Comments: One Sentence, Three Lies

Word.

Posted by Cloud at March 22, 2010 02:29 PM

You're more happy than sad that a 'monstrosity' passed? Hmmm. Is that your honest opinion?

Posted by N E at March 22, 2010 02:59 PM

The "guaranteed" is questionable, as well. The fine print often says otherwise.

Still, you have to love the idea of fines for people who don't buy private insurance. All those healthy just-out-of-college types, who previously could afford (actuarially-speaking) a few years of carefree living, will now be on the hook. Gotcha!

Think 'On the Road,' underwritten by Aetna.

Posted by Oarwell at March 22, 2010 03:52 PM

"Higher-quality lies" ... higher-quality, as in, more cleverly constructed and presented?

Or as in, more brazen and ballsy and inaccurate on a mind-bending and/or geopolitical scale?

Or as in, closer to the truth, but still notably false?

Please, sir, define your terms.

Obama's statement is clearly false, but in a puffed-up PR kind of way. Bush's lies had more direct and tragic consequences. I would call Bush's lies a higher-quality, because of the brass balls and soullessness that lay behind the lies, and the horrifying destruction that resulted. That's quality.

Posted by laym at March 22, 2010 05:11 PM

Well said, Jonathan, thank you. And yet, like N E, I'm wondering why you're "more happy than sad that this monstrosity passed"? Would it hurt you to elaborate? I'm mostly sad. I'm especially sad that hardly anybody wants to even mention Single Payer much less talk about it, or the so called Public Option whatever that is. David Sirota is asking everybody to go to Firedoglake and sign the appeal that might encourage Senator Bennet from Colorado to introduce a public option amendment to the bill the House just passed that the Senate has to vote on again next... What's your opinion of that?

Posted by Grandpa Ken at March 22, 2010 05:13 PM

oarwell

It's hard to make something mandatory without any consequences for ignoring the requirement. The healthy care-free kids should theoretically get pretty cheap health insurance, but i'm no fan of this stupid set-up, which is all about political compromises. If we had a single-payer system, we could insure everyone without all the paperwork for less than this mess will cost. But that would be socialism. That's really the great irony to me. We have to unnecessarily devote enormous resources to ridiculous levels of bureaucracy and paperwork to avoid socialism.

Posted by N E at March 22, 2010 05:52 PM
We have to unnecessarily devote enormous resources to ridiculous levels of bureaucracy and paperwork to avoid socialism.

a 'socialism' we already have working in the country in a way that's so popular many of its recipients refuse to recognize it as a gov't program.

as w/ finance head-bashing, this is all about the industry using its ongoing windfall to avoid the haircut it deserves, by world standards.

Posted by hapa at March 22, 2010 08:01 PM

It's hard for any liberal to wish for health care insurance reform to fail completely and so I hoped this would pass, sort of, although I'm avoiding the blogs celebrating this as a great progressive victory because I don't think I can bear to read such stuff today.

Posted by Susie at March 22, 2010 08:42 PM

Wow. That is a whopper. Every American? Guaranteed? High quality? Affordable? Health care?

And all those healthy, young people -- well, now they can stay on their parents' insurance until 28 or so, if their parents have insurance and can afford it. When do the younguns start having to pay the mandate? When they find jobs? Are they going to find jobs by 2014? Will their insurance be subsidized if they can't find jobs? Will they be fined if they can't find jobs and can't pay the mandate? If they choose to live in communes and prefer to sit in trees or squats or be freegan or active in Palestine?

Posted by Emma at March 22, 2010 09:57 PM

Oarwell, you write,
"Still, you have to love the idea of fines for people who don't buy private insurance. All those healthy just-out-of-college types, who previously could afford (actuarially-speaking) a few years of carefree living, will now be on the hook. Gotcha!"

Possibly you are being sarcastic. However, if you really believe that the majority of people who do without health insurance in this country are doing so voluntarily, you are delusional.

Posted by Jonathan Versen at March 23, 2010 01:08 AM

This post makes me feel somewhat optimistic about what this might ultimately lead to:
http://www.washingtonmonthly.com/archives/individual/2010_03/022846.php

It also occurs to me that the main thing this bill accomplishes is replacing the old unsustainable status quo with a new unsustainable status quo, which isn't necessarily a bad thing. So I do expect better reform in the future. How much better I can't say.

Posted by godoggo at March 23, 2010 01:12 AM

Incy wincy DNA, that's all.

Posted by Tor Hershman at March 23, 2010 03:19 AM

So do you want Bush and company back?

The perfect is the enemy of the good my friends. This is a first step toward taking our country back from thirty years of wrong-way government.

Posted by Jack at March 23, 2010 10:05 AM

If the perfect is the enemy of the good, then is the lousy the enemy of the bad?

Well, I guess one can hope!

Posted by Susan at March 23, 2010 10:22 AM

And seriously, do take a look at that url I pasted above. Benen's point was that Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security, and the Civil Rights Act were very limited in scope as originally passed and improved upon later. So the thing to do is to keep pushing for better reform, rather than bitch cynically about what we've got so far.

Posted by godoggo at March 23, 2010 11:03 AM

In a way, it shows that socialism works (that they have to go to this trouble to avoid the better solution re "socialized medicine)--and that the capitalist elite know it works. If people started liking socialism, the elites would have a shit fit.

Point is, capitalism is a failed ideology.

Posted by AnarchoHippie at March 23, 2010 11:05 AM

godoggo's got his kneepads and bib on, and he's bobbing for apples right near Obama's pants zipper.

Posted by CF Oxtrot at March 23, 2010 11:42 AM

And if the enemy of my enemy is my friend, then is Perfect my friend or enemy, if I'm cool with Good?

And if the enema of my enema is my ... oh, never mind.

Jon Versen, call me Sarcastically Delusional.

"Coldly it lies," Nietzsche wrote of the State "and this lie slips from its mouth: 'I, the State, am the people.'"

"We proved that this government – a government of the people by the people – still works for the people," lied the Dear Leader himself.

Pheh.

Posted by Oarwell at March 23, 2010 12:14 PM

It’s just too bad that 180,000 people will die before this “legislation” kicks in. They won’t be sad or happy, they won’t be anything. Of course this will provide finely nuanced positions as people weigh the importance of another 180,000 dead people against the future of the Democratic Party which brings us to the only positive thing I see which is it ought to be clear to more people that the democrats are worse than worthless.

Posted by Rob Payne at March 23, 2010 01:19 PM


For those that have not seen this brilliant article by Chris Floyd. -Tony


http://www.chris-floyd.com/component/content/article/1-latest-news/1947-closing-time-an-historic-confirmation-of-corporate-power.html

Posted by tony at March 23, 2010 01:26 PM

The lie-density prize still belongs to NYT:
http://www.distantocean.com/2010/03/nyt-achieves.html

Posted by gfod at March 23, 2010 02:39 PM

Tony,

Sorry, but I don't really get what's brilliant about that article by Chris Floyd. Like most people, especially around here, I know that the Democratic party has big corporate ties, especially to financial institutions and insurers, and that's a big problem, but that falls into the enormous categories of things that suck but aren't the question we're trying to answer: Is this legislation a step forward?

Of course the legislation has lots of problems. Our whole system needs massive reform, and our society is frankly a mess too, but that article and some of the comments here make it sound like the legislation is killing 180,000 people by not kicking in sooner. That's a strange way to look at legislation that is presumably going to stop some of that needless dying when it does become effective in a few years. Is the idea that we should insist that the needless dying continue forever unless it stops IMMEDIATELY? That strikes me as nuts. Tell that to the people who are going to die in 2014 and thereafter. The people who want no reform have power, so wishing that everything that needs to be done would happen immediately is a ridiculous waste of a wish.

I'm with jack and goddoggo that the legislation is a start and people should get involved and make it better instead of letting it get made worse. I think Chris Floyd's column leads people to ambivalence because Dems and Republicans per his view are essentially all no good and all "reform" will be corrupt so by implication it's a better use of one's time to go be part of something else, which it should be noted will likely have no actual political impact or influence with regard to these questiosn. As a result, the view espoused by Chris Floyd works to strengthen the most reactionary forces, who benefit from people throwing in the towel or becoming cynical That's nothing new. That sort of espousal of leftist purity to undermine efforts built on compromise has impeded actual progress by the left since the first people's movement. I am always suspicious of that sort of inflated rhetoric and spreading of empty cynicism, because often it has nothing to do with actually getting something done to help people. Somtimes it turns out that it's not even genuine. (See the 1960s.)

You're an anarchist, so I doubt you'll find that persuasive, but I will mention that in reading Orwell's Spanish civil war letters, notably Spilling the Spanish Beans, Orwell discussed mistakes anarchists in Spain made that resulted in their undoing during the struggle against Franco and the fascists. One of their biggest mistakes, per Orwell, was that they left the Spanish Government, which Orwell said feared the revolutionaries more than the Fascists, in nominal control of areas where they had instituted workers control and land reform. The Spanish anarchsits did that because they mistrusted ALL parliamentary activity and apparently didn't want to waste their time with it, since to them local activity was what mattered. Per Orwell, that turned out to be their undoing, because the Spanish Government then retained control of the government even in those areas. That meant more than the anarchists realized.

I suppose somebody famous said that making laws is like making sausages, because it seems like that must have been said. People opt out of this ugly political process at their peril, because the end result will matter very much, and the difference between what the GOP would like (nothign) and what the Dems enact will be meaningful. If the left stops working, what the Dems enact will suck even more than it already does. Give up on the legislative process, corrupt as it is, and thigns will get worse. Sure the whole process is corrupt and sure real change comes from the bottom up as a result of pressure by movements, but the representatives of those movements are going to need to deal with this dismal process of compromise and gradual progress too, because if they don't they will be just another attempt at revolution that went nowhere.

Posted by N E at March 23, 2010 02:46 PM

someone drew a picature

(i found that via Charles Davis[linked in the ATR blogroll] on twitter, and i am doing my damnedest to spread it around)

Posted by almostinfamous at March 23, 2010 02:51 PM

NE-- I like your analysis on the Span Civ War. My view is that we need to create separate environments outside the state in order to achieve freedom. We aren't going to wipe out the state. That was the main problem with 19th and 20th century anarchists. The ecovillage movement is a start. Problem with the Spanish anarchists was that they were trying to share power, even as they rejected power.

Question is...can you create separate libertarian environments without the state encroaching and punishing you???? Therein lies the problem.

Posted by AnarchoHippie at March 23, 2010 03:26 PM

Way off in one respect, sir, when you say that under the new bill, "at least 15 million will remain uncovered in 2019." Nope. It's accurate to say 15 million residents of the USA will remain uncovered, but roughly 12 million of those will be undocumented immigrants (remember that flap?). Of the remaining 3 million, they're likely all citizens ("Americans") but some of them won't be insured because of religious belief, e.g., Christian Scientists, while others will be exempt under this law. What Obama should have said is that 95 percent of everyone in America will be covered, and that includes everyone who wants coverage and is entitled to it as a citizen. But that's not very speech-pithy, is it?

Posted by Ron Legro at March 23, 2010 04:51 PM

godoggo,
the war in Vietnam was also very limited in scope, until the B-52s and the napalm arrived. Nevertheless, people rarely cite that as a good example of a Great Society program. Why do you suppose this is so?

Posted by grimmy at March 23, 2010 06:15 PM

"So do you want Bush and company back?"

Surely, comrades, you do not want Jones back?


Not that I either agree or disagree with Jack's point (I'm not sure), but that comment was just too Animal Farm not to comment.

Posted by Donald Johnson at March 23, 2010 07:01 PM

NE,

Why do you ask me about an article that Floyd wrote when you can take up your concern with the author himself on his blog? I don't understand that. If you disagree with Floyd then tell CF that you do and why you do.

I agreed with what he wrote regarding what a disaster this bill is since it does not offer what the overwhelming majority of the population wants and has wanted for at least 20 or more years. It leaves the insurance industry in control of health care which is why we have the health care we do....It does not address the problem in any meaningful way... The bill is a rip off of taxpayer money. See the following.

http://www.pnhp.org/news/2010/march/pro-single-payer-doctors-health-bill-leaves-23-million-uninsured


NE:You're an anarchist, so I doubt you'll find that persuasive,

you are right...I don't find what you wrote persuasive...

but I will mention that in reading Orwell's Spanish civil war letters, notably Spilling the Spanish Beans, Orwell discussed mistakes anarchists in Spain made that resulted in their undoing during the struggle against Franco and the fascists. One of their biggest mistakes, per Orwell, was that they left the Spanish Government, which Orwell said feared the revolutionaries more than the Fascists, in nominal control of areas where they had instituted workers control and land reform. The Spanish anarchsits did that because they mistrusted ALL parliamentary activity and apparently didn't want to waste their time with it, since to them local activity was what mattered. Per Orwell, that turned out to be their undoing, because the Spanish Government then retained control of the government even in those areas. That meant more than the anarchists realized.

I don't really see how this pertains to the health bill?

Yes, a major mistake by the anarchists was entering into an agreement with the govt who did in fact fear the social revolution the anarchists where trying to achieve and worked to help destroy it especially after the communists where in power.

I really don't see the point you are trying to make.-Tony


Posted by tony at March 23, 2010 07:42 PM

Tony

I probably didn't explain what I meant very well but I also can't explain it better, at least right now. I commented on Chris Floyd's article because I read it after you linked to it, and those were my thoughts. Obviously we disagree about what Floyd said, and maybe I should just have said I disagree with it without explaining.

Whether it's the health bill now or the Spanish Civil war then, I don't think it works to just walk away from the legislative process because the results suck. The result won't get better that way.

But I do agree that your grassroots work is hugely important, and that movements are what really make change by pushing for change.

Posted by N E at March 23, 2010 09:33 PM

grimmy, the comparison might make sense if you're the sort of person who believes that this is the first step toward totalitarianism. Otherwise it's just an attempt at being clever.

I think that the fatal flaw with the law is that it fails to control costs in the long run, since it leaves private insurance industry in place. That's what I meant by "unsustainable." The old status quo was that the government was directly or indirectly paying for most of the country's health care costs, even as they were spinning out of control, and that is still the case now. So it is a problem that will have to be solved one way or another eventually. Meanwhile my impression is that we're going to be seeing some small improvements in the near future.

Posted by godoggo at March 23, 2010 11:03 PM

what godoggo said sounds about right to me.

Maybe in theory a private industry perhaps could be left in place and made much more economically rational (though that seems doubtful). But it definitely can't be done with a corrupt and dysfunctional political system (even if the system is mostly corrupt in optimistic, smiling way).

The political system just can't be relied on to regulate the economic sector. As happened over the last 30 years, the institutions that are regulated simply pay the government (via campaign contributions and now direct spending) to dismantle the regulations. That's more than a little problem with the evolution of capitalism towards something less savage, which seemed to be happening until the 1970s but definitely has stopped.

Posted by N E at March 24, 2010 01:04 PM


Street on the health care reform. Be sure to read the comment section at the end of the article.-Tony

http://www.zcommunications.org/health-reform-theirs-and-ours-by-paul-street#comment_container_168133


"Corporate health “reform” has gotten the congressional votes it needed and the public relations spin is on. Now that the “deeply conservative” Barack Obama[1] and his fellow corporate Democrats have pushed their big business-friendly measure – devoid of any public insurance option to counter the power of the insurance oligopoly– through the House and Senate, the reigning bipartisan U.S. political-media culture is pushing two childish narratives: the “liberal” Democratic one of an “historic" people’s victory and the “conservative” Republican one of a dangerous and “socialist” “government takeover.” "

Posted by tony at March 24, 2010 02:36 PM

NE's 1:04 comment sounded exactly right (and it's nice and pithy too--okay, what have you done with the real NE? Joking.)

And the 2:46 comment might be right too, but I've been undecided about that for years now. In practice I suppose I agree with NE, since I've been supporting lesser of two evils at the polling booth for the past couple of election cycles using reasoning of that sort.

Posted by Donald Johnson at March 24, 2010 08:35 PM

I've been using the "Surely, comrades, you do not want Bush back?" line since April 2008. My response to that question nowadays is, But we got Bush back. It's like he never left.

N E, has anyone advocated walking away from the legislative process? Except for those who babble about revolution, that is? Once again, you're attacking a straw man. It would seem from your own talk about the corruption of the system, though, that you can't consistently argue for sticking with the legislative process.

Incidentally, the comparisons of this bill to Social Security, the Civil Rights Bills, and the like, with the argument that they started out bad but were improved, don't convince me. N E has indicated one reason why: "As happened over the last 30 years, the institutions that are regulated simply pay the government (via campaign contributions and now direct spending) to dismantle the regulations. That's more than a little problem with the evolution of capitalism towards something less savage, which seemed to be happening until the 1970s but definitely has stopped." I'd bet that this "health reform" bill will turn out to be more like NAFTA, passed since the 1970s, which we were told had some little problems but they'd be fixed. They weren't, of course, and the destruction wrought by that bill (the work of a centrist Democrat, you'll recall, who had so many liberals and progressives creaming their jeans with bro-lust) has been enormous. I'd be pleased if Neo-Bush really intended to improve this bill later, but I really doubt it, if only because (as Jon pointed out to start with) he has been lying about what it meant all along.

Posted by Duncan at March 24, 2010 10:30 PM

Hard to believe NE is apologizing for the system and talking about working within it.

Totally hard to believe. Never EVER seen that from NE, the apology masquerading as pragmatism.

Hooray for crackpot realists!

Posted by CF Oxtrot at March 25, 2010 02:42 PM

Come now Oxy, if you don't know by now that there's nothing liberals like N.E won't bend over for when in it comes to Democratic Party unity you never will. Can you point to a single example which disproved Rahm Emanuel's dead-on prediction that "progressives" were paper tigers who would reliably get in line once the gloves came off and the stakes were for real? Neither can I.

Posted by Coldtype at March 25, 2010 07:33 PM

NE has been doing a bang-up job posting as "Michael Ryerson" over at WhoIsIOZ.

Posted by CF Oxtrot at March 26, 2010 10:41 AM

Keep posting stuff like this i really like it

Posted by forex robot at March 27, 2010 01:24 PM

Who is Michael Ryerson and what is WhoIsIOZ? Oh, never mind. . .

Coldtype, are you a real tiger? Sorry if I'm a 'liberal,' which I guess I am, sort of.

CF Oxtrot, everybody chooses between pragmatism and principle in politics. That choice just can't be avoided, and those who claim to avoid it have just opted not to play. The best of those who don't sully themselves with compromise, the great ones like Debs or Jane Addams, go to prison on devote their lives to hard work for others. The rest are just full of hot air and proud of their . . . pith.

Duncan

I certainly wasn't talking about you. I believe Tony isn't a believer in working within the existing political system on the national level, which is to say the legislative process. I wasn't "attacking" anything. I was pointing out what I perceive to be a problem with that view. I disagree with Tony about some things, and I've never met him in person, and I've pissed him off a little once or twice (maybe more--I'm not sure), but I get the sense he is quite genuine and committed, which is certainly admirable. I don't think it matters two hoots what he thinks of many of my opinions. Two bucks and an opinion will get you a cup of coffee.

I can see why my views about the system being fundamentally corrupt seem at odds with my simultaneous views that it's dangerous to just opt out of the system, which smacks to some of apologetics. Here's my difficulty, which I have alluded to. There is a chicken and egg problem. The system can't be changed because right now it is in many ways rigged, but unrigging it requires radical change. Until something big happens to crush that dilemma, we're stuck with incrementalism. And the thing is, the existing system makes third parties pretty worthless, and the manipulation of politics through them pretty easy. That seems to me to have happened in a big way in the early 90s. So I'm always suspicious of people who have inflated rhetoric that creates cynicism about the Dems without suggesting any real practical alternative. I think those people are easily manipulated, and that they help manipulate others. And some of them actually aren't honest and sincere, though I assume you are.

As for health care reform, I don't see how it's going to be like NAFTA. Many of the politics in the reform are good ideas. Major problems are unaddressed, which is bad, but not addressing other problems for that reason seems bad to me, even worse because it would have added momentum to this reactionary opposition to the possibility that government can solve such problems. Government is damn dangerous if not watched, but not because it can't provide health care. It can do that.

And Duncan, tell me what sort of political order you desire to bring about, as concretely as you can, and how you would create it from where we are now. Only possible goals are real, and there always has to be a way to get from there to here. If you can show me the goal and the plan to get there, it might sound good. But if you can't articulate it, it probably won't help me brake free of my sense that the existing system can't be abandoned until a broad majority comes to accept the need for a greatly revised replacement and generally agrees about what it should look like. And also, if you can't articulate what you would like the world to look like and how it's going to get there, you have more work to do. Not that I hold that against you, because let's be serious, that's pretty challenging. But it does mean you're in a poor position to be throwing stones at a more compromising approach taken by others who may likewise have struggled to see a clearer path that would get to the Promised Land more directly.

Posted by N E at March 28, 2010 01:03 AM

I believe Tony isn't a believer in working within the existing political system on the national level, which is to say the legislative process.

This is not true NE...I have said repeatedly that i think we should push those in power as hard as possible to bring about change...I just don't think reforms will bring about the end of capitalism which I think needs to happen. So reforms are good as far as they go but they will only go so far and will always be subject to a backlash by political and economic elites. Until the economy is under democratic control of the population and not minority control I don't see anyway around the contradictions of capitalism. And besides that it is simply morally abhorrent for the few to get wealthy off of the backs of the many simply because they own a piece of paper. Reforms will never end this.

It is mass movements that make change happen not politicians sitting in Washington.

And you haven't really pissed me off..we view the world differently and express those views as best we can. No crime in that. Tony

Posted by tony at March 28, 2010 09:36 AM


For anyone interested, there is a very good interview with Chomsky over on z about social change, reforms, anarchist vision and goals and so it. It relates quite well to some of the topics in this thread and well worth your time.

The second half of the interview is better and relates to vision and goals. The first part is kind of hard to understand unless you have some prior knowledge of cognitive science and so forth. The interviewer could have asked NC to be more specific and give examples of what he was referring to exactly.-Tony


http://www.zcommunications.org/cognitive-science-and-anarchism-by-noam-chomsky

Posted by tony at March 28, 2010 10:04 AM

thanks for the link tony. sorry i misunderstood your position. what chomsky says in the second half of the interview is very sensible.

Posted by N E at March 28, 2010 03:32 PM