Category Archive: Quotations

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/

Amazon Ad

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/

Amazon Ad

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/

Amazon Ad

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

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

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/

Mar 21

Like GOP Generally, Trump Wants to Exploit Terrorism, Not Stop It

Peter Maass - Trump Exploits Only Some Kinds of TerrorismThe first thing to understand is that attacks by foreign-born terrorists are rare. From 1975 through 2015, a total of 3,024 Americans were killed in such attacks, with most of those occurring on 9/11, according to a recent Cato Institute report. In other words, the annual odds of being killed by a foreign-born terrorist are 1 in 3,609,709. Each of these deaths is a tragedy, of course, but they represent a fraction of the preventable fatalities from any number of causes, including spouse-on-spouse violence, traffic accidents, and even toddlers with unsecured guns.

Trump’s eagerness to exploit only a particular type of terror attack — by Muslims — was reflected in his selective reaction to two incidents in his first month in office. In late January, he remained silent when a white Christian shot dead six Muslims in a Canadian mosque. A few days later, an Egyptian with a machete attacked French soldiers at the Louvre while shouting “Allahu Akhbar.” Nobody was killed, not even the attacker — one soldier was slightly injured before the Egyptian was shot four times. Yet within hours, Trump tweeted:

His disingenuity exposes a glaring fallacy in his executive orders. The handful of Muslim-majority countries named in the orders represent a negligible threat for domestic terrorism. The few attacks in America that have involved Muslims, including 9/11, drew largely on people from Saudi Arabia, Pakistan and Egypt — but those countries were not included in either order from the Oval Office. A ruling by Judge Theodore Chuang that blocked the second order noted “strong indications that the national security purpose is not the primary purpose of the travel ban.”

–Peter Maass
For Donald Trump, a Terror Attack Will Be an Opportunity Not a Curse

Permanent link to this article: http://franklycurious.com/wp/2017/03/21/exploit-terrorism/

Mar 20

Rima Khalaf Resigns From UN Due to Trump Pressure

Rima KhalafOn Wednesday, a UN agency published a report noting that “Israel has established an apartheid regime that dominates the Palestinian people as a whole.” Yesterday, the author of that report, who has served as executive secretary of the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (UNESCWA) since 2010, Rima Khalaf, resigned after the Trump administration, working in conjunction with Israel, pressured the UN secretary-general to demand that she withdraw the report.

Khalaf, a Jordanian national who has served in multiple high government positions, refused the demand to repudiate her own report, instead choosing to resign. The report — which was co-authored by the Jewish American Princeton professor and former UN official Richard Falk, a longtime critic of Israeli occupation — has now been removed from the UNESCWA website.

What makes this event most remarkable is how unremarkable the report’s conclusion is: It’s a point that a former Israeli prime minister — as well as Trump’s own defense secretary — has made unequivocally. Back in 2010, Ehud Barak, Israel’s former prime minister and its most decorated soldier, explicitly warned that Israel was on a path to what he called a permanent “apartheid” state. As he put it: “As long as in this territory west of the Jordan river there is only one political entity called Israel it is going to be either non-Jewish, or non-democratic. If this bloc of millions of ­Palestinians cannot vote, that will be an apartheid state.”

Seven years later, Israel is indisputably committed to exactly that outcome. Many of its key ministers do not even support a two-state solution. Israeli expansion of illegal settlements continues unabated. Palestinians are further away than ever from full political rights, or even enjoying the right of democratic self-determination. As Barak himself pointed out, this is the very definition of apartheid.

Yet now, thanks to the Trump administration’s self-destructive devotion to Israeli interests — an odd posture for a president who ran on a platform of “Putting America First” — it is impermissible for UN officials to note this reality lest Israel be offended.

–Glenn Greenwald
Trump Administration Ousts UN Official to Protect Israel From Criticism

Permanent link to this article: http://franklycurious.com/wp/2017/03/20/rima-khalaf/

Mar 19

Another Trump Policy to Screw His Supporters

Todd VanDerWerff - Another Trump Policy to Screw His Supporters - CPB EditionIt’s true that just over 23 percent of the CPB’s budget (nearly entirely derived from the federal government) goes toward the development and acquisition of television and radio programming. And, yes, losing that stipend will hurt PBS and NPR on some level — though the difference will probably be covered by private funding, whether thanks to corporations, grant foundations, or the famous “viewers like you.”

But most of the federal government’s dollars to CPB (just over 65 percent) go toward one thing: keeping rural PBS and NPR stations alive. These stations only continue to operate due to funding from the federal government. If Trump’s proposed budget becomes law, PBS and NPR themselves will continue to exist, on TV, on the radio, and on digital platforms. So will local affiliates in major urban areas. But many of those rural stations will be shuttered.

The rural areas served by those stations backed Trump heavily. He received 62 percent of the vote in rural counties. Thus, his budget’s proposed defunding of CPB is yet another way that a policy proposed by Trump seems as if it will have the most adverse effect on those who voted for him.

–Todd VanDerWerff
Defunding the Corporation for Public Broadcasting Won’t Kill PBS

Permanent link to this article: http://franklycurious.com/wp/2017/03/19/cpb-budget-cut/

Mar 18

AHCA Does None of the Things Trump Says It Does

Ezra Klein - AHCA Does Literally None of the Things Trump Says It DoesOn March 8, Trump laid out his case for the American Health Care Act. Here’s what he said:

It follows the guidelines I laid out in my congressional address: a plan that will lower costs, expand choices, increase competition, and ensure health care access for all Americans. This will be a plan where you can choose your doctor. This will be a plan where you can choose your plan.

These talking points are familiar enough that it’s easy to let them fade into the background. But it’s worth taking them seriously. This is Trump’s case for the bill he’s backing. Does he know that literally every single one of these points is wrong?

The AHCA doesn’t lower costs. Apples to apples, the Brookings Institution estimates “that premiums would be 13% (~$1,000) higher under the AHCA than under current law, holding plan generosity and the individual market age distribution fixed at their current law levels.” To the extent that the AHCA sees lower premiums, it’s because older people can’t afford care and younger people buy sparer plans. That is no one’s idea of lowering costs.

The rest of the problems flow from there. Most people will have fewer affordable choices under the AHCA because their subsidies will be so much smaller (and many people will have no affordable choice at all, and so will go uninsured). Competition is likely to fall as the marketplaces shrink — fewer consumers wielding smaller tax credits will not prove an attractive market to insurers.

The idea that the AHCA will “ensure health care access for all Americans” is sufficiently absurd that I’m not even going to spend time on it.

But the idea that it will let you choose your doctor and plan is more interesting — it seems entirely possible to me that Trump doesn’t realize the limited choices people complain about in Obamacare are the result of people being unable to afford more generous plans with broader networks, and it seems likely to me that he doesn’t know the AHCA will make that problem worse, or why conservative health reformers think that’s a good thing.

–Ezra Klein
Does Donald Trump Know What the GOP Health Bill Does?

Permanent link to this article: http://franklycurious.com/wp/2017/03/18/ahca-trump/

Mar 17

Seven Other Problems With Obamacare Repeal

Michael Hiltzik - Seven Other Problems With Obamacare RepealThe headline findings in the Congressional Budget Office’s analysis of the Obamacare repeal bill produced by House Republicans are brutal enough: 24 million Americans losing their health coverage, healthcare costs soaring for many millions more, and the evisceration of Medicaid, all while handing the richest Americans a handsome tax cut.

But in its fine print, the CBO report identified at least seven other ways the GOP proposal would damage the US healthcare system. Some would have effects reaching far beyond the middle- and low-income buyers of insurance on the individual market who are the Affordable Care Act’s chief beneficiaries.

  1. Shopping for health insurance will become tremendously more complicated…
  2. Individual insurance plans will tend to offer skimpier benefits…
  3. Out-of-pocket costs will be much higher…
  4. Employer-sponsored insurance might start to disappear…
  5. A key program promoting public health will be axed…
  6. Patients of Planned Parenthood clinics would be cast adrift…
  7. The continuous coverage rule would drive 2 million people out of the market and make the overall insurance pool sicker…

–Michael Hiltzik
Seven New Ways the GOP’s Obamacare Repeal Bill Would Wreck Your Healthcare

Permanent link to this article: http://franklycurious.com/wp/2017/03/17/obamacare-repeal-4/

Mar 16

True Freedom vs Republican Freedom

Brian Beutler - True Freedom vs Republican FreedomChristopher Ruddy, the CEO of the right wing site Newsmax and a personal friend of Trump’s, weighed in Tuesday with seven suggestions for Trump to revive Trumpcare, including the following: “Reject the phony private health insurance market as the panacea. Look to an upgraded Medicaid system to become the country’s blanket insurer for the uninsured.”

Converting Medicaid from a safety net for the poor into a safety net for anyone who finds themselves uninsured is an idea that would be very popular with Trump supporters, and is thus under consideration by nobody with any power. Where Trumpcare is practically optimized to screw over Trump’s base, replacing Obamacare with a Medicaid-for-all option would eliminate the ACA’s narrow disincentive to work harder while continuing to free motivated workers to voluntarily leave their jobs.

It would be genuinely liberating. Not in the sense proffered by GOP Congressman Jason Chaffetz, that people would be free to forgo buying iPhones until they can afford bad insurance; or in the sense that it would give millionaires a big tax cut; but in the sense that the fear of injury or bad health would no longer be a tool the government uses to scare people into keeping jobs they’d otherwise leave.

Trumpcare, by contrast, enshrines indenture as a facet of personal liberty. As a governing philosophy, it is the freedom to work until you die. And if it weren’t for Medicare, it may well be the freedom Trump and Ryan would bestow on all of us.

–Brian Beutler
Trumpcare Is the Opposite of Freedom

Permanent link to this article: http://franklycurious.com/wp/2017/03/16/true-freedom-vs-republican-freedom/

Older posts «