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Friday, March 07, 2014

Challenge Accepted

Harry, being the local stand-in for progressives everywhere, frequently hauls out the racist slime bucket, which, subject to merely cursory examinations, has thus far proved completely empty.

The goal, right out of Alinsky's playbook, is to demonize dissent, stifle disagreement, and force those too stupid or evil to accept Progressives' glorified self-estimation into defending themselves against scurrilous nonsense.

This time, though, they have heartless conservatives dead to rights. Via Harry(page search on "heartless"), and provided by that bastion of unexamined ideas, ThinkProgress, comes this clip from a GOP presidential primary debate, entitled "Crowd Yells Let Him Die":

Yep, no doubt about it, conservatives are heartless.

Hmmm. Instead of indulging progressives in their leaping to self-congratulatory conclusions, perhaps it might be worth a few seconds to — and I know this sounds extreme — consider facts, context, and consequences.

Wolf Blitzer asks Ron Paul this question, slightly paraphrased:

A healthy 30 year old young man has a good job makes a good living, but decides not to spend 200 or 300 dollars per month for health insurance because he's healthy, decides he doesn't need it, but something terrible happens, who pays for that?

Ron Paul's response focused on freedom and personal responsibility.

To which Blitzer replies:

But Congressman, are you saying society should just let him die?

First, a couple trivial facts. As it happens, the crowd clearly did not yell "let him die" even once, never mind, pace Harry, chant it; instead, it was Blitzer himself. Oh, and Think Progress Instead of Accuracy cut off the bulk of Ron Paul's response. Dowdification is strong in progressives.

Where reality is allowed to rear its ugly head, several people in the crowd did in fact yell "yes" in response to Blitzer's prompting. Which really isn't the same, or even remotely like, the crowd chanting it. But never mind, in this case I'm happy to take progressive feelings as a stand-in for reality, and that heartless conservatives really want to let him die.

Which is precisely where progressive thinking, such as it is, stops, and reaching for the slime bucket starts.

Perhaps, though, there is rather more going on here than the instant offense brigade either understands, or acknowledges.

Remember the question's context: a healthy young man who could afford to purchase health insurance instead rolls the bones, and loses.

Now what? To Blitzer, who is so steeped in progressivism he, despite having a great deal of time to prepare still asked the wrong question, the answer he is trying to trap Ron Paul into giving is obvious: society must step in.

To non-progressives, though, this isn't the least bit apparent. For those who don't buy earthquake, fire, or flood insurance, should society be on the hook if their house is knocked down, burned to a crisp, or swept away? For those who neglect to pay for car insurance, should society pony up to replace for the unlucky their rides that ended up nose first in the jersey wall?

What those "heartless conservatives" are reacting to, and progressives can't spot, is a question that, shorn of its emotional baggage is asking precisely this: what do the rest of us owe parasites?

Progressives' reflexive accusation of conservative heartlessness, instead of even casting a glance at the underlying situation, proves they are unable to ascertain the moral hazard that is at the heart of socialism. It inevitably rewards vice, penalizes virtue, makes personal responsibility worse than futile, and positively encourages dependency.

In that light, "yes" isn't heartless, but rather an expression of the seemingly obvious. The best way to get more of something is to pay for it. If the goal is to make responsibility the inferior option to shirking, then by all means subsidize the parasite.

While at the individual level being compassionate with other people's money may be emotionally appealing, it isn't perhaps the acme in heartlessness to not be wild about an entire society like the feckless hypothetical.

So why do progressives keep trotting out these transparently fallacious instigations for two minutes hate? Only one reason I can think of: progressivism is a religion that worships the sanctity of progressivism. Because it is self-evidently correct, everything that at first glance confirms the wonderfulness of progressives to themselves is ipso facto true.

And just like unquestioning religionists throughout history, nothing, not even their own repeated failures (Robertson, Justine Sacco, Carlton, Walker staff emails, this video, to name but a few of the most recent examples), will either stop their drive to demonize, or start them thinking.

146 comments:

Harry Eagar said...

Hmmm. Tell that to Bret who opined, back in the days before the Obamacare was passed, that it was not needed because somehow (magic wand?) everybody was already getting medical care.

It seems to me that requiring insurance is then an antiparisitical measure which ought to be welcomed by the take-responsibility crowd.

I believe the Paulians' proposal is to pay physicians in chickens.

Hey Skipper said...

Yes or no: did the crowd chant "let him die?"

erp said...

Harry you still don't know the difference between health care and Medical insurance.

It's too bad Paul didn't suggest that Wolf read the parable of the ant and the grasshopper and then say, "Next question," not allowing Wolf a follow-up. If he tried, Paul should say, asked and answered and then follow-up with, do you have any more questions?

When-did-you-stop- beating-your-wife questions are the stock and trade of the media. Anyone who allows himself to be bullied will be. If you can't control the situation, don't have public conversations with leftwing media sycophants.

PS: Why was Wolf Blitzer at a Tea Party rally anyway?

Annoying Old Guy said...

What I noticed is that I was paying much less for that "parasitism" before POR-care than afterwards, so I don't see why even the self responsibility crowd would support it. Why would they support a "solution" that makes the parasites cost them even more while simultaneously decreasing the quality of their healthcare?

Oh, wait, that's clearly a fake, Mr. Eagar and Harry Reid said so! How can I put my own direct, personal experience above their vast knowledge?

Howard said...

"It is useless to attempt to reason a man out of a thing he was never reasoned into." Jonathan Swift

With that quote in mind, there are limits on how much time and effort I will put into discussing the medical care/insurance issue with the impervious. Most of my efforts are focused on understanding rather than persuasion. This thing is such a cf that it is beyond the comprehension of most people. My simple statement is this, "don't worry it will get much worse."

Also, we can stop calling the law Obamacare because it's clear, Obama don't care! Finally, in the longer term, private sector innovators will improve things despite government interference. The statist will proclaim that the government did such a wonderful job. LOL

erp said...


Howard, you sound like my husband whose favorite saying is, it's only going to get much worse and darn it, he's been right for the past 57 years!

Hey Skipper said...

It seems to me that requiring insurance is then an anti-parasitical measure which ought to be welcomed by the take-responsibility crowd.

You do know that the first part of the sentence doesn't belong with the second, right?

Hey Skipper said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Peter said...

We conservatives have nobody to blame but ourselves. If we hadn't allowed hospital waiting rooms all over the country to fill up with the corpses of healthy 30 year olds with good jobs to whom "something terrible" happened, Obamacare would never have gained traction. And we sure didn't need all those YouTube videos showing us getting our jollies kicking the bodies. I know that's how we conservatives just have a little fun, but we have to be more careful about getting publically caught out by "society", a.k.a. Wolf Blitzer. We must be better at hiding our warped misanthropy and learn to intellectualize in thirty second clips and Tweets like the progressvives. Less singing and dancing around corpses and more sober, refective talk about Darwinian culling would help.

Harry Eagar said...

A message from the good ol' days:

'In describing her condition, an elderly South Carolina sharecropper moaned, "I'se jes' 'bout nekkid myse'f, but I can meck out summers. Hit's dese heah grandchillen what frets me." As her story continued, the complex web of the southern "safety net" became evident. "I went down to de relief place what gives clothes an' sich truck, an' de lady what run the she-bang ax me effen Mister Stores [the landlord] doan' teck kere of he han's, an' I tole her, 'No, mam, dat he sho' doan't!' She knowed right well I wuz tellin' de Gawd's truth, an' her eyes kinda flash lak, an' she sez: 'Damn em, day wucks de po' niggers an' white buckras mos' to death in de spring an' summer, and fall, an' den loads em on us after stealin' dere share de crop! An' day got de nerve to cuss de relief! Why! day's de ones meckin' money offen de guvment! Damn em!" '

The physician who found that report (Margaret Humphreys, also a historian) commented, "Southerners disliked federal interference and any implication that they did not 'take care of their own,' but the plain truth was that the southern rural poor frequently did without essential food, shelter, and health care."

erp said...

... this really defies belief.

Hey Skipper said...

erp, the sound you might have just heard was that of supersonic goal posts.

Harry: When was did?

Hey Skipper said...

Peter: 10/10.

Harry Eagar said...

defies belief = erp won't believe it if it contradicts her fantasy world

Skipper, if there are no longer so many people in that position, it woud be because of 'the relief.' Rather than goalpost-moving, think of it as establishing a ground state.

It is not hard to find contemporary examples. I recommend working in a pawnshop for a few months. Or hanging out at an ER. But you have to seek out the poorer places where the ragged people go.

erp said...

Harry, you have again missed the point.

What's unbelievable is that you would post something like that and try to pass it off as a "first person" contemporary account.

During the period in question, written language was very formal and no way would events be written up to sound like a script for Amos & Andy.

Your comment is the most racist thing I've ever read.

It trivializes and demeans the sufferings of another human being. It's disgusting in the extreme.

Harry Eagar said...

erp, go to the public library before the rightwingers shut it down and call for 'Malaria' by Margaret Humphreys.

Then read pp. 114-5, where she discusses the origin and treatment of the oral histories. She begins:

'The most valuable tool for exploring the understanding of illiterate, historically remote people is the oral history interview. . . .unfortunately few such interviews exist for prior eras, and fewer still were done with any subjects but the elite. But the historian of medicine shares with southern historians in general a particularly rich cache of interviews done in the 1930s. Sponsored by the Federal Writers' Project . . . these interviewers were explicitly instructed to seek out people from whom information about race and folk history could be elicited. . . . '

She goes on to discuss problems with using the documents.

I repeat, you show again and again that you know nothing about the history of your own country and a strange antagonism to it.

erp said...

Malaria?

Isn't that disease that caused and is still causing millions of unnecessary deaths because of your side's hysterical hysteria about the harmful effects of the one thing that can prevent it, namely DDT? The shameful story of Rachel Carson and her silent spring should be bellowed out for all to hear.

That's another a bit of history about which you are apparently uninformed.

Re-read my comment. The person writing the narrative was, it is to be supposed, literate and to mimic the illiterate poor woman's speech would be disgraceful and I don't believe that's how the old records are written ... did you rewrite the passage yourself with the aid of your memories of the speech patterns of the old darkies on your plantation?

... BTW, since there was a governmental authority on the scene giving out the "Relief" why didn't those authorities step in to right the wrongs of the theft of wages? I'll venture a guess. It's because then, as now, government agencies have no interest in helping anyone in need, only doing well for themselves and their cronies.

Harry Eagar said...

Why don't you read Dr. Humphreys' book, and there you will find out that your views about DDT are wrong and have been recognized as wrong by the malaria experts for more than 60 years -- that is, before 'Silent Spring' was published.

In fact, the 'relief' (Farm Security Administration) did step in to keep 10,000,000 'croppers from starvation. It was the Dixiecrats (today's GOP) that subverted the relief provisions of the AAA (stole the payments intended for the workers on the land).

You really know nothing about the history of your own country, do you? Why don't you get a high school American history textbook and start there?

I would recommend Charles Aiken's 'The Cotton Plantation South since the Civil War,' which is the best single book on the subject but I don't think you could understand it, because your prejudices would get in the way.

Humphreys' book 'Yellow Fever and the South' is more accessible and would correct some of your fantastical ideas, if read with a clear mind.

Restating the Obvious has taken note of many books on southern and rural life over the years. Almost any of them should prove to be an eyeopener for you.

erp said...

I don't need a history lesson from you Harry ... and why not speak to my point about how your comment demeaned the speaker.

BTW a few seconds search brought up dozens of links that tell a different story about DDT.

Harry Eagar said...

It's an oral history. To have recast her speech in college English would have demeaned her.


I have no doubt that you found lousy information on the Internet. It's easy to do.

Harry Eagar said...

And this is for Skipper, another harpoon in his CRA delusions:

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/03/10/business/credit-suisse-documents-point-to-mortgage-lapses.html?hp&_r=0

erp said...

Harry, when writing up interviews, one doesn't write it in the dialect of the speaker. If the fact is pertinent, it might be noted that the speaker spoke with an accent, southern or foreign.

Re: DDT, the CRA and countless other lefty myths. Facts are fungible and aren't allowed to interfere with the prime directive, i.e., forwarding the narrative which is paramount... and linking to the not credible NYT? Didn't the Wonkette have anything to say on the subject?

Harry Eagar said...

Sez you. The FWP protocol was different.

Not only the NYT. I directed you to 'Malaria,' where in turn you'll be led (if educable, which I doubt) to WHO reports from the '50s.

The rightwing disinformation campaign on DDT has caught another unwary fly, I see. No surprise.

erp said...

Harry, non-lefties have nothing to gain by claiming DDT saves lives, but lefties which include WHO and the UN have everything to gain. What would happen if Africa wasn't so horribly poor and the people sick of things easily eradicated.

Why their empires would crumble and their cash flow would suffer horribly. Doncha know.

Harry Eagar said...

If you've got time on your hands, you could skip the NYT and go to the source:

http://www.structuredfinancelitigation.com/files/2013/09/653123-2013-Supreme-Court-NY-County-SUMMONS-COMPLAINT.pdf

If not, this nut graf is instructive:

"Specifically, a borrower obtained a loan for $450,000 in 2006 which
was contained within the BASIC 2006-1 offering. This borrower had income in 2006 of between $0 and
just $1,262 per month, according
to the borrower’s sworn bankruptcy filings.
"However, the borrower’s monthly debt payments were at least $5,555, far in excess of the borrower’s monthly income. The borrower’s monthly debt payments were in addition to the borrower’s monthly
expenses for things such as taxes, utilities, groceries, health care, transportation, and the like. Clearly, this borrower could not afford to repay the loan.
"This is confirmed by the fact that the borrower declared bankruptcy shortly after obtaining the loan at issue, in 2007."

The CRA did not require that. It was stupid bankers all the way down.

It really is amusing to watch rightwingers shift blame onto the innocent, as long as you were not one of the innocents.

Hey Skipper said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Hey Skipper said...

[Harry:] Then read pp. 114-5, where she discusses the origin and treatment of the oral histories …

Of what? Where is the link?

Skipper, if there are no longer so many people in that position, it woud be because of 'the relief.' Rather than goalpost-moving, think of it as establishing a ground state.

The goal post shifting is where you make a claim that proves wholly false, whereupon the goal posts are suddenly on a tennis court, or you memhole the claim entirely (e.g.: … Incurious George's promise that his [sic] war on Iraq would pay for itself.)

Heck, it was your link, after all.

You stated Easy. Let 'em die. That was the tea party chant at the convention.

Except it wasn't a chant, and Blitzer said it, and it raised the central question for which socialists have no answer.

And your response is to launch the goalposts right into San Francisco Bay.

Most perplexingly, neither you nor Think Progress twigged the fact that you scored an own goal.

And this is for Skipper, another harpoon in his CRA delusions:

Just curious — did you ram-dump every bit of logic you ever learned in your entire life when you typed that? (you state without reason an exclusive-or relationship between the CRA and Credit Suisse, which allows you to, as ever, completely ignore every cause-effect consequence of the CRA .)

Harry Eagar said...

It's in a book, Skipper. I directed erp to her library, and quick before the rightwingers shut it down.

Some information isn't on-line.

Ockham says if you don't need the CRA to explain something, don't use it. The CS emails prove we don't need the CRA. And, as I have pointed out several times, there are many, many other parsimonious explanations for the crash that do not require the CRA.

I think you need to watch that tape again.


Howard said...

No, the toxins (CRA) didn't kill him, organ failure did. (Don't you love such logic?) Other things may have contributed to fragility but the toxin played a meaningful role.

Hey Skipper said...

Harry:

You have misrepresented Ockham's Razor. In reality, the proposition is this: one should proceed to simpler theories until simplicity can be traded for greater explanatory power.

Your "parsimonious" explanations don't really explain anything, and leave unaddressed ineradicable consequences of the CRA:

In order for the CRA to function (a goal hoped for by the drooling lackwits of both parties), the following had to happen:

A vast expansion of GSEs and the secondary market.

Bundling of mortgage backed securities.

The hiding of high risk mortgages within those bundles
.

As ever, when faced with specifics that contradict your socialist narrative, you respond with irrelevancies, or shift the goal posts.

BTW, enquiring minds want to know, did Tea Party members chant "Let them die"?

Or is that just another scoop from your slime bucket?

erp said...

Skipper, I wish I had kept a list of all the unanswered questions ducked by Harry and the other lefties with whom I've "had reasoned discourse." In Harry's case, I'm sure he will say that in this instance, they may not have said it out loud, but that was what they were thinking or whispering under their breath.

Harry Eagar said...

Another Obamacare victim, crying all the way to the bank:

http://restatingtheobviousmaui.blogspot.com/2014/03/equal-time-for-gun-nuts.html

If it weren't so funny,it would be tragic.

This morning, I chatted with a Canadian visitor over tea and talk turned, naturally, to Canada's inhumane health care. I said I was tired of hearing lies about it.

He told me a few personal experiences about how horrible it is.

Just before his trip to Hawaii, he thought he was having a stroke, so he called the hot line. He was told to go immediately to the hospital.

"I was ushered in to treatment in two minutes." Cost out of pocket: $0.

A few months ago, he had a knee problem, not an emergency, so he ran up against the notorious delays for elective treatment:

"I went to see the doctor on a Friday, and I told him, 'I'm retired, so I'm flexible. If you have any cancellations, I could come in.' He said, 'Come in Monday.' "

Cost out of pocket: $0.


The worst thing he had experienced personally was that when he reported a pain in his shoulder, his family doctor sent him to a specialist who advised living with it to see if it got better. When it didn't, he went back to the specialist, who proposed a treatment but insisted he go back to his family doctor first for a referral. "What a waste," he said.

Harry Eagar said...

Just one.

Sez you:

A vast expansion of GSEs and the secondary market.

Bundling of mortgage backed securities.

The hiding of high risk mortgages within those bundles.

This had to happen for CRA to function (although it had functioned for decades without them), but it did not have to have CRA for those things to arise, since they arose where there was no CRA.

CRA was irrelevant, it had no impact whatever. You got the bubble without the CRA and you got the CRA without the bubble.

Hey Skipper said...

No, you don't.

The CRA forcibly removed the traditional requirement for 10-20% equity.

Think about asset ratios, then do the math.

Therein lies the inevitable explosion in the secondary market.

Then think about how the CRA eliminated risk pricing.

(Although it is obvious to me, perhaps it isn't to you, the statement "you got the bubble without the CRA" is prima facia false.)

Hey Skipper said...

BTW, enquiring minds want to know, did Tea Party members chant "Let them die"?

Peter said...

This morning, I chatted with a Canadian visitor over tea and talk turned, naturally, to Canada's inhumane health care.

Sure you did, Harry. Funny how everyone who loves to play the anecdote game is always bumping in to people whose personal tales conform to their pre-conceptions. My kingdom for the honest man or woman who says: "I used to think that, but then I ran into a Canadian visitor and I realized it was more complicated than I thought."

But the anecdote game is fun. You get to choose from no end of dramatic, self-serving stories. Like:

A) "When our little girl had a bad bobo on her finger, we called the family doctor, who stayed late to see us. She was so nice. Kelly was really scared, but the doctor made her giggle with cute jokes as she put on a bandaid. Boy, were we all relieved. No charge. Not like my American friend who had a similar experience and was given a bill for a gazillion dollars she couldn't pay, which led to her depression, bankruptcy, divorce and eventual suicide. I just don't know what we would do without our Canadian healthcare."

Or:

B) "When my husband had a seizure, we went to the local hospital. We waited for three days for anyone to notice us, and they were so rude when we asked. They could barely speak English! Finally, a "doctor" in filthy garb showed up with a set of steak knives and a jar of leeches. He was about to cut Bert open when we rescued him and had him flown to Mt. Sinai, where they have real doctors who know what to do. They fixed him up PDQ and now Bert and I can look forward to a long retirement together. Goddam Canadian healthcare!"

Harry, some of us prefer evidenced-based statistical analysis. Here is the story on wait times, and I can assure you these are averages and it is much worse in a lot of the country. Plenty of source material on the Internet if you run out of Canadian visitors. And do you know why we have a wait time crisis? I'll tell you. In part, it's because people like your new pal, who can obviously afford vacations in Hawaii and probably thinks nothing of dropping a hundred bucks on a hockey ticket, don't pay a cent for their healthcare. Did you know that in Sweden, that bastion of neo-liberal free enterprise, they found they slashed their wait times by introducing basic user fees? Go figure. Something about supply and demand, I think.

But, hey, "society" can't allow the market to have any role in allocating basic necessities, can it? Which is why I want the government to start paying for our food. And everybody has to be equal. Why should only the rich eat prime rib?

erp said...

Peter, your example B. above sounds exactly like our experience in a hospital in Paris. It was food poisoning, yes ! in Paris at fancy restaurant. Luckily our French speaking son was with us to speak to the locals, but surprise, they didn't speak either French or English in the emergency room. We got out with our lives, barely.

On the plus side, it didn't cost us a dime.

Yeah for socialized medicine.

Peter said...

Given the wait time crisis in Paris restaurants, I'm not suprised there is a similar problem in Paris hospitals. But erp, as fun as your war of anecdotes with Harry is, it doesn't advance the issue. You can keep repeating "socialized medicine" all you want, but Canada doesn't have socialized medicine, it has monopolisitc compulsory socialized "free" medical insurance. Outside of the military and some community clinics, Canadian governments don't employ doctors or own and run hospitals, both of which are actively engaged in maximizing incomes.

Unsurprisingly, the quality of medical care is very good and in some instances (pediatric care, heart disease, etc.--often supported by extensive private fund-raising) excellent. There is an issue about expensive state-of-the-art equipment and experimental treatments, but as Skipper has pointed out, that's become a two-edged sword for you folks. But timely, user-friendly access to medical care is a whole other story, except for those Canadians who drop into Harry's place for tea.

Harry's problem is he simply can't get his head around the proven economic reality that if the government decided it would pay for everybody's milk, there would eventually be a shortage of milk.

erp, if your dark stories of barbaric medicine in Canada and Europe were typical, we wouldn't outlive you like we do.

erp said...

A distinction without a difference ... and I haven't had, nor have I reported on, any experiences with Canadian medicine, barbaric or otherwise, but living in an area where a lot of Canadians vacation and living for many years not far from the Canadian border, I've met and become friendly with Canadians who've reported on their experiences.

I'm not aware that you guys and Europeans live longer. Maybe it just seems longer.

Harry Eagar said...

Sometimes I wonder about you guys.

I didn't ask, but I'm going out on a limb and guess the Canadian tourist pays taxes. Maybe even a lot of taxes.

As for places with bubbles but no CRA, Iceland, Ireland, Britain, Spain.

Howard said...

As for places with bubbles but no CRA, Iceland, Ireland, Britain, Spain.

A valid point, but consider two things: those countries found their own ways to undermine lending standards; there are significant linkages in the global financial community(tighter between some countries than others) through assets, flows and liquidity.

Harry Eagar said...

Well, I thought of adding North Dakota, too.

I could go on. The biggest purveyor of crap mortgages wasn't regulated by CRA.

But the point was, the emails reveal that banks (or one bank, but there were others whose emails have not been brought out through discovery) were making DOA loans and knew it. How Skipper can say with a straight face that some imaginary requirement not to require high down payments was a factor is beyond me.

I really do wonder about you guys. What is the less likely encounter: I meet a Canadian snowbird at the coffee shop on Maui in March, or erp finds a hospital in France where no one speaks French. And the dastards had the nerve not to speak English either!

She has told that story before but it doesn't become more believable with the retelling.

For the record, the Canadian and I discussed other things. The agricultural education programs at Western Ontario and Guelph universities, the plays at Stratford (we are both fans), the likelihood that Blackberry will make a comeback (he lives in Kitchener) and the difference in customer service between Delta (bad) and Westjet (very good).

Peter said...

Do you know what the tragedy is here? On this subject, Americans and Canadians trade anecdotes, accusations and misinformation, as if we were each either the other's horror or ideal. You'd never think there were other models. On the one side we have horror stories about the other, with defensive politicians yelling "We have the best healthcare system in the world!" On the other, sunny and ill-informed odes to the paradises across the border. These are dated statistics and the controversies about them have kept WHO from updating, but even so, surely we are both the losers of the Western World.

Harry Eagar said...

Well, I know of other models. My point is that since (at least) the '60s, the neanderthals have been screaming 'socialized medicine!' and backing up their alarm with lies.

Until the American voters understand (probably never) that they have been systematically lied to for half a century, I don't see us getting much further.

Then there was this:

http://www.latimes.com/business/hiltzik/la-fi-mh-watch-a-canadian-20140312,0,2995139.story#axzz2vzWTEena

In the interest of the prickly sensbilities of some, I have linked to the Los Angles Times and not some snarky political site.

Peter said...

Until the American voters understand (probably never) that they have been systematically lied to for half a century, I don't see us getting much further.

That's what is so great about being Canadian. Nobody ever lies.

Harry, your fulminations against the hell that is America are keeping you from recognizing a polemical hack when you see one. The fair Dr. Martin, who clearly favours the royal "We", was far more interested in an ideological dust-up (as, in fairness, were the Senator and Comrade Sanders) than in being frank about the good and bad of Canadian healthcare. It's called plucking the Eagle's feathers and has been our unoffical national sport for years, especially when the Eagle has a southern accent. Note her courageous admission that we do have a wait time problem for "elective" procedures, thus leaving the impression the problem is restricted to things like breast lifts and chin tucks. Here are some of the things she is talking about. As to her claim that no doctor is leaving the public system or the country, that is just wrong. If I weren't such a nice Canadian, I might call it a lie. There was a steady out migration of doctors and nurses to the US for a long time that seems to have been partially reversed, although I can't find hard stats. Things like lifestyle, malpractice threats, etc. play a role, but there may be more recent factors. Well, lookie here!. Your system is in chaos and the one thing you all seem to have in common is a conviction it's the other guy's fault.

Plus her analogy to security lines in the building was just stupid and the sort of thing a bureaucrat might say when he wants to sound profound. There's no problem on this planet that can't be resolved by a government task force, right?. I repeat, both countries are suffering from the hijacking of this debate by ideologues fixated with the other country. There are plenty of good things to say about both American and Canadian healthcare without indulging in soaring odes to their superiority or taunts about hypothetical death stats. You have obviously convinced yourself there is nothing bad to say about Canada's. Maybe you should get your butt out of Maui and do a little on the ground research. Perhaps you might start with a sixteen hour wait in a hospital emergency clinic surrounded by exhausted elderly folks in distress with a completely unsympathetic and uninformative staff hiding behind signs that say "Do Not Abuse The Staff!".

BTW, did you know that in Canadian polls tracking patient satisfaction, chiropractors do better than doctors?

erp said...

Harry, we already have socialized medicine. What we don't have is complete and total control of health care that is single payer. That's what you lefties want and it's apparently what's just a little way down the road as people realize just what kind of hell your side has arranged for us and their kids need care, etc., with their backs to the wall, they'll agree to anything.

Hyperbole? I wish.

Howard said...

Crikey, that's not a lie, that's a lie!

Well, as they say, "if you want to upset a conservative tell a lie, if you want to upset a leftist tell the truth."

Harry Eagar said...

I am deeply unimpressed by the Globe report, for several reasons, none of them having to do with health care in Canada (although I do know something about that from the experience of colleagues and in-laws and friends who are eligible for it).

First is, I know what wait times are for things like hip replacements in the US. If I needed one, I would likely wait many months and I would certainly have to get on a plane to get it.

Second, I have looked at medical bills in the US and Americans are not regularly getting hips for under $20,000. Some few may get one at underused medical centers but that is not the same as saying the US delivers hips for $20,000.

Third, I have upper middle class friends who are unable to afford hip replacements in the US and go to Belgium or Thailand. If Canadians are coming to America for cheap hips, there are much better deals out there.

erp said...

Peter, your link shows how competition is good for everybody. I've been saying forever that these initiatives to make our lives better have only one goal and that is to increase the state and federal payrolls and as an auxiliary increase membership in public sector unions adding millions to the left's voter rolls.

A bit off topic, but now that Soros controls practically all the cable and internet providers, we can look forward to paying more for fewer choices and much more propaganda in programming.

Interesting how the same lefties who want to squash anything that looks like a monopoly in the private sector are nodding off as their backers build a monolith.

Howard, ... and if you want to send them ballistic, quote back their exact words or better yet, supply a clip of their saying on national television what they are denying they ever said.

There could be show on 24/7 about Obama's blatherings, lying, inconsistencies, etc. and never repeat itself.

If Fox News were really serious about fair and balanced, they'd be doing that all day long, but alas they're not that much different than the other cable or network news programs.

Harry Eagar said...

'You have obviously convinced yourself there is nothing bad to say about Canada's. Maybe you should get your butt out of Maui and do a little on the ground research.'

In fact, of you read RtO (which it would be salutary for you to do anyhow), you'd know that I do not think thewre is nothing offputtong to be said about Canadian health care.

https://www.mauinews.com/page/blogs.detail/display/4670/This-is-for-the-other-johngault.html

and

http://www.mauinews.com/page/blogs.detail/display/1554.html

And I ought to have said in my previous comment that choosing hip replacement was a particularly poor choice with which to whip Canada, considering the atrocious record of the US new-hip racket -- two for the price of one, doncha know?

Peter said...

erp, before you start introducing the magic of competition to this subject, you should explain why even under pre-Obamacare Americans spent far, far more on healthcare than anyone else and the price of almost everything was a lot more.

erp said...

... I thought I did.

Federal and state bureaucracies, rules and regulations, etc. eat up the lion's share of the funds. A physician friend told us it'll cost him $100,000 to get all his records in the required electronic format even if he can find somebody local who knows how to do it. Otherwise he will have to hand them over to one of the new crony capitalist* medical records firms that have sprout(ed) up and will probably cost even more.

The latest booklet we got at the doctor was I think 6 or 8 pages of small print. The questions were astonishingly non-health related and insultingly intrusive. Of course, I marked them all N/A, but even so somebody needs to enter all that into a computer.

In an earlier time before our betters figured out how to get us to agree that they should intrude into our lives and steal our money, ordinary working class people paid their own medical bills just like they paid for their own food, utilities, etc. Some like us had Major Medical or Catastrophic Insurance to take care of that possibility. Others lived their lives as they saw fit. There were, pace Harry free clinics, at least in NYC where I grew up, where the indigent were seen often by top specialists.

I don't know if that was the perfect system, but it certainly was perfect on any scale measureable to the wholesale takeover of our lives that's in place now where not only the indigent, but those who pay for it are all in the same boat.

*Happens we are acquainted with some people involved with several of these.

Harry Eagar said...

Funny, my wife and I haven't gotten any "booklets." Perhaps erp should change doctors, since these "booklets," whatever they are, are not the result of "government intrusion."

erp said...

Harry, these forms are required by Medicare, the granddaddy of government intrusion. Maybe Obama's "home" state is exempt from the odious requirements inflicted on those of us who live in the other 57 states.

Harry Eagar said...

I guess so, since I am on Medicare and did not have to answer any obnoxious questions.

As I recall, all I had to do was document my age and give my address. Took under 5 minutes.

You really do need to change doctors.

Harry Eagar said...

'Perhaps you might start with a sixteen hour wait in a hospital emergency clinic surrounded by exhausted elderly folks in distress with a completely unsympathetic and uninformative staff hiding behind signs that say "Do Not Abuse The Staff!".'

It seems you think there are no 16-hour waits in US ERs. Considering that about half of American doctor visits are not based on any organic condition, it follows that lots of people who are not really sick end up at the end of the triage line.

As for how chiropractors rank, don't get me started. They serve that 50% who seek comfort though not sick. I have elsewhere called it FBS -- Feels Bad Syndrome.

Chiropractors are excellent at comforting FBS callers, though unable to treat any genuine ailments.

Do you know why DCs in the US cannot get their clinics certified by Medicare? Because Medicare requires treatment modalities to maintain ERs, and no chiropractic clinic has an ER because nobody in his right mind goes to a DC if he is really sick.

(DCs nurse a bitter grievance about this.)

Hey Skipper said...

(I've been gone for the last week.)

[Harry:] How Skipper can say with a straight face that some imaginary requirement not to require high down payments was a factor is beyond me.

So now its my fault you can't grasp the glaringly apparent?

The CRA mandated undermining lending standards, eliminating equity, and hiding risk pricing. The consequences were a real estate bubble, speculation, and a toxic secondary market that was created by eliminating equity.

That is how.

It seems [erp] you think there are no 16-hour waits in US ERs. Considering that about half of American doctor visits are not based on any organic condition, it follows that lots of people who are not really sick end up at the end of the triage line.

Or not.

Comparisons of ER wait times.

OECD comparisons of specialist and elective wait times.

As for how chiropractors rank, don't get me started. They serve that 50% who seek comfort though not sick. I have elsewhere called it FBS -- Feels Bad Syndrome.

Or maybe a better term is arrogant progressive syndrome. I haven't ever visited a chiropractor, and am not inclined to give them much credence. On the other hand, I have talked to plenty of people who insist that chiropractors do them a great deal of good.

Who the hell am I, or you, to tell them otherwise?

[Peter:] On this subject, Americans and Canadians trade anecdotes, accusations and misinformation, as if we were each either the other's horror or ideal.

Whether American, Canadian, European, or Scandinavian, healthcare provision must involve tradeoffs. Pre-Obamacare, Americans muddled through, providing access to the parasitic and the poor via emergency rooms. Government involvement was capricious (medical malpractice law), blatantly unfair (tax code wrt employer purchased healthcare) and bizarre (prohibiting selling medical insurance across state lines), but at least it wasn't pervasive.

So Americans did end up with the most expensive healthcare in the world (although that is at least in part due to having more money to spend on it), with seemingly middling results (the WHO stats Peter linked to fail to compare like against like: the US finishes 37th in the WHO rankings; Denmark 35th. How do Danish Americans fare?). But the US does provide most of the world's health innovations. So there is that. And except for the parasitic and the poor, the system is by and large the world's best, WHO's tendentiousness aside.

Unfortunately, Pres. Obama in particular, and collectivists in general, engaged in wholesale fraud based upon moral conclusions for which they provided no argument. Is equal provision really the highest goal? Is it sensible to eliminate risk pricing in healthcare (or mortgages), yet retain it everywhere else?

Considering it took us 60 years to get the healthcare system we had pre-Obamacare, perhaps it should have taken much longer, with many more smaller steps to change it than the arrogant progressives allowed.

Peter said...

Good comment, Skipper, although I'd be a little careful about using that adjective "best", seeing as not even we conservatives can agree on what the markers are.

But, don't you just love our Harry? The problem of wait times is answered by arguing those at the bottom half of the line aren't really suffering from anything (although, God forbid we should institute user fees) and chiropractors have mastered the art of making perfectly healthy people feel better. Boy, the people are stupid, aren't they? Thank goodness we have Harry, the government and the AMA to correct our delusions.

Hey Skipper said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Hey Skipper said...

... I'd be a little careful about using that adjective "best", seeing as not even we conservatives can agree on what the markers are.

Indeed.

I now wish I had written something more along the lines of "... the system is generally effective ..."

The original word choice succeeded in torpedoing my thesis.

Hey Skipper said...

[Peter:] [The magic of competition doesn't] explain why even under pre-Obamacare Americans spent far, far more on healthcare than anyone else and the price of almost everything was a lot more.

That is a very perplexing question.

The magic of competition has kept costs low in dentistry, elective procedures, and veterinary medicine.

Yet many instances of healthcare aren't within the realm of market economics. If I suffer a myocardial infarction, I'm not about to spend time googling for the best cost-performance ratio of emergency rooms — closest will be bestest.

I had an ER visit just over a year ago where the prices, compared to the goods consumed and services rendered, were utterly bizarre. I have no idea (and the very stern letter I wrote to the hospital elicited no response; even now I know how the UN feels) how to reconcile cost and performance.

Part of it is de facto redistribution. There is no such thing as free, so the pre-Obamacare system made people who could pay pay for those who couldn't, or wouldn't.

Another part is administrative overhead. I have frequently read that it adds 20-30% to healthcare expenditures. Okay, but why?

Then there is the price-insensitivity to which you alluded above.

Etc.

IMHO, the tax code distortions surrounding health insurance in lieu of salary is the source of almost all evil.

Peter said...

Another part is administrative overhead. I have frequently read that it adds 20-30% to healthcare expenditures. Okay, but why?

If I were a progressive, budding young social scientist seeking to make a name for myself, I would do a study on the administrative costs of denying claims.

Hey Skipper said...

Peter:

Hmmmm ... you mean like this?

(To be perfectly honest, and a little ashamed, I never really twigged that explanation, yet, now that you have mentioned it, I'd be amazed if there wasn't at least some merit in it.)

erp said...

Gosh Peter are you in the blame-it-all-on-the-evil-insurance-companies corner?

Anecdotal, but true, I've heard a lot more stories about people trying to cheat the insurance companies with fake sob-stories than the opposite. In fact, so many people are collecting disability, it's amazing the streets aren't deserted.

Hey Skipper said...

erp:

I think Peter has a point.

Claims are a cost. In a free market, companies want to maximize profit, which means minimizing claims.

Of course, in that regard alone, health insurance is no different from any other commodity.

However, health insurance is unlike most other commodities, including other forms of insurance.

I think a large administrative deadweight, which would be fatal in any other realm, is quite plausible for what was the US healthcare system.

And you are right about disability. Something like 12 times as many working age men are on disability now compared to 40 years ago, despite much safer working conditions and far better medical interventions and physical therapy.

Back in the day, I was the Chief of Safety at an Air Force Base, which happened to have civil service providing most base services.

The number one agenda item at every meeting was trying to deal with all the workers fraudulently claiming disability.

Which is the crux of what progressives cannot come to terms with: socialism invariably subsidizes vice, and penalizes virtue.

erp said...

Skipper:

I agree that all facets of healthcare have become problematic simply because there is so much paperwork and various government agencies and nosey parker meddling.

Again, anecdotal, but I see a level you younger guys haven't reached yet. My husband is having a second hip replacement. The first was 10 years ago (we were on Medicare then too) and it was pretty straightforward in retrospect. At the time I thought the rigmarole was outrageous.

This morning we spent well over an hour going over a sheaf of papers with the admitting nurse who was dealing with nonsense about our "right" to privacy, surrogates, living wills, legal action, etc. instead of doing -- like -- taking care of sick people. Besides her salary, her pension and health insurance, she has an office, assistants, computers, etc. What this one ridiculous level of admission adds to costs multiplied thousands, if not millions of times, is incalculable.

It was like some surreal pitch for a condo or a cruise. We received a handsome folder with all kinds of printed materials, a very attractive cup with the hospital logo on it, some hand cleaner in a nice dispenser, a printed card on which one can record one's thoughts, blood pressure, weight ?? and a couple of other things I can't remember. Absurd? Cost? When I asked if we could use one of the two "free" walkers we received from previous surgeries instead of getting another "free" one, she said no. Nothing can be brought into the hospital for use by patients.

Rules are that the patient must see his surgeon within 10 days of surgery and all the tests need to be done within 30 days. Because my husband had to have the surgery postponed two weeks, all the tests and the pre-surgery visit with the surgeon had to be redone. Oh, I almost forget, all five of his regular doctors also had to go on record that they okayed the procedure, so he had to be seen by all of them again too.

Rather than look into denied claims, a bright young graduate student might look into why so many people are on disability, but that won't happen, because the more people dependent on government, the easier it is for the power grabbers to strengthen their grip on us.

Harry Eagar said...

'chiropractors have mastered the art of making perfectly healthy people feel better.'

Bingo. Sometime when I have more leisure I'll explain in detail how that works. But you can approach it from the other direction: if subluxations do not exist (and they don't), then chiropratic can no more cure anything than any other form of witchcraft.

As the new possessor of a $4,000 tooth, I would mildly quarrel with Skipper's assessment that dental costs have not risen quite a bit.

On the other hand, if he is more or less right, that doesn't argue very well for erp's self-help theories, since a large fraction of Americans don't see dentists -- as you can tell by going to the NationalDollar store and looking at teeth.

erp said...

Harry, please explain my self-help theories as I am not acquainted with them and as you most likely have lots of other teeth, you should have given that four thou to a needier person than yourself.

Harry Eagar said...

erp, you keep shopping your myth about how we had good medical care all on our own, without gummint interference.

Forget Denmark. What nes explainig is why the US and Cuba are just about tied.

And here is my capsule demonstration of why chiropratic is quackery:

That many “patients” report kindly of their chiropractors shows nothing about the efficacy of chiropractic, just as positive reports about qi gong, voudun, acupuncture or laetrile demonstrate nothing without further evidence. If “patients” resort to DCs when they are not sick, but merely feel bad, or if they have self-limiting conditions, then (if the DC has good bedside manner) they will report good experiences.

Chiropractic “patients” segregate into about 4 classes: not sick, going to get better anyway, sick but not to death who quit going because they don’t improve, sick to death who die. The last class could, in some cases, have been saved by a real doctor.

Since nobody who is is having acute physiological symptoms ever resorts to a DC, the sample is biased toward the first 2 classes.

To believe differently, you have to accept the theory of subluxations.

Here is an example, from 1987, of how it works; it helps to know something of the history of chiropractic.

It was invented by an illiterate Canadian fishmonger, whose ideas were stolen (if this sounds like Christian Science, it is) by someone with better publicity methods. One Palmer then started a school in Dubuque. About 1910, his son, D.D., took over the school by killing his father by running him down during a Fourth of July parade.

D.D. made the Palmer school the leading chiropractic center. To be manipulated by D.D. was a desire of true believers, the way acolytes went to Vienna in hopes of being analyzed by Freud.

In a similar way to musicians who trace training from genration to generation back to a famous composer, DCs (at least “straights”) attribute near-mystical properties to this “passing of the touch.”

Which brings us to Sir Wilfred’s coffee shop on Maui on a quiet afternoon in 1987. I was there alone drinking a Summer Buzz, and the only other people in the shop were a middle-age man and a younger one. I listened to them, and because I know chiropractic, what they said was comprehensible.

The older man was a chiropractor and he was giving advice to the younger, who was just setting out in the racket. The advice was good -- listen to your patient etc.

Then the older one told a story about how it was when he was just starting on Maui. He went to an older chiropractor (who was still, in 1987, running his quack clinic in the village where I live; he was then in his 80s) for treatment of a sore shoulder. The older man gave him some of the same advice he was passing on that day, and he listened carefully, because the old guy had been manipulated by D.D. Not many “first generation” acolytes were still around in ’87.

The climax of the story was: “He manipulated the wrong shoulder, but you know what, I felt better anyway.”

The whole story of chiropractic in 13 words.

Howard said...

What needs explaining is why the US and Cuba are just about tied. (fixed the spelling)

Anyone who believes that is a reflection of an objective reality, will believe anything.

Harry Eagar said...

Obesity diseases are no longer a problem in Cuba, which under capitalism had the world's highest per capita consumption of lard.

Automatic disbelief. without checking, seems common around here.

Annoying Old Guy said...

Obesity diseases are no longer a problem in Cuba

That has to be the most amusingly oblivious thing you've written yet.

erp said...

Harry, I may have missed it, but nobody on this string has championed chiropractors, so why doth you protest so much about them? I'll tell you one thing, they have/had great access to the government because if Medicare didn't pay for it, there would be very few of them in business, ditto acupunturers.

... and let me understand that by my self-help medicine, you mean we seek medical attention when, how and with whom we want at will without some bozo in the White House calling the shots?

If that's correct, I plead guilty.

... and what about the four grand improving your choppers. Wouldn't have been a better use of the not insignificant sum if some poor downtrodden person could have been given it as a gift from you to him or her for a trip to a dentist, perhaps for the first time in his/her dismal life. Nah. Lefties never give their own money to those less fortunate, only our money.

Similarly to gracious leader saying that at some point one has enough money, likewise at some point, one has enough teeth to do the job of mastication.

Harry Eagar said...

Yes, you missed it.

erp said...

Please provide a quote of same. No endorsements of chiropractors seem to reveal themselves in any comments above.

Hey Skipper said...

[Harry:] To believe differently, you have to accept the theory of subluxations.

No, all I have to do is believe that when people tell me that after futile years of going to MDs to treat serious back or neck pain, it was chiropractic that gave them relief.

Unlike progressives, or you, I am not nearly so willing to rubbish first hand experience. Nor am I nearly so willing to decide what source of relief is acceptable.

I have read often enough to think it likely that the placebo effect is among medicine's most powerful treatments.

Discuss.

Obesity diseases are no longer a problem in Cuba …

That has to be the most appallingly oblivious thing you have written yet.

As the new possessor of a $4,000 tooth, I would mildly quarrel with Skipper's assessment that dental costs have not risen quite a bit.

Seriously?

Think about that, because I doubt you gave it any thought at all the moment you typed it.

Clearly, I have no details about your new tooth, but I'll bet it is an implant. I have two.

The first one I got 12 years ago. They were pretty new then.

Cost: $4,000.

No more than 10 years before that, they weren't obtainable at any price.

Now, you want to have another go at that sentence?

Harry Eagar said...

I see the anti-Obamacare people, despite a more or less unlimited budget, have still been unable to come up with a correct statement about what's wrong with it:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/plum-line/wp/2014/03/25/morning-plum-the-incredible-shrinking-obamacare-sob-story/?hpid=z2

Might be time to stop digging.

'That has to be the most amusingly oblivious thing you've written yet.'

Nothing oblivious about it at all. Just a fact. There are a lot of ways to analyze the fact, but for present purposes the take-away is that after 60 years of the US trying to destroy Cuba the Cubans are as well off as the Americans, when it comes to morbidity/mortality/general public health metrics.





Hey Skipper said...

Might be time to stop digging.

I saw this from your link:

[Krugman:] What the Act does is in effect to increase the burden on fortunate people — the healthy and wealthy — to lift some burdens on the less fortunate: people with chronic illnesses or other preexisting conditions, low-income workers.

Why don't you use some of your ultra-powerful Google skills (not the one that threatened to find pure fiction, the other one) and see if you can find how Obama and the Dems sold this fiasco.

Hint: Krugman's redistributionist fantasy never appeared.

And of course your link ignored Obamacare's subsidizing idleness, forcing 30 hour work weeks, higher deductibles for less coverage, and its additional destruction of civil institutions.

But wait, there's more!

All the parts that have been, ummm, delayed.

Nothing oblivious about it at all. Just a fact.

Only someone who has never been to a soul sucking communist hell-hole (I've been to three -- how many have you been to? And, no, Berkeley doesn't count.) could possibly say that.

There is far more to life than roughly comparable health metrics (particularly as they are all bumping up against natural limits).

Which is why your workers' paradises all require informers, walls, moats, and guns pointing inwards.

I think it was Hitchens who said it (I'm typing from memory): Where ever you find a communist dictator's boot across the people's throat, you will find a leftist praising his healthcare system.

Annoying Old Guy said...

The Washington Post, eh? The same one that (like our Mr. Eagar) falls for fake data stories on the Koch brothers? The newspaper that sees nothing wrong with literally making things up to start "discussions"?

As for stopping digging, it seems clear who, through illegal delays and executive orders, is trying to slow the descent.

Peter said...

That has to be the most amusingly oblivious thing you've written yet.

Agreed. A few years back, I was razzing a wooly liberal colleague for taking his winter getaway in Cuba. He had anough integrity to wince a bit, but defended them on the basis that, while it was true they were all poor, at least they were equally poor.

I've been away and unable to respond to the umpteenth version of Harry's anti-chiropractic tirade. It comes down to the following: It doesn't matter how many people report relief and cures, the theory doesn't work and therefore it's all a fraud. This from the man who champions the scientific method on the basis of testable results.

Of course, Harry has plenty of allies in the medical profession and I've had conversations about this with quite a few of them. There are the majority who rend their garments at the mere mention of the word and believe they should all do hard time. There are a small number of very good, intelligent doctors who aren't so arrogant they are incapable of admitting the medical profession doesn't understand nearly as much as it would like us to believe and is also grounded in a lot of debatable theories. They can be respectful to the point of cross-referring patients. But a lot seem to follow the modern party line, which is to grit their teeth and allow that chiropractors can be good for lower back pain (they have a way of likening them to Lily-san of The Tropical Delights Massage Parlour), but the rest is all their astounding craftiness at giving psychological comfort. So good are they at this that people foolishly believe their pain has disappeared and they can walk straight again. Idiots.

What gets me is that 1) anyone who has ever undergone chiropractic treatment will have a hard time remembering all the hugs and pep talks; and 2) why aren't doctors more embarassed by the fact that chiropractors induce a sense of well-being so easily and widely and they can't?

Anyway, Harry, old swot, I'll leave you with your prejudices. Even I would admit that alternative medicine can be the source of some great comedy.

Annoying Old Guy said...

Peter;

What makes you think (2) isn't the reason for the vituperation heaped on chiropractic by the medical establishment? Such lashing out is a common reaction to exactly that sort of embarrassment.

Harry Eagar said...

'I think it was Hitchens who said it (I'm typing from memory): Where ever you find a communist dictator's boot across the people's throat, you will find a leftist praising his healthcare system.'

And wherever you find the rightwing dictator's boot (and you will not have to go far from Cuba to do that), you will get all that, minus the health care.

erp said...

... and by rightwing dictator, you mean fascist.

Harry Eagar said...

Peter, I am sure you have the longitudinal study of patients to back that up.

All conservatives should read Manion's opinion in the court of appeals on the antitrust suit. Really scary.

Annoying Old Guy said...

Wow, I didn't realize leftists praised the healthcare systems of right wing dictators as well. Those leftists, they just love the boot no matter whose foot it's on, apparently. Thanks for clearing that up for me, Mr. Eagar.

Harry Eagar said...

Rather difficult to praise the health delivery systems of rightwing dictatorships, since they are seldom or never praiseworthy.

Fun fact: Khadafy elimiated malaria in Libya.

That must mean that the Italians, the British and the American stooge Idris didn't.

erp said...

No, it means that Khadafy didn't go along with the ban on DDT.

BTW, exactly what was it about his dictatorship that made it rightwing?

Annoying Old Guy said...

Difficult, true, but leftists do it anyway because they can't help admiring dictators apparently.

erp said...

From a comment on Hot Air, an all inclusive coherent definition of right wing:

Right wing only means the media doesn’t like them, has nothing to do with the political spectrum. It’s one of their dog whistles. Flange on March 30, 2014 at 7:07 PM

Harry Eagar said...

erp, Khadafy was a leftist.

DDT had nothing to do with it.

The point -- I shouldn't have to spell this out but some people are remarkably obtuse -- is that rightwing regimes don't give a damn about health care.

erp said...

Harry,

You still haven't identified a rightwing regime nor have you shared your definition of rightwing. I am waiting to learn the answer to these questions with bated breath.

BTW - as consevatives value individual rights and market forces, there is virtually no way there can be a dictatorship in that kind of government.

Annoying Old Guy said...

Mr. Eagar;

Then why do leftists praise right wing dictators for the health care systems in those countries? They just like dictators that much?

I might also note that if one has the view that health care works better with personal choice than with the dictats of apparatchiks, the lack of concern by a dictator is a feature, not a bug.

Harry Eagar said...

Guatemala under Rios Montt is a good example of a rightwing government, not far from Cuba and however bad Cuba has been under communism, Guatemala was much, much worse.

Harry Eagar said...

erp, I know you refuse o read, you know, history, but I found this rightwing history of a rightwing regime while looking for something else. Enjoy.

http://www.queenisabel.org/

erp said...

What made the Rios Montt regime right wing?

FYI - History is one of my favorite subjects. I even got the top prize -- a Gold Medal for Excellence in same.

Harry Eagar said...

Same thing that made Isabella's regime rightwing. Genocidal Christianity.

erp said...

Aha. Finally, the answer!

All else being equal, in despotic lunatic regimes, the non-Christian one is acceptable, nay even desirable while the Christian one is to be despised.

I couldn't make this stuff up in a million years.

Annoying Old Guy said...

erp;

Notice that this make the Pinochet regime not right wing, because it wasn't genocidal.

erp said...

... nor Christian.

It's like shooting fish in a barrel.

Peter said...

Harry has clearly been working very, very hard to overcome any correlation between what he thinks and what he sees.

Clovis e Adri said...

The Pinochet regime had the backing of the Church in Chile.

And how many need to die for you to classify a regime as genocidal, AOG?
I give you a hand to answer me:

Definition
gen·o·cide [jen-uh-sahyd]
noun
the deliberate and systematic extermination of a national, racial, political, or cultural group.


Suit yourself:

"In the days immediately following the coup, the Assistant Secretary of State for Inter-American Affairs informed Henry Kissinger, that the National Stadium was being used to hold 5,000 prisoners, and as late as 1975, the CIA was still reporting that up to 3,811 prisoners were still being held in the Stadium.[18] Between the day of the coup and November 1973, as many as 40,000 political prisoners were held there.[19][20] 1,850 of them were killed, another 1,300 are missing since then.[20] Some of the most famous cases of "desaparecidos" are Charles Horman, a U.S. citizen who was killed during the coup itself,[21] Chilean songwriter VĂ­ctor Jara, and the October 1973 Caravan of Death (Caravana de la Muerte) where at least 70 persons were killed. Among the most infamous methods of murder involved Pinochet's henchmen dropping pregnant women out of aeroplanes. He believed this was a way of avenging soldiers killed by Allende's supporters. He was quoted to have said "If you kill the bitch, you kill off the offspring."[22] Other instances of systematic murder include Operation Colombo and Operation Condor."

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chile_under_Pinochet#Human_rights_violations

Annoying Old Guy said...

I looked up "genocide" in Wikipedia and I found a different quote -

"Genocide is the systematic destruction of all or part of a racial, ethnic, religious or national group"

Note the absence of "political", there. Note this is also the UN definition.

I think you need a lot more than 0.04%. For instance, the Castro regime killed something around 73,000 (almost 20 times as many for a smaller population) but I've never seen you refer to that regime as "genocidal". I will say that for me, that still doesn't cross the threshold of being actual genocide.

Clovis e Adri said...

AOG,

I took the first dictionary definition of genocide Google gave me:

http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/genocide

Anyway, in my book both Castro and Pinochet go to hell, genocide or not.

Annoying Old Guy said...

For me, words have meaning independent of my opinion of the person I am using them to describe.

I also object to watering down words like "genocide" by using them in ever less valid situations.

Clovis e Adri said...

AOG,

Take your complaint to the Dictionary.com. I clearly was not following my own pet definition, if that's what you mean.

Annoying Old Guy said...

I think using the label "genocidal" for the Pinochet regime is following your own pet definition. In particular, you attempt to justify it with a cite of the brutality of some of the deaths, which is not part of Dictionary.com's definition.

Clovis e Adri said...

AOG,

The definition included massive political persecution.

I then included a quote showing political persecution.

Were you not in approval of murder of innocents for political causes, it wouldn't be hard to understand.

Annoying Old Guy said...

"Were you not in approval of murder of innocents for political causes"

That's quite an accusation - are you going to stand by it, or claim "it was just a joke" again?

P.S. No, that definition didn't include "massive political persecution", it clearly stated "extermination".

Hey Skipper said...

[Harry:] Fun fact: Khadafy elimiated malaria in Libya.

Fun fact: the last locally transmitted malaria occurred only four years after Khadafy gained power.

Fun fact: malaria was decreasing throughout the area over the entire time.

Fun fact: there is no fact that fails to become tendentious in Harry's hands.

[Harry:] The point -- I shouldn't have to spell this out but some people are remarkably obtuse -- is that rightwing regimes don't give a damn about health care.

Okay, let's take that as read. Perhaps you could cite the health stats of some "rightwing" regimes and compare them to your health heroic leftists.

[Clovis:]And how many need to die for you to classify a regime as genocidal, AOG?

I'm with AOG on this. Genocide isn't merely a matter of body count. Pol Pot killed a couple million Cambodians, but I don't know of anyone who thinks that atrocity was genocide. Compare with Rwanda.

The Oxford dictionary has this definition: the deliberate killing of a large group of people, esp. those of a particular ethnic group or nation.

As bad as Pinochet was, he isn't even in the top 100 for governmental killing, and a long way from a large portion of a particular ethnic group or nation.

Clovis e Adri said...

AOG,

---
That's quite an accusation - are you going to stand by it, or claim "it was just a joke" again?
---
You approve of Pinochet's regime, hence I stand by my affirmation.


---
No, that definition didn't include "massive political persecution", it clearly stated "extermination".
---
Thank you, I correct my phrase then: please read extermination where I've written persecution.

I ask myself what have you gained with that argument.

Clovis e Adri said...

Skipper,

---
Genocide isn't merely a matter of body count.
---
I know. I believe I provided a definition where Pinochet fits, for he exterminated a political group in his country.

Now, you and AOG does not agree with that definition, which was not mine, but from another dictionary. OK, given the root of the word (genos is race), I can review my position and agree that dictionary.com overstepped its boundaries. I withdrawn my genocide accusation then.

Does it make Pinochet a better person for you guys?

Annoying Old Guy said...

You approve of Pinochet's regime, hence I stand by my affirmation.

Do you have a quote of mine as evidence of that?

I ask myself what have you gained with that argument

That your definition was idiosyncratic, and two that Pinochet did not exterminate any group in Chile. This is clear from the subsequent political history of Chile, during which the group you claim was exterminated managed to elect a President.

Does it make Pinochet a better person for you guys?

It has absolutely no effect on my opinion of Pinochet.

Hey Skipper said...

[Clovis:] I believe I provided a definition [for genocide] where Pinochet fits, for he exterminated a political group in his country.

Except that he didn't "exterminate" a political group.

He killed ~3100 out of 40,000 prisoners. That hardly counts as extermination, even if the 40,000 prisoners represented the totality of that political group.

My objection to your use of the term in Pinochet's regard is that there is no word left to use when there really is a genocide.

Clovis e Adri said...

AOG,

---
Do you have a quote of mine as evidence of that?
---
Do you deny it?


---
inochet did not exterminate any group in Chile. This is clear from the subsequent political history of Chile, during which the group you claim was exterminated managed to elect a President.
---
By the same measure, Hitler did not exterminate any Jews at all. Right?




Skipper,

---
He killed ~3100 out of 40,000 prisoners. That hardly counts as extermination, even if the 40,000 prisoners represented the totality of that political group.
---
I don't get your point, Skipper. He should have exterminated the whole 40.000 for that to count as political extermination?


---
My objection to your use of the term in Pinochet's regard is that there is no word left to use when there really is a genocide.
---
Don't worry, there will never be a lack of words to describe atrocities. Also, there won't be a lack people to excuse or downplay them, too.

Annoying Old Guy said...

Clovis;

Yes, I deny it.

No, because you defined a political group (which requires a lot of votes) for Pinochet but an ethnic group for Hitler, so it's not at all the same measure.

Based on this and your replay to Skipper, do you really not see any significant moral difference between the actions of the Pinochet regime and the Nazi regime?

Clovis e Adri said...

AOG,

---
[...] do you really not see any significant moral difference between the actions of the Pinochet regime and the Nazi regime?
---
I think your question is misplaced.

You ask about morals - right or wrong - and in this sense both cases are just as wrong. Innocent people were murdered at the expense of political agendas.

Now, if you had asked which case is worst, then the answer is obvious. Millions of dead are always worse than thousands, there is no need to look for any other metric to answer that.

Bret said...

Hey Skipper wrote: "Pol Pot killed a couple million Cambodians, but I don't know of anyone who thinks that atrocity was genocide."

Wikipedia, for one (Cambodian Genocide) and me for two. So now you know two anyones!

Y'all are splitting hairs on this genocide thing. But it's entertaining, so carry on.

Hey Skipper said...

Bret:

My mistake. I thought the Khmer Rouge was targeting those ideologically opposed -- which, in the inevitably progression of collectivism becomes simply random.

However, according Wikipedia The Khmer Rouge regime targeted various ethnic groups during the genocide, forcibly relocating minority groups, and banned the use of minority languages.

I stand corrected.

Clovis e Adri said...

AOG,

---
I deny it.
---

Please, give me then your recollection of you thoughts on Pinochet years while they were happening. You were alive back then and well aware, right?

Annoying Old Guy said...

"It's bad, but at least it's not as bad as Cuba".

Clovis e Adri said...


Of all the many communist coups around the world, what is it with Cuba that make you guys so incensed?

Why not "It's bad, but at least it's not as bad as Vietnam"?

It is all about the Missile crisis, isn't it?

erp said...

Genocide?

I just watched the final chapter of "The Story of the Jews with Simon Schama." Nothing new, but well presented with the barely controlled emotion the subject merits.

My memory of the Life magazine pictures I saw as a child of the victims of the nazis are as clear in my mind now nearly 70 years later as they were when I first saw them.

The disgrace of the world community's indifference during and after the holocaust can never IMO be forgiven. The same lefties who bleat at the plight of the snail darter (or Chilean communists) didn't lift a voice or a finger to stop it and did nothing help ameliorate their plight after the war and it's still going on with Israel constantly under fire no matter how many concessions they make.

It's a blot that can never be wiped out.

Annoying Old Guy said...

Of all the many communist coups around the world, what is it with Cuba that make you guys so incensed?

That is so celebrated by the Left. That makes it a target that really hurts when you hit it. In real life, it can frequently cause mental meltdowns when you use it as I do. So I'm not incensed about it, it's that I find it a very effective club.

Peter said...

Of all the many communist coups around the world, what is it with Cuba that make you guys so incensed?...It is all about the Missile crisis, isn't it?

That's an interesting question, Clovis, at least since the fall of the Soviet Union, but let me turn that around and ask why you guys are so fixated on Pinochet. Genocide? You must have borrowed erp's private dictionary. There are plenty of examples of much worse in Latin American history, notably Argentina in modern times. Despite Allende's chaotic economic mismanagement, consitutional shennanigans and playing kissy-face with the Soviets, your side still gives him an iconic status once reserved for Mao and Che, while Pinochet is right up there with Onkel Adolf in history's parade of horrors. Doesn't make a lot of sense...unless...oh, I get it...

It's all about the Yanquis, isn't it?

Clovis e Adri said...

AOG,

I gave you this advice before, I give it again: go look for a psychiatrist please. I mean it.

Clovis e Adri said...

Peter,
---
... but let me turn that around and ask why you guys are so fixated on Pinochet. [...] It's all about the Yanquis, isn't it?
---

I can't answer for anyone but myself. I can tell you I have no fixation in Pinochet alone: I take all the dictatorships of LA with a heavy heart. I only cite Pinochet more here, well, maybe because that's Erp's champion of democracy.

As for the Yanquis, I have written enough here to let anyone judge by himself if I am anything of a blind anti-American.

erp said...

Clovis:

I don't see a smiley face above, so I guess you still can't distinguish between my telling something as it is, i.e., not the conventional lefy wisdom of the matter and my condoning or approving of it. Please point out where I said Pinochet was a democrat or approved of his methodology.

What I said was he put Chile on the road to peace and prosperity by ousting the communists.

Peter:

Please point out where my private dictionary differs from generally accepted dictionary definitions.

Clovis e Adri said...

Erp,

And you say I am the one with a faulty memory. I already quoted the phrase you gave me by email in this weblog, and I quote it again:

"Pinochet was to my knowledge the only true democrat in power anywhere in S.A."

That's it, right there, where you "said Pinochet was a democrat".

Would you like to withdraw that affirmation? Maybe correct it a little bit?

erp said...

I don't remember saying that or the context if I did. I'm sure what I meant was that he was the only non-socialist.

Anyway, kudos to your search abilities.

Annoying Old Guy said...

Clovis;

Yes, pretty much just like that. Amazingly effective, isn't it?

Peter said...

Clovis:

I don't think you are a blind anti-American or even a far-sighted one. I was actually hinting at one of the cultural factors that may be as important to achieving "take-off" out of widespread poverty as fiscal and monetary policy. I'm not going to defend Pinochet, but why the dreamy lionization of a disaster like Allende, whose downfall was thoroughly predictable and was well on his way to driving Chile to ruin?

One of the great things about being Canadian, and therefore born without original sin, is you get to distance yourself from the turbulent history of American-Latin American relations and wag your finger at both sides. I really don't know a lot about it, and certainly not about Brazilian and Portuguese colonial history, but whenever there are populist fireworks in your world, I get the impression that very sharp and dysfunctional class divides that can threaten the whole constitutional foundation emerge over rhetorical anti-Americanism, and that large segments of your populations are receptive to blaming all their woes on shadowy bogeymen and engaging in utopian fantasies. (Hugo, come on down!). As I keep trying to remind our friends here, national cohesion, the rule of law, social peace and a lack of corruption are just as important as the prescriptions of the Chicago School, which is why I fear the right is becoming narrow and reckless. As Christ might have said: "Leftists ye shall always have among you."

I suspect this is what distinguishes a country like Sweden from more revolutionary efforts. Leftist moral scolds they may be, but they do enjoy a national cohesion that transcends class divides and I don't believe their national political debates feature blaming the Americans for unemployment in Malmo. In other words, they don't blame others for their problems (although they love to blame the usual suspects for problems far-removed from Sweden) and they have a national cohesion and resiliency that transcends class and keeps them fairly honest. OTOH, post-Soviet Russia is a great illustration of what can happen when "capitalism" is imposed on a country without the constitutional and cultural plinth that prevents corrupt oligarchic chaos.

The country I do know something about is Greece, which is in tough these days. Contrary to popular slander, they are a very hard-working people and are can be just as entrepreneurial as anyone else, including Americans, Canadians and Brazilians. But they carry longstanding class and political divides that are very bitter and transcend loyalty to the country, which means chronic political instability, corruption and vote-buying with money they don't have. Plus they tend to be xenophobic about their neighbours and, indeed, sometimes everybody else. I once had a mainstream middle-class leftist there tell me that she considered Greece's membership in NATO and refusal to join the old East Bloc to be a huge service Greece performed for the West, for which they were entitled to much gratitude and compensation. Furthermore, they tend to a sense of entitlement that was wittily expressed by a Greek academic who, when asked in an interview with Der Spiegel why Greece kept living beyond its means quipped: "Because Greeks like living beyond their means."

All of which leads me to ask whether you think I'm onto something or not.

Clovis e Adri said...

Well, Peter, as usual you come up with very smart analyses.

Let me be the first to point out few things are more annoying to me than Latin Americans blaming others (mainly, the US) for their own problems.

But things can be a little bit more complicated in US-LA relationships, for the US does project quite a long shadow. Even in Canada:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/CIA_activities_in_Canada

Here in Brazil, the US reportedly fomented our 1964 Dictatorship - apart from shadow money to their organizers, you guys sent your biggest Navy's aircraft carrier and were prepared to give them military support had a civil war materialized. The diplomatic cables and conversations transcripts of Kennedy and LBJ on that are today public for anyone to see.

Do I blame the US? At some point I did, but today I know better. After the Cuban missile crisis, I would surely do the same were I in their position, too much at stake to take risks of a country as big as Brazil to get Cubanized. It is besides the point that we were not really en route to Cuba, the mere impression we could be was probably enough for you guys, I get that.

And yet, no US boots were ever needed on the ground, we had people enough here eager to take power and make a mess of the country. We really had only ouserselves to blame. We sill have only ouserlves to blame, our main problems are surely all self-inflicted.

The only point I disagree with you, Peter, is that "national cohesion, the rule of law, social peace and a lack of corruption" are *way more* important than any economic school of thought. That's really the stuff that makes a country, and the lack of it is what makes even Empires to fall, from Rome to this day.


erp said...

Clovis, there used to be a thing called, The Monroe Doctrine which would have avoided much of the foreign interference in the Western Hemisphere had it been followed.

Clovis e Adri said...

Erp,

That's another delicate topic.

The original Monroe doctrine, penned by John Adams, was indeed a bless for the Americas.

The modifications to it later on took the form of a new imperialism, somehow the opposite of what Adams intended. So that in Latin America the said doctrine ended up quite despised - forget criticizing Cuba, to mention the Monroe Doctrine will earn you much more cold stares among the LA left. That's a tip for you, AOG, since you have this psycho need of provoking them.

erp said...

Imperialism?

I live in fear of invoking cold stares among the LA left above all others.

s/off

erp said...

... er that's "evoking" although I do invoke the gods to bring the truth to those who see it not.

Sorry it's late and it's been a long day.

Annoying Old Guy said...

Clovis;

That wouldn't be very effective as the Monroe Doctrine is not something that comes in for much praise from the Modern American Left. I suspect very few of them would even be able to correctly describe it.

I'm kind of surprised at your reaction. I thought you despised dictators and their supporters. But making those supporters upset is a bad thing?

Peter said...

I really hope you guys aren't expecting a Canadian and a Brazilian to thank you for the Monroe Doctrine. Don't you realize we keep beating you at soccer and hockey because our coaches give locker room speeches that end "And, Boys, remember the Monroe Doctrine!".

erp said...

Peter ... and we keep you safe, so you can concentrate on soccer.

Clovis e Adri said...

AOG,

---
But making those supporters upset is a bad thing?
---
Oh, no, I am not concerned with them at all. It is about you. As they dictum goes, "to hate is like drinking poison and to expect the other person to die".

Annoying Old Guy said...

Clovis;

Then what of your comments about Castro and Pinochet? That sounded a bit hateful to me.

I also don't think it follows that if I like to provoke people that I hate them. "Hate the sin, love the sinner" after all.

Clovis e Adri said...

AOG,

You should confess, you have night dreams of crushing their skulls with a club.

I only said they will go to hell, I really don't care what'll happen to them there, like if they will be crushed by a club with "Cuba" written on it everyday. I won't be there to see anyway. :-)

erp said...

"to hate is like drinking poison and to expect the other person to die".

Clovis, if that were true, then much of the rest of the world you use as a measure of correct thinking, would have succumbed to that poison aka Koolaid because they hate us mightily.

The fact that you think we hate is a textbook example of projection.

Annoying Old Guy said...

Why should I confess something that's not true?

I only said they will go to hell, I really don't care what'll happen to them there

Why would you care if they go to Heaven or Hell if you don't care what happens to them there? What's the difference?

Clovis e Adri said...

AOG,

Those are quite philosophical questions for such poor jokes I've made.


Erp,

Not every poison kills at once, think cigars. Some only make you bitter, mean and joyless. Worse than a quick death, isn't it?

erp said...

Not being a hater, I wouldn't know.