Frank Moraes

Author's details

Name: Frank Moraes
Date registered: 17 Aug 2014

Biography

Frank Moraes is a freelance writer and editor online and in print. He is educated as a scientist with a PhD in Atmospheric Physics. He has worked in climate science, remote sensing, throughout the computer industry, and as a college physics instructor. Find out more at About Frank Moraes.

Latest posts

  1. Re-Evaluating Attack of the Puppet People — 27 Mar 2017
  2. We Have to Create a Better World — 27 Mar 2017
  3. I Don’t Care What You Call Pluto — 26 Mar 2017
  4. Republicans Look Forward to Next Failure — 26 Mar 2017
  5. The Roger Corman Poe Cycle — 25 Mar 2017

Most commented posts

  1. Why Do We Take Sam Harris Seriously? — 82 comments
  2. The Good and Bad of Translating Shakespeare — 81 comments
  3. Erik Loomis Is Wrong About Sanders and Politics — 68 comments
  4. No, Democrats Are Not the Party of the Rich — 61 comments
  5. Anniversary Post: Harpers Ferry Raid — 58 comments

Author's posts listings

Mar 27

Re-Evaluating Attack of the Puppet People

Attack of the Puppet PeopleFive years ago, both Andrea and I wrote reviews of the Bert I Gordon film Attack of the Puppet People. We were actually fairly fond of it, although I attacted its screenplay savagely.

But Saturday afternoon, I came upon it on YouTube and I totally changed my mind about it. The screenplay is actually quite good. I loved the film. You can read all about it over at Psychotronic Review: Attack of the Puppet People. As is the idea with these pages, this one has three articles: the two that Andrea and I wrote back in 2012, plus a new one with my more evolved thinking on the film. It’s worth checking out.

(Also, I’ve removed the pages from here. Or rather, if you go to those pages, they redirect you to the Psychotronic Review article. That’s a little pro blogging tip. 301 redirects are amazing things!)

It’s also worth checking out the following absolutely wonderful print of the film. Don’t let the image fool you: this is not a frightening film. It is suspenseful though.

Permanent link to this article: http://franklycurious.com/wp/2017/03/27/attack-puppet-people/

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Mar 27

We Have to Create a Better World

Richard Carrier - We Have to Create a Better WorldChristianity is simply false.

But what do we do then? What do we believe? … Since this world isn’t the way we’d want it to be, we have to make it the way we want it to be. This world isn’t protected by any supreme justice or caregiver, there is no infallible wise man to turn to, no divine hero to love us, and we aren’t going to live forever. So we have to create those things.

We have to create justice, and care for each other and the world we live in. We have to find and give and receive love from each other. We have to be the hero. We have to give our lives meaning. We have to protect life, and invent technologies of immortality — metaphorically (in the way people’s words and actions live on in their consequences and memorials), and literally (through medicine, and the science of life extension and resurrection). And until we invent any real immortality, we have to accept the way things are and make the best of the short lives we have. We have to love life rather than fear death. We have to respect life rather than treat it as disposable.

We have to do all of these things. Because that is the world we want to live in — and no one else is going to do any of this for us.

–Richard Carrier
Why I Am Not a Christian

Permanent link to this article: http://franklycurious.com/wp/2017/03/27/we-have-to/

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Mar 26

I Don’t Care What You Call Pluto

PlutoVox published an article last week that made me want to slam my head against the wall, The Debate Over Pluto Will Never Die. Here’s the Latest Argument for Why It’s a Planet. Astronomer Kirby Runyon has come up with a new definition for a planet. And if we use it, there will be hundreds of planets in our solar system. For example, our Moon would be a planet. And hell, why not?

Remember: the Moon is quite a lot larger than Pluto. In fact, the largest 7 moons in the solar system are bigger than Pluto. So size isn’t the issue. Oh, you think a planet is something that orbits the sun and a moon is something that orbits a planet. Guess what? It ain’t nearly that simple. The Moon doesn’t orbit around the Earth. The two objects orbit around their center of mass. I have discussed this issue before, The Unusual Pluto-Charon Binary Orbit. It turns out that the Earth-Moon center of mass is inside the Earth. But the Pluto-Charon center of mass is way outside Pluto.

Orbits Are More Complex Than They Seem

The same thing is true of the Sun, although Jupiter is the only object large enough to make the Sun wobble. But my point is that if you looked at the Earth-Moon system orbiting around the Sun (the center of mass is effectively the center of the Sun), you would not see the Earth making an ellipse around the sun with the Moon circling it. Instead, you would see the two objects zigzagging around the sun. So if you look at it from a large scale, it looks very much like the Moon is orbiting the Sun. Because it is.

Now look at the Pluto-Charon system. It’s the same, but even more zigzag. So if Pluto is a planet, I sure don’t see why the Moon isn’t. So why not?

A New Planet Definition

Runyon and some other astronomers have suggested this as the definition of a planet:

A planet is a sub-stellar mass body that has never undergone nuclear fusion and that has sufficient self-gravitation to assume a spheroidal shape … regardless of its orbital parameters.

Got a problem with that? All of these objects ultimately orbit the Sun anyway. If the Earth suddenly disappeared, the Moon would continue to orbit the Sun. So there you go: the ultimate definition of a planet that couldn’t possibly be designed just to make Pluto a planet. And I say this knowing that Brian Resnick reported, “Once he’d seen this side of Pluto, Runyon was bothered that it wasn’t a full-fledged planet anymore.”

Here’s the thing: I don’t care. I so don’t care that it’s annoying. Call Pluto whatever you want. And I’ll go further: call the Earth anything you want. I can certainly come up with a definition of planet in which the Sun has only 4 planets, knocking out the four rocky inner “planets.” Because, as Juliet put it:

What’s in a name? That which we call a rose
By any other name would smell as sweet …

Pluto Is Fascinating — Whatever You Call It

I find Pluto fascinating. I don’t need to call it “planet,” “dwarf planet,” or even “rose” to find it fascinating. Is it only the large things that are worth studying — worth caring about? From my perspective, the Earth is the most interesting plant for what I think are obvious reasons.

But here’s the thing: our solar system is amazing. Rather than fight about what category to place Pluto in, why don’t we take a moment to marvel at the fact that Triton orbits Neptune backwards? And speaking of that, how in the universe did Venus get that backwards day (which happens to be longer than its year)? Or how about if you took all the debris of the asteroid belt (including “planet” Ceres), you’d have a “planet” about 1/25th the size of our Moon?

Space Garbage

There is something nice about the current official definition of planets: it creates 8 of them. They divide very nicely into two types: small rocky ones close to the Sun and big gaseous ones far from the Sun. They are completely dominant regarding their moons — all orbit a point inside the planet. I think the Earth has the largest moon relatively speaking, and it is only 1% of the Earth’s mass. (Charon is 12% the mass of Pluto.) But I’m willing to give it all up.

I propose the following definition:

Space garbage is anything that isn’t a star, broadly defined (including black holes, quasars, and so on).

So you say “planet” and I say “space garbage.” And literally nothing about the science of solar systems changes.

Permanent link to this article: http://franklycurious.com/wp/2017/03/26/call-pluto/

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Mar 26

Republicans Look Forward to Next Failure

President Donald Trump - Looking Forward to Tax CutsThe stunning collapse of the Republican healthcare bill now imperils the rest of President Trump’s ambitious congressional agenda, with few prospects for quick victory on tax reform, construction projects, or a host of other issues in the months ahead despite complete GOP control of government.

While Republicans broadly share the goal of Trump’s promised “big tax cuts,” the president will have to bridge many of the same divides within his own party that sunk the attempted overhaul of the Affordable Care Act. And without savings anticipated from the healthcare bill, paying for the “massive” cuts Trump has promised for corporations and middle-class families becomes considerably more complicated.

Meanwhile, other marquee agenda items, including a $1 trillion investment in roads and other infrastructure and proposed crackdowns on both legal and illegal immigration, will require the support of Democrats, many of whom have been alienated by the highly partisan start to Trump’s tenure. …

House Republicans leaders had been counting on changes to the tax code included in the healthcare bill to make the task of paying for future tax cuts easier.

Americans for Tax Reform President Grover Norquist said the bloc of hard line Republicans who helped stymie the healthcare overhaul were guilty of “ripping the lungs out of tax reform.” If they don’t revisit the healthcare bill immediately, Norquist said, they will soon realize that “they didn’t shoot and wound healthcare reform, they shot and killed permanent tax reform.”

House Speaker Paul D Ryan (R-Wis) acknowledged Friday that the healthcare defeat “does make tax reform more difficult, but it does not make it impossible.”

–John Wagner, Damian Paletta and Sean Sullivan
Trump’s Path Forward Only Gets Tougher After Health-Care Fiasco

Permanent link to this article: http://franklycurious.com/wp/2017/03/26/tax-cuts-trump/

Mar 25

The Roger Corman Poe Cycle

The Roger Corman Poe CycleI added another page to Psychotronic Review, The Roger Corman Poe Cycle. For those who don’t know it, it probably sounds horrible — like something Arnold Schoenberg wrote in 1930 that still no one quite gets. But it’s actually something really great: eight films that Corman directed (and sometime produced) between 1960 and 1965 based on stories by Edgar Allan Poe. (Actually, one of them is based on an H P Lovecraft novel, but the title is taken from Poe.)

I’ve been watching these films since I was a kid. Yet when I sat down to write about them, I found it really hard. Since Roger Corman was King of the Cheap Movie, the films largely look alike. That’s especially true of House of Usher, The Pit and the Pendulum, and The Raven. And so I found myself confused about just what memory went with what movie.

In addition, fully half of the films deal with someone buried or entombed alive. It’s kind of amazing to think how much drama you can get out of that one idea. But I suspect that most people find the idea of being buried alive to be pretty terrible. And none of the stories are the same. So there you go.

One thing I noticed while going over the films is that they’re a bit on the sexist side. Women are either devoted spouses (or would-be spouses) or they are the most treacherous creatures imaginable. Hazel Court is really the best at that. I do have a kind of bizarre crush on the characters she plays. Oh, to spend my life with such a deliciously smart and evil woman! The only problem would be, of course, that she almost certainly would have murdered me. If not, she would have left me for someone richer and more evil.

Films Worth Watching

All these movies are about an hour and half. If you leave 15 minutes for intermission, that’s 13.75 hours. It would be awesome to rent a movie theater and show all eight films, starting at 10:00 am and running until midnight. It’s shocking that people don’t do that kind of thing more often. I suspect you could rent the films pretty cheaply. The question is: just how many freaks like me would pay ten bucks (And I’d pay a hell of lot more!) to sit in a movie theater all day watching movies made before I was born? Not enough, I’m afraid.

Go check out The Roger Corman Poe Cycle. Over time, I’m sure I (hopefully others too) will write articles about the individual films. I’m sure to write about The Raven. It’s my favorite. The truth is, I like Vincent Price most when he plays a good guy. And the film is a comedy. And it has the great trio: Peter Lorre and Boris Karloff join Price. Plus, there’s Hazel Court — really at her best.

Permanent link to this article: http://franklycurious.com/wp/2017/03/25/roger-corman-poe-cycle/

Mar 25

Why Trumpcare Failed

Ezra Klein - Why Trumpcare FailedThe American Health Care Act failed because it was a terrible piece of legislation. It would have thrown 24 million people off insurance and raised deductibles for millions more — and the savings would’ve gone to pay for tax cuts for millionaires. It broke virtually all of Donald Trump’s campaign promises, and was opposed not just by Democrats but also by Republicans. …

This is a failure for Speaker Paul Ryan on many levels. He wrote this bill, and when the speaker takes over the process like that, the upside is it’s supposed to create legislation that can pass. On this most basic task, Ryan failed, and failed spectacularly.

Some legislation fails even though the party faithful love it. For the Democrats, the Waxman-Markey cap-and-trade bill was like that — it went nowhere in the Senate, but liberals appreciated that Nancy Pelosi tried. The American Health Care Act wasn’t like that. Republicans were glad to see it die.

But beyond the legislative and tactical deficiencies, the AHCA reflected a deeper failure of moral and policy imagination. Ryan spent the latter half of Barack Obama’s presidency promising to repair the Republican Party’s relationship with the poor (remember Ryan’s “poverty tour”?). He’s spent every day since the passage of Obamacare saying the Republicans could do better. This is what he came up with? The GOP put their greatest policy mind in charge of the House of Representatives and they got… this?

–Ezra Klein
The Failure of the Republican Health Care Bill Reveals a Party Unready to Govern

Permanent link to this article: http://franklycurious.com/wp/2017/03/25/american-health-care-act/

Mar 24

New on Psychotronic Review: Horrors of Spider Island

Psychotronic Review - Horrors of Spider IslandOver at Pychotronic Reviewwe’ve created a new page for the classic German horror-girly film, Horrors of Spider Island.

If you know the film, it is probably because Mystery Science Theater 3000 featured it in their final season (10th if you don’t count the KTMA season, 11th if you have any class at all). As I’ve been working on the Psychotronic Review project, I’ve been surprised at how often I run into the show. Of course, Michael Weldon’s The Psychotronic Encyclopedia of Film was their bible, just as it is mine.

But the film is quite good all on its own. I wish I could find it in German. You can get a taste of it in a short clip. In addition to hearing the original language, the picture quality is fantastic — at least compared to all the English language versions online.

Anyway, head over to Psychotronic Review to check it out. The page includes the full movie from Archive.org. It’s the perfect film to watch on this rainy Friday afternoon.

Permanent link to this article: http://franklycurious.com/wp/2017/03/24/horrors-of-spider-island/

Mar 24

Trump’s Backup Plan: Blame Ryan

Greg Sargent - Trump's Backup Plan: Blame RyanNobody knows whether the House GOP health bill will pass today, or even whether it will get voted on — the vote could get postponed again, even though President Trump has demanded this vote or else he will allow Republicans to languish under the oppression of Obamacare forever (yes, it’s possible this is a bluff). The White House isn’t sure it has the votes. The whip counts show enough opposition to sink it. But a last-minute shift that puts it over the line is definitely possible.

Still, here are a few things we already know: Even if Trump “wins” and the bill passes, this whole process has been an utter disaster from start to finish. The media analysis is already being framed in a way that will obscure this from view. And Trump himself is determined not to learn the right lessons from the whole mess — no matter what happens.

The New York Times reports today that Trump is bracing for a possible loss, and he’s already moving to pin the blame on Paul Ryan if it fails …

Meanwhile, top Trump adviser Stephen K Bannon is also moving to blame Ryan for a loss, New York Magazine reports, by distancing himself from the bill and blaming Ryan for the fact that it doesn’t drive down costs. And so, if the bill goes down, the story will become whether Trump can shift the blame to Ryan and move on to other things, as Bannon apparently hopes to do. In this telling, the reason the bill failed (or the reason it was so close to tanking, if it prevails) will be that the White House underestimated the difficulty of getting the bill passed, or had too much faith in Ryan’s ability to do so.

The White House — and Republicans — also thought they could render the policy specifics and procedural challenges meaningless through sheer force of bluster. They attacked the Congressional Budget Office’s credibility in advance, but that only left them flatfooted and unprepared when the CBO did find that enormous numbers will lose coverage, which ended up weighing heavily on moderates, despite efforts to undercut its findings in advance. They opted for an absurdly compressed time frame, which alienated moderates and even some conservatives.

Indeed, the Times‘s reporting confirms that Trump never cared much about the policy or the process …

Yet there is no recognition, anywhere, that this might have been part of the problem all along. Worse, all of this will only be obscured if the bill passes, because the coverage is being framed as an epic gamble in which Trump either emerges as the heroic risk-taking “closer” or an abject failure at “dealmaking.” If he succeeds, the closeness of the vote bolsters the “closer” narrative. If he falls short, the failing was personal.

–Greg Sargent
Even If Trump “Wins,” This Health-Care Mess Has Been a Horrendous Disaster

Permanent link to this article: http://franklycurious.com/wp/2017/03/24/blame-ryan/

Mar 23

The Ellipsis and Clarity

EllipsisThe ellipsis is probably the most troublesome punctuation mark in the English language. It is made up of three periods. And it means… Let me see now… Well, mostly it means that something is missing. But is it something concrete or just implied. When it’s used in dialog, it generally indicates that someone trails off, not finishing their sentence. It is implied that there is more to say but the speaker doesn’t say it because they are distracted or confused or…

In nonfiction writing, it is normally used when quoting material. Take, for example, the classic line from Hamlet, “There are more things in heaven and Earth, Horatio, than are dreamt of in your philosophy.” This is usually misquoted, because no one cares about Horatio, whose only real claim to fame is being the only principle character in the play who doesn’t die in it. So if you wanted to quote accurately but get rid of Horatio, you could write, “There are more things in heaven and Earth… than are dreamt of in your philosophy.” And this has been the way that I have used it my entire life.

Unclear Ellipsis

There’s just one problem: it isn’t clear. People add ellipses to their writing all the time. So if you didn’t know the original quote, you wouldn’t know if that was what Shakespeare actually wrote, as thought Hamlet were pausing because he thought he saw his father’s ghost. A better solution then, would be, “There are more things in heaven and Earth … than are dreamt of in your philosophy.” Then there is no question that the ellipsis is used to indicate that the quote is missing text.

Now this is a pretty banal and obvious point. I normally wouldn’t take the time to write about it. But until just a few days ago, I always connected the ellipsis to the preceding word. Obviously I didn’t when the preceding text ended with a question or exclamation or quotation mark. This added inconsistency to my lack of clarity.

Bad Reasons for Bad Punctuation

The reason I did this was the same reason behind so many bad punctuation practices (eg, the lack of the serial comma): I liked the way it looked. And that’s so embarrassing!

As much as possible, I like to quote full sections of text, and not have to cut little pieces out of it. It looks bad, but it’s also harder to read. This is why I usually cut out starting conjunctions without using square brackets to capitalize the new first word.

Suppose I had a sentence like this, “But images look great.” If I wanted to get rid of the first word, I would quote it as, “Images look great” and not, “[I]mages look great.”

I believe I got this from Fowler. There’s no loss of clarity, I’m not changing the meaning of what the original writer is saying, it is easier to read, and it looks better. And I always used that justification for attaching the ellipsis to the preceding word. But it came to me suddenly that this practice did reduce clarity. And worse still: it did it in a way in which the reader wouldn’t even know.

So from now, the ellipsis will always have a space in front of it.

Afterword

There are, of course, front ellipses: indicating that we are picking up the text already in progress. I never use them. They’re awful. It is even better to add text inside square brackets, although neither is usually necessary.

Permanent link to this article: http://franklycurious.com/wp/2017/03/23/ellipsis/

Mar 23

Why the Republican Base Will Continue to Be Chumps

Matt Taibbi - Why the Republican Base Will Continue to Be ChumpsA dynamic that all good swindlers understand is that once you’ve gotten a person to make one embarrassing decision, it’s easier to get him to make the next one. A person who loses 10 grand trying to buy the Brooklyn Bridge is a good bet to spend 20 more chasing the loss. Con artists call this “reloading.”

The Trump phenomenon has been like this. Megachurch moms and dads across the country grit their teeth when the “grab them by the pussy” tape came out, quietly convincing themselves that “locker-room talk” was less horrifying than a Hillary Clinton presidency.

When they cast their votes weeks later, it was like a secret transgression that bound them to the new leader. This counter-intuitive brand of politics is very effective.

–Matt Taibbi
Milo Yiannopoulos Isn’t Going Away

Afterword

Taibbi was talking about Milo Yiannopoulos, but the Republicans have understood this for decades. Thus, they betray their base (chumps) and get punished for it at most only one election cycle. The Same old trick works again and again. Vote for helping the middle class. Get tax cuts for the rich. Vote for helping the middle class. Get Tax cuts for the rich. There is no end to it!

Permanent link to this article: http://franklycurious.com/wp/2017/03/23/republican-chumps/

Mar 22

The Problem Is Capitalism, Not Market Failures

Capitalism - We Work for All; We Feed AllI just read an interview over at PorMarket, The Exercise of Market Power Probably Contributes to Economy-Wide Inequality. It’s with Jonathan B Baker and discusses how effectively having a monopoly tends to increase inequality. If this sounds a little obvious, well, that’s because it is. This is why monopolies are technically illegal. But the issue really isn’t specific market failures. The issue is (or should be) capitalism itself.

The first question starts, “The discourse on concentration, market power, and bigness in many US industries has increased dramatically in the last year.” Really?! Like so many things that economists were thinking a lot about over a century ago, economists are again thinking about them. It’s sad because this really isn’t about finding a better way to arrange our economy. This is instead a big effort at capitalism apologetics. It’s a faith-based belief that capitalism is the right system. These economists (and they are mostly “liberal” economists) are trying to tinker with the system to save it. No thought is given as to whether capitalism is worth saving — much less if it can be saved.

Problems of Capitalism

A question later on in the article starts, “The five largest internet and tech companies — Apple, Google, Amazon, Facebook, and Microsoft — have outstanding market share in their markets.” It then goes on to ask about anti-trust. That’s an issue with Apple, Google, and Microsoft.

For example, I think Google is the biggest search engine because it is the best. The truth is that a company could come in and destroy Google. Certainly Microsoft could have, but it never thought it necessary to create anything but Google with more images on the front page. Now it is true that Google might be immune to competition because at this point it is “good enough.” Any better search engines might be welcomed by people who have to do research seriously, but for 99 percent of the people Google is good enough. Even still, I can see Google losing out.

Facebook

I leave Amazon alone, because it is kind of a hybrid of these companies on one hand and Facebook on the other.

Facebook is different a bird altogether. It is successful because it is successful. You could create a Facebook that is ten times better, yet it wouldn’t matter because what makes Facebook useful is that everyone is on it. So Facebook is a huge financial success due to nothing but the luck of timing (and having rich friends whose dads could back you — again: luck).

Last night, I heard on the news that someone was rushed to Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital and Trauma Center. Oh. That was the first I had heard of that. It appears that the boy no-wonder gave SF General $75 million. With a net worth of $58 billion, that is roughly equivalent to me giving SF General the contents of the wallet — and I carry very little cash on me. Yet in addition to being given ridiculous sums of money for being in the right dorm room at the right time, he’s given hugh societal pats on the back for what is the equivalent of me giving spare change to beggars.

Why Don’t Economists Talk About Capitalism Itself?

My point is not to beat up on Zuckerberg, however. I don’t find him particularly more evil than any other high tech billionaire. But the question is why is it, “The discourse on concentration, market power, and bigness in many US industries has increased dramatically in the last year”? And why isn’t it, “The discourse on the random and immoral natural of capitalism has increased dramatically in the last year”?

I know the answers to these. Regardless of all the pretense to economics being a science, it isn’t. And the people who practice it are trapped by their faith-based beliefs.

The Unstated Assumptions

Whenever I talk about this kind of stuff, I know there are tech people out there who scoff at me. When I worked more directly in high tech, I used to talk about this stuff. I got lots of scoffs. But the responses I got were always the same old stuff. First: communism! Somehow, the fact the USSR under communism didn’t work as well as the US under capitalism is taken to mean something, despite the fact the US had a huge advantage to start with and then the lack of a world war decimating it.

Second: innovation! If it weren’t for capitalism, there would be no innovation and we would all still be farmers. But this is so clearly not the case. And there are other ways of encouraging innovation than making it like a lottery. What’s more, capitalism encourages people to game the system. Look at how litigious Apple and Microsoft have been.

When I look at innovation, what is normally the case is that people working at universities and national labs come up with new ideas, and then private companies come in and monetize them. Well, there’s no reason why the government and non-profits and worker collectives couldn’t do the same thing. (Note: in the old days, many corporations also innovated; but those days are long gone.)

I’m Still Searching for Answers

Note that both of these reasons for why we absolutely must stick with capitalism are not based on evidence. They are just taken as given in our society. I’m not saying that I’m right. And I certainly don’t have all the answers. But I know that whether capitalism is the right system for us is a question, not a given. It doesn’t matter how well you think, if you can’t see the important questions, all the thinking in the world will take you nowhere. And we are getting there. Fast.

Permanent link to this article: http://franklycurious.com/wp/2017/03/22/capitalism-given/

Mar 22

GOP Reasons for Healthcare Bill Make No Sense

Jonathan Chait - GOP Reasons for Healthcare Bill Make No SenseRather than advocate for the alleged benefits of the bill — if anybody even alleges them any more — Republicans have staked their case on a series of reasons unrelated to its direct effects on the healthcare system:

1. They promised. “We made a promise and now it is the time to keep that promise,” says Paul Ryan. “If we keep that promise, the people will reward us. If we don’t keep our promise, it will be very hard to manage this.” …

A related argument maintains that Republicans would somehow take the blame for the status quo if they failed to pass the bill. “I’m optimistic that none of my members in the end want to be responsible for the status quo on Obamacare,” says Mitch McConnell. Of course, Republicans will be held responsible for the status quo regardless of whether they pass a healthcare bill.

2. Losing will embolden our enemies. “[Trump] told us if we don’t pass this bill on Thursday, it will put everything in jeopardy that he wants to do, his agenda,” Republican Representative John Duncan of Tennessee told The Hill. “If we are not able to move forward with healthcare reform, it endangers tax reform,” Representative Bill Flores of Texas, a former chairman of a House conservative caucus, tells Sahil Kapur. “The folks that were able to tear this down would feel like they’re empowered to tear the next big project down.” This is, essentially, the domino theory of legislation. But, really, think about it rationally: the folks who are tearing down Trumpcare are fellow Republicans in Congress. If Trumpcare fails, are they going to turn against tax cuts? …

3. But think of the tax cuts! The manic drive to pass the healthcare bill follows from a legislative strategy that was designed to culminate in a huge tax cut that would not have to be phased out after a decade. Republicans continue to insist health reform must be passed for this reason. …

4. We’ll lose Congress if we fail. “If we get this done, and tax reform, [Trump] believes we pick up ten seats in the Senate and we add to our majority in the House,” says Republican Representative Chris Collins of New York. “If we don’t get it done, we lose the House and the Senate.” Trump has reportedly emphasized the same point to his party. …

The AHCA is the fruit of a failed strategy. The law’s design was dictated by a legislative schedule that initially assumed Republicans would simply defund Obamacare, move on to tax cuts, and return to health care at their leisure later on. They have instead been forced to craft an actual healthcare bill on a manic time frame, using a legislative mechanism that is not designed for major social legislation. Like people leading a country into a losing war, they demand to push on and invent new reasons to justify the cost, because they can imagine nothing worse than admitting they failed.

–Jonathan Chait
Why Trump Thinks Passing a Terrible Healthcare Bill Makes Sense

Permanent link to this article: http://franklycurious.com/wp/2017/03/22/ahca-healthcare-reasons/

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