Rod Dreher

Rod Dreher


Is the health care light an oncoming train?

posted by Rod Dreher

I don’t have a strong opinion about the health care debate, which has now been resolved in the Democrats’ favor. Sorry. I think we have a lousy system now, but I have serious doubts about this reform, especially coming as the government plunges headlong into insolvency. I wish to associate myself with this view of Ross Douthat’s:

This newfound confidence has been palpable throughout the health care debate. Yes, liberals have wrung their hands over the compromises required to pass the bill. But nothing has dislodged their fundamental assumption — an assumption straight out of the golden age of ’60’s liberalism — that a bill this costly, this complicated and this risky can be made to work, so long as the right people are in charge of implementing it.
As a conservative, I suspect they’re wrong. But now that the bill has passed, as a citizen of the United States, I dearly hope they’re right. Indeed, I hope that 20 years from now, in an America that’s healthier, richer and more solvent than today, a liberal can brandish this column and say “I told you so.” Because the alternative would mean that we’re all about to be very sorry, and for a very long time to come.



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Jon

posted March 22, 2010 at 8:03 am


There’s all kind of things that I don’t like with this bill, and if I were Lord High Dictator For Life I would have done it differently.
But: The current system, besides being dysfunctional and ridiculously costly, is also a moral outrage of the first order, the type of thing that requires changing no matter the cost. Ask yourself, Rod (and others who agree with you), if you would drop your support for ending Roe vs Wade if you were told (and believed) that the price tag for doing so would be a trillion dollars. I suspect the answer is No, as it should be. I feel the same way about universal healthcare: it is a moral imperative. Moreover we are certainly rich enough to afford this; we are not Bangladesh for crying out loud. The question (and it’s a big one) is whether we will pay the bill or simply try to charge it on our tab.
As an aside I am very happy to see that Rep Stupak stood his ground and managed to get a pro-Choice president to come down on the pro-Life side in this much at least.



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CatherineNY

posted March 22, 2010 at 8:41 am


I agree wtih Jon on every score. It is a scandal that so many go without health care coverage (and, despite what the commentators on the right claim, without health care). This bill is a messy way of addressing the problem, but we have a messy health care system. The system will adapt to this legislation, as it did to Medicare, and we will all be better off. The Republicans had plenty of time to solve the problem, but they showed no interest in doing so. And I believe that the official pro-life leaders who are attacking Rep. Stupak will succeed in energizing their small base, but will alienate many others.



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JLF

posted March 22, 2010 at 8:47 am


To believe that the current system is anything but immoral is to believe that the quantity and quality of health care should be determined by the deepest pockets and that a society has no obligation to its citizens when illness or injury strikes.



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Rod Dreher

posted March 22, 2010 at 8:54 am


Hang on, Jon, I didn’t say I was against health care reform. I agree that our system is a mess, and in many cases a morally indefensible one. And I agree with CatherineNY that the Republicans have little room to complain; they had years to control a reform of the system, and did nothing — except add an unfunded Medicare Part D mandate that was horrible policy.
What concerns me is that we’re not going to be able to pay for this, and that we’re not going to have the political will to make the necessary cuts to keep from insolvency. Look at Social Security and Medicare. They’re both on track to break the budget — but anybody who tries to reform them gets nowhere. I hope the Obama reform works, and I have zero sympathy for the Republicans in this. But I am skeptical.



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Franklin Jennings

posted March 22, 2010 at 8:58 am


Its amazing how pet issues can bring out such passion and stupidity as to move a man to write “To believe that the current system is anything but immoral is to believe that the quantity and quality of health care should be determined by the deepest pockets and that a society has no obligation to its citizens when illness or injury strikes.”
Plainly, this simply isnt true, and i assume whoever wrote it had his intelligence consumed by love of righteousness.



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polistra

posted March 22, 2010 at 9:14 am


We won’t be “healthier, richer and more solvent” until we start PRODUCING THINGS again.
A true national health system, plus killing all the lawyers, could help us reach that goal. Our industries would then be able to compete, and starting a new business would be much easier. Unfortunately this Rube Goldberg contraption won’t help at all. It will just move even more money to the financial side of the economy, leaving even less for productive investment.



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JLF

posted March 22, 2010 at 9:21 am


Well, Franklin, to each his own. You are welcome to argue that I, because I have more money and resources than you, am entitled to better more and better health care because I am able and willing to pay for it and too bad for you. With certain exceptions at the margins of society, that is precisely the system we have today.



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Emelie

posted March 22, 2010 at 9:23 am


“The current system, besides being dysfunctional and ridiculously costly, is also a moral outrage of the first order, the type of thing that requires changing no matter the cost.”
No matter the cost?
The cure is worse than the cold. This insanity passed last night by a narrow margin and bipartisan opposition (including 34 Democratic “NO” votes) comes at the worse possible time in our history. Medicare was passed (in 1965) at the height of post-war economic strength. Social Security represented (in 1934) a light drag on the economy. This monstrosity — with its taxes on everything including wheelchairs — will sink the economy at the worst possible time. Obama becomes the next Hoover.
Obamacare does NOTHING about cost-control, but simply props up a bloated system by shoveling borrowed money and/or expropriated money down a rat hole.
Some of what passed yesterday was good, but only some of it.
In 1974, the popular slogan in response to Nixon was: “Resign.” Now, the rallying cry must be “Repeal.”



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dave bodine

posted March 22, 2010 at 9:43 am


Hoping this thing works is a seriously un-serious respnse. As exemplars of gevernment run enterprises we have the Post Office, NSA, FEMA, and the bankrupt Social Security and Medicare/Medicaid. We also have England and Canada to show us the government health outcomes.
Any serious theory of government must start with a clear-eyed theory of human nature. The future is not that hard to predict. The outcomes of enormous undertakings by “tenured” people is predictable. They are not worse or better than the ret of us. They are the same.
This will not fail because it is badly constructed. It will fail because we are human, and there is no other possible outcome.



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Jjoe

posted March 22, 2010 at 9:51 am


It is disingenuous for any conservative to complain about the cost when they’re the ones responsible for protecting the insurance companies that suck up 30% of our health care dollars to pay for their lobbying, marketing, multi-million dollar CEO salaries and the like.
If the Democrats would’ve known that they’d get no GOP votes going in, we’d have a public option this morning and a far more effective and efficient system. Instead, they worried too much about Republican support and thus continued our current system of corporate welfare to organizations which add absolutely no value to the health care system.



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Peter

posted March 22, 2010 at 9:55 am


If the Democrats would’ve known that they’d get no GOP votes going in, we’d have a public option this morning and a far more effective and efficient system.
There wouldn’t have been 216 votes for a public option. As much as I would have liked it, there wasn’t enough Democratic support for a public option.



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TTT

posted March 22, 2010 at 9:56 am


As exemplars of government run enterprises we have the Post Office
For $0.44 you can get a letter from New York to New Mexico in less than a week. That’s pretty darned good. Yeah, I think I’ll take it, honestly.
We also have England and Canada to show us the government health outcomes
Since their outcomes do not include dropping people due to pre-existing conditions, lifetime cost caps, or changing / losing their jobs, their outcomes are superior to ours. They also suffer less from obesity than we do, and now that our system removes all charges from “well” checkups hopefully more of us will likewise benefit. I’m not going to bother looking up average lifespans, I’m sure Canada is no worse than us and probably better.
Face is: the U.S. system sucks and we’ve all been getting ripped off until now. At least with Obamacare, you actually GET something for what you’re taxed, instead of just socialized emergency rooms for somebody else.
As for “human nature,” all these private insurance companies are run by humans too, often of the most mercenary sort. Every single one of them has an ACTUAL “death panel”. They had free reign for too long and now there’s actually a sheriff in town. Too late for many, but better than never.



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lancelot lamar

posted March 22, 2010 at 9:58 am


This plan will cause disaster, although it won’t be evident for several years, long after the people who passed it will have left the scene. Just as Medicare and Social Security are unsustainable, so is “universal care.” I imagine all these programs will all blow up at about the same time, and the US will be no more.



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Lord Karth

posted March 22, 2010 at 10:01 am


There are ways to reform the health care system, and this way was NOT how to do it.
I’ve read the House and Senate bills—and a more boring and headache-inducing exercise there cannot be outside of He!l itself. This reform package is a guaranteed recipe for national bankruptcy, for several reasons.
First, the health insurance industry is going to be systematically dismantled. Assuming that the individual mandate survives a court challenge (and there is little evidence I have run across to indicate that it will), the way the fine-for-noncompliance is set up will encourage people NOT to buy health insurance until they are sick. Without the steady stream of premium income, the companies currently offering insurance will not be able to finance the actual care. A recent NYTimes article even reported a survey of provincial insurance commissioners raised serious concerns about the solvency of many insurance companies should this bill get signed into law. End result: the central government will become the sole provider of health care, by default. Big Problem Number One.
Second problem: the financing arrangements are suspect. I am given to understand that this bill does not include the so-called “Cadillac tax” on high-end policies that was supposed to provide for the subsidies promised. Between that little omission and the unlikeliness that the annual “doc fix” for Medicare (read: payment hikes) will EVER be discarded, there is simply no way that spending is going to be brought anywhere near under control. Not without rationing. Witness Massachusetts: costs are spiraling FAR higher than first anticipated.
The only part of the financing “solution” that I even saw survive was the new 3 % tax on capital gains. What a job-killer—and in our current economic climate, too. Nice job, guys.
Third problem: there is no provision made in this package for expanding the supply of doctors and medical personnel. After all, if one is going to be “insured”, one should have a doctor to go to, not so ? Given that many doctors are no longer accepting Medicare patients, due to a low level of payments, and that many doctors—even those who don’t take Medicare—will actually be retiring in the next dozen years or so, who will be actually out there to provide the care ?
There is NO aspect of this bill that I find acceptable, and I speak as someone who has a “pre-existing condition” that requires more than the usual amount of medical care. No cost control, outright slow-motion expropriation of a large segment of our economy, and (what I suspect is) a deliberate attempt to restrict the supply of medical providers. How this differs from the Soviet system of medicine is not really clear to me at this point.
This country will very, very seriously regret what Obama, Pelosi and their coterie did yesterday. The light of this bill isn’t an oncoming train, Mr. Dreher. It was the “light” of the detonation of an economic nuclear weapon.
Your servant,
Lord Karth



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Karl G

posted March 22, 2010 at 10:08 am


“We won’t be “healthier, richer and more solvent” until we start PRODUCING THINGS again.”
Careful there- we absolutely still to produce things (in the industrial/manufacturing sense, which I assume is what you’re talking about)- in fact our production levels have always been rising consistently, even in light of recessions like the current one. The problem is that automation so vastly amplifies our ability to produce that were shedding production _jobs_ like crazy.
The fundamental production model is changing because, in stead of each person being able to produce enough things to provide for themselves, now each person can, with the same amount of effort, produce enough for 100 or more. And that’s not even getting into digital production which means that while there’s a static upfront production cost, the cost of producing an unlimited number of copies is effectively trivial.
This is a particularly hard change to swallow when combined with a cultural attitude that values practical labor as a virtue and sets up the dynamics of pushing massive consumerism to try to create the demand necessary to soak up the total production potential while at the same time blaming those that can’t find work when we inevitably fail to sustain such levels of production for their inability to find jobs that don’t exist.
Adam Smith even roughly predicted such in the Wealth of Nations, noting that the cost of supporting unproductive people is trivial in a healthy economy because of how much would be produced by those that do produce and that blaming unproductive people for being a drag was a symptom of a weak or primitive economy, rather than those people being cause of it.
At the same time there are large potential economic sectors that are under used right now because of the practical aspect- particularly the arts- because they’re so undervalued that they only people (rare exceptions where exceptional where someone wins the natural talent lottery aside) that can afford to spend the time developing the necessary skills to be competent in those fields are people who already have access to the wealth necessary to not need to worry about surviving in the meantime.
Would making the arts alone viable and respected as regular employment be enough? Probably not, I’ll guess. But that just means that we need to fix the system so that it empowers any potential innovation in job fields not just whatever one can easily be identified at any given time. And part of that fix includes ensuring that people have access to food and shelter and are in good health regardless of their economic position so that they can be more free to choose how to elevate themselves from that baseline.



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Michael C

posted March 22, 2010 at 10:11 am


Funny that. Up here in Canada, we live longer than you guys, and more of our babies survive.
Sure you have the very best Doctors and the very best hospitals……….for those that can afford them.
The Canadian system is not the best, but as an older gentleman in not the best of health, believe me I think it is Great, and would not change it for yours.
On Friday March 5th, at 4pm, I visited our local emergency room, because I thought I had had a stroke. No wait, straight in. Diagnosed within minutes to have Bells Palsy. Tuesday morning I had a CT scan, total time at the hospital 25 minutes. Thursday morning saw a neurologist, waiting time, maybe ten minutes. Total out of pocket expenses for me. $5.25 in parking fees at two different hospitals, and gas for the car. I will not be receiving a bill, I will not be worrying about whether an insurance company will pay it. It is finished.
I don’t know whether Obamacare is good or bad, don’t much care, not my problem, but I have to laugh at your weird ideas about the situation in Canada.74nszf



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CatherineNY

posted March 22, 2010 at 10:19 am


I’m going to defend Part D — there is no way on earth we could continue to have a Medicare system for the elderly without covering outpatient prescription drugs, which are the single most effective treatment the elderly receive at this point in medical history. Go to any assisted living home, and watch the aides give out the doses of drugs to the residents. Most of them are on multiple medications, which keep them alive and give them a quality of life unheard of just a few decades ago. As a physician once pointed out to me, despite the fact that he was the most powerful man in the world at the time of his death, Franklin Roosevelt died of hypertension, for which there was no effective treatment in 1945. Now, there are multiple cardiovascular drugs which allow physicians to tailor treatment for patients suffering from hypertension, high cholesterol and other conditions which would have meant certain early death not so long ago. It was a no-brainer to add outpatient prescription medications to Medicare converage, and the plan was designed to generate competition and choice in a selection of private plans. It has worked very well, and it is a pity that the approach was not extended to the rest of Medicare.



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Indy

posted March 22, 2010 at 10:26 am


The tactical issues were interesting here. David Frum, who once worked for the Bush White House, looks at the gamble and addresses what he sees as the effect of being trapped, here
http://www.frumforum.com/waterloo



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Karl G

posted March 22, 2010 at 10:28 am


Lord Karth-
You say you’ve read the bills then you turn around and say that you are “lead to believe” inaccuracies about them? Which is it? The Cadillac Tax is there, even if somewhat watered down and delayed . (But the entire point behind the tax was that it should never be paid in the first place- it was to serve as an active deterrent from over-pricing plans and force the insurance companies to actually negotiate rates with hospitals rather than just passing higher profit margins along because there was no real deterrence.
And there is a fair amount of funding for medical scholarships and educational funding to help increase the number of doctors available, even if the natural realization of the actual demand for healthcare doesn’t attract more people to the field on its own.
As for the tax on capital gains- the real job killer is that they’re not tax at least as highly as income that people actually earn, and in fact, for people sitting on large amounts of wealth, the current structure discourages them from working by saying they can realize millions of dollars a year in income tax free as long as they don’t actually earn anything. So they can lock money out of the overall economy by keeping it rolling on stock market bets (not even making investments that actually support the businesses that they’re profiting on, since stock purchases go from investor to investor without a penny going to the company unless they choose to further surrender control of their operations to people who are more likely looking to make a quick buck than they are in the health of the company)
Realized gains are income, and should be treated as such, including charging the people who get them for the overall cost to society that making that money incurred.



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Rod Dreher

posted March 22, 2010 at 10:32 am


Hoping this thing works is a seriously un-serious respnse.
Well, I said I don’t have a strong opinion about it one way or the other.



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Cavalierkate

posted March 22, 2010 at 10:37 am


TTT: “…with Obamacare, you actually GET something for what you’re taxed…”
I’m a Canadian living in Ontario. What do I get for all my taxes? No family doctor (they aren’t accepting any new patients), six hour emergency room waits, have to find my own specialist, have to find a doctor who can refer me to that specialist, have to wait weeks to see the specialist, have to wait months for surgery. And that’s just me. Our neighbour died of cancer. We live a short drive away from our regional cancer centre. He had to go to Buffalo for chemotherapy. Our tax dollars at work for us.
I would prefer to have the opportunity to pay a small fraction of what we paid in taxes last year to purchase a decent healthcare plan for my family. But that’s illegal in Canada.



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Peter

posted March 22, 2010 at 10:46 am


No family doctor (they aren’t accepting any new patients), six hour emergency room waits, have to find my own specialist, have to find a doctor who can refer me to that specialist, have to wait weeks to see the specialist, have to wait months for surgery. And that’s just me.
That will sound familiar to most Americans. But there is universal access in Canada, correct? And no fees? The 32 million Americans without health care would be thrilled to be in your position.



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the stupid Chris

posted March 22, 2010 at 10:48 am


America can afford this.
What America can’t afford is this and the failed GOP/Libertarian economic policies. We have to stop rewarding hedge fund managers by taxing them at lower rates than everyone else. We have to stop rewarding “quick kill” speculators by taxing them at lower rates than everyone else. We have to stop rewarding people for being born into the right family, and penalizing people for being born into the wrong family. And we have to stop being the cops of the entire world, based solely upon some theory floated by ex-1960 radicals now neo-conservatives that America is an Empire now.
PS: Karth, you must have more free time than anyone I know.



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Connie Connie in Wisconsin

posted March 22, 2010 at 10:49 am


Rod, how can you not have a strong opinion about HCR? I know it involves math, but sheesh!
How crunchy is it to understand the connection between how we treat our bodies and how they treat us? How conservative is it to care about how we fund care for the old, the young, the poor, and the handicapped? How . . . thinking do you have to be to understand that insurance companies, and the way the private insurance system is structured in the U.S., adds no value to the delivery of health?



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Michael C

posted March 22, 2010 at 11:02 am


Cavalierkate.
I live in S W Ontario too, and my experience is the complete opposite of yours. The Local emergency room referred me for the CT Scan and the neurologist. I know there are family doctor shortages in some areas, there was in Chatham_Kent. There is no longer because government funds were available for an aggressive campaign to attract Doctors.
It is not illegal for you to purchase private health care in Canada, There are private clinics now in all Canadian jurisdictions, certainly in Ontario. Just Google it.
If you are in the golden horseshoe, then for instance Medcan. Regal Health Services. Affinity Health etc.



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Siarlys Jenkins

posted March 22, 2010 at 11:05 am


Like most citizens of the United States, I would like to re-draft the health care reform bill to suit my personal preferences and viewpoints. I am arrogant enough to believe that MY version would be better than any other that anyone else could offer. But, we live in the real world, and I am relieved that this bill passed, because no reform at all would have been a disaster of the first order. It needs tweaking, it was passed amidst deals and promises to tweak, let us pray that the tweaking will be improvements, not sordid payoffs.
It is a good point that one should never assume “the right people” will be in charge. James Madison was prescient when he noted in The Federalist Papers that eminent statesmen will not always be at the helm.
I hope there is recognition, at the highest levels and in everyday walks of life, that health care is NOT free. I can pay for it myself at time of service, I can pay for it by monthly premiums, my employer can pay for it as part of my share of gross revenues, or if I’m relatively indigent, some portion can be paid by some combination of tax money, private charity, or pro bono services, but somewhere along the line, it all has to be paid for. Each of those sources has a legitimate place.



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Rick Road Ranger

posted March 22, 2010 at 11:07 am


I have visited various places in Canada a dozen times since our retirement 10 years ago. During those visits, I have quite assertive (my wife says aggressive) in questioning Canadians about their health care. Almost all of them have spoken well of their health care system!
(I talked to young and old alike!)
My sister-in-law has lived in Switzerland for almost 50 years. She is required to buy health insurance and use the government-regulated health care system. She has never had any problems with it!
And my family “owes” the Medicare system at least $500,000. $400,000 for payments to keep my Dad alive with pancreatic cancer for over three years; another $75,000 to treat my brother’s two heart attacks and the remainder for my own very minor heart problems.
There are been far too much hype about all of this!! Let’s give it a try, make whatever adjustments are necessary as time goes by and see what really happens!!!



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Oda

posted March 22, 2010 at 11:11 am


You are welcome to argue that I, because I have more money and resources than you, am entitled to better more and better health care because I am able and willing to pay for it and too bad for you.
You are all welcome to argue that. In fact I am personally quite well off, and because of that I always get first-cabin medical care. The rich always do, under very system, and under no system.
For my part, I find the difficulties (sometimes impossibilities) faced by people who are not rich at getting medical care at all worth of the name are a moral scandal. Almost anything would be better than the current “system.” If the bill is not perfect it will be reformed, probably several times, but at least the thing is on the move.



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Your Name

posted March 22, 2010 at 11:13 am


“I’m a Canadian living in Ontario. What do I get for all my taxes? No family doctor (they aren’t accepting any new patients), six hour emergency room waits, have to find my own specialist, have to find a doctor who can refer me to that specialist, have to wait weeks to see the specialist, have to wait months for surgery. And that’s just me. Our neighbour died of cancer. We live a short drive away from our regional cancer centre. He had to go to Buffalo for chemotherapy. Our tax dollars at work for us.”
I’m a Canadian living in the US and you just described my situation here exactly – except that instead of the much lower costs I used to pay in taxes in Ontario (where I actually did have a family doctor and easy access to care), I pay 5000+ a year for insurance that doesn’t cover some basic care, that I had to be put on a waiting list for a doctor leaving me with basically the emergency room option, plus prescription costs (5-10x the cost in Canada)…..



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Alicia

posted March 22, 2010 at 11:17 am


I can’t make a long comment at the moment, so just want to say, “Well done, Mr. President. This is why I voted for you.”



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Your Name

posted March 22, 2010 at 11:27 am


Cavalierkate,
Re: “I’m a Canadian living in Ontario. What do I get for all my taxes? No family doctor (they aren’t accepting any new patients), six hour emergency room waits, have to find my own specialist, have to find a doctor who can refer me to that specialist, have to wait weeks to see the specialist, have to wait months for surgery.”
I, too, am a Canadian. I have a family doctor. And a friend in Hamilton who didn’t have one got one in – get this: 6 minutes! By walking into a neighbourhood clinic. My husband fell on the ice a week before we were married. He went to the emergency room and – get this: was being operated on within 4 hours of arriving at the hospital.
And which was it? Did you “have to find your own specialist” or do you “have to [have] a doctor (a general practioner, don’t forget) refer you” – which is certainly the norm.
And “wait months” for WHICH surgery? Elective? Then go ahead and GO to Buffalo where you can always buy your way to the front of the line.
VERRRY selective in your use of ‘facts’, imo.



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BP

posted March 22, 2010 at 11:32 am


Wait until the BACKLASH this absurd bill creates.



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Reaganite in NYC

posted March 22, 2010 at 11:35 am


Cognitive dissonance (and mass delusion) have been on display here.
They say this will control costs while expanding coverage. One of those things COULD happen, but not both. Bend the cost curve? Only on a “funny mirror” in an old-style circus fun house.
Stupak’s “deal” — which gave Obama/Pelosi the votes to put this over the top last night — is another act of collective delusion. Obamacare will either result in federal funding of abortions or it won’t. That both sides (pro-life Democrats and pro-abortion) applaud the deal tells us that one side or the other will get sandbagged. Stupak is coming out of this looking either dumb or duplicitous.
Obama wanted to be a transformative President. The debate over Obamacare has certainly transformed him from a “post-partisan” President to just another sneaky, dishonest politician.
And the debate is just beginning. A recurring issue in British, Canadian and Australian elections is the performance of their national healthcare bureaucracies. Medical errors are the stuff of lurid headlines and endless demands for investigations. Medicine has been hopelessly politicized and this now threatens to become a permanent condition of American life.
Kathryn Jean Lopez at NRO expressed it well last night: “Beginning now, the Democrats own the health-care system in America. Every hiccup. Every complaint. Every long line. All theirs.”
Nothing got really solved. All that was accomplished was the advancement of a pipe-dream (one-size-fits-all universal, collectivized healthcare) that was suited perhaps to the factory economies of the late 19th century but which is today a clunky, schlerotic anachronism.



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Your Name

posted March 22, 2010 at 11:35 am


Is the health care light an oncoming train?
Forgive me, Rod, but when I grew up, my grandmother taught me that a Christian is supposed to ‘believe the best, think the best, say the best and hope the best’ – of people and of situations.
Since you’ve stated you ‘really don’t care much either way’, isn’t this a bit pessimistic on your part?
Also, if the rest of the civilized world can provide universal health care, why can’t ‘The Greatest Nation On Earth’ (TM) do it?



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Your Name

posted March 22, 2010 at 11:42 am


“What concerns me is that we’re not going to be able to pay for this”
Frankly Rod, imo, America is the most UNDER_TAXED nation I know.
I’m a Canadian ‘Snowbird’ (i.e. I winter in the south). We recently purchased a manufactured home and then did about $10,000 worth of work on it – on which there was $0.00 of tax. That’s right, ZERO dollars. Not on parts, noton labour – NADA. There’s no State income tax in this State either.
Quite frankly, Americans are a bunch of whiners. The ‘Taxed Enough Already’ Party is full of it.
And I think Obama’s idea of making the rich pay is a step in the right direction.
P.S. My out-of-country medical insurance cost me less than $500 for 6 months of coverage. Why Americans have to pay >$8500 for a year is a major puzzlement.



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frmed

posted March 22, 2010 at 11:59 am


This whole discussion would not be necessary if true Christian values and teachings were observed. In the Gospel of Matthew, Jesus related the parable of the Good Samaritan; commendation went to the Samaritan who treated, then assumed the cost of treatment of the injured man (sounds like a form of “public” insurance doesn’t it). Later in Matthew, when describing the Last Judgment of souls, Jesus stated that those who disregarded the plight of the sick, poor and imprisoned would be dealt with severely (gnashing of teeth). No mention of cost or inconvience occurs in that discourse by Christ; in fact admonitions are found throughout the Gospels about being too concerned with money, wealth status etc.. Our concerns are to be with the health, safety and security (both physical and spiritual) of mankind, not with our political ideologies, our public or economic status or our pocketbooks.



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Cavalierkate

posted March 22, 2010 at 12:05 pm


I guess there’s a happy healthcare tale for every horror story. Ultimately, no system is perfect but there is always room for improvement. I’m just weary of hearing Canadians applauding our “free” healthcare. Free comes at a price.
Dr. Sanity (an American psychiatrist) writes in her blog: “I don’t believe that people have a “right” to health care; because, what advocating such a “right” basically means is that you believe you have a “right” to my mind; you have a “right” to my professional competence; i.e., you have a “right” to enslave me.”
Agree or not, it’s food for thought.
To “Your Name” – Correct me if I’m wrong, but as a non-resident property owner, aren’t your property taxes higher than a resident’s taxes? And as for America being the most “under-taxed” nation, Canada is one of the most over-taxed. I don’t see how making the rich pay is a step in the right direction. While we are not “rich,” we are in the highest income tax bracket and that’s before property and provincial and federal sales taxes. How much is enough?



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Lou Kendrick

posted March 22, 2010 at 12:12 pm


Good call Rod – I will also associate myself with Ross Douthat’s view. We’ve had the debate, the decision has been made – now we, as a nation, need to make it work. There is little to be gained by working to make it fail, and much to lose.



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Rawlins Gilliland

posted March 22, 2010 at 12:15 pm


Here’s a reality check for those who have the luxury of posturing over how we, in ‘America’, have the ‘best healthcare in the world’.
I was a successful consultant to the wholesale/retail industries in 2001 when the 9/11 attacks took place. With last quarter almost $70,000 in upcoming billbles projected. Then, after 9/11,….does any one but me remember how the entire capitalist system shut down for months…(w/even the President saying ‘go shopping’). For months I treaded water because of that $70 thou? Only $1000 came in…everyone else canceled because of the stop-action in the economy after the terrorist attacks.
Being in my 50s, despite having perfect health: 120 over 70 blood bressure, cholesterol 157, etc. NO pre-existing…my $5000 deductible ‘health care policy’ was between $1,150-1,300 per month. So, I lost my health poicy after 5 months but was not worried to reconnect w/it later because I had no pre-existing. Then in May 2002, I cut all the fingers off my left hand in a terrible accident. They were, thank God, re-attached to the tune of $154,000.00. Which ate up and spit out my entire savings and liquid assets. I was ruined.
I who has never ever even had the opportunity to get Unemployment payments, etc….was broke. Making ends barely meet selling on eBay things I bought at thrift shops.
Could I get Medicaid? No. All THAT money was going to pay for ‘unplanned’ and ‘unwanted’ pregnancies. Black, white, brown….the Medicaid office was lined up with pregnant women. And so I was eligible for nothing. Nothing. Despite mine being a grotesque accident and pregnancy being a quite preventable medical condition. I know how to not get pregnant. I on the other hand cannot prevent a saw blade fly off.
The pregnant women got help. I got nothing. At least because my business had cratered at the end of the previous year, my income for 2001 was a shortfall and I qualified for a reduction of my medical bill. In fact I should have had the chance to not have to beg and plead and scrounge for months to not have my house seized for back taxes, the IRS seizing my income. It was a nightmare but that is yesterday. But get the point? I had NO safety net in that ambulance when I was clutching my severed fingers. The only reason I did not end up at a community hospital where they would have never been reattached was because the paramedic made a decision to take me to Baylor…a recognized hospital w/ capable surgeons able to reconnect my fingers… because ‘you have clearly taken care of yourself and the fact that you collected the pieces of your fingers is testament to your courage’. God Bless him. I go to the Fire House to thank him year after year.



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dan

posted March 22, 2010 at 1:09 pm


I really get tired of people who come to America and tell us what lousy people we are. Un-named Canadian: If you think America are a bunch of whiners, don’t come here! Mexico is sunny too. “America is the most undertaxed country?” are you kidding? I’m a general contractor in California and the taxes are killing me. Yours is the typical arrogance of the liberal. You are a guest in this country and yet you feel like you have to post rude comments about us on the internet. This same arrogance “I know better than you country-bumpkin Americans” is what led the dems to push massive (>2000 pages) legislation against the wishes of a majority of Americans. This is how Hugo Chavez undermined the democracy of Venezuela. He gives rousing speeches to wild-eyed fanatics, maintains the illusion of democracy and then does everything to install a leftist tyranny. You watch now: his end strategy is that he won’t have to pay the political price for this because he will wave his magical fascist wand and make 30 million voters out of the illegals by 2012. Nevermind that My wife and I were married for 5 years, constantly wrangling with INS before we finally got her permanent resident status, and now have to pay a handsome fee to get her citizenship. As it turns out, it would have been easier to just break the law and wait for amnesty (or does it not apply to conservatives?) Of course these are the days when the responsible are punished and the bums rewarded. I own no TV, pay no cable or satellite bills, have no motorcycles, boats, huge trucks or toy-haulers but have always carried health insurance for my family. My neighbors have all these toys and claim that they can’t afford health insurance. There is a coastal dune system nearby with an off-road vehicle park. Every year people (often children) are seriously injured there. Almost to a person they wind up in the local E.R. and have no insurance. They can afford motorcycles for the whole family, the toy hauler, the huge truck, the gas to burn, the beer and chips but you expect me to pay their healthcare.



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Christian Man

posted March 22, 2010 at 1:10 pm


frmed, The injured man in the story was injured by robbers, those who took his money from him without his consent. The Samaritan, on the other hand, gave out of the goodness of his heart, not because he was compelled by some government to do so.



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dan

posted March 22, 2010 at 1:43 pm


I don’t understand the sunny optimism y’all espouse. They admit that this giant bill is “imperfect”, which in humanspeak translates as “really bad” Its a trojan horse carrying government healthcare into the walls of Troy. As it fails, their answer will be the same as it always is -more government. The government hasn’t assumed enough responsibility over your life. This should mean something to beleifnet readers because a smaller government is a moral good. When the government assumes what should be your responsibilities, they also assume what should be your freedoms. When governments provide for families instead of families providing for families, families disappear. marriage and child-bearing are becoming things of the past in socialist Europe. I’ve been horrified on several trips to Montreal when friends of my wife’s were expecting. In 3 out of 4 of the couples the man WAS NOT WORKING. You’d stop by the house at 3 in the afternoon, either to well-wish the expecting mother or to see the new-born, and there’s the guy: out of work. sitting on the couch. “looking” for work (which I’ve heard is rarely found on the couch). Why should they feel like they have to work? the child is not their resonsibility, it is the responsibility of the state of Canada.
Doesn’t sound like a very fulfilling lifestyle. maybe that’s why in Europe they just plain don’t make babies anymore. This is the death of a culture: God is replaced by the state. The state is significantly less inspiring than God. The society degenerates.



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Indy

posted March 22, 2010 at 1:57 pm


Dan, if they end up in the E.R. now without insurance, you already are paying for their healthcare. Since E.R.s don’t turn people away, by and large, they pass on some of the costs to those of us who do have insurance.
Reaganite, on the abortion issue, pro-life and pro-choice forces could get behind the legislation because its focus was not on providing federal funding for abortions. As I pointed out on the blog months ago, it’s my sense that Washington these days works to avoid getting involved in the abortion issue. I’ve talked to enough liberal, pro-choice Democratic women to know how some of them look at issues, how they separate them, and how they lobby lawmakers. They don’t necessarily push to have abortion be a factor in all legislation affecting health matters. When it’s not a dealbreaker for them, and isn’t in a bill, it’s not a dealbreaker for those who oppose abortion, either. As a result, there are health related areas where the two sides can come together.
As to Frum’s point (“We followed the most radical voices in the party and the movement, and they led us to abject and irreversible defeat. There were leaders who knew better, who would have liked to deal. But they were trapped. Conservative talkers on Fox and talk radio had whipped the Republican voting base into such a frenzy that deal-making was rendered impossible. How do you negotiate with somebody who wants to murder your grandmother? Or — more exactly — with somebody whom your voters have been persuaded to believe wants to murder their grandmother?”), it’s important to remember how much it startled some independents and moderates to hear talk of “death panels” arise last summer. It’s one thing to have firm views on how to contain costs or broaden coverage. It’s another to veer off into irresponsible rhetoric. If this important issue was handled so badly by some of those “talkers,” how can we Indy’s take seriously anything they say on equally important issues? They Fox and talk radio folks who played that game have got a huge credibility gap with some of us now. Some of us moderates would like to have heard out some reasonable conservative voices on this issue, since we usually listen to both sides and make up our minds. But the flame throwers and noise makers prevailed. Huge mistake, as Frum points out.



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dan

posted March 22, 2010 at 2:19 pm


Indy,
This is a beleifnet discussion. Ideally we’re here talking because we beleive in something divine. The leftists aren’t just secular. They are antitheists. I don’t care what they say about not funding abortion and not witholding care from the elderly. The fox is now in the henhouse and you’re trying to assure me that he promised us he’ll stop being a fox from now on. Life is not sacred to them. Population control and free abortion on demand are core values for them. They just won a landmark victory in those areas. I’m tired of people telling me I’m some kind of FOXNEWS zombie if I disagree with Barack Obama. Why aren’t lefties accused of being MSNBC zombies? Fox may lean right but MSNBC ias way, way way left.



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sis2lis

posted March 22, 2010 at 2:28 pm


“The injured man in the story was injured by robbers, those who took his money from him without his consent. The Samaritan, on the other hand, gave out of the goodness of his heart, not because he was compelled by some government to do so.”
James Madison, The Federalist No. 51: “If men were angels, no government would be necessary.”
Humans are not angels.



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Indy

posted March 22, 2010 at 2:52 pm


Dan, the Left, such as it is, makes up some 21% of the electorate. That leaves an awful lot of moderates and conservatives. The polling I studied after November 2008 showed the extent to which some of them joined “the Left” to vote Obama into office. I’ve talked to a lot of Democrats, although I am not one (not a Republican, either). Some are pro-choice, some are pro-life. Some are secular but pro-life, others are religious but pro-choice. There’s a lot more nuance out there than your characterization suggests, if you really get into the weeds and talk to people. It simply hurts conservatives to argue that Democrats are abortion loving leftists, it leaves them with nothing to say to thoughtful Democrats and Independents who gravitate towards nuance. Why write them off? Surely conservatives won’t benefit from that. It’s exactly that scorched earth policy, lump them all together and demonize them for impurity or lack of being “real” Americans approach that led to the electoral debacle of 2008. We’e all real Americans.



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agwbl

posted March 22, 2010 at 3:15 pm


dan,
please read Matthew 25:31-46
thank you.



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Oda

posted March 22, 2010 at 3:20 pm


marriage and child-bearing are becoming things of the past in socialist Europe.
Wow. This would certainly be news to my son living in Denmark and to his wife and children, and to their friends and neighbors and all the families I see when I go to pick the kids up at the elementary school. I’m over there a lot, and it’s news to me too.
maybe that’s why in Europe they just plain don’t make babies anymore.
Who, then, are all these kids all over the place in my kid’s family’s neighborhood? All these small people over at the school? Nebbishes? Europe has about the same area as the United States, and twice the population. If they can gently lower that population level, to me it would be a much more pleasant place. Just a tad crowded. (!) But then, I’m an American.
All this because you saw some unemployed schlub in Montreal? (Which, by the way, is not in Europe.) I have more news. We have unemployed schlubs in the United States too. Had them before health care reform, have them now. It’s the human condition I guess.



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dan

posted March 22, 2010 at 3:31 pm


Indy, Are you really going to talk about demonization? Every time I have heard my president speak in recent times, he has demonized health insurance companies. My neighbors and fellow Americans who work in health insurance. His speeches were not about reform so much they were lynch-mob rallies against blue cross and cigna. And yes, you are right. The true left is miniscule among the constituents, but it is 100% of the oval office and 100% of the speaker of the house, and they just sullied the democratic process by pushing through a massive government expansion against the will of the majority by means of arm-twisting, corruption, and my favorite: using OUR money from a stimulus I didn’t want to pay off undecided votes for a bill that we didn’t want. What’s next? They obviously don’t care about our opinions. What’s to stop them from doing even crazier stuff? Are you happy about the expansion of the IRS to become health insurance police? What more expansions do they have in mind? You talk about nuances versus scorched earth. I wanted reform, I didn’t want overhaul. I would like to have seen meaningful malpractice reform, opening of insurance markets across statelines, small business people like myself being able to pool resources and buy group plans, high-risk pools to insure pre-existing conditions. The republicans pushed these ideas, but they didn’t see the light of day. They were completely shut out. Obama told us that all negotiations would be on CSPAN. Did you see them? I didn’t. the fact is I’m completely disgusted and I don’t have to be happy with it. This monstrosity can be repealed, and I hope it will.



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dan

posted March 22, 2010 at 3:37 pm


Oda,
I’m aware that Montreal is not Europe, it’s just a little closer ideologically than we were yesterday afternoon. You gloss over a serious point about out-of-work schlubs. When you subsidize out-of-work schlubbery don’t be surprised when there are more out-of-work shlubs. When you simultaneously punish citizens who get up and go to work in the morning and (God forbid!) take the risk of starting their own business with confiscatory taxes to pay for those sclubs, many of those citizens will join the ranks of the schlubs. Margaret Thatcher once said “The problem with socialism is that you eventually run out of other people’s money.”



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Anti Dhimmi

posted March 22, 2010 at 3:48 pm


Indy, it is a bit curious to see you claiming that there was no serious alternative offered by the Republicans on health insurance issues. Didn’t you participate in some of the threads last year on the “Whole Foods” and Ryan options? Maybe I am mistaken, but it seems that you should be aware of these alternatives, as well informed as you are, rather than just posting a partisan talking point.
More broadly, it should be obvious to everyone that expanding the power of government must of necessity expand the reach of politics. Therefore, this legislation will expand both the politicization of US culture and the existing cultural fault lines. Eveyone will get to pay, via various taxes, to subsidize some human behavior they oppose. That won’t make for more harmony.



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Indy

posted March 22, 2010 at 4:14 pm


AD, I said nothing about Republican plans–that was Frum. I used ” to open and close, I think.
Dan, like David Brooks, I view Obama as a pragmatic center-leftist, not 100% Left. Looks like we’re on different pages on that assessment.



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Anti Dhimmi

posted March 22, 2010 at 4:27 pm


Indy, are these your words?
If this important issue was handled so badly by some of those “talkers,” how can we Indy’s take seriously anything they say on equally important issues? They Fox and talk radio folks who played that game have got a huge credibility gap with some of us now. Some of us moderates would like to have heard out some reasonable conservative voices on this issue, since we usually listen to both sides and make up our minds. But the flame throwers and noise makers prevailed. Huge mistake, as Frum points out.
Because these words say to me that there was no serious alternative offered by the Republicans, just “flame thrower and noise makers”. Given the threads on this site that discussed the Whole Foods option, the Ryan option and others, I find that claim to not match with reality. I’m also pretty sure I parsed the paragraph correctly and have not confused your quotation of Frum with your own writing, but please do correct me if I am wrong.



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dan

posted March 22, 2010 at 4:33 pm


Indy,
He said that the constitution is an imperfect document because it only says what the government can’t do to you, but not what it has to do for you. In the same interview he said that he didn’t support “reparations” because they didn’t go far enough, and that only wholesale economic redistribution would satisfy the injustices of the past.
He appointed Van Jones, a self-avowed communist as green jobs Tsar.
His appointed ambassador to El Salvador was passed over by the Clinto administration when it became apparent she had cohabitated with a Cuban spy for 8 years.
He spent 20 years in close association with Jeremiah Wright who espouses “black lideration theology” i.e. racial-tinged Marxism.
He is lifelong friend and associate of Bill Ayers, a weatherman terrorist.
he has never worked in the private sector and neither have 93% of his appointees
Bill Clinton is center-left. Bill Clinton went to a few anti-war demonstrations in his youth, was on the left on many issues but never waged war on the private sector and didn’t have lifelong associations with overt communists. The guy described above is NOT center-left. I’m fine with us disagreeing but let’s not misrepresent.



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Indy

posted March 22, 2010 at 4:39 pm


Oh, I see, AD. In mentioning talkers, I thought I made it clear I was discussing radio and tv blowhards ranting about death panels and such panels. Talkers doesn’t refer to Congress or think tanks or policy wonks. Read Frum’s piece and you’ll see its about outside folks on tv and on radioam not policy experts.



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Anti Dhimmi

posted March 22, 2010 at 4:46 pm


Indy, thanks for clearing that up. So would you agree that other options, serious options, were offered by some Republicans but were not discussed much by the major media?



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Anti Dhimmi

posted March 22, 2010 at 4:50 pm


I see on Drudge (insert any old ad-hominem flame here if it makes you feel better, dear reader) that now 11 states Attorney Generals have announced an intention to file suit in Federal court over the mandatory insurance issue in the health care bill. And so the next round of cultural conflict begins.
At this point I must bow out of here for a time.



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Michael C

posted March 22, 2010 at 4:59 pm


Well this kinda fell off the rails Rod.
For whomever was slagging Montreal. The unemployment rate in Canada this month is 8.2% whereas in the USA it is 8.1%
However the labor force participation rate in Canada is 67.1% whereas in the USA it is 64.8%



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Indy

posted March 22, 2010 at 5:06 pm


Dan, if you read books about Obama (I recently read Christopher Anderson’s Barack and Michelle, Heileman and Halperin’s Game Change, and David Ploufffe’s Audacity of Hope), you might get a different impression of him. He certainly was not close to Bill Ayers, for example. He knew him in the Chicago education reform community but they hardly were close friends. And his pattern always has been to work with people across the aisle, when possible. He doesn’t seem wired to reject people who don’t align exactly with his views. Indeed, as early as in his college days at Harvard, Obama’s apparent easy going nature and intellectual curiosity led him to reach out to conservative fellow students and form genuine friendships with them. He wasn’t one of those people who walled himself off and hung out only with people like himself. Some conservatives – more so than liberals – actually played a key role in electing him President of the Harvard Law Review. He simply does not come across to me as an angry, extremist, radical, separationist, then or now. I’m white and have led a comfortable life, albeit self supporting from the time I was in college – my parents paid almost nothing for my education as my brains (academic scholarships) and loans I signed for and paid back took care of that. I’m well off now but I’ve worked for it, I started working full time while I was in grad school. Haven’t stopped since, and it’s paid off. When I say I’m privileged, I mean I’ve benefited from getting multiple academic degrees and rising in rank in my profession. People can be in somewhat different places politically but still recognize similarities in each other. Although he has had a tougher time than I, Obama’s temperament is not dissimilar to mine. Unlike him, however, I haven’t always voted for one party. Sometimes I vote Democratic, sometimes Republican. I am part of what they call the persuadable middle, willing to listen to center right and center left but wary of extremes on left or right.



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dan

posted March 22, 2010 at 5:08 pm


I don’t even know what slagging is so I don’t know I could have done it. You really missed my point, though. Canada is a more socialist country (or was yesterday) and has socialist medicine. I told the anecdote beacuse it is my experience in how socialism changes people’s attitudes about their relationship with the government and their relationships with their families. It concerned me more that the men in question didn’t feel a need to get a job with a pregnant girlfriend in the house than the fact that they were unemployed. They didn’t feel responsible. It should be no surprise that in socialist countries, marriagerates go way down.



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Your Name

posted March 22, 2010 at 5:12 pm


Cavalierkate,
“Correct me if I’m wrong, but as a non-resident property owner, aren’t your property taxes higher than a resident’s taxes?”
You are not wrong. Apparently, residents pay 50% less than we do. But that misses the point. Our tax bill for our 1200 square foot, 2 bedroom, 2 bath unit is a whopping $269.90.
See what I mean by the U.S. being “undertaxed” yet?
P.S. I gladly pay the higher taxes in Canada because of the excellent health care we get there, our much better school systems, our infrastructure, plus the fact that all citizens are truly free, unlike the unlucky American citizens who happen to be homosexual.
Try again, but do better.



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Indy

posted March 22, 2010 at 5:16 pm


AD, my point about media was that the Limbaughs and Palins and Becks messed things up by screeching about death panels. All that hang wringing and hysteria got in the way of good, robust debate. And it made the right look like silly fraidy cats, which I just don’t think they really are. Conservatism is better than that, it’s not so weak and laughable as Palinites and Beck and Limbaugh would lead one to believe. (Too bad Bill Buckley is gone now.) It would have been better for the right to showcase conservative policy wonks, people who were serious about working out solutions.
Brave grown ups, intellectuals. Instead, unserious blowhards set the tone.



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Indy

posted March 22, 2010 at 5:41 pm


That should be Plouffe’s Audacity of Change.



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Anti Dhimmi

posted March 22, 2010 at 6:28 pm


Indy writes:
AD, my point about media was that the Limbaughs and Palins and Becks messed things up by screeching about death panels. All that hang wringing and hysteria got in the way of good, robust debate. And it made the right look like silly fraidy cats, which I just don’t think they really are. Conservatism is better than that, it’s not so weak and laughable as Palinites and Beck and Limbaugh would lead one to believe. (Too bad Bill Buckley is gone now.) It would have been better for the right to showcase conservative policy wonks, people who were serious about working out solutions.
I understand your point. However, you seem to be missing mine.
Do you agree, or disagree, that there were serious alternatives offered by Republicans such as Rep. Ryan?
If you agree that such were offered, do you agree or disagree that they were ignored by the main stream media?



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Lord Karth

posted March 22, 2010 at 6:37 pm


Karl G. @ 10:28 PM writes:
“You say you’ve read the bills then you turn around and say that you are “lead to believe” inaccuracies about them? Which is it? ”
If you think I can read several thousand pages of rather dense “bill-ese” and retain each and every facet of what I have read, you give me far, FAR more credit than I am due.
Your servant,
Lord Karth



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Jon

posted March 22, 2010 at 6:57 pm


Re: The unemployment rate in Canada this month is 8.2% whereas in the USA it is 8.1%
The unemployment rate in the US was 9.7% last time it was officially tabulated (early March, based on mid-February data). Cnada has us beat by moe than a percentage point.



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Your Name

posted March 22, 2010 at 6:58 pm


The Republicans and their “serious alternatives” had many years in power and they did exactly zilch, zero, to solve this problem.
Now, when the other party is in power, they whine around. I’m underwhelmed. If they really had cared about the millions of Americans who died unnecessarily or went bankrupt (or both) for lack of adequate health care they would have done something about it when they could have, them and their “serious alternatives”. BS, say I.



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Indy

posted March 22, 2010 at 7:29 pm


Both sides’ views were nicely aired out at the White House summit, which was aired on tv. I wish they’d do more of that sort of thing. And visit with each others’ caucuses, as the President did with the GOP and the Q&A. And yes, the newspapers I read mentioned some GOP plans and explained their key points. But they never got traction because of the GOP’s own base, which got hung up on the fraidy cat death panel stuff and “hands off my Medicare” nonsense, thanks to the unhelpful talkers. And that base, stirred up by the short sighted talkers, hung a heavy, damaging but unnecessary yoke on those on the right whose voices deserved to get a better hearing. If the Frum site doesn’t load, try the account here:
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/03/22/health-care-reactions-fir_n_507753.html
The Ryans never had a chance, but it wasn’t the “MSM” or the libs that did them in. It was their own that trapped them and diluted their impact, badly.



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Oda

posted March 22, 2010 at 8:12 pm


The Ryans never had a chance, but it wasn’t the “MSM” or the libs that did them in. It was their own that trapped them and diluted their impact, badly.
At the risk of being boring, which I am often anyway, I will again tiresomely point out that if Ryan and his side had wanted to fix the manifest problems in this area, they had many years in which to do just that, and they didn’t bother. All we heard from that party back in that day was “I’ve got mine, too bad for everyone else.”
Oh the poor Ryans. They never had a chance. Except they had years of chances. The truth is, they didn’t want to fix the problem, and so long as they had (public-subsidized!) Cadillac health care, they didn’t see any reason why they ought to even try.
I’ve got mine, too bad for everyone else.



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Anti Dhimmi

posted March 22, 2010 at 8:30 pm


Indy wrote:
Both sides’ views were nicely aired out at the White House summit, which was aired on tv.
That is true, and for most people it was likely the first time they ever actually were exposed to the GOP’s alternatives. Why do you suppose that is, given that many of those ideas were available months earlier?
I wish they’d do more of that sort of thing. And visit with each others’ caucuses, as the President did with the GOP and the Q&A. And yes, the newspapers I read mentioned some GOP plans and explained their key points. But they never got traction because of the GOP’s own base, which got hung up on the fraidy cat death panel stuff and “hands off my Medicare” nonsense, thanks to the unhelpful talkers.
Indy, let’s walk back a bit. When the Tea Party first started protesting last year, there was very little coverage, and what there was that I saw was along the lines of “oddity of the day”. When they kept showing up, then the coverage shifted to claims of “astroturf”, rather silly in view of all the hand made signs in contrast with mass produced SEIU signs. Oddly enough, the beating of Ken Gladney by SEIU employees for handing out Gasden flags received very little coverage in the MSM. One would expect that a black man being beaten for engaging in his 1st Amendment rights, on camera, with racial epithets as a bonus would have been a major story, but apparently something about it just didn’t fit the requirements of the MSM.
Much of the coverage I saw after that focused on the oddest sign that could be found in a crowd. I personally compared some wide angle images of Tea Party protests with the images that AP provided, and found that they were ignoring the ordinary people in favor of the eccentric. And of course, I should not have to remind you of the disgusting epithet that was fastened upon the Tea Parties by virtually every MSM reporter, commentator, and many politicians including the President. A label that was intended to dehumanize as well as marginalize.
Why do you suppose the MSM was so fond of that term, such that they preferred it to the actual name of Tea Party? Did you ever see the MSM refuse to call, oh, the Black Panther Party by their self-assigned name? Nope. Only the Tea Party was singled out for that special treatment. So from my perspective, there’s been an inordinate focus on the Tea Parties eccentricities, and very little on their substantial issues.
Likewise, the various GOP alternatives were available to the press for months, and were ignored until presented as part of the White House’s summit, where ignoring them would be impractical. Do you see that as an accident?
And that base, stirred up by the short sighted talkers, hung a heavy, damaging but unnecessary yoke on those on the right whose voices deserved to get a better hearing. If the Frum site doesn’t load, try the account here:
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/03/22/health-care-reactions-fir_n_507753.html
With all due respect, David Frum has a number of scores to settle, and his own agenda which may or may not be achieveable. So he might just be a wee bit biased in his analysis.
The Ryans never had a chance, but it wasn’t the “MSM” or the libs that did them in. It was their own that trapped them and diluted their impact, badly.
I disagree. To people who get their news from TV, what the MSM covers is the news. When the MSM chooses to focus on all sorts of peripheral issues, but refuses to even acknowledge the existence of a substantial position, it is not reasonable to assume they had nothing to do with how an issue was framed. By focusing almost exclusively on a handful of people, and ignoring those with less hype and more substance, the MSM skewed the discourse. And not for the first time, either. The Concord Coalition has been pretty much ignored for years by the MSM. There are any number of thinking people all over the poltiical landscape who don’t get any hearing on the MSM, because they don’t sceram, they don’t make outlandish statements, and thus they aren’t good for ratings or readers.
However, in the case of the health debate, I find the coverage for most of 2009 and into 2010 to be quite one sided; far too many “news” stories were essentially rewrites of White House talking points, IMO.



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Anti Dhimmi

posted March 22, 2010 at 8:36 pm


Oda wrote:
The Ryans never had a chance, but it wasn’t the “MSM” or the libs that did them in. It was their own that trapped them and diluted their impact, badly.
At the risk of being boring, which I am often anyway, I will again tiresomely point out that if Ryan and his side had wanted to fix the manifest problems in this area, they had many years in which to do just that, and they didn’t bother. All we heard from that party back in that day was “I’ve got mine, too bad for everyone else.”
At the risk of being even more boring and tiresome, I will again point out that this isn’t true. The Ryans did not solve the problem in the way some wanted but they did make an effort by creation of such things as Health Savings Accounts. And so to say “All we ever heard from that party back in the day was ‘I’ve got mine, too bad for everyone else'” may be an emotionally satisfying partisan talking point, but it is factually incorrect.
Oh the poor Ryans. They never had a chance. Except they had years of chances. The truth is, they didn’t want to fix the problem, and so long as they had (public-subsidized!) Cadillac health care, they didn’t see any reason why they ought to even try.
And again, they did try. In part they even had some success. It wasn’t in the “one-size-fits-all-central-command-and-control” model, so it didn’t satisfy some people, and didn’t fit into the MSM narrative on “health care”.
I’ve got mine, too bad for everyone else.



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TTT

posted March 22, 2010 at 9:03 pm


Did you ever see the MSM refuse to call, oh, the Black Panther Party by their self-assigned name?
I’ve seen the MSM refuse to cover left-wing activism in any way, shape, or form.
This past weekend over 200,000 Americans marched on Washington for immigration reform, and it got NO coverage in the mainstream media–at all. But every provincial townhall meeting with a Screaming Old Guy was frontpage news for an entire summer (and of course, the meetings WITHOUT partisan screamers, where most of the crowd supported HCR, were simply ignored). Thus the power of narrative.



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Indy

posted March 22, 2010 at 9:24 pm


Just got back in, saw your posts, AD. Not sure what you’re getting at, AD. Are you saying that if more Republicans had negotiated with the Democrats, that there wouldn’t have been the scenes we saw last summer at the townhalls? For a while it looked as if there was going to be some Republican support for the bill. That was what a lot of the delay over the summer was about, as Max Baucus negotiated with the Gang of Six. I had the impression the chances of hammering out a compromise that included parts of what both parties wanted decreased after the townhalls, not increased. Some people actually backed away from what they previously had supported in past years, from what I read. My sense was that the Tea Party people preferred a no negotiation, no compromise stance, rather than a “work together to get a moderate plan” approach.
Negotiation requires offering something in return for getting something. It’s a question of leverage. I recently read a book that detailed at pretty granular level some of the horse trading that went into working out the passage of some major bills in the past; a lot of behind the scenes manuevering. But it only works if both sides see they can get something out of the process. Obviously, there’s no point in giving in on points where it doesn’t gain the side which gives away something any votes. The negotiation has to be in good faith, with a possibility of garnering some votes.
The majority sets the legislative agenda. The minority may choose to work with them, working out trade offs in exchange for pledges to vote for the final bill. If they say they’re not going to vote for the legislation, not matter what is in it, then obviously they’ve given away any leverage they have. The amount of coverage their proposals get largely becomes meaningless, except to say, “we do have ideas.” But their real chance to take meaningful action was when they controlled the Congress. In that, as in everything, the increased partisanship may work against both parties. We may never again see that type of bipartisanship and ability to negotiate and hammer out compromises that the old timers keep pointing to as reportedly having existed in the past.



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Anti Dhimmi

posted March 22, 2010 at 9:27 pm


TTT writes:
Did you ever see the MSM refuse to call, oh, the Black Panther Party by their self-assigned name?
I’ve seen the MSM refuse to cover left-wing activism in any way, shape, or form.
Me, too, but that wasn’t the question that I asked. I asked if you have ever seen any left wing group that was referred to in news reports not by the name they call themselves, but by an obnoxious, made up, term. Can you answer that question?
This past weekend over 200,000 Americans marched on Washington for immigration reform, and it got NO coverage in the mainstream media–at all.
Well, that’s a total mystery to me. Must be a konspiracy, because there was nothing — absolutely nothing — else going on that the nationa media might have been focused on. Nothing. Not one thing at all was happening in DC this last weekend…
But every provincial townhall meeting with a Screaming Old Guy was frontpage news for an entire summer (and of course, the meetings WITHOUT partisan screamers, where most of the crowd supported HCR, were simply ignored). Thus the power of narrative.
Conflict sells, right? When the Panthers in California were standing on street corners with unloaded shotguns, it got attention from the media. Some of the issues they were trying to draw attention to were ignored, because childhood nutrition among poor people isn’t nearly as attention grabbing as Scary Young Black Men With Guns. But they were referred to as the “Black Panthers”, not by some made up, innuendo-laden, insulting label. Unlike the Tea Partiers.
Again I ask the question. Can you answer? Will you?



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Indy

posted March 22, 2010 at 9:52 pm


AD, I don’t watch much cable at all, I really do prefer print. I differentiate between the news and opinion press, and between print punditry and cable gabfests. If you are referring to the best known newspapers and news magazines, and to broadcast (CBS, ABC, NBC) and cable tv (CNN, MSNBC, FNC), among traditional media, I never have heard a reporter in a news broadcast refer to the Tea Party by the derisive term in question. I have heard guests on opinion shows do so, as believe have some pundits on tv or in blogs. Guests are free agents who are not under the control of the entity’s editorial standards the way reporters are. Broadcast tv hosts on the Sunday morning shows don’t seem to use it. Cable hosts might, I almost never watch any of their shows, right or left. Have never seen the term used in published op eds or editorials in the major newspapers. So when it comes to traditional media, it doesn’t seem as if it is acceptable on the reporting side.



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Indy

posted March 22, 2010 at 9:59 pm


Not that it matters, but I finally took the time to go downstairs and to check the title of the Plouffe book, which I misrendered twice here. It is The Audacity to Win. I like “inside baseball” accounts of campaigns and presidents, read such books for both sides.



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Anti Dhimmi

posted March 22, 2010 at 10:32 pm


Indy, please don’t feel obligated to rush to answer anything from me on this site. Let’s face it, we all have lives and real things to do besides comment here, and so we all ought to give each other grace (or slack, if you prefer) on replies. Sometimes it’s better to give an answer or a thought some time to reflect, as well, rather than answer in haste (I’m writing that last line to myself more than anyone else).
Indy wrote:
AD, I don’t watch much cable at all, I really do prefer print.
I too prefer print, but cable is ubiquitous. It is harder and harder to avoid, in public places, and the majority of people obtain their news from such sources, according to the surveys I have seen. Print, even online print, is declining in favor of sources such as Headline News, Fox, CNN, MSNBC and so forth. It also seems that for people under 25, Jon Stewart is a news source growing in significance.
I differentiate between the news and opinion press, and between print punditry and cable gabfests.
The line between news and opinion was blurred a long time ago, both in print and in broadcast/cablecast. I documented it on CNN back in 1994, heard it on NPR news at the same time. The Associated Press at times reads more like a press agency than a news service, on some topics. Perhaps it does not seem that way to you, but I’ve been reading newspapers likely longer than you, so the change is more obvious.
If you are referring to the best known newspapers and news magazines, and to broadcast (CBS, ABC, NBC) and cable tv (CNN, MSNBC, FNC), among traditional media, I never have heard a reporter in a news broadcast refer to the Tea Party by the derisive term in question.
Then I guess you’ve never heard of Gwen Ifill, or the PBS News Hour. She used the term on the News Hour back in Sept. of 2009. To her credit, she retracted and apologized, but the words were said (and recorded by some), they cannot be taken back. Perhaps she picked it up from watching Anderson Cooper on CNN. To the best of my knowledge, he was the first reporter (yes, he’s called that) to use the term. But not the last.
I have heard guests on opinion shows do so, as believe have some pundits on tv or in blogs. Guests are free agents who are not under the control of the entity’s editorial standards the way reporters are. Broadcast tv hosts on the Sunday morning shows don’t seem to use it.
Maybe not anymore, but E.J. Dionne, editorialist, used the term on George Stephanopoulous’s ABC show “This Week”, and the host did also.
Cable hosts might, I almost never watch any of their shows, right or left.
Excuse me, you regularly complain about Glen Beck. I don’t know of any source where you would be exposed to him except for cable, unless you are relying upon what others say about him, rather than what he actually says. So are you viewing him, or just believing what others say without checking to see if they are correct, or perhaps something else?
Have never seen the term used in published op eds or editorials in the major newspapers. So when it comes to traditional media, it doesn’t seem as if it is acceptable on the reporting side.
Huh. I guess that you don’t read Paul Krugman in the “New York Times”? He’s one editorial writer that has been known to use the term, in contempt. I doubt he’s the only one.
Perhaps you have not noticed all of these incidents because the term is not offensive to you, or wasn’t offensive last year, and therefore it had no significance. To me, the MSM has shown contempt, deliberate and insulting, to the Tea Party people since they first showed up, and the deliberate use of this term is merely one more obvious manifestation.
And this ties back to the alienation issue you were discussing a while back. When a plurality of the polity is singled out for contempt, and ridicule, for going about their 1st Amendment business, it draws lines and creates cracks in the nation. When urban sophisicates profess that there’s nothing really wrong with such an action, that doesn’t make things all better, it makes them worse.
Many, many people in this country are alienated from the self-proclaimed elites in the main stream media (and that includes cable) because of what they perceive as a long standing attitude of contempt on the part of the media mandarins. The campaign to pass national mandatory purchase of insurance hasn’t improved that one bit.



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Indy

posted March 22, 2010 at 11:05 pm


I occasionally watch clips of Beck and others, left and right, on my computer. Don’t watch much cable tv itself, however.
As for the “MSM,” I don’t really see what the fuss is about. There are so many news sources these days, the whole idea of a controlling “MSM” mystifies me. Everythin is so fragmented, there are so many sources to check and double check stuff.
I’m just in a different place on that on the very idea of a “MSM” and its role, and power.



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Cecelia

posted March 22, 2010 at 11:51 pm


There have been efforts to reform the US Health Insurance System since Truman. In fact – in 1948 there actually was serious consideration given to following the lead of the UK and introducing universal health care coverage. So – that we have finally after all these years and all attempts by the assorted lobbies to stop this- passed a health insurance reform bill (cause that is what it is – it does not reform health “care” but health insurance) is an accomplishment. I think the bill is flawed, has problems and I suspect it is a first go and will as time goes on be reformed several more times – but finally the richest country in the world has taken a step – albeit a small and wobbly step – towards assuring its citizens what people in tiny little European countries have been getting since the 40’s. Good work.
As for those people who had no qualms about funding a tax decrease a few years ago, who had no qualms about eliminating the inheritance tax, who never asked “how will we pay for it” when we went off invading two countries – I am really impressed with your new found fiscal concern although please explain why it is that fiscal concern only shows up for programs which address real problems that Americans have and never appears when we talk tax decreases and wars and weapon systems?
One of the oncoming trains is – well more like this train has already run us over – American businesses that have to carry the expense of partially providing for their employees health care when they are competing against businesses in other companies that do not have such an expense. Addressing that should be the next step. Then there are real risk pools instead of the phony ones we have now. And costs.
I would think the millions of Americans who have been denied health insurance for all sorts of reasons are feeling great relief to night.
The LA Times has a good synopsis of what the plan does – actually – Sullivan has three links which help explain the time table and how it will be paid for.



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Your Name

posted March 23, 2010 at 12:24 am


“And as for America being the most “under-taxed” nation, Canada is one of the most over-taxed.”
Ha! Check those rates again – really really similar. It’s just that Canada puts far more to health care while the US puts more into military spending.
dan, you met one couple in Montreal. Please stop slandering a whole country because your wife happens to be friends with a deadbeat. It actually says more about the company y’all keep than about the country he lives in. Shall I start sharing my equally pointless anecdotes about the deadbeat, no work, no support dads I’ve seen here in the US? That is the ones who even bother sticking around to help care for the child…



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Your Name

posted March 23, 2010 at 12:50 am


Well lookie at rates, ain’t that interesting:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Income_tax_in_the_United_States
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Income_taxes_in_Canada
Huh. Well Canada is pretty gosh-darned similar to the US, when not outright lower. So much for that socialist/commie/whatever moneygrubbing. And yet it still manages universal health care (with lower prescription, etc, costs to the “customers”)! Funny, that!



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Your Name

posted March 23, 2010 at 12:52 am


And goodness me, look at this graph! For a dirty commie, Obama ain’t doing so well as others in past at grabbin’ up your cash! Looks like recent years, including his last one in office, have been even lower than under Saint Reagan!
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:MarginalIncomeTax.svg



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dan

posted March 23, 2010 at 1:26 am


AD: I want you to be president in 2012.
Your name: you and the other guy really missed my point, and in fact, I didn’t slander anybody, YOU DID. The other person called these folks (more than 1 couple) schlubs and now you’ve called them deadbeats. And now you want to smear me a little by suggesting that I’m hanging around losers. Please slow down and read me carefully. These weren’t bad people, in fact they were all what you would consider “upstanding folks”, but they are of a different culture. Culture doesn’t exist in a vacuum. American values, culture and government have always placed a premium on individual rights and responsibilities. That is why small government is an American value. many of our forebears fled tyrannical regimes where government held too much power, was corrupt and made life hell for the individual.
My grandfather was one of those refugees, and I grew up with the familial memory of the horrors of the old world and the recognition that I as an American am responsible for my own fate, win or lose. What those who are tempted by the Left usually don’t understand is that every time you give up a responsibility, you have given up a freedom. It may take you and or your provider/enslaver a little while to figure it out, but it has happened.
I’m truly sorry if you thought I was slamming Canada, I was only illustrating how culture can be influenced by government. Much of Canada still carries the individualist frontier mentality and those people are more akin to me than my own countrymen in the the liberal metropoles.
Regarding deadbeat dads in America, I agree with you that this is tragedy of epidemic proportions, and I beleive it has been accelerated by government intervention in families. The idea of family has eroded considerably among the poor as the government (well intentioned, of course) thought it could lift people out of poverty with various aid programs. The result is that people learn that sustenance comes from a check in the mail, not a family pulling together. Out-of-wedlock birth is subsidized, hence you get more of it. Poor mothers put “?” for “father” on birth certificates so that the can stay with their boyfriend, but get more money. I can hardly blame them for feeling that the institute of fatherhood is not all that momentous.



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dan

posted March 23, 2010 at 1:35 am


by the way, your name,
Canada, like the rest of Europe can afford to save money on defense because they are protected by America. I know you don’t like to hear that, andI don’t write it to belittle you, but the fact is our defense spending keeps many people safe who have ultimate disdain for America, its prosperity and its values and yet they are safe because of the Pax Americana that has kept much aggression at bay for 60 years. That will all end as America slides into the slippery canyon of socialism. Nevermind the CBO, we simply can’t afford this. we could afford the last few years of Bush, and Obama outspent him in the 1st year. We will very shortly be insolvent and will be in no position to protect anybody. Then the Euros will have to deal with Russia, Iran and China and their own. And don’t think that makes me happy. It actually makes me very sad. That’s what all of us who believe in Aerica are feeling today is just really, really sad.



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dan

posted March 23, 2010 at 1:36 am


sorry: type-o : I meant to say “we COULDN’t afford the last few years of Bush.” big difference.



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Your Name

posted March 23, 2010 at 9:30 am


Stop starting useless wars – what do we all need protection from again?
And don’t act like you’re out there alone – who exactly was holding the line and dying for your cause in Afghanistan when you started a useless war in Iraq? That’s right, those lazy, socialist Canadians. I’m sorry their blood was spilled to give you room to start a useless war in Iraq.
Your anecdote about the couple you know from Montreal is nothing more than that – an anecdote. No more powerful than a similar one I can tell about couples I’ve met in the US. That is the point you are missing.
And please, if Canada is soooo lazy and lacking in motivation due to socialism, why again do they have a lower jobless rate than in the US (as was pointed out to you)?



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Your Name

posted March 23, 2010 at 9:31 am


In other words, stop going on and on about a country (actually, countries) you know nothing about, save a short visit to Montreal.



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The US is not the only Country "fighting for freedom"

posted March 23, 2010 at 9:35 am


I’m so tired of Americans failure to recognize the sacrifice of other countries for their cause and their revenge. Afghanistan was going on, and our countrymen were dying, all while you moaned and cried that no one would help you on your other war. So sorry, too busy dying for that first favour you asked for.



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Anti Dhimmi

posted March 23, 2010 at 10:01 am


Have not had a chance to read the thread since last night. Here is a bit of news.
Surprise!
It appears that the Obamacare bill specifically exempts senior Congressional staff from having to participate in it. I wonder why they should not have to live with the same rules and laws as the rest of us?
http://newledger.com/2010/03/exempted-from-obamacare-senior-staff-who-wrote-the-bill/



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Indy

posted March 23, 2010 at 11:06 am


On the topic of the original post, a CNN poll reveals that 52% of Americans either approve of the HCR legislation that will become law today or want it to be more liberal. 43% percent believe it is too liberal. That suggests that whatever one thinks of the tactics of the opposition, they ultimately were unpersuasive. Obviously, policy positions aside, from the tactical perspective, it is not possible to come to a meeting of the minds on such matters. Frum’s view has gotten a lot of play recently.
As to the side issues that have arisen on this thread, there actually are Americans who appreciate the efforts of allies such as Canada in past and present foreign wars.
The other side issue raised here, of fathers and families, is complicated. I’ll just touch on a couple of factors. One is the question of people’s attitudes towards and willingness to use contraceptive measures. There are any number of reasons why people don’t take advantage of good family planning methods, even in this day and age. Some people are selfish and heedless, looking out just for their own pleasure. Some of that is cultural more than due to state action. Others feel unable to act prudently to prevent pregnancies for religious reasons. (In this day and age, there are plenty of methods for preventing pregnancies.) I certainly couldn’t tell just by looking at a pregnant woman and her boyfriend what led to the situation they find themselves in, and whether the state was a factor or not. For example, a man may have been assured by a woman that she was on the pill, but she actually sought to get pregnant in hopes of getting a proposal from him. Or, as sometimes happens, in a misguided effort to find meaning or “something to love” in a desolate life because she is mired in a sense of worthlessness within the underclass. Or a woman may have asked a boyfriend to use protection and he refused and went ahead with the act, regardless. There always have been people who have acted selfishly and heedlessly, even within traditional, economically strong families with seemingly strong support systems. Some of that simply comes down to individual character or lack thereof, more so than state action. And, of course, there are factors peculiar to the U.S., including the one-time existence of a system of slavery of blacks; the forcible impregnation of slave women by white owners; the inability of slave men to protect their mothers, sisters, daughters from such predation; the economic, social, and political oppression of blacks, especially in the South, until the second half of the 20th century. Whatever challenges we privileged white people have faced and grapple with now, we don’t have such horrifying and fundamentally anti-family actions in our backgrounds, with the helplessness and sense of vulnerability that produced in men and women alike. It’s much easier to establish strong family structures without having had one’s ancestors subjected to such shameully predatory behaviors by whites. We whites really have had it easy by contrast.



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From March 23, 2010 9:35 AM

posted March 23, 2010 at 12:26 pm


“As to the side issues that have arisen on this thread, there actually are Americans who appreciate the efforts of allies such as Canada in past and present foreign wars. ”
Thank you, Indy!



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Your Name

posted March 23, 2010 at 1:49 pm


Dan,
“Canada, like the rest of Europe can afford to save money on defense because they are protected by America.”
So how come there are Canadian and European troops (including homerseckshuwals) helping America fights its wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, etc? Is a puzzlement.
Hey, maybe if you let American queers help fight to ‘defend’ America, you wouldn’t have to rely so much on others to help fight YOUR wars.
(And I do believe Canada joined in WWII well before America.)
My how easily we digress from the topic – health care, remember?



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Your Name

posted March 23, 2010 at 1:54 pm


I am truly sorry Rod has deemed it fit to eradicate all references to the “Baby killer” remark, the “N!gger” slur and the “f@ggot” slur.
To me, they epitomized what the health care ‘debate’ devolved into, along with “deth panels” and “They want to kill Grandma”.
Rod, I urge you to leave them up and/or re-instate them. They show us what this debate REALLY was, namely, exactly WHAT was meant by those who cried “I want my country back” not so long ago.
They want America, 1950 (TM) back.
Sorry, but most of us do not.



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Anti Dhimmi

posted March 23, 2010 at 4:40 pm


Cecelia asks:
As for those people who had no qualms about funding a tax decrease a few years ago, who had no qualms about eliminating the inheritance tax, who never asked “how will we pay for it” when we went off invading two countries – I am really impressed with your new found fiscal concern although please explain why it is that fiscal concern only shows up for programs which address real problems that Americans have and never appears when we talk tax decreases and wars and weapon systems?
You are aware that the tax decrease you object to above will go away in a couple of years, and the inheritance tax was never eliminated? The taxes created as a result of the mandatory-profits-for-insurance-companies bill you cheer for won’t go away ever. Do you see the difference?
Also, do you understand the difference between a one-time expense and an ongoing one? One expense goes away. The other doesn’t. Lots of people have objected to the expense of the modern welfare/warfare state. Sorry that you haven’t seen it.



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Anti Dhimmi

posted March 23, 2010 at 4:49 pm


Indy wrote:
I occasionally watch clips of Beck and others, left and right, on my computer. Don’t watch much cable tv itself, however.
Interesting. Suppose someone said to you that they “read’ the NY times by having someone else clip out pieces of articles and forward them. Would you regard that person as actually informed, or as basically letting someone else decide what they should read? I don’t view Beck, or any other cable babble show much for various reasons, so I don’t have much of an opinion. When someone tells me that Beck is a Fascist, however, that usually gives me more information about the person making the claim than about Beck, because most people can’t define the term anymore.
You might consider either not viewing such clips, or viewing them in a larger context, in order to actually understand what Beck (or anyone else) is saying.
As for the “MSM,” I don’t really see what the fuss is about. There are so many news sources these days, the whole idea of a controlling “MSM” mystifies me. Everythin is so fragmented, there are so many sources to check and double check stuff.
But most people still get their news from a handful of sources. Most people get their news from local TV stations, from national TV networks, and from cable networks. And they don’t spend a great deal of time checking sources. That’s why it matters, because the main stream media shapes opinion on a lot of issues.
I’m just in a different place on that on the very idea of a “MSM” and its role, and power
I’m sure you are. But you’re not the average person, either.



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Indy

posted March 23, 2010 at 6:20 pm


Are you sure most people get their news still from watching tv broadcasts? Perhaps the older demographic does. I think a lot of younger people watch clips on their computers or read articles (including those in the New York Times) online. From what I’ve heard, fewer and fewer people actually subscribe to a newspaper and read it from fron to back.
Thanks for telling me I’m not average, you made my day!



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Anti Dhimmi

posted March 23, 2010 at 11:04 pm


Indy wrote:
Are you sure most people get their news still from watching tv broadcasts? Perhaps the older demographic does.
The demographic for things like the CBS Evening News is indeed aging. Local TV is more varied. However, some surveys seem to lump both broadcast network and cable network together, others are more finely grained. The majority of people seem to get their news from video sources rather than reading.
I think a lot of younger people watch clips on their computers or read articles (including those in the New York Times) online.
Video clips, perhaps, reading, not so much. Remember, Jon Stewart is a news source for many people 18-25. That’s video, but not broadcast.
From what I’ve heard, fewer and fewer people actually subscribe to a newspaper and read it from fron to back.
That’s common knowledge, and verifiable in newspaper circulation numbers (which decline monotonically). A second check on that is in ownership: more and more small newspapers are no longer independent, but part of a larger chain such as Gannett.
Thanks for telling me I’m not average, you made my day!
Glad to be of some use around here. You’re welcome.



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dan

posted March 25, 2010 at 3:19 am


Howdy,
Debating with you guys is like swimming in jello. Difficult. Sticky. Oddly addictive.
First of all my Canadian wife’s grandfather served in WWII. He got sick in England pre-D-Day and was held back from the invasion. His entire squad was killed that day. There are few Americans who appreciate the Canadians’ efforts in WWII the way I do, although there plenty who don’t even realize that Canada was there that day, and many more who don’t that know that the Canadians’ experience on D-Day was even bloodier than the Americans’. That is something I’m ashamed of as an American. WWII was really one of those times when Evil walked the Earth in some very powerful incarnations and it took the effort of a lot of good people to stop it. I certainly owe the WWII vets of Canada the same debt of grattitude that I owe American WWII vets. I wish more Americans felt that way. And I also appreciate the sacrifices all the coalition forces in Iraq in Afghanistan. I never said that I didn’t. When you write:
I’m so tired of Americans failure to recognize the sacrifice of other countries for their cause and their revenge. Afghanistan was going on, and our countrymen were dying, all while you moaned and cried that no one would help you on your other war. So sorry, too busy dying for that first favour you asked for.
You’re REALLY missing the point. I never questioned anybody’s bravery or sacrifice and “revenge”? If you’re suggesting that The war in Afghanistan is nothing more than revenge than I’m really sorry for you to have lost countrymen there and think so little of the cause. I lost a good friend in Afghanistan and despite the pain I still believe in the cause.
So how come there are Canadian and European troops (including homerseckshuwals) helping America fights its wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, etc? Is a puzzlement.
Hey, maybe if you let American queers help fight to ‘defend’ America, you wouldn’t have to rely so much on others to help fight YOUR wars.
This sophomoric tirade would have been more appropriately written in crayon, maybe even illustrated with a little ugly stick figure on the side, an arrow pointing to it describing “dan the poo-face”. “Your name”: do me a favor. Let’s argue like grown-ups. It’s what I come to beliefnet for. I could get on a youtube post and play invective racquet ball with lefties, throwing nasty comments back and forth, but I’d bored fast. Never liked racquet ball.
This one is a classic:
In other words, stop going on and on about a country (actually, countries) you know nothing about, save a short visit to Montreal.
I really didn’t go on and on about any country. I tried to make the point of how government involvement can affect people’s attitude regarding the proper role of families. This is beleifnet. Most people reading this are religious. Most religious people value family over government. Writing on a religion-oriented blog in the wake of the greatest government intrusion into American life in the history of our country, it is appropriate for me to discuss my experiences in other, more socialist countries so as to spell out my concerns as to how the new legislation may affect us culturally and spiritually. I thought I was pretty gracious in apologizing for the inference that I besmirched Canada, but let me do so again: “I’m sorry.” But please tell me one thing: How do you know how much time I’ve spent in Canada? I don’t blog that much, and I find it interesting to chat with all these people who I don’t know, but it never occurs to me to tell someone how many times they’ve been to a certain city. I said that my wife is from Montreal, I described “several trips” to Montreal where we met expecting couples, and yet you come at me with …a country (actually, countries) you know nothing about, save a short visit to Montreal.
I find that really interesting. Have you hacked my computer, found my identity and credit card information and figured out how many times I’ve been to Montreal? How do you know that I know nothing about Canada? (all these are true “puzzlements”). I would like to point out for the other readers that name-calling and denouncing opponents as stupid in lieu of real debate is a time-honored tactic of the left.
The point I was making was financial. America currently spends a lot of money on defense. Other western countries, most of whom are allies of America spend a lot of money on government healthcare and little on defense. They have less need of defense dollars because they are protected by their alliance with America. It’s easy math. I didn’t call anyone a coward.
There are many among the western Left who believe that The U.S. is the source of all evil and aggression in the world, and that the whole military establishment is actually an evil profit scheme. Are you in that camp, “Your name”? The statement Stop starting useless wars – what do we all need protection from again?
If you do believe that, I won’t argue with you. I’ve found that people who ascribe to the whole 911 truther/America the evil doctrine are beyond logical approach. There is a faith not an intellectual notion. It would be easier to convince a devout Christian that Jesus was con-man who impressed folks with a few fancy card tricks.



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