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Sunday, 21 March 2010


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What's worse, though this is belaboring the obvious, is that the Executive Order drafted to assuage Stupid&Friends isn't anything like the unimpeached Bush's signing statements. It doesn't negate anything in the bill, or exempt the Presidency from it's requirements: it specifically and clearly explains how the bill will be implemented so that its most objectionable components will be carried out to the satisfaction of the visigoths who claim Democratic membership.

So, not only are they ethically vacuous, they're illiterate.


A careful analysis of the respective lengths of the political and baseball parts of this post lead me to believe that, despite being a Mets fan, I'm excited about the start of the season. That said, Ahistoricality, you're absolutely correct: using signing statements to reassure people that extant law will be honored is entirely different from using them to make new law. I wish I could've worked that into the analogy, but honestly, if that were any more about baseball, I think readers would revolt.

Rich Puchalsky

Finally! Although Obama pre-emptively gave away everything he could possibly give away, it looks like we're getting something. When it came to the crunch, Obama proved that he could finally act in his own political self-interest, even as he DFH'd his base.

As for the Republicans -- sure, let them complain. Let them say whatever they want to say about hypocrisy. The god-damned scum lost. Let them whine about it as much as they like.


"McCarthy and likeminded conservatives—we’ll call them the Yankees"

This parenthetical is my favorite thing you've ever written. And anyway, of course we Mets fans can be excited about the start of the season. It's the end of the season that's going to be miserable.


Let's also remember that in the HCR debate, it's only the bottom of the third inning. The Republicans have plenty more tricks, many more avenues of opposition open to them, both transparent and nefarious.

There will be nullifying riders attached to unrelated bills. There will be spurious challenges mounted in court. Other pieces of legislation will be blocked to force further negotiation on the details of the reforms. Republicans will run across the board on a platform of repealing this legislation.

None of this counts for anything until the 30 million plus Americans that currently lack care are receiving it, at which point the Republicans will try to take credit for the whole thing.

Luther Blissett

I've got a cold, and my doctor can't fit me in. It's all Obama's fault, and I'm joining the Tea Party.

Bob Reed

Nice baseball story Scott; I too am reminded that the season is close at hand. But, I think that your premise is mistaken.

McCarthy has not decided that signing are all wrong, but is merely pointing out that Obama and the national level Democrates, who spent a lot of time decrying the use of such devices, were quick and too happy to do so when it suited their purpose. And you know as well as I do that no signing statements and few executive orders would be upheld by the courts over legislation passed by congress.

There are good elements to this bill, of that I'll freely admit. But on the whole it's more about moving towards a system where equality of outcome is guaranteed instead of equality of opportunity. That's a recipe for mediocrity regardless of how noble the intent. Already there are MSM doctors such as ABC's Timothy Johnson who is saying, "that we'll have to stop demanding the latest of everything just because we think it's the best"; or that doctors need to be paid based on the outcome of treatment instead of for services rendered. Why didn't we hear any of these arguments during the healthcare debate?

I think all he's saying is that tu quoque is a poor excuse for hypocritical actions, and he's right. Integrity is about living the moral code that you espouse, regardless of personal interest, and Obama's useless executive order utilized for cheap political purposes is antithetical to that virtue.

So we'll have to agree to disagree on this one. Still, best of luck to your Mets this season. I root for the Dodgers, so there's really no conflict of interest there until pennant time! And I share your contempt for the Yankees, having lived in DC and suffered the owner imposed mediocrity that is the Orioles for too many years, but, you know, have to keep my mouth shut out of deference to my lovely wife; who is a native New Yorker and rabid lifelong Yankees fan.


Mr. Reed, I congratulate you: there's not a single sentence in your post which does not contain an error or outright falsehood, with the possible exception of the last paragraph, which is entirely about baseball and open to multiple interpretations.

Rich Puchalsky

Only a wingnut could describe a situation in which everyone gets medical care as a recipe for mediocrity. That's not an error or an outright falsehood, it's the straightforward embrace of evil. Bob Reed wants people to die so that other people will be motivated by the fear of something like that happening to them or to their kids.

It's sick and disgusting, and the language of debate ("error","falsehood", etc.) is wholly inadequate to address it.

The Modesto Kid

Why didn't we hear any of these arguments during the healthcare debate?

Wha? These precise arguments have been widely available and in use for several years now. Have you not been listening?

The Modesto Kid

Or rather, "what Rich and Ahistoricality said."

Bob Reed

I don't understand; are tu quoque arguments now reasonable excuses for the President to act in many of the ways he spent demagoguing during the campaign?

Are the fact that many more people will be put into a system where 1/3 of the practitioner have said they will cease to practice not lead to a more mediocre system; especially when we will be expected to settle for less than we can get now?

Am I wrong about what constitutes integrity?

Am I wrong to say that among our founding premises is equality of opportunity, as opposed to equality of outcome? And isn't that what madame Pelosi said is among thethings that this bill guaranteed in her glowing pre-vote endorsement?

Where have I engaged in falsehoods? And, Rich, where have I said that I want "people to die"?

Underprivileged folks currently qualify for Medicaid, the elderly subscribe to Medicare-which we've been told will have half a trillion dollars siphoned off of it (which I'll believe when I see). Currently, no one is turned away from emergency rooms for treatment; in fact only 17% of those recieving emergency care have no insurance. And the Hippocatic oath that Doctors all take compel them to treat the ill and injured.

The members of the House of Representatives, "the peoples house", that voted for this, in opposition to their constituents will, should be ashamed of themselves. And those like Mr. Stupak, who claimed cover through Obama's promise of an executive order that he has yet to sign, should be doubly ashamed; both for their willful disregard of their Constitutional responsibilty as well as for being duped.

I'm not getting the hatred and vitriol inherent in your criticism; not to mention imputing bad intent into my own opinions. I thought that tolerance and diversity were watchwords of your shared ideology.

For what it's worth, I bear you all no animosity.


Yes, Mr. Reed. You are wrong. And shameless. And given the degree of distortion in your writing, I have no reason to assume that you have good intent.

Feel free to keep typing, though.

Bob Reed

I tried to be careful and keep it factual and distortion-free, AHISTORICALITY. Telling me I'm wrong is one thing, but maligning my motives and telling me I'm shameless is another altogether.

I don't come here to "stir up the pot" or to incite any ill-tempered arguments; indeed I often lurk without comment. I come here for the diversity of opinion; to avoid living, ideologically speaking, in an "echo chamber"-so to speak-as well as enjoy the variety of Scott's posts. Isn't it good to hear diversity of opinions?

It's a shame if my opinions are similar to those you may have argued with more stridently. But I've insulted no one, and opined in good faith. I bear no one ill will, and apologize if my presence has upset the usual dynamic.

Rich Puchalsky

Seemingly polite people like Bob Reed are the worst scum there is.

Look at his last-but-one comment. It has:

* Fantasies about 1/3 of doctors Going Galt;
* "we will be expected to settle for less than we can get now"-- Note who the implicit "we" is. Poor people don't even exist in Reed's world.
* He still equates "everyone getting health care" to "equality of outcome". What an evil twit. Whatever you think about equality of outcome in terms of income, say, most non-sociopaths don't look at a sick person and say "Well, we could get medical care for them, but that would be equality of outcome. Wouldn't want them to get the same care as someone who has a lot of money."
* He's clueless about poor people and their lives, of course. For instance, most of southern Chicago has no nearby emergency room.
* He's unable to use simple human empathy. For instance, does he go to an emergency room whenever he needs a simple checkup? No? Why not? How often does he think he'd go if that was the only place he could go?

And no, tolerance and diversity don't mean what he thinks they mean. I don't look at a room full of people who have never killed anyone and think "Hey, we need some murderers in here! We won't be diverse without them! I'm really ready to tolerate their disregard for human life, and their willingness to kill somebody if that makes them richer!"

What people like Reed need to hear is that they're scum. Because that's what they are. They come out a political movement that has battened on racism, and now is trying to use homophobia. They succeeded in barbarically bringing back torture as something that a supposedly civilized people could defend. Their incoherence and greed is so strong that they can prattle about equality of outcome and never think about what it actually means when the outcome is whether people get sick and die or not.

But people like Reed are here because Scott thinks they can be convinced by rational argument, or something. Just like Obama figured that all he really had to do was talk nicely to the GOP and they'd work together for the good of the country.


I am living with a diease that will eventually kill me. This may not happen for 40 years but, it will happen. The medical care I get now includes very expensive medications. My present insurance has a "deal" with the drug companies that cuts the coust by $3000.00 no one picks up the remaining cost and I still have to pay my portion. So now I take about 20 pills each day and get infusion treatment each month. I worry that the "New Rules" can decide that I should stop getting the care I now recieve and I fear that. I can afford treatments that others can not. Is that fair? No. Everyone should be able to receive medical care and changes need to take place. I am not sure the present changes will answer the need of all. I just know I wwould like to be around when my other children marry. I would like to see grandchildren growing up. I want to remain active. Now The goverment will tell me what I can have in life. Be careful what you wish for; it might not be what you really need.

Rich Puchalsky

alkau, worry that a government agency will not answer the need of all seems to be to be completely different than Reed's objection. The moral core in the middle of yours is "Everyone should be able to receive medical care and changes need to take place", not "among our founding premises is equality of opportunity, as opposed to equality of outcome".

At the same time, though, it really isn't true that the government is going to stop people from getting expensive medical care. That really is just a lie, made up by the people who wanted to stop health care reform by any means possible. No one is going to stop you from paying for whatever medical care you want to pay for.

Also, the only reason that people who currently have expensive insurance have insurance at all is because of previous efforts by the same people who are bringing health care reform this time. If your current insurance could drop you, they would. The New Rules are really just an extension of the slightly older rules that we've fought for politically that keep older people from being denied any insurance at all.


Scott thinks they can be convinced by rational argument, or something. Just like Obama figured that all he really had to do was talk nicely to the GOP and they'd work together for the good of the country.

My engagement with the arguments on the right has, you know, turned to open mockery of late. (As, for example, the most recent post.) But you're right about the hatefulness currently being displayed by those out of power: it's startling, and though not unexpected, I'm surprised at just how unsubtle it is.


"I root for the Dodgers"

Well, that figures.

Rich Puchalsky

Well, the transition from seeming engagement to mockery is recent, and perhaps not sharp-edged. But as I've also said before, wingers now don't really work as targets of mockery either. A target of mockery has to be powerful for it to work. Sure, right-bloggers were never powerful, but they were once stand-ins and amplifiers for people who had actual political power. Now? Now it's like jeering at the junkie strung out on the corner, mumbling feeble threats at passersby. Sure, he's mumbling feeble threats, and therefore is a bad person who would do bad things if he could. But mostly he's just pathetic.

The whole recent fight against health care really had nothing to do with wingers at all. Sure, the press was eager to play up their tiny Tea Parties. But because the GOP was a unified No bloc anyways, all the important political fights, between people who had the actual power to influence events, were within the Democratic party. The GOP has no power whatsoever at this point beyond whatever power Democrats choose to give them. (I'm including things like "not making them actually filibuster" in that category.) They don't matter.

Sure, they could take power again, and if they do, mockery of their ridiculous beliefs might once again be kind of funny. But it's the humor of weakness, really. It's the kind of thing where you laugh because you can't do anything else. In a sane world, you wouldn't laugh at them any more than you'd be driven to seek out and laugh at Flat Earthers. You'd just sort of sigh and go on and do something else.

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