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 Post subject: Re: Voting in America just got a bit harder
PostPosted: Tue Oct 09, 2012 5:10 pm 
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In several cases in Pennsylvania it took several trips to get an ID. When you have to take public transportation or drive to another city and wait, etc. It can be quite an onerous process. It costs nearly $65 in one case to get the required documents; which is a lot of money when you are already making choices like eating or paying the bills. I'm not making this up.

Answer this please: why are all the voter ID laws only in states with Republican controlled legislatures? Why is it in some of these same states they are trying to limit early voting?

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 Post subject: Re: Voting in America just got a bit harder
PostPosted: Tue Oct 09, 2012 5:58 pm 
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NeilBlanchard wrote:
In several cases in Pennsylvania it took several trips to get an ID. When you have to take public transportation or drive to another city and wait, etc. It can be quite an onerous process. It costs nearly $65 in one case to get the required documents; which is a lot of money when you are already making choices like eating or paying the bills. I'm not making this up.

Answer this please: why are all the voter ID laws only in states with Republican controlled legislatures? Why is it in some of these same states they are trying to limit early voting?

If the PA voter id law is in fact onerous, then it should be ruled unconstitutional by the US Supreme Court. I am not saying that you didn't read that, but I don't always believe hearsay claims without evidence.

Answer me this: why are only Democrats opposed to something that is a part of daily life (showing one's id) and seems like common sense, especially since the US government doesn't seem to want to enforce illegal immigration laws.

Regarding early voting, I think you have that backwards (as I mentioned in a post above in this thread). It seems that as of 2007 at least, the Northeast states, and along with MI, and MN (almost all controlled by Democrats) have the least amount of early voting:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Early ... states.svg

I posted the early voting days/hours for my county above in this thread, and it includes about 3 weeks of voting including one Saturday. Absentee voting by mail or email (with scanned documents) is also allowed. It is a red state.


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 Post subject: Re: Voting in America just got a bit harder
PostPosted: Tue Oct 09, 2012 11:59 pm 
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m0002a wrote:
The concept of a "Republic" has several different meanings. In the context of the US Constitution, one of the primary meanings is that the Federal government has limited powers, and the states (or the people) retain rights not specifically granted to the US Government in the Constitution. Not all democratic nations (very few in fact) are constructed that way, or at least not to the extent as in the US.

What you describe is Centralism vs. Federalism. Got nothing to do with Democracy.

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Regarding the other subjects your raised, such as whether any democratic socialist government ever transformed into a dictatorship, I am not even going to entertain the ridiculous proposition that it has never happened

Yeah, that's what I thought.


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 Post subject: Re: Voting in America just got a bit harder
PostPosted: Wed Oct 10, 2012 4:47 am 
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Most of the voter ID laws have been blocked by the courts. If they don't stop a non-existent problem and they discourage or stop many thousands of voters -- then why do you think so many people are against them?

Most of the early voting reductions are also blocked by the courts, too.

I wonder if the Republicans are just worried that they have alienated virtually every group of voters except older, white, straight men?

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 Post subject: Re: Voting in America just got a bit harder
PostPosted: Wed Oct 10, 2012 6:42 am 
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NeilBlanchard wrote:
Most of the voter ID laws have been blocked by the courts. If they don't stop a non-existent problem and they discourage or stop many thousands of voters -- then why do you think so many people are against them?

Most of the early voting reductions are also blocked by the courts, too.

I wonder if the Republicans are just worried that they have alienated virtually every group of voters except older, white, straight men?

First, you need to distinguish between "courts" and the US Supreme Court. Many Federal District Courts that have ruled on these matters are packed with liberals trying to round up more votes for Democrats. This is the same reason why "so many" people (Democrats) are against them.

But you are correct that some voter id laws are unconstitutional if the burden is too high to obtain one. In Indiana where their voter law was upheld (and some other states) these ids are free (and like a drivers license, do not need to be renewed every year) which is one reason they have been ruled to be constitutional.

I noticed that one Federal District Court ruled that a state cannot stop offering early voting for the 3 days immediately prior to the election. I guess this is what you mean by "curtail." I believe they did that for perfectly legitimate reasons, since the election staff is too busy on the 3 days prior to the election getting ready for the regular election day. I think this is a ridiculous court ruling if a state already offers 1-3 weeks of early voting, especially since early "no excuse" voting is not even available at all in many blue states like NY, MA, CT, MI, MN, etc. ("No excuse" early voting excludes only allowing absentee voting if a person must affirm that they will out of town, etc on election day). So the court is saying that it is not OK to cut early voting from 10 days to 7 days (or whatever), but it is OK to not even offer it? WTF?

The last 3 states I have lived in (all Red) have had early voting, and it was set up with regular voting machines just like a general election. I have voted early about 90% of the time since it was offered (don't recall when it started, but a fairly long time).


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 Post subject: Re: Voting in America just got a bit harder
PostPosted: Wed Oct 10, 2012 7:30 am 
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m0002a wrote:
Many Federal District Courts that have ruled on these matters are packed with liberals trying to round up more votes for Democrats. This is the same reason why "so many" people (Democrats) are against them.

Damn those pinko-commie-liberals. Thanks once again for confirming your non-partisan standpoint.

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 Post subject: Re: Voting in America just got a bit harder
PostPosted: Wed Oct 10, 2012 8:54 am 
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edh wrote:
Damn those pinko-commie-liberals. Thanks once again for confirming your non-partisan standpoint.

Strange you didn't mention the non-partisan viewpoint of the post I was responding to (and was mocking).

And how can early voting being partisan? The major states that don't have it are heavily Democratic, just proving that this whole subject is nothing but a bunch of hot air.

BTW, where are the BS details you claimed about 60,000 people being able to form a state?


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 Post subject: Re: Voting in America just got a bit harder
PostPosted: Wed Oct 10, 2012 11:37 am 
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m0002a wrote:
Strange you didn't mention the non-partisan viewpoint of the post I was responding to (and was mocking).

And how can early voting being partisan? The major states that don't have it are heavily Democratic, just proving that this whole subject is nothing but a bunch of hot air.

Everything you say IS partisan. Accusing a legal system of being full of 'liberals' as being the only reason for a court decision being made is in itself, partisan. Like saying you lost a game because the ref was biased to the other side. Unless you have genuine evidence, it just makes you look partisan.

m0002a wrote:
BTW, where are the BS details you claimed about 60,000 people being able to form a state?

Quote:
In 1787 the Congress of the Confederation of the United States passed the Northwest Ordinance which established what is now Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Michigan, Wisconsin, and Minnesota as Northwest Territory and established the population required for statehood as 60,000 people. The ordinance was affirmed again by Congress under the current US Constitution in 1789.

http://wiki.answers.com/Q/What_are_the_ ... _statehood

So yes, it just helps if you Google and I welcome any comment you might have on retracting your 'BS' claim, seeing how you've now called part of your own constitution 'BS'. The 60000 requirement has been used a number of times since, not least in stopping Deseret becoming a state. Oooh, wait, Deseret would of course have been the attempt at a Mormon state, the religion of choice of that fine politician, Mitt Romney.

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 Post subject: Re: Voting in America just got a bit harder
PostPosted: Wed Oct 10, 2012 12:59 pm 
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edh wrote:
Everything you say IS partisan. Accusing a legal system of being full of 'liberals' as being the only reason for a court decision being made is in itself, partisan. Like saying you lost a game because the ref was biased to the other side. Unless you have genuine evidence, it just makes you look partisan.

I never said that the court system is completely full of liberals, but some people have a tendency to only quote court cases decided by liberal lower court judges, who do not have a final say in these matters (since many of the cases are appealed to the Supreme Court) and who have frequently been over-ruled by the Supreme Court. If one is only looking at lower courts (which often contradict one another), one can find a judgment somewhere that validates their own point of view since divergent opinions have typically been issued on all of these matters in the lower courts. In the end, what matters is the US Supreme Court. Pointing that out does not make me partisan.

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In 1787 the Congress of the Confederation of the United States passed the Northwest Ordinance which established what is now Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Michigan, Wisconsin, and Minnesota as Northwest Territory and established the population required for statehood as 60,000 people. The ordinance was affirmed again by Congress under the current US Constitution in 1789.
http://wiki.answers.com/Q/What_are_the_ ... _statehood

So yes, it just helps if you Google and I welcome any comment you might have on retracting your 'BS' claim, seeing how you've now called part of your own constitution 'BS'. The 60000 requirement has been used a number of times since, not least in stopping Deseret becoming a state. Oooh, wait, Deseret would of course have been the attempt at a Mormon state, the religion of choice of that fine politician, Mitt Romney.

Here is your exact quote: "As per the US Constitution the right to statehood exists once the population has reached 60000 and other conditions are met."

But there is nothing in the US Constitution that says anything about a territory or district having a certain number of people qualifying it (even with other conditions) to become a state as you claimed. If you think it is in the Constitution, please quote the exact Article and Section.

Congress has passed many laws over the years, but these laws are not part of the Constitution, other than the fact that the Constitution alows Congress to create laws and have them enacted if signed by the president (maybe that is what they meant by "under the current Constitution," as in Congress passed the law again after the US Constitution was ratified). But since these laws are not part of the Constitution, they can be easily changed without affecting the Constitution.

Given that the average Congressional district now represents about 700,000 people, I seriously doubt that any territory or district would be allowed to gain statehood without that many people.


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 Post subject: Re: Voting in America just got a bit harder
PostPosted: Wed Oct 10, 2012 1:41 pm 
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m0002a wrote:
I never said that the court system is completely full of liberals, but some people have a tendency to only quote court cases decided by liberal lower court judges

I never made any distinction about lower/supreme court verdicts. What I said and remains obvious from this last post is that you are dismissive of these lower court decisions because you see then as being liberal. Unless you have serious grounding for saying that these courts are in some way biased or corrupt (which you really should bring to the attention of the relevant authorities) then we can only consider what you say as being partisan.

m0002a wrote:
Given that the average Congressional district now represents about 700,000 people, I seriously doubt that any territory or district would be allowed to gain statehood without that many people.

Alaska has 700000 population now but was only around 200000 upon being given statehood in 1959. This was of course somewhat skewed given the strategic advantage of it's location and the discovery of oil. However, we only got on to this because you said that Costa Rica's population of 3.5 million would not be enough for statehood. 3.5 million is a lot more than 700000 even when you take oil, location and Sarah Palin into the equation. It would seem very unfair not to grant them statehood should they wish for it when they have a population greater than many states - if Costa Rica was a state it would have the 29th largest population of any state.

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 Post subject: Re: Voting in America just got a bit harder
PostPosted: Wed Oct 10, 2012 2:24 pm 
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Just for the sake of accuracy more than truth (which edh did a good job of expressing): The political entity you speak of is not Costa Rica but Puerto Rico. Puerto Rico is a territory of the U.S., Costa Rica is a sovereign country.


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 Post subject: Re: Voting in America just got a bit harder
PostPosted: Wed Oct 10, 2012 5:02 pm 
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edh wrote:
I never said that the court system is completely full of liberals, but some people have a tendency to only quote court cases decided by liberal lower court judges. I never made any distinction about lower/supreme court verdicts. What I said and remains obvious from this last post is that you are dismissive of these lower court decisions because you see then as being liberal. Unless you have serious grounding for saying that these courts are in some way biased or corrupt (which you really should bring to the attention of the relevant authorities) then we can only consider what you say as being partisan.

I wasn't referring to anything you posted regarding court rulings. I was referring to what another person mentioned in this thread about a court ruling on the subject of early voting. There is nothing wrong with mentioning court rulings, but those who are not familiar with the US Federal Court system, may not quite realize that a ruling of a lower Federal Court doesn't mean much if the case is reversed on appeal to the US Supreme Court, and quite of few of them are on this type of highly politicized subject.

edh wrote:
Alaska has 700000 population now but was only around 200000 upon being given statehood in 1959. This was of course somewhat skewed given the strategic advantage of it's location and the discovery of oil. However, we only got on to this because you said that Costa Rica's population of 3.5 million would not be enough for statehood. 3.5 million is a lot more than 700000 even when you take oil, location and Sarah Palin into the equation. It would seem very unfair not to grant them statehood should they wish for it when they have a population greater than many states - if Costa Rica was a state it would have the 29th largest population of any state.

I don't know what laws Congress has passed on this subject in the last 220 years, all I am saying is that it would be extremely unlikely that a territory or District would be granted statehood these days with only 60,000 people.

But I thought we were talking about statehood for Washington DC, which had about 611,000 people in 2011. That is enough for a Congressional District, but a lot of people would object to such a small state also getting 2 Senators, the same as all the other states (even though are already a few very small populations states, it is not likely to happen again). I would not object to Washington DC being part of the state of Maryland (if you look on a map it was obviously carved out of Maryland) and that means they would get their own member of Congress (one additional for Maryland most likely), and be able to vote in Maryland senate elections. But I don't think Maryland wants DC (nor would Virginia) because it is heavily subsidized by the US Government and is not self-sufficient and would likely be a drain on state finances. Obviously, Republicans don't want DC to become a state because it would increase the number of Democrats to Congress. Democrats would want it to be a state because it adds Democrats to Congress (and not really for any other reason).

With regard to Puerto Rico (not Costa Rica), someone mentioned that Obama was working toward them being granted statehood. The problem is that Puerto Rico has voted against statehood, since they get many benefits from being a US territory (such as no cost of military defense, etc) but they don't pay US Federal income taxes. There have been three (non-binding) plebiscites in Puerto Rico, the last in 1998 (but apparently there is one in 2012 also) and the majority have voted against statehood, although only by a slim margin in the last 1998 vote. Apparently, only a small number want independence (according to the plebiscite votes).

I noticed that the Puerto Rican Territory Governor spoke at the Republican National Convention in Tampa this summer and endorsed Romney. But from what I read, it is hard to categorize Puerto Rico politics and hard to predict which national US party they would vote for if they voting in US national elections.


Last edited by m0002a on Thu Oct 11, 2012 3:34 am, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Voting in America just got a bit harder
PostPosted: Wed Oct 10, 2012 5:10 pm 
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Voter ID is a "solution" in search of a problem. Except that their real purpose is to diminish votes from people who tend to be Democratic.

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 Post subject: Re: Voting in America just got a bit harder
PostPosted: Thu Oct 11, 2012 3:30 am 
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NeilBlanchard wrote:
Voter ID is a "solution" in search of a problem. Except that their real purpose is to diminish votes from people who tend to be Democratic.

Have you figured out yet why NY, CT, MA, MI, and RI don't have "no excuse" (you don't have to swear that you will out of town, etc to use it) early voting? These are Blue states (controlled by Democrats). The vast majority of US states have some form of "no excuse" early voting. No excuse early voting increases voter participation to a much larger degree than not having voter id. In my Red state we have 3 weeks of early voting, including a Saturday, using the same voting machines as used in the general election.

Here are the early voting and absentee voting rules for each state:
http://www.longdistancevoter.org/early_voting_rules
Only "no excuse" early voting is significant, because in order to use regular absentee ballots in most states, one must swear they will be out of town, etc on election day.


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 Post subject: Re: Voting in America just got a bit harder
PostPosted: Thu Oct 11, 2012 3:59 pm 
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Image

and the mind of the politcal party cult follower

Image
No need to name names, it's all quite obvious.

And as for what the Supreme Court says, well who can take seriously the highly partisan b/s that emerged when Roberts decreed corporations are people too and led the US down the path of mob rule. Apparently Roberts isn't too up on history, or maybe he's up on it all too well.

Image

Thanks for nothing lack-of-justice Roberts, you sickening fascist. And brought to you by the GWB puppet regime, another low point in US history.

Quote:
Everything you say IS partisan. Accusing a legal system of being full of 'liberals' as being the only reason for a court decision being made is in itself, partisan. Like saying you lost a game because the ref was biased to the other side. Unless you have genuine evidence, it just makes you look partisan.

Edh, you have a flare for understatement. But the 2nd photo here reveals why it's useless to argue, or to even attempt any meaning conversation.

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Last edited by aristide1 on Fri Oct 12, 2012 6:04 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Voting in America just got a bit harder
PostPosted: Fri Oct 12, 2012 9:51 am 
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According to Roberts' reasoning, corporations have all the rights and privileges of, but not the limitations of, people.


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 Post subject: Re: Voting in America just got a bit harder
PostPosted: Fri Oct 12, 2012 6:02 pm 
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Reachable wrote:
According to Roberts' reasoning, corporations have all the rights and privileges of, but not the limitations of, people.

Everyone in a corporation already has all rights as presented in our laws.

Corporate rights were started to enact vicarious liability. Anything more than that is fascism. But then under Romney don't be surprised if vicarious liability is brought into question and attempts made to eliminate it, a sure sign the corporatocracy is gaining strength.

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 Post subject: Re: Voting in America just got a bit harder
PostPosted: Fri Oct 12, 2012 6:29 pm 
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What does voter ID have to do with early or absentee voting? Voter ID doesn't even stop in-person fraud -- but it does present a hurdle that is too high for some people.

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 Post subject: Re: Voting in America just got a bit harder
PostPosted: Fri Oct 12, 2012 7:12 pm 
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NeilBlanchard wrote:
What does voter ID have to do with early or absentee voting? Voter ID doesn't even stop in-person fraud -- but it does present a hurdle that is too high for some people.

Well if they could pull it off only those that are registered members of the NRA would be allowed to vote. And there would be even more flag waving in the process.

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 Post subject: Re: Voting in America just got a bit harder
PostPosted: Sat Oct 13, 2012 5:55 am 
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aristide1 wrote:
Reachable wrote:
According to Roberts' reasoning, corporations have all the rights and privileges of, but not the limitations of, people.

Everyone in a corporation already has all rights as presented in our laws.

Corporate rights were started to enact vicarious liability. Anything more than that is fascism. But then under Romney don't be surprised if vicarious liability is brought into question and attempts made to eliminate it, a sure sign the corporatocracy is gaining strength.

Just for the record, I wasn't defending Roberts' reasoning. I couldn't find any smilies severe enough to express my contempt for it.

For heaven's sake please do not assume that Romney will be elected! It looks like he will lose, and I will assume that to be so to preserve my sanity. I was looking at quotes from Mussolini, and Romney seems to fit Mussolini's definition of a fascist quite well enough for it to be appropriate. The point is that fascism is always with us as part of the political and social culture. Labels like "liberal" and "conservative " slide all over the place and are always just relative, but if things slide too far to the right you now have fascism staring you right in the face.


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 Post subject: Re: Voting in America just got a bit harder
PostPosted: Sat Oct 13, 2012 9:58 am 
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Quote:
"When fascism comes to America, it will be wrapped in the flag and carrying a cross."

http://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/Talk:Sinclair_Lewis

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 Post subject: Re: Voting in America just got a bit harder
PostPosted: Sat Oct 13, 2012 8:26 pm 
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Question: would a bunch of politicians who openly broadcast their intent to manipulate the voting process in their favor create a law that is fair and just?

Even if voter fraud is a real problem and requiring photo ID isn't an undue burden (I happen to think the latter is potentially true), that doesn't mean that current voter ID laws are okay. Even if the theory is sound, the devil is in the details, and you can bet that Turzai, et al have done their damnedest to ensure that those details make the actual legislation as unfair and discriminatory as possible.

If you don't find that appalling, there is something deeply wrong with you.


(And before you ask, yes, I would be just as appalled if it were Democrats doing the rigging. In fact, I have been appalled by Democrats doing the rigging. There is nothing more bipartisan than the love of power.)

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 Post subject: Re: Voting in America just got a bit harder
PostPosted: Sun Oct 14, 2012 9:07 am 
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Irrelevant wrote:
If you don't find that appalling, there is something deeply wrong with you.

Worse, they find it appalling but they try to justify it by stating the other party could have done this as well. This is what all religious and political fanatics do, they see something very wrong in their own ranks, but they tolerate it because it suits their agenda. This is not patriotism, no matter how much flag waving is involved. Oh I keep forgetting the flag waving is just a diversion from what's actually happening, IE Sinclair Lewis.

Christ said let he who is without sin cast the first stone, a concept lost in today's politics.

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 Post subject: Re: Voting in America just got a bit harder
PostPosted: Sun Oct 14, 2012 10:33 am 
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aristide1 wrote:
This is what all religious and political fanatics do, they see something very wrong in their own ranks, but they tolerate it because it suits their agenda.

I wish that was the problem, but I think most of the party faithful have no agenda. It's like politics is a sporting event and their party is their favorite team. Most people keep cheering the Redskins or Manchester United or whatever no matter how much they disagree with that team's actions, on- or off-field. It's become the same in elections. The only important thing to know about a candidate is whether there's an "R" or a "D" next to their name on the ballot.

I find that kind of unthinking loyalty merely silly in sports, but positively horrifying in politics.

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 Post subject: Re: Voting in America just got a bit harder
PostPosted: Sun Oct 14, 2012 11:13 am 
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Irrelevant wrote:
aristide1 wrote:
This is what all religious and political fanatics do, they see something very wrong in their own ranks, but they tolerate it because it suits their agenda.

I wish that was the problem, but I think most of the party faithful have no agenda. It's like politics is a sporting event and their party is their favorite team. Most people keep cheering the Redskins or Manchester United or whatever no matter how much they disagree with that team's actions, on- or off-field. It's become the same in elections. The only important thing to know about a candidate is whether there's an "R" or a "D" next to their name on the ballot.

I find that kind of unthinking loyalty merely silly in sports, but positively horrifying in politics.

Oh that's totally applicable to the indoctrinated ones, but the leaders? But yeah, some people are only interested in making the L sign on their foreheads and screaming loser!

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 Post subject: Re: Voting in America just got a bit harder
PostPosted: Sun Oct 14, 2012 3:16 pm 
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aristide1 wrote:
Oh that's totally applicable to the indoctrinated ones, but the leaders?

Obviously not. I was talking about the peasants. The leaders are a whole different matter. Republican or Democrat, they are beholden to many of the same interest groups, which means they have many of the same goals. A Democrat can declare his support for public healthcare all day long, but actually acting on those declarations would be biting the health-insurance lobby that feeds him and jeopardize his (re)election and/or cushy, post-Congressional consulting position. It wasn't incompetence that immobilized the Democrats during their period of Congressional domination, but self-interest.

In other words, American politics have deteriorated since the airing of that infamous South Park election episode. Our choices are now limited to a turd sandwich in plastic wrap and a turd sandwich in a paper bag. :?

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 Post subject: Re: Voting in America just got a bit harder
PostPosted: Sun Oct 14, 2012 8:01 pm 
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Irrelevant wrote:
A Democrat can declare his support for public healthcare all day long, but actually acting on those declarations would be biting the health-insurance lobby that feeds him and jeopardize his (re)election and/or cushy, post-Congressional consulting position. It wasn't incompetence that immobilized the Democrats during their period of Congressional domination, but self-interest.

Politicians are not particularly worried about the health insurance lobby. Health care in the USA is about 18% of our GDP, which is about twice as much as EU countries with national health care. With 18% of the GDP, there are a lot of people involved in health care, very few of them in the private insurance business. There are many reasons for this, but doctors, nurses, administrators, etc make a lot more money in the USA than they do in the EU, and there are tens of millions of these people when you count everyone in the USA health care system. In additions, companies make high tech medical devices, computer systems, medical supplies, etc they sell to doctors and hospitals. Also, drug prices are not regulated in the USA (unlike almost all the rest of the world) and the big pharmaceutical companies make billions and billions of profits in the USA, and many of their employees make a lot of money.

Do you have any idea how much Big Pharma spends on Viagra, Cealis, etc commercials in the USA each year? Billions on those type drugs alone, not to mention all the other drugs they peddle. That means that the US media companies also have a huge stake in the status quo, because those billions of advertising costs go to them. You aren't go to hear even the liberal media complain about it, because their parent companies are getting all the advertising money, and they hope that if there parent companies are profitable, then maybe they won't cut back on news divisions. If you consider everyone involved, either directly or indirectly in the US health care system, health care is actually more than 20% of the USA economy.

Democrats are big supporters of Viagra and Cealis being covered by Medicare and Medicaid, just so a lot old men can get an erection even though there is nothing medically wrong with them other than just being old. The AARP (American Association of Retired Persons) lobby is probably the most powerful in the USA, and they put severe pressure on Democrats in Congress so they can get those free erections (and a lot of other non-critical medication, procedures, and medical devices). AARP traditionally endorses Democrats in most elections.

Obamacare also mandates that birth control be covered by all health insurance companies, public or private, and even insurance provided by churches to church employees, even when their particular religion forbids the use of birth control drugs. I personally have no objection to birth control, but it seems to me that churches should not be mandated to provide that coverage to their church employees if they have a religious objection to it.

Health insurance companies are a tiny piece of the cost of health care in the USA. Getting rid of them, or driving them out of business, isn't going to solve the problem. If it would solve the problem, I would be all for it, but once they go out of business the problems will still remain. Besides, most corporations are self-insured and only use the insurance companies to administer the insurance claims. That means that, unlike what most people think, it is actually the corporations that determine what is covered and what is not (except when mandated by law). But it is hard to blame corporations since even self-insured health care costs are out of control, increasing at dramatic levels each year.

Government health care insurers (Medicare and Medicaid) are even less efficient than private health insurance companies, and also the level of fraud in Medicare and Medicaid is much, much higher than for private insurance (if you don't believe me, watch the American Greed TV show in MSNBC, where a lot of the shows deal with medical fraud, mostly Medicare and Medicaid).


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 Post subject: Re: Voting in America just got a bit harder
PostPosted: Mon Oct 15, 2012 1:20 am 
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This is getting somewhat of topic but I've been in the healthcare industry for over 5 years so it's economics I'm very familiar with. A lot of the extra cost in the US is from the threat of litigation and the resulting increase in regulation. Typically we get devices in the rest of the world before the US does because FDA approval is much more complex than CE marking - not neccessarily better, just more complex and slower. The FDA also sometimes loses track of what it's bigger aims should be in pursuit of rules that are there for the sake of it. In the world there are 2 main bodies for approval, CE marking for the EU and FDA approval for the US. Many other countires have their own schemes but many work as simply rubber stamping if a device is already CE marked. Japan remains a sticking point for a lot of companies though.

m0002a wrote:
There are many reasons for this, but doctors, nurses, administrators, etc make a lot more money in the USA than they do in the EU

Not strictly true. I have worked with many doctors in many countries and it's more down to what discipline they are in and hence how much private work they can pick up. You are also missing something out: the way things work in the US, they tend to work with fewer frontline staff than in other countires. Across Europe it varies between which country you are in. The UK is NHS is terrible for inventing new jobs for people and the vested interests of disciplines trying to make a job for themselves all of the time. We therefore have hospitals doing procedures with 10 people that in other hospitals would be done by 3. Radiographers are good examples of this. We therefore spend mroe on people just because there are more people involved. It's not however inherent with a state funded healthcare system as other countries in Europe don't suffer the same issue but it is how our NHS has a tendancy to go.

m0002a wrote:
In additions, companies make high tech medical devices, computer systems, medical supplies, etc they sell to doctors and hospitals.

That they do and there is a hidden army of people from industry who actually make healthcare work. A lot of procesures run in hospitals now have to be done with a company rep onsite as the hospital themselves does not have someone appropriately trained. Is this economic? No because it jacks up the price of the consumables but doctors will therefore justify a bigger budget because they get a company rep thrown in. Some major compenies have people paid to work every day in a single hospital to support use of their products, there are sales reps who even have offices in hospital! Pacemakers are a good example of this way of working. They even get sold in entry level, mid-range and high-end price points which shows how much of a money spinner they are. Typically they are not bought in a business-to-business fashion, a sales rep just gets chummy with an individual doctor and agrees a number. The Danes have seen sense for many years and do a national tender for pacemakers, this is very sensible as it saves money by buying in bulk.

m0002a wrote:
Also, drug prices are not regulated in the USA (unlike almost all the rest of the world) and the big pharmaceutical companies make billions and billions of profits in the USA, and many of their employees make a lot of money.

It used to be that the big drug companies, many of whom are British, depended upon the NHS spending way over the top on the so called 'generics', simply because no one ever negotiated for a better rate. This rest of the world would see what the NHS paid and would negotiate harder. Since the NHS wised up on drug spending and got big-pharma to drop their pants for them, the rest of the world has no longer been able to have such a price advantage. Big pharma also depends upon non-curative treatments for it's income. Take this pill twice a day for the rest of your life kind of thing. There have been shifts in some diseases such that we are moving away from that to proper curative treatments, this risks taking away a lot of big pharma's money which they wouldn't want, even if it is better for patients and cheaper.

m0002a wrote:
Government health care insurers (Medicare and Medicaid) are even less efficient than private health insurance companies, and also the level of fraud in Medicare and Medicaid is much, much higher than for private insurance (if you don't believe me, watch the American Greed TV show in MSNBC, where a lot of the shows deal with medical fraud, mostly Medicare and Medicaid).

This fraud can be down to the difference in billing. Within a private institution everything used would be record and billed against something There is therefore much greater scrutiny of individual costs. I would also have to suppose that some of the items going missing then end up being used in private practice (I have seen this) as a 'free' item paid for by the wider system. There are simple ways round this like smart cabinets for supplies and bar code tracking of every consumable used at the point of care. If something goes missing, it gets noticed as it's tracked. Petty fraud and theft is a problem in some parts of the NHS for the same reasons of lack of control - there are people literally nicking stuff and bunging it on eBay, I have seen this! It is not however inherent as a problem in a nationalised system, it is just how it can be if not properly managed.

However, there is also fraud in private practice. A VERY famous and rich doctor I have worked with in the past has had rumours surrounding him for many years of diagnosing conditions that are non-existent so that he can do a €30000 procedure. His ways of working verge on organised crime and I can say for a fact that there is complacency within industry when you have clinical support specialists onsite with him every day and free capital equipment installed in exchange for a gentlemans agreement on continued consumable use, no tender given, no questions asked.

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 Post subject: Re: Voting in America just got a bit harder
PostPosted: Mon Oct 15, 2012 11:42 am 
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edh wrote:
This is getting somewhat of topic but I've been in the healthcare industry for over 5 years so it's economics I'm very familiar with.

Off-topic or not, thank you for posting. It's always good to hear from knowledgeable professionals. :)

m0002a wrote:
Politicians are not particularly worried about the health insurance lobby.

True or not, that has nothing to do with the point I was trying to make, nor does any of the rest of your post. My point was that candidates' stated ideologies are an extremely unreliable measure of what they will actually do, and voting for one candidate over the other will rarely produce a different result.

So let me give another example: Romney has explicitly stated that he will not reduce benefits for those who are currently retired or soon to be retired (or in other words, current members of AARP), so regardless of which presidential candidate is elected, they will support the continued spending of your tax dollars on Viagra for dirty old men. Romney's pro-fiscal responsibility, anti-freeloading ideology is no match for the influence of well-funded lobbyists.

So do you see it now? No matter who you vote for, you're voting for Big Money. Do you want it in paper or plastic?

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 Post subject: Re: Voting in America just got a bit harder
PostPosted: Mon Oct 15, 2012 12:08 pm 
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Irrelevant wrote:
Off-topic or not, thank you for posting. It's always good to hear from knowledgeable professionals.

Not to quibble with edh's professional credentials, especially on medical issues, but the funding and administration of the USA health care system is quite a bit different than in the UK. For example, in the USA, even government funded health care such as Medicare and Medicaid are largely provided by private practitioners who bill the government for services performed. There are different rules for allowed procedures and the reimbursement amounts are different compared to most private insurance, but the providers are the same. One of the ways that private providers compensate for the lower Medicare and Medicaid rates is to use "different" (border-line fraudulent or outright fraudulent) billing techniques, which are much less often discovered by the government than they are by private insurers.

Irrelevant wrote:
True or not, that has nothing to do with the point I was trying to make, nor does any of the rest of your post. My point was that candidates' stated ideologies are an extremely unreliable measure of what they will actually do, and voting for one candidate over the other will rarely produce a different result.

So let me give another example: Romney has explicitly stated that he will not reduce benefits for those who are currently retired or soon to be retired (or in other words, current members of AARP), so regardless of which presidential candidate is elected, they will support the continued spending of your tax dollars on Viagra for dirty old men. Romney's pro-fiscal responsibility, anti-freeloading ideology is no match for the influence of well-funded lobbyists.

So do you see it now? No matter who you vote for, you're voting for Big Money. Do you want it in paper or plastic?

Once people are given benefits by their government, it is politically almost impossible to reduce them, unless candidates lie about what they will do when elected. Further, what a US Presidential candidate says he/she will do if elected, has little to do with what actually happens, since the President can only sign or veto laws that Congress has passed. People assume that US President has far more power and influence then they actually do when in office. Even when the Democrats had complete control of Congress and a filibuster-proof Senate Obama's first year in office, he was not able to do much, and even Obama's health care bill is a watered down shell of what he and most Democrats really wanted.

The US Congress typically has an extremely low approval rating, and now is it probably historically low at about 10%. However, most likely 80% of incumbents will be reelected, and maybe a much higher percentage.

So yes, no matter who you vote for US President, there will be very few or no changes, unless there is also a major shift in Congress, which is unlikely.


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