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Why Watch the Vice Debate?

Tuesday night is the debate of the Vice Presidential candidates: Governor Mike Pence of Indiana and Senator Tim Kaine of Virginia. Most people don’t know who these people are, but that shouldn’t deter anyone from watching them debate.

First of all, if Trump is elected he would be the oldest person ever to assume the presidency. If Clinton is elected, she would be the second oldest. So their vice presidential picks have a better than normal chance of assuming the presidency.

Second, who a presidential candidate picks to be their second says a lot about the candidate.

In particular, I think it will be good for people to get to know Tim Kaine. It turns out that I know someone well who lives in the same city as Kaine, and is friends with him. He thinks Kaine is great. I think he could be a rising star in the Democratic party, so he is worth getting to know.

Besides, this may be our only chance to see a debate about actual policies for a change, which is something we claim we want to see.



  1. Dave, TN wrote:

    Like Hillary Tim Kaine was a repulican that turned Democrat. But one difference is that Tim held a position of importance as a Republican. I suspect with the emergence of Trump you will see more “use to be republiecans” coming out of the dark.
    I count myself among them, it has been thirty years now and i do not regret the decision one bit. In fact with the extreme nature of the republiecan party surfacing I am now more than ever convinced that the Republican party has gone around the bend and aint comin’ back to the light for some time to come.

    Tuesday, October 4, 2016 at 8:32 am | Permalink
  2. Iron Knee wrote:

    I am afraid you are right, Dave. Unfortunately, at this point the only chance the Republicans have of getting elected is by demonizing the Democrats with lies and propaganda. Trump is just a continuation of this longstanding strategy. And it works — they have a large percentage of Americans convinced that Hillary Clinton lies and is untrustworthy, which is the only reason Trump has any chance of winning the presidency.

    What could possibly be an alternative strategy for them?

    Tuesday, October 4, 2016 at 9:15 am | Permalink
  3. Hassan wrote:

    Finally some Democrats seeing the light. I am not sure how politically will it play out though.

    Tuesday, October 4, 2016 at 10:07 am | Permalink
  4. Dave, TN wrote:

    Ik the Republiecans would first recognize that the trickle down economics model no matter what you want to call it has failed time and time again. The next step to try a different approach, one that does not push wage disparities as a good thing for anybody but the rich. The instability of our economy teeters on conditions similar to what led to the great depression in twenties and that was not good for all levels of society. But electing a millionaire (to be honest) whose credentials are slash and burn bankruptcys and short changing contractors to oversee an economy is not what I call a good start. Maybe the Republiecans can reset themselves and become a party of new ideas again before the next election but I won’t hold my breath.

    Tuesday, October 4, 2016 at 12:25 pm | Permalink
  5. ebdoug wrote:

    Question on “What do you think?
    If it were possible, would you want President Obama to serve at third term?

    No opinion

    Tuesday, October 4, 2016 at 3:23 pm | Permalink
  6. Ralph wrote:

    Hassan – Bill Clinton was, perhaps inartfully, expressing what even the most ardent supporters of Obamacare have come to realize; that the subsidies offered for lower income recipients and the penalties on (mostly younger and healthier) people opting out were both too low to be sustainable at premium prices. But it was the best Obama could hope to pass through a hostile Congress at the time. Single-payer was a non-starter.

    His “craziest thing in the world” description was really a prelude to his larger message later on – this “free market”, for-profit healthcare economy is not working for enough people. The very nature of healthcare, with its inelastic demand (who shops for a doctor if you get hit by a bus or have a heart attack or stroke?) and fee-for-service (versus outcomes based) business model, coupled with Congress’ restrictive regulations (eg. Medicare can’t negotiate drug prices, as is common in other countries) practically guarantees the exorbitant prices and rampant inflation we’ve been seeing for decades. The black-box of hospital fees are a whole other dimension to this. So it should come as no surprise that ACA premiums have soared the past couple years and profit-motivated insurers have begun to balk and walk. It’s not only a problem with the ACA either. Employers have been shifting more and more costs to covered employees as well over the years.

    The very notion that healthcare operates under a free market model is absurd on its face to begin with. For example, it’s common for big pharma to lobby Congress mandating this or that drug be included in the formulary insurers should be obligated to cover, often under the guise of some medical “rationale”. Predictably, said drug then experiences rampant price inflation which often flies under the radar until someone cries foul, as if that’s the solution.

    The FDA and patent office are under-funded and under-staffed, and big pharma’s manipulation of the patent system, which allows them to artificially extend protections on branded products by minor formulation tweaks, can again be traced back to a heavily lobbied Congress, which treats sensible regulations like the plague. With this lack of oversight, even generics (eg. the recent Mylan and Turing scandals) and orphan class drug markets have been manipulated and abused to allow pharmaceutical companies to monopolize markets and inflate prices beyond all humanitarian reason. Decades old lifesaving drugs, like epinephrine (adrenaline) or insulin, which cost pennies per dose to manufacture but now cost more than many can afford, is evidence enough that the system is hopelessly broken and getting worse.

    It’s never going to get any better either until we take a clue from the rest of the industrialized world and move to a single-payer system (ie. Medicare for all). It’s not perfect elsewhere either, what is? But what we have now is simply unsustainable in the long term. At least not without a lot more people falling through the cracks and too often suffering or dying as a result. There’s no reason either we couldn’t have a layered system of single-payer and private insurance for those who can afford a higher tier of goods and services. No one is arguing for an all or nothing system, despite what some politicians may suggest.

    This is a touchy subject with me because I’ve worked in drug discovery for 30 years and it greatly bothers me that too many still cannot afford the fruits of our labor, too often because of excessive profiteering and politics.

    It never ceases to amaze me that we have virtually unlimited funding for a military industrial complex that is larger than the next dozen countries combined, you know, ostensibly to protect the “homeland”. But when it comes to protecting its citizens’ health, not so much. It’s like Uncle Joe Biden once said, “Don’t tell me what your values are. Show me your budget and I’ll tell you what your values are.”

    So that’s my long-winded story and I’m stickin’ with it!

    Tuesday, October 4, 2016 at 3:31 pm | Permalink
  7. ebdoug wrote:

    Doctors have a real scam going. “Come back in a year.” This is their guaranteed income. Your yearly visit when you don’t need one.
    Basal cell. “no nothing is wrong, we will biopsy it to humor you.” Yes, it was basal cell. Removed, it reoccurred same place a couple of years later. This wonderful PA did not say “come back in a year.
    Fast forward to the quack I saw because he was closer. I didn’t have to travel an hour to see him. “Nope nothing wrong, but we will biopsy this tiny, tiny thing.” Basal cell going into squamous, next stage. He removes that. Six months later a recurrence. I go back. This time no one questions me. Basal cell. So now I’ve diagnosed four out of four cancers before I saw them. And when I went back for the check up after surgery “Come back in a year” so I can get your insurance money. Needless to say I’ll wait until I diagnose another basal cell.

    Heart doctor. I had an accident this summer. Cut off the blood supply to my head. Saw heart doctor. Two tests, very normal. “Come back in a year.” As the card game says “I doubt it.”

    And then I saw a urologist for a very prolonged kidney stone attack (over six weeks). “I’m not going to ask you to come back in a year. I don’t need the money.” What a scam. This one was honest.

    Tuesday, October 4, 2016 at 9:02 pm | Permalink
  8. ebdoug wrote:

    And about the Vice Presidential Debate. As I thought Pence is Prostituting himself to a man who would tell his daughter that if she is sexually harassed at work, she should get another job. Poor Poor Pence to compromise his values so much. At least he is Catholic and can go to confession.

    Tuesday, October 4, 2016 at 9:05 pm | Permalink