BREAKING: Concerning health care, who needs facts?


The OECD rides again:
We want to start by apologizing for the tone of yesterday's report.

"Too hot," we thoughtfully told the analysts when they quit work at 10 PM. We'd felt bad about the tone of our report all day long.

The tone of that report was too hot. That said:

"If in some smothering dreams,
you too could pace/Behind the wagon that we flung [so many of Baltimore's children] in," you might understand how appalling it is to read such a report.

This is not a commentary on Eliza Shapiro, the highly-regarded young to youngish journalist who wrote that front-page report in yesterday's New York Times.

In our view, Shapiro could have been a bit less respectful concerning the gruesome malfeasance she was describing. But we're commenting here on Mayor de Blasio, and on our self-impressed liberal world, not on Shapiro's report.

As for Shapiro, we very much hope she is going to cure the Times' badly broken, baldly uncaring public school reporting. The Times has long been an inexcusable mess in this area. It's all up to Shapiro now!

For today, we thought you might enjoy seeing the OECD's latest data! Our curiosity was piqued by another front-page report in the New York Times.

That report, by Rosenthal and Luthra, was the featured front-page report in last weekend's Sunday Review. It ran beneath an Onion-worthy headline:
‘Don’t Get Too Excited’ About Medicare for All
Seriously though, Times subscribers. That's what the headline said!

Rosenthal was the author of the 2017 book, An American Sickness: How Healthcare Became Big Business and How You Can Take It Back. In this report, she and Luthra cautioned readers about confusions surrounding the hot new term, "Medicare for all."

Fair enough! But along the way, the pair began discussing the financial implications of an American "single payer" system. That discussion started with this:
ROSENTHAL AND LUTHRA (10/21/18): Other countries achieve universal health care (or nearly so), but without single-payer. France and Germany have kept an insurance system intact but heavily regulate health care, including by setting the prices for medical procedures and drugs, and requiring all citizens to purchase coverage.

These more incremental options have not captured the American imagination to the same extent as Medicare for all. But adopting such a system [i.e., Medicare for all] would require the biggest shift, with significant implications for taxes, patient choice, doctors' salaries and hospital revenue.

Enthusiastic politicians sometimes gloss over those consequences. For example, Liz Watson, a Democrat running in Indiana's Ninth Congressional District, suggested the impact on doctors' income was not much of a concern, because they would see a ''huge recovery'' on expenses since they would no longer need to navigate the bureaucracy of insurance paperwork. But analysts across the board agree single-payer would cut revenue for doctors—many say by about 12 percent on average.
Adoption of Medicare for all (single payer) "would require the biggest shift" from our current arrangements. Such a move would have "significant implications for taxes," the Times scribes quickly warn. Without a lot of explanation, we're told that doctors' salaries might drop by something like 12 percent!

As a starter, fair enough! Soon, though, we also got this:
ROSENTHAL AND LUTHRA: There's also the thorny issue of how Medicare for all would affect the thousands of jobs at private insurers. ''We have an insurance industry in Omaha, and people say, 'I worry about those jobs,''' said Kara Eastman, a Democrat running on Medicare for all in Nebraska's Second District. She suggested people could be retrained, saying there would have to be ''repurposing of positions.''

Critics of Medicare for all, on the other hand, tend to exaggerate the costs of single-payer: ''Denmark's top tax bracket is nearly 60 percent!'' (True, although that's largely not because of health care.) ''Doctors' incomes will drop 40 percent!'' (True, specialists in private practice would probably see pay cuts, but primary care doctors could well see an increase.)

Canadians generally pay higher taxes than Americans do—specifically a goods and services tax, and higher taxes on the wealthy. In Germany, working people pay 7.5 percent of income as a contribution toward comprehensive insurance.

But many Americans pay far more than that when you count premiums, deductibles, co-payments and out-of-network charges. Estimates of the tax increases required to support a Medicare-for-all or single-payer system are all over the map, depending on how the plan is structured, the prices paid to providers and drug makers, and the generosity of benefits.

As a politician famously noted, ''Nobody knew health care could be so complicated.''
Grumble, grumble, toil and trouble. We're warned about exaggerations by those who oppose single-payer. But according to Rosenthal and Luthra, doctors will see their incomes drop, and we the people will apparently have to pay higher taxes. Nowhere, though, are we the people encouraged to understand the remarkable sea in which this pseudo-discussion swims.

As usual, as if by Hard Pundit Law, these remarkable data never appeared in last Sunday's discussion. They represent the latest figures from the OECD:
Health care spending per capita, 2017
United States $10,209 (sic)
Germany $5728
France $4902
Canada $4826
Japan $4717
Australia $4543
United Kingdom $4264
Italy $3542
Spain $3371
South Korea $2897
There you see the astonishing data which lie at the heart of this maelstrom. It seems to be against the law to publish such fundamental data in the New York Times or the Washington Post, or to discuss these remarkable data on MSNBC or in liberal journals.

Do Canadians "generally pay higher taxes than Americans do?" Presumably, yes. But they also spend less than half as much on health care, per person, than we spend Down Here!

Where's all that missing money going? A cynic would say that the New York Times doesn't want you to wonder or ask.

In Germany, do working people "pay 7.5 percent of income as a contribution toward comprehensive insurance?" Presumably, they do. But Germans spend only 57 percent as much on health care as we Americans do—and Germany is the only comparable large nation which spends even half as much as we do Over Here. Somehow, the U.K. limps along spending 42 percent!

The Times scribes warn us about the possible costs of that onrushing "single-payer" caravan. As usual, they fail to present the most remarkable data set of which we are aware.

Simple story! Enormous bundles of money are disappearing into the maws of our health care "system." About a dozen years ago, Paul Krugman described this remarkable state of affairs in a series of columns—and from that day to this, this remarkable state of affairs has disappeared from the Times.

This helps demonstrate a basic point we ourselves have often demonstrated here:

It's impossible to insert information into our "public discourse!" You can say it and say it and say it again. Unless it fits preferred elite narratives, your data, facts or information will simply disappear.

In Sunday's featured front-page report, Times readers were warned about possible tax increases. They weren't permitted to wonder about where those oodles of missing money are going under current arrangements.

Where's all that money going? Who is conducting that looting? Also:

Given the current amount of spending, why would any change in our health care "system" require higher spending? We spend twice as much as everyone else. Why would we have to spend more?

Those are the world's most obvious questions. They'll never be asked in the New York Times, nor will you ever see the data which might bring such questions to mind.

Aristotle is widely said to have said that we are the "rational animal." In fairness to Aristotle, he'd never read the New York Times. This includes its coverage of health care and public schools.

Rosenthal is highly informed, but she never offers this basic background information in her work for the Times. In closing, let us say this:

If in some smothering dreams, you too could pace/Behind the wagon that we flung [so many looted citizens] in," you too might wonder about the way our intellectual horizons are curtailed in front-page reports like this.

Chomsky calls this process "manufactured consent." That said, Chomsky himself isn't discussed in the New York Times—or by our tribe's top cable star, who mugs and clowns and grins and chuckles and spoons us the porridge we like. (And talks about herself.)

Blue and red voters get looted this way. How hard would it be to create a world with blue and red together?

What the spendthrift socialists spend: God knows, we wouldn't want to be more like socialist spendthrift Sweden! Keeping that word of caution in mind, here you see the runaway spending of the smaller socialist boutique nations:
Health care spending per capita, 2017
United States $10,209 (sic)
Norway $6351
Sweden $5511
Denmark $5183
Finland $4176
Where's all that missing money going? If you stick to "cable news" and the New York Times, you'll never wonder or ask!


  1. Medicare is a lousy insurance plan.

    Medicaid is a great one. You need medical help - you go and get it. Just like when you need help from the police.

    Except, it would be good if doctors in the US made house calls, like everywhere else. And, obviously, the doctors should be paid, on average, less than police officers...

    1. You are wrong about both Medicare and Medicaid.

    2. Why would you pay someone with at best an undergraduate degree plus median 21 weeks of police academy less than someone with at least four additional years of med school plus an internship (minimum for a doctor with no specialization)? Nurses typically have more education than police officers.

    3. Certified yoga instructors typically have more education than police officers.

    4. And what of it? What do all those years they sent on their useless 'education' have to do with what they should be paid for their nearly useless 'work', performed these days mostly be the blood-testing device?

    5. This proves Mao is 12 years old. No one who has had a health problem thinks doctors are useless.

    6. Mao,
      I JSU had surgery and I can tell you that I preferred having a well educated surgeon performing my operation instead of one of the rage addled thugs that work on Baltimore City’s police force. The BCPD had to suspend an on duty patrolman because he was too drunk to drive and he fell asleep in his patrol car.

    7. Dear anon. I don't know about you anons, but I want a doctor who'd chosen the medical profession driven by his desire to help people -- not to make money. Okay?

      Anyhow, google tells me that the average primary care physician in France makes $95K/yr, so there. There are, of course, other issues involved: the cost of education, malpractice insurance, etc., but I think it's perfectly clear that the medical care 'business' in the US is run by a mafia extracting superprofits...

    8. Doctors don't become doctors to make money. They could more easily do that by becoming businessmen. Those with science backgrounds from top schools (e.g., MIT, Harvard) who want to make money take an MBA and go to Wall Street instead of med school. The interviews and the process of going through training tend to weed out those driven by money because there isn't enough money to pay someone to do what med students must do just to get to their internship and residency. There are far easier ways to make a pile of money.

      In the US, there is a shortage of doctors in key specialties outside desirable urban areas. The high salaries are partly necessary to recruit, and they don't work well because doctors are not motivated as much by money as quality of life.

      The typical doctor is trying to help people and not joining the mafia that runs health care (corporations). Doctors are so bad at managing their own salaries that they tend to become the victims of financial management frauds. If they loved money more, they would learn how to make it grow, not rely on others to take care of their earnings while they work.

    9. If they aren't in it for the money, then there's even less reason to pay them excessively. Open immigration for medical professionals while accepting foreign diplomas - and the wages will fall like a brick. But no: the system is controlled by a mafia.

    10. When you accept foreign credentials you also accept foreign standards of care, foreign procedures and foreign quality of training, which may be excellent or substandard. The requirement that foreign health care professionals complete a supervised internship before being licensed in the US ensures that someone trained in US procedures will evaluate the ability of the newcomer to make sure they are qualified to provide services here.

      Those who supervise such interns find that some are excellent and others are not. Letting them all in without question would admit those who are substandard too. I don't think anyone really wants that just to save a few bucks.

    11. 1. This is not rocket science, you know: there are long lists of world-wide "accredited universities" in many fields.

      2. You appear to be confusing 'education' with 'training'. Training could be a matter of a couple of months. And

      3. Those "few bucks" would add up, perhaps, to about a quarter of a trillion/year.

      And then, adding drug prices, the hospitals charging $10 for a cotton swab, pretty soon we're talking a cool trillion.

    12. The stopped clock at 7:18, is correct for a change.

  2. This seems to me to be a reasonable critique of Rosenthal's article, in that it tends to emphasize the obstacles to a revamp of our healthcare system rather than the insane cost and opaqueness of the current system.

    But ultimately, as the article says, there is wide disagreement even among proponents of change as to the specifics, and those specifics are hugely important. The advocates for change probably need to unify around a plan, and they are ultimately the ones who need to craft an appropriate message to fight for it. The Times isn't likely to change its approach, so that is a given going into this fight. And frankly, the Times and other legacy media organizations aren't nearly as influential as they may once have been. There are many more choices for media outlets these days.

    1. Because the operation of American health care is interwoven with its capitalist market-based approach, dismantling one to make it more like European systems would mean changing other aspects of our economy too. That suggests incrementalism. Once a specific change were identified, it would need to be broken into steps toward implementation, because the American economy isn't going to transform itself to accommodate health care changes.

      For example, Somerby asks where the additional money goes. It is open enrollment time and my mailbox is full of advertising flyers from health plans and drug plans all vying to become my supplier of medicare services. This happens every October and is a huge waste of money, much as the election flyers that arrive in a flood prior to each election represent a waste of donations to candidates. But this is how we do things. And then there are the drug ads on TV which inflate drug costs and do little good for consumers and active harm to people with the conditions advertised, since doctors must spend appointment time explaining why that latest treatment isn't right for them.

      Somerby wants to make this about a conspiracy to defraud the public, but I think it is also the result of how our economy functions. It is at least plausible to me that our health care costs more because we allow people to self-medicate with alternative medical treatment and supplements that delay treatment with effective methods, cause health problems themselves, and encourage people to noncompliance with medical treatment prescribed by physicians. And then there is our tolerance of mental illness, substance abuse and homelessness, which results in people with chronic health issues returning to emergency rooms many times each month because they have no ability to follow medical treatment plans. These situations are less prevalent or nonexistent in the nations on that comparison list.

      I've never seen Somerby seriously grapple with the differences in our culture that lead to differences in how we provide health care services and how we pay for them. A book by a journalist who wishes to blame the health care industry without assigning any responsibility to consumers is not a serious attempt to reform the system, in my opinion.

      A 12% reduction in pay for doctors will not materially affect their quality of life and is NOT the reason why health care reform isn't happening. But cue the people who think doctors are the reason for inflated costs, and not opioid abusing, viagra seeking patients who skip their preventive care appointments.

    2. Our economy functions through a conspiracy to defraud the public.
      Certainly you see the huge approval ratings the business world has given to a President with a 40+ year history of stiffing contractors and committing fraud.

    3. If you were serious about your argument, @12:47, you would point out that as long as the health care industry contributes to politicians, there is not going to be any change in our health care system, no matter what kinds of articles are written about it and no matter what questions the populace decides to ask about it.

      Our economy functions through a concerted effort to enrich individuals via corporations that must provide minimal goods and services or they will not stay in business. For example, Kaiser Permanente is thriving in CA but struggling in CO. Why? Their health care model is the same but market conditions are different. If they defraud patients in CO, they will struggle more and will be unable to reward their investors. Stiffing people is a short-term strategy that operates on the fringes of our economy.

      You could argue that Americans beg to be defrauded. They support a huge industry of fraudulent medical alternatives that has such a powerful impact that most care providers have included it among its services. Our medical system would cost less if it could confine itself to best practices, but consumers won't let it. Those useless practices are now part of mainstream medicine and inflate its costs in the US.

    4. Serious as a heart attack, 1:15.

      "The central point that emerges from our research is that economic elites and organized groups representing business interests have substantial independent impacts on US government policy, while mass-based interest groups and average citizens have little or no independent influence."

    5. Well, we're up against a wall on this. Absent campaign-finance reform, essentially impossible with this Supreme Court, I don't know how to change this.

  3. In what organization do the newest hires with the least experience get to reform things?

  4. Excellent column, Bob! But why say "Aristotle is widely said to have said that we are the "rational animal" when you know perfectly well that he said no such thing? In fairness to Aristotle's (*de anima*) you should mention that he called 'o anthropos "a" rational animal (even though the lecture notes incorrectly imply that they are as rational as storks, dolphins, or elephants). Also, the pejorative sense of "political," so apposite to our "liberal vs. conservative" circus acts, shoulkd never be used against Aristotle's concept of "*zoon politikon*."

  5. absent an "edit" button, I have to repost:
    "Excellent column, Bob! But why say "Aristotle is widely said to have said that we are the "rational animal" " when you know perfectly well that he said no such thing? In fairness to Aristotle's (*de anima*) you should mention that he called 'o anthropos "a" rational animal (even though those lecture notes published under that title incorrectly imply that they are as rational as storks, dolphins, or elephants). Also, the pejorative sense of "political," so apposite to our "liberal vs. conservative" circus acts, should never be used against Aristotle's concept of "*zoon politikon*."

  6. Sweden has the lowest suicide rate of the OECD countries, at 17.5 per 100,000. It has a higher depression rate and a higher suicide rate than the USA. We don't screen for depression in primary care, as they do in Sweden, but if we had more untreated depression, you would expect our suicide rate to be higher and yet it is 10 to 13 per 100,000, which is lower than any of the European countries. That suggests cultural differences that have health consequences.

    The alcoholism rate in Sweden is about 4%. Alcohol is much more expensive there, and attitudes about drinking are different. The alcoholism rate in the USA is about 13%. Alcohol related health consequences include: "fetal alcohol spectrum disorders, hypertension, cardiovascular diseases, stroke, liver cirrhosis, several types of cancer and infections, pancreatitis, type 2 diabetes, and various injuries". When alcoholism is three times more prevalent, wouldn't you expect the health care impact to be three times as great -- and yet the costs are only double between Sweden and the USA. Maybe our health care industry is more efficient than Somerby thinks, given the differences in health-related behaviors in Europe vs the US.

  7. absent an "edit" button, I have to repost:
    "Excellent column, Bob! But why say "Aristotle is widely said to have said that we are the "rational animal" " when you know perfectly well that he said no such thing? In fairness to Aristotle's (*de anima*) you should mention that he called 'o anthropos "a" rational animal (even though those lecture notes published under that title incorrectly imply that they are as rational as storks, dolphins, or elephants). Also, the pejorative sense of "political," so apposite to our "liberal vs. conservative" circus acts, should never be used against Aristotle's concept of "*zoon politikon*."

    1. In a properly functioning health care system, Shane would get the help he is so obviously crying out for.

  8. Chomsky (and Herman's) book was originally published in 1988, pre-Internet. I often wonder if the premise still holds. Today, anyone can start a blog or a website, or an alternative internet-based media outfit. And there are vast numbers of them, many of which presumably are not controlled by traditionally dominant media corporations. And yet, the tribalism and divisiveness seems more extreme than ever. Perhaps the consent isn't manufactured after all. Maybe it is inherent in all of us.

    1. I often wondered if the emphasis on "mass media" ignored other perhaps more important mechanisms of social cohesion, such as religion, community groups, school, etc.

    2. All social groups are seeing a decrease in attendance with the advent of the internet. This includes churches, bowling leagues, Rotary and Elks, Women's clubs, quilting clubs, hospital auxiliaries, even biker gangs. It is hard to recruit and memberships are declining. People are spending their time on social media, playing games online, or surfing the net.

      There might be only one or two neo-nazis in a neighborhood in the past, and they might have had a hard time finding each other. Now they can link up and organize and reinforce each other's beliefs online. No more deviancy for the truly deviant because they form their own online communities. We are going to have to find a way to deal with that.

      Maybe Hillary Clinton's basket of deplorables was her way of acknowledging that there seem to more them around lately, now that they know how to set up meetings and participate instead of being marginalized.

    3. The website used by this shooter and his alt-right friends has been taken down because of its role in promoting anti-semitism and they are frantically appealing to President Trump for help.

  9. Reading doesn't come naturally like speech. It's a skill that has to be taught. How should it be taught? Scientific research has found the way: phonics!

    1. When I was a kid, "Why Johnny Can't Read: And What You Can Do About It" by Rudolf Franz Flesch was a best seller. This book made a strong argument in favor of using phonics, rather than the whole word method.

    2. Reading experts today do not use one method exclusively. They combine phonics and whole word approaches and try to get kids using language by reading and writing as quickly as possible, with attention to spelling and grammar later. Preschoolers are writing now and starting reading much sooner. So, David, those old books are on the right track but hugely out of date.

      Why Johnny Can't Read was the darling of conservatives when it came out and was used to bludgeon schools, to support home schooling and as a criticism of public education. So there were political motives, not simply science about what works and what doesn't. Phonetic info is processed in one part of the brain while whole word recognition occurs in another, but competent reading and writing use several parts of the brain working together. Appealing to just one is wrong, no matter which you emphasize.

      Encouraging kids to enjoy reading and writing, so they will practice it and not be shamed or bored, is important too. Drilling interferes with that. That is something conservatives have tended to get wrong about schooling.

      Imp is partly right. Reading doesn't come naturally, but use of symbols does. However, the meanings of the symbols needs to be learned because it is arbitrary. Acquisition of symbol systems and linking them to referents in the world is the name of the game in education. That means kids need real world experiences so they can understand what words mean (numbers are a symbol system too). Good preschools provide exposure to the environment via field trips and picture books, so that kids can acquire large enough vocabularies to know that the phonics mean after you sound them out. Kids from disadvantaged backgrounds tend to lack that exposure, so they can put together the phonics but the words don't mean anything to them. What is rhino or a lagoon?

      Teachers learn how to teach effectively. Parents, conservative or liberal, need to step out and let them do their jobs. If a kid isn't making progress and looking forward to school each day, that's the time to get involved. Those two markers are how you evaluate a school, not NAEP scores. Most parents know this, so they aren't marching to Somerby's beat.

  10. Doctors in the US are paid twice the OECD average, they need a pay cut:

    1. Doctors in the US don't work in the OECD, where a variety of goods and services are differently priced. Their job content isn't the same either, nor are their working conditions.

      Doctors earn enough that they can retire at relatively young ages. If you make life difficult for them, many will just walk away from their jobs and the shortage will become worse.

      My daughter and son-in-law, both doctors, work for Kaiser where their benefits include sabbaticals working for non-governmental organizations providing health care to people who need it, such as Doctors Without Borders. Kaiser keeps them on the job by making such efforts part of their job, thereby preventing them from leaving in order to do such work.

      Doctors can and will walk away from their jobs if salaries are cut -- why should they stay? They can find better opportunities working as university professors or in hospital administration or for pharmaceutical companies or in public health. Some run for office. Physician burnout is such that some doctors may be looking for an excuse to leave the profession. Do you think that will help anything?

      We have an health care system that operates within a broader economy. Doctor salaries are dictated by market forces, just like anyone else's salaries. There are consequences for lowering them and you may not like what happens as a result. I can't see how it will improve anything. Profits will go to the employers, not into reduced costs for services (which are mostly paid by insurance). Tinkering with one part of the system, out of resentment that doctors make good money, isn't going to change the rest of the system.

    2. The United States is a member of the OECD, which you can verify by going here:

      Unfortunately, doctors salaries in the United States are not dictated by market forces, but by domestic doctors ability to restrict access of perfectly qualified foreign doctors to work in the US through the requirement that they must do an entire residency before they can practice. This artificially increases their salaries by restricting the supply of doctors available in the US able to practice. Did you not read the opinion piece?

    3. We did this last year. I don't agree with you.

    4. "If you make life difficult for them, many will just walk away from their jobs and the shortage will become worse."

      i'd heard about this theory, where if you pay for labor you get better workers, but living in the USA under the thumb of corporate America, I haven't actually seen it in practice.

      It's hard t find good help, when you're stiffing them on pay.

    5. “If you make life difficult for them, many will just walk away from their jobs and the shortage will become worse.”

      Heh heh. That’s a good one. But if that’s true, then they shouldn’t be doctors at all. They’ve missed their calling. So, the market works!

      When they walk away, perhaps they might become potters instead. There’s damn good money in that, as we all well know.


    6. You guys don't have a clue how the medical system works. How can you recommend or have opinions on cures when you don't understand the system? Neither does Somerby. This discussion is a pathetic waste of everyone's time. Hillary at least took the time to understand how things work, but we kicked her to the curb. No need for expertise around here -- lets all just spout nonsense and let Trump entertain us.

  11. I want a war. Between the rich and the poor.

    1. Would you settle for a war between us and you?

    2. Me too 3:32, but one where the poor are armed.

  12. Mozart's Piano Concerto No. 19 in F major, K. 459
    G├ęza Anda and the Camerata Academica des Salzburgers Mozarteums

  13. It troubles me that Somerby goes on posting on the same old themes even when there are terrible national events going on. Would it hurt him to express some dismay at what is happening?

    Trump called out George Soros using the term Globalist (alt-right code for Jew) yesterday and today a synagogue is attacked. Tonight Trump holds his rally as planned, attacking Elizabeth Warren, and who will go out and do his bidding tomorrow? And he blamed the victims because they weren't sufficiently armed to protect themselves while praying!

    This is too much! People need to be held accountable for saying nothing. Our leaders need to condemn this and isolate Trump for his behavior. Somerby should start, by showing that he is a decent person who does not support what Trump says, does or stands for. I've heard Somerby call Trump deranged, but I've also heard him defend Trump. I want to hear him disassociate himself from Trump's wrongs. If Somerby cannot do that convincingly, he is no liberal.

  14. 'Globalist' is not a code word for Jewish. Remember Bill Clinton's Global Initiative?

    1. Clinton's Globalist Initiative? No, don't remember that one.

      After Trump railed against globalists his supporters began yelling out the name of George Soros, then they chanted "lock him up", then Trump repeated it: "lock him up" and smiled.

      The alt-right considers jews like Soros to be responsible for all the world's evils, including funding and logistics of the caravan invading the US, which is what set off this killer.

      Trump railed against Elizabeth Warren on the night of the shooting. With such deranged supporters, that is like painting a target on her next.

      But you think it is cute to play word games.

    2. I believe, the lesson here is that should the Trump revolution be suppressed by the liberal-globalist elite, more mayhem is likely, and things are bound to get worse, much worse.


    4. "knockers" is not a code word for breasts -- my grandmother refers to the knocker on her front door

    5. "suppressed"="defeated at the ballot box" and that in turn triggers mayhem from the losers (conservatives)? Good group, those conservatives. Your characterization of them is not flattering, but I can't say it isn't correct.

    6. Now we see Mao's true colors. Threats.

    7. Maybe David thinks this is coincidental:

    8. Or this offensive aimed at Jewish journalists:

    9. As Booman points out, except for two men in their 50s, the people killed in Pittsburgh were all elderly, many in their 80s and 90s.

    10. He-he, the dembots get excited, happy.

      Carry on, dembots...

    11. And from Maddow's blog:

    12. Donald Trump is the least anti-Semitic President ever. I base my opinion on actual actions not on imaginary "dog whistles".

      -- He is close to his Jewish daughter, Jewish son-in-law and his Jewish grand-children
      -- He appointed his Jewish daughter and Jewish son-in-law to high, influential positions in his Administration.
      -- He won a Humanitarian award from a Jewish organization. The Tree of Life Award is the highest humanitarian award the Jewish National Fund presents.
      -- He has taken specific, difficult actions in support of Israel, such as acknowledging that Jerusalem is the capital and cutting aid to Palestinians, because they were not sincerely seeking peace with Israel. Also, his UN Ambassador has been outspoken in support of Israel.

    13. David, here is an article on the origins of the "globalist" slur, from The Atlantic, written last March.

    14. Bill Palmer says:

      "The United States simply has no President. Instead we have a violent thug who is primarily interested in enabling other violent thugs, in order to give himself cover as he tries to fend off a series of criminal investigations that are closing in on him. Donald Trump wants us to believe that the biggest threat to America’s safety is some harmless caravan a thousand miles away. In reality, the biggest threat to America’s safety is Trump’s own mouth."

    15. I appreciate the link, @12:06, but I am unconvinced. The fact that some other people 75 years ago used the word "globalist" in an anti-Semitic way does not mean that Trump was using the word that way today.

      The word "globalist" has an ordinary meaning -- one who's focused on global problems. Barack Obama was a globalist. Trump specifically called himself a "nationalist", meaning that's he is more focused on what's best for the United States. He says he's not a globalist in the ordinary sense of the word.

    16. Meanwhile, Dahlia Lithwick says stop trying to understand what Trump meant and look at what his followers do:

      David, you need to go somewhere else for a while and respect the feelings of people who are very upset about the shooting yesterday. Jewish people were killed by a Trump follower, for no other reason than that they were Jewish. Many of us care about that. You don't -- that's OK -- but have some respect for others.

      I cannot make you shut up your garbage but if you have a shred of human decency, you need to stop this and give people some time to grieve.

    17. Trump was saying that he is a white nationalist.

      You don't get to decide what words mean. The people who use them do that.

      There is overwhelming evidence of Trump's support for alt-right bigotry. He retweets those people, for God's sake!

      Go have brunch or do something useful. Come back on Monday.

    18. "Trump was saying that he is a white nationalist."

      Yeah, inside your empty dembot skull.

    19. @12:25 I will respond politely to your rude comment. First of all, I am Jewish. Second, one of the victims was a friend of my friend George. George had attended bar mitzvahs of her two sons in this Temple.

      I would suggest that you show proper respect. Focus on the victims and the worldwide problem of antisemitism. Don't use every horrible tragedy as an excuse to criticize our President.

    20. Conservatives are bigots?
      Who knew?*

      *Anyone paying attention.

    21. "Don't use every horrible tragedy as an excuse to criticize our President."

      This. You can't just blame the President. He's only one of too many Conservatives.

    22. Trump's "genius" is in selling bigotry to Republican voters, who thrive on it.
      In the words of Dennis Green, "They are who we thought they were."

    23. Republicans could kick the bigots out of the party anytime they want.
      They just don't want to.

    24. A decent person would be shocked by what deranged people are doing in his name. He might show some emotion and even remorse about it in his public statements. He might care about the victims, even ones who are political opponents (such as Obama and Clinton and all the rest of the MAGABomber's targets). He might understand that they would appreciate an update on efforts to catch that guy and say "Yes, I am keeping them informed" when asked by a reporter about it.

      In the same way, someone who understands the way Jews might feel about being actively targeted by shooters sent their way by Trump's speeches, might not come to a liberal website in order to play word games that try to absolve Trump of any responsibility for setting off these haters acting in his name. He might understand that feelings are raw on days of mass shootings.

      This is my third, since I live in the San Bernardino area and regularly attend events in Las Vegas, and thus felt a little more fear than some guy in Moscow or Nebraska or wherever the hell you live.

      So, call me rude, but your behavior is much worse than mine because you are unfeeling and uncaring and that is worse.

    25. 345

      My answer would be I need to see sources for your claims in order to answer.

    26. David, what Jewish person hasn't encountered my point about Israel?

      Anti-semitism is both overt and subtle. Go watch Gentleman's Agreement. It will show you how the subtle part works. I have no interest in debating historical antisemitism while Trump is encouraging it in his speeches daily.

      A conspiracy-minded person might have noted that neither of these mass-killers committed suicide, as is usual for terrorists these days. I think it is likely they expect Trump to pardon them.

    27. If I understand your comment, @4:42, you are unaware of these examples of worldwide antisemitism. And, you're not willing to take the trouble to use google to verify them. It sounds to me as if antisemitic acts are not particularly important to you.

      But, I'm feeling friendly, so I'll give you some links.
      The Jewish exodus from Arab and Muslim countries, or Jewish exodus from Arab countries, was the departure, flight, expulsion, evacuation and migration of 850,000 Jews,[1][2] primarily of Sephardi and Mizrahi background, from Arab and Muslim countries, mainly from 1948 to the early 1970s.

      At the beginning of the 21st century, antisemitism in France rose sharply during the unrest of the Second Intifada in Israel and the Palestinian territories, as it did in other European nations.[6] In addition, a significant proportion of the second-generation Muslim immigrant population in France began to identify with the Palestinian cause, with some also identifying with radical Islamism.[7][8][9] In the early 2000s, a critical debate on the nature of antisemitism in France accompanied denunciation of it in relation to the situation in the Middle East and to Islam. Divisions developed among anti-racist groups.[6][10][11]

      Alarmed by violence and verbal attacks, some French Jews began to emigrate to Israel. By early 2014 the number of French Jews making aliyah (emigrating to Israel) surpassed the number of American Jews who were emigrating. At the same time 70 percent of French Jews reported in surveys that they were concerned about insults or harassment and 60% about physical aggression because of their ethnicity; both figures are much higher than shown in surveys of the European average.[12]

      Anti-Semitism is so bad in Britain that some Jews are planning to leave

    28. 515

      Yes, I'm sorry. I don't know much about it but I have to say right off the bat that your claim that 850000 were "driven out" is not at all backed up by the source link you provided so I am going to have to reject that claim. Your source says this:

      "The reasons for the exodus included push factors, such as persecution, antisemitism, political instability,[15] poverty[15] and expulsion, together with pull factors, such as the desire to fulfill Zionist yearnings or find a better economic status and a secure home in Europe or the Americas. The history of the exodus has been politicized, given its proposed relevance to the historical narrative of the Arab–Israeli conflict.[16] When presenting the history, those who view the Jewish exodus as analogous to the 1948 Palestinian exodus generally emphasize the push factors and consider those who left as refugees, while those who do not, emphasize the pull factors and consider them willing immigrants.[17]"

      Which simply is not 850,000 "driven out".

      Are the rest of your claims going to yield to the same overstating misrepresentions of the truth? That why i wanted to see your sources I had a feeling. Sounds like you need to try a little harder pal.

    29. So 515 - you are asking me to say "yes" to a statement you made that is demonstrably false. And say "with friends like this, Jews don't need enemies" if I don't agree with your false statement. That's a pretty shitty thing to do. I know there's antisemitism, it's not as shitty as that, but yeah, you need to get your act together before you start putting me in boxes for not agreeing to politically motivated overstatements.

    30. "given that Trump has beloved Jewish daughter, son-in-law and grandchildren"

      There is no evidence Trump does anything with his beloved relatives in mind...other than fantasize about "dating" Ivanka (that isn't her actual name, by the way).

      But what is preposterous about Trump pardoning criminals just to irritate Democrats? (d'Souza, Arpaio come to mind). These guys committed actual crimes but Trump considers them popular heroes. No reason these other bad actors shouldn't be treated the same way, since it would wind up Democrats big time and also please his base (his real base, that is).

    31. Your own source indisputably proves you made a false claim. I point it out and all of a sudden I have no concern for Jews. That is a *totally* shitty thing to say to someone. What is the matter with you? Before, you implied I'm your "enemy" if I don't agree with your claim - that is false!

      You can start by making claims that are true and providing links that don't directly contradict your claims. But putting people into an "enemy" box for not acquiescing to politically motivated, flat out false, overstatements is a shitty, shitty, ugly thing to do. Shame on you.

      I'll read these links tonight. Thanks,

    32. 7:52 PM - I realize there's antisemitism and the people in those country hate Jews and many of them were "driven" out - but get your facts strait before you start putting people in the enemy/you don't care box. I'm sure you realize the Jews are not the only group of people in that area to be "driven out", marginalized, relocated and in some cases massacred and ethnically cleansed.

      Get it together buddy.

    33. OK - neither of the links you provided back up the claim that "850,000 Jews who once lived in Arab and Muslim countries were driven out?" Pathetic.

      But I know antisemitism is a horrible blight on the world. I am concerned but I won't "say yes" to false claims. Sorry.

      Very sorry to read your friends were a part of the that horrible shooting. Very sorry. Wishing you the best,

    34. @8:22 -- you and I seem to be interpreting words differently. The following paragraph specifically says Jews were forced to leave Iraq:

      "...Baghdad ‘pauperized’ its Jews and forced them to leave for the nascent Jewish state in 1951-2."

      The following paragraph lists several ways in which various Muslim and Arab countries made it essentially impossible for Jews to continue to live there:

      "Jews in Algeria, Egypt, Iraq, Libya, Morocco, Syria, and Yemen (Aden) were persecuted, their property and belongings were confiscated, and they were subjected to severe anti-Jewish riots instigated by the governments. In Iraq, Zionism was made a capital crime. In Syria, anti-Jewish pogroms erupted in Aleppo and the government froze all Jewish bank accounts. In Egypt, bombs were detonated in the Jewish quarter, killing dozens. In Algeria, anti-Jewish decrees were swiftly instituted and in Yemen, bloody pogroms led to the death of nearly 100 Jews."

    35. Yes, the words "850,000" and "enemy". Wishing you the best,

    36. And "driven out" - simply based on the source you provided which clearly and explicitly contradicts that claim.

      I have no idea about it. I know the Jews are really hated and have been forever, and that a lot of people in that region have been "driven out" on both sides and so, so, so many killed. The whole situation is horrible and unfortunate.

    37. David,
      Don't get sheepish that your home team gives come hither looks to Nazis. Now is when the GOP needs you most.

    38. @11:42, For many years, Democrats won elections by calling Republicans bigots. But, that approach no longer works -- at least it doesn't work with a majority of the voters. Democrats will have to figure out something else to run on, or they'll keep losing elections.

    39. This president incites violence and doesn't stop when people get hurt. Democrats don't have to point this out -- it is ibvious to all. Today he targeted Tom Steyer. The GOP needs to put a stop to this if they have any decency. And you are here today defending Trump. What is wrong with you?

    40. Some Trump critics make the mistake of imagining that everyone sees the world as they do. In fact, the Daily Mail reported
      Synagogue shooter is a gun-obsessed anti-Semite who believes Trump is a puppet for Jewish interests

      So, the reality is that, from the shooters POV, Trump has been too supportive of Jews and Jewish causes.

      P.S to @12:27. Tom Steyer is a billionaire who is spending his money to try to get Trump impeached. That's his right. But, after all the terrible things Steyer is saying about Trump and all the money he is spending to help elect Democrats, it does not seem unfair for Trump and the Republicans to criticize Steyer.

    41. "Some Trump critics make the mistake of imagining that everyone sees the world as they do."

      That's true of all people not just Trump critics lol.

    42. DavidinCal,
      You're not correct very often, but your point that Republicans are not going to stop electing bigots, just because liberals point out their bigotry, is one of the few times you seem factually informed.

    43. For someone who is Jewish, I haven't heard you express much sympathy for the families of those who were brutally murdered, David. In that, you are just like your role model, Trump. Some people emulate Trump by targeting those he hates. Others emulate his cold heart.

      This makes it clear you are nothing but a troll. You need to go somewhere else. Your job here is done.

    44. Fuck you, David.

      You want to know the "shooter's point of view"? Here.

      For months, Robert D. Bowers had been spewing his anger in post after post on the web, calling immigrants “invaders,” distributing racist memes and asserting that Jews were the “enemy of white people.”

      Then, on Saturday, moments before the police say he barged into a Pittsburgh synagogue with an assault rifle and three handguns, he tapped out a final message: “I can’t sit by and watch my people get slaughtered. Screw your optics, I’m going in.”

      I wonder where he got the idea we are being invaded by immigrants. Funded by that evil globalist, George Soros.

      You have any thoughts on that, David, you treasonous bastard?

    45. Anyone who isn't a bigot, left the Republican Party during the 1980s.

  15. This post, coupled with Somerby's post from Friday about de Blasio's "Renewal" plan for New York City's public schools, illustrate why it's hard to be a liberal.

    The conservative approach to things is often "do nothing", a remarkably easy goal to achieve.

    But in trying to improve or change a hugely complex system like health care or public education, liberals are forced to come up with a plan, sweat the details, unify on an approach, all in the face of carping from critics and the press, particularly when the plan doesn't work out perfectly.

    Today, Somerby accuses the press (Rosenthal and the Times) of "grumbling" and omitting what he considers important facts, thereby making the discussion about health care more difficult for liberals. But on Friday, he cited a press report approvingly in order to heap opprobrium on de Blasio for trying a plan that would attempt to improve rather than close poor performing schools. Many aspects of that plan seemed quite reasonable to me. But there was Somerby, supposedly a liberal, not just carping about de Blasio's plan (presumably because it didn't "work" according to the article), but saying that liberals don't care about education/kids. Is it any wonder that it's tough being a liberal? And with friends like this, who needs enemies?

    1. There was no reason to ever think de Blasio's plan would work. However, his plan gave an enormous amount of money to various people and organizations. Was paying off these people and organizations de Blasio's real goal? Did he use the plight of inner city students as an excuse to reward his friends and supporters? One cannot prove his motives, but that's what it looks like.

    2. If de Blasio were going to use money to reward supporters, why would he alienate teachers by closing schools? Your theory makes no sense.

    3. @david: and hence, my original point: doing nothing would have been much easier. Do something, and you are accused by conservatives, like you, and so called liberals like Somerby, of magical thinking or worse...graft or something. Why was de Blasio's plan "never going to work?" How would you know that? It has only been in effect a short while anyway. And, more to my point, why does Somerby just assume bad faith and bad plan, without at least pretending to understand the plan and honestly debate its merits? He was not interested in that, nor are you. This type of non-discussion leads to conclusions engineered by certain interest groups.

    4. @1:12
      1. There are many decades of experience in teaching inner city kids. It would be more reasonable to copy a method that worked well elsewhere.

      2. If de Blasio was going to try out a new plan, it should have been based on an understanding of what the actual problems were.

      3. If de Blasio was going to try out a POOMA approach, he should have done so on a limited, experimental basis. Don't spend a zillion dollars until there's evidence that the approach actually works.

      Hanlan's razor says, "Never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity." So, perhaps I should attribute de Blasio's plan to mere stupidity.

    5. What method is that that worked well in inner cities? According to Somerby, the achievement gaps are punishing in each and every urban area. So, if there's something that works "well",I'd love to hear about it. Again, according to this blog, nothing has worked. Somerby never mentions it at any rate. He is too busy criticizing liberals, which probably suits you just fine, but it doesn't enhance the knowledge of his readers, many of whom are liberal and do care about education and would love to hear something constructive, rather than failures.

    6. @2:26 - I'm not an education expert. I used google to find a number of articles about schools that worked particularly well for black students.

    7. "Don't spend a zillion dollars until there's evidence that the approach actually works."

      Holy tax breaks for corporations so they'll invest in the economy, Batman!

  16. "So, perhaps I should attribute de Blasio's plan to mere stupidity."

    Not on Somerby's or the NY Times' say so.

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