December 18th, 2009

Apollo 4 on column of fire

Actually, I'm a bit surprised

Actually, now, when I think about it, I’m a bit surprised that the Rude Pundit, being a teacher of drama at the College of Staten Island, did not recognize that Bernie Sanders was abusively employing an abusively fallacious form of argument for the purpose of abusing citizens’ passions. This is the stuff upon which tragedies are constructed. This is what the Rude One called ‘liberal’ speech:

"Why is it that we need an entirely new approach for health care in this country? The answer is pretty obvious. [An obvious falsehood -- Barry] Our current system, dominated by profit-making insurance companies [the Strawman -- Barry], simply does not work. Yes, we have to confess, it does work for the insurance companies that make huge profits and provide their CEOs with extravagant compensation packages. Yes, it does work--and we saw how well it worked right here on the floor yesterday--for the pharmaceutical industry which year after year leads almost every other industry in profit while charging the American people by far--not even close--the highest prices in the world for prescription drugs.

"So it works for the insurance companies. It works for the drug companies. It works for the medical equipment suppliers and the many other companies who are making billions of dollars off of our health care system. But it is not working for--in fact, it is a disaster for--ordinary Americans."

At this point I’d like to interject that a medical equipment supplier fed, clothed, and housed me for years, and helped put me through college, and when my mother, their employee, was dying of tobacco, it provided her with disability insurance and some of that medical equipment. It paid for half of my wristwatch, and I still belong to the employee credit union. I’d also like to note that there are health insurance companies that have good reputations and whose services would be worth retaining, in the absence of a great need otherwise.

"This country is in the midst of a horrendous health care crisis. We all know that. We can tinker with the system. We can come up with a 2,000-page bill which does this, that, and the other thing. But at the end of the day, if we are going to do what virtually every other country on Earth does--provide comprehensive, universal health care in a cost-effective way, one that does not bankrupt our government or bankrupt individuals--if we are going to do that, we are going to have to take on the private insurance companies and tell them very clearly that they are no longer needed. Thanks for your service. We don't need you anymore. [The Strawman is to be deported or liquidated, solving all our major problems -- Barry]

"A Medicare-for-all program is the way to go. I know it is not going to pass today. I know we do not have the votes. I know the insurance company and the drug lobbyists will fight us to the death. But, mark my words, Madam President, the day will come when this country will do the right thing. On that day, we will pass a Medicare-for-all single-payer system."

That last bit was eery, and my guess is that it won’t be true – that what we will get is a regulated private medical industry that remains more expensive than elsewhere, but which is productive of new inventions and somehow manages to provide coverage for most of the people in the world’s third most populous nation.

Medicare for all might be better, but good enough is good enough, and which is the best way to go is, contrary to Bernie Sanders’s rhetorically convenient lie, not at all obvious. (Sanders’s surely knows that the what he described as obvious is not obvious; so it was a lie, not an error. That Sanders is well intentioned doesn’t make it not a lie.)

It seems worth noting, also, that Rude Pundit quoted Sanders saying nothing whatsoever about life and death, except to refer to them as ‘this, that, and the other thing’.
Apollo 4 on column of fire

My anxiety is giving me trouble

My concern about the Teabagging Left is driving me to distraction. Seriously, I have had difficulty pushing repeating music out of my head, which is there as some kind of mixture of tinnitus (which I do have) and obsessive-compulsive behavior. I’ve gotten rather good at controlling how the music develops, so I think I could write an orchestration if I had any idea how, but I’d rather be without the music, however beautiful I make it. Today I have playing over and over and over ‘Oh, My Darling Clementine’ orchestrated for a baroque brass band. Earlier today it was banjo, and then I transformed it to the brass band; I like banjo to some degree, but not nearly as much as baroque brass.

Ambient sounds get transformed into the music, so I’ve just put in earplugs. Maybe I should try to let the tinnitus drown out the music.
Apollo 4 on column of fire

My Sam Seder blog comment that, unfortunately, he probably will not see

Even if I weren’t always the last person to comment, Sam’s got a busted computer.

Here is what I wrote ( ):
Sam, you have got to be kidding that you are struggling with this. It is a progressive slam-dunk YES.

Do you want to be part of a movement of half-ass, incompetent, childish self-styled liberals who RISKED DITCHING UNIVERSAL COVERAGE AS A PRINCIPLE AND INSTITUTION OF AMERICAN LIFE because the compromises on how the dollars and cents should be counted and distributed irritate you? The right wing of the party is willing to go along with what I have capitalized above; don’t you understand that?

Sam, I have much respect for you, but people who don’t see this as a trivially easy problem are losing my respect. Bernie Sanders, for instance, has reduced himself to a petty demagogue, making up lies (that the causes of our crisis are obvious) and targetting Strawmen (that these 'obvious' causes are solely greedy companies). The benefits of the plan -- which Alan Grayson describes as preventing needless deaths -- Sanders explicitly referred to as ‘this, that, and the other thing’. This is the kind of man who is struggling with his decision! For me it is no struggle; for Alan Grayson it is no struggle. NO ONE should be struggling at this point.
Apollo 4 on column of fire

The good part is ...

... my judgment of Howard Dean as presidential candidate in 2004 seems to have stood up well in 2009. Maybe if he hadn’t grown up on the Upper East Side and in the Hamptons he would have a different viewpoint. I doubt he has ever been at risk of not getting medical care. In 2004 he showed he did not understand what he was saying with his Confederate battle flag comment – simultaneously insulting African-Americans, struggling white Southerners, and fans of car racing – and though he has grown since then and helped broaden the Democratic Party’s focus, he remains naive, isolated perhaps, and right now is doing this country a disservice. The Democrats should be in unity right now, being so close to a great accomplishment, and it is the tea-partiers of the left who are making the split.