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Archive of Articles in the "Health Care" Category

Friday Talking Points [500] -- Manafort Flips!

[ Posted Friday, September 14th, 2018 – 17:50 PDT ]

Convicted felon Paul Manafort pleaded guilty today to two additional serious federal felonies, one of which was conspiracy to defraud the United States government. He also had to pony up tens of millions of dollars' worth of real estate, because one of the frauds he perpetrated was avoiding paying $15 million in federal taxes by money laundering. The biggest news, however, wasn't Manafort pleading guilty to his ninth and tenth felonies, but the fact that to get a plea deal he had to agree to cooperate with Bob Mueller's investigation. This is what he's been fighting against doing all along, so it is big news.

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The Punditocracy Is Missing Democrats' Real Campaign Focus

[ Posted Thursday, September 13th, 2018 – 16:46 PDT ]

Pretty much all year long, there has been a popular parlor game played on the cocktail-party circuit inside the Beltway. It might be called: "Democrats Should Run On Bashing Trump And Impeachment." Both subjects were endlessly debated, and a consensus opinion emerged that this was obviously the best way for Democrats to campaign. Bashing Trump at every turn and using "the I-word" as often as possible would surely be the Democrats' best chance of success in the midterms. It became accepted as conventional inside-the-Beltway wisdom, meaning the punditocracy would ask actual Democrats about the subject whenever they got a chance. The fact that the answers didn't match with the perceived reality was barely even noted. Now, finally, some of them are beginning to take note that Democrats are actually running a very different campaign, out there beyond the Beltway.

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Could Trump And Pelosi Actually Get Some Things Done?

[ Posted Monday, September 10th, 2018 – 16:37 PDT ]

So, assuming for the sake of argument that Nancy Pelosi does become speaker again and that Donald Trump is still president (there's another rather large assumption), the question that occurred to me was whether the two of them could actually work together to pass some decent new laws. Because that's not as unbelievable (or, if you will, downright laughable) a proposal as it might first sound.

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The Call Is Coming From Inside The House!

[ Posted Thursday, September 6th, 2018 – 16:51 PDT ]

That title is a classic horror show moment, so first allow me to properly cite it. In the movie When A Stranger Calls (1979), a frightened and terrified woman is told the threatening calls she's been getting are more than just close to home. The actual quote, from a policeman calling her up, is: "Jill, this is sergeant Sacker. Listen to me. We've traced the call... it's coming from inside the house. Now a squad car's coming over there right now, just get out of that house!" Younger readers may recognize it more from the spoof horror film Scream, which paid homage to the original. The horrific aspect of the line is that the danger is very close at hand, obviously. Which is why it is the perfect quote for the center ring of the Trump circus at this particular moment in time.

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Democrats Need To Keep Fighting Even If Kavanaugh Is Confirmed

[ Posted Wednesday, September 5th, 2018 – 18:18 PDT ]

I'm writing this while watching the Senate confirmation hearing on Judge Brett Kavanaugh. As usual for Supreme Court confirmation hearings, it is fascinating to watch. However, also as usual, it is likely going to be absolutely meaningless, because Republicans are going to have the votes to confirm him in the end. The [...]

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From The Archives -- Labor's Agenda Should Become Democrats' Top Priorities

[ Posted Monday, September 3rd, 2018 – 16:39 PDT ]

I wrote the following column last year, and sadly it still mostly applies. The Democratic Party has made some progress on the following issues, but by and large it has been individual Democratic candidates who have been left to carry this banner forward -- some of whom have done so in remarkable ways. Many pro-Labor and Progressive candidates have now advanced to the general election as Democratic nominees, which is good news. And, it must be said, when you discount all the hand-wringing happening inside the Beltway over what Democrats should be campaigning on, out in the rest of the country, Democrats have been running pretty solid campaigns on precisely the issues voters want addressed in a positive manner: healthcare, education, and lots of pro-Labor pocketbook issues.

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Friday Talking Points [498] -- Remembering John McCain, Good And Bad

[ Posted Friday, August 31st, 2018 – 17:19 PDT ]

We have to begin today, sadly, by speaking ill of the dead. However, we do so respectfully (unlike some other folks have done this week). We fully realize it is a serious breach of etiquette, but in all the laudatory remarks given this week about the late Senator John McCain, there has been one glaring omission. Because, more than anyone else, John McCain is responsible for regularizing the concept that a know-nothing could be considered presidential. Some might push the blame back further, to George H. W. Bush, who selected Dan Quayle as his vice president, but McCain certainly shoulders the lion's share of this blame for deciding that Sarah Palin was qualified to be president. Anyone listening to her speak for more than two minutes could easily tell how misguided the idea of her running the country truly was, after all. And yet McCain went ahead and selected her anyway.

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The Final Propaganda Battle In The War On Weed

[ Posted Thursday, August 30th, 2018 – 17:23 PDT ]

The War On Weed's days are numbered. That should be pretty obvious, by now. State after state has jumped on the bandwagon against the War On Weed, liberalizing their harsh laws on cannabis through decriminalization, legalization of medicinal marijuana, or outright legalization for adult recreational use. In fact, it's getting harder and harder to find any states which haven't done so, in one form or another. Nationally, the public's attitude on the subject has gone through a sea change in the last two decades, and now polls regularly cite public support of complete legalization of marijuana at 60 percent or higher. The weed warriors, obviously, are losing the battle for hearts and minds, and they're losing almost all the battles at the ballot box. This long social warfare, stretching back almost a century, is finally almost over. In the end, sanity will prevail, and the nation's second Prohibition will finally be thrown on the ash heap of failed political and social policy.

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Maybe Now Congress Will Act On Marijuana Banking Reform?

[ Posted Monday, August 20th, 2018 – 17:16 PDT ]

Over two decades after California legalized medical marijuana (becoming the first of many states to do so), Congress has still refused to act in any way to admit the fact that the times they are a-changin' on marijuana law. Six years after Colorado and Washington became the first two states to outright legalize recreational use for adults, Congress still refuses to act. In the meantime, marijuana has grown into a multibillion-dollar industry, and as with every other multibillion-dollar industry (especially agricultural ones -- remember all those "Got Milk?" ads?), it has begun spending money on lobbying politicians. So far it's a relative drop in the bucket -- total marijuana lobbying this year is only a relatively paltry million dollars -- but one story today may eventually have a ripple effect that (hopefully) will end with Congress admitting the new reality of the existence of the state-legal marijuana industry. In a way, it's a sad commentary on our political system, where as we all know money talks quite loudly. But that's a discussion for another day, really. The system is what it is, and if in some way it spurs the otherwise-somnolent legislators into doing the right thing for once, then that at least will be a desirable outcome.

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The Iron 'Stache Wins His Primary

[ Posted Wednesday, August 15th, 2018 – 16:45 PDT ]

Randy "Iron 'Stache" Bryce won his primary last night in Wisconsin, meaning he is now the Democratic nominee who will attempt to flip Paul Ryan's House district in November. It'll be a tough race, but an interesting one to watch no matter the outcome. Partly this is due to Bryce's charisma and personality, and partly it is because of the issues he chose to run on. Because he just may become the prime example of how blue-collar working-class Democrats can win elections in today's political climate.

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