Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Required Reading

Rafflesia in Sabah, East Malaysia.

Why I Hate the New York Times, the Rafflesia of media-criticism blogging as I call it, after the Southeast Asian jungle flower that produces its huge and spectacular single bloom once every ten years or so, has just shown up with four months of material, and just as the Rafflesia smells like a corpse, the piece is as funny as hell, if you read it with attention: "How to Resist Trump" as the writers of the Times conceive it.

For instance, by not marching too much, the way the women did at the beginning of the regime:
Those ladies meant well, but they didn’t know what they were doing. “This movement focuses on the wrong issues…. Marchers…were marching under the conventional structure in which the central issues were clear.” That was their first mistake, according to known marching tactics expert David Brooks: Never march in a framework in which the central issues are clear. 
Or by being civil:

Tom Friedman points out that after the election, many were keen to give Trump a chance, but hopes were dashed by his uncouth tweeting: “It suggests an immaturity, a lack of respect for the office.” When Nelson Mandela was elected president, he knew he had to “[make] whites feel at home in a black-led South Africa” and “surprise them with restraint and generosity,” but despite the many parallels between the two men’s situations, it’s starting to look like Trump won’t follow Mandela’s example.
If Trump won't surprise us with restraint and generosity, we'll just have to surprise him.

And don't forget fostering a diversity of opinion, as in hiring Bret Stephens:
The fewer people like a given view, the more inherently diverse it is, which is why anti-Trump conservatism is perfect—it has almost no organic popular support at all!
Another piece I want everybody to read is by Scott Lemieux at Lawyers, Guns, and Money, on "the Path to Universal Health Care", which starts with some rectification of names, notably "single payer", which, as I've been trying to point out for a while, may not mean what you think it means, and may not be what you want. For example, if you think a real-world Medicare for All would be a single-payer system, you are using it in a way Lemieux or I wouldn't (though his main source, the great Charles Gaba, would, because the term is just that slippery, which is the problem): Medicare is government-run insurance, for which you pay a premium every month, and a good thing too. Medicaid is a single-payer system, which is why Republicans are able to keep cutting it, the way the Tories keep ruthlessly cutting the National Health Service in the UK, because they can get away with it: single-payer NHS doesn't have stakeholders, only customers, and the power people in Britain don't even use it. They're the 10% of the population with private plans just like us élites in the US—by which I mean the lucky few who have jobs with benefits—except their employers aren't obliged to share the cost. Conservative governments in France and Germany never cut health care spending because those countries don't have single-payer: they have hybrid insurance systems and the voters know they've paid for it (as do even the dumbest Tea Party "get your government hands off my Medicare" senior citizens over here, which is why even Paul Ryan doesn't dare propose chopping it up and burying it in the back yard).

Every time you use the expression "single payer" to mean anything that's universal and has very low co-pays, including the entire range of multi-payer systems that do that in most of the world's developed countries, you confuse the issue and make it harder to solve. End of rant. Here's Lemieux's Part II.

And finally this (dear non-Twitterers, please click on the post date and the thread will display):

Explaining why we can be confident that the criminal cases are coming, but it's going to take a VERY long time.

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