improvement.

          50. I want to be a fireman when I grow up. Kate says it’s ok as long as there are no school loans.

          51. “To use a colorlul metaphor, the Republicans are peeing on our shoes and trying to convince us that they suddenly made it rain.”

            And the Democrats are flapping their arms in an attempt to convince everyone that they are flying.
            At least pee is wet.
            Get any air traction there?

          52. Liz,

            Here’s another colorful metaphor for the Republican plight this midterm. Republicans trying to run on their own actual record of accomplishment is like polishing a turd – it’s no wonder that they are just making stuff up. Here’s a pretty good list of what even a Trump fan calls Trump’s “reality distortion field”, but it already a day old so there’s no way that it’s comprehensive of all of Trump’s latest whoppers:


          53. @tsalmon

            The New York Times fact-checking anyone, especially Donald Trump, is absurd. Have you found that evidence of Trump colluding with the Russians yet?

            You spend all your time discussing Trump’s whoppers, but you are too modest to discuss the issues. You would rather proud exclaim don’t know enough. Ahhh, the modesty. 🙄

            Issues you leave to the “experts” (who are usually even more ignorant than you). You just know enough to repeat stupid accusations against the president. And that has become your idea of winning a political debate?

            How stupid are the American people? Well, I suppose stupidity is not the problem. The problem is sin, the wisdom to discern between good and evil and choose the good.

            We are, of course, all sinners. We also do not –cannot — make every sin against the law, but do we have to encourage evil? Is it unreasonable to wish you would respect the rights of others. Instead of trying to force others to help you and your allies commit their sins, is it too much to ask you and your allies to be content with being allowed practice your religious beliefs and let others practice their religious beliefs? I suppose it is. Regardless of the truth, whether we wish to believe it or not, as sinners we do damnably want to believe in our own righteousness. And that is why, I suppose, God gave us the Bible, and, more importantly, a savior.

          54. I think it is important that we don’t confuse ideology with factual expertise or moral value if the goal is truth. If the goal is truth, then when you let your ideology disregard and displace factual expertise and universal moral virtue, you are practicing a form of emotivism that says that everyone’s ideological opinion is equally valuable as those who may have the greater weight of the truths factual expertise and universal moral virtues on their side of the argument. While allowing each and everyone to emote ideological opinions that are fraught with factual and moral falsehoods may be a fine way to run an insane asylum, it simply does not work very well when we are trying to govern ourselves and our country toward productive values and goals that we as Americans and Christians share in common.

            Government itself, by definition, is the action of a group. As a republic, we elect leaders that we, as a group, follow. I don’t have to emote an opinion on every complex issue or distort the endless facts of that issue into a small ideology – I vote for leaders who I expect to have a grasp of a broad range of complex issues and the leadership skills to listen to the advise of actual experts. More importantly, because we all know that the essence of true leadership is integrity, we expect leaders to act with a high regard for certain universal moral virtues that we all share in common no matter what our religion or lack thereof: honesty is one of those virtues. If someone is lying to us and inspiring us to emotional hateful action through falsehoods, they are doing wrong as a leader because they are abusing both the factual and moral mandates of leadership.

            None of us is perfectly virtuous. None of us can be an expert in everything. Even experts make errors and even saints sin. That reality should make us humble and merciful. However, that reality should not make us embrace stupidity and sinfulness which is what your ideologically selective version of “live and let live” amounts to in regard to Trump and Trumpism.

          55. @tsalmon

            We know you hate Trump. How many times do you have to tell us that?

            Everyone has an ideology. Look up the definition of the word. What some lack is a proper basis for distinguishing fact from fiction. That becomes a big problem when prideful people discover government is an effective tool for imposing their ideological beliefs upon others.

            Socialism is an ideology. Socialists use government to impose their beliefs upon others. You don’t want to admit that? Considering what you just wrote?

            As a Christian I look for Truth in the Bible. As a scientist/engineer, I understand that people can only truthfully report what they perceive, not necessarily the truth. As a citizen, I understand that it is not my place to tell other people how to run their lives, that it is my duty to protect their rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

            If you think you can choose “great” men and women who can properly run our lives, I think you need to rethink your ideology. We are finite. None of us have the capacity to do for 300,000,000 people what 300,000,000 people can do for themselves. Thus, good government consists of protecting the ability of people to do for themselves what they can do for themselves.

          56. Because your argument is emotive and ideological, you must classify all opposing arguments as emotive and ideological as well. Without even bothering to consider what I believe, if I don’t fit into the closed ideological circle that you are emoting, I must be falsely cast into some opposing ideology.

            You are confusing the difference between being an ideologue who crams the answer to every complex and ambiguous dilemma into the closed formula of his ideology with someone who just strives toward basic universal ideals. One can have a basic regard for universally recognized, unselfish love inspired virtues and a disdain for universally recognized selfish inspired vices without the need to believe any particular formulaic social scheme is infallible.

            Christianity is not an “ism” brother. You know that. It does not offer us a perfect Utopian formula for a world that will always be fallen and flawed. Love is its foundational commandment and we look to Jesus as our perfect expression of that infinite and unknowable truth. All else is flawed and finite.

            We will never have God’s perfect knowledge or perfectly virtuous love. There is no ideological formula. By simply seeking and striving we are saved. When we place our own man made formula, our ideology, on a such a pedestal, we are committing a form of idolatry.

            I can point out that Trump is simply and continuously lying without malice or hatred toward him just as I can believe that you are misguided when you chose him to lead you without hating you. I think you know that too.

          57. @tsalmon

            You vote for a bunch of people who want to take as much money from people as they can and then spend it for them. You vote for people who think sex is a choice, people who insist upon educating other people’s children about sex. You vote for people who want to make us pay for abortions, even as part of foreign aid. You vote for people who think they can control the weather and lower the oceans, and then you spout that nonsense. I just want you and other true believers to keep your vile Utopian schemes to yourselves.

            Love is not about controlling other people. Love is about giving from ourselves of our own volition for the sake of those we love.

          58. Boy, you sure propped up a lot of straw men there Tom. That’s got to be a record of some sort.😜

            I may have mentioned this before. Reinhold Niebuhr concludes his “The Children of Light and the Children of Darkness” with the problem of human pride, the motivation of our original sin, being the source of most human ideological conflict. Socialism, communism, capitalism, libertarianism, etc. only become evil when, in our pride, we take these isms or any ism to absolutist extremes, or when those that Niebuhr characterized as the Children of Darkness manipulate those caught up in such ideological extremism for their own cynical purposes.

            Indeed, such ideological extremism cannot be virtuous nor can virtuous idealism be an ideological absolutism. The practice of virtue is situational and, by its nature, often an imperfect compromise. Virtue deals with balancing between extremes such as, in a given situation, the virtue of courage is the imperfect balance between the cowardly act of running away and the foolhardy act of running headlong into danger.

            We vote for people who we think will try to serve their office with expertise and virtue. In my opinion, that is far more important than your ideological litmus tests. Regardless, we certainly should not sacrifice our love of knowledge and virtue at the altar of some absolutist ideology. That is what you appear to be doing with Trump.

          59. @tsalmon

            The problem with my “straw men” is that they are factually correct, and that is just beginning.

            Look at you. Your best argument is calling Trump a liar. That from someone who voted for Obama and Clinton? It is a joke.

          60. Come on brother. We are not arguing. That Trump is lying constantly and verifiably is not an argument – it is just a conspicuous fact. It would only really be an argument if I had to actually convince you that lying is somehow morally wrong. I don’t think that I have to do that, do I?

            Now we could certainly have a debate with each one of your straw men if you would like. Heck, I probably will agree with you to some extent on many of those issues. However, because you are an absolutist as partisan and as an ideologue, if I don’t agree with you completely on each and every issue, or if a don’t presume to claim your absolute moral or intellectual certainty on each and every issue, then I am arbitrarily assigned to some enemy camp. That’s what makes all your examples straw men.

          61. @tsalmon

            Oh you are so nuanced. Of I just agree to help you stab Trump in the back, you will vaguely concede something or other.

            I never agreed that Trump is a liar. I said I was tired of answering baseless accusations. I said look at the issues, what the candidates stand for, what they have done. I said Trump has kept his promises. Liars don’t do that, especially when confronted with ferocious opposition.

            Halloween is over. Instead parading around with that monster you imagine Donald Trump to be, you may wish to look at the candidates you vote for. You may wish to start factchecking the news media you use. You may wish to look in a

            Frankly, I am sick of this discussion. Look at my latest post.

  2. I used to drink coffee with a couple of guys from my church (Mike and Al) who were brothers-in-law. They were always arguing politics and religion. Things got pretty heated sometimes and since I was much younger than they were, I worried that the arguing was damaging the relationship. But it never did. They were buddies. Mike passed away last year. He had recorded a video eulogy which was played during the funeral service. In the video, Mike took a pot-shot at Al’s theology, giving himself the “last word”. It was epic!

    Those two guys taught me how to think and argue. I learned it’s possible to disagree without getting personal. They taught me it’s possible for relationships to survive conflicts.

    I’m sensing that on this blog. Lots of passion and earnestness tempered with respect and humor. It’s a rare and beautiful thing.

    1. @John

      It is difficult to hate someone if you know they love you.

      An authentic Christian treats non-Christians as their mission field and Christians as brothers in Christ. Since we have a Christian heritage, even those who are hostile to Christianity know the difference between hating the sin and loving the sinner. That doesn’t mean they respect difference. We all have trouble with that, but we all know the difference.

        1. Ha! That phrase was frequently, albeit reluctantly, uttered over coffee. It represents the difference between thinkers and brawlers. Thinkers always cease combat when they encounter truth.

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