A Growing Hysteria

Rothko,%20Untitled,%20195#3C028 "As Katy Abram told Fox News after passionately confronting Specter: “I know that years down the road, I don’t want my children coming to me and asking me, ‘Mom, why didn’t you do anything? Why do we have to wait in line for, I don’t know, toilet paper or anything?’ ”

Besides the chilling prospect of 21st-century America morphing into a cold war state — with Sheryl Crow in charge of toilet-paper rationing — there are also delusional fears about the government tapping bank accounts and convening “death panels,” as Sarah Palin dubbed them, to exploit the cost-saving potential of euthanizing the old and disabled.

At his more placid town hall in Portsmouth, N.H., on Tuesday, the president had to explain that he did not intend to “pull the plug on grandma.” He said that the specter of death panels had spun out of a proposal from a Republican, Senator Johnny Isakson of Georgia, who has long espoused helping Medicare patients learn about options for care at the end of their lives. In an interview with The Washington Post on Monday, Isakson diagnosed Palin’s interpretation of his suggestion as “nuts.”"  Maureen Dowd


It seems to be in the air, blowing around like a viral infection in a Stephen King novel, "something wicked this way comes…"  The temptation is strong to think that the shaky voices, incoherence and shrillness are products of the summer weather, but…

I think that the problem is actually best heard in sobbed statements like "…I want my America back…," and   "This country is being systematically disassembled to make a different country…"  These words were spoken yesterday by blonde women at public meetings.

The people who voted against Obama and who insist that he is "the other" are afraid.  They are afraid that this president really does intend systemic change in American society, a redistribution of privilege and benefits and power that will end the domination of the country by white people.  Feeding their inchoate fears are the "projections" that are made by media babblers that white people will be a minority in the US in fifty years or so.  These projections are usually self-serving and based on the assumption that in fifty years it will still be valid to try to characterize people in this way by race.  Look around you.  Do you not see young America evolving away from this primitive notion of race?

From this fear of the loss of power over their environment comes many evils.  The "birthers" are a good example.  Their absurd insistence about Obama's supposed Kenyan birth is merely a screen for their terror of someone they see as an alien black revolutionary.  They don't care where he was born.  They simply do not want him.  They see his policies as steps toward a future that they reject.

"Whose country is this?"  John Wilkes Booth wrote those words in his day book while hiding in the Maryland woods, nursing a broken leg.  The day before he shot Lincoln, Booth stood in a crowd and heard the president say something that indicated that freed blacks would have to be citizens.  Booth then said to one of his men, "That means votes for n—–s.  Now I'll put him through."  That seems to have been the moment of decision for murder.

People should take a step back and then walk away from the hysterics and the media demagogues before the situation deteriorates further. 

Things are going very wrong in this country.  "The center does not hold."  pl


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52 Responses to A Growing Hysteria

  1. Leanderthal says:

    Limbaugh uses the charged “N” word Nazi as a substitute for the other charged “N” word. It’s not lost on those who can’t deal with a black man occupying the White House.

  2. PL this is a very interesting post. For someone with whom there love of country is so painfully obvious from your efforts on this blog it has to be stressful to reach your conclusion (s). The primary reasons for your conclusion(s) with which I mostly agree seem to be twofold. The corporate seizure of the MSM by the very largest communication conglomerates and their frustration with not finding profits for their investment in MSM which except for the egotists is not really a highly profitable sector of the economy given the development of alternative news sources. Journalism as we knew it when younger is largely KAPUT. Second, the development of critical thinking skills by the nation’s colleges, universities, and other institutions, including the family seems in decline. But do not underestimate Sarah Palin as a medium for certain messages. She knows how much public assistance is required for a down’s syndrome baby in the short and long run. After all when she is dead who will care for the then adult child? Just as Americans spend over $60B annually just for routine pet feeding and care (disclosure–recently acquired by adoption a cat)before the VET bills are added on the lack of prioritization in US society seems to be killing US with freedom. Noting that the Chinese government (Communist not Socialist)has recently pledged basic health care for its citizens with an intial $121B investment it is interesting to try and understand how the US develops any priority that is not just an undeserved rewarding of those who manipulate some sector of the economy. Thanks again for the post and real food for thought.

  3. Fred says:

    Col. Thanks for a very timely post. Hopefully the corporate sponsors of the ‘media demagogues’ will also step back, and double quick. These demagogues are quickly becoming American versions of Radio Rwanda.

  4. eakens says:

    I miss the days when our economy ran on fossil fuels. Now it just runs on fear

  5. rjj says:

    Sounds like another CorpsMedia “LOOK OVER THERE!” tempestules.

  6. Bill Wade, NH says:

    From what I understand, the birther movement is being pushed by the Israeli government via their Christian fundamentalist cohorts. I do not like this underhanded attempt to divide my country. If any good came out of 911 it was seeing NYers of all races helping each other, we were all Americans that day. Then, Katrina and that sadness.

  7. J. says:

    The center is already collapsing. See militia movements on the rise.

  8. greg0 says:

    If the rampant hysteria turns into violence as some predict, the gun dealers will be very busy.
    The secret service is already.

  9. Dave of Maryland says:

    Yesterday afternoon, right here in Bel Air, MD, I saw maybe 200 protesters, with placards, grouped around the intersection at the county building. Protesting ObamaCare. First such protest that I, personally, had seen in at least 35 years.
    Unlike left-wing protests, this one was tightly focused. Obamacare Obamacare Obamacare. Not one word about illegal immigration or 2nd amendment or anything else.
    But the reason for the protest is not important. People are hysterical & becoming more so with each passing day. They want their mommy. They want their daddy. They want to go home again where everything will be okay.
    But that’s the one thing that’s not going to happen. In my mind it’s 1789 & it’s the sans culottes (which means “guys wearing Bermuda shorts”, not, “naked from the waist down”) rioting in the streets. What were they so unhappy about? Were they of any real importance, or were they simply a mob to be manipulated? (I don’t think this is a media problem at all.)
    A wise leader would announce a one-year moratorium on the heath care plan. A wise leader would suddenly find a reason to send every man jack in the country a check for, I don’t know, $20,000.
    But we have no wise leaders. Only stupid ones. Mobs are facts of life. They arrive from time to time. Leaders are supposed to be able to handle such things so as to maintain happiness & tranquility. If that means eating crow & spending money, then so be it. This particular malady has a crisis in mid-September. It does not peak until July next year, after which, with much momentum behind it, it will only slowly fade.
    Keep your heads down.

  10. VietnamVet says:

    Unless we are independently wealthy, we all are pretty much always pushing that big rock up the hill.
    But, if you can fit into the multi-national corporate world through education and élan, you can make out. Actually, Barrack Obama, although a Chicago Politician, fits into this world more than any other American President.
    On the other hand, the screaming you hear at the Town Hall Meetings are those that have been left behind. Another prerogative is being torn from their grasp. It is Republicans and the multi-national media who are obscuring the facts. It is the 1% that holds all the wealth in the USA and Wall Street Banksters and their bought politicians who have screwed them.

  11. N. M. Salamon says:

    I agree with you with respect to fear being prevasive in USA society
    I rerspectfully suggest that this has three main underpinning:
    1., the Persistent attempt by Bush and cohort to scare the population with armageddon – the TERROR, an unforseen backblow of 8 years of psychological abuse.
    2., The masses understand that notwithstanding all the talk of green shoots, of growth etc, that the future is bleaker for them than it was for their parents.
    3., The masses have lost faith in the politicians and their enablers, the MSM, for acting constantly in opposition to their views:
    a., Iraq, and now Afganistan;’
    b., bail out of the moneyed elite, while the masses are left with foreclosure and bankruyopcy.
    The fear is so great that the in selected individals that they are biting anyone, regardless of possible benefit or damage caused by the opponent of the minute. This psychological ailment is greatly supported, abetted and enflamed by the various members of the FEAR BRIGADE: Ms Palin re end of life, re the moneyed and privilidged who do not wish to loose any of their “goods”, even if such selfishness hurts a big minority, or indeed, the majority -represented by variou Senators and Representatives who have state piad for top health care insurance, who live off the avails of the poor tax-payer, and at the generous hand of various K-Street, PAC, etc with emple help from the medical/insurance/pharmacological industries.
    If President Obama can not turn the health care issue around, he is lost, for the economy will deteriate for the forceeable future, with occassional rises, followed by deeper falls until that time that the toxis funds are balanced and a new equillibrium conm=mes with respect to energy availability [alternate sources or no more oil].
    As I said befor Congress needs ADULTS, lest the collapse happen sooner than preparations can be made to amoliarate the difficulkty

  12. alnval says:

    Col. Lang:
    Glad you’re back. We need the focus your involvement creates.
    SST has been writing about the need for change for a while now. Obama ran on it and we bought into to it because intuitively we understood that if our own situation was to improve that change was imperative. Unfortunately, we all have our own story to tell about change. The kind nobody likes or wants. Mine is children out of work with serious medical bills who were losing their homes. A 401K that was down 40 percent making it harder than ever to think about how best to help them. In short, people were being forced to change how they made choices about basic issues of subsistence that hadn’t bothered them before. Few had the time or energy to give any thought to the kind of positive change they needed that would give them relief. All they knew was that something needed to be done and they didn’t much care what it was.
    For many of us the pressure of that crisis has past. Frankly, I’m relieved just to have gotten through it. I have to believe that many, many others feel the same way. Maybe not totally satisfied but at least afloat.
    As individuals and families we’ve begun to achieve some personal balance again. Nationally, the banks have been bailed out and the country no longer looks like it’s going to fall into an abyss. Gracious. There aren’t even enough new cars available to sell to people who want to turn in their clunkers! Let’s build some more!
    Regardless of the reality of our enthusiasm for endorsing change in the presidential campaign it’s not in our nature as human beings to look beyond the few birds we already have to consider the unknown possibilities the bushes may hold. Few people anywhere are prepared to accept change for its own sake. We’re not brought up that way. CWZ’S anecdote about his campesina maid not wanting to become an American says it all. Change has got to have some substantive and positive relationship to our personal situation before we’ll buy into it. In our system of government, if change is to be accepted it requires that a majority buy into it. Imposing change arbitrarily doesn’t lead to acceptance.
    Why won’t the center hold? Hold for what? What common goal for change can we come to as a nation that will make us believe that going once more into the breach is worthwhile. One that will be patently valuable enough so that we can shake off the fear we still feel at having lost our power over our environment. I know that one is out there but until we find it the evils that are produced by its absence will continue to hatch out.

  13. N. M. Salamon says:

    Need your help :
    what does this mean I do not know how to translate Hebrew to English [Bloomberg news: Israel has real plan against Iran’s nuclear power.
    Tx for help

  14. Brett J says:

    I agree with WRC, the conclusions reached in this post are hard to swallow and food for thought (oh, William already used that term…heh).
    My hope remains in the faint silver lining you allude to…young America, my peers, working past the race-baiting and fear-mongering. It’s simple to nay-say the young -as every generation does regarding the one following it- but it is the younger that has grown up bathed in the global pool of knowledge, the internet- where unfounded rumors (which may start online) are often furiously chased to determine the reality of the sitaution. These broad strokes don’t paint a specific enough picture, but the willingness of The Millenials to let somebody run with unfounded ideas seems to be very brief. “Prove it”- and gimme unconnected, impartial links.
    Transparency would help across the board. I just pray that those who are running the show these days -and the bleating, flapping gums in MSM- don’t force (like Samson) their own passing to bring down the rest of the structure.

  15. Farmer Don says:

    Very well said Col. Lang.
    This morning reading my favorite. economics blog, I was thinking the same thing. The USA can’t just have a miserable recession like any other country, There must be ENEMIES causing it!!! The health care bill just won’t be expensive like most government programs, it will turn the USA into a copy of its cold war ENEMIES! The USA is not in for inflation or deflation, it is in for HYPER inflation or deflation! People won’t have to live with less, they will starve and then attack their neighbours!
    My feeling is that the constant US preoccupation with its overseas ENEMIES and its feeling of exceptionalism are the main ingredients for this brew. Its ENEMIES are now within!!, (or so some people think).
    Obama used the phrase “They almost seem proud of being ignorant” when speaking of his election opponents. Add willful ignorance and magical thinking to the mix and watch out!

  16. anna missed says:

    “The people who voted against Obama and who insist that he is “the other” are afraid.
    […] Feeding their inchoate fears are the “projections” that are made by media babblers that white people will be a minority in the US in fifty years or so.”
    You really have to wonder about those in the media that capitalize on spreading this fear.What happens when someone finally takes some terrorist action based on the media suggestions and lies – and then publicly says they were the directly inspired to do so by one of these talkers?
    By the way, sublime choice in connecting that Rothko painting with the subject matter.

  17. ex-PFC Chuck says:

    It seems to be in the air, blowing around like a viral infection in a Stephen King novel, “something wicked this way comes…” The temptation is strong to think that the shaky voices, incoherence and shrillness are products of the summer weather, but…
    I think that the problem is actually best heard in sobbed statements like “…I want my America back…,” and “This country is being systematically disassembled to make a different country…” These words were spoken yesterday by blonde women at public meetings.

    The feelings expressed are no doubt genuine, but the protests are being organized by entities with long-time connections to conservative causes and the Republican Party. A number of the more articulate and passionate alleged “ordinary citizens” have later been exposed as GOP party operatives. Check out Greg Sargent’s reporting here: http://tinyurl.com/naxz55
    For the more video inclined, see this snippet from Rachel Maddow’s show last evening: http://tinyurl.com/neptoa

  18. Nancy K says:

    My husband who emigrated here in 76 is shocked by what is happening in the US,the hate, the guns, the name calling and the fear. I was born here in 1946 and I am not as surprised. Our Country has changed, everything changes and to hold on to how things once were when everyone lived in a small town and were the same color or went to the same church or etc etc, is just insane.
    I feel that the middle will hold and our country will survive but I do feel there is an element that in the name of preserving it, want to destory it.
    We have a black president, and some just cannot accept this. They want Jim Crow back, they want other races to cringe in fear when they walk by.
    Middle America needs to realize that crazies at both ends of the spectrum have to be defeated, they cannot allow our great country to be destoryed.
    Exactly how we do this I’m not sure.

  19. R Whitman says:

    I admit it. I am an old man. The last time I saw right wing hysteria like this in the United States was after the election of John F Kennedy.
    The wingnuts are out in force. Maybe they will damage America less this time.

  20. patrick says:

    Barak Obama’s embrace of a man like Bill Ayers is enough to scare the hell out of alot of Americans. Think about it this way, say Tim McVeigh was released from prison on a technicality, and a future President befriended or at the minimum went to McVeigh’s residence for community meetings.
    Remember, early in Obama’s career he attended meetings at Ayers’ home.
    Both McVeigh and Ayers exploded bombs in a political terror campaign and no politician should have relations with killers or attempted killers.
    I have no doubt that Obama was a better choice than McCain. I just wish Obama would use his Sword of Alinsky on Wall Street. However, Goldman Sachs was his biggest donor so that will not happen.
    Expect more of the same.
    America needs term limits and restrictions on political donations.

  21. Nancy K says:

    Why do all of the posts and info on your site have lines through them?

  22. wdd says:

    Amen, Col. Lang.
    The authoritarian, fundamentalist rump of the Republican party loses an election and calls it tyranny. I thought Bush was illegitimately selected but accepted that after Bush v Gore he was the President with all the office’s powers (not as many as he claimed.) The solution was to defeat him in four years not threaten extra-legal action.
    Rep. Broun (R- Ga.) is warning today that the ‘socialist elite’ is planning to use swine flu as an excuse to impose martial law. He is from just across the Savannah from me and I hope when the August heat breaks, the political fever will break. This is not the first time fire-eaters around here have lost their bearings. I’m not hopeful.

  23. Ken Hoop says:

    Look on the bright side, Pat. Most of the “xenophobes” and Obamaphobes aren’t Ron Paul/Pat Buchanan anti-imperialists, but their actions could unwind the social fabric and help bring the occupying troops home,i.e. dismantle the Empire, for which victimized Iraqis and Afghanis will give thanks.

  24. alnval says:

    Col. Lang:
    re Nancy’s question about the lines going through almost everything — me too
    The first six comments are OK and it’s also OK when I first get on the site but going to the comments seems to turn it on

  25. Patrick Lang says:

    I have sent Typepad a question about this. pl

  26. G Hazeltine says:

    At ‘Stop the Spirit of Zossen 2.0’, putting it more plainly:
    “Note to Dems, before you get stomped on (again) like hapless chincillas, go rent ‘Terminator’:
    ‘Kyle Reese: Listen, and understand. That (terminator) Ring Wing Movement is out there. It can’t be bargained with. It can’t be reasoned with. It doesn’t feel pity, or remorse, or fear. And it absolutely will not stop, ever, until you are dead.’
    Tattoo *THAT* on your foreheads you idiots.”

  27. rjj says:

    Delete my post at 8/12 11:O2. to get rid of the strike thru.
    I did not add the / to the strike code but it was not obvious on the preview.

  28. confusedponderer says:

    Probably someone somewhere in a post must have left an < s > opening tag unclosed with the proper closing tag < /s >.
    When I write something inverse, using the < i > opening tag and not close it the proper closing tag < /i > following posts will bee inverse as well. The HTML here operates on the opening tag, and then waits for the closing tag to end the formatting. It it doesn’t find it … That happens a lot here, and it happens easily.
    So, people, be careful when you post HTML, and make sure you use the preview function. It makes visible such errors and allows to correct them before posting.

  29. Tyler says:

    I thought that the election of Obama was a breather, a relief from the certainty of collapse I saw in the summer of 2008 that had me stockpiling for the inevitable collapse.
    I should have known better from the get go, when the right seemed to embrace its more insane elements. How much longer before the shouting becomes the shooting, and when the police elements are deployed, dosen’t that play right into the fearmongers’ hands? I can already see the headlines on Fox News, screaming about Socialist Police coming to educate your kids about homosexuality and take your guns and pills?
    A nation divided cannot stand, as was said before.
    It may sound melodramatic, but if there is going to be a war, let it happen while I am a young man and can fight for the outcome of a better day.

  30. N. M. Salamon says:

    A rather pessimistic [but in ny view valid] analysis of the financial/economic prospects of USA:
    the above article substantiates the Colonel’s view on the economy in general.

  31. What we are now witnessing at town halls is the fruit of Roe v. Wade.
    Although I personally favor the right to choose, what Roe did – and has done for a generation – is to deny abortion opponents all political expression.
    As a result, a significant subsection of the population has spent a generation in the wilderness, during which they have organized along lines which view the political and legal system as antithetical to their values.
    They therefore view disrupting the current system as a good, in and of itself.
    The cruel irony is that our current medical system, which is on the verge of collapse, is casting more and more uninsured and underinsured into the socio-economic wilderness. And the political system is making an ass of itself in how it is responding.
    Which is not a bad thing, so far as those protesting the town halls are concerned.

  32. optimax says:

    I’ll answer you over here. At the risk of beating a dead horse I’ll try: I dreamed I left the front door open and the dog wandered off. When he came back he was dressed like Michael Jackson and moonwalking across the livingroom. I woke up in a sweat.
    I thought the site had been hacked but still think Raskolnikov’s nightmare applies to the healthcare donnybrook (debate is a too civilized term}.

  33. harper says:

    As usual, Col. Lang is absolutely correct. The center is not going to hold. Amidst all the heated rhetoric, let me make something very clear about what the Obama Administration’s health care policy is–and is not. While all the so-called “death panel” attention is focused on the secondary issue of the end-of-life consultations under Medicare funding, the reality is: The one issue that is non-negotiable from the Obama White House is the creation of an independent board, to determine what kinds of medical care will be provided, and what kinds of care will be denied to targeted segments of the population, because it is not “cost efficient.” It is this independent board that is the real skunk, and which does amount to a “death panel” of so-called experts, who won’t necessarily even all be doctors. How about having a panel of accountants determining whether you qualify (by age, infirmity, etc.) for advanced medical care. No matter how you slice it, this is a slippery slope to government-directed euthanasia.
    The idea, put out by the White House and its friends, that the crowds are being deployed by the rightwing of the GOP, and are not true grass-roots constituents, is a total lie. Just watch youtube impromptu videos of the demonstrations and town hall meetings, and I assure you there is not a Brooks Brothers suit in the crowd.
    Furthermore, read recent columns by Eli Siegel, Frank Rich (NYT) and Bill Greider (The Nation), and you will see a growing liberal chorus, attacking Obama as a Wall Street corporatist, not a socialist.
    People are reacting to the explicit and personal threat from health care “reform,” but the reaction and boil-over is fueled by the $23 trillion bailout of the banks and insurance companies, while Americans lose their jobs, their homes and their health care coverage.
    Obama’s approval rating has fallen by 19 percent since he took office. That is a record that George W. Bush didn’t come close to.

  34. jamzo says:

    the anti-obama group’s latest political tricks (death panels, and the like) are having their intended
    they are dominating the news narrative
    at least until the democrats town hall meetings have run their course
    then we will move onto the next phase of the political debate
    the reaction to obama and the efforts of his administration pale in comparison to
    the reaction to FDR and the efforts of his administration
    it is interesting that many of the themes of New Deal critics continue to be political battle lines today
    FDR’s critics included former friends and foes,
    Al Smith, the ny democrat and first catholic to run for presdient, joined the American Liberty League,
    an anti-Roosevelt group founded by conservative democrats and financed by business executives which
    sponsored radio shows and published pamphlets arguing that Roosevelt was destroying personal liberty.
    Joseph P Kennedy, Teddy Kennedy’s father, was an opponent.
    Like many Irish Catholics, he was against helping England fight the Germans. “We can have peace and security only as long as we band together to preserve that most priceless possession, our inheritance of European blood, only so long as we guard ourselves against dilution by foreign races. It is time to turn from our quarrels and to build our White ramparts again. This alliance with foreign races means nothing but death to us. It is our turn to guard our heritage… before we become engulfed in a limitless foreign sea.”
    During his January 23, 1941, testimony before The House Committee on Foreign Affairs, Lindbergh recommended the United States negotiate a neutrality pact with Germany.
    Charles Lindbergh was an opponent. He claimed that Roosevelt, the Jews and the British were pushing the country into war with germany.
    William Randolph Hearst was a Roosevelt supporter who turned against Roosevelt on taxes on the inheritances of wealthy and reform of tax loophole policies.
    GOP Senator Taft (R-Ohio) led the Conservative Coalition in congress, which included conservative southern Democrats, to oppose FDR’s administration.
    Taft critized governent programs as inefficient and wasteful and wanted to let private enterprise and business restore the nation’s ecoomy. He said
    the New Deal was socialistic and attacked deficit spending and natioanlized health insurance.
    Huey Long critized FDR for not going far enough to redistribute wealth.
    Francis Townsend, a retired California doctor who proposed a guaranteed income plan for senior citizens; his plan proved to be so popular that FDR adopted the Social Security Act to halt the growth of Townsend’s movement.
    Maxwell Anderson, Playwright, Jeffersonian anarchist, wrote Knickerbocker Holiday (with Kurt Weill) as a satire on the New Deal which compared Roosevelt to Hitler and Mussolini..
    Westbrook Pegler,. an pulitzer prize winning reporter, was a leading figure in American Liberty League. He portrayed the New Deal as an international communist plot. He
    compared union advocates to Nazi’s. He was accuse of opensly wishing for the assassination of FDR.
    Another opponent was Father Coughlin, a catholic priest and demagogue whose radio show was probably more popular than Limbaugh. He led a nationalistic worker’s rights organization that
    attacked what they described as FDR’s unconstitutional and pseudo-capitalistic monetary policies. Coughlin called Roosevelt a “tool of wall street”. He turned into a bitter opponent of the New Deal and his talks escalated in vehemence against Roosevelt, capitalists and “Jewish conspirators”.
    Elizabeth Dilling Stokes was an American anti-communist and anti-war activist and writer in the 1930s and 1940s and author of four political books. She claimed that Marxism and “Jewry” were synonymous and claimed claimed many prominent figures were Communist sympathizers, including Eleanor Roosevelt, Mahatma Gandhi, Franz Boas and Sigmund Freud. Dilling concluded that a growing elite sought to remake the United States as a communist state

  35. Byron Raum says:

    I am quite sure I disagree with harper’s slippery slope argument about government-controlled euthanasia. The counter is too obvious :- Government controlled is better than for-profit controlled, as is the current situation.
    A “death panel” is needed – it should deny me a chest X-ray when I come in for a broken finger, rather, saving the money for Gramma’s chemotherapy. A consistent approach is much better than the haphazard way medicine is conducted these days, where fear of lawsuits impel doctors to order absolutely unnecessary tests, and antibiotics are prescribed for the common cold.
    The irony is that the “death panel” argument supports Obama’s position. It is important to ration healthcare dollars so that only needed healthcare is used. Depending on the wealth of the nation, we can hopefully have enough healthcare for all, but putting the money in the pocket of for-profit insurance companies, as we do now, isn’t going to help our bottom dollar situation.
    Is there going to be government waste? Quite possibly, but given the simple fact that government waste in this case would directly impact my health and how long I get to live would make sure that there’re some pretty careful watchdogs out there – watchdogs that are now impossible with the private for-profit industry. Or should we take the approach that what we aren’t allowed to know can’t hurt us?

  36. Bill Wade, NH says:

    Saw this bumper sticker today: “I’ll keep my guns and money, you keep the “change”.”
    I worked for the Ron Paul for President campaign and still have the bumper stickers on my truck and car. I really thought he was the right guy for the job and still do. That being said, I do support President Obama but I do wish he’d reconsider a few things, particularly the war in Afghanistan. Sadly, I couldn’t say the same about Bush who I’ve never titled President, I could just never accept him mainly due to his Natl Guard service, or more accurately his disservice.
    It’s possible that I have more connections to the “little guy” than most of the posters here, I can tell you these folks are seething mad. It’s mostly about Wall Street being bailed out while they watch their incomes and future prospects dwindle substantially, they rarely mention the health care proposals. Whenever one of my acquaintances says something negative about President Obama, I remind them of the mess he inherited from Bush and they then tend to agree with me.

  37. Cieran says:

    How about having a panel of accountants determining whether you qualify (by age, infirmity, etc.) for advanced medical care.
    You just described the current state of health care for most of us in this country!
    And the notion that government can’t handle health care is just silly. The federal government is already administering medicare more cost-effectively than private insurers are.
    From a technical standpoint, fixing health care is remarkably easy, and compared to the current arrangement, it can be made as cost-effective as we the people prefer. Group plans distribute risk better than individual plans, and the larger the group, the easier it is to characterize (and hence plan for mitigating) those risks to health.
    The largest group is the entire US citizenry, so there’s no statistical reason why a single-payer system can’t work, unless one believes that the federal government can’t do anything right (in which case there’s really no point in further discussions on this topic).
    In general, characterizing and mitigating risk can be a tricky business: for example, Wall Street failed miserably at it, and we are currently suffering for that failure to consider the existence of financial precedents that would have warned of the substantial likelihood of problems caused by ignoring very real risks.
    But characterizing the risks to health of a large sample of humanity is remarkably easy, because ample precedents exist (e.g., thousands of years of recorded history, each replete with plenty of examples of illness and mortality). We already know plenty about where money gets used effectively and where it gets wasted in medical care, and most of what we know is fairly obvious, e.g., investing in preventative care is good business, substantial costs are involved in postponing certain death by days or weeks, etc.
    The performance of actuarial calculations for large statistical samples where plenty of validation data exists is about as good as it gets in the realm of dealing with uncertainty about the future, and that’s the relevant technical frame of reference for handling health care. So this is not a difficult technical problem for a modern democracy to handle.
    Unfortunately, we aren’t interested in the technical end of the health care question. We prefer getting bogged down in political posturing and so-called debates that ignore the remarkably obvious medical and statistical principles involved.
    And the fact that much of said posturing is bought and paid for by those interests who are rolling in dough courtesy of the current flawed system tells us all we need to know about where we’re headed.

  38. MRW. says:

    “Barak Obama’s embrace of a man like Bill Ayers is enough to scare the hell out of alot of Americans“?
    Embrace? They both taught at U of C and served on the same not-for-profit org for over a decade.
    Then the gratuitous and incorrect hypothetical: “say Tim McVeigh was released from prison on a technicality, and a future President befriended or at the minimum went to McVeigh’s residence for community meetings.”
    Ayers never went to prison to be released on a technicality.
    Ayers didn’t kill people in bomb blasts.
    He did bomb government buildings after hours — when Obama was eight years old and living in Indonesia — to protest the Vietnam War, but not at 8:30 AM.
    The record shows one ‘meet-and-greet’ at the Ayers’ house in the mid-90s when Obama announced his run for the Senate.
    Your wag-wag-wag: “Both McVeigh and Ayers exploded bombs in a political terror campaign and no politician should have relations with killers or attempted killers.”
    Did you write this to Chicago Mayor Daly? Have you complained about this? Did you complain about it at the time? The popular Daly worked closely with Ayers and Ayers’ non-profit group for over five years to fix the Chicago public school system.
    Or is it just uppity black men that are deserving of your opprobrium? Because black and terrorist seem to go together? Because as you said, that’s just too scary for white folk to imagine: scares the hell out of them. Which of course gives them the right to off these house n___s the way John Wilkes Booth felt he had that right to ‘McWeigh’ in on President Lincoln.

  39. Patrick Lang says:

    MRW & Patrick
    I just want to make sure that it is clear that it was not “Patrick Lang” who is the Patrick referred to in this comment.
    In future nobody will be allowed to use portions or versions of my name as “tags” on my blogs. pl

  40. LeaNder says:

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

  41. Nancy K says:

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

  42. LeaNder says:

    In future nobody will be allowed to use portions or versions of my name as “tags” on my blogs. pl
    I’d like to ask the esteemed author of this blog and his readers, to please excuse my silly html-tag-comments on the Liberty thread. It wasn’t my intention to hurt people’s feelings. But it definitively was the wrong place and context to chatter.
    I’ll shut up now.
    Wonderful comment Nancy.

  43. Bill Wade, NH says:

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

  44. optimax says:

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

  45. MRW. says:

    You wrote:
    The one issue that is non-negotiable from the Obama White House is the creation of an independent board, to determine what kinds of medical care will be provided, and what kinds of care will be denied to targeted segments of the population, because it is not “cost efficient.” It is this independent board that is the real skunk, and which does amount to a “death panel” of so-called experts, who won’t necessarily even all be doctors. . . .this is a slippery slope to government-directed euthanasia.
    You mean the late July 2009 proposed “independent board advising on Medicare,” or “independent Medicare council” — http://tr.im/wrBl — is going to target segments of the population and slip into ‘government-directed euthanasia’? Or are you referring to something in the actual 1000-page health care bill? Because if you are, cite a page.
    I’ve read the damn document and nothing in it even remotely comes close to the hysteria you’re conjuring.
    There’s some whack job on the web who’s been quoted far and wide, and twittered, about how the health bill says this or says that, and he gives page numbers to prove he’s right. My email box is full of his pronouncements and why I should be afraid. I sat down in another fit of procrastination over more pressing work and literally went through every single one of the accusations with the original document to discover the accuser couldn’t read plain English. And what he could read, he failed to understand. He had absolutely no idea how a policy document was written. He’s like Rove saying this week that he never did X and ‘here’s the proof’, counting on reporters not to read the hundreds of emails that proved, definitively, Rove did do X.
    If you’re so exercised over a public health plan that you claim will deny health-care to targeted segments of society, what have you been doing to object to the private health insurance companies that have been doing exactly that to people for the past 20 years? (See Nancy on this thread.)
    Or are you one of those people screeching about ‘socialized medicine was never contemplated in the Constitution’? Well, neither was socialized security or socialized construction. But unless you’re a crackpot, I doubt you’d recommend we get rid of the police, fire department, or Department of Transportation.
    P.S. PL, never for a moment did I think you were the person who signed himself Patrick.

  46. Byron Raum says:

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

  47. JTCornpone says:

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

  48. Rider says:

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

  49. Rider says:

    We would do well to heed the advice in Talleyrand’s famous dictum,
    “Surtout, pas trop de zèle.” (“Above all, not an excess of zeal.”)

  50. Rider says:

    harper wrote:
    ” The one issue that is non-negotiable from the Obama White House is the creation of an independent board, to determine what kinds of medical care will be provided, and what kinds of care will be denied to targeted segments of the population, because it is not “cost efficient.” It is this independent board that is the real skunk, and which does amount to a “death panel” of so-called experts, who won’t necessarily even all be doctors. “
    Leaving aside that under the current system those fortunate enough to have insurance have these matters decided for them by the boards of insurance corporations, which operate as monopolies in 88% of American markets, the statement about the make-up of the proposed board is patently false.
    Please refer to pages 30 – 35 of HR 3200 (link below).
    The board is chaired by the Surgeon General and is made up of both public officials and private citizens and takes input from the public.
    It will include providers, consumer representatives, employers, health insurance issuers, health care financing experts,experts in racial and ethnic disparities, representative of governmental agencies, at least one practicing physician, an expert in children’s health, “and shall represent a balance among sectors of health care system so that no one sector unduly influences the recommendations of the Committee.” The board will include nine federal employees and nine citizens who are not federal employees.
    The members will serve a three-year term.
    “The Committee shall take into account innovation in health care and consider how such standards could reduce health disparities.”
    Given the fact that somebody or some body has to make such decisions and has to update them regularly, it is hard to see how this proposed arrangement could be more fair and equitable or more open to the voice of both the people and the experts in the field. I really don’t think I could have designed it better myself. Could you?

  51. dilbert dogbert says:

    Re: Lines thru comments
    No problem with Firefox.
    Best to all.

  52. Binh says:

    I was stunned to see people bearing arms, including an assault rifle, outside the town hall out West. I’m all for habeaus corpus, but when people do things like this, my first instinct is to arrest and detain first, ask questions later. No one should be allowed anywhere near Obama with a weapon.
    Nothing like that ever happened under Bush, even though his approval rating ended in the 30s. I wonder if a repeat of the Oklahoma bombing is on the cards (God forbid)?

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