Archive for the ‘Politics’ Category

Is Michael Steele dumb, or what?

“Our health care system is the best in the country…”

Oh, really? I guess if I were to go to any country, their health care system would be the best in the country.

The problem is that he seems to have no sense of humor, no self-awareness, and no sense of irony. And he’s dumb.

Of course, lots of politicians are dumb. You don’t have to be smart, just electable.

Obama Hatred

I don’t really get it. The man is pretty moderate, especially when compared with European or Canadian politics. Or anywhere, really, that’s not a fascist state.

Yet there are people out there who think he’s a marxist, a socialist, and even a usurper. (Do these people understand about elections?)

Okay, I didn’t like George W. Bush. In fact, I hated everything that he stood for, and I felt like the 2000 election was decided in a questionable fashion. But once he was inaugurated, he was the President and I respected that.

However, as I said, I hated his policies, and some of them were, I believe, illegal. I’m thinking of the detention of Americans such as Jose Padilla, the torturing of prisoners, and invading Iraq on trumped up charges. Okay, that last wasn’t illegal under US law, but it might be under international law.

What do these people think Obama has already done that they want him impeached?

I don’t get it. Is it just because he’s black? Or a Democrat?

Obama wins Nobel Peace Prize

Okay, so President Obama is recognized “for his extraordinary efforts to strengthen international diplomacy and cooperation between peoples.” Fine, but I think it’s too early. Having an attitude is easy. Getting things done is what counts.

I understand giving the prize to Wilson, who despite some antediluvian domestic policies (and being a racist) did create the League of Nations. I understand giving it to Carter and Gore.

If in ten years time, or even two years time, Obama’s foreign policy has born positive results, and I suspect it will, then maybe he deserves the prize.

For me, it’s just too soon. His domestic policies so far don’t impress me. He’s not nearly progressive enough, though we’ll have to see how things play out.

The real objection to health insurance reform in America

I was reading Roger Cohen’s New York Times editorial this morning. It made some pretty good points. I particularly liked a point from Friedrich Hayek’s The Road to Serfdom, where he said:

“Where, as in the case of sickness and accident, neither the desire to avoid such calamities nor the efforts to overcome their consequences are as a rule weakened by the provision of assistance — where, in short, we deal with genuinely insurable risks — the case for the state’s helping to organize a comprehensive system of social insurance is very strong.”

In general, Cohen, being originally from Europe, has a good understanding of the European bewilderment at the lack of universal health coverage in the US. He’s also a US citizen and has lived in this country for a number of years and mostly “gets” the US.

But a point from another reader is just slightly shy of the mark, in my opinion:

“In Europe generally the populace in the various countries feels enough sense of social connectedness to enforce a social contract that benefits all, albeit at a fairly high cost. In America it is not like that. There is endless worry that one’s neighbor may be getting more than his or her “fair” share.”

I think that the use of the term “neighbor” above is off the mark. I think the problem in the US is that many Americans don’t consider certain other Americans to be their neighbors. I refer, of course, to the race issue.

I am of the opinion that if we had not had slavery in this country, we’d have universal health coverage. The real problem is that at a deep level, possibly non-conscious, many white Americans don’t really see black Americans, or other Americans of color, as truly American. I noticed a reference from The Daily Dish, to an article in Scientific American, basically an opinion piece, in which David Mirsky cites

At a talk she gave in October 2008 to a group of science journalists, [Harvard University psychologist Mahzarin] Banaji discussed research she did with Thierry Devos, now at San Diego State University, that examined bias against Asians. They found that volunteers linked white Americans more strongly than Asian-Americans with, well, America. Banaji and Devos then decided to do what even they thought was a “bizarre” study: they had people gauge the “American-ness” of famous Asian-Americans, such as Connie Chung and tennis player Michael Chang, versus European whites, such as Hugh Grant.
The study found that white Europeans are more “American” than are nonwhite Americans in most minds.

Yep. That accords with my experience of white Americans. (I’m a white American.)

I think that the reason there’s opposition to many social programs in this country is partly to do with our pioneer heritage, but also a lot to do with not seeing many of our fellow Americans as truly American.

John Boehner is either an idiot or a liar

Do I really need to say more? See Steve Benin for more commentary. I saw this on Countdown last night and was appalled.

It is simply impossible for him to literally have never met anyone outside of paid liberal lobbyists and members of Congress who is in favor of the “public option”.

Approximately two-thirds of the country is in favor of some sort of public option.

Let me be clear. I buy health insurance on the private market because I’m self-unemployed, to use my old friend Ron Burk’s phrase. It’s expensive and they might cut me off for some spurious reason if I actually contract some serious condition.

So yes, I am in favor of a public option to create some real competition for the insurance companies. Failing that, we need serious regulation, which doesn’t happen in this country.

We are the only developed country that allows its insurance providers to be run for profit. This doesn’t work. Health isn’t a commodity like soap, or television sets. You don’t know your provider is scum until it’s too late.

At a minimum, we need an individual mandate. Everyone must have insurance to spread the costs around and make the playing field level. Companies cannot be allowed to refuse coverage. And they must be made not-for-profit.

Personally, I’d buy Medicare if I could.

Okay, Digby is also always correct

See Doomed to Repeat It.

And what’s the matter with Texas? And South Carolina, for that matter?

I live in Kansas, but despite Tom Franks’ book, we still think we’re living in the United States, at least the last time I checked.


I’ll add something when I have something to say other than, “Paul Krugman is correct.”