Meandering to the bottom

The one and only conservative plan for health care is “buy insurance across state lines”. We’re all familiar with this idea, because the other way to describe it is “deregulate and then we’re all Alabama” and it’s the one and only conservative solution to every national problem. Deregulate, race to the bottom.

Let’s go to the laboratory of the states and see how it’s going:

A new law that allows Georgians to buy health insurance plans approved by other states was envisioned as free-market solution that would lower prices and increase choices.
So far, the law has failed to produce results: Not a single insurer is offering a policy under the new law. “Nobody has even asked to be approved to sell across state lines,” Georgia Insurance Commissioner Ralph Hudgens said. “We’re dumbfounded. We are absolutely dumbfounded.”
Insurance companies are regulated by states. Historically, that has meant that Georgia consumers could only buy health plans that meet state requirements from companies licensed by the Georgia Department of Insurance.
Many conservative policymakers say a more open insurance market free from individual state regulations could add competition to the private market for health plans, used mostly by people who can’t get insurance at work. But the experience so far in Georgia has some wondering whether the concept is the answer after all.

The writer is far too coy here with that “conservative policymakers.” Mitt Romney, candidate for President of the United States, says this, or did, at the moment this article was posted:

Selling insurance across state lines is popular in the Republican Party and so Romney included it in his plan. But its appeal to conservatives has always been baffling. Allowing insurance to be sold across state lines is sort of the bizarro-world approach to one-size-fits-all federal regulation. In the federal example, everyone has to abide by a single national standard. That may not be ideal, but at least every state has a say in the regulations. In the across-state-lines plan, everyone has to abide by whichever state has the lowest standards. And California doesn’t have a say in Mississippi’s regulations.

I don’t think it’s “baffling” at all. Deregulate, race to the bottom. When do conservatives veer from this script?

Hudgens, a conservative Republican who strongly supports free-market ideas, said he expected policies sold in states such as Alabama, which have fewer requirements for health plans, to be offered in Georgia after enactment of the law.
“I’m really surprised because it was such a bumper sticker issue by Republicans saying if we could get across state line selling, we could reduce the cost of health care,” he said.

Truth-telling! Deregulate, Alabama. That was the plan. How did this guy get past the censor? Shun him, immediately.

Many consumer advocates opposed the change, saying it would result in families losing protections to make sure plans contain crucial benefits. Over the years, Georgia legislators have created a significant list of required benefits such as coverage for mammograms and prostate cancer screenings and a ban on “drive-by deliveries” by requiring insurers to pay for 48-hour hospital stays for new mothers and their babies.
Under the new law, health plans approved under the rules of other states could be sold in Georgia, even if they don’t meet Georgia requirements.
In theory, the law would allow a Georgia-registered insurer to scour the nation and find a bare-bones plan to offer private market customers in Georgia — presumably at a cheaper price.
Because the law still requires Georgia licensing and oversight, it does not create a completely free-market scenario. It essentially just allows insurers licensed in Georgia to get around the state’s benefit mandates.

Michael Cannon, director of health policy studies at the Cato Institute, a libertarian think tank, said Georgia’s new law didn’t go far enough.
“Georgia should be telling consumers that any health insurance carrier in any state can market themselves to you and we will deem their out of state license to be a Georgia license and incorporate all the terms of that out of state license in a contract so it could be enforced in a Georgia court,” Cannon said.

The libertarian idea didn’t fail, Georgia failed libertarians. If we’d all just stop demanding an overnight stay in a hospital when we have a baby and accept a “drive by delivery” (I cannot even imagine what that entails, but they had to fix it through regulation, so it must have happened) libertarians would be happy, and this theory would work.

Critics say that under such a free market scenario Georgia elected officials would cede their responsibility to protect Georgia consumers to regulators in another states. They say bypassing state regulations could lead to a race to the bottom and leave many consumers without needed benefits — and leave taxpayers and better-insured residents ultimately picking up the tab for some treatments.

194 replies
  1. 1
    Butch says:

    Yeah, but that one quote puts “Libertarian” and “think” in the same sentence. That’s your problem right there.

  2. 2
    Drunken hausfrau says:

    With my second child, who was ten pounds, they tried to kick me out the day of delivery… My husband paid “hotel rate” for me to be able to stay the night… They didn’t feed me or give me fresh linens or check on mynwellbeing at all… Might as well have gone home. US healthcare sucks.

  3. 3
    Kay says:

    @Butch:

    I actually read him all the time on health care. He was vitriolic in general terms on the health care law, but sneaky w/language, IMO. He avoids specifics. I’m sort of glad they threw this at him.

  4. 4
    Rick Massimo says:

    … the other way to describe it is “deregulate and then we’re all Alabama” and it’s the one and only conservative solution to every national problem.

    But you can never describe it that way because this is the greatest and bestest country there ever was and ever could be, so you can’t disparage any state or locality in it, unless of course it’s San Francisco or Massachusetts or Chicago or Hollywood because they’re not really American anyway.

  5. 5
    Schlemizel says:

    In all fairness this race to the bottom for providers is not the GOPs ONLY solution – they also want to make it impossible for you to win a reasonable malpractice settlement. The AMA estimates that would save 1% of current medical costs so that right there is a better deal than their primary proposal.

  6. 6
    Enhanced Voting Techniques says:

    So libertarians know the freemarket better than the freemarket, eh? I would think the obvious problem is to an insurance company is why risk going threw all the legal hassle of whatever an Alabama license to sell insurance in Georgia means to just to get a bunch of customers who don’t have much money.

  7. 7
    Kay says:

    @Drunken hausfrau:

    I get out as soon as physically possible, because I hate it there, but I’d like the option to, you know, recover.

  8. 8
    Raven says:

    Gov. Nathan Deal signed a new law Tuesday limiting abortions that was sponsored by an Athens lawmaker.

    House Bill 954, a controversial measure introduced by state Rep. Doug McKillip, R-Athens, bans most abortions after 20 weeks.

    “Today, we are reaffirming Georgia’s commitment to preserving the sanctity of all human life,” Deal said in a news release. “This legislation provides humane protection to innocents capable of feeling pain, while making an important exception for in the case of medically futile pregnancies.”

    The bill’s supporters say that 20 weeks is when a fetus develops the ability to feel pain, but doctors and other medical professionals testified to the legislature that nerves don’t develop until weeks later.

  9. 9
    Culture of Truth says:

    Should we sell auto insurance across state lines? If not, why not?

  10. 10
    Belafon (formerly anonevent) says:

    What they are missing is that the people who can afford a medical plan are willing to pay for something more than minimum, and those that can’t afford said plan most likely can’t afford a cheaper one as well. What people want to know is why rates are going up faster than inflation.

  11. 11
    jibeaux says:

    I’ve had two kids in hospitals and one overnight surgery, and for whatever reason (it was a different hospital, for one thing), the overnight surgery experience was better. Possibly because it’s not quite as routine as childbirth, they seemed to check up on me more, give me more information, were less in a hurry. Childbirth is more like they have this schedule that they’re supposed to follow with different steps at X hours postpartum, and they’re just going to check those off. Still, I got to stay a reasonable amount of time and didn’t get turfed out after 24 hours.

  12. 12
    terraformer says:

    Of course, it’s been this way for decades. It used to be that there was a contract between employers and employees: work hard and be productive, be assured a steady income and growth potential.

    Similarly, there was a contract between the government and the people. The government would make sure that companies who provide goods and services would not monopolize or practice usury in finance via oversight and regulation, and people would be assured that if their lives were upended through no fault of their own, or if other circumstances impacted their ability to provide for themselves, that government would be there to help out.

    But conservatives have eroded this dynamic, willfully, to ensure that the companies have no limits on what they can do to people. They have (as has been said) manipulated the system to ensure that capitalism is financialism, a no-holds-barred profit-seeking orgy in which the only value is in limitless growth at the expense of people. It’s clear who’s doing this; what’s not so clear is how to get politicians to shine a light on it and use it as a wedge.

  13. 13
    Culture of Truth says:

    Should abortion laws cross state lines? Why not?

  14. 14
    Monkey Business says:

    When I look at places like Georgia, Arizona, Texas, Missouri, etc. and the kinds of things coming out of their statehouses, I can’t help but envision a future where the states have become entirely stratified through gerrymandering, elections are between candidates from a single party, and states don’t recognize the laws passed in other states.

    I envision Blue states with booming economies, moderate taxes, clean air and water, a diverse populace, fueled by renewable energy, with good education systems.

    Then I envision Red states as some kind of dystopian hellscape, blasted by pollution, with income deeply stratified into the uberwealthy and everyone else, but by God there’s no gay marriage, abortion, or brown folks.

    I can only hope we have the good sense to build fences around them before that happens.

  15. 15
    c u n d gulag says:

    Mr. Hudgens,
    I have just the right plan for you and your family!

    My company, “Lucky Rabbit Foot, Inc,” will, for a mere $1,000 a month, send you and every member of your family a lucky rabbit’s EVERY every month, so that there’s always a fresh supply of magic every month.

    And if something happens, and someone gets sick, we’ll give you back that months money.

    What more can one ask, right?

    SHEEEESH!!!

  16. 16
    AxelFoley says:

    Romney Family ties to Ponizi scheme:

    http://thinkprogress.org/econo.....?mobile=nc

    Why am I not surprised?

  17. 17
    Anonymous37 says:

    “Nobody has even asked to be approved to sell across state lines,” Georgia Insurance Commissioner Ralph Hudgens said. “We’re dumbfounded. We are absolutely dumbfounded.”

    Get rid of the “founded”, and you might be onto something there.

  18. 18
    Joey Maloney says:

    @Monkey Business: New York City, San Francisco, Seattle, Minneapolis will still be full of “remittance men”, people living far from their families in order to get a decent job and send back enough money to keep them from starvation, but instead of speaking Spanish or Ethiopian or Vietnamese they’ll all have a Southern drawl.

  19. 19
    RalfW says:

    Free market failures are never the result of free markets. Can’t you grock that? I mean really, markets are perfect, government is evil, and cotton candy grows out the ass of every Cato employee.

  20. 20
    Sawgrass Stan says:

    I’m about to take my wife down to see the surgeon’ nurse, so that we can find out why her two-week-old double mastectomy isn’t healing as fast as it should.
    You’d think a double-mastectomy would require a few days in the hospital, but if we hadn’t been paying pretty close attention to the insurance co’s attempted sleight-of-hand, she’d have been an “outpatient,” sent home after 24 hrs. Luckily, her doctors noticed too, and kept her in the hospital six days.
    We pay $1630 a month to these bloodsuckers ($1500 deductable each) and we’re already starting to have to fight for the things they don’t want to pay, even though their share is, by their contract, 100%
    This is the status quo Republicans want to keep. Or worse– we could have been cut off once she’d been diagnosed, rather than getting healthcare that might restrict her freedom.
    Bring me Obamacare, and bring it now. I’ll be ringing doorbells this weekend, bet your life.

  21. 21

    Critics say that under such a free market scenario Georgia elected officials would cede their responsibility to protect Georgia consumers to regulators in another states. They say bypassing state regulations could lead to a race to the bottom and leave many consumers without needed benefits — and leave taxpayers and better-insured residents ultimately picking up the tab for some treatments.

    It’s a feature, not a bug.

    That and the confusion that would result, which would lead people to try and navigate between 30 different insurers each with 100 different plans, to find one that’s best for them and instead find one where they didn’t quite read all the fine print and find out that it doesn’t cover 80% of what they need.

    But that’s your modern GOP for ya: Pro-life until birth, then pro-profit until your likely early death.

  22. 22
    The Dangerman says:

    I understand that even a Georgian by the name of Jimmy Carter would have endorsed buying across state lines.

  23. 23
    What Have The Romans Ever Done for Us? (formerly MarkJ) says:

    That’s always what the libertarians say when something doesn’t work. Some state takes a giant leap in the policy direction they advocate. Things don’t work the way they predicted, and the problem they were unleasing the power of the free market on gets worse.

    Then they argue that if you only went all the way, things would magically go from the worse place you wound up in from doing 90% of what they wanted, to even better than they’d be if we enacted the policies advocated by people who actually know what they’re talking about.

  24. 24
    TenguPhule says:

    Critics say that under such a free market scenario Georgia elected officials would cede their responsibility to protect Georgia consumers to regulators in
    another states.

    But think of the jobs in the funeral industry! /wingnut

  25. 25
    Culture of Truth says:

    find a bare-bones plan to offer private market customers in Georgia

    Which state permits such a plan? And if they are such a good idea, why doesn’t GA just change its rules to permit “bare bones” in GA?

  26. 26
    SatanicPanic says:

    @Monkey Business: States rights man, it cuts both ways.

  27. 27
    TenguPhule says:

    Should abortion laws cross state lines?

    If it means mandatory gay abortions for Republicans, why not?

  28. 28
    Culture of Truth says:

    “We’re dumbfounded. We are absolutely dumbfounded.”

    Conservative Ideology Meets Objective Reality

  29. 29
    Brachiator says:

    @Kay:

    Let’s go to the laboratory of the states and see how it’s going

    Thanks very much for this. I wonder if any Republicans at the state level are paying attention to the bad results they are getting, or just continue to be dumbfounded.

  30. 30
    Culture of Truth says:

    “We’re dumbfounded. We are absolutely dumbfounded.”

    see also: bin laden determined to attack in the US, missing weapons of mass destruction, putting a horse guy in charge FEMA, deregulating wall street.

  31. 31
    RossinDetroit says:

    I used to work in rating for a health insurer that did business in 11 states. Our plans had to meet their standards, but that wasn’t much of an obstacle. basic plan was the same and each state might have a few riders for mandated items.

    So why do Republicans want to take control over health insurance away from 49 states and cede it to the most permissive one. I thought states were most appropriate for regulating business for their citizens.

  32. 32
    Kay says:

    @Brachiator:

    I don’t know. Conservatives here are (now) whining about the “uncertainty” of the scotus taking on the health care law.

    They’re incredible. They sued. If they hadn’t sued, there wouldn’t be any “uncertainty”. Do people really have to be reminded who sued? It wasn’t liberals!

  33. 33
    ThatLeftTurnInABQ says:

    @Monkey Business:

    I can’t help but envision a future where the states have become entirely stratified through gerrymandering, elections are between candidates from a single party, and states don’t recognize the laws passed in other states.

    __
    There isn’t much need to tax your imagination. Just look back to the Gilded Age, when one party dominated the southeast and used that power to protect local elites, while the other party enjoyed a long term national majority subject to local variations (such as in the immigrant-packed urban areas) and the occasional bad year, and protected the interests of the largest money holders, and as a consequence the minority party territory was effectively a 3rd World colony of the more economically developed parts of the nation. Our political situation today isn’t much different from that except insofar as Wall St. hasn’t gotten around to fully abandoning the GOP and burrowing inside the Democratic Party just yet. Aside from that caveat, our political landscape would look very familiar to Teddy Roosevelt, except with the party names switched around.

  34. 34
    danimal says:

    @Kay: IOW, the conservatives are terrified that they will inherit responsibility for the mess that the SCOTUS may create. They still haven’t come up with anything to “Replace” ACA. “Repeal and Replace” is a much better slogan than a governing solution.

  35. 35
    kerFuFFler says:

    I always thought the notion of selling insurance across state lines was just a BS line so conservatives could pretend they had a policy to put forward. The problem is, if you let people buy insurance across state lines then you are denying states the right to regulate insurance. I thought conservatives were supposed to care about “states’ rights”!

  36. 36
    Delia says:

    @RossinDetroit:

    So why do Republicans want to take control over health insurance away from 49 states and cede it to the most permissive one. I thought states were most appropriate for regulating business for their citizens.

    I say it’s tyrannical sockalist-fascism. That’s what it is.

  37. 37

    Oh, sure, HI sales across state lines into Georgia fail in fact — but do they fail in theory?

  38. 38
    Mark S. says:

    No one’s mentioned the credit card industry yet? I can’t think of a better example of race to the bottom than that. Most states do not actually allow you to charge 28% interest, but South Dakota does.

  39. 39
    fasteddie9318 says:

    Just from the title, I was sure this story was going to be about Eric Cantor and a rentboy.

  40. 40
    Culture of Truth says:

    The charge of hypocrisy only goes so far. Conservatives could quite plausibly say they believe in states’ rights over federal rights, and individual rights over state government regulation.

    Of course, a race to the bottom in health insurance coverage is self-evidently craptacular, for other reasons.

  41. 41
    The Bobs says:

    These guys are so stupid they don’t know what stupid is.

  42. 42
    flounder says:

    It isn’t said enough in these cases, but the Republican plans for federally mandated abdication of state insurance standards and federal takeover of medical tort law are profoundly anti-states’ rights.
    I confronted Jon Kyl about this one time, pointing out that the GOP had put tort reform on the ballot 3 times in Arizona (the AZ State Constitution bans caps on punitive damage awards) and it lost all 3 times. I pointed out that if he was truly worried about states’ rights, he would stop trying to shove a federal mandate on the issue down his constituents throats. He basically said he was forced to since we didn’t take the initiative ourselves.

  43. 43
    pseudonymous in nc says:

    Georgia Insurance Commissioner Ralph Hudgens said. “We’re dumbfounded. We are absolutely dumbfounded.”

    While the American South is known for its euphemisms, bless its heart, I’ve never heard “-founded” used instead of “-fucks” before.

  44. 44
    jibeaux says:

    @What Have The Romans Ever Done for Us? (formerly MarkJ): So, libertarianism cannot fail, it can only be failed.

  45. 45

    Any standard allowing one state’s regulations to trump another’s requires a federal regulation allowing this to happen.

    That. Is. A. Government. Takeover.

    I’m now convinced that the regularity and degree of hypocrisy on display in the GOP is intentional, to get us so cynical that we no longer care about what they do.

  46. 46
    amk says:

    @Kay:

    Conservatives here are (now) whining about the “uncertainty” of the scotus taking on the health care law.

    Ah, the teabbagers karma.

  47. 47
    comrade scott's agenda of rage says:

    @Monkey Business:

    I can only hope we have the good sense to build fences around them let them secede before that happens.

    Fixed for the sake of our country.

  48. 48
    sharl says:

    @Davis X. Machina:

    Oh, sure, HI sales across state lines into Georgia fail in fact—but do they fail in theory?

    +1

  49. 49
    kindness says:

    If we’d all just stop demanding an overnight stay in a hospital when we have a baby and accept a “drive by delivery” (I cannot even imagine what that entails

    It’s simple. Would you like fry’s and a soda with that baby? OK. Here you go now get yourself and your newly born baby out of this line and out of here right now!

    If only they could fit in the line ‘And make me a sammich damn it!’ it would all fit perfectly.

  50. 50
    Culture of Truth says:

    Any standard allowing one state’s regulations to trump another’s

    Is this what is happening? I thought GA would just accept another’s regs.

  51. 51
    Culture of Truth says:

    Any standard allowing one state’s regulations to trump another’s

    Is this what is happening? I thought GA would just accept another’s regs.

  52. 52
    catclub says:

    All insurers prefer to be monopolists in their particular state. The reason being that a single insurer can beat down the amount they are willing to pay the hospitals and doctors because they will be the only ons supplying patients to them.

    A new entrant into any particular state, no matter how bare bones their policy, cannot make money unless they can beat down the doctors and hospitals, which they cannot do unless they are the monopoly insurer.

    This is also why the ‘you are protected with Medicare under the Ryan plan if you are over 55’ is false. As the population still on true Medicare drops, their influence wanes and _NO_ providers will serve them for the Medicare rates. They will be just as SOL as everyone else.

  53. 53
    Patricia Kayden says:

    “We’re dumbfounded. We are absolutely dumbfounded.”

    Take off the founded part, and you got it right.

  54. 54
    rlrr says:

    @Kay:

    Also, if the same healthcare bill had been passed with a Republican in the White House, the same people would trumpeting the very same healthcare bill…

  55. 55
    amk says:

    scalia – broccoli anyone ?

  56. 56

    @Culture of Truth:

    GA is entering into the race to the bottom voluntarily, yes. This would not be the case if the GOP got its way nationally. We’d get exactly the same sort of treatment as we do with credit cards.

  57. 57
    Mark S. says:

    @flounder:

    That’s a good point, and it shows how utterly inconsistent these state’s rights people are.

  58. 58
    Martin says:

    Selling across state lines makes more sense as an idea if you don’t already have local monopolies. BCBS of Alabama controls 90% of that market. Much of the remainder is controlled by national insurers for the national/multinational companies with offices there. Any new entrants are competing for a market of at most a few hundred thousand people.

    There’s no way anyone is going to set up contracts with thousands of hospitals and care providers for a market of hundreds of thousands of people. The up-front costs could never be redeemed. This is Business 101 kinds of stuff.

    If you’re going to try and enter a market like this, there needs to be an identified market that can be targeted that can justify the effort. The co-op my family friend is starting in Iowa/Nebraska is an example. Its going to serve those two market but the target is farmers. Farmers have trouble negotiating group policies and they’re familiar with how co-ops work, so it’s a relatively easy sell. In his case, crossing state lines is a benefit as the target market is similar in both states, and anyone in western Iowa was going to be steered to Omaha anyway for anything.

    But Alabama? That’s a really damn hard market to tackle. The people that aren’t already captive to BCBS are poor as fuck because, well, Alabama is largely a minimum wage state. And competition isn’t going to do shit about the ⅓ of the population earning below 200% of minimum wage.

  59. 59
    Dr. Squid says:

    If we’d all just stop demanding an overnight stay in a hospital when we have a baby and accept a “drive by delivery” (I cannot even imagine what that entails,

    Sounds like the delivery of Ricky Bobby.

  60. 60
    rikyrah says:

    kay,

    I really do love ya

    I love ya because you research and put it out there.

    The internet is NOT Willard’s friend.

    And, especially because so many are ready to beat the shyt out of them over this.

    hell no, I don’t want no parts of ‘ buying insurance across state lines’, when there are states like Mississippi and Alabama out there.

  61. 61
    Gin & Tonic says:

    May be late to this thread, but I know a little something about auto insurance, which is also state-regulated, but it’s pretty simple. If I live in Georgia and keep my car in Georgia, I can buy auto insurance from any company, including an “out-of-state” company like, say, GEICO, as long as it holds a license to sell auto insurance in Georgia and is subject to regulation and rate approval by the insurance department of the state of Georgia. I cannot buy auto insurance from a company which operates only in New Jersey, and that company wouldn’t want to sell to me in Georgia anyway, because they have no expertise nor rating experience there. Yet this is what “conservatives” seem to want with health insurance, and then act surprised that no company wants to enter that business.

    Conservatives and insurance people have long had a very complex love-hate relationship with the McCarran-Ferguson Act (which is the reason insurance is almost exclusively state-regulated and not Federally-regulated.)

  62. 62
    Barbara says:

    They’re dumbfounded because they’re dumb. The major difference in cost between plans isn’t primarily what is covered or the regulatory framework that it must live by — IT’S THE COST OF PROVIDING SERVICES IN THE LOCATION WHERE THE PURCHASER LIVES AND WILL MOST LIKELY SEEK CARE.

    A person who lives in NYC is not going to be able to purchase a cheaper plan just because it was issued in South Dakota no matter how chintzy the benefits BECAUSE IT COSTS A HELLUVA LOT TO PAY FOR MEDICAL CARE IN NYC.

    Moreover a SD insurer has no clout with NY providers so it might actually end up paying MORE than a plan licensed and issued by a New York carrier.

  63. 63
    lamh35 says:

    OT: President Obama in Afghanistan for surprise trip.

    Stepping all over Mittens/GOP freakout over bin Laden! No talking bad about POTUS overseas right????

  64. 64
    Martin says:

    BTW, none of the new co-ops are in the south. And the only one in right-to-work states is the one I mentioned, which is mainly targeting farmers.

  65. 65

    I just saw this over in comments at Gin & Tacos, it’s old but I’d never seen it before. It’s Karl Rove’s advice for “effective conservative blogging,” in effect a handbook for trolls.

    It certainly fits to a T what every troll I’ve seen is like. All the more reason to ignore them since, as Rove says, “we’re going for delay of game here.”

  66. 66
    SiubhanDuinne says:

    Somewhat O/T, but Romney’s foreign policy spokesman Richard Grenell has just resigned. I didn’t like his foreign policy, and detested his misogyny, but I hate hate hate that he was hounded out by anti-gay conservatives.

    Per Jennifer Rubin at WaPo. Not gonna link.

  67. 67
    lamh35 says:

    @SiubhanDuinne: ooh, Andrew Sullivan will have a sad!

  68. 68
    Mickey says:

    aaaand once again Obama bitch slaps the GOP. Totally owning them and their latest faux outrage pander parade.

    Obama in Afghanistan.
    http://www.cnn.com/2012/05/01/.....tan-obama/

  69. 69
    kindness says:

    I just walked a block to go get some Pho for lunch. Downtown Oakland is packed with police, many of whom are wearing full riot gear.

    Damn…

  70. 70
    SiubhanDuinne says:

    @lamh35:

    Delicious Sully sadness tears!

  71. 71
    rlrr says:

    @lamh35:

    No talking bad about POTUS overseas right????

    That rule only applies to Republican Presidents.

  72. 72
    Ripley says:

    There’s literally no advantage, financially or logistically, in ‘selling across state lines’. It’s another GOP political legend like ‘lower taxes increase revenue(!)’.

  73. 73
    Frank in midtown says:

    @terraformer: We defeated Communism, so all deals are off. The terms of new deal will keep getting worse until you scream loud enough to convince us you mean it. Sincerely, your friend The Marketplace of Ideas.

  74. 74
    David Koch says:

    Obama lands in Afghanistan – to address nation at 7 PM

    http://obamadiary.files.wordpr.....#038;h=533

  75. 75
    rlrr says:

    @Frank in midtown:

    We defeated Communism

    China, Cuba, and Vietnam disagree.

  76. 76
    kay says:

    @Ripley:

    I’m actually persuaded.
    I thought it had some validity, in theory, but reading the comments of RossinDetroit and others (we’re already doing it, with riders) I now realize it’s a complete crock of shit.
    Oh, well. Back to the drawing board at CATO! Their work is never done, think tankians.

  77. 77

    In theory, the law would allow a Georgia-registered insurer to scour the nation and find a bare-bones plan to offer private market customers in Georgia — presumably at a cheaper price.

    Just beyond the fact that this idea was an abject failure, let me say: I DO NOT WANT TO DO THAT.

    Jesus fucking Christ. How hard is that for people to understand? “Scouring the nation” to find the right health insurance plan sounds like the worst possible way to spend my week. Are we all supposed to be enamored of shopping that this is someone’s idea of fun? Why is making things harder for people always the go-to solution for Republicans?

    This is the prolonged, Chinese water torture of conservative free market ideas. I will shop around for some things but health insurance plans with all of their obfuscations and fine print and “heh heh we screwed you! You thought you were getting wellness care but you maxed out your cap, suckaz! Read the fine print!” Who wants to deal with that hassle?

    I caused a minor shit-storm in the local blogosphere when I mentioned this reality in a blog post where I basically said “shopping around” for health insurance was a big fucking hassle I don’t need in my life.

    You know what I want? I want to go to the doctor of my choice, when I want to (and need to) and not get raped in the wallet when I do. That is all. Can we do that? That one little thing?

    Is it so fucking hard to make things easier for consumers, not harder?

  78. 78
    amk says:

    @David Koch: lmao. You kiddies play nicely while daddy goes and takes care of some business. Love t.

  79. 79
    SiubhanDuinne says:

    @David Koch:

    Just read NYT story filed from Kabul. LOL what a typo: “The address–on the one-year anniversary of the American raid that killed Osama bin Laden in neighboring Pakistan–will give Mr. Obama a new opportunity to make an election-year case that he has wound down two inexpensive and now unpopular wars, here and in Iraq.”

    Inexpensive? Don’t think so. I’ll cut them a little slack since the story was a breaking news rush piece, but hope the Times catches and fixes that in the next few minutes.

  80. 80
    Belafon (formerly anonevent) says:

    @Mickey: I like the fact that the last part of the link reads “tan-obama”.

  81. 81

    Related to the healthcare thing: I have a post up today at First Draft about an immunologist who can’t get funding to start clinical trials of his preventive breast cancer vaccine, which has shown a lot of promise and caused a lot of excitement. But apparently there’s more money in treating cancer than preventing it, so no grant money for you.

    But … best healthcare in the world! Just keep repeating that!

  82. 82
    Ordovician Bighorn Dolomite (formerly rarely seen poster Fe E) says:

    @Anonymous37:

    Well that was very well played! Very well played indeed.

  83. 83
    Ordovician Bighorn Dolomite (formerly rarely seen poster Fe E) says:

    @Anonymous37:

    Well that was very well played! Very well played indeed.

  84. 84
    Calouste says:

    @Southern Beale:

    +1 to that. Same with 401k/pensions and all that kind of stuff. No, I don’t want to spend weeks and weeks trying to find out about all the different funds and options and risks so that maybe I might have $500/year more when I retire. The problem is that all these things get thought up by people who work in those industries and like doing that kind of stuff. I just want something that works fairly well even if it is not completely optimal, so that I can spend my time at stuff I either like or that I am good at so that I can advance my own career, rather then spending time at things I don’t like and am not good at.

  85. 85
    4tehlulz says:

    @David Koch: Which one?

  86. 86
    Raven says:

    Obama is in Afghanistan.

  87. 87
    Calouste says:

    @Southern Beale:

    cf. Susan G. Komen for the Pink Ribbon Industry.

  88. 88
    SiubhanDuinne says:

    @SiubhanDuinne:

    Corrected. Good for them.

  89. 89
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    Libertarians know the free market in theory.

    They haven’t the slightest fucking clue how it works in practice, or, in the alternative, hope no one else knows.

    One of the things they always assume is perfect market intelligence, that is, all parties to a transaction have identical information while forming the transaction.

    This, of course, is utter fantasy. There’s a reason for the old Roman maxim of caveat emptor. These transactions invariably involve one party not having all the information the other party has, as either buyer or seller.

    This is but one reason why libertarians should be ignored, at the very least. The ideal situation would be to put them all on a rocket ship to the sun. Don’t worry…I’ll tell them it’s going at night.

  90. 90
    Steve in DC says:

    @Southern Beale

    You know what I want? I want to go to the doctor of my choice, when I want to (and need to) and not get raped in the wallet when I do. That is all. Can we do that? That one little thing?

    Often not even if you have insurance, which is something completely glossed over in this healthcare debate.

    Getting paid out of pocket is always better for doctors. Insurance companies often pay them less, and having to employ the staff to deal with them is costly. This is even more so with medicare/medicaid. They don’t get as much per procedure, go through long periods without payment, and have pay staff to navigate through all sorts of bullshit.

    A lot of great doctors and specialists simply won’t take medicaid. Some try to limit the amount of medicaid patients they will accept. Everyone one of them loves people that can pay in cash though.

    So we already have a tiered system of healthcare and unless you’re paying out of your pocket you might not be able to see the doctor you want. Private insurance is better than medicare or say tricare, both of which are the pits.

    Anything sort of single payer UHC and government control isn’t a real fix here. It’s slapping a dora the explora bandaid over a sucking chest wound and calling it a day.

  91. 91
    butler says:

    @SiubhanDuinne: Wow, that guy lasted… about as long as I expected him to last. Just another example that its a hateful party run by hateful people.

  92. 92

    Republican homophobes have forced the resignation of Romney’s openly gay spokesperson. He was also a misogynistic asshole, so I’m not shedding any tears.

  93. 93
    David Koch says:

    watching tee vee — Air Force One looks incredible in moonlight.

  94. 94
    Downpuppy says:

    @Southern Beale: Shopping around would be a picnic compared to getting Crazy Elmer’s Diskount Insurance of Bentonville to actually, you know, pay up.

    Which is a step you’d never get to, because when you call the doctor to sign up, they’re going to tell you sorry, we don’t accept CEDIB.

  95. 95

    I would like all Libertarians to have a tube of Veet For Men Hair Remover gel slathered all over their KNOB AND BOLLOCKS.

    (If you weren’t up at 2 am with raging insomnia this morning and have no clue what I’m talking about, it’s from Tim F’s post last night. Here’s the link. Fucking hilarious.)

    DO NOT PUT ON KNOB AND BOLLOCKS totally needs to be a meme added to the front page rotation. Please make it so.

  96. 96
    Schlemizel says:

    @rlrr:
    Cuba maybe but neither Viet Nam nor China are communist states today. China is more like what America will soon be, while that is not really capitalism it sure ain’t communism.

  97. 97
    rlrr says:

    @Schlemizel:

    Whatever changes have occurred in China, Vietnam, etc. have nothing to do with Ronald Reagan single handily wiping communism off the face of the earth.

  98. 98
    shortstop says:

    @Southern Beale: I wonder if he’ll be able to draw a connection between the two types of bigotry. Ha, just kidding. I don’t wonder at all.

  99. 99
    PeakVT says:

    @Calouste: Or they are thought up by economists who are paid to think about such things as part of their day job. The economists never seem to realize that a trucker or someone working the night shift at the hospital might not really have the time to spend a couple of hours a day surfing the WSJ and CNBC.

  100. 100
    Steve in DC says:

    Michael Hastings, the reporter that took down McChrystal is saying that the Navy SEALs are going to try and take down Obama, they have been furious over their team being named in the killing and information about them being told to the press.

    The frustration—or, even anger—within the SEAL community is real, and has been brewing for months, particularly among a politically conservative core of operators. It started immediately after the raid, with questions among the Special Forces and intelligence community of whether the president should have waited to announce the kill to exploit the intelligence cache at Osama’s compound. It simmered after a Chinook helicopter was shot down, killing 30 Americans, 22 of them Navy SEALs from Team Six.

    A whole ton of articles about this now. I always figured fingering team six for all their work would cause blow back, now it has.

  101. 101
    4tehlulz says:

    Obama’s gonna drop an equivalent of “Daisy” at least twice a week until the election, isn’t he?

    Not that there’s anything wrong with that…

  102. 102
    Yevgraf says:

    @rlrr:

    Whatever changes have occurred in China, Vietnam, etc. have nothing to do with Ronald Reagan single handily wiping communism off the face of the earth.

    A trembly old white guy voice did it all in Berlin. So passionate. So fiery. So full of Jesus-y goodness and well meaningness.

  103. 103
    Xenos says:

    The one and only conservative plan for health care is “buy insurance across state lines”. We’re all familiar with this idea, because the other way to describe it is “deregulate and then we’re all Alabama” and it’s the one and only conservative solution to every national problem. Deregulate, race to the bottom.

    This plan would also, of course, so clearly make insurance a matter of interstate commerce that just about any national insurance law, including banning insurance outright and criminalizing the sale of it, pass constitutional muster.

  104. 104
    4tehlulz says:

    @Steve in DC: lol treason (allegedly)

  105. 105
    Brachiator says:

    @Southern Beale:

    Republican homophobes have forced the resignation of Romney’s openly gay spokesperson.

    Does Andrew Sullivan know about this, yet?

    Grenell was a jerk, but, damn, the GOP is feeling frisky about its open displays of bigotry.

  106. 106
    FormerSwingVoter says:

    @Villago Delenda Est:

    You hit on something there that I think is really important. I’ll try to rephrase as a definition:

    Libertarian (noun) – A person who has strong opinions on how economies should be run, yet has never read a peer-reviewed article or paper on macroeconomics at any point in their life.

  107. 107
    SatanicPanic says:

    @Steve in DC: So what? Nobody cares. All it’s going to do is remind people that Obama ordered the operation.

  108. 108
    Steve in DC says:

    @Satanic

    And put their lives at risk and broke the rule of never naming the units involved and a whole ton of other shit. This will rapidly turn into Navy SEALs vs Obama.

    If you don’t think that’s bad news in November you’re on crack. Wait till they trot out former SEAL officers smashing Obama for getting SEALs killed.

    Then tell me “nobody cares”.

  109. 109
    Steve says:

    Let’s compromise. For people who don’t already have insurance through their job, let’s give them more options by letting them select from a menu of policies that may not meet every requirement of their specific state, but satisfy some basic federal standards designed to prevent a race to the bottom. Conservatives get to experiment with selling insurance across straight lines and liberals get consumer protection.

    We could call the places where you shop for insurance “exchanges” and we could call this law the “Affordable Care Act.” Too radical?

  110. 110
    4tehlulz says:

    @Steve in DC: You seem to approve of undermining American democracy. It’s good to know whose side you’re on.

  111. 111
    lamh35 says:

    @Steve in DC: so the conservative members of the Seal team are planning to swiftboat their current CIC? Those certainly are some loyal soldiers ain’t they.

  112. 112
    Steve in DC says:

    @4tehlulz

    Who’s undermining what? Right now it’s mostly retired SEALs coming out and attacking. Retired military people can say and do what they want. There are some off the record items as well. But nobody in activity duty is running around in uniform doing it.

  113. 113
    pseudonymous in nc says:

    @Steve in DC: A libertarian dickwad says ‘what?’

  114. 114
    SatanicPanic says:

    @Steve in DC: Here’s what they’ll hear- “When Obama had Bin Laden killed…blah blah blah blah blah” And Obama will say “We thank those Seals for their sacrifice blah blah blah blah I killed OBL.” We totally hold war veterans in high regard in this country, just ask presidents McCain, Kerry, Gore and Dole.

  115. 115
    Steve in DC says:

    @lamh35

    Currently it’s retired people writing the articles. As for loyalty, mentioning the team in public along with missions they have done is already such a massive betrayal I can understand why they’d feel justified.

    And usually, these attacks come from retired people, which is what’s going on.

    It was stupid as hell to mention the team over and over again and now what many predicted has started.

  116. 116
    4tehlulz says:

    >There are some off the record items as well.
    >Claiming this doesn’t undermine the president’s authority over the military.
    >Says their acts are justified if they do.

    lol

  117. 117
    Steve says:

    @Steve in DC: Giving them credit was a massive betrayal. Uh huh, right. We appreciate you sharing all of these super secret unwritten rules that none of us are able to understand.

  118. 118
    Steve in DC says:

    @pseudo

    I’m not a libertarian. I’m an economic populist first and foremost, hardly libertarian. In fact I’d be willing to flush all my liberal social values down the drain in a nano second for a better economic policy and some civil liberties fixes. Which is hardly a libertarian stance at all.

    Social conservatism doesn’t really bother me, again, hardly libertarian!

    Though keep fucking that horse if you want to.

  119. 119
    4tehlulz says:

    @Steve: It’s like baseball’s unwritten rules, except the rules apply only to blacks one team.

  120. 120
    Hill Dweller says:

    @Steve in DC: Is this stuff from the Daily Mail article?

  121. 121
    Brachiator says:

    @Steve in DC:

    The frustration—or, even anger—within the SEAL community is real, and has been brewing for months, particularly among a politically conservative core of operators.

    Emphasis on the “politically conservative.”

    Some people just refuse to learn. As far as I am concerned, the notion of a “SEAL community” is ridiculous. I understand that there are people in the military, and that there is a chain of command, and a commander-in-chief.

    That any member or group of people in the military thinks that their political ideology, of whatever nature, somehow gives them special status to vent, is bullshit.

  122. 122
    pseudonymous in nc says:

    @Steve in DC: Yeah, yeah.

    Keep trying to suck your own cock in public. It suits you.

  123. 123
    Chyron HR says:

    @Steve in DC:

    I don’t care about civil rights or social equality, I just want to get rid of income taxes and the TSA!

    That’s pretty much the definition of a libertarian, kid. Thanks for playing.

  124. 124
    Culture of Truth says:

    The Seal complaints make little sense. I expect they just don’t like a guy they didn’t vote for getting the benefit of their exploits. Thems the breaks.

  125. 125
    Culture of Truth says:

    Alternate history, same result:

    The frustration—or, even anger—within the SEAL community is real, and has been brewing for months, particularly among a politically conservative core of operators. It started immediately after the raid, with questions among the Special Forces and intelligence community of whether the president was right to wait to announce the kill to so he could exploit the intelligence cache at Osama’s compound.

  126. 126
    Richard says:

    I wish that libertarians could all be transported to their own little libertarian world, where the could find their free market/no regulation “solutions” to mankind’s problems creating a “Lord of the Flies” type anarchy.

  127. 127
    AA+ Bonds says:

    Most SEALs and probably most SEALs on that team think Obama is a radical Muslim Communist

    It’s just how that shit works; that’s why those people need to be kept on leashes and only sent out when we need them

    The problem with Fox is that it fans the flames of fascism in a country whose slavish devotion to the supposed wisdom of the armed forces makes it a tinderbox in the first place

  128. 128
    Mino says:

    @Steve in DC: Just what world do you live in? As if they could keep his death a secret. And if they managed for a few days, there would be hell to pay.

  129. 129
    AA+ Bonds says:

    Steve in DC is at least doing a better job at Nazification than Fox News, check out this cripplingly incoherent subhead:

    Something something blah blah blah try hards

  130. 130
    AA+ Bonds says:

    Seriously, Steve in DC is my favorite Nazi fake-liberal whatever, he has ruled this thread

  131. 131
    jl says:

    @sharl: Yes, thanks for asking. selling health insurance across state lines does fail in theory as well as in fact.

    It’s been known for about 35 years that, at least in situations like health, there may be no competitive equilibrium in a competitive insurance market. A paper came out then that explained how and why a competitive equilibrium often does not exist.

    Case when equilibrium does not exist occurs mostly when there are people with greatly varying risks of incurring a claim, but it is very difficult to observe which person has which risk. And also when people tend to stay in one risk class or another over a long period of time.

    So if you let health insurance companies compete, you do not get convergence to the free market solution paradise, you either get chaotic churning and cherry picking of patients until the health insurance market destroys itself and no on has insurance, or a few firms attain market power and impose a monopoly or oligopoly of just two or three companies.

  132. 132
    burnspbesq says:

    @Enhanced Voting Techniques:

    So libertarians know the freemarket better than the freemarket, eh?

    Well, of course. Libertarians know everything better than everybody. How could you possibly not know this?

  133. 133
    AA+ Bonds says:

    @Brachiator:

    As far as I am concerned, the notion of a “SEAL community” is ridiculous.

    It will be ridiculous until the armed forces seize power in this country and the public, primed to worship the American military against their own interests, has no means to defend itself

  134. 134
    burnspbesq says:

    @Richard:

    Libertarian Dream World already exists. It’s commonly known as Somalia.

  135. 135
    Suffern ACE says:

    @Sawgrass Stan: Ah. But I warn you. Once you had the baby, the family deductable increases. It’s one of the odd things. At least it does in our plan. So let’s say you have a 2,500 annual deductable for you and your spouse. You think you’ve met that with birth, but once the child is born, you have three family members and if you have twins, you have four. So your deductable goes up to $5,000 for the family.

  136. 136
    Belafon (formerly anonevent) says:

    @Culture of Truth: Once again, how many Navy pilots bitched about Flight Suit Bush?

  137. 137
    Mino says:

    @Steve in DC: @ 117 If speaking their name was BIG taboo, why didn’t they just retire “SealTeam 6” from use (great honor, etc. whatever). Seems a simple fix if that was the real agenda. Which is not the case, of course.

  138. 138
    Culture of Truth says:

    @AA+ Bonds: For anyone reading BJ comments right now, and just woke up from a 40 year coma, this is shocking because the GOP never exploits anything, ever.

    You’re welcome and speedy recovery. Also, enjoy the Internet!

  139. 139
    AA+ Bonds says:

    I mean if you folks don’t think that SF square-heads are amenable to conspiracy theories about Obama trying to kill them and breed their wives with coloreds or whatever

    . . . well, all that bullshit you’re fed about how great the military is, you’ve eaten it for breakfast lunch and dinner so long that you think bullshit tastes great

    The military is and always has been the incubator of fascism within capitalism, and its success is based on the amount of skepticism that civilians have toward the accepted, dominant, and oft-stated military point of view (i.e., no one should have any say over foreign policy who hasn’t ‘served’).

    In a period of even minimal national unrest, this point of view will be extended to domestic policy with a lag time, I predict, of maybe one to two weeks

  140. 140
    lamh35 says:

    @Steve in DC: So just like “retired” conservative officers came together to swiftboat John Kerry, then “retired” conservative SEAL officers will come together and swiftboat Obama.

    I’m sorry, it’s one thing to do this is a fellow officer (Kerry) they served with, but this IMHO will come off as being disloyal to their CIC former or otherwise.

    Imagine if Dem officers had dare done the same to GWB…oh the horror!

    I’m beginning to think you are NOT a serious person and the allegations of concern trolling seem to fit.

  141. 141
    jl says:

    Landmark famous big deal first paper explaining why some insurance markets have no competitive equilibrium.

    Equilibrium in Competitive Insurance Markets: An Essay on the Economics of Imperfect Information

    Michael Rothschild and Joseph Stiglitz
    The Quarterly Journal of Economics Vol. 90, No. 4, 1976 629-649

    check it out. Most of argument uses graphs, so not all that hard to follow.

  142. 142
    danimal says:

    Folks, Steve may as well be selling health insurance across state lines. No one with a brain is going to buy his BS. It’s not worth the aggravation.

  143. 143
    Hill Dweller says:

    The SEALs had to blow up the f’n blackhawk they came in on. There were people in Pakistan literally blogging about the raid as it happened. Are we really supposed to believe Obama’s statement compromised the intelligence they gathered?

    Moreover, without Obama giving the go ahead, we wouldn’t have the intelligence they gathered.

    Jesus, an ounce of logic renders the imaginary SEALs’ statements laughable.

  144. 144
    Mino says:

    @jl: Given our economy and the distrust of insurance companies, I think we’re headed towards no one having insurance. Why beggar yourself with insurance that likely won’t help you enough to avoid destitution.

    Insurance companies are probably praying for a sudden death you know where.

  145. 145
    AA+ Bonds says:

    Of course SEAL Team Six views themselves as a secret, esoteric cult who should be exempt from all oversight and protected from all public mention

    They would never have been placed into their position on a government kill squad if they weren’t those sorts of people – dangerous people who need to be strictly controlled by democracy

  146. 146
    ericblair says:

    @Steve:

    Giving them credit was a massive betrayal. Uh huh, right. We appreciate you sharing all of these super secret unwritten rules that none of us are able to understand.

    I’m also having trouble figuring out the chain of events leading from disclosure of this information that is going to get active duty special ops teams killed. I think this will need a bit more explanation.

  147. 147
    AA+ Bonds says:

    @danimal:

    I think it provides a much-needed mirror for liberals to look into next time they think it’s advantageous for them to hold up generals as fonts of wisdom instead of what they are – hired employees of Congress

  148. 148
    4tehlulz says:

    Awwww. The traitor ran away. I wanted to hear more about how undermining civilian control is patriotic.

  149. 149
    lamh35 says:

    Umm isn’t it bout time for a new thread…I’m just saying.

  150. 150
    Brachiator says:

    @Steve in DC:

    Currently it’s retired people writing the articles. As for loyalty, mentioning the team in public along with missions they have done is already such a massive betrayal I can understand why they’d feel justified.

    Yawn. More bullshit. People know about SEALS, just as they know about other special operations groups. People know about the British SAS. This is not the same thing as putting their headquarters on google maps or announcing specific operations.

    The supposed hubub over keeping them secret is a big lie.

    And more importantly, this is a smokescreen for the typical BS that Obama either had no real role in making the decision or only did what the military told him to do.

    See for example, the biased comments in an article at the stupidly conservative UK Daily Mail site, quoting former SEALS.

    @AA+ Bonds:
    RE: As far as I am concerned, the notion of a “SEAL community” is ridiculous.

    It will be ridiculous until the armed forces seize power in this country and the public, primed to worship the American military against their own interests, has no means to defend itself

    As dumbass as some Americans are acting, I’m not worried about this happening. Not yet.

  151. 151
    AA+ Bonds says:

    @lamh35:

    I’m beginning to think you are NOT a serious person and the allegations of concern trolling seem to fit.

    LOLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLL

    Christ, are liberals hopeless?

  152. 152
    cathyx says:

    Where has John Cole been lately? Has he finally taken a vacation, I hope?

  153. 153
    Steve says:

    By the way, I did a Nexis search and found literally dozens of articles from major publications identifying SEAL Team Six as the key operatives in the bin Laden hunt. I don’t mean after Obama supposedly “outed” them and committed an unforgivable betrayal by mentioning their super-secret name. I mean dozens of articles in the mainstream press dating back to September 2001.

  154. 154
    4tehlulz says:

    @Steve: You’ve been tricked by the liberal Ministry of Truth; those articles actually are dated from 2009!

  155. 155
    AA+ Bonds says:

    @4tehlulz:

    Awwww. The traitor ran away. I wanted to hear more about how undermining civilian control is patriotic.

    Well, then, speak to anyone in Special Forces, or hell, speak to a lot of enlisted.

    They’ll happily tell you (CNN, NPR, whoever) about how civilians shouldn’t have any say over war & peace – and especially not suspected Muslims or Communists.

    They sit around and talk about this all the time. They hear their superiors say it off the record all the time.

    On the news, liberal pundits will almost always meekly kowtow to such fascist, anti-American statements rather than be seen as “unpatriotic”.

    That point of view doesn’t overthrow our way of life all by itself – it may be inherent to the personality types drawn to a volunteer force – but it needs constant vigilance if democracy is to be defended against its internal foes.

  156. 156
    Brachiator says:

    Oh, by the way,

    US President Barack Obama has signed a strategic agreement with Afghan leader Hamid Karzai on a previously unannounced visit to Afghanistan.
    __
    The 10-year accord outlines military and civil ties between the countries after the end of Nato’s mission in Afghanistan in 2014.
    __
    Mr Obama is also due to give a TV address to Americans back home.
    __
    The visit coincides with the first anniversary of Osama Bin Laden’s killing in Pakistan….
    __
    This is President Obama’s third trip to Afghanistan since taking office.

    So, while the wingnuts complains about Obama taking too many vacations, being out of touch, not respecting the troops, and crap about Romney being a foreign policy prince, Obama is out there busy presidenting.

  157. 157
    Suffern ACE says:

    @Gin & Tonic: And it’s similar actually in health insurance. Unless you have a plan that is “Pay up front, we’ll reimburse you later”, it costs money to set up an insurance company across state lines. You have to, you know, pay people to go and convince providers to accpet your plan. You need pay people to sell your plan to customers and employers. It’s not like someone woke up one day and said “You know what, I’m going to start a BCBS” and the next thing you know, doctors were clamoring to accept this new product. It’s probably cheaper to buy an already existing insurance company that operates in the state you want. You definitely aren’t going to get there by setting up an 800 number and asking people to call you if they want cheaper insurance.

  158. 158
    4tehlulz says:

    @Brachiator: Oh shit, you think he’ll announce a stepped-up withdrawl?

    Can you neuter someone twice?

  159. 159
    Jim, Foolish Literalist says:

    @Hill Dweller: this is just a retread of ’04. None of the Swift Boaters served with John Kerry, and I’m dubious about the the “core of conservative retirees”, sitting around the San Diego VFW and muttering about how they never get any government money from all the taxes they pay and the Muslim in the White House who lost the Great Iraq War. I’m betting a lot of them knew guys who were Seals once.

  160. 160
    Mino says:

    @Brachiator: I never understood this training mission deal unless it involved training on the weapons we were giving them. Shit, they already know how to fight.

  161. 161
    ericblair says:

    @Brachiator:

    Yawn. More bullshit. People know about SEALS, just as they know about other special operations groups. People know about the British SAS. This is not the same thing as putting their headquarters on google maps or announcing specific operations.

    I’d kind of be more concerned about somebody announcing on a public blog that he has direct contacts with members of this highly classified team and has had discussions of a rather personal nature about their dissatisfaction with their leadership. This person would seem to be setting themselves up as a possible lead or even conduit for foreign intelligence gathering or compromise, much more than confirming publicly available information.

  162. 162
    Mnemosyne says:

    @David Koch:

    Obama lands in Afghanistan – to address nation at 7 PM

    Fingers crossed that it’s an announcement that we’re starting withdrawals ahead of schedule.

  163. 163
    burnspbesq says:

    @AA+ Bonds:

    Tt will be ridiculous until the armed forces seize power in this country

    Do you also obsess about the possibility of a joint Cardassian/Jem Hadar invasion fleet decloaking in low earth orbit? Both things are approximately equally likely to happen.

  164. 164
    Steve says:

    @AA+ Bonds: These things don’t happen by accident. I went to a massive Big Ten school and our ROTC program was a fraction of the size of the ROTC program at any random SEC institution. As long as most of our military continues to come from the conservative sectors of our country – and we could discuss the reasons why that happens to be the case – the military is going to remain a right-wing institution.

  165. 165
    Dork says:

    The frustration—or, even anger—within the SEAL community is real, and has been brewing for months, particularly among a politically conservative core of operators

    Color me surprised. Or dont.

  166. 166
    AA+ Bonds says:

    Go up the fascist chain a little ways and you find the people keeping you from getting health care; the military has been primed to defend their ascent to power

    Which is why all of you should know better than to keep falling for this Steve in DC business

    The right long ago adopted Stalinist propaganda techniques and they have been so poorly transmitted among the right that it should be a breeze for even liberals to detect them

  167. 167
    Suffern ACE says:

    @Mnemosyne: Which will be called “Politically motivated timetables” and “Retreat.” Or will it be “Appeasement.” Karzi will be remorphed into a Taliban commander by next Wednesday.

    I would like to have a repeat of the debate moment for 2008, though this time with Romney. The one where he says he doesn’t care if we have to be in Afghanistan for 100 years. We’ll be there as long as it takes until whatever it is we’re doing is done. I think the public is about ready to give up on the “good war” in Afghanistan.

  168. 168
    AA+ Bonds says:

    @burnspbesq:

    Do you also obsess about the possibility of a joint Cardassian/Jem Hadar invasion fleet decloaking in low earth orbit? Both things are approximately equally likely to happen.

    ^ this is why liberals end up in camps – so many of them seriously believe no one will ever take a shot at their system, that military coups are science fiction Tolkien fantasy (and anyway, we’d see them coming with our Liberal-Vision!)

    Someone ALWAYS takes a shot, man. Always.

    And when things get rolling, they move very, very, VERY fast. You see something you don’t like on the news, and then the next week, you wake up and your wife’s in jail.

    If you are so hot on liberalism, the LEAST you can do is acknowledge the constant vigilance it takes to maintain it

  169. 169
    catclub says:

    @AA+ Bonds: “The military is and always has been the incubator of fascism within capitalism”

    And also the most integrated, equal opportunity, large organization, in the US. (They did actually take orders from Harry Truman on that.) Still nowhere near perfect.

    So, another mixed bag.

  170. 170
    burnspbesq says:

    @AA+ Bonds:

    Dude … Take. Your. Meds.

  171. 171
    4tehlulz says:

    @AA+ Bonds: Keep up fighting the good fight where it matters the most: Balloon Juice comments.

  172. 172
    Steve says:

    @AA+ Bonds: Wait, when exactly do liberals end up in camps? Is this before or after Bush declares martial law and refuses to leave office?

  173. 173
    AA+ Bonds says:

    This historical myopia, this End of History bullshit, all of this has to go

    Civilization exists at a point of crisis and all the white-privilege racism in the world won’t prevent the local warlord from cutting off your hands, which detach as easily from a white American as they do a black Congolese

    But these things can be defended against given the very real power that people still have in the United States – step one is without a doubt to adopt a realistic and measured assessment of the role and culture of the armed forces

  174. 174
    Chyron HR says:

    @Dork:

    Yeah, but if only Obummer had sat in his chair very quietly and not touched anything for the last four years, these brave and noble military men wouldn’t have been forced to come out of retirement and campaign against him.

  175. 175
    SatanicPanic says:

    @AA+ Bonds:

    Someone ALWAYS takes a shot, man. Always.

    ALWAYS? Like when? I’m not saying it can’t happen here, but we’re at 200+ years and it hasn’t, so it’s not going to be at the top of my list of worries.

  176. 176
    Brachiator says:

    @Mino:

    I never understood this training mission deal unless it involved training on the weapons we were giving them. Shit, they already know how to fight.

    I would think that training sessions incorporate what has been learned from previous field operations, among other things.

  177. 177
    Amir Khalid says:

    Off-topic: Bersih 3.0 reporting.
    The BBC has complained to its Malaysian distribution partner, satellite TV provider Astro, about unauthorized editing of the BBC’s Bersih 2.0 coverage. The bits cut were on-the-spot interviews with demonstrators.

    Reports of police brutality toward reporters and phiotographers covering Bersih 3.0.

    More to come.

  178. 178
    Suffern ACE says:

    @catclub: It’s odd really. Let’s see. The fascists in Spain came from the military. Now the ones in Germany, well those weren’t actual officers, but enlisted men who fought a war and then formed an organization that gave them higher ranks than the ones they earned. Now the Italian ones? I didn’t realize that they came from the officers and enlisted men. One might argue, actually, that if the military would not have been under civilian control and instead had a coup against popularly elected leaders who declared themselves dictators, history would be very different. Just because fascists claim to have martial values doesn’t mean we should suspect that the military breeds them.

  179. 179
    David Koch says:

    PPP: Obama opens up 8 pt lead in critical swing state of Virgina

  180. 180

    @Southern Beale:

    Wowsers. That guide has some absolute jaw-droppers in it. Was this really verified as coming from Rove?

  181. 181
    Amir Khalid says:

    OT: More on Bersih 3.0.
    Some takes on The Significance Of It All. Foong Wai Fong, a former colleague of mine at The Star, now at independent Web site Malaysia Chronicles. Veteran opposition politician Lim Kit Siang on the likely political ramifications.

    On the other hand, “R.C.” of The Economist finds it was rather a bore.

  182. 182

    @The Other Chuck:

    Do not know, saw it posted at G&T like I said … first I’d seen it…

  183. 183
    PurpleGirl says:

    @SiubhanDuinne: No, probably not. There will be a correction noted at the bottom of the story. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a story changed to fix something like that.

    ETA: Wow, they fixed it. Incredible. (Just saw your second posting on the story.)

  184. 184
    Culture of Truth says:

    We’re training them to be like us and not like them. It’s not going as well as we’d hoped.

  185. 185
    Steve says:

    @The Other Chuck: There’s no way that is legit. The final part about “you will receive your daily list of talking points” is way too pat.

  186. 186
    PurpleGirl says:

    I’m reading the comments about the Navy SEAL thing and I’m wondering how is this different from a Bush administration official giving the name of a covert CIA operative to a columnist?

  187. 187
    LanceThruster says:

    Considering the fact that they defend their faith with less thought than they give to picking a wireless phone plan, it’s no surprise that they think insurance shopping is a be-all and end-all to health care reform.

    Effum.

  188. 188
    Mike G says:

    “We’re dumbfounded.”

    You’ve got two extraneous syllables on the end of that word.

    Maybe if you pray to Jeebus, turn Rush up louder, and denounce anyone who points out your folly as a “COMUNEST”, that will make it come true.

  189. 189
    burnspbesq says:

    @Steve:

    Wait, when exactly do liberals end up in camps? Is this before or after Bush declares martial law and refuses to leave office?

    Before. The last four years of your life are a drug-induced hallucination. You’re actually in Guantanamo. So am I, but the drugs don’t seem to work on me all the time.

  190. 190
    burnspbesq says:

    ETA:

    Also too, Steve, while you were doped up the Air Force turned DC into a parking lot and installed David Addington as President. The New White House is a converted Motel 6 in Parkersburg, West Virginia, and Congress meets in the high school gym.

  191. 191
    DavidTC says:

    As someone who lives in Georgia, and yet had _no idea this law existed_, I have to laugh. I had heard this idea before, and laughed before, but the idea it actually happened in my state, exactly like I expected, and I failed to notice, is completely hilarious.

    And I especially love the idea that people are ‘dumbfounded’ by it.

    Uh, no one with the least bit of knowledge about the health care system as it exists would even be _slightly_ confused by this. (This is Georgia. The Georgia Insurance Commissioner is not expected to know anything about insurance.)

    Insurance companies operate by extorting concessions from health care providers, driving their rates lower, and everyone else’s higher.

    This is _work_, it doesn’t happen by magic, and they have to get enough providers that the customers don’t bitch too much. No customers understands the fees or what is covered and what isn’t, but they sure as hell notice when they have to drive six hours to reach a cardiologist that is covered.

    The idea that health insurance companies want to randomly enter new markets is just so inane that, well, it demonstrates that Republicans aren’t entirely in the pocket of insurance companies, because surely the insurance companies have told them how poorly this would work.

    For an analogy of this deal, it’s like if the US ‘deregulated’ cell phone frequencies, allowing European frequencies and phones to be used…and then was baffled by the lack of European cell companies showing up spending billions of dollars to put up infrastructure to grab crumbs of a market that’s pretty full.

    About the only place this plan would even slightly make sense is bordering states might try to slowly creep in, selling insurance to the fringes.

    However, the problem is that all border states are basically BlueCross/BlueShield, Aetna, and UnitedHealthcare in some proportion, which are _already_ here. So I’m not entirely sure what company we _expected_ to show up.

    And apparently none of those companies said ‘Hey, let’s sell a slightly laxer policy from one of those states here.’, which either proves that insurance companies are more ethical than they seem (Hey, I kept a straight face for that.), that Georgia is more lax than all the surrounding states (I’m doubting that, Alabama.), or frankly that it’s just too much hassle for insurance companies to worry about that sort of stupid shit.

    ‘Oh, great, now we have to make sure that our Georgia doctors understand the rules for our Alabama plans. And mysteriously know when to use them when presented with one of our insurance cards. Yeah, that’s going to be _awesome_ setting up.’

  192. 192
    Triassic Sands says:

    The one and only conservative plan for health care is “buy insurance across state lines”.

    Kay, that’s not really true. I think it would be more accurate to state:

    “The one and only conservative plan for health care — now that all their other plans were adopted and adapted to Obamacare and thus became toxic to the Right — is ‘buy insurance across state lines’.”

    Republicans have had ideas in the past, though they could never put them together in a coherent program that would actually reform health care in any meaningful way, but today they’ve had to repudiate all those ideas, because they were incorporated into Democratic legislation.

    Oh, and they do have one other idea to “fix” health care — tort reform. If they can simply cut off a huge income stream to trial lawyers, they can go a long way toward significantly undermining Democratic candidates’ contributions at election time. This will result in the election of more Republican candidates…

    Oh, wait, that was supposed to be about health care wasn’t it? Oops!

  193. 193
    someofparts says:

    Honestly, if I live long enough to retire and make it out of here, I will never, ever tell anyone I came from Georgia.

  194. 194
    someofparts says:

    @burnspbesq:

    Shades of imaginary life imitating art, Batman!

    http://www.amazon.com/Brazil-J.....038;sr=1-2

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