Mandate to move

OK: I publicly pitched for him, I actively worked for him, I voted for him, I helped elect him, and I'm proud of all of us who did. I figure that I can offer him advice too. So here it is.

President Obama:

You won a sweeping mandate for focused change. You have the political resources to implement it. You have the instincts and the judgment to make it work.

The only place where your margin is narrow is time. You must start immediately and focus on your core goals. And you must utilize that focused pragmatism and knack for calming outreach that are among your special gifts.

What are the immediate requirements?

Clearly, measurable economic recovery, including broad stability and a return to job growth, is a bottom line necessity to maintain public support and start reversing our decline in the short term. Some fairly conventional stimulus measures combined with a return to moderate rationality in regulation ought to get that underway. Banking and housing measures will be a part of this. The details are negotiable. One of the best things about your campaign has been your ability to select the best talent available and get it moving on a task. That skill will be fundamental for you here.

Beyond that, the goals on which immediate movement are most critical are energy and health care. You must take advantage of this incoming session of Congress to adopt a solid energy package which truly starts the big move toward renewable energy development and implementation.

On health care, your stated goal (I'm paraphrasing here) of universal access to affordable coverage must be the centerpiece. Die-hard Republicans, of course, will continue to bloviate about their mythical pure "market-based" approach. Many progressive Democrats will try to demand the Nirvana of "single-payer" coverage. (And an aside to my progressive friends, I hear you, and your arguments have real merit, but I care more about getting real people covered in our lifetimes here in our politically and economically centrist nation than I care about fighting for the ideal model.)

You, Mr. President, must take charge here. You called it right. You promised a hybrid system with universal access to affordable coverage. You were elected on that basis. You can and must negotiate, be accommodating, let them tinker around the edges, but don't waiver from the core goal. Be firm and if necessary ruthless. Get the bill passed in 2009 and implementation started immediately thereafter, and by the end of your first time it will be too late for anyone to take it back.

On foreign policy, your calm and measured, but principled judgment is solid and I trust you to get it right. As the execrable George W. Bush has demonstrated time and again, you as president will have the power to implement your judgment in this area regardless of what your opponents think. The breathtaking difference is that you will be implementing your moral and responsible principles. Ending American combat roles in Iraq, getting the resources needed to Afghanistan, standing for justice and against abuse of human rights, negotiating with our allies and adversaries in a rational way--you don't need my advice. I have confidence in you.

The rest is either less urgent, can be accomplished without major diversion of your time and political resources, or is just going to require more time. That includes much that is important, and about which I and you and Americans care deeply, but on which your window of time is just a little longer. Immigration reform, trade reform, education reform, transportation policy and more are among the matters which must be addressed, but deliberately and without distracting from what must be done first and now.

I am convinced that you understand all this. That's part of why I have been so enthusiastic about your potential--now impending--presidency. I believe that this is essentially what you have planned.

I don't expect that you or Joe Biden, or even David Plouffe, are waiting for my post to confirm your judgment. I just want you to know that I am starting to make the case to your backers and allies in my neck of the woods about what you're doing and why.

I am excited by the prospects.

Sincerely,

Dan Besse

Comments

Great advice, Dan.

Front-paged with pleasure.

We the people have a mandate too.

We are empowered by this election to take the reigns back into out own hands in many ways. Obama even tells us so.

Greater civic involvement is what I believe he is talking about; more responsibility for the outcome of laws that govern us.

Progressive Democrats of North Carolina

Thank you for putting it so eloquently, Dan.

I hope you actually send this post off to President Elect Obama. Why not?

North Carolina. Turning the South Blue!

North Carolina. Turning the South Blue!

Well Said!

Thanks for putting words to part of why I have been working my ass off and opened my home for the last couple months. It was a small sacrifice for such a bright future!

Unsigning statements, fill-baby-fill and executive disorders...

It looks like Obama is ready to move rapidly as far as the transition. Here's a few ideas to add to Dan's excellent slate:

1) Prepare to review and reverse the majority (maybe all) of Bush's signing statements, many of which pervert the intent of the underlying bill

2) Same idea for executive orders. No more secret affirmation of torture, snooping and rendition

3) Fill and fulfill. Fill positions quickly to send a strong message (is Rahm E. really the best choice????). Be ready to fulfill on some promises day-one. Get Congressional support lined up to pass 2 or 3 critical pieces of legislation in the first day or two in office - one of which is to fund an Apollo type program for new energy development.

CitizenWill
there comes a time when one must take a position that is neither safe, nor politic, nor popular, but he must do it because Conscience tells him it is right. MLK,Jr. to SCLC Leadership Class

CitizenWill
there comes a time when one must take a position that is neither safe, nor politic, nor popular, but he must do it because Conscience tells him it is right. MLK,Jr. to SCLC Leadership Class

Obama: Unsigning statements, executive disorders...

Following up on my earlier comment:

Obama Positions Himself to Quickly Reverse Bush Actions on Environmental, Social Issues

By Ceci Connolly and R. Jeffrey Smith
Washington Post Staff Writers
Sunday, November 9, 2008

Transition advisers to President-elect Barack Obama have compiled a list of about 200 Bush administration actions and executive orders that could be swiftly undone to reverse the president on climate change, stem cell research, reproductive rights and other issues, according to congressional Democrats, campaign aides and experts working with the transition team.

A team of four dozen advisers, working for months in virtual solitude, set out to identify regulatory and policy changes Obama could implement soon after his inauguration. The team is now consulting with liberal advocacy groups, Capitol Hill staffers and potential agency chiefs to prioritize those they regard as the most onerous or ideologically offensive, said a top transition official who was not permitted to speak on the record about the inner workings of the transition.

CitizenWill
there comes a time when one must take a position that is neither safe, nor politic, nor popular, but he must do it because Conscience tells him it is right. MLK,Jr. to SCLC Leadership Class

CitizenWill
there comes a time when one must take a position that is neither safe, nor politic, nor popular, but he must do it because Conscience tells him it is right. MLK,Jr. to SCLC Leadership Class

Looking forward to these.

The first couple of months should include a string of pleasant news briefs as Bush executive order idiocies are tossed into the fireplace. Mmmmmm, delicious.

Dan Besse

Dan Besse

That should do it!

"Clearly, measurable economic recovery, including broad stability and a return to job growth, is a bottom line necessity to maintain public support and start reversing our decline in the short term. Some fairly conventional stimulus measures combined with a return to moderate rationality in regulation ought to get that underway. Banking and housing measures will be a part of this. The details are negotiable."

Now, sir, I understand you have been diagnosed with cancer. A band-aid here, a band-aid there, here's some advil, get some sleep. That should do it.

"On health care, your stated goal (I'm paraphrasing here) of universal access to affordable coverage must be the centerpiece. Die-hard Republicans, of course, will continue to bloviate about their mythical pure "market-based" approach."

I mean duh, of course universal health care is the best! Everyone knows that Canadians cross the border to get health care in America because they just have so much money they don't know what to do with it all, not because socialized medicine, as in Canada, is a total disaster.

"The rest is either less urgent, can be accomplished without major diversion of your time and political resources, or is just going to require more time."

translation: NPR doesn't really talk about any of the other stuff so I can't think of anything to say about them.

Intern 1- Hey got a letter from some guy. Where's pile for all these?
Intern 2- Over there in that huge bin, make sure you add the name to the database to get a nice automated letter.

-Independent

No universal health care coverage?

Mr. Independent, welcome to BlueNC. This is a site for discussion of progressive policies and politics. Mostly Democrats, but not all. If you're interested in discussing the best approaches to insuring universal access to affordable health care, you'll find an interested audience for discussion here. If that is not a priority which you favor, you will not find much opportunity to engage here. Similarly, if you profess an exclusive dedication to "market-based" (i.e., no public assistance regardless of economic means), you'll find yourself similarly without interested discussion partners. In either of those cases, you may want to head over to RedState.

Dan Besse

Dan Besse

Indecision

Poor guy is still grieving over Ron Paul, Bob Barr and BJ Lawson. Doesn't know where to turn.

Indecision? Confuse? Screw Up? Reality check in order?

Poor guy is still grieving over Ron Paul, Bob Barr and BJ Lawson. Doesn't know where to turn.* Great Architect

Move to Costa Rica or help bannish all Republicans from the Republic.

Below! From my former roomate in Prep School in another life!

The Evidence Establishes, without Question, that Republican Rule Is Dangerous: Why It Is High Time to Fix This Situation, For the Good of the Nation

By JOHN W. DEAN

Friday, Oct. 31, 2008

Occasionally, during the past eight years of writing this column, I have addressed the remarkably dangerous manner in which Republican Party officials rule the nation when they control one or more of the three branches of the federal government. Over the same period, I've also made this argument, even more directly and loudly, in three books on the subject.

In this column, I will be more pointed on this subject than I have ever been, while also repeating a few key facts that I have raised earlier - because Election Day 2008 now provides the only clear remedy for the ills of Republican rule.

The Republican Approach to Government: Authoritarian Rule

Republicans rule, rather than govern, when they are in power by imposing their authoritarian conservative philosophy on everyone, as their answer for everything. This works for them because their interest is in power, and in what it can do for those who think as they do. Ruling, of course, must be distinguished from governing, which is a more nuanced process that entails give-and-take and the kind of compromises that are often necessary to find a consensus and solutions that will best serve the interests of all Americans.

Republicans' authoritarian rule can also be characterized by its striking incivility and intolerance toward those who do not view the world as Republicans do. Their insufferable attitude is not dangerous in itself, but it is employed to accomplish what they want, which is to take care of themselves and those who work to keep them in power.

Authoritarian conservatives are primarily anti-government, except where they believe the government can be useful to impose moral or social order (for example, with respect to matters like abortion, prayer in schools, or prohibiting sexually-explicit information from public view). Similarly, Republicans' limited-government attitude does not apply regarding national security, where they feel there can never be too much government activity - nor are the rights and liberties of individuals respected when national security is involved. Authoritarian Republicans do oppose the government interfering with markets and the economy, however - and generally oppose the government's doing anything to help anyone they feel should be able to help themselves.

In my book Broken Government: How Republican Rule Destroyed the Legislative, Executive and Judicial Branches, I set forth the facts regarding the consequences of the Republicans' controlling government for too many years. No Republican - nor anyone else, for that matter - has refuted these facts, and for good reason: They are irrefutable.

The McCain/Palin Ticket Perfectly Fits the Authoritarian Conservative Mold

During the 2008 presidential campaign, Senator John McCain and Governor Sarah Palin, the Republican candidates, have shown themselves to be unapologetic and archetypical authoritarian conservatives. Indeed, their campaign has warmed the hearts of fellow authoritarians, who applaud them for their negativity, nastiness, and dishonest ploys and only criticize them for not offering more of the same.

The McCain/Palin campaign has assumed a typical authoritarian posture: The candidates provide no true, specific proposals to address America's needs. Rather, they simply ask voters to "trust us" and suggest that their opponents - Senators Barack Obama and Joe Biden - are not "real Americans" like McCain, Palin, and the voters they are seeking to court. Accordingly, McCain and Plain have called Obama "a socialist," "a redistributionist," "a Marxist," and "a communist" - without a shred of evidence to support their name-calling, for these terms are pejorative, rather than in any manner descriptive. This is the way authoritarian leaders operate.

In my book Conservatives Without Conscience, I set forth the traits of authoritarian leaders and followers, which have been distilled from a half-century of empirical research, during which thousands of people have voluntarily been interviewed by social scientists. The touch points in these somewhat-overlapping lists of character traits provide a clear picture of the characters of both John McCain and Sarah Palin.

McCain, especially, fits perfectly as an authoritarian leader. Such leaders possess most, if not all, of these traits:

dominating
opposes equality
desirous of personal power
amoral
intimidating and bullying
faintly hedonistic
vengeful
pitiless
exploitive
manipulative
dishonest
cheats to win
highly prejudiced (racist, sexist, homophobic
mean-spirited
militant
nationalistic
tells others what they want to hear
takes advantage of "suckers"
specializes in creating false images to sell self
may or may not be religious
usually politically and economically conservative/Republican
Incidentally, George W. Bush and Dick Cheney also can be described by these well-defined and typical traits - which is why a McCain presidency is likely to be nearly identical to a Bush presidency.

Clearly, Sarah Palin also has some qualities typical of authoritarian leaders, not to mention almost all of the traits found among authoritarian followers. Specifically, such followers can be described as follows:

submissive to authority
aggressive on behalf of authority
highly conventional in their behavior
highly religious
possessing moderate to little education
trusting of untrustworthy authorities
prejudiced (particularly against homosexuals and followers of religions other than their own)
mean-spirited
narrow-minded
intolerant
bullying
zealous
dogmatic
uncritical toward chosen authority
hypocritical
inconsistent and contradictory
prone to panic easily
highly self-righteous
moralistic
strict disciplinarians
severely punitive
demanding loyalty and returning it
possessing little self-awareness
usually politically and economically conservative/Republican
The leading authority on right-wing authoritarianism, a man who devoted his career to developing hard empirical data about these people and their beliefs, is Robert Altemeyer. Altemeyer, a social scientist based in Canada, flushed out these typical character traits in decades of testing.

Altemeyer believes about 25 percent of the adult population in the United States is solidly authoritarian (with that group mostly composed of followers, and a small percentage of potential leaders). It is in these ranks of some 70 million that we find the core of the McCain/Palin supporters. They are people who are, in Altemeyer's words, are "so self-righteous, so ill-informed, and so dogmatic that nothing you can say or do will change their minds."

The Problem with Electing Authoritarian Conservatives

What is wrong with being an authoritarian conservative? Well, if you want to take the country where they do, nothing. "They would march America into a dictatorship and probably feel that things had improved as a result," Altemeyer told me. "The problem is that these authoritarian followers are much more active than the rest of the country. They have the mentality of 'old-time religion' on a crusade, and they generously give money, time and effort to the cause. They proselytize; they lick stamps; they put pressure on loved ones; and they revel in being loyal to a cohesive group of like thinkers. And they are so submissive to their leaders that they will believe and do virtually anything they are told. They are not going to let up and they are not going to go away."

I would nominate McCain's "Joe the Plumber" as a new poster-boy of the authoritarian followers. He is a believer, and he has signed on. On November 4, 2008, we will learn how many more Americans will join the ranks of the authoritarians.

Frankly, the fact that the pre-election polls are close - after eight years of authoritarian leadership from Bush and Cheney, and given its disastrous results - shows that many Americans either do not realize where a McCain/Palin presidency might take us, or they are happy to go there. Frankly, it scares the hell out of me, for there is only one way to deal with these conservative zealots: Keep them out of power.

This election should be a slam dunk for Barack Obama, who has run a masterful campaign. It was no small undertaking winning the nomination from Hillary Clinton, and in doing so, he has shown without any doubt (in my mind anyway) that he is not only qualified to be president, but that he might be a once-in-a-lifetime leader who can forever change the nation and the world for the better.

If Obama is rejected on November 4th for another authoritarian conservative like McCain, I must ask if Americans are sufficiently intelligent to competently govern themselves. I can understand authoritarian conservatives voting for McCain, for they know no better. It is well-understood that most everyone votes with his or her heart, not his or her head. Polls show that 81 percent of Americans "feel" (in their hearts and their heads) that our country is going the wrong way. How could anyone with such thoughts and feelings vote for more authoritarian conservatism, which has done so much to take the nation in the wrong direction?

We will all find out on (or about) November 5th.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

John W. Dean, a FindLaw columnist, is a former counsel to the president.

No universal health care coverage.

So if I suggest that the free market provides a better solution to health care you and others here at BlueNC will not engage in a discussion? I certainly hope the BlueNC community will be willing to at least listen to a dissenting opinion and if so desired tell me why I am wrong.

Is health care in America working? No, but the cause is not a lack of government, rather it is too much government intervention that is causing the problems in our heath care system. Rising costs are not the product of a voluntary market. It is destructive government policies that have ruined the doctor-patient relationship and resulted in higher costs.

The current system of HMO's must change. These institutions limit the choices of patients and health care providers. Businesses are required to offer HMO coverage to employees who then must get service from approved doctors and hospitals. These hospitals and doctors are burdened with complicated paperwork and spend much of their resources adhering rules set forth by HMO's and laws. This increases the cost of service. The disconnect between patients and doctors (supply and demand) creates an environment with little incentive to keep costs down. HMO's are require by each state to cover certain health concerns. This mandated coverage is responsible for some of the greatest increases in costs. For example, an HMO is required to cover maternity care and birth. Well clearly 50% of the population will not need this, but as it required in every insurance package, the price of insurance increases universally. This hurts the poor by denying them the option of purchasing a plan that covers only necessary expenses such as catastrophic health problems. HMO's are not the product of a free market. They were created by intrusive federal legislation in the 1970's.

Another damaging piece of government legislation is ERISA Law of 1974 giving tax benefits to employers who provide health care. There is however no tax breaks given to individuals who pay for personal health care. The result of the ERISA Law is a system in which health care is coupled with health care. Government intervention thus, has removed the incentive for insurance companies to cater to individuals. The result is a system that leaves the poor/unemployed with institutional obstacles in finding affordable health care. If government removed itself from the equation, insurance companies would have motivation to provide services to individuals, including packages that would cover the needs of poor who especially need catastrophic health care coverage.

Only a truly free market where doctors and patients have choices will decrease prices. Patients should be allowed to chose, not government bureaucracies or government supported corporations. Removing mandated coverage of unnecessary insurance policies (ie maternity care) and giving tax benefits to individuals who pay for their own insurance would be an important first step.

You see, we are already half of the way to universal health care, and look where that has gotten us. If the government continues protecting HMO's and corporations within the medical industry, patients will see ever rising prices and physicians will continue leaving in droves.

-Independent

-Independent

Very Confrontational

Independent,

I think there are several reasons that you are not getting a debate on your issue.

First, you are coming off as very confrontational. Also, you call yourself Independent, which I take to mean open to all options. You seem to be very partisan. Finally, your post would be better served as a separate blog rather than a comment to a post discussing many issues.

That said, here are a few stats:

The barely breaks the top 40 in worldwide health care rankings. True, Canada is 30th, but still higher.

The US is the only industrialized nation that does not offer health care as a right to all citizens.

Finally, a universal system would eliminate much of the red-tape involved in our current system.

Those are my thoughts.

Thanks for your thoughts

I appreciate your input

Also, you call yourself Independent, which I take to mean open to all options. You seem to be very partisan.

Being Independent does not mean you can not have a political opinion.

The barely breaks the top 40 in worldwide health care rankings. True, Canada is 30th, but still higher.

According to whom?

-Independent

You've got it bass-ackwards

This hurts the poor by denying them the option of purchasing a plan that covers only necessary expenses such as catastrophic health problems.

If you've got the time, you need to do a little research. Not on Libertarian blogs, but within the medical community itself.

Here's the problem with these plans that you think the poor people would benefit from: in the absence of coverage for well-care and primary care physician visits that can detect deteriorating health issues, these folks would have to pay out of pocket for said visits. Which most of them won't do, once they find out their policy doesn't cover it.

High cholesterol, blood pressure, looming diabetes, etc., will then go undetected, greatly increasing the chance that this subset of individuals will end up needing the catastrophic health care, which (by that time) will be too late for many of them. Pretty soon this subset of insurance buyers will be classified as "high risk", and their premiums will go up accordingly, along with their blood pressure.

And the same goes for your subset of child-bearing-aged-women-only-who-might-just-have-a-baby being the only ones who pay for "maternity" insurance. Or, you know, decide to not pay for this extra maternity premium (or whatever), which would then flood ob-gyn clinics (that are already finding it hard to find doctors) with uninsured patients, forcing them to jack up their charges, etc.

The only thing even remotely resembling a "silver bullet" to bring down health care costs is to bring everybody together under the same protective umbrella. Everyone. From administrative efficiencies and high-volume bulk purchases of medical supplies and pharmaceuticals, to more practical and efficient use of personnel, the bigger the umbrella the better. And that umbrella is single-payer, universal health care.

Lets see...

The cost of primary care visits would be extraordinarily cheap in a free market system. A 15 minute blood-work checkup is inexpensive and would easily detect high cholesterol, blood pressure, looming diabetes, etc.

Why would women who expect to have children decide not to pay for coverage? Even if this "army of uninsured pregnant women" scenario did occur (which it would not) why would doctors jack up their prices? That makes no sense and defies the laws of supply and demand. Suppliers (ob-gyn's) would respond to a decrease in ability to pay by demanders (pregnant women) with a decrease in prices. If you sell clothes and realize that customers can not afford them do you respond by increasing the price? Of course not, it the consumer that dictates the action of the supplier. Not the inverse. As should be the case in medicine, and would be the case in a free market.

-Independent

Lawson lost, get a life

Health care is not a commodity.

It is abundantly clear that you do not have enough life experience to even begin to understand why people would make decisions which are contrary to text book logic and simplistic "laws".

Get logic

It is abundantly clear, sir, that you have not even the smallest winkling of understanding regarding basic economic principles. Try reading a book sometime, it might do you good.

But I guess your right, I guess you would have me believe that poor people are too stupid to act logically.

-Independent

See, as a new guy you have no idea how stupid you sound.

You've insulted two of the best informed people on this site as naive or uneducated. Yet, you yourself are just a kid, living in a dorm on someone else's dime most likely. You don't have any real world worries like how Republican policies on NCLB and IDEA effect your own kids or how Republican policies on the environment and pollution will poison your children or how Republican tax polcies have left nearly $2000 LESS in your pocket this year or how your health care premiums have gone from $250/month in 2000 to over $800/month now. You probably don't look at your aging 60+ year old father and wonder how you are going to take car of him now that the economy has tanked and he's been laid off without any health care or hope for retirement or meaningful employment. You probably haven't parked your car and walked not because it's cool but because you no longer have the money to drive it.

You need to quit being so damn holier than thou. We don't agree with you, that doesn't make us stupid, it makes us disagreeable. We don't think you are 100% right about anything you're peddling, but you might be surprise to learn if you weren't such a freakin' rude zealot that we don't think you are 100% wrong either.

Deal with it or move along.

"You could say, 'Look, is this guy, Laden, really the bad guy that's depicted?' Most of us have never heard of him before." John McCain, following Clinton's strikes on al Qaeda camps

Jesus Swept ticked me off. Too short. I loved the characters and then POOF it was over.
-me

Interesting

living in a dorm on someone else's dime most likely

It is interesting that you would even say this considering your agenda anchors itself in an ideology reliant upon living of someone else's dime.

-Independent

Even more interesting that you would key on that one phrase.

Robert's post had a lot of other things in it -- why do you just pick on this one? Heck, Robert even granted that some of the posters/readers on this site would agree with you some of the time. Why not ask him where you and he would agree?

I'll tell you what I think: I think you didn't ask him because that could actually lead to discussion, not hateful rhetoric.

In my opinion, if you are not part of The Democratic Party, you can't know what it's really about - because any party is made up of people, and it's the people within the party that form an agenda. As a lifelong Democrat, I've got to tell you, our agenda is not anchored "in an ideology reliant upon living of someone else's dime." What most of us, as Democrats and progressives {or gasp - liberals}, believe in is paying your for infrastructure and services that most people expect the government to provide: public safety, transportation (as in roads and bridges), public health, public education, etc.

I'm thrilled beyond belief that more than half of the people in NC get this, and voted for federal and state officials who will ensure that children who need health care will be able to get it (for example). I would not deny a child anything that he needs in order to live a healthy life - even if it means I have to help pay for it. Nor would I deny a child a good public education, with educated teachers who want to be in the classroom, even if my taxes help pay for that. We all benefit from a society that cares for those who can't care for themselves, even students in dorm rooms. :)

Im glad we both

dont't like hateful rhetoric. Phrases like "get a life" and "you sound stupid" have no place in a respectable discussion.

What most of us, as Democrats and progressives {or gasp - liberals}, believe in is paying your for infrastructure and services that most people expect the government to provide: public safety, transportation (as in roads and bridges), public health, public education, etc.

Sounds great, and maybe this would be the case if pure progressives such as Dennis Kucinich set the true agenda for the Democratic party, but a quick examination of the actions of Democrats in office reveals that it seems you are forgetting a few important "services" that most elected Democrats are more than happy to pay for. Important public services such as financing the charades of the imperialist neo-cons, engaging in perpetual war overseas, funding the immoral war on drugs, theft of taxpayer's dollars given to criminals on wall street, and ensuring that the banks get their fair share of the loot through the Federal Reserve system.

It is clear that the Democratic party is just "another wing of the same bird of prey." A fact that Obama's presidency will undoubtedly solidify.

-Independent

Book learnin'

I read a book once. You mistake verbal incontinence for intellect.

When you are mature enough to date a woman of child bearing years inquire after her Ob-Gyn and health insurance. See how that works out for you.

I miss the luxury

that you enjoy, "independent," as a kid living in a dorm room.

I miss the luxury of having virtually no life experience to tamper with or otherwise up-end my academic concepts or thought processes.

These delightful sugar plums dancing over your head about how the market would respond if we quit burdening society with government regulations are worthy of a richly illustrated Christmas-time coffee table book, perfect for setting out to be enjoyed and admired with the rest of the seasonal decorations.

Kinda sweet. Kinda nauseating, too, after a while.

Does the Free Market Elf have magic helpers who make separate lists for the avaricious and conscientious service providers?

Independant's Wake up

I wonder if Independent will still chant the Free Market Mantra once he starts paying for his own health insurance and is no longer on Mommy and Daddy's policy. It will be like a visit from Krampus at Christmas.

Proud Educated Elitist With a Poison Pen

Proud Educated Elitist With a Poison Pen

Sugar plums

These delightful sugar plums dancing over your head about how the market would respond if we quit burdening society with government regulations are worthy of a richly illustrated Christmas-time coffee table book, perfect for setting out to be enjoyed and admired with the rest of the seasonal decorations.

Kinda sweet. Kinda nauseating, too, after a while.

And an idea that government bureaucracy will be a magical solution to everyone's problems seems rational to you? I like your descriptive metaphor but it fails to do one thing, explain why socialized universal health care is better than allowing free choice.

Your proposal is based on force, coercion and violence. The free market relies on volunteerism, cooperation and benefit for all. Contracts, which are the fundamental backbone to a free market society only exist when both parties gain.

-Independent

So cute.

I love it when young 'uns use words like "force, coercion and violence."

You have no idea.

Independant, I'm Still Waiting

Where are the facts and figures to back up your claims of droves of Canadians abandoning the NHS for health care in the US?

Helpful hint - when you make bold claims, it's best to back up what you are saying with facts. Otherwise you are simply repeating baseless rumors.

Proud Educated Elitist With a Poison Pen

Proud Educated Elitist With a Poison Pen

Are you kidding me?

If your method of debate is to change someone's words and request outrages statsistical data to support everything this is going no where.

I said that Canadians cross the border to receive health care in the United States. Not floods, not droves. There has been no scientific survey conducted.
But i did find these statistics

  • In 1999 71 Ontario patients died while waiting for bypass surgery
  • Twice as many Canadians wait 4 hours or more in Emergency rooms
  • Over half of Canadians wait over 4 weeks to see a specialist, opposed to less than 1/4 of Americans
  • 21% of Canadian vs 1% of American hospital administrators said it would take over 3 weeks for a 50 year old woman to get screened for breast cancer
  • 50% of Canadians vs 0% of American administrators said it would take over 6 months for an elderly person to get a routine hip replacement
  • 3% of Canadian administrators said hip replacement surgery could occur in 3 weeks vs 86% of American administrators

But at least socialized health care makes every one equal right?

  • "90 percent of heart specialists had "been involved in the care of a patient who received preferential access" to cardiac care because of non-medical reasons including the patient's social standing or personal connections with the treating physician." — a survey published in the Annals of Internal Medicine medical journal

:( guess not

No statistics on EXACTALLY how many Canadians come to the US. But its no surprise why they do it.

-Independent

Get logic

My method of debate is backing up my statements with evidence. Did you fail Logic 101?

Thanks for your cherry picked data. This information is 4 years old. Next time do a little further research - like those who can afford it carry supplemental insurance to cover the gaps left by the NHS so patients do not have to go through such long waits. It's much similar to Medicare supplements. Compare to the current US free market health care: if you don't have the money or the insurance, you are not treated at all and told "please die quickly to decrease the surplus population."

You are far too young to be screaming like an old woman with a mouse up her skirt.

Now turn off the TV and write me a theme on the fallacy of backing up an argument with biased facts.

Proud Educated Elitist With a Poison Pen

Proud Educated Elitist With a Poison Pen

Two can play your game

Compare to the current US free market health care: if you don't have the money or the insurance, you are not treated at all and told "please die quickly to decrease the surplus population."

If you believe that we have a free market system of health care in America, you are sorely mistaken. The United States government currently pays over half of medical expenses. We have a mixed system, which is the fundamental cause of the problems we are facing in health care today. Both universal rand free market approaches would be more efficient solutions, I just prefer a free market over government mandated bureaucracies. But I hope your aren't expecting Barrack Obama to do anything about it. He is too devoted to protecting the elites and corporations to ever leave abolish our mixed health care system.

Where are you getting this information? I want to know an exact head count of Americans who are told this, what their illnesses are, and the cost to provide their treatment.

If you are going to march around expecting others to accompany their arguments with ridiculous statistical data you should do the same. Oh but I guess in the end it doesn't matter because according to your methods of debate I can simply debunk any data you show by declaring it to be too old or biased.

-Independent

Straw man

Hasty generalization.

Try again.

Proud Educated Elitist With a Poison Pen

Proud Educated Elitist With a Poison Pen

I'm going to have to give you a C-,

and that's because I gave you a few points for "zeal".

That makes no sense and defies the laws of supply and demand. Suppliers (ob-gyn's) would respond to a decrease in ability to pay by demanders (pregnant women) with a decrease in prices.

No, they would respond by closing their doors. Many ob-gyn's are operating on a shoe-string budget as it is, with one of the main reasons being medical malpractice insurance premiums costing up to $200,000 per year.

So what is the Libertarian solution for that? Setting caps on successful lawsuit awards and restricting the types of suits that can be brought? Oh no, that would make too much sense violate the principle of "Free Market Negative Externalities" and government regulation is bad.

Ron Paul's solution is to make an extra insurance policy available for patients to purchase called "Negative Outcomes" coverage. Basically shifting the responsibility for mistakes onto the shoulders of the patient, not the care provider. And I guess the doctor himself (or herself) would be peddling said insurance on the spot, which would give me a pucker factor of about 8.5 as I was being prepped for surgery (or running out the door).

I think they should offer anyone who professes to be a Libertarian a special "mental health care" policy. Then again, that would be an extremely "risky" venture, and said insurance provider would probably go out of business pretty quickly as it collapsed under a barrage of claims.

Great Diary, Dan

Sorry for coming in so late.

Thanks and a disclaimer

I think the next time I do a post like this, I'm going to append a postscript: "Please Do Not Feed the Libertarians".

I liked the list of logical additional suggestions, posted early in the string, and hoped that there would be more discussion along that line.

I expected someone would take a chainsaw to my dismissal of single-payer as politically unobtainable, but I didn't expect folks to need to waste their time defending the concept of universal coverage. I think that's what aggravates me most about the Libs--not so much the honest ones who admit that they can't be bothered with caring whether poor people can afford to see a doctor, but the delusional ones who claim that the mythical Unadulterated Free Market would cure all ills if only the nasty government would get completely out of the way.

Seriously, that kind of hooraw is great for late-night dorm drinking bouts amongst sophomore philosophy majors. By the time they graduate and work for a couple of years, however, they really should know better. (Exceptions granted for some career polisci profs, of course, since they too have been spared most economic real-world experience.)

Dan Besse

Dan Besse

I mean duh, of course

I mean duh, of course universal health care is the best! Everyone knows that Canadians cross the border to get health care in America because they just have so much money they don't know what to do with it all, not because socialized medicine, as in Canada, is a total disaster.

Strange. The Canadians I know are rather fond of their "socialised" health care. Please give me the facts and figures of Canadians flooding the US to spend money on our bargain basement, for profit health care system. I want hard figures not generalizations. This means a head count of Canadians per year, the procedures performed and the amount paid in US dollars.

And if you're going to trot out the figures from Faux News based on Canadians coming to the US for cosmetic surgery, don't bother. Cosmetic surgery is not covered under for profit health insurance.

Proud Educated Elitist With a Poison Pen

Proud Educated Elitist With a Poison Pen

Mandates?

Remember the last time we sent Democrats to Washington with a mandate? You know, the mandate to end the immoral and unconstitutional occupation of Iraq?

Obama will be no different. Oh, you want the "non-combat" troops out of Iraq, but the permanent bases and the grand imperial embassy the size of the Vatican don't bother you, even though the vast majority of Iraqis want us out? I wish it was surprising, but it's not. You just got neutralized by the corporate elite who control this country, how does it feel? They did it to true conservatives with Bush, and now they are doing it to you with Obama. Hahaha just look at his foreign policy team! He's got the endorsement of Colin Powell, a documented war criminal and liar. He's been eating up talking points from the likes of Brzezinski. Have you actually watched his AIPAC speech? Do you realize that Biden is practically the long-lost-twin of Ashcroft when it comes to domestic surveillance? Obama is a total sell out to the bomb-makers and banks, and you've got people literally crying with joy that he was elected! I guess when you spend hundreds of billions of dollars saturating the airwaves you can sell a turd in a box.

I love the fact that Obama was elected. McCain would have been too easy - everyone knows the Republicans are bought and paid for by the military industrial complex. Now it's time to reveal the Democrats for who they really are. Like 9/11, the Dems will use the economic crisis to expand the power of the government they control. If you think Obama is going to reverse the police state Bush has put in place, you're delusional and need a serious reality check. Had Obama really posed a challenge to the status quo, he never would have gotten to where he is. The reason he was allowed to win is because the elites that control this country wanted to bring the left back into the fold, and it worked... at least for now. I can still count on the true leftists to dissent but the vast majority of the Dems in Congress are just going to roll over.

The War on Drugs will continue.
The War on Terror will continue.
Socialism for the rich will continue.
American imperialism will continue.
Domestic spying will continue.
Unqualified support of Israel will continue.
The centralization of political power will continue.

It's insane. Bush may be out of office, but when you really get to know the new boss you realize he is just like the old boss. Either you guys just don't care, or are too blinded by partisanship to realize that this system is totally rigged. The corporate agenda will march on. Sure, Obama might throw some more bread crumbs from the table down to the lower classes to keep them complacent and loyal to the state, but the power structure remains unchallenged yet again. Wake the hell up.

"And if you're going to trot out the figures from Faux News based on Canadians coming to the US for cosmetic surgery, don't bother. Cosmetic surgery is not covered under for profit health insurance."

Hahaha, you seem to have some aversion to FOX news. What do you watch CNN? MSNBC? The worst thing FOX ever did was make these propaganda outlets look like true news. Hopefully you don't watch any of these, but if you do, you should only be watching them to witness the absurd reality the corporate media is trying to paint for you.

But to make a point about health care, doesn't it seem odd to you that the cost of cosmetic surgery is going down, and its quality is going up, while all other medical services seem to have skyrocketing prices? Why is this also true for laser-eye surgery? It's because these things are not mandated, by your precious government, as part of health insurance. Thus business that provide these services compete for customers who pay out of pocket. As usual, the free market proves itself to be the most efficient method of providing the highest quality service to the most people at the lowest cost.

You can throw around the "for profit" adjective all you want, but the truth is that modern medical insurance companies are no more a product of the free market than are bomb manufacturers. We don't have a free market in health care, and if you don't believe me you should rewatch "Sicko" which documents the development of our "managed care" (read: mixed economic system) health care industry. Sure, a single payer universal system (or a free market system) would be better than our current system, but Obama won't even go there. Hahaha what a joke of a candidate he is.

The next four years are going to be hilarious. The same old crap coming from another corporate lackey, and people are going to be so caught up in the cult of personality that they won't even notice - even if four years prior they were complaining about the exact same things. To those of us with our eye on the ball - the issues - the Dems have already exposed themselves via the bailout, war in Iraq, Patriot Act, etc. Maybe there will be some Obama supporters willing to stray from their religion and look at the facts, but judging from the reaction on this site to anyone who challenges the Dems (on their own issues - the war, civil liberties), it won't be many.

Canadian healthcare

There is a lot of talk on this thread based on second hand knowledge let me give you some first hand experiences with the Candian healthcare system.

My wife is first generation American, her parents moved to the United States from Canada right before she was born. My mother in law kept her Canadian citizenship so she could use the healthcare system up there. She has never had a problem getting care and she gets to choose her own dr's. She has 6 sisters that still live in Canada. They live in cities such as Ottawa, Windsor and they live in very small villages above the Artic Circle. None of them have ever had a problem getting healthcare.

Several years ago we were visiting one of my wife's aunts in Ottawa and my wife had to visit an emergency room. We were not charged a penny because her mother was a citizen. The care she received was top notch and she was seen quicker than any emergency room I have ever been in here in the US.

Before you go bashing a system you have no first hand knowledge of, talk to someone who has.

“We are the party of Roosevelt. We are the party of Kennedy. So don't tell me that Democrats won't defend this country. Don't tell me that Democrats won't keep us safe.” ~ Barack Obama

Oh, folks, stop feeding the libertarians.

Let them get back to whatever BBS system Ron Paul has set up for them. Or, to the isolated cabin in the woods of their choice.

"You could say, 'Look, is this guy, Laden, really the bad guy that's depicted?' Most of us have never heard of him before." John McCain, following Clinton's strikes on al Qaeda camps

Jesus Swept ticked me off. Too short. I loved the characters and then POOF it was over.
-me

But, but...

... it's so easy. And I wanted to make him cry this morning. :-D

Proud Educated Elitist With a Poison Pen

Proud Educated Elitist With a Poison Pen

Independents and Trolls do not bother to listen to

or read. They spout whatever talking points their masters put in their mouth because they could never come up with their own. Trying to reason with them is futile because they only come to spread propaganda, not to have discussions, not to see any other side.

By ignoring them, you in essence starve them because attention and propaganda mongering is their only nourishment.

No matter that patriotism is too often the refuge of scoundrels. Dissent, rebellion, and all-around hell-raising remain the true duty of patriots.

Progressive Discussions

I always think folks like this are teenagers...

because they are 100% right and you are 100% wrong.

"You could say, 'Look, is this guy, Laden, really the bad guy that's depicted?' Most of us have never heard of him before." John McCain, following Clinton's strikes on al Qaeda camps

Jesus Swept ticked me off. Too short. I loved the characters and then POOF it was over.
-me

Trying to reason

Have you ever done it, or do you just stick to calling anyone who disagrees with you a troll?

The funny thing about all of this is the fact that none of you can actually disagree with the fact that Obama is a pro-empire, war-mongering, elitist puppet. But you will worship your new lord anyway.

Center right vs. Center left

More fun with graphs, from Daily Kos.

Now that Barack Obama has won, Republicans have settled on a weird new talking point: the election results, they say, demonstrate that America is a "center right" nation. But as is typical with the GOP, their claim isn't reality-based. Consider:

1. Democrats have won the popular vote in 4 of the last 5 presidential elections.
2. Democrats have won the presidency in 3 of the last 5 presidential elections.
3. Democrats have increased their popular vote total in 7 of the last 7 presidential elections (see the chart below), while Republicans have done so in just 3 elections, staying flat once, and dropping 3 times.

Oh, and may I mention one more thing? President-elect Barack Obama has won more votes than any other presidential candidate in history:

"You could say, 'Look, is this guy, Laden, really the bad guy that's depicted?' Most of us have never heard of him before." John McCain, following Clinton's strikes on al Qaeda camps

Jesus Swept ticked me off. Too short. I loved the characters and then POOF it was over.
-me

response to Independent

Sounds great, and maybe this would be the case if pure progressives such as Dennis Kucinich set the true agenda for the Democratic party, but a quick examination of the actions of Democrats in office reveals that it seems you are forgetting a few important "services" that most elected Democrats are more than happy to pay for.

Kucinich is an important voice in the progressive movement, it's true. However, he's not the only voice in the Democratic party, and I'm not naive enough to believe that only one voice should lead the party or set the agenda. Consensus is important to most Democrats, and while some of us may not think that the party goes far enough to the left, many are very happy in the middle. That's why I said that unless you're part of the Party, and part of the decision making process of the party (as in, involved in local and state politics), you can't really understand it. We use the small-d democratic process to develop our agendas and platforms. And most of us can accept that you don't win every motion.

Important public services such as financing the charades of the imperialist neo-cons, engaging in perpetual war overseas, funding the immoral war on drugs, theft of taxpayer's dollars given to criminals on wall street, and ensuring that the banks get their fair share of the loot through the Federal Reserve system.

You paid no attention to any of it, did you? The immoral war overseas will be handled much differently now that there is a Democrat in the Oval Office, and stronger Democratic majorities in both houses of Congress. (By the way - all war is immoral.) It's important to understand that many of the bills that Democrats were forced to vote for in Congress that "supported the war" were budget bills that would have brought the entire country to a standstill. The current president threatened to veto any bill that came to him with a timeline for withdrawal, and there was not enough votes in the House or Senate to override that veto.

The threat of a veto on important issues is gone. I am confident that more will be done to bring our troops home from Iraq in the next few months than has been done over the past 5 years. I'm disappointed that there seems to be a focus on Afghanistan, but I see the reasons for it. I would always rather there be no troops engaged in combat, anywhere, but it's not realistic to expect that. It's something to work towards.

As for the financial crisis, I'm feeling it personally, and I have difficulty understanding the reason for bailing out large corporations over individuals. However, my personal belief is that the bill that was passed was a band-aid - a stop-gap measure to temporarily ease the problem so that the country could get through the election. I expect President Obama to work quickly to put in effect some of the changes he spoke of on the campaign trail: a moratorium on home foreclosures, better educational opportunities for those who have lost their job and need to learn a new skill, and reversing the tax break for companies who export jobs in the name of profit. I believe that he, along with the Democratic Congress, will make it so expensive to outsource labor that it will be cheaper for companies to hire within our borders.

It is clear that the Democratic party is just "another wing of the same bird of prey." A fact that Obama's presidency will undoubtedly solidify.

I disagree with you completely. I've been a Democrat for 30 years, and I see my party and my new President with completely different eyes. I've watched the Party's agenda go up and down. I've watched different planks go in the platform, and come out again. I know this - every social program that works is there because a Democrat put it there. Social Security, Head Start, Medicaid - all of these are examples of successful government social programs. And they were all put in place by Democrats. That's why I'm still a Democrat. In this party, my voice matters, and the platform usually represents the values I hold to be important. It doesn't mean I agree wholeheartedly with any Democrat, it just means I'm part of the process. I expect that others who are committed to their own political party feel much the same way, whether they are Democrat, Republican, or Libertarian. (Actually, I am not sure about Libertarians. I watched a bit of their convention, and it seemed more like a collection of disaffected souls from the Republican party than anything else. Of course, that's looking at it from the outside.)

That's really all I have to say about this, and I think it's enough. I try to show respect for all political beliefs, even those I find confounding. I wish you would do the same. Right now, your posts a bit like sour grapes - although you haven't said which candidate you supported in the Presidential election. Maybe it's not sour grapes, may it's just a lack of understanding of the incredible amalgam of people that is the Democratic party. I don't know - I just wish you the best and a better understanding of how Democrats tend to think.