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Monday, June 02, 2014

OTP - June 2014: Iraq war costs U.S. more than $2 trillion: study

NEW YORK (Reuters) - The U.S. war in Iraq has cost $1.7 trillion with an additional $490 billion in benefits owed to war veterans, expenses that could grow to more than $6 trillion over the next four decades counting interest, a study released on Thursday said.

The war has killed at least 134,000 Iraqi civilians and may have contributed to the deaths of as many as four times that number, according to the Costs of War Project by the Watson Institute for International Studies at Brown University.

When security forces, insurgents, journalists and humanitarian workers were included, the war’s death toll rose to an estimated 176,000 to 189,000, the study said.

Bitter Mouse Posted: June 02, 2014 at 07:48 AM | 4613 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: otp, politics, stupid ideas

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   1001. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: June 06, 2014 at 03:36 PM (#4720548)
If they need to stand court martial at that point, run it through the system. I'm still 100% on board with that.

You aren't on board with a real court-martial. If there ever was one -- there won't be -- you'll be here ignoring and ridiculing the testimony against Bergdahl and cheerleading and distorting the testimony in his favor. Exactly as you're doing now.

What I refuse to do is sit idly by while you and Ray and your fellow travelers on the batshit right try and convict him on the basis of Facebook hearsay. All because you irrationally hate the sitting POTUS.


I'm not on the right and I don't "hate" the POTUS. I call pathetic cultural moments and their defenders as I see them.
   1002. Rickey! trades in sheep and threats Posted: June 06, 2014 at 03:39 PM (#4720549)
You aren't on board with a real court-martial.


I've been on board with a court martial if the Army says so from the start. You don't get to rewrite my position just because I call you out on your ####### stupidity.

I'm not on the right and I don't "hate" the POTUS.


And Bill did not have "sexual relations" with that woman.
   1003. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: June 06, 2014 at 03:39 PM (#4720550)
I prefer a legitimate process of truth finding - the Army's investigation in 2010; further investigation now that he's released from captivity - to your frothing lynch mob.

That's because you have no real beliefs, and are merely a poseur. You've laughably exalted yourself to Chief Defender against a "lynch mob" that exists only in your deluded mind.
   1004. Rickey! trades in sheep and threats Posted: June 06, 2014 at 03:42 PM (#4720554)
That's because you have no real beliefs, and are merely a poseur.


I believe you're a self-righteous moron. That has to count for something, right?

You've laughably exalted yourself to Chief Defender against a "lynch mob" that exists only in your deluded mind.


You've spent the last week lynch-mobbing Bowe Bergdahl on this thread. You've damned him as a deserter and a traitor with no evidence whatsoever. Your primary motivation in doing this was to use his release via prisoner exchange as a lever to piss your pants about Barack Obama.
   1005. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: June 06, 2014 at 03:54 PM (#4720559)
You've spent the last week lynch-mobbing Bowe Bergdahl on this thread. You've damned him as a deserter and a traitor with no evidence whatsoever.

I've done no such thing. I've said he was likely a deserter -- and he was in fact likely a deserter -- and might have been a traitor -- as he might have been. That's all I've done and that's all I've said w/r/t him.

Since you're so biased that you can interpret one single person to be a "lynch mob," it isn't hard to see how your biases have led you to completely overstate what I've said. I haven't "damned" Bergdahl in the least.

What you're really saying, the direction your leanings and biases and cultural perspectives point you irrevocably towards, is that people shouldn't be so hard on deserters. That's what you mean when you say I've "damned" him. That's why you use such a loaded and false word and it's why you used the words "lynch mob" to describe a single person.

Which takes us back again to Ray's observations -- the ones you called the stupidist thing he's ever wrote.

   1006. The Yankee Clapper Posted: June 06, 2014 at 03:54 PM (#4720561)
This didn't work out very well. Obama Administration Official tweets suggestion that Bergdahl's platoon was "long on psychopaths". After a storm of criticism, he deletes his Obama Administration job from his Twitter bio and eventually issues a Washington-style non-apology apology. He'll probably never work in government again, at least in a job requiring Senate confirmation, but that is pretty much to be expected when you follow Sam's lead.
   1007. Ray (RDP) Posted: June 06, 2014 at 03:59 PM (#4720564)
I suspect that if the Taliban's actual tactics had changed notably, and become more effective in fact, the Army would have noticed.


The Army did notice. But you dismiss that with:

But no, Ray, I don't take the obviously emotionally biased word of random grunts as gospel on the subject.


There's no evidence at all that the enemy changed tactics or became more effective after Bergdahl's capture.


Were you looking for a scientific study? There's no time for that. They're involved in a war. People are trying to blow them up. Informed observation is certainly valid evidence. That doesn't mean it can't be wrong, but I'm not sure what else you expect, or what would satisfy you, exactly. Did you want to send CSI: Miami into the middle of a war zone to study the issue?

There's no evidence that he assisted them in any way. The post-hoc rationalizations of platoon mates years after the fact are not evidence of worth in the matter.


What do you mean "years after the fact?" These were conclusions they formed at the time.
   1008. zenbitz Posted: June 06, 2014 at 04:07 PM (#4720568)
Well, let's get very specific, then. Should we rush to exchange dangerous prisoners to get this guy back?


4 years is a rush, now? You work for the VA or something?
   1009. The Yankee Clapper Posted: June 06, 2014 at 04:12 PM (#4720570)
From The National Journal - their headline, not mine - Obama Is Sabotaging Democratic Senate Hopes:
Does President Obama care about keeping the Senate? The president reportedly has told his close allies that losing the Senate would be "unbearable," but his administration is doing everything possible to make things difficult for his party's most vulnerable senators. On energy issues alone, the administration's decisions to impose new Environmental Protection Agency regulations on coal-fired plants and indefinitely delay a decision on the Keystone XL pipeline could help burnish his long-term environmental legacy, but at the expense of losing complete control of Congress.
. . .
In 2009, as his approval ratings were dipping, Obama memorably told former Rep. Marion Berry of Arkansas that the veteran Blue Dog Democrat didn't need to worry about his reelection because his own personal popularity would bail him out. Berry retired anyway, and a Republican won his seat by 9 points. The president and his team seem to be whistling past the political graveyard yet again, except this time they're so confident they're actively putting stumbling blocks in their friends' way.

Might be a reason why so many Democrats broke with the Administration on the VA Scandal and the handling of the Bergdahl trade. More to come.
   1010. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: June 06, 2014 at 04:15 PM (#4720571)
I'm not on the right and I don't "hate" the POTUS.

No, you've only agreed with Ray's take that he staged the Rose Garden ceremony because he wanted to celebrate a deserter. Other than that you think he plays a mean game of pickup basketball.
   1011. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: June 06, 2014 at 04:23 PM (#4720576)
No, you've only agreed with Ray's take that he staged the Rose Garden ceremony because he wanted to celebrate a deserter.

Uh, no. You tried to get him and/or me to agree, and I never did.

It's true that he in fact held a ceremony celebrating a deserter. I doubt his ultimate animating purpose was celebrating a deserter. His ultimate animating purpose was to gain political favor for freeing a POW.

You might try arguing on the merits, rather than the consistent default to labels and entirely and comically bogus accusations of "hatred."
   1012. Rickey! trades in sheep and threats Posted: June 06, 2014 at 04:23 PM (#4720577)
The Army did notice. But you dismiss that with:


You confuse soldiers with the Army. They are members of the Army, obviously, but a couple of anecdotes from a platoon is not the Army "noticing" a change in tactics or effectiveness.

What do you mean "years after the fact?" These were conclusions they formed at the time.


The Military Times/NYT reportage indicates that some of the soldiers up in arms today are contradicting their statements from 2010. We don't have the details there, but we have that reported from two reliable sources. (Both of which rely on the same source, we should note.)

Again, anecdote from a couple of soldiers is not evidence that the Taliban changed tactics and became more effective with their IEDs after Bergdahl was captured.
   1013. Ray (RDP) Posted: June 06, 2014 at 04:24 PM (#4720578)
No, you've only agreed with Ray's take that he staged the Rose Garden ceremony because he wanted to celebrate a deserter.


But that's exactly what did happen: he staged a Rose Garden ceremony to celebrate a deserter. Did Obama come forth with the slightest evidence that Berdahl is not a deserter? No.
   1014. Ray (RDP) Posted: June 06, 2014 at 04:26 PM (#4720579)
It's true that he in fact held a ceremony celebrating a deserter. I doubt his ultimate animating purpose was celebrating a deserter. His ultimate animating purpose was to gain political favor for freeing a POW.


Yes, I agree with this.

And note that despite Andy's sleight of hand, I never said anything about Obama per se; I spoke about leftists.
   1015. The Chronicles of Reddick Posted: June 06, 2014 at 04:27 PM (#4720580)
My personal feeling is that while I agree with the return of Bergdahl, I question the methods that Obama used in order to do the exchange as it seems he skirted the law in order to do so. That being said, I think the argument that we lost 6 brave solders to find a "deserter" is incredibly lame when the same people that bring this up seem to have had no problems with the casualties we incurred with W's adventure into Iraq in 2003.
   1016. Rickey! trades in sheep and threats Posted: June 06, 2014 at 04:31 PM (#4720581)
But that's exactly what did happen: he staged a Rose Garden ceremony to celebrate a deserter.


No, he held a RG ceremony to note the return of America's only existing POW.
   1017. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: June 06, 2014 at 04:38 PM (#4720584)
Again, anecdote from a couple of soldiers is not evidence that the Taliban changed tactics and became more effective with their IEDs after Bergdahl was captured.

Yes it is. Please re-consult the definition of evidence.

You should also be more honest. The "couple of soldiers" didn't offer "anecdotes," they offered observations and/or testimony. If I say "I observed the floodwaters coming closer to my house" that isn't an "anecdote."(*)

And note that despite Andy's sleight of hand, I never said anything about Obama per se; I spoke about leftists.

Andy is generally far more deft with the sleight of hand. This was a particularly crude effort.

(*) Anecdote, def: "a short usually amusing account of an incident, esp a personal or biographical one." I.e., a story. The soldiers weren't in the storytelling key.
   1018. Gonfalon Bubble Posted: June 06, 2014 at 04:39 PM (#4720585)
If things go just right, Bowe Bergdahl could end up having the historical impact of Cliven Bundy, Rob Ford and Lois Lerner combined.
   1019. Mefisto Posted: June 06, 2014 at 04:40 PM (#4720586)
I question the methods that Obama used in order to do the exchange as it seems he skirted the law in order to do so.


Yeah, this is a much more interesting issue than the nonsense about the merits of the exchange. My view is that Congress is generally entitled to set policy goals, but a prisoner exchange is such a core function of the Commander in Chief power that I'm not sure the law is Constitutional. Certainly as a policy matter, I don't want Congress micromanaging decisions like this.
   1020. A big pile of nonsense (gef the talking mongoose) Posted: June 06, 2014 at 04:42 PM (#4720587)
I'm quoting the goddamned Military Times, reporting directly from the Army's investigation.


The little pissing match over this little contretemps has become tiresomely stupid even faster than most such disagreements usually do, but I feel compelled to say that no Gannett paper needs to necessarily be trusted about any ####### thing.
   1021. Shredder Posted: June 06, 2014 at 04:43 PM (#4720588)
Did Obama come forth with the slightest evidence that Berdahl is not a deserter? No.
You mean other than the DOD investigation that concluded he wasn't a deserter? Or is that too slight?
   1022. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: June 06, 2014 at 04:45 PM (#4720590)
You confuse soldiers with the Army. They are members of the Army, obviously, but a couple of anecdotes from a platoon is not the Army "noticing" a change in tactics or effectiveness.

WTF else are going to notice a change in tactics in one company's small area of operation? Not the Joints Chiefs.
   1023. spike Posted: June 06, 2014 at 04:49 PM (#4720595)
Ohohoho, that jokester Rand Paul -

"Mr. President, let's set up a new trade. Instead of 5 Taliban, let's trade 5 Democrats!" #RPTCon14
   1024. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: June 06, 2014 at 04:49 PM (#4720596)
Yeah, this is a much more interesting issue than the nonsense about the merits of the exchange. My view is that Congress is generally entitled to set policy goals, but a prisoner exchange is such a core function of the Commander in Chief power that I'm not sure the law is Constitutional. Certainly as a policy matter, I don't want Congress micromanaging decisions like this.

Agreed. The 30-day notice rule is likely unconstitutional.



   1025. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: June 06, 2014 at 04:50 PM (#4720598)
You mean other than the DOD investigation that concluded he wasn't a deserter? Or is that too slight?

It made no such conclusion.
   1026. The Yankee Clapper Posted: June 06, 2014 at 04:50 PM (#4720599)
This is nothing more than partisan Republicans spinning reality in order to maintain their most important article of faith - Obama is evil and always wrong - regardless of any factual event or outcome in the world.

This is the White House talking point - as usual, quickly echoed here - that the only thing wrong with the Bergdahl trade is the mean old partisan Republicans picking on the President. That ignores a lot of Democrats questioning the Bergdahl trade and how it was implemented, not the least of whom is former Defense Secretary Leon Panetta:
A former top adviser to President Obama on Wednesday questioned the release of dangerous terrorists in exchange for an imprisoned American soldier as anger spread among lawmakers in Washington over the secret deal to free Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl.

“I don't fault the administration for wanting to get him back. I do question whether the conditions are in place to make sure these terrorists don't go back into battle,” former CIA director and Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta told a gas industry gathering in Pittsburgh.

Panetta, who was in the Cabinet for four of the five years Bergdahl spent in Taliban custody, said he opposed a swap for the terrorists held at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, when he was Defense secretary.

There are bipartisan concerns about how Obama handled the Bergdahl trade. Pretending otherwise is disingenuous.

   1027. Rickey! trades in sheep and threats Posted: June 06, 2014 at 04:56 PM (#4720601)
Yeah, this is a much more interesting issue than the nonsense about the merits of the exchange. My view is that Congress is generally entitled to set policy goals, but a prisoner exchange is such a core function of the Commander in Chief power that I'm not sure the law is Constitutional. Certainly as a policy matter, I don't want Congress micromanaging decisions like this.


The "he skirted the law" meme, or the more strongly argued "it was illegal" version of that same meme you see in deeper nutwing sites, seems to be premised on the law that requires Obama to "notify Congress" of any prisoner release/exchange out of GITMO. The current operative data is that he notified Harry Reid (majority leader of the Senate) on Friday, but didn't call Mitch McConnell (minority leader of the Senate) until Saturday. That seems weak sauce if that's all there is to it.
   1028. Shredder Posted: June 06, 2014 at 04:58 PM (#4720603)
It made no such conclusion.
Indicated, if that makes you feel better. Or how about "failed to conclude he deserted". You sure get hung up on semantics for someone who's ready to send the guy to the chair based on a few interviews with guys who didn't like him.
   1029. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: June 06, 2014 at 04:58 PM (#4720604)
No, you've only agreed with Ray's take that he staged the Rose Garden ceremony because he wanted to celebrate a deserter.

But that's exactly what did happen: he staged a Rose Garden ceremony to celebrate a deserter. Did Obama come forth with the slightest evidence that Berdahl is not a deserter? No.


Once again you're running away from your own words. And once again, here they are:

At its core what appeals to leftists about Bergdahl is that from all indications he trashed the US and the US military, deserted his post, may have been a Taliban sympathizer, and may have even aided the enemy thereby giving the US a taste of its own medicine.

That's what they like about him. And that's what the right dislikes about him.


Now either Obama's not a "leftist", or Obama's reason for celebrating Bergdahl is because he loves Taliban sympathizers. It's either one or the other. Which is it?

You can say that Obama was stupid to stage that ceremony, and I'd agree with that.

You can say that it was a political show, and I wouldn't argue with that, either.

But the idea that he staged that ceremony because he loves deserters and Tabliban sympathizers is just so flat out stupid that it's hard to believe that even you could believe it yourself.

Unless, of course, you're now acknowledging that Obama isn't any "leftist."

-------------------------------------------

No, you've only agreed with Ray's take that he staged the Rose Garden ceremony because he wanted to celebrate a deserter.

Uh, no. You tried to get him and/or me to agree, and I never did.


That's what you say now, but before your last couple of comments you were saying how much you agreed with that comment of Ray's I just quoted about, without any qualifications as to Obama's motivation.
   1030. Rickey! trades in sheep and threats Posted: June 06, 2014 at 04:58 PM (#4720605)
WTF else are going to notice a change in tactics in one company's small area of operation? Not the Joints Chiefs.


Someone in charge of that command. Every allegation on this issue is hemmed and hawed at with things like "some soldiers in the platoon say that attacks seemed to get more frequent" or "some soldiers say IEDs seemed more effective." There's less evidence that this actually happened than there is for Jack Morris "pitching to the score."
   1031. Rickey! trades in sheep and threats Posted: June 06, 2014 at 05:02 PM (#4720607)
based on a few interviews with guys who didn't like him.


To be fair to them, they have good reason not to like him. "Idiot walks off into the mountains surrounded by the enemies, gets taken prisoner, and we have to drop everything and risk our asses to go find him every time some enemy radio chatter mentions him?!" That's perfectly reasonable grounds to dislike the guy. And it's the sort of thing that after years of doing it, and years of hearing Senators and Reps and to brass all the way up to the President/CiC talk about how important that it is to get that one guy home, easily festers into something darker and less reasonable. It's the sort of thing you turn around from thinking "god, what sort of idiot just walks off base unarmed?!" to "he must have been deserting and defecting" over time.

We have no evidence that he deserted or defected. We have strong evidence that idiot walked off base into the enemy infested mountains and was captured.
   1032. Rickey! trades in sheep and threats Posted: June 06, 2014 at 05:04 PM (#4720610)
There are bipartisan concerns about how Obama handled the Bergdahl trade.


Well, should Leon Panetta get himself elected President, he can make that decision. I'd guess that in 2016 Hillary will be more of a hardline hawk on such matters. She was notoriously of the COIN rather than counterterrorism school at State.
   1033. Shredder Posted: June 06, 2014 at 05:05 PM (#4720613)
But the idea that he staged that ceremony because he loves deserters and Tabliban sympathizers
That doesn't go far enough, Andy. Ray basically accused the President of loving people that collaborate with our enemies, not just sympathize with them. That's why I'd consider Ray a despicable piece of human filth if I didn't know that most of the time he just writes dumb stuff to get reactions out of people.
To be fair to them, they have good reason not to like him.
You want get an argument from me on that. I certainly don't think the guy's a hero. Though I'd rather let the jury come in before we string him up, unlike Sugarbear.
   1034. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: June 06, 2014 at 05:08 PM (#4720614)
But the idea that he staged that ceremony because he loves deserters and Tabliban sympathizers

That doesn't go far enough, Andy. Ray basically accused the President of loving people that collaborate with our enemies, not just sympathize with them. That's why I'd consider Ray a despicable piece of human filth if I didn't know that most of the time he just writes dumb stuff to get reactions out of people.


I think we all recognize that Ray's primarily an attention-seeking troll, although sometimes I'll admit he can fool me into thinking that he actually believes the garbage he spews.
   1035. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: June 06, 2014 at 05:10 PM (#4720616)
That's what you say now, but before your last couple of comments you were saying how much you agreed with that comment of Ray's I just quoted about, without any qualifications as to Obama's motivation.

Ray was talking about "leftists," not Obama.

Yes, you (and others) use Obama as your shield to protect against rhetorical attacks on leftists -- your time-honored way of avoiding the merits, see, e.g., Sam's performance in the last couple hundred threads -- but that doesn't mean the attackers think Obama is a leftist.

Every allegation on this issue is hemmed and hawed at with things like "some soldiers in the platoon say that attacks seemed to get more frequent" or "some soldiers say IEDs seemed more effective." There's less evidence that this actually happened than there is for Jack Morris "pitching to the score."

And again, you're wrong. The "seemed" part goes to the soldiers' reliability, i.e., whether their testimony is reliable. Their testimony is still evidence. If a witness saw an accused murderer a couple minutes after the crime and said that the accused "seemed jumpier and more nervous than usual," yeah that's only an impression but you can rest assured that that testimony is indeed "evidence."

The soldiers offered eyewitness tesimony about the frequency of attacks and effectiveness of the weaponry they were experienced in facing. You've offered nothing to contradict their impressions and observations. And why you're so quick to jump on the admitted imperfections of their observations and impressions is a question only you can answer. My answer would be cultural bias.


   1036. Rickey! trades in sheep and threats Posted: June 06, 2014 at 05:11 PM (#4720619)
   1037. Mefisto Posted: June 06, 2014 at 05:11 PM (#4720620)
That's why I'd consider Ray a despicable piece of human filth if I didn't know that most of the time he just writes dumb stuff to get reactions out of people.


Do we have to choose?
   1038. Rickey! trades in sheep and threats Posted: June 06, 2014 at 05:13 PM (#4720621)
My answer would be cultural bias.


Grab a tissue and clean yourself up before dinner.
   1039. Ray (RDP) Posted: June 06, 2014 at 05:15 PM (#4720622)
Once again you're running away from your own words. And once again, here they are:

At its core what appeals to leftists about Bergdahl is that from all indications he trashed the US and the US military, deserted his post, may have been a Taliban sympathizer, and may have even aided the enemy thereby giving the US a taste of its own medicine.

That's what they like about him. And that's what the right dislikes about him.


Now either Obama's not a "leftist", or Obama's reason for celebrating Bergdahl is because he loves Taliban sympathizers. It's either one or the other. Which is it?


"It" is that you can't read. My "own words" that you trumpeted above don't say anything about the reasons for the Rose Garden show.

You can say that Obama was stupid to stage that ceremony, and I'd agree with that.

You can say that it was a political show, and I wouldn't argue with that, either.

But the idea that he staged that ceremony because he loves deserters and Tabliban sympathizers is just so flat out stupid that it's hard to believe that even you could believe it yourself.


Where said "idea" comes from your head, because it's not in my "own words" that you quoted. I was talking about leftist sentiment generally, not the specific reason why Obama staged the Rose Garden ceremony, which even you admit was probably done for show.

So when you say "But the idea that he staged the ceremony because he loves deserters..." and suggest that this was my idea, you're lying. I never said he staged the ceremony because he loves deserters.

Really, Andy, this particular brand of dishonesty is a bit much, even for you. Going so far as to quote my exact words and then pretend that my words said something they didn't say is really beneath any honest discussion.
   1040. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: June 06, 2014 at 05:15 PM (#4720623)
We have no evidence that he deserted or defected.

Yes we do -- his emails to his parents.

And of course, the first element -- the intentional departure -- is already proven. There's overwhelming evidence of that part and the media reports of the DOD investigation confirm it.

The only element left to show is his intent to leave the command permanently, and there's evidence to that effect. He'd often expressed deep disagreement with the war and his command.

Nor is it clear why you're making such a big deal over the desertion/AWOL distinction.
   1041. Rickey! trades in sheep and threats Posted: June 06, 2014 at 05:17 PM (#4720624)
Nor is it clear why you're making such a big deal over the desertion/AWOL distinction.


Because AWOL is a lesser offense. Obviously. You need it to be desertion in order for him to be a "bad guy" and thus the admin's decision to bring him home with a public ceremony a sign of "cultural decline." Because you're a one trick pony that way.
   1042. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: June 06, 2014 at 05:21 PM (#4720627)
Because AWOL is a lesser offense. Obviously. You need it to be desertion in order for him to be a "bad guy" and thus the admin's decision to bring him home with a public ceremony a sign of "cultural decline." Because you're a one trick pony that way.

At law, yes of course. But that's irrelevant to this discussion. The pathos of the Rose Garden ceremony is no less if he's merely AWOL and Rice's comments about his service are no less ridiculous if he's merely AWOL.
   1043. The Yankee Clapper Posted: June 06, 2014 at 05:21 PM (#4720628)
. . . based on a few interviews with guys who didn't like him.

Unless I missed something, everyone who has come forward from Bergdahl's platoon has indicated they believe he was a deserter, but I don't believe anyone indicated they actively disliked him before he deserted. For some reason, there appears to be an effort here to minimize and mischaracterize the views of those who served with Bergdahl.
   1044. Ray (RDP) Posted: June 06, 2014 at 05:21 PM (#4720629)
That doesn't go far enough, Andy. Ray basically accused the President of loving people that collaborate with our enemies, not just sympathize with them.


Where "basically" means "I'm making this up because I'm a liar."

   1045. The Chronicles of Reddick Posted: June 06, 2014 at 05:22 PM (#4720632)
   1046. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: June 06, 2014 at 05:25 PM (#4720633)
For some reason there appears to be an effort here to minimize and mischaracterize the views of those who served with Bergdahl.

The reason is nutty, loony leftyism. What else?
   1047. The Yankee Clapper Posted: June 06, 2014 at 05:26 PM (#4720635)
We have no evidence that he deserted or defected

Yes we do -- his emails to his parents.

Bergdahl also sent all his personal property home before he "left".
   1048. Ray (RDP) Posted: June 06, 2014 at 05:26 PM (#4720636)
Georgia courthouse shooter had explosives and assault rifles

another day, another whack job.


Time for steak knife control also?

A citywide manhunt ended in Queens late Wednesday with the arrest of Daniel St. Hubert, the man suspected of fatally stabbing Prince Joshua (P.J.) Avitto, 6, and critically injuring his playmate, Mikayla Capers, 7.

Now St. Hubert is charged with killing a 6-year-old boy with a steak knife and wounding his playmate in the elevator of a Brooklyn housing project.
   1049. Rickey! trades in sheep and threats Posted: June 06, 2014 at 05:28 PM (#4720637)
The pathos of the Rose Garden ceremony is no less if he's merely AWOL and Rice's comments about his service are no less ridiculous if he's merely AWOL.


Wrong. Here's what we know about Bergdahl and his platoon prior to his being captured.

1. He had a history of wandering off post.
2. He was disillusioned with the war (for some good, some not so good reasons.)
3. His platoon was cited by the DOD for lax security and poor chain of command.

Given those three things, all attested to by the Army's investigation in 2010, the most rational assumption is that he wandered off post again. He went AWOL. Again. Because he had done it before and not been punished. Because his command was so lax that he TOLD HIS SQUAD LEADER THAT HE WAS LEAVING (more or less) and the guy's response was "don't take your rifle or goggles."

So, rational men will surmise, barring additional evidence, that Bergdahl went AWOL as he had done before, and planned to return (as he had done before.) He was captured instead. Going AWOL for a few hours (days?) is far less of an offense than desertion, and certainly far less than your preferred implication of "treason" and defection. If he simply went walkabout like an idiot and got captured for five years, it's perfectly reasonable to say "time served" and celebrate bringing home the nation's only existing POW, a cause pushed by every party and branch of government right up until the point where Obama made it happen(*), with a Rose Garden announcement.

(*) When John McCain, etc say they needed to know the "details" what they mean is "it depends on what is politically advantageous to me at the time." The only "detail" McCain didn't know when he said it was a good idea was that Obama was going to get it done. That's the only "detail" that matters, and the "detail" that made McCain suddenly reconsider his position.
   1050. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: June 06, 2014 at 05:38 PM (#4720644)
So, rational men will surmise, barring additional evidence, that Bergdahl went AWOL as he had done before, and planned to return (as he had done before.)

That's a plausible interpretation, but a less likely one based on the evidence.

1. You exaggerate the "history." California is irrelevant, Afghanistan unconfirmed. There isn't a single confirmed incident of him leaving base in combat until the known departure.
2. His disillusionment is as, if not more, consistent with a permanent departure than a temporary one. Why would you think otherwise? Why would hating your job and your colleagues make you more likely to come back to them once you've escaped their authority? Particularly when you would be going back having committed a crime.
3. The lax security has nothing to do with his intent upon leaving. It just makes it easier to leave.

Tipping the balance is the testimony of virtually all his colleagues who believe he deserted them and know the difference between desertion and AWOL. If he was just a flake who went to commune with nature outside base a lot, there would be nothing like this level of vehemence and specificity.

Plus the emails, plus the sending of stuff back home, etc., etc.

The weight of the evidence leans much more toward a permanent, not temporary, departure from the base.
   1051. The Yankee Clapper Posted: June 06, 2014 at 05:43 PM (#4720646)
The only "detail" McCain didn't know when he said it was a good idea was that Obama was going to get it done

That is just making stuff up, yet again. I don't believe anyone here knows what McCain actually knew, but I haven't seen anything indicating McCain knew how long the Tab 5 would be in "time-out" in Qatar & what the restrictions would be during that time, or even that he knew how strongly the details of Bergdahl's captivity pointed toward desertion. Those things matter.
   1052. Joe Kehoskie Posted: June 06, 2014 at 05:45 PM (#4720649)
853. Gonfalon B. Posted: June 06, 2014 at 02:58 AM (#4720199)

Let it go
Let it go
McCain's not running anymore
Let it go
LOL
No need to be his unpaid whore

We can see
What John used to say
When the coast was clear.
He'll change his story twice by this Saturday.

Uh, I didn't vote for McCain when he was running. I just call B.S. when I see it. Good try, though.

***
854. Bitter Mouse Posted: June 06, 2014 at 07:31 AM (#4720206)

Yes, my refusal to go along with a dumb "handle bet" resolves the issue of whether Obama's actions incentivized hostage-taking. You're right.


The sequence of events was:
JoeK insults me and adds dumb talking point about emboldening the Taliban.
I repond to insult and ignore dumb point about Taliban.
JoeK doubles down on Taliban point with me and others.
I ridicule Taliban talking point and offer a "dumb bet".

Your immediate response was the lovely goal post shift: "You think only the Taliban noticed the deal Obama made?"

It is not about the dumb bet, it is about showing that even you don't believe your silly "Taliban will now kidnap our soldiers because of incentives" bit. At all.

Quoting a "consistently" "reliable" Taliban commander is a "dumb talking point"?

Also, for the second or third time, there was no "goalpost shift." I never said the Taliban was likely to be the first to take an American hostage after Obama's dumb deal. I just pointed out that the Taliban was already on record as saying it was something they'd now be more inclined to do.
   1053. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: June 06, 2014 at 05:56 PM (#4720657)
Once again you're running away from your own words. And once again, here they are:

At its core what appeals to leftists about Bergdahl is that from all indications he trashed the US and the US military, deserted his post, may have been a Taliban sympathizer, and may have even aided the enemy thereby giving the US a taste of its own medicine.

That's what they like about him. And that's what the right dislikes about him.

Now either Obama's not a "leftist", or Obama's reason for celebrating Bergdahl is because he loves Taliban sympathizers. It's either one or the other. Which is it?

"It" is that you can't read. My "own words" that you trumpeted above don't say anything about the reasons for the Rose Garden show.


Fine, then you're now acknowledging that Obama's not a "leftist", since by your own admission his reasons for honoring Bergdahl have nothing to do with the motivations you ascribe to said "leftists".

Which of course is like saying that the Earth isn't flat, but coming from you that's quite an admission.

   1054. Joe Kehoskie Posted: June 06, 2014 at 05:58 PM (#4720662)
940. Shredder Posted: June 06, 2014 at 01:12 PM (#4720431)

Glenn Kessler understands what Joek is either too dense to realize, or too obstinant to admit to understanding:
Throughout the discussions, it has always been the same five men, so their identities would have been no surprise to any lawmaker keeping track of the discussions. The five are Khirullah Said Wali Khairkhwa, the former interior minister; Mullah Mohammed Fazi, a senior commander; Mullah Norullah Noori, a provincial governor; Abdul Haq Wasiq, deputy chief of intelligence; and Mohammned Nabi Omari, a member of a joint al Qaeda-Taliban cell in eastern Khost province.
...
While McCain twice offered the caveat of “the details,” he also specifically referenced “five really hard-core Taliban leaders” and said he was “inclined to support” the change in the proposal from a confidence-building measure to an exchange of prisoners. He made these remarks one day after the Post article appeared; that article specifically mentioned protective custody in Qatar.
...
McCain may have thought he left himself an out when he said his support was dependent on the details. But then he can’t object to the most important detail–the identity of the prisoners–that was known at the time he indicated his support. McCain earns an upside-down Pinocchio, constituting a flip-flop.
As they say, read the whole thing.

LOL. Left-wing hack says the right-winger is wrong. News at 11.

***
933. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: June 06, 2014 at 12:54 PM (#4720418)

Also, why is nothing being done to get that Marine back who inadvertently drove to Mexico while hunting, and is now in jail?

Seems like one President-to-President phone call should fix that?

Obama has amnestied or de facto amnestied millions of Mexicans but Mexico sticks it to a U.S. Marine who made a wrong turn and Obama just stands there and takes it like the spineless nebbish he is. Truly embarrassing.
   1055. Joe Kehoskie Posted: June 06, 2014 at 06:10 PM (#4720668)
No, he held a RG ceremony to note the return of America's only existing POW.

That's interesting, since Bergdahl was never listed as a POW.
   1056. Bitter Mouse Posted: June 06, 2014 at 06:13 PM (#4720672)
Quoting a "consistently" "reliable" Taliban commander is a "dumb talking point"?


Going on over several posts about how Obama had given incentive to the Taliban to take POWs is a dumb talking point. One you are unwilling to back up even in the most trivial way, showing even you don't believe it is a real threat.
   1057. Joe Kehoskie Posted: June 06, 2014 at 06:20 PM (#4720677)
Going on over several posts about how Obama had given incentive to the Taliban to take POWs is a dumb talking point. One you are unwilling to back up even in the most trivial way, showing even you don't believe it is a real threat.

Doubling down on this stupidity, huh?

The fact I won't go along with your dumb "handle bet" says nothing about whether I believe making prisoner or hostage exchanges with terrorists or other criminals incentivizes hostage-taking. Only a HOF hand-waver like you thinks that no other criminal or terrorist in the world will notice what occurred here and try to take advantage.

I'm aware of no security or law enforcement experts who dispute that paying a ransom incentivizes kidnappings. But now we're supposed to believe that trading prisoners or hostages won't incentive hostage-taking. Funny stuff.
   1058. Gonfalon Bubble Posted: June 06, 2014 at 06:24 PM (#4720679)
LOL. Left-wing hack says the right-winger is wrong. News at 11.

The same left-wing hack chose Barack Obama as the speaker of 2013's "Lie of the Year." For 2011, Kessler's "Lie of the Year" selection was a Democratic talking point about Medicare. LOL ROFL HBO AT&T R-O-C-K in the U-S-A.

If a disinterested, impartial non-supporter of John McCain like yourself is this worked up, I can only imagine how people who admire the Senator's unswerving principles must feel.
   1059. Bitter Mouse Posted: June 06, 2014 at 06:26 PM (#4720680)
nothing about whether I believe making prisoner or hostage exchanges with terrorists or other criminals incentivizes hostage-taking


So now, according to you, we should never make prisoner exchanges? Or is this a special Obama only case?

I suppose you have always been against POW exchanges, because they give incentive to the wrong behavior. You would rather have our soldiers killed then taken hostage.

I'm aware of no one who disputes that paying ransoms incentivizes kidnappings. But now we're supposed to believe that trading prisoners or hostages won't incentive hostage-taking. Funny stuff.


So every time throughout history when trades were made it was wrong, according to you. You are basically going against the full history of the US and most every other nation I am aware of. But you know better than all of them. You are an expert!
   1060. Joe Kehoskie Posted: June 06, 2014 at 06:31 PM (#4720685)
The same left-wing hack chose Barack Obama as the speaker of 2013's "Lie of the Year." In 2011, Kessler's "Lie of the Year" selection was a Democratic talking point about Medicare. LOL ROFL HBO AT&T R-O-C-K in the U-S-A.

You're unskewing again. It appears to be an addiction for you.

"If you like your health plan, you can keep your health plan" proved to be such a huge lie, even partisan hacks couldn't deny it.

As for McCain, there's no way Glenn Kessler knows what was in McCain's head at the time he plainly and repeatedly said he'd "have to know the details" before approving the prisoner exchange. And as I've said what seems like twenty times, there's no evidence whatsoever that McCain knew Bergdahl was suspected of being a deserter or that his unit members opposed a trade, either of which would have been valid reasons for McCain to change his position even if he had previously stated his unequivocal approval of such a proposal.

If a disinterested, impartial non-supporter of John McCain like yourself is this worked up, I can only imagine how people who admire the Senator's unswerving principles must feel.

For such an avid fact-checker, you're not very good at it. I'm not "worked up" at all. You, on the other hand, seem quite worked up that I refuse to give you the last — and highly dishonest — word.
   1061. The Chronicles of Reddick Posted: June 06, 2014 at 06:32 PM (#4720686)
Georgia courthouse shooter had explosives and assault rifles

another day, another whack job.



Time for steak knife control also?



Well if you believe that maybe he was planning a picnic with the twist ties then maybe he should have brought forks, spoons and plates too?
   1062. bobm Posted: June 06, 2014 at 06:36 PM (#4720687)
Supreme Court Theater:

http://nypost.com/2014/06/06/documents-show-how-clinton-leaked-names-of-court-nominees/
   1063. Bitter Mouse Posted: June 06, 2014 at 06:38 PM (#4720688)
You're unskewing again. It appears to be an addiction for you.


You don't seem to know what unskewing means. Oh well.
   1064. The Yankee Clapper Posted: June 06, 2014 at 06:53 PM (#4720691)
Iowa recently completed its primary elections, and GOP Senate Candidate Joni Ernst Is Leading In Two Post-Primary Polls. That would be another pick-up, and I'd peg it at about the 8th most likely seat to switch to the GOP.
   1065. Joe Kehoskie Posted: June 06, 2014 at 06:55 PM (#4720692)
I suppose you have always been against POW exchanges, because they give incentive to the wrong behavior. You would rather have our soldiers killed then taken hostage.

Bergdahl wasn't a POW. That's probably why he was never listed as a POW by the DOD.

So every time throughout history when trades were made it was wrong, according to you. You are basically going against the full history of the US and most every other nation I am aware of. But you know better than all of them. You are an expert!

Dumb hand-waving.

You don't seem to know what unskewing means. Oh well.

You might be the last person on the internet who should complain about a word being misused.
   1066. Bitter Mouse Posted: June 06, 2014 at 07:04 PM (#4720694)
Bergdahl wasn't a POW. That's probably why he was never listed as a POW by the DOD.


Nope. It is the Obama Administration being weenies, just like the Bush administration was.

During the five years of Bergdahl’s imprisonment, despite discussing his case in several public briefings, State Department and Defense Department officials made sure not to refer to Bergdahl as a “prisoner of war.” The reason, according to a senior administration official at the time, was that U.S. policy dictated that the rules of treatment for “prisoners of war” under the Geneva Convention did not apply to the conflict with al Qaeda and the Taliban. There was concern that if the U.S. called Bergdahl a “prisoner of war,” the Taliban would say its soldiers in U.S. custody were “prisoners of war,” as well, and would demand Geneva protections.


Read the whole article. Pretty informative.

“It rips open an issue that we’ve put aside for 10 years, which is that some of the people we have imprisoned could be entitled to some Geneva protections,” said Eugene Fidell, a professor of military law at Yale University. “The Obama campaign was critical of the Bush administration going in, but the actual changes in how the Obama treated these guys as opposed to the Bush administration are few.”

The Bush administration decided in 2001 to classify militants captured on the battlefield as “enemy combatants” who were not entitled to protections and privileges afforded to “prisoners of war” under the Geneva Conventions, which the U.S. has signed but the Taliban has not. That allowed the Bush administration to create the prison at Guantanamo Bay and various other prisons around the world, and keep the prisoners out of the eye of international observers.
   1067. Bitter Mouse Posted: June 06, 2014 at 07:05 PM (#4720695)
Sorry, here is the link to article above.
   1068. Bitter Mouse Posted: June 06, 2014 at 07:06 PM (#4720697)
So in every real respect he was a POW. Just like the Taliban are POW and should have been treated that way. Bush was wrong to start it, and Obama was wrong to continue it.
   1069. Joe Kehoskie Posted: June 06, 2014 at 07:09 PM (#4720700)
Read the whole article. Pretty informative.

Doesn't change a thing. Bergdahl was never listed as a POW, and he wasn't captured on the battlefield. At best, he went AWOL and got captured by the Taliban; at worst, he went looking for the Taliban.

So in every real respect he was a POW. Just like the Taliban are POW and should have been treated that way. Bush was wrong to start it, and Obama was wrong to continue it.

LOL. There truly is no word you can't misuse and no issue you can't hand-wave away if "Team Blue" is involved.

Also, the experts cited in that article dispute that the "Taliban are POW and should have been treated that way."
   1070. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: June 06, 2014 at 07:17 PM (#4720706)
During the five years of Bergdahl’s imprisonment, despite discussing his case in several public briefings, State Department and Defense Department officials made sure not to refer to Bergdahl as a “prisoner of war.” The reason, according to a senior administration official at the time, was that U.S. policy dictated that the rules of treatment for “prisoners of war” under the Geneva Convention did not apply to the conflict with al Qaeda and the Taliban. There was concern that if the U.S. called Bergdahl a “prisoner of war,” the Taliban would say its soldiers in U.S. custody were “prisoners of war,” as well, and would demand Geneva protections.

So in other words the lawless actions of the Bush and then Obama administrations explicitly deprived our fighting men and women of their protections under the laws of war and other civilized treaties -- so much so that the Obama administration didn't even bother asserting them.

Utterly indefensible.
   1071. The Yankee Clapper Posted: June 06, 2014 at 07:20 PM (#4720707)
Related to #1062, the Clinton papers also contained a memo from now Principal Deputy Solicitor General Tom Perelli, who regularly argues before the Supreme Court for the Obama Administration. He had some thoughts about Justice Breyer's nomination:
There is very little heart and soul in Judge Breyer’s opinions. Quite clearly, he is a rather cold fish. . . .

There's quite a bit more of a similar tone. Awkward, but stuff happens.
   1072. Bitter Mouse Posted: June 06, 2014 at 07:22 PM (#4720710)
Utterly indefensible.


I don't often agree with you, but here I do. It is indefensible.

LOL. There truly is no word you can't misuse and no issue you can't hand-wave away if "Team Blue" is involved.


That's me, hand-waving for Team Blue as I state my parties leader, the President of the United States, and his actions are indefensible on this issue.

The Secretary of Defense called him a POW. Maybe that isn't good enough for you, but I think that makes it pretty clear he was a POW. Unless you are suggesting the military is right, until it disagrees with you and then it is wrong.
   1073. Shredder Posted: June 06, 2014 at 07:28 PM (#4720712)
Where "basically" means "I'm making this up because I'm a liar."
Yes, you're a liar who makes stuff up. I thought that was settled.
   1074. Shredder Posted: June 06, 2014 at 07:29 PM (#4720715)
LOL. Left-wing hack says the right-winger is wrong. News at 11.
Once again, another substantive response from LOL-Joek.
   1075. Bitter Mouse Posted: June 06, 2014 at 07:31 PM (#4720716)
In the end, Bergdahl is a “prisoner of war,” and the circumstances of his capture aren’t relevant to how necessary it was to free him, Pentagon spokesman Adm. John Kirby told The Daily Beast on Monday.


On one hand, and on the other we have Joe K, and other experts asserting he wasn't a POW and it does matter.

Normally I would not appeal to authority like this, but Joe started it with his "never listed as a POW", and since he uses the DOD listing as his source I feel comfortable rebutting with the Secretary of Defense and an Admiral who is also the Official Pentagon Spokesman.
   1076. The Yankee Clapper Posted: June 06, 2014 at 07:33 PM (#4720718)
So in other words the lawless actions of the Bush and then Obama administrations explicitly deprived our fighting men and women of their protections under the laws of war and other civilized treaties . . .

That's not true. The Geneva Conventions are reciprocal obligations that neither the Taliban nor Al-Qaeda had any interest in adhering to, or came close to meeting. The American military would not have been treated better if Bush or Obama had conferred POW status on the Taliban & Al-Qaeda, or had referred to Bergdahl as a POW.
   1077. Gonfalon Bubble Posted: June 06, 2014 at 09:10 PM (#4720758)
#1063: You don't seem to know what unskewing means. Oh well.

I saw that too. But there's no point in giving etymology lessons where they're not wanted. "Unskewing" doesn't have to mean unskewing. It doesn't have to mean anything. It's just one of the 15-ish go-to words and phrases Joe K reflexively spits out to say "you stink." Reading comprehension. Hand-waving. Funny stuff.

The important takeaway is that Joe says that he is not worked up, even though he edited #1060 to tack on a "nyahh, I'm rubber and YOU'RE the glue who's worked up" coda. The post just wouldn't have had the same oomph without it.

Anyhow, you know who isn't citing desertion or the opinions of Bergdahl's unit members as some of the details John McCain needed to know more about? John
McCain.
   1078. The Yankee Clapper Posted: June 06, 2014 at 10:55 PM (#4720807)
Another ObamaCare data point:
Maryland’s dominant insurance company, CareFirst, is proposing hefty premium increases of 23 to 30 percent for consumers buying individual plans next year under the federal health-care law, according to filings released Friday.
   1079. Ray (RDP) Posted: June 06, 2014 at 11:05 PM (#4720810)
One of my favorite parts of this is the notion that "this was just a 15 minute Rose Garden celebration, and hey why are you getting all worked up over a 15 minute celebration?"

As if had Bush held a "15 minute celebration" in the Rose Garden to celebrate State X upholding its ban on gay marriage, liberals wouldn't have been up in arms.
   1080. tshipman Posted: June 06, 2014 at 11:15 PM (#4720814)
As if had Bush held a "15 minute celebration" in the Rose Garden to celebrate State X upholding its ban on gay marriage, liberals wouldn't have been up in arms.


I wasn't aware that not releasing POWs was a core principle of the Republican party.

Good to know.
   1081. Gonfalon Bubble Posted: June 06, 2014 at 11:28 PM (#4720818)
Forbes on many Obamacare data points:

Obamacare was once called “The Job-Killing Health Care Law.” But the latest jobs report suggests that the broader economy—and the health care sector, specifically—are adding jobs at a healthy rate. Since the Affordable Care Act was signed into law in March 2010, the health care industry has gained nearly 1 million jobs—982,300, to be more precise—according to Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates released on Friday.

...Booming growth in the heath care industry shouldn’t come as a surprise. The health care sector was gaining about 25,000 jobs per month in the years before the Affordable Care Act, and the law’s infusion of newly insured patients will help bolster providers’ bottom lines... There are a few important questions hanging over this growth: Is it good for the economy? And can it continue? Economists have mixed feelings on both issues, and especially over whether so many health care jobs are ultimately helpful or harmful. “The goal of improving health and economic well-being does not go hand in hand with rising employment in health care,” Harvard’s Katherine Baicker and Amitabh Chandra wrote in NEJM two years ago. “It is tempting to think that rising health care employment is a boon, but if the same outcomes can be achieved with lower employment and fewer resources, that leaves extra money to devote to other important public and private priorities such as education, infrastructure, food, shelter, and retirement savings.”

Meanwhile, there are signs that health care’s cost curve is beginning to bend, which has raised questions about the biggest paradox in health care: That even though spending is slowing, employment has been consistently growing. After all, if overall spending on health care is dropping, shouldn’t the jobs market cool off, too? Some experts believe that’s starting to happen. As Peter Orszag—the White House’s former top budget official—notes on Twitter, the year-over-year growth in health jobs as a percentage is actually slowing down. But keep in mind: That slowing growth—or as I tend to think of it, “slowth“—would still be the envy of most industries. Even though 2013 represented health care’s slowest year in more than a decade, the industry still added 200,000 new jobs.

That points to the economics underpinning American health care: the fundamentals remain very strong, and demand for care will likely only go up as the Affordable Care continues to be rolled out. Obamacare contains many, many provisions intended to change the industry, but the coverage expansion that kicked in this year could significantly affect providers’ bottom lines in the short term. In 2014 alone, the CBO expects that 12 million Americans are expected to gain insurance coverage between the mandate, the insurance exchanges, and the Medicaid expansion. And that means more paying customers for providers, who have struggled for years to treat uninsured patients and racked up bad debt as a result.

Already, hospitals in states that have opted into the Medicaid expansion are reporting lower charity care spending and fewer self-pay (read: uninsured) patients... It’s one sign that while the law may be creating new pressures on providers, it’s creating new sources of revenue. And that added revenue has a trickle-down effect for employers: It’s prompting them to add more staff, too.
   1082. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: June 07, 2014 at 07:13 AM (#4720850)
Forbes on many Obamacare data points:

LOL.© Left wing hack© pimps Obamacare. News at 11.©

(How'm I doin', Ma?)
   1083. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: June 07, 2014 at 09:03 AM (#4720858)
Another ObamaCare data point,

Maryland’s dominant insurance company, CareFirst, is proposing hefty premium increases of 23 to 30 percent for consumers buying individual plans next year under the federal health-care law, according to filings released Friday.


Picking up where YC left off, from the same article....

The rate proposals by CareFirst and several other carriers were posted on the Web site of the Maryland Insurance Administration and paint a mixed picture. Two other insurers, Kaiser Foundation Health Plan and Evergreen Health Cooperative, are proposing to lower rates for next year, by 12 percent and about 10­­ percent, respectively. And two new carriers — Cigna and United Healthcare — are offering plans for the first time in the state’s individual market, which serves about 200,000 of Maryland’s nearly 6 million residents.

The proposals do not affect health insurance plans that provide coverage for most Marylanders, such as those offered by large employers or employers who self-insure. Nor do they apply to “grandfathered” plans that were bought before March 2010 or federal plans such as Medicare, Tricare and federal employee plans.

The Maryland Insurance Administration will review the plans and can ask insurers to lower them before approving final rates. Last year, CareFirst proposed a 25 percent rate increase but regulators cut the final rates by 10 percent. Maryland’s rates in 2014 were among the lowest in the country, analysts have said....


BTW anyone who's dealt with CareFirst over the years knows from experience that their rates are consistently among the highest out there, and that they were handing out double digit rate increases long before Obamacare came along.
   1084. The Yankee Clapper Posted: June 07, 2014 at 11:44 AM (#4720885)
Picking up where YC left off, from the same article....

Not sure why Andy posted 3 more paragraphs of the article, perhaps he'll write a letter to the Washington Post if he thinks that part undermines the lede quoted in #1078, but it certainly doesn't appear to do so. To review, the "dominant insurance company" in Maryland, CareFirst, filed for 23-30% rate increases. Now the Post doesn't define what it means by "dominant", but normal usage suggests that means CareFirst has many more customers than other companies, probably a majority of the individual market. We don't know how CareFirst became the dominant health insurance company - maybe they paid off a bunch of crooked Maryland politicians - but the likely explanation is that they offered services people wanted at a price people found to be better than what competitors were offering. However, under ObamaCare, the cost has gone up sharply, and the article does suggest a possible reason:
Analysts have said that large premium increases could reflect the fact that insurers got a sicker-than-expected mix of patients during the first enrollment period . .

Seems like a reason to keep an eye on these price increases. But getting back to CareFirst, it looks like their price advantage over their competitors is disappearing, but even with a couple plans cutting rates, the alternatives aren't noticeably cheaper:
Based on information provided by the Maryland Insurance Administration, for the lowest proposed bronze plans, a 40-year-old nonsmoker in the Baltimore area would pay $178.90 under the Kaiser Foundation Health Plan; $180.42 under Evergreen; $185.30 under CareFirst’s BlueChoice plan; and $318.72 under the All Savers Insurance plan.

So prior to the proposed ObamaCare 1st year price increases, CareFirst was about $50-$75 dollars per month cheaper than Kaiser & Evergreen (the plans that cut rates); and after those rate changes, all will be within $6.40 of each other, but ~$40-$50 more than where CareFirst was. It certainly doesn't look like most individual market consumers will come out ahead on price. Which you'd know just from reading #1078.

EDIT: Tried to more precisely reflect $$ that correspond to rate increases.

   1085. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: June 07, 2014 at 12:05 PM (#4720894)
Not sure why Andy posted 3 more paragraphs of the article,

Because as always seems to be the case, you cherry pick only the parts that fortify your position, and ignore everything else, including the paragraph that immediately followed the one you pasted:

The rate proposals by CareFirst and several other carriers were posted on the Web site of the Maryland Insurance Administration and paint a mixed picture. Two other insurers, Kaiser Foundation Health Plan and Evergreen Health Cooperative, are proposing to lower rates for next year, by 12 percent and about 10­­ percent, respectively. And two new carriers — Cigna and United Healthcare — are offering plans for the first time in the state’s individual market, which serves about 200,000 of Maryland’s nearly 6 million residents.


The article as a whole reflected the "mixed picture", which is understandable since Maryland's Health Care exchange is in a state of flux. I'd have simply pasted the entire text (which isn't that long) if not for the concerns of the copyright nannies. But since you feel it's not your "job" to present anything but cherry picked fragments of news stories, you shouldn't be too surprised when others start examining those cherries.
   1086. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: June 07, 2014 at 12:13 PM (#4720898)
The bottom line of all this is that you're taking snippets of information from an article that reflect only the beginning stages of an ongoing story, and trying to fit them into some grand narrative of overarching failure of the ACA. I realize that you've got an enormous amount of prayer hours invested in hoping that this failure comes to pass, so I'm not blaming you for your repeated efforts along these lines, but it is getting a bit repetitious.

Perhaps next you can take on that Forbes article that Gonfalon linked to, and find highlights there that might lead to Obama's eventual impeachment. It'll give you something to do between Tanaka's starts.
   1087. Gonfalon Bubble Posted: June 07, 2014 at 12:19 PM (#4720901)
Perhaps next you can take on that Forbes article that Gonfalon linked to

There's "See? I told you!" fodder for all persuasions and biases in the Forbes link. Everyone will enjoy half of that article.
   1088. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: June 07, 2014 at 12:22 PM (#4720903)
There's "See? I told you!" fodder for all persuasions and biases in the Forbes link. Everyone will enjoy half of that article.

Precisely the sort of articles that YC loves to chop in half and throw the half he doesn't like into the dumpster. It's his job.
   1089. The Yankee Clapper Posted: June 07, 2014 at 12:41 PM (#4720908)
The article as a whole reflected the "mixed picture", which is understandable since Maryland's Health Care exchange is in a state of flux. I'd have simply pasted the entire text (which isn't that long) if not for the concerns of the copyright nannies. But since you feel it's not your "job" to present anything but cherry picked fragments of news stories, you shouldn't be too surprised when others start examining those cherries.

Once again, the story is that the coverage that the vast majority of the Maryland individual market has is going up sharply. It's not a "mixed picture" just because some plans which serve relatively few people have trimmed rates to end up in the same general price range - most people get the price increase, not a decrease. Focusing on the small market-share plans while ignoring the "dominant" plan's price increases is the real cherry picking here. That was also done when similar articles were posted about ObamaCare cost increases in other states. If the plans that cover the most people are going up sharply, that is not offset by a few unpopular plans trimming rates to match the new higher rates of the popular plans. But that is what Andy is trying to pass off.
   1090. Bitter Mouse Posted: June 07, 2014 at 12:42 PM (#4720909)
Another ObamaCare data point:


So I am confused and I have a serious question. Why is random insurance company raising rates seen by YC (and others) as bad news? (Note that higher prices is good news generically, but we don't here constant updates on the price of milk)

One of the features of ACA is that it uses the power of the market to set appropriate prices. Sometimes those prices go up and sometimes down. This isn't like a poll where higher numbers means more people like you. Here higher prices mean the market is functioning.

It seems like the theory is, higher prices must mean ACA is failing, because. But of course that makes no sense, the price isn't set by ACA, the price is set by the market. Of course if the price gets high enough, perhaps the dreaded death spiral will happen, everyone will leave the exchange, and then what?

It is not like the law disappears at that point. All the features of the law are still in place, including all the bits that everyone (except the insurance companies) likes. Or does a miracle occur?

The insurance companies want the exchanges to succeed. Basically the new business (mandate and subsidies) is a sweetener to the insurance companies in exchange for all the other rules that make the job of the insurance companies harder and less profitable. Do people really think the insurance companies would price themselves out of the market designed for them, and end up stuck with the rules they like and without the market and new business they want?

Basically the insurance companies are going to do everything possible to keep the exchanges afloat. They want that business. They want to sell more policies on the exchanges. If they are charging more that means they can, in a profitable way, without endangering the exchanges. It isn't a sign of weakness in ACA.

Now when the Insurance companies all begin to whine that they are losing money and when enrollment in the exchanges plummets, then there are real problems.
   1091. The Yankee Clapper Posted: June 07, 2014 at 12:54 PM (#4720912)
Why is random insurance company raising rates seen by YC (and others) as bad news?

President Obama: "If you like your healthcare plan, you can keep your healthcare plan. You can keep your doctor; and under my plan you'll save an average of $2500 per family a year."
   1092. Mefisto Posted: June 07, 2014 at 01:05 PM (#4720919)
@1091 makes no real sense. First, a price increase by one carrier wouldn't make Obama's statement untrue. Second, even across-the-board price increases wouldn't make it untrue if the initial prices gave more than a $2500 discount from previous ones.

And, of course, no reasonable person should take Obama's statement as a permanent expectation in nominal dollars.
   1093. Gonfalon Bubble Posted: June 07, 2014 at 01:05 PM (#4720920)
I'm saving over $7,000 a year, and for upgraded coverage. To those two other families out there somewhere... sorry.
   1094. The Yankee Clapper Posted: June 07, 2014 at 01:10 PM (#4720923)
First, a price increase by one carrier wouldn't make Obama's statement untrue. Second, even across-the-board price increases wouldn't make it untrue if the initial prices gave more than a $2500 discount from previous ones.

There have been many price increases, and notwithstanding Gonfalon's experience in #1093, no one is seriously contending that we are seeing an average savings of $2500 per family a year. Pretending otherwise is disingenuous.
   1095. greenback calls it soccer Posted: June 07, 2014 at 01:19 PM (#4720928)
So prior to the proposed ObamaCare 1st year price increases, CareFirst was about $50-$75 dollars per month cheaper than Kaiser & Evergreen (the plans that cut rates); and after those rate changes, all will be within $6.40 of each other, but ~$40-$50 more than where CareFirst was.

Emphasis mine. A bunch of insurers offering virtually the same rate after only a few months of experience is... interesting. I'm guessing the pricing actuary at CareFirst wet his pants when he saw Kaiser and Evergreen's rates.
   1096. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: June 07, 2014 at 01:38 PM (#4720934)
The article as a whole reflected the "mixed picture", which is understandable since Maryland's Health Care exchange is in a state of flux. I'd have simply pasted the entire text (which isn't that long) if not for the concerns of the copyright nannies. But since you feel it's not your "job" to present anything but cherry picked fragments of news stories, you shouldn't be too surprised when others start examining those cherries.

Once again, the story is that the coverage that the vast majority of the Maryland individual market has is going up sharply. It's not a "mixed picture" just because some plans which serve relatively few people have trimmed rates to end up in the same general price range - most people get the price increase, not a decrease. Focusing on the small market-share plans while ignoring the "dominant" plan's price increases is the real cherry picking here. That was also done when similar articles were posted about ObamaCare cost increases in other states. If the plans that cover the most people are going up sharply, that is not offset by a few unpopular plans trimming rates to match the new higher rates of the popular plans. But that is what Andy is trying to pass off.


But this assumes that "dominant" companies that keep increasing their premiums will still be able to dominate in light of new competition from giants like Cigna and UnitedHealth, plus increased marketing from some of the smaller firms who were just feeling their way around last time. And of course that proposed rate increase by CareFirst is just that---a proposal. Their proposed rates were chopped down last year, and will almost certainly be lowered again once they're reviewed. Once again, all you're doing is looking at the standings on Memorial Day and trying to project the order four months down the road, which is no easier to do here than it is in baseball.
   1097. zenbitz Posted: June 07, 2014 at 01:43 PM (#4720935)
In Northern California, Kaiser is the cheapest option (available from employers... I.e., one that actually covers stuff). and has been since long before the ACA
Kaiser is very, very good if you are very, very sick... And they basically Ignore you for anything not serious.
   1098. bobm Posted: June 07, 2014 at 02:03 PM (#4720941)
One of the features of ACA is that it uses the power of the market to set appropriate prices. Sometimes those prices go up and sometimes down. This isn't like a poll where higher numbers means more people like you. Here higher prices mean the market is functioning.

That said, none of us know to what extent prices are being held down by political pressure (on premiums or on insurers not to exit certain states, risk corridor and reinsurance payments, and plan redesign (eg narrower networks, higher deductibles and copays, etc.)
   1099. Group Captain Mandrake Posted: June 07, 2014 at 02:05 PM (#4720943)
President Obama: "If you like your healthcare plan, you can keep your healthcare plan. You can keep your doctor; and under my plan you'll save an average of $2500 per family a year."


President Bush: "The Iraq war will pay for itself.

All politicians paint the rosiest possible scenario to help controversial legislation get passed. Don't know what you hope to achieve by continuously pointing this out. It's done, it's over. the law will not be repealed nor significantly altered over his gross exaggeration. Every time you post that quote, I picture you as Nelson Muntz pointing his finger and yelling "Ha, ha."
   1100. The Yankee Clapper Posted: June 07, 2014 at 02:06 PM (#4720944)
Once again, the story is that the coverage that the vast majority of the Maryland individual market has is going up sharply. It's not a "mixed picture" just because some plans which serve relatively few people have trimmed rates to end up in the same general price range - most people get the price increase, not a decrease. Focusing on the small market-share plans while ignoring the "dominant" plan's price increases is the real cherry picking here. That was also done when similar articles were posted about ObamaCare cost increases in other states. If the plans that cover the most people are going up sharply, that is not offset by a few unpopular plans trimming rates to match the new higher rates of the popular plans. But that is what Andy is trying to pass off.

But this assumes that "dominant" companies that keep increasing their premiums will still be able to dominate in light of new competition from giants like Cigna and UnitedHealth, plus increased marketing from some of the smaller firms who were just feeling their way around last time.

Why would many people switch? Although those with CareFirst are getting whacked by a rate hike, the premium is still only a few dollars difference (based on the examples in the Post article) from Kaiser & Evergreen, the two plans that trimmed the cost of their apparently high-priced plans. Even if CareFirst customers switch, they still get most of the rate hike. Given all the reports of plans narrowing provider networks to hold down costs, switching plans may be more problematic than ever for those who want to keep their doctor. The "new competition" from Cigna & United Healthcare, apparently hasn't even started in Maryland yet, so it seems a bit much to assume that competition will offset the price increases already in the pipeline. The fact is that most people in the Maryland individual market have CareFirst, and based on what was in the article, there doesn't appear to be any way for those folks to avoid a sharp price hike. That certainly seems like the most important information in the article, even if some find it politically troubling to admit it.
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