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12 August 2009


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G Hazeltine

At 'Stop the Spirit of Zossen 2.0', putting it more plainly:

"Note to Dems, before you get stomped on (again) like hapless chincillas, go rent ‘Terminator’:

'Kyle Reese: Listen, and understand. That (terminator) Ring Wing Movement is out there. It can’t be bargained with. It can’t be reasoned with. It doesn’t feel pity, or remorse, or fear. And it absolutely will not stop, ever, until you are dead.'

Tattoo *THAT* on your foreheads you idiots."


Delete my post at 8/12 11:O2. to get rid of the strike thru.

I did not add the / to the strike code but it was not obvious on the preview.


Probably someone somewhere in a post must have left an < s > opening tag unclosed with the proper closing tag < /s >.

When I write something inverse, using the < i > opening tag and not close it the proper closing tag < /i > following posts will bee inverse as well. The HTML here operates on the opening tag, and then waits for the closing tag to end the formatting. It it doesn't find it ... That happens a lot here, and it happens easily.

So, people, be careful when you post HTML, and make sure you use the preview function. It makes visible such errors and allows to correct them before posting.


I thought that the election of Obama was a breather, a relief from the certainty of collapse I saw in the summer of 2008 that had me stockpiling for the inevitable collapse.

I should have known better from the get go, when the right seemed to embrace its more insane elements. How much longer before the shouting becomes the shooting, and when the police elements are deployed, dosen't that play right into the fearmongers' hands? I can already see the headlines on Fox News, screaming about Socialist Police coming to educate your kids about homosexuality and take your guns and pills?

A nation divided cannot stand, as was said before.

It may sound melodramatic, but if there is going to be a war, let it happen while I am a young man and can fight for the outcome of a better day.

N. M. Salamon


A rather pessimistic [but in ny view valid] analysis of the financial/economic prospects of USA:


the above article substantiates the Colonel's view on the economy in general.


Duncan Kinder

What we are now witnessing at town halls is the fruit of Roe v. Wade.

Although I personally favor the right to choose, what Roe did - and has done for a generation - is to deny abortion opponents all political expression.

As a result, a significant subsection of the population has spent a generation in the wilderness, during which they have organized along lines which view the political and legal system as antithetical to their values.

They therefore view disrupting the current system as a good, in and of itself.

The cruel irony is that our current medical system, which is on the verge of collapse, is casting more and more uninsured and underinsured into the socio-economic wilderness. And the political system is making an ass of itself in how it is responding.

Which is not a bad thing, so far as those protesting the town halls are concerned.



I'll answer you over here. At the risk of beating a dead horse I'll try: I dreamed I left the front door open and the dog wandered off. When he came back he was dressed like Michael Jackson and moonwalking across the livingroom. I woke up in a sweat.

I thought the site had been hacked but still think Raskolnikov's nightmare applies to the healthcare donnybrook (debate is a too civilized term}.


As usual, Col. Lang is absolutely correct. The center is not going to hold. Amidst all the heated rhetoric, let me make something very clear about what the Obama Administration's health care policy is--and is not. While all the so-called "death panel" attention is focused on the secondary issue of the end-of-life consultations under Medicare funding, the reality is: The one issue that is non-negotiable from the Obama White House is the creation of an independent board, to determine what kinds of medical care will be provided, and what kinds of care will be denied to targeted segments of the population, because it is not "cost efficient." It is this independent board that is the real skunk, and which does amount to a "death panel" of so-called experts, who won't necessarily even all be doctors. How about having a panel of accountants determining whether you qualify (by age, infirmity, etc.) for advanced medical care. No matter how you slice it, this is a slippery slope to government-directed euthanasia.

The idea, put out by the White House and its friends, that the crowds are being deployed by the rightwing of the GOP, and are not true grass-roots constituents, is a total lie. Just watch youtube impromptu videos of the demonstrations and town hall meetings, and I assure you there is not a Brooks Brothers suit in the crowd.

Furthermore, read recent columns by Eli Siegel, Frank Rich (NYT) and Bill Greider (The Nation), and you will see a growing liberal chorus, attacking Obama as a Wall Street corporatist, not a socialist.

People are reacting to the explicit and personal threat from health care "reform," but the reaction and boil-over is fueled by the $23 trillion bailout of the banks and insurance companies, while Americans lose their jobs, their homes and their health care coverage.

Obama's approval rating has fallen by 19 percent since he took office. That is a record that George W. Bush didn't come close to.


the anti-obama group's latest political tricks (death panels, and the like) are having their intended

they are dominating the news narrative

at least until the democrats town hall meetings have run their course

then we will move onto the next phase of the political debate

the reaction to obama and the efforts of his administration pale in comparison to
the reaction to FDR and the efforts of his administration

it is interesting that many of the themes of New Deal critics continue to be political battle lines today

FDR's critics included former friends and foes,

Al Smith, the ny democrat and first catholic to run for presdient, joined the American Liberty League,
an anti-Roosevelt group founded by conservative democrats and financed by business executives which
sponsored radio shows and published pamphlets arguing that Roosevelt was destroying personal liberty.

Joseph P Kennedy, Teddy Kennedy's father, was an opponent.

Like many Irish Catholics, he was against helping England fight the Germans. "We can have peace and security only as long as we band together to preserve that most priceless possession, our inheritance of European blood, only so long as we guard ourselves against dilution by foreign races. It is time to turn from our quarrels and to build our White ramparts again. This alliance with foreign races means nothing but death to us. It is our turn to guard our heritage... before we become engulfed in a limitless foreign sea."

During his January 23, 1941, testimony before The House Committee on Foreign Affairs, Lindbergh recommended the United States negotiate a neutrality pact with Germany.

Charles Lindbergh was an opponent. He claimed that Roosevelt, the Jews and the British were pushing the country into war with germany.

William Randolph Hearst was a Roosevelt supporter who turned against Roosevelt on taxes on the inheritances of wealthy and reform of tax loophole policies.

GOP Senator Taft (R-Ohio) led the Conservative Coalition in congress, which included conservative southern Democrats, to oppose FDR's administration.
Taft critized governent programs as inefficient and wasteful and wanted to let private enterprise and business restore the nation's ecoomy. He said
the New Deal was socialistic and attacked deficit spending and natioanlized health insurance.

Huey Long critized FDR for not going far enough to redistribute wealth.

Francis Townsend, a retired California doctor who proposed a guaranteed income plan for senior citizens; his plan proved to be so popular that FDR adopted the Social Security Act to halt the growth of Townsend's movement.

Maxwell Anderson, Playwright, Jeffersonian anarchist, wrote Knickerbocker Holiday (with Kurt Weill) as a satire on the New Deal which compared Roosevelt to Hitler and Mussolini..

Westbrook Pegler,. an pulitzer prize winning reporter, was a leading figure in American Liberty League. He portrayed the New Deal as an international communist plot. He
compared union advocates to Nazi's. He was accuse of opensly wishing for the assassination of FDR.

Another opponent was Father Coughlin, a catholic priest and demagogue whose radio show was probably more popular than Limbaugh. He led a nationalistic worker's rights organization that
attacked what they described as FDR's unconstitutional and pseudo-capitalistic monetary policies. Coughlin called Roosevelt a "tool of wall street". He turned into a bitter opponent of the New Deal and his talks escalated in vehemence against Roosevelt, capitalists and "Jewish conspirators".

Elizabeth Dilling Stokes was an American anti-communist and anti-war activist and writer in the 1930s and 1940s and author of four political books. She claimed that Marxism and "Jewry" were synonymous and claimed claimed many prominent figures were Communist sympathizers, including Eleanor Roosevelt, Mahatma Gandhi, Franz Boas and Sigmund Freud. Dilling concluded that a growing elite sought to remake the United States as a communist state

Byron Raum

I am quite sure I disagree with harper's slippery slope argument about government-controlled euthanasia. The counter is too obvious :- Government controlled is better than for-profit controlled, as is the current situation.

A "death panel" is needed - it should deny me a chest X-ray when I come in for a broken finger, rather, saving the money for Gramma's chemotherapy. A consistent approach is much better than the haphazard way medicine is conducted these days, where fear of lawsuits impel doctors to order absolutely unnecessary tests, and antibiotics are prescribed for the common cold.

The irony is that the "death panel" argument supports Obama's position. It is important to ration healthcare dollars so that only needed healthcare is used. Depending on the wealth of the nation, we can hopefully have enough healthcare for all, but putting the money in the pocket of for-profit insurance companies, as we do now, isn't going to help our bottom dollar situation.

Is there going to be government waste? Quite possibly, but given the simple fact that government waste in this case would directly impact my health and how long I get to live would make sure that there're some pretty careful watchdogs out there - watchdogs that are now impossible with the private for-profit industry. Or should we take the approach that what we aren't allowed to know can't hurt us?

Bill Wade, NH

Saw this bumper sticker today: "I'll keep my guns and money, you keep the "change"."

I worked for the Ron Paul for President campaign and still have the bumper stickers on my truck and car. I really thought he was the right guy for the job and still do. That being said, I do support President Obama but I do wish he'd reconsider a few things, particularly the war in Afghanistan. Sadly, I couldn't say the same about Bush who I've never titled President, I could just never accept him mainly due to his Natl Guard service, or more accurately his disservice.

It's possible that I have more connections to the "little guy" than most of the posters here, I can tell you these folks are seething mad. It's mostly about Wall Street being bailed out while they watch their incomes and future prospects dwindle substantially, they rarely mention the health care proposals. Whenever one of my acquaintances says something negative about President Obama, I remind them of the mess he inherited from Bush and they then tend to agree with me.



How about having a panel of accountants determining whether you qualify (by age, infirmity, etc.) for advanced medical care.

You just described the current state of health care for most of us in this country!

And the notion that government can't handle health care is just silly. The federal government is already administering medicare more cost-effectively than private insurers are.

From a technical standpoint, fixing health care is remarkably easy, and compared to the current arrangement, it can be made as cost-effective as we the people prefer. Group plans distribute risk better than individual plans, and the larger the group, the easier it is to characterize (and hence plan for mitigating) those risks to health.

The largest group is the entire US citizenry, so there's no statistical reason why a single-payer system can't work, unless one believes that the federal government can't do anything right (in which case there's really no point in further discussions on this topic).

In general, characterizing and mitigating risk can be a tricky business: for example, Wall Street failed miserably at it, and we are currently suffering for that failure to consider the existence of financial precedents that would have warned of the substantial likelihood of problems caused by ignoring very real risks.

But characterizing the risks to health of a large sample of humanity is remarkably easy, because ample precedents exist (e.g., thousands of years of recorded history, each replete with plenty of examples of illness and mortality). We already know plenty about where money gets used effectively and where it gets wasted in medical care, and most of what we know is fairly obvious, e.g., investing in preventative care is good business, substantial costs are involved in postponing certain death by days or weeks, etc.

The performance of actuarial calculations for large statistical samples where plenty of validation data exists is about as good as it gets in the realm of dealing with uncertainty about the future, and that's the relevant technical frame of reference for handling health care. So this is not a difficult technical problem for a modern democracy to handle.

Unfortunately, we aren't interested in the technical end of the health care question. We prefer getting bogged down in political posturing and so-called debates that ignore the remarkably obvious medical and statistical principles involved.

And the fact that much of said posturing is bought and paid for by those interests who are rolling in dough courtesy of the current flawed system tells us all we need to know about where we're headed.



“Barak Obama's embrace of a man like Bill Ayers is enough to scare the hell out of alot of Americans“?
Embrace? They both taught at U of C and served on the same not-for-profit org for over a decade.

Then the gratuitous and incorrect hypothetical: “say Tim McVeigh was released from prison on a technicality, and a future President befriended or at the minimum went to McVeigh's residence for community meetings.”
Ayers never went to prison to be released on a technicality.
Ayers didn’t kill people in bomb blasts.
He did bomb government buildings after hours — when Obama was eight years old and living in Indonesia — to protest the Vietnam War, but not at 8:30 AM.
The record shows one ‘meet-and-greet’ at the Ayers’ house in the mid-90s when Obama announced his run for the Senate.

Your wag-wag-wag: “Both McVeigh and Ayers exploded bombs in a political terror campaign and no politician should have relations with killers or attempted killers.”

Did you write this to Chicago Mayor Daly? Have you complained about this? Did you complain about it at the time? The popular Daly worked closely with Ayers and Ayers’ non-profit group for over five years to fix the Chicago public school system.

Or is it just uppity black men that are deserving of your opprobrium? Because black and terrorist seem to go together? Because as you said, that’s just too scary for white folk to imagine: scares the hell out of them. Which of course gives them the right to off these house n___s the way John Wilkes Booth felt he had that right to ‘McWeigh’ in on President Lincoln.

Patrick Lang

MRW & Patrick

I just want to make sure that it is clear that it was not "Patrick Lang" who is the Patrick referred to in this comment.

In future nobody will be allowed to use portions or versions of my name as "tags" on my blogs. pl


It is of course nonsense to say PR campaigns always target the majority, but I am sure this campaign does. It needs a critical mass of the US public opinion.

Nancy K

harper, who do you think is making health care decisions in the private insurance arena? Are you so naive as to think a group of MD sit around the table deciding what is best for you and your loved ones. I have been a nurse for 35 years and I will tell you who makes the decisions. the bean counters, the CEO of the insurance company and the medical directors of the hospital. I cannot even begin to tell you how many patients are discharged before they should be because they have run out of insurance. Insurance maxed out, magic cured. Our health care system is an embarrassment. I have relatives in England, Spain and Peru, and for the average person, their health care is better. Granted we have the top hospitals and health care specialists in the world, but if you can't afford insurance a hell of a lot of good it does you.
Don't even let me go into the disgusting care our elders receive in the for profit nursing homes.
This country needs health care for all citizens, not just for those who can afford it. If all of Europe can do it, are you saying the US is imcapable of it.


In future nobody will be allowed to use portions or versions of my name as "tags" on my blogs. pl

I'd like to ask the esteemed author of this blog and his readers, to please excuse my silly html-tag-comments on the Liberty thread. It wasn't my intention to hurt people's feelings. But it definitively was the wrong place and context to chatter.

I'll shut up now.


Wonderful comment Nancy.

Bill Wade, NH

"harper, who do you think is making health care decisions in the private insurance arena?"

After being mis-diagnosed by 3 different doctors as having pink eye, I finally sought out and found a top-notch eye doctor. I was about 98% blind in one eye by that time. He urged me to go to Boston to see a specialist he had trained under. This specialist restored my sight (steroid shots into my eyeball, sounds bad but it wasn't, you just have to hold rock solid still). Then, he said, we have to get to the bottom of this and ordered many tests, one of which was an MRI (leading cause of my dilemna was brain tumor). I got it the next day and my insurer TriCare eventually denied my claim ("unnecessary procedure"). The cost of the MRI was $1000.. That was ten years ago. Just last month my daughter needed an MRI and other tests, she was in the hospital for 5 hours, cost now - $13,000.. Fortunately, she has good coverage and also pays for supplemental coverage. As far as I know, doctors make the decision as to what's needed and non-medical functionaries deny us what we need. It's a damn shame.

Nancy above is quite correct.


This editorial in CSM gets to the root of many American's indifference to the sick, IMHO.




You wrote:
The one issue that is non-negotiable from the Obama White House is the creation of an independent board, to determine what kinds of medical care will be provided, and what kinds of care will be denied to targeted segments of the population, because it is not "cost efficient." It is this independent board that is the real skunk, and which does amount to a "death panel" of so-called experts, who won't necessarily even all be doctors. . . .this is a slippery slope to government-directed euthanasia.

You mean the late July 2009 proposed “independent board advising on Medicare,” or “independent Medicare council” — http://tr.im/wrBl — is going to target segments of the population and slip into ‘government-directed euthanasia’? Or are you referring to something in the actual 1000-page health care bill? Because if you are, cite a page.

I've read the damn document and nothing in it even remotely comes close to the hysteria you’re conjuring.

There’s some whack job on the web who’s been quoted far and wide, and twittered, about how the health bill says this or says that, and he gives page numbers to prove he’s right. My email box is full of his pronouncements and why I should be afraid. I sat down in another fit of procrastination over more pressing work and literally went through every single one of the accusations with the original document to discover the accuser couldn’t read plain English. And what he could read, he failed to understand. He had absolutely no idea how a policy document was written. He’s like Rove saying this week that he never did X and ‘here’s the proof’, counting on reporters not to read the hundreds of emails that proved, definitively, Rove did do X.

If you’re so exercised over a public health plan that you claim will deny health-care to targeted segments of society, what have you been doing to object to the private health insurance companies that have been doing exactly that to people for the past 20 years? (See Nancy on this thread.)

Or are you one of those people screeching about ‘socialized medicine was never contemplated in the Constitution’? Well, neither was socialized security or socialized construction. But unless you’re a crackpot, I doubt you’d recommend we get rid of the police, fire department, or Department of Transportation.

P.S. PL, never for a moment did I think you were the person who signed himself Patrick.

Byron Raum

Looking around, it seems to me that the emotionally charged term "death panel" is being pre-empted by the pro-reform side of the debate. It really wasn't a wise idea to base an emotional argument on healthcare rationing, considering that under the current situation, we already have a very brutal form of healthcare rationing and death panels manned by the for-profit industry. Obama's effort is to mitigate the rationing, as much as is possible, rather than the opposite.

All I can really say is that if Obama loses, the country deserves what it gets.


In a socialist economy the means of production are owned by the government. The closest thing we have to socialized medicine in the US is the VA. They took good care of my dad a WWII vet and they are doing well for a Merchant Marine friend who served in the Pacific who is still alive. Vets would be well advised to calm down about socialized medicine in the US.



Yes, I'm afraid you are right. I have been saying lately that we seem to be in a kind of race war without the n-word, one where it is all by codeword and dogwhistle. It's not just that the President is black, but that he is half-white, which in their minds makes it worse. He is himself the product of racial mixing, the symbol to them of "Negro Rule." It just takes your breath away to think that so many are still stuck in that sickness. And btw I had always thought that the Secret Service did not allow guns anywhere near a president. When did that change?


We would do well to heed the advice in Talleyrand's famous dictum,

"Surtout, pas trop de zèle." ("Above all, not an excess of zeal.")


harper wrote:

" The one issue that is non-negotiable from the Obama White House is the creation of an independent board, to determine what kinds of medical care will be provided, and what kinds of care will be denied to targeted segments of the population, because it is not "cost efficient." It is this independent board that is the real skunk, and which does amount to a "death panel" of so-called experts, who won't necessarily even all be doctors. "

Leaving aside that under the current system those fortunate enough to have insurance have these matters decided for them by the boards of insurance corporations, which operate as monopolies in 88% of American markets, the statement about the make-up of the proposed board is patently false.

Please refer to pages 30 - 35 of HR 3200 (link below).

The board is chaired by the Surgeon General and is made up of both public officials and private citizens and takes input from the public.

It will include providers, consumer representatives, employers, health insurance issuers, health care financing experts,experts in racial and ethnic disparities, representative of governmental agencies, at least one practicing physician, an expert in children's health, "and shall represent a balance among sectors of health care system so that no one sector unduly influences the recommendations of the Committee." The board will include nine federal employees and nine citizens who are not federal employees.

The members will serve a three-year term.

"The Committee shall take into account innovation in health care and consider how such standards could reduce health disparities."

Given the fact that somebody or some body has to make such decisions and has to update them regularly, it is hard to see how this proposed arrangement could be more fair and equitable or more open to the voice of both the people and the experts in the field. I really don't think I could have designed it better myself. Could you?


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