Jon Stewart and Bill O'Reilly Set to Debate the Real Issues, So the Presidential Candidates Won't Have To

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Jon Stewart and Bill O'Reilly Set to Debate the Real Issues, So the Presidential Candidates Won't Have To

By Dustin Rowles | Videos | September 18, 2012 | Comments ()


The entire presidential campaign season this year has been dominated not by substance or ideas, but by negativity and personal attacks. It's all kind of gross, really, and it came to a head yesterday when Mother Jones released a video of Mitt Romney basically dismissing 47 percent of America as deadbeat mooches who pay no taxes, take no personal responsibility themselves, and dine each night on expensive government cheese. Mmmmm. Government cheese (no seriously: Growing up, I knew kids who got government cheese, and that sh*t was awesome. It taste SO good after a crack rock).

Basically, Romney is speaking to most of our readership, and the fact that you're all reading this when you SHOULD BE WORKING totally proves his point, right? (Side note: Think of how much extra money the government could generate if those welfare and Social Security checks came in coupon booklets sponsored by corporate grocery brands, or they had to click on a website ad to receive their money. Think of the THOUSANDS of pennies the government would save! Oh, wait? What am I thinking. Like all of you tax-avoiding mooches, they'll just complain about the ads or install adblock.)

Anyway, where was I? Oh yes: The substance-free presidential campaign. Well, things are about to change because Jon Stewart and Bill O'Reilly have agreed to a 90-minute debate on October 6th, billed as "The Rumble in the Air-Conditioned Auditorium." The two have debated frequently and mostly respectfully on each others' shows many times over the years (and their mutual respect/disdain for one another is kind of adorable), but a 90-minute debate will give them an opportunity to really get to the meat of the substance, or more likely, give Bill O'Reilly more time to SHOUT.

It's going to be kind of awesome, and surely more informative than the actual presidential debates, which will probably entail Obama trying to run down the clock while Romney sneers atop his podium made of $100 bills and gold bricks.

Here's a promo for the debate, which will cost $4.95 to watch, and all proceeds will go to various charities.

Also, Maguita NYC has suggested that we do an open thread during the debate, and I think that'd be great. Consider it done. Be back here on October 6th, and bring your personal attacks and negativity.

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Comments Are Welcome, Bigots and Trolls Are Not

  • SBrown

    From "One-half of the net profits from The Rumble 2012 will be donated by Jon and Bill to a number of charitable causes."

    One-half is not all.

  • GunNut2600

    Well I can't think of a better example of how dysfunctional the US political system has become...

  • Slash

    How dare you speak of politics? Don't you know that Pajiba is for movies, TV, celebrity junk, lists of people I'd like to fuck, random amusing links on the intertubes and stuff about ladyparts? But never politics! Never! Because I am incapable of not reading every word on this site. You are FORCING me to read about stuff I don't want to! Bastards!

  • Mavler

    As a Canadian who will openly admit the American government has as much impact on his life as his own country's government (partly because he is in the military) I have two questions that I'm hoping someone can answer for me calmly and coolly. I'm not trying to pick a fight or anything - just gain some insight.

    Question one: Are people talking about trying to elect a Democratic majority to the House and Senate too? I haven't heard anyone bring this up yet. This would seem like the real key to the election. There's not much point in voting for Obama if you're just going to give the Republicans a majority again - otherwise it's just four more years of rich white people barely masking their racial contempt and blocking any attempt at actual progress. This seems like something people should be talking about too. Now, I know that for the first two years of his term when he had a Democratically controlled House he wasted it trying to be partisan, but I got the impression from the DNC that the Dems might finally be ready to play dirty.b

    Also, and again I'm not trying to incite any internet-violence but can somebody just rationally explain to me what some of your fellow countrymen have against health care? As a Canadian I truly can't understand what the fuss is about. It's good for everyone!

  • Maguita NYC


    The Canadian health coverage system is one of a single payer. Taxes are deducted, and the government generally manages health care, giving coverage to all legal Canadian citizens.

    In the US, private providers had complete control. In congruence with health-care providers, insurance companies would over-charge and often enough wrongly refuse to treat people under certain conditions, no matter what bought-for coverage would state. And if you can't afford insurance, well, you're screwed. The new Obamacare levels the field, and gives more citizens choices, as well as affordable health care. The debate right now is each party trying to explain how said new coverage would be paid for by the government. Interpretations all over the board, as well as a few misinterpretations.

    In the US, a hospital is run like a business, NOT A SERVICE (as in Canada). It would charge your insurance company for example something like $18 for a box of Kleenex, and this might help you better understand why some simple procedures that would be covered completely by the single payer Canadian system and cost you nothing, would actually cost an American citizen up-to hundreds of thousands of dollars. A business, run by hospitals and insurance companies.

    You can check more facts on and learn the intricate Obamacare, and why Republicans are generally against it.

    Keep in mind, if we are honest, we are not a nation of democracy anymore. We are a nation run by lobbyists, under the guise of religious beliefs.

    Rules and regulations have been loosened up tremendously in the past decade, allowing big corporations to actually run this country, Giving them more power to sway legal procedures, no matter the harm done to Americans.

  • Mavler

    I remember saying last year during the Occupy movement to a friend of mine that one of the problems was you had turned capitalism from an economic system into a political system, and that doesn't and can't work. Run by lobbyists is an understatement. Your constitution might as well read "For the corporations, by the corporations ... " but since "corporations are people my friend" I guess it already does.

  • BierceAmbrose

    you had turned capitalism from an economic system into a political
    system, and that doesn't and can't work. Run by lobbyists is an

    This is exactly right. I'm unclear how requiring people to purchase a product from already advantaged *huge* corporations helps this.

    I think the health care bill of a couple years back is simply the culmination of using a real concern to lock in massive rake-offs for the right people - the latest and largest con in the series of con's that have been "government health care" in the US.

    Feel free to dispute, but do use *results* from the current law, not *claims.*

  • malechai

    Wow, sounds complicated. I think I'll just stay up here in Canada and fuck bears.

  • abell

    I think it's Canadian's that fuck bears. Or Russians? I'm always getting them confused. One of them's afraid of the dark, I know that much for sure.

    In my personal experience, Canada has been a beautiful country full of nice people.

  • Mavler

    C'mon dude. We have the internet. We just watch bear porn now. It's much safer!

  • abell

    But there's no thrill there, no fear of death, no thick course bearfur against your skin ... I imagine

  • Mavler

    All joking aside I do have a synthetic polar bear rug for doing it on. I find it kinda itchy but my girlfriend LLLLoves it!

  • Mavler

    Oh, and I think we're the ones who are afraid of the dark. At least I've heard that joke before. I think Barney told it on HIMYM once.

  • Slash

    RE healthcare: The people opposed to the healthcare plan are stupid. That's really all you need to know about that. The program is not perfect, but using that excuse to have nothing at all is just goddam galloping stupidity. Or, if people would prefer, colossal assholishness of the "I got mine, fuck you" variety. Take your choice.

  • BierceAmbrose

    Why Slash, such an impossible choice. Stupid or asshole. Asshole or stupid. Can't I be a stupid asshole, oh please?

    Or we could talk about why I think a ministry of health like the British or Canadian systems is a bad idea, and why the current US "plan" is profoundly, fatally flawed - the parts that have been written, that is, and that's my first problem with it.

    I posted sketch of a counter proposal the last time this came up hereabouts. Nobody wanted to talk about that.

    And I didn't even *require* eating babies.

  • Slash

    Democrats weren't so far behind in 2008, but then most of the Democratic voters who were so gung-ho about elections for a couple weeks in that year sat around on their big fat asses in 2010 and let the Republicans pick up 63 seats in the House and 6 in the Senate. Also, apparently many "Independents" were turned off by Obama's inability to - in less than 2 years - fix the colossal clusterfuck George Bush (and other previous administrations) left him. Obama must have lost the "magic negro" wand that would have allowed him to singlehandedly fix our every problem.

  • Serpentlord

    This'll be a long one.

    Why aren't Americans aiming for Democratic majority in the Legislature?

    Because we all know it's pointless. In European and ex-colonial countries not south of Canada, you only need to run one election for one Legislature, and whoever gets a majority or forms a coalition elects the nations Head of Government. In America, we vote for one or two different Legislative Representatives for separate houses, and an executive separate from them.

    Sure, Americans can vote out their Legislatures if the will's there, but most Americans would rather have their nose broken than lose a long tenured representative. Longevity's the only way to get anything done on a local platform with significance. My mother, a lifelong Democrat who's own mother was taught to say "thank God for President Roosevelt" every time a Social Security check came in, voted for our state's Republican senator every election because he was the only representative who actually helped keep our town's only business economically viable.

    The system we have not only makes compromise and multiple parties undesirable at the Federal Level, it actively punishes people at the state level for going against it.

    Why do Americans hate public health care?

    Americans think public services not done by the Defense Department are crude, corrupt, and decrepit. You'll often see the Americans point to how crappy the U.S. Postal Service runs as a comparison to how high quality FedEx and U.P.S. are.

    Everything in that last paragraph is true, but few Americans actually know the reasons they're true. For one, our public services are terrible relative to our wealth because they're really old, and no serious effort has been made to fix our infrastructure in many years. Combined with an obstinate stance by the Republicans to repealing the Bush Tax Cuts, and the inevitability of the "Fiscal Cliff" or the possible Romney/Ryan ticket awaiting our countries future, this perception might stick around another half century.

    It's also true FedEx and U.P.S. both provide better quality service than the U.S. Postal Service. But FedEx and U.P.S. only bother to put in that effort because of the built in competition the Fed's provide. If the Postal Service shut down tomorrow, FedEx and U.P.S. would hit the dregs faster than Mitt Romney would drop a nuke on Mexico. If the U.S. keeps both private and public health services available, we'd have the best system in the world.

    You'll also see a lot of Constitutional and libertarian fundamentalists argue that if the Founding Fathers wanted government health care, they would've provided it from the very beginning; a position both completely absurd as well as an outright lie.

    Our first three presidents, as well as lesser known founders Thomas Paine and Alexander Hamilton, were enthusiastic supporters of federal healthcare. During the Revolutionary War, France, Belgium, and Spain all declared war on England in the middle of the conflict, and the British actually beat all three nations. The large movement of troops also brought a smallpox plague, which hit particularly hard on the cross-continental armies. Washington, the general not the city, knew that unless he could count on his Continental Army not contracting smallpox, the war was as good as finished. So in secret, he ordered every man serving in his army to be inoculated, and he was the first to take it.

    The only reason America won the war at all was because of socialized medicine. A fact John Adams knew very well when he passed "An Act for the Relief of Sick and Disabled Seamen" in 1798, which required hospitals and insurance for both public and private naval workers unless they wished for a tax penalty. Even Thomas Jefferson, Adam's staunchest political rival, supported this bill. America would've had a public health branch set up for everyone by 1798, but we just didn't have a lot of medical technology other than inoculation, amputation, alcohol, and opium back then.

  • BierceAmbrose

    In European and ex-colonial countries not south of Canada, you only need
    to run one election for one Legislature, and whoever gets a majority or
    forms a coalition elects the nations Head of Government.

    Some wag - not me - called parliamentary systems "Dictatorships punctuated by elections." When you pine for the freedom for the one you agree with to do what he wants, consider the same autonomy available to President Bush.

    Also, how's that parliamentary thing working out in general? Spain's doing, er, well, Ireland, um, France, yeah France ...

    My measured claim - "nuanced" one might say - is that a parliamentary system is not a panacea, nor is a divided government necessarily doom.

  • Serpentlord

    Some wag - not me - called parliamentary systems "Dictatorships punctuated by elections."

    I can't imagine how dense you'd have to be to think this.

    What advantage is there in directly electing your head of government? It's hard enough for someone to gain enough momentum to become a national candidate, so hard that there's no incentive for a third party to develop on a national level. And by the time someone gains the nomination, you can't kick them out of the election unless you want to kill your party's chances of winning.

    In addition, having the nation's executive in an entirely separate branch from the legislature consolidates the powers of government into one person instead of a group from every area of the nation. The man in charge of this group has zero incentive to work with the legislature, and is often encouraged into authoritarian politics to manage the country. Any party that isn't the executive's is given no reason to form a coalition, and in those kind of circumstances, the nations number of parties is weeded into two, giving even less reason to cooperate. The government becomes deadlocked, and then people start wanting to eliminate the legislative branch altogether, creating a dictatorship in all but name. The worst part? Sometimes eliminating the legislature becomes the countries only recourse of survival by this point.

    Also, how's that parliamentary thing working out in general? Spain's doing, er, well, Ireland, um, France, yeah France ...

    One of those countries isn't a parliamentary republic, the other two are having huge economic problems, but are in far less danger politically.

    Of the twenty two countries that have been democracies since 1950, only two have been presidential systems, and only one's a semi-presidential system. The other nineteen are parliamentary republics. The only presidential republic other than the U.S. on the list? Costa Rica.

    If the U.S. wants stable, functioning government in its future, we either need to eliminate the Legislative branch, or fuse the Executive and Legislative branches. Since the first option will fuck us over quickly, the last is our only choice.

  • BierceAmbrose

    Why yes, two of the places I named with huge economic problems have parliamentary systems. So, that's working out well.

    If a parliamentary system is indeed a panacea, what
    then is the cause of the problems - economic, governance, social, cultural - under each of the ninety-whatever parliamentary systems in place?

    I'm also a bit confused about "stability" as well. For example, England has lurched about quite a bit in what to nationalize, what not to nationalize. I'm not seeing a lot of stability as coalition governments change, in policy, scope of government, management of finances, and international relationships to name a few.

    Maybe I'm missing something. What counts as "stability."

    I don't buy it. I think problems emerging from governments are more bad actors than anything else. But that's just me.

  • abell

    Again, I'm the token Republican in this conversation, so, hi. I appreciate your condemnation of roughly 50% of my country as racist, rich, white folk. Similar to how half of your country fucks bears. I understand that it gets lonely up in the Great White North and when the only options are your sister or a bear, I'd make the same choice. Not for any moral reason, I just don't like hairy women. Wait, that was needlessly offensive and grossly unrepresentative of an entire country.

    I'm sorry.

    Moving on, no, the Democrats are not in a position to take Congress. Working from the NYT, there are roughly 81 House seats in contention. Of those, Democrats need to take 60 to control the House. It's not going to happen. The Senate is much more interesting. There are 18 seats in contention and it breaks down pretty evenly. Republicans are looking to pick up seats that the Democratic incumbents are not running in, like NE, ND, and WI, and look good to do it. Similarly, Democrats are looking to pick up mostly blue states that have moderate Republican sitting, like MA, ME, and NV (last one's a bit more complicated). Other than that, Democrats need to hold the seats they have. Theoretically, there is more upside for the Republicans this year, as they could take 13 seats from Democrats, while Democrats could take, at most 5 seats. Assuming a landslide either way, that gives you a Senate that is 60R-40D, or 58D-42R. Neither of those will happen. `Much more likely, it breaks 51 or 52 for either side (a few key states are up in the air), and nothing changes because, no one can block a filibuster, and the Republicans control the House.

    There's two different issues that people who are opposed to it have with the government involved in healthcare. The first is ideological and the second is economic. The ideological position is that the government should be restricted from interfering with the individual as much as possible so as to preserve the maximum possible freedom for the individual. Thus, healthcare is an affront on two levels. It creates new taxes (limiting the money an individual can choose to spend) and it removes options (an individual has no choice over what he/she is/isn't covered for, it's all run through the govt). I understand that you're happy with your healthcare, but, if you weren't, you wouldn't have another option, and that lack of options is deeply unsettling to many Americans. The economic position is that governments cannot provide as high quality goods as cheaply with as much availability as a free market. For a small scale example, you should look up how price floors or ceilings lead to supply shortages in the goods/services that the govt that dictated them sought to make more available. Any macroeconomics textbook should do. There's been a lot of research done on the systems used in different countries, and, there's a lot of contradiction. It seems safe to say that there's no perfect system and the best you can probably hope for is 2 of the 3 (quality, cost, availability).

    So, combine the perception that you'll have to pay more in taxes for worse care (which may or may not be true, we'll see soon) with the currently existing (and growing) $1.3 Trillion unfunded federal liability, and you can, hopefully, see why there's a strong push against government run healthcare in certain parts of the population.

    Finally, thanks, I need a good laugh. Ha. I promise you, both Democrats and Republicans have a long and storied history of playing dirty and have been for the past 4 years. As far as I can tell, politics in the US has been dirty for the past 216 years, an unbroken line of partisanship and mutually accusing the other guys of getting in the way, starting with Adams.

  • BierceAmbrose

    with the currently existing (and growing) $1.3 Trillion unfunded federal liability,

    Current annual deficit? That ain't the debt, which is somewhere around $16 Trillion, while estimates of "unfunded liability" for things like the one Med, the other Med and Social Security range from 30-40 to up over 150. Trillion.

  • Mavler

    I wasn't implying that 50% of your country is rich and racist. Just 50% of your government. It's a well known fact that 50% of Congress are millionaires so those Bush tax cuts ain't ever getting turned back. Apparently it's that extra 6% that breaks the bank. And when somebody like Mitch McConnell says it's his primary goal to ensure that Obama only gets one term how else are we supposed to interpret that? Cuz it's not like they're doing it by coming up with better solutions!

    Thank you however for explaining the health care issue from the other side. Everyone's been yelling about it from two extremes for so long that it's hard to find out what it is exactly we're arguing about. I guess the same way you don't trust the govt, I don't trust somebody who's trying to make a living. If you're looking out for your bottom line, how can I be sure you're really giving me the best care without me having to remortgage my house to pay for it? When you say that govt should be restricted from interfering with the individual so as to preserve freedom, I guess it just depends on what you think "interference" and "freedom" are. From my point of view when I drove down to Boston this summer and had to stop every 100 miles or so to pay a toll - which cost about $13 from start to finish, each way for a total of $26 - I saw this as interference. I'd much rather pay a little more tax upfront and be free to drive on the highway from coast to coast, uninterrupted. Freedom's a pretty dangerous term these days. It's been highly perverted by politicians on both sides. Most of the time when I hear people talk about freedom I feel like Inigo Montoya: You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.

  • BierceAmbrose

    I guess the same way you don't trust the govt, I don't trust somebody
    who's trying to make a living. If you're looking out for your bottom
    line, how can I be sure you're really giving me the best care without me
    having to remortgage my house to pay for it?

    The question is "What's to stop them?"

    I can fire someone "trying to make a living" by giving me crappy, expensive health care. I can't fire the government, and they extract payment for stuff I don't want using IRS agents who will raid your accounts via their very own tax courts, backed by people with guns. I'd rather work in a market. (Do not get me started about asset forfeiture laws.)

    *I* can fire someone who's giving me crappy care, but an *elected* middle man might decide that screwing me over & losing my vote is worth it to purchase two or more votes with what they took from me. I don't want my health care, or yours, subject to this kind of vote-arbitrage.

    You can't be sure you're getting the best care without ... being sure. Caveat emptor doesn't end when the government delivers a service. More the other way around.

    And what it takes to care for any given condition is ... what it takes. If it takes a house worth of effort and stuff, that's what it takes. If you're being *charged* more than it takes to deliver the care that's a different problem. Look around. Somebody's undercutting that price, if the price is jacked up. This is how we got the explosion in medical tourism, for example.

    Which brings the last fallacy. Companies in general get nowhere screwing their customers. The point of a company is to "create and sustain customers" said Peter Drucker. Pissing people off doesn't do that.

    *Legislated* monopolies, cartels, guilds and other organizations *with advantages outside the market* get to screw their customers and survive. This week, for me, it's Time Warner Cable having all my service up and down like a yo-yo for a day and a half. If they had any competition at all in my area, I'd not be with TWC. They're a utility, so have no competition, behave that way and I have no choice.

    Large companies over time tend to buy patronage to protect their position. The solution is less of that, not more power for the patrons.

  • BierceAmbrose

    I wasn't implying that 50% of your country is rich and racist

    That's true. You flat out said it. You might want to try starting out civil. Less time spent walking back insults.

  • Mavler

    I'm not walking anything back. My original comment was a bit different from that. How are you not insulted by the birther movement? How are you not insulted by a political party that refuses to work or cooperate with the other one? How can a government system built on compromise function when half of it refuses to compromise at all? That's just how it looks to some of us in the outside world.

  • BierceAmbrose

    On birtherism - I'm not a Republican, and there are idiots aplenty in any country-sized group. Politics attracts crazies. No skin off my nose.

    Shall I make an inventory of the embarrassing batshittery in other countries or may we consider that read?

    Crazies in one party or the other are less even than that here. US parties, being only two, have more of a flavor of coalitions than do parties under parliamentary systems. That's part of the confusion, I think. Because there are only two, the US parties try to build sufficient coalitions *within* the party. This leads to very strange bedfellows in the parties, more like the contents of a coalition government. Better to think of the US parties as arrangements of convenience, where people pick sides based on where they feel most appreciated, or the best chance of cashing out.

    I do think it's just quaint when our parties publish platforms. Like they can agree on the font, let alone anything else. You can see all you need to know about ideological cohesion in US parties from the video of the D's trying to pass a platform this last time around.

    As for "cooperation", I'm not insulted over *two* parties that refuse to cooperate with the other one, so *one* party being stubborn bugs me not at all. I do think you are being unfair to the Democrats. Declining to produce a budget is their prerogative while they hold the Senate, and proposing one at odds with his own debt commission, which garnered exactly no votes is similarly the President's prerogative. Pushing through a pile of legislation actively opposed by the majority using procedural tricks and maneuvers is just a sign of enthusiasm, in excess of their respect for anyone who thinks other than they do.

    "I won" and freezing the other party out of drafting the major legislation for the first two years was bad form, but the President was young and inexperienced at the time.

    You might have missed some of this, as it got little press in the us. They want what they want, and are willing to be stubborn about it. I say good for them.

    Our kind and respectful friends form outside the US do often forget that the population in the US - the people not the pols - skew further toward smaller more limited government than most of, say Europe. Our dear friends seem not to have noticed the historic-scale flip of seats in the US house this last time. Most of them ran on an explicit "stop this" platform.

    We, perhaps quaintly, continue to think that the people's expressed preferences matter, distinct from, for example, European countries willing to disregard their own referendums on joining or expanding the EU, when the answer came out wrong.

    I'm OK with being quaint.

  • Sara_Tonin00

    Tolls are an excellent case of government striking the balance between some subsidy, and some pay per use. As with most transportation (most infrastructure), it costs far more than we as individuals would pay on a per-use basis. So we ALL chip in, via taxes, regardless of use. And then those who actually USE it chip in more, via tolls. I do think it's the fairest system, even if it makes no one truly happy.

  • abell

    If we want to play the obstructionist game, I'd be happy to start adding links to bills that got passed by the Republican House in the past two years and went nowhere in the Senate, including a few federal budgets, but, that game has no winners. Same thing with the you're racist game.

    You don't trust someone who's trying to make a living. I can't help you there.

    Onto the toll roads. The toll roads are instituted at a state level, not the federal level. The state govts are expected to be more restrictive in your daily life than the federal govt. It's easy to move between states, so, if you feel that MA is to restrictive, you can, with minimal fuss, move to TX, or wherever. The tolls are usually sold as a way to pay for new roads, or maintenance and repair for those roads. Theoretically, tolls for new roads are expected to end once the initial cost of the new road has been paid back, but, that never really happens. As a sort of fund for maintenance, the justification is that you want to pay for the upkeep for the roads you drive on. Notice, these toll roads are much more common in the Northeast, where the snow and rain damages the roads, than in the Southwest, where I'm writing from. Most people who drive alot up there use a device called FAST (if I remember right, which I'm sure I don't) that lets you prepay and you just drive straight through the tolls, so, for them it does just operate as a yearly tax. Of course, the Northeast also has much better public transport than we do out here, so, there's that.

  • Sara_Tonin00

    I want to point out that there is no plan currently on the table for the U.S. to have government-run healthcare. It's not a plan. It's not Obamacare. No one is seriously working toward it. All the government-based reforms still count on private providers, just with some public financing. You lose no more options than any standard HMO - you can still go out of network, it'll just cost ya.

  • BierceAmbrose

    Here's the Republican part ...

    I think the Republicans on this issue, accidentally and temporarily were forced into proposing a semi-sensible solution on health care, only because the opposition had left them nowhere else to go. I think they're generally spineless and feckless, especially with domestic issues. They aren't generally evil. (There are individual exceptions.) They're neither smart, nor committed enough.

    I think the Democrats, and especially the "progressives" who roll up under the Democratic party want Nationalized Health Care(tm), regardless of its impact on access, total costs or any other damn thing and are willing to do any damn thing they can get away with to get it. I think they're smart, committed, and dead wrong.

    I think this is nuts:

    You ->> Your Employer ->> Some HMO ->> Your Doctor

    Changing this buy injecting purchasable hacks in Washington into every step makes it worse. The problem here is that your doctor's customer is the HMO, and the HMO's customer is your employer. Making the Feds their customer doesn't help.

  • BierceAmbrose

    I want to point out that there is no plan currently on the table for the
    U.S. to have government-run healthcare. It's not a plan.

    Sorry, Sarah, but bullshit. Our current president said as much, more than once, on video. Depending on the congresscritter, you can find similar first hand recordings of the same POV. The "plan" meaning the bill as written does not nationalize health care, but that's the "plan" as in where this is inevitably going. On purpose. Google is your friend.

    Now, was he & were they lying to pander to a "progressive" constituency who wanted to hear this, or lying to the rest of us? I don't mind people who want nationalized health care. I disagree. I do mind being conned.

    All the government-based reforms still count on private providers, just with some public financing.

    That's a very interesting definition. Look up "monopsony." Or have a look at "defense" procurement in the US. If you only have one customer, how much are you free to provide what you want? What does a market dominated by one purchaser do to other buyers? It ain't good.

    What I'm reading here is that until all the doctors work directly for the federal government, we don't have nationalized health care, despite being unable to, for example, open a treatment facility unless there's an approved certification of need, while the federal government pays or subsidizes "some" of the costs. At what point does "some" become "most" and who's in charge changes?

    So, it isn't nationalized because the feds don't "own" the bricks or the medical license, they just determine every single thing you can do with them, control most of the payments made, extract money for those payments whether you like it or not, and determine what may be paid for. Got it.

    I also dislike Tojan horses, and we're seeing some very interesting effects already from the current law, starting with the ever expanding number of "waivers" issued providing relief from minimum coverage requirements. So, does the HHS department suck for screwing all those lower-income workers out of "sufficient" coverage? Or maybe those minimum coverage requirements just plain can't be met?

    Were I cynical I'd think one advantage of the law was to create an unsustainable burden on businesses, who then must supplicate for waivers in order to survive. People who already have the administration's phone number obviously have an advantage.

  • Sara_Tonin00

    Bierce - are you in NYC? 'Cause I love a man I can argue with. Especially if he occasionally wins. I'm not sure I followed all of your arguments, but they seem to draw from more sources than I've looked into, so I appreciate them.

    As to my non-insurance: it's my cheapskatery (and general good health). I'm entirely freelance. And in good health. So, I can shell out $6K a year for insurance, or I can spin the wheel of fate. I always tell myself that next month is the month I'll stop gambling...but next month always seems to sneak by. In NYS, to get state-subsidized health insurance as an unmarried individual you must make about $14K a year, and it still costs $150-$220 per month.

  • BierceAmbrose

    Neighbors! That was high praise, too. Thank you.

    I'm in upState. I'll let you know if I get to The City, or you let me know if you get to the wilderness. I'd love to split a beer or three with you.

    I too am freelance at the moment. There's an access to coverage problem for people who aren't corporate wage slaves, on top of the cost. Some places the Chamber of Commerce offers plan access to its members. I've joined before, just for that. Have you looked at that in The City?

    You might find these guys interesting as a different kind of primary care provider, not available where we are:

    I think their approach can work a whole lot better than what we have, or what that ridiculous law says. I'm repeating myself, but

    - I'd like to break the link between employment and coverage, then subsidize people *individually* as needed. "Providing benefits" by forcing employers to offer this or that is disingenuous, evil, and makes this wrong connection worse.

    - I think the natural form for health care delivery is local, town-sized, purchasing coops for regular and customary care, plus catastrophic coverage.

    - I think health care is "expensive" because we're getting good at it, and will become more so. Yet, who doesn't want that new hip bringing its years of mobility and freedom from pain? The fact that we can spend tons of money on health care to good effect is a good thing.

    - I think someone limiting the health care that someone else can have, because it is "not worth it" is evil. Extorting money from one bunch of people to give another bunch the health care they "should" have is just as evil. Who made you god, to take the very life from one to feed another?

    - I think anyone limiting the health care they choose to have is just the kind of choice we make every day, now that we're out of the caves.

    I am sorry I get obscure sometimes. The gig leaves me little time. The other challenge for me is I'm usually thinking kind of sideways about this stuff, about feedback and incentives. Much of the ranting about health care is simply shouting "Bad thing", "Bad thing!"

    That won't tell you where a policy will steer things - it's rarely exactly what you intend.

    At this link there's a well-known piece on how to steer systems where you want, or try to. That's probably the recurring weird thing I end up saying: "This won't steer things where you think it will."

    Stay well in any event.

  • Sara_Tonin00

    Thanks for the Qliance link - I'll check that out. Most likely option for me is coverage by Freelancers Union. I just keep hemming and hawing over going high deductible and never using it, or getting the regular and actually doing normal things like check ups.

    I am familiar with much of the upstate, having gone to college at Alfred, grandparents in Callicoon (once upon a time), and lived/worked a year in Auburn. Stay well yourself.

  • abell

    Yes, of course, I was just responding to the question about why we're against government run healthcare across the board, rather than issues with the ACA. Thank you for helping me clarify.

  • Serpentlord

    An individual would only choose not to have healthcare to save money, which is something you'd only be shortsighted and desperate enough to do if you're to poor to afford insurance.

    Public healthcare like the NHS isn't as expedient or high quality as the expensive private health care in the U.S., but nobody outside the communist party is stupid enough to advocate eliminating private hospitals in America. More importantly, private hospitals themselves will drastically improve once they don't have to take the burdens of uninsured patients needing emergency visits, a service America's always been terrible at.

    You also fail to grasp two of the most basic principals in economic history:

    1) Rich people are cheap, otherwise, they'd never stay rich. With the exception of outliers like Henry Ford, they'll never take risks unless they have no other choice. If tax cuts for them improves the economy, the U.S. would still be booming, and the discussion about people not being able to afford medical care wouldn't be happening. We're not, so we are.

    2) Sick people are unproductive, so they'll never generate the revenue needed for their care. You have some people who save up enough for every emergency, but even they aren't actually generating revenue.

  • Mavler

    I do not fail to grasp these two principals. I assume you mean terminally ill people though in #2 though. Obviously if people get better/fixed up/healthy then they can go back to work and be productive again.

    Just because I'm for universal health care doesn't mean I'm against private medicine as well. Hey man, if you can and want to pay for the best there is you should absolutely be able to do that. I'm all for the upgrade. But everyone should have some basic level of care available to them all the time. That's all I'm saying.

  • Serpentlord

    I'm all for both private and public care, so I completely agree.

  • abell

    The entire choice about healthcare thing isn't saying that you're going without, instead, that you have options between more appropriate for you.. There are 4 key points to writing health insurance policy. First, there's the maximum individual exposure, how much they're willing to pay at any given time. There's the maximum total exposure, how much they're willing to give you entirely. There's the claims aspect, what procedures they will or won't cover. Finally, there's the premium, which is determined by all of those factors, combined with the underwriting risk assessment of how expensive you're likely to be. It should be noted that underwriting is a subjective system, and even if it looks like math, the inputs that different underwriters use vary and affect your premiums. Now, I'm a mid-20's male, with no serious history of medical problems (minor things here or there). That said, barring a serious accident, I'm not looking at lengthy stay in the hospital anytime soon. As I don't make a lot of money, again mid 20's, I might be willing to try to find a policy with less coverage, because, I'm probably not going to get cancer. Similarly, I may be able to switch carriers because, as I said before, underwriting is subjective and one carrier may think I'm not as risky as another. This freedom to try to find a policy that covers what I need and might not bankrupt me doesn't seem unreasonable. I can't imagine it would be preserved in any true govt healthcare system, though it actually is in the ACA.

    Since we've never seen anything quite like the ACA, we don't have a lot to compare it to, and I'm not going to make predictions about where it will or won't save costs.

    Not sure where the tax cuts thing ties into this.

    Finally, I thought that the purpose of universal healthcare was that everybody deserved it, not that it was better for the economy. If that's the standard that you're going to use, then, we'll run into a point where the cost of an individual's healthcare will be greater than their projected future economic value and then it will no longer be justifiable to provide them healthcare.

  • Serpentlord

    This freedom to try to find a policy that covers what I need and might not bankrupt me doesn't seem unreasonable. I can't imagine it would be preserved in any true govt healthcare system, though it actually is in the ACA.

    It's already bankrupting you, the U.S. spends double what Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Norway, Sweden, and the U.K. spend per capita. People are about as capable of judging whether or not they'll need healthcare as they are judging whether they'll be in a car accident. With mandatory preventative care covered by the government or mandatory insurance, you can catch illnesses you can treat for around a hundred dollars before they become surgeries costing several grand, months of recovery, and possibly your life.

    It happened to me a month ago. I'm a few years younger than you, but my insurance is actually good. So I popped in for my annual dentist visit, and found out I had gingivitis. At this stage, I can cure it with flossing and folic acid, which is very cheap, and rather painless.

    A friend of mine in her early 40's isn't so lucky. She has the exact same problem I have, and gingivitis is just as easy to treat in early stages now as it was in 1992. But she grew up poor, and I didn't, so the disease I'm treating for pennies and minutes is the disease she's treating with several months, a few sacrificial teeth, and thousands of dollars spent on the most painful surgery in the world four times in a row.

    Since we've never seen anything quite like the ACA, we don't have a lot to compare it to, and I'm not going to make predictions about where it will or won't save costs.

    Every non-terrible country in the world, and several outright crappy countries like Dominica, Oman, and Singapore have shown that everyone in the country having access to healthcare saves money, and helps the citizens. This works even when your country's desperately poor, psychotically autocratic, and/or any other possible problem the nation could possess.

    Finally, I thought that the purpose of universal healthcare was that everybody deserved it, not that it was better for the economy.

    These aren't mutually exclusive, but a lot of the debate around the issue covers expense. I just wanted to point out everyone who says it won't work, including you, is wrong both morally and fiscally.

    There are debates on what services a government should or shouldn't cover. It's always wrong for private healthcare to be made illegal by a government. It's also always right for the government to mandate healthcare for everyone in the country.

  • Sara_Tonin00

    On your last point - that's the amazing irony of the fact that those anti the healthcare plan were crying about "death panels" at the same time that was part of the logic they had against the plan in the first place

  • Yup, those first two years wasted trying to be bi-partisan were infuriating - I hope if Obama gets a do over he doesn't make that mistake again.

    Down here in New Zealand we also have a socialized health care system (referred to as communism in America, I believe?). We also have 'Pharmac', a government agency that buys all medical supplies and medications for NZ thereby ensuring we as a nation get a massive bulk buy discount from the (mostly US) drug companies.

    Big Pharma don't like that, and evidently it won't be allowed under the new TPP Agreement (the trans pacific 'partnership' - a free trade agreement various pacific rim countries are hatching in secret) so not only are things sh!t in America, but they're making it worse for the rest of us too.

  • Sara_Tonin00

    We don't call socialism communism. Socialism itself has become a dirty enough word, alas.

  • Mavler

    Socialism isn't communism isn't the Soviet Union. The first two aren't bad things. The third one isn't either depending on your point of view and level of childhood brainwashing.

  • Sara_Tonin00

    I learned the difference in an 8th grade history class, when I supposedly prepared a debate against socialism. It was more about Stalin, who my history teacher pointed out a) definitely wasn't socialist b) was more dictator than communist. One of the few times I was called on bullshitting rather than researching/analytical thinking. (one of the few times I genuinely learned something?)

  • Sara_Tonin00

    People have "against health care" the idea that they might have to pay for someone else's well-being instead of, supposedly, each individual taking responsibility for his/her own. It's dumb, and not even effective.

    Dems have been talking somewhat about pushing for a Congressional majority, but not enough. And states that have conservative districts but are clearly going to go for Obama are certainly not getting enough attention. On the flip side, states where Mitt is definitely not going to win are getting a push from Republicans on the ground level.

  • Mavler

    You aren't paying for someone else's health care and treatment. You are paying for your eventual treatment. We will, each of us, get sick - possibly very sick - and either get better or die. This is inevitable. You can't think "this won't happen to me so I'm not gonna make any plans for it." My father had a massive stroke this spring and the doctor said he was in great shape and there wasn't anything that could've been done to prevent it. It was just one of those things. So while he was receiving some of the best possible care in world (we lucked out being so close to that particular hospital) the one thing that never, ever crossed our minds was "how are we going to pay for this?" Wouldn't you want to live in that world?

    Now for my one condescending remark: For a "Christian" nation, you sure don't like helping your fellow man out too much. This fuck-you-I-got-mine attitude isn't going to work out so well for anybody.

  • BierceAmbrose

    Now for my one condescending remark: For a "Christian" nation, you sure
    don't like helping your fellow man out too much. This
    fuck-you-I-got-mine attitude isn't going to work out so well for

    Yes, that was condescending. Knowing that, you said it anyway, while discussing charity. That's an interesting choice.

    Charity is personal, and we in the US routinely trump every other developed nation on charitable giving. You might want to look that up.

    Having a government ministry of being charitable, well, some of us find that distasteful, while "Christian" doctrine and similar doctrines from other faiths recognize mandated "charity" as no charity at all. You might want to look that up.

  • Alarmjaguar

    Wow, same thing happened to my Dad this summer. Without medicare, my family would have been screwed (not that medicare isn't without its problems, but trust me, I've learned a lot about the Am health care system - and privatization is *not* a good thing! I say that through very personal experience)

  • Sara_Tonin00

    I was just explaining what those "against health care" think. It's not my opinion. Hence the "supposedly." My comment "It's dumb, and not even effective" referred to that flawed point of view, as opposed to a system of universal health care.

    Paying for other people's care is inherent in the system if you are a healthy person. That is the crux of Obamacare - that "healthier" people must buy in to help float those chronically unhealthy. (That being said, Obamacare is not socialist and does not really go far enough).

    Of course *I* want to live in a world where everyone is taken care of and knows it. I'm borderline socialist. I am also uninsured, and having spent all day Saturday at the ER with my sick uninsured friend, very, very aware of how precarious my position is. On the flipside, I'm also aware that if I become very ill or injured, I do bear responsibility for my lack of insurance - as I know how the system works and I'm currently not making the sacrifices necessary to have some.

    Now, the snide "Christian" nation comment isn't appreciated. We aren't actually a "Christian nation," though we are made up predominantly of Christians by heritage. As noted below, Americans are quite charitable. But many Christians also go by the saying "God helps those who help themselves."

    I'm sure I've been confusing. I think people should do their best to take personal responsibility for their well-being and the well-being of their families. I think the government in some cases and society in others should assist when they are unable to.

    I am in favor of universal health care.

  • BierceAmbrose

    Of course *I* want to live in a world where everyone is taken care of and knows it. ... On the flipside, I'm also
    aware that if I become very ill or injured, I do bear responsibility for my lack of insurance - as I know how the system works and I'm currently not making the sacrifices necessary to have some.

    Here's a kicker, Sarah. I bet you and I could come up with something we could both live with, that would take care of the horrible problems - health disasters, preexisting conditions, folks without jobs. I don't know if you read my sketch of a counterproposal the last time we went 'round on this one. Did you?

    I would like to live in a world where everyone is taken care of if they can't take care of themselves and knows it. I'm OK with subsidizing people with bad luck. I'm not OK with subsidizing, out of my life or yours, people who choose to be artists but "shouldn't have to worry about health care", as Speaker Pelosi said in the run up to passing the current bill. I don't want to subsidize people who make lazy or self-indulgent choices.

    I would like to live in a world where everyone can produce so much value that they can easily afford the best health care our ever improving technology can offer. We won't get to "everyone" but I think we could get closer than you might imagine, if we could bring ourselves to get out of people's way.

    I'm bugged that you aren't covered by some kind of universal care - and I wonder how that can be with the programs we already have - but I'm more bugged that "universal care" seems divorced from "taking care of ones self." I'm bugged that with your obvious talent, we can't get you applied somewhere that you could take care of yourself - food, shelter, medical needs. (I don't mean to pry. If you're entangled in circumstance, that's a different thing, and of course we, who dodged the meteor, should kick in.)

    You said "bear responsibility", and that's right. You bear responsibility for taking care of yourself the best you can. It's your life, after all. Living it, supported by other people makes you a parasite. Maintaining health takes stuff, and skill and effort. Health care takes work. Where does that come from? If you don't want to be a doctor with one patient, or do without, you can offer value you produce for the value of medical care. We ought to make it easier for you to produce value - we'd all gain. I would love for you to be able to produce - to earn - enough to compensate the people who would work to keep you healthy, plus kick in a little extra to cover people entangled in bad luck. I'd gladly do the same.

    Thing is, I don't trust the bastards to leave it at that. Rather, they'll turn it into (more of a) a rake-off program for their chosen clients, which they have already, BTW. I'll have to provision that patronage system from chunks of my life, and you from yours, unless we're willing to become clients ourselves, bought with service extracted from someone else. My choice is to be an extortionist or a sap. That sucks.

    While the US Health Care bill was being debated, Speaker Nancy Pelosi said out loud, on film, that is someone wants to be an artist, they shouldn't have to be concerned about health care. What she means is that the health care services used by someone who wants to be an artist, but isn't very good at it, should be provided by someone else. I don't think I, or you, should subsidize some potential artist's poor or self-indulgent choices.

    I want to help people, but I also believe people should take care of themselves as far as they are able. Often that means doing what you are good at vs. what you prefer, if that's what it takes to take care of yourself. This is just life, yet preferable to living as an extortionist, whatever Nancy Pelosi might say.

  • Mavler

    I put Christian in quotation marks to emphasize my sarcasm. Unlike Michelle Bachmann and the rest of the Tea Party I actually understand the real meaning of "separation of Church and State." (It means that Jeebus has no place in polite society in case you needed a refresher.)

  • abell

    Again, that's really not what it means. Religion is important and should be involved in the government. It's the foundation for much of our moral system, and just as legitimate a basis for law as Kantian philosophy. Law comes from morality, wherever we get that morality. The First Amendment, where our separation of church and state thing comes from, only says that you can't restrict other's from their own worship. It's not saying that you shouldn't ask what Jesus would think about taxation, (and if you bring up Mark 10:25, I will be happy to go into a bible study conversation), it's saying that you can't require loving Jesus to be a citizen. Or, that you can't outlaw crucifixes because, them Papists are idol worshipers.

  • Mavler

    Well I guess I should've spoken more literally. It goes all the way back to Martin Luther and while government obviously can't restrict people's choice to worship, it's supposed to prevent the church from exuding power over the government too. It's great if your religious. Good for you. I'm not and don't want to be, and sure as shit don't want to be politically represented by someone who believes Adam and Eve lived with the dinosaurs.

  • abell

    Referring to your second condescending remark, you're quite wrong. On the one hand, American's are relatively against government redistribution; personally, we are the most charitable country in terms of donated % of GDP per capita by quite a bit. There are complications, but, it's not actually a misrepresentation, Americans are personally charitable.

  • Kailan_Sunshine

    Have Colbert moderate and it will be perfect.

  • dizzylucy

    Somehow I feel like this will be more honest and informative than the actual debates. I'm there.

  • Sara_Tonin00

    I want to get together a gang to watch...but why do I feel like either my internet or computer will let me down on this one?

  • Miss Laaw-yuhr

    Was trying to get tickets and the site has, not surprisingly, crashed.

  • ERM

    I like that they are doing it for charity.

  • Pookie

    Run down the clock, don’t say anything stupid? What the fuck are you talking about, Rowles? Obama is going out there to put his foot in Romney’s ass, Obama smells blood. Have you been paying attention for the last four plus years, Obama isn’t the type of guy that does just enough to get by. Look Rowles, we don’t expect you to know the intricacies of politics, basically we expect you to fawn over Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Dr. Who, and to sit up there looking pretty while doing it. Leave the rough and tumble of politics to us.

  • BlackRabbit

    Who's us? I will ask why anyone is surprised about the "personal attacks and negativity" of this campaign. They're ALWAYS like this, have been and will be forever and ever. It's just somewhat uglier this year because we have a Kenyan Muslim socialist terrorist sympathizer as president.*

    *Well, that's what I heard!

  • TherecanbeonlyoneAdmin

    (Growing up, I knew kids who got government cheese, and that sh*t was awesome. It taste SO good after a crack rock).

    I don't know how you could even taste that cheese with your tongue planted so firmly in your own cheek.

  • Sara_Tonin00

    Government cheese is ok. Government raisins are terrible. (we had to rehydrate the ones my grandparents gave us. Even though we could afford store bought raisins. My grandma got them because she could, and gave them to my mom. Mom made us eat them because we are not wasteful. Terrible cycle.)

  • Fabius_Maximus

    Hah! You try and grow up with parents who were born in or shortly after WWII. That pickled herring that's been lying in the fridge for two weeks in that container with the slowly rising top, and that smells a bit funny?

    My father will eat that.

  • Sara_Tonin00

    Father: 1939 Mother: 1941.

    So I know whereof you speak. Dad cleaned the bones after every meal.

  • Jezzer

    Fruit that isn't fit for human consumption, and she made you eat it? Has this woman never heard of fruitcake? You bake that shit into a dense log and mail it to some lucky relative.

  • Sara_Tonin00

    I'm not a fruitcake ethnicity, fortunately.

    Those stupid raisins. I seriously almost broke a tooth. And was told to let them soak in my cereal milk longer. Also: they came in a giant margarine-bucket type container. It was just like you envision: white with a plain black Helvetica-like font.

  • Jezzer

    I shudder to think of the Google hits we're gonna get from "Bill O'Reilly" and "fruitcake ethnicity."

  • Guest

    What do you have against fruitcake ethnicities?

    Nevermind . . . that question answers itself!

  • hapl0

    It’s going to be kind of awesome, and surely more informative than the actual presidential debates, which will probably entail Obama trying to run down the clock...

    Wait. We hate Obama? When the hell did this happen?

  • pajiba

    What? There's no hate there. It's just probably what he'll do because he can. It's what everyone does when they're holding a lead going into the debates: Don't say anything stupid, remain as uncontroversial as possible, and say nothing until the clock runs out.

  • hapl0

    Hahaha. My bad.

    I was still sipping on my Seattle's Best Coffee when I typed that. Bloody vanilla, should have gone with hazelnut.

  • TherecanbeonlyoneAdmin

    No, no, no. The key to Obama winning those debates is getting Romney to talk as much as he possibly can. If he can also get Paul Ryan to espouse some oral diarrhea so much the better.

  • Green_Eggs_and_Hamster

    The contest between Ryan and Biden should be truly epic. I can't wait to see which one will come up with the most ridiculous statement of the debate. Both of these guys have a real chance to say something to completely screw up their respective campaign.

  • AngelenoEwok

    Upvoted you just for your name (but I like your comment too).

  • Maguita NYC

    Ryan is being coached by Ted Olsen, of all people. Ted Olsen is one of two star attorneys leading the American Foundation for Equal Rights fighting currently Prop 8 (!!!) in courts.

    Yes, it does oddly feel like Ted is coaching the wrong side. But he is brilliant, and it scares me what he may actually do with a very willing Paul Ryan; A man known for his determination.

    Hope Biden doesn't get too arrogant and preps properly as well.

  • Serpentlord

    Ryan will win the screwup contest, likely after accidentally praising Ayn Rand right as Pope Benedict decides to drop into the VP Debate in a surprise visit.

  • Green_Eggs_and_Hamster

    I think you are "misunderestimating" Biden. I see this as a match-up between two heavy wight champs. Biden has the longer history of Big F*cking deal level verbal gaffes. He has kept his head down lately, but by any objective measure he should be considered the favorite for spouting some kind of stupidity. On the other hand, Ryan is the up and comer. He has been in the spotlight lately, and he is on everyone's mind, so he is coming in as the favorite.

    I just think people are overlooking the old workhorse in Biden. Old Joe can stick his foot in his mouth with the best of them.

  • Serpentlord

    True, but I actually want Biden to hold high level political positions. I'm not even bothering with impartiality.

  • Maguita NYC

    This is going to be amazing! I am rubbing my hands together, while my toes are wiggling with glee.

    Thank you for posting this @Dustin, I truly want to watch this debate live with the more-than-knowledgeable Pajibans. See you all on the open thread, October 6th. And don't forget to update your Politificats beforehand.

  • The Other Agent Johnson

    Stewart: Hey, Bill. Whaddaya think about the idea of a debate between just you and me.

    O'Reilly: Sure, why not.

    Stewart: OK, we can tape it on --

    O'Reilly: WE'LL DO IT LIVE!

    Stewart: OK, OK. Jesus.

  • piedlourde

    I snarted. Snorted and... yeah, you know.

  • AngelenoEwok

    That is still the best Bill O'Reilly thing ever.

  • AudioSuede

    Hey, wage slave! Get back to earning the minimum wage your corporate godfathers graciously allow you to suckle from their golden teats, and stop listening to freeloaders talk about their Socialist dairy products that are also FASCIST!

    Work hard enough, we may even let you have a health voucher for a fourth of the cost of actual coverage. MAY.

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