“Soft despotism is a term coined by Alexis de Tocqueville describing the state into which a country overrun by "a network of small complicated rules" might degrade. Soft despotism is different from despotism (also called 'hard despotism') in the sense that it is not obvious to the people."

Monday, July 20, 2009

The Story of "O", Hope and Change nothing more than Tax and Spend

Foreclosures advance, unemployment over 10% in fifteen states, housing values shrinking, there is a real fear developing in place of hope. Change, what change? Obama and the Democrats followed the banker's lobbyists, giving $700 billion to the banks and getting nothing, absolutely nothing in return.

Desperate families, having lost their jobs, their equity, their 401k's, are sinking fast and the Democrats, party of the working common man, have done nothing, absolutely nothing of value and consequence.

Obama, the elitists, the academic, the showman has neither the fire of indignation nor the empathy of any of the old time Democrats. Democrats should be livid. They have been had by the towering bullshit artist of the ages.

Disillusion and anger rises. It will get butt ugly.


Poll Shows Obama Slipping on Key Issues
Approval Rating on Health Care Falls Below 50 Percent
By Dan Balz and Jon Cohen
Washington Post Staff Writers
Monday, July 20, 2009

Heading into a critical period in the debate over health-care reform, public approval of President Obama's stewardship on the issue has dropped below the 50 percent threshold for the first time, according to a new Washington Post-ABC News poll.

Obama's approval ratings on other front-burner issues, such as the economy and the federal budget deficit, have also slipped over the summer, as rising concern about spending and continuing worries about the economy combine to challenge his administration. Barely more than half approve of the way he is handling unemployment, which now tops 10 percent in 15 states and the District.

The president's overall approval rating remains higher than his marks on particular domestic issues, with 59 percent giving him positive reviews and 37 percent disapproving. But this is the first time in his presidency that Obama has fallen under 60 percent in Post-ABC polling, and the rating is six percentage points lower than it was a month ago.

Obama has taken on a series of major problems during his young presidency, but he faces a particularly difficult fight over his effort to encourage Congress to pass an overhaul of the nation's health-care system.

The legislation has run into problems in the House and Senate, as lawmakers struggle to contain spiraling costs and avoid ballooning the deficit.

Since April, approval of Obama's handling of health care has dropped from 57 percent to 49 percent, with disapproval rising from 29 percent to 44 percent. Obama still maintains a large advantage over congressional Republicans in terms of public trust on the issue, even as the GOP has closed the gap.

The erosion in Obama's overall rating on health care is particularly notable among political independents: While positive in their assessments of his handling of health-care reform at the 100-day mark of his presidency (53 percent approved and 30 percent disapproved), independents now are divided at 44 percent positive and 49 percent negative.

At the same time, there is no slackening in public desire for Obama to keep pressing for action on the major issues of the economy, health care and the deficit. Majorities think he is either doing the right amount or should put greater emphasis on each of these issues.

On health care, the poll, conducted by telephone Wednesday through Saturday, found that a majority of Americans (54 percent) approve of the outlines of the legislation now heading toward floor action. The measure would institute new individual and employer insurance mandates and create a government-run plan to compete with private insurers. Its costs would be paid in part through new taxes on high-income earners.

There are sharp differences in support for this basic package based on income, as well as a deep divide along party lines. Three-quarters of Democrats back the plan, as do nearly six in 10 independents. More than three-quarters of Republicans are opposed. About two-thirds of those with household incomes below $50,000 favor the plan, and a slim majority (52 percent) of those with higher incomes are against it. The income divide is even starker among independents.

Republicans have hammered the president and congressional Democrats over the cost of an health-care overhaul and its potential impact on the federal deficit, twin issues that have emerged as a possible brake on any new package.

Obama's approval rating on his handling of the deficit is down to 43 percent, as independents now tilt toward disapproval (42 percent approve; 48 percent disapprove).

More broadly, 55 percent of Americans put a higher priority on holding the deficit in check than on spending to boost the economy, compared with 40 percent who advocate additional outlays even if it means a sharply greater budget shortfall. This is a big shift from January, when a slim majority preferred to emphasize federal spending.

Independents, who split 50 percent to 46 percent for more spending in January, now break 56 percent to 41 percent for more fiscal discipline. But a larger shift has been among moderate and conservative Democrats, who prioritized more spending by about 2 to 1 in January and March. Now they are about evenly divided in approach.

Nearly a quarter of moderate and conservative Democrats (22 percent) now see Obama as an "old-style tax-and-spend Democrat," up from 4 percent in March. Among all Americans, 52 percent consider Obama a "new-style Democrat who will be careful with the public's money." That is down from 58 percent a month ago and 62 percent in March, to about where President Bill Clinton was on that question in the summer of 1993.

Concerns about the federal account balance are also reflected in views about another round of stimulus spending. In the new poll, more than six in 10 oppose spending beyond the $787 billion already allocated to boost the economy. Most Democrats support more spending; big majorities of Republicans and independents are against the idea.

Support for new spending is tempered by flagging confidence on Obama's plan for the economy. Fifty-six percent are confident that his programs will reap benefits, but that is down from 64 percent in March and from 72 percent just before he took office six months ago. More now say they have no confidence in the plan than say they are very confident it will work. Among independents and Republicans, confidence has decreased by 20 or more points; it has dropped seven points among Democrats.

Approval of Obama's handling of the overall economy stands at 52 percent, with 46 percent disapproving, and, for the first time in his presidency, more Americans strongly disapprove of his performance on the economy than strongly approve. Last month, 56 percent gave him positive marks on this issue.

More than three-quarters of all Americans say they are worried about the direction of the economy over the next few years, down only marginally since Obama's inauguration. Concerns about personal finances have also abated only moderately since January.

Obama declared ownership of the economic recovery, but the public still places far more blame on President George W. Bush's regulatory policies than on Obama's efforts for the state of the economy. But in the first read of a measurement that will be closely watched in coming years, nearly three in 10 say they are personally "not as well off" financially as they were when Obama took office.

Obama's leadership attributes remain highly rated, despite some slippage. Seven in 10 call him a strong leader, two in three say he cares about the problems of people like themselves, and just over six in 10 say he fulfilled a central campaign pledge and has brought needed change to Washington. However, he has dropped 10 points on the empathy question since April.

Obama still holds wide advantages over Republicans in Congress on the economy and the deficit, although the GOP has rebounded marginally from earlier in the year. The overall approval rating for congressional Republicans has increased six points since April, to 36 percent (compared with 47 percent approval for Democrats), and they have picked up five points vis-à-vis Obama on the deficit. They have gained seven on health care.

Beyond partisan shifts in Obama's ratings, sharp declines have occurred among those with household incomes above $50,000. And those with incomes above $50,000 now are split evenly between Obama and Republicans on dealing with health care. In June, they favored Obama by a 21-point margin.

A total of 1,001 randomly selected adults were interviewed for this poll; the margin of sampling error is plus or minus three percentage points.

Polling analyst Jennifer Agiesta contributed to this report.

Here was a real Democrat , who the elitists detested. Francis Lazarro "Frank" Rizzo, Sr. took care of business.


  1. The Democrats passed a thousand page stimulus bill that they did not bother to read. They repeated the economic carnage with the cap and tax bill.

    They are being force marched pell-mell over the healthcare cliff, while his slickness and his Belle Michelle carries her $4000 handbag to the glitz and bling vanity of foreign capitals, courtesy of your indulgence and money.

    The cracks are appearing, the foundation shifting, the people have been had.

  2. A year ago, Manuel Gámez was at the top of his game. He'd earned a promotion at PetersenDean Roofing and Solar Systems and was making $17 an hour.


    But Manuel feels confident and secure. They all have jobs right now.

    He must think positively, he says.

    How Long Will Job Last?

  3. $13 trillion in household wealth destroyed.

  4. Obama says he wants empathy in his Judicial picks, and we all know what that means.
    I like you am concerned about how long it will take others to realise this "man" has none whatsoever.
    One Cold-Hearted MoFo to the Max.

  5. They're using Intense Debate at Big Hollywood, Whit.
    I haven't had time to check it out yet.
    Looks simple enough for the users:
    You only use the features you want to.
    I love the threaded comments.
    Really missed them when our Honolulu forum expired.

    Haven't even checked out if it costs anything yet.

  6. Okay, Doug.

    Big Hollywood? So I googled it and paid a visit.

    First thing I saw:

    1. Garofalo: Almost No Liberal News Outlets in America.

    At least spelled without a "k".

    I'll wait for your updates. Thanks.

  7. Cain't judge a book by it's cover, linear:
    It's a Breitbart Production
    (a true conservative media boy genious)
    consisting largely of Hollywood notables willing to come out of the closet and reveal their conservative souls.
    The Cartoon link is Big Hollywood. btw.

  8. News to ponder...

    July 20 (Reuters) - Commercial mortgages at U.S. banks have been failing at the fastest rate in nearly 20 years, the Wall Street Journal said, citing its own analysis.

    Losses on loans used to finance commercial spaces would possibly reach about $30 billion by the end of 2009 at the current rate, the article said.

    The estimated $30 billion is based on financial reports filed by more than 8,000 banks for the first quarter, the paper said.

    The commercial real-estate market, valued at about $6.7 trillion, represents 13 percent of the U.S.'s gross domestic product, according to the paper. (Reporting by Nivedita Bhattacharjee in Bangalore; Editing by David Cowell)

  9. As more and more commercial loans become stressed, desperate owners will trim payrolls and support services. The overhang of defaulted properties will dampen new construction.

    Lending for refinancing will tighten, rents will fall, local tax receipts decline and those working in the industry will further tighten their belts and increase savings in anticipation of things worsening.

  10. With this economy deficits will be far LARGER than forcast.

    The 0 Administration has just postponed their scheduled report on the economy.

    From Dream to Nightmare. (reality)

  11. This comment has been removed by the author.

  12. The course of our economic non-recovery was set, last October and November.

    The TARP, I believe it was called.

    We had to do, something.

    Which we did, it happened to be the wrong something, what we chose to do. But we did do something.

    Then there was the Obama stimulous package, developed in the Congress. Another case of having to something, in a hurry.

    Haste made waste.

  13. The overhang of defaulted properties will dampen new construction.

    Dampen, like throw a wet blanket upon?

    I think, here, 'drown' would be more descriptive. Can you drown in a wet blanket?

    I know you can, drown, in a sea of debt.

  14. Well as you know construction is a big tent which includes government, infrastructure, schools, housing and highways, commercial being one part.

  15. But then that was known, last October and November.

    When we set the course of non-recovery.

  16. I thnk that my own Senator, Mr Kyl, is instructive to the politics of this.

    The 'Stimulous Package' was a waste, he said. It was not working and should be cancelled, for the good of the Country. To paraphrase his partyline position.

    When Team Obamamerica took him up on his suggestion, asking Ms Brewer, our Governor if she wanted the almost $600 million slated to be spent in AZ.

    Well that, amigos, was 'bad form' on Team O's part, said our Senator.

    Of course AZ wanted that $600 million and to suggest otherwise, just beyond the pale of political discourse.

  17. The politicaos backloaded the spending, to impact the economy, in the Fall of 2010.

    When they think it'll really matter, to them.

  18. RASMUSSEN 2012 poll to be released at 10:30AM ET

    Obama 45% Romney 45%
    Obama 48% Palin 42%

  19. Dropping back to the historic norms.

    The Election, still 3.3 years of tears away.

  20. This is what Recessions do. They put Bad Businesses out of Business.

    Our big, long-term problem is shrinking supplies of oil. We're back up around $65.00/barrel this morning.

  21. And that challenge, rufus, from a National Security standpoint, obvious to anyone that cared, on 15SEP01, when the family Osama was spirited from the US, to Saudi Arabia, for our own good.

    When all commercial and private aircraft were grounded, the Family Osama was aloft, over the US.

    That singular incident worthy of study, as to the real priorities of the US government.

  22. it's getting tougher and tougher for President Obama.

    His oratory skills are not producing results.

    What's the narrative today to cover for the O?

  23. There is no election, for almost 16 months. So the narrative is that recovery is slow, due to the institutional nature of the recession.

    It was so much worse than they had been led to believe.

    The flood of Federal money, impacting the economy, next year and beyond. Timed to effect the Election in 2010, they've attempted.

    Then point to Mr Reagan's recovery, which started out in much the same manner. Things getting worse, before they go better.

    The inner faith of the Democrats holding that things will always improve, regardless of the policies enacted.

    They believing, in American exceptionalism.

    Just not wanting to discuss it.

  24. Or celebrate it.

    But depending upon it, again.

  25. The Squandered Stimulus
    By Robert Samuelson.

    WASHINGTON -- It's not surprising that the much-ballyhooed "economic stimulus" hasn't done much stimulating. President Obama and his aides argue that it's too early to expect startling results. They have a point. A $14 trillion economy won't revive in a nanosecond. But the defects of the $787 billion package go deeper and won't be cured by time. The program crafted by Obama and the Democratic Congress wasn't engineered to maximize its economic impact. It was mostly a political exercise, designed to claim credit for any recovery, shower benefits on favored constituencies and signal support for fashionable causes.

    As a result, much of the stimulus' potential benefit has been squandered. Spending increases and tax cuts are sprinkled in too many places and, all too often, are too delayed to do much good now.

  26. Robert seems to see it as I do, too.

    Politics as usuual, as was always expected.

    Why feign shock and disappointment?

  27. Mr GW Bush and Company having created the 'New Normal'.

    That too wil join the narrative, elijah.

  28. That the 'Party of NO' has held US back.

  29. CIT finding "Private" money is a Big Deal. It, basically, tells us the Banking Sector is "out of the woods."

    LEI (Leading Economic Indicators) just came out UP 0.7. That, followiing last month's 1.3 is Very Strong.

  30. This comment has been removed by the author.

  31. I think THIS is about as good an overview on our oil situation as I've seen.

    I think the author gets a little carried away on "end of growth" deal, but the article pretty much explains where we're at, and how we got here.

    The article is worth it just for the charts.

  32. The bondholders for CIT know that they are an extremely competent bank who are used to doing tough deals.

  33. Deuce:

    30. buddy larsen:

    looks like CIT is gonna pay 10.5% on it’s private bondholder rescue. Jeeeez.
    Big Corporate gets free money, joe’s corner biz’s factor has to pay 10.5%.
    Something is SO wrong here.

  34. "Most people who have read a little about peak oil have heard that US oil production peaked in 1970. This happened, even though oil companies have been working as hard as they can to keep production up. Oil companies have even applied enhanced oil recovery techniques to wells where it looked like doing so would be profitable. After the US mainland (48 states) peaked in 1970, extra effort was expended to ramp up Alaskan production. It soon peaked as well, in 1988."
    What kind of BULLSHIT is that, Rufus?
    We all know the hardest workers since 1970 are the Enviros.
    Oil companies used to maintain production by drilling new wells in new fields!

    I don't deny Peak Oil, but that is assinine leaving out the biggest cause of decline in OUR oil production.

  35. "Oil companies have even applied enhanced oil recovery techniques to wells where it looked like doing so would be profitable."
    Yeah, they did that in the 50's too, since they were in the Oil Business, as they are now.

  36. In healthcare, otoh, paying doctors less will magically result in more doctors.

    Funny, the invisible hand works for oil, but not for health.

  37. The lead time is longer, for doctors, doug.

    It is not a matter of turning up the tempo, adding more man power by hiring capable but inexperienced folks off the street.

    As the oil producers can.

    The decsion to become a doctor is a personal, not corporate one, making that invisible hand even more translucent.

  38. Here's the real deal, amigos.

    As to health care
    The Journal of Healthcare Contracting

    Rising healthcare costs are the major policy problem - not access. ... In 1950, healthcare was 4 percent of GDP. By 2000, healthcare was 12.5 percent of GDP. ..

    Now, 2009, it is reported to be 17% of GDP. From 4% to 17% of GDP, in 59 years. With that kind of an increase in spending, figure there'd be sizable gains, visible in the life expectency numbers.

    Let's look...
    United States Life Tables, 2000
    by Elizabeth Arias, Ph.D., Division ofVital Statistics

    Plotting the percent surviving by age for the periods 1900–1902, 1949–51, and 2000 shows an increasingly ‘‘rectangular’’ survival curve (figure3). That is, the survival curve has become increasingly flat in response to progressively lower mortality, particularly at the younger ages, and increasingly vertical at the older ages. The survival curve for 1900–1902 shows a rapid decline in survival in the first few years of life and a relatively steady decline thereafter. In contrast, the survival curve for 2000 is nearly flat until about age 50 after which the decline in survival becomes more rapid. Improvements in survival between 1900–1902 and 1949–51 occurred at all ages, although the largest improvements were among the younger population. Between 1949–51 and 2000, improvements occurred primarily for the older population.

  39. Figure 3 indicates, to me, that there were greater improvements in the measurable matrix during the first half of the 20th century, getting to the first 4% of GDP expenditure level, than there was gained by the expediture of an additional 13% in the last half of that century, and this.

    Have the gains have been worth the price, to the greater public interest? Individuals are guiding the invisible hand in their own best interest, not considering the 'greater good'.
    Unwilling to sacrifice even a moment of their life for the greater good.

    Not at all like Armstrong, Aldrin or Collins.

    Insead we've aborted 40 million of US and extended the lifes of the under producing seniors.

    Looking out for number 1.

  40. Obama speaketh...

    Blacks more "American" than Ellis Island Emmigrants...

  41. film:

  42. 1st Spanish Justice.........

    Benjamin N. Cardozo

    1932- 1938...

  43. D.R.
    "Instead we've aborted 40 million of US and extended the lives of the under producing seniors."

    Under producing seniors?? (gulp!) That's hitting a little too close to home, Rat. I may have to call on Rufus for moral support (if not financial).

    Show a little mercy, will ya? Did you see that I corrected your typos? That must count for something.

  44. Why feign shock and disappointment?

    The observation I've been waiting to hear since November. Anybody expecting better to come of the news that Wed morning lives in la-la land, and it ain't over yet.

  45. From the comments over at SDA


    Barrack “Chance the Gardner” Obama ( from the Ian Macdonald aricle) in an Oval Office interview.

    "I'm the captain of the ship. I am not the builder of the ship...I can't steer the thing faster than its capacities, and most importantly I don't control the weather or the oceans.

    On the other hand, given what the oceans are, what the weather is and what the constraints of the ship are, I can be a better captain or a worse captain. And my job is to be the best captain I can be."


    From the movie Being There, with Peter Sellers, where Chance is clearly headed to the Oval Office because of his soothing rhetoric:

    President "Bobby": Mr. Gardner, do you agree with Ben, or do you think that we can stimulate growth through temporary incentives?
    [Long pause]

    Chance the Gardener: As long as the roots are not severed, all is well. And all will be well in the garden.

    President "Bobby": In the garden.

    Chance the Gardener: Yes. In the garden, growth has it seasons. First comes spring and summer, but then we have fall and winter. And then we get spring and summer again.

    President "Bobby": Spring and summer.

    Chance the Gardener: Yes.

    President "Bobby": Then fall and winter.

    Chance the Gardener: Yes.

    Benjamin Rand: I think what our insightful young friend is saying is that we welcome the inevitable seasons of nature, but we're upset by the seasons of our economy.

    Chance the Gardener: Yes! There will be growth in the spring!

    Benjamin Rand: Hmm!

    Chance the Gardener: Hmm!

    President "Bobby": Hm. Well, Mr. Gardner, I must admit that is one of the most refreshing and optimistic statements I've heard in a very, very long time.

  46. You catch me on a "good" day, early in the morning (but, not Too early,) we might be able to do a little of the "Moral" support, Doug; but, I'm afraid "Unca" has done financialed me out.

  47. It don't matter "Why" we're going to be getting short on oil, Doug, just, "that we are."

  48. We kinda get a "bad rap" on that mortality deal. We try to save all those ultra-preemy, crack babies; and, then, when we fail we count them as "live births." The rest of the world doesn't do that.

    We're, actually, a lot better than the mortality tables show.

    But, we waste a Lot of money "looking at" people in the ERs, and then not treating them.

  49. Just got back from the VA. That place wears my ass out.

    The "News" (can't decide if it's "good," or "bad") is that, evidently, I'm still on track to live forever.

    I think I'm driving them crazy. They can tell by looking at me, and talking to me, that I probably "should" have been daid a few decades ago. But, they can't seem to find anything wrong.

    If it wasn't such a pain in the ass I think I'd enjoy it.

  50. I have no problem with "MASH" units being set up for those who need basic medical care and cannot afford it and rather use emergency rooms have rotating MASH units visit urban and rural areas of the country to take strain off the for-profit medical centers.

    dont expect luxury at the MASH units, but you can get a prenatal vaccination, MRE's, flu shot et al...

    These MASH units could be training a whole class of Doctors, Nurses and other medical personal to help with the growing need/ shortage in the private sector..

    Want to reduce costs? Increase supply... Increase competition...

  51. Think SR-22. Basic Coverage - Everyone MUST participate. American "Citizens," only.

    We'd save a ton in some instances. Really. Overall, it'd cost some, but not as much as one might think at first blush.

  52. Archie Bunker: "Now that they tell us we gotta live without, the country is going straight in the dumper."


  53. Obama speaketh...

    Blacks more "American" than Ellis Island Emmigrants...

    time in grade baby, read the hash marks and there he is right, except about him.

  54. The only difference that those permatures and other problem children represent in Figure 3 is that slight dip in the front, of the graph in Figure 3.

    The horizontal line runs straight and true, until 55 or so. Not many folks die before fifty.
    Today, at seventy years, over 80% of those born are still alive.
    In 1950 that number was 60%.
    In 1901, looks like about 35%.

    Sure viktor, you get extra credit.
    At least another year or so worth.

    Looks like about half of those born, reported living beyond 82 or so.

    Social Security and Medicare start at what, 62?

    Twenty years worth of Ponzi payouts.
    As the senior population of baby boomers bubbles on through the system. With ever fewer folks to mandate support from.

  55. The timelessness of the "Living Without" theme is well illustrated, whit, by that comment.

    That was in what '68 or so?

    Erlich and Science Czar Holdren, along with Bill Moyers and Mr Campbell, they were all harbingers of the coming age.

    A new American era.

    Forty years later, we return to their theme.

  56. Or we've been in the dumper ever since.

    If Archie was right, then.

  57. For y'all who get yer knickers in a knot over health care rationing (boobie, calling boobie, are ya out there dude?) the following article is well worth the read:

    Why We Must Ration Health Care


    "In the current U.S. debate over health care reform, “rationing” has become a dirty word. Meeting last month with five governors, President Obama urged them to avoid using the term, apparently for fear of evoking the hostile response that sank the Clintons’ attempt to achieve reform. In a Wall Street Journal op-ed published at the end of last year with the headline “Obama Will Ration Your Health Care,” Sally Pipes, C.E.O. of the conservative Pacific Research Institute, described how in Britain the national health service does not pay for drugs that are regarded as not offering good value for money, and added, “Americans will not put up with such limits, nor will our elected representatives.” And the Democratic chair of the Senate Finance Committee, Senator Max Baucus, told CNSNews in April, “There is no rationing of health care at all” in the proposed reform.

    Remember the joke about the man who asks a woman if she would have sex with him for a million dollars? She reflects for a few moments and then answers that she would. “So,” he says, “would you have sex with me for $50?” Indignantly, she exclaims, “What kind of a woman do you think I am?” He replies: “We’ve already established that. Now we’re just haggling about the price.” The man’s response implies that if a woman will sell herself at any price, she is a prostitute. The way we regard rationing in health care seems to rest on a similar assumption, that it’s immoral to apply monetary considerations to saving lives — but is that stance tenable?

    Health care is a scarce resource, and all scarce resources are rationed in one way or another. In the United States, most health care is privately financed, and so most rationing is by price: you get what you, or your employer, can afford to insure you for. But our current system of employer-financed health insurance exists only because the federal government encouraged it by making the premiums tax deductible. That is, in effect, a more than $200 billion government subsidy for health care. In the public sector, primarily Medicare, Medicaid and hospital emergency rooms, health care is rationed by long waits, high patient copayment requirements, low payments to doctors that discourage some from serving public patients and limits on payments to hospitals.

    The case for explicit health care rationing in the United States starts with the difficulty of thinking of any other way in which we can continue to provide adequate health care to people on Medicaid and Medicare, let alone extend coverage to those who do not now have it. Health-insurance premiums have more than doubled in a decade, rising four times faster than wages. In May, Medicare’s trustees warned that the program’s biggest fund is heading for insolvency in just eight years. Health care now absorbs about one dollar in every six the nation spends, a figure that far exceeds the share spent by any other nation. According to the Congressional Budget Office, it is on track to double by 2035. "

  58. Lots of things have been brought up repeatedly on this subject:
    Rufus has regaled us of the cost shifting and poor healthcare of Emergency Room General Practice, or whatever we care to call it.

    Meanwhile, one of the largest drivers of healthcare cost is the shifting that goes on to make up for inadequate payments by medicare and medicaid, insufficient to cover costs.

    Yet this is the crux of "reducing waste" - "reducing cost" in all the Utopian Schemes, except then there will be no private payers to make up the difference.
    At that point, something has to give.

    One result is doctors putting down the scalpel and picking up the Golf Clubs.

  59. The point is whether patients or bureaucrats should be central in healthcare decisions, Ash.

    But you'll never see that, as you, like the bureaucrats see yourself as better able to make decisions for others than they can themselves.

    Tom Sowell refers to it as the Vision of the annointed.

    ...and my previous post about unpaid medicaid/medicare costs driving up the cost of paid healthcare still stands.

    Not to mention all the distortion to the system brought about by such manipulations.

  60. doug, I hate to spoil your Utopian dream world but patients are not currently making the call now.

  61. I think I left the wrong impression about one thing. I have nothing but the highest regard for those people that work in the Emergency Rooms. They, mostly, do a very difficult job, very well.

    The thing is: They work within a "System." They are, completely, limited in what they "Can," and "Can't" do.

    Their Job is to treat "emergencies." They do a good job of that. They "Save Lives."

    Their job is NOT to treat chronic, but non-life threatening conditions. We have turned them into purveyors of "pain" pill prescriptions for unfortunate, uninsured pain-ridden poor people.

    It's a silly way to run a railroad.

  62. brilliant, ash.
    I choose my doctors they choose SOME of the meds and SOME of the Healthcare decisions.
    SOME of the economic aspects of my decisions wrt healthcare are made by me.
    The bills as written remove virtually ALL of those remaining choices.
    ...and you did not address the fact that medicare and medicaid are already bankrupt, and have already driven healthcare costs for the paying sector beyond affordability.

    But, yeah, the P.O. and the DMV are just as efficient as Fedex and Safeway.

  63. (Costco, Walmart, Ace, Home Depot)
    ALL could be run more efficiently by the feds.

  64. Leaf-blowers, and Healthcare are different, Doug. They just are.

  65. Former Peruvian President Alberto Fujimori was sentenced on Monday to seven and a half years in jail on charges of embezzling 15 million U.S. dollars from state funds to pay his intelligence chief.


    Fujimori acknowledged in court that he had paid 15 million dollars to his intelligence chief Vladimiro Montesinos, but refused to accept any legal responsibility, saying he made the payment because Montesinos was then planning a coup against him.


    Fujimori had ruled Peru for 10 years before his dramatic resignation in 2000 after a corruption scandal involving his administration was exposed.

    Prison for Corruption

  66. The point is whether patients or bureaucrats should be central in healthcare decisions, ...

    The point of that particular debate, it is not the patient that decides, in either case.

    In both the bureaucrats DO decide, it is just a matter of whom the bureaucrat works for, the US or an insurance company or the hospital.

    I am not sure that one set of bureaucrats is especially worse than another.

    It is certainly true that in HBOs and other types of 'managed' care the patient is not deep in the decision loop.

    So, between the uninsured and the under insured, that'd be about a third to half of US that are outside that medical decision making group, looking in.

  67. He's picked up his last marble and left the building, ash.

    He along, with Special K, have sailed on

  68. Separately, the insurance industry, which challenged then-President Bill Clinton's health care effort in the early 1990s, launched a $1.4 million ad campaign, its first TV ads of this year's health care fight. The multimillion-dollar campaign, being aired nationally on cable stations, restates the industry's support for an overhaul that provides universal coverage and its offer to cover people who are already sick.

    The ad campaign does not mention the insurers' strong opposition to creating a government-run insurance option.

    An official disclosed the cost of the campaign on condition of anonymity, as the numbers have not been made public.

    Health Care

    WASHINGTON -- Tensions are rising between the U.S. and Iraqi governments over Baghdad's push to restrict American military operations in Iraq, with some U.S. officers complaining their forces are being constrained beyond what is called for in their agreement to withdraw from cities.

    The complaints come as Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki is about to visit New York and Washington this week, in an important trip for him and President Barack Obama. Both leaders are working to redefine the U.S.-Iraqi relationship in the wake of the American troop departures and Mr. Obama's growing focus on Afghanistan.

    ... some U.S. officers said in recent days that the Iraqi government has been overly restrictive in applying the terms.

    The officers said Baghdad had sharply reduced the numbers of joint patrols with the U.S., made it harder for the American military to move troops and supplies around the country, and effectively banned the U.S. from conducting raids with time-sensitive intelligence.

    "The basic message is, 'you're not wanted, go back to your base,' " an Army captain in Baghdad said by email

    Message recieved, wilco, out.
    Iraq for the Iraqis!

    They're coming home, home to America.
    They're travelin' light, from the eye of the storm.
    They're coming to America

    Today is the day!

  70. I have been following the discussion about Obamacare with much interest. My only question to those who are promoting it is: Will Viagara be available free of charge to those who need it?

    Viktor Silo (Mrs.)

  71. Honduras stands firm to pressure .

    The interim leader of Honduras has vowed that he will not step down despite increasing international pressure to restore Manuel Zelaya, the deposed president.

    Roberto Micheletti, who was handed power after a military-backed coup, was speaking on Monday, shortly after a "very tough phone call" from Hillary Clinton, the US secretary of state.

    A second round of Costa Rican-mediated talks between representatives of Micheletti and Zelaya broke down on Sunday as the two sides were unable to reach a deal on the return of Zelaya.

    "My position is unchangeable," Micheletti said in his speech at the presidential palace on Monday.

    "We feel abandoned by several friendly countries," he told cheering supporters.

    "We are going to go on with life, we are going to go on with our government, we are going to go on with the next presidential elections on November 29.''
    PJ Crowley, a spokesman for the US state department, said that Clinton had warned warned Michelletti that Honduras could face further cuts in economic aid if he did not comply.

    "She reminded him about the consequences for Honduras if they fail to accept the principles that President Arias has laid out," he said.

    Crowley did not specify the exact nature of the aid that could be stopped, but $16.5m military aid has already been suspended and a halt placed on development aid .

    "We would like to see President Zelaya return to Honduras, and then we'd like to see a clear path that leads to follow-on elections," he said.

    Honduran business leaders said that they were called into meetings with Hugo Llorens, the US ambassador, and warned that the Central American nation could face tough sanctions if the coup leaders continue to reject Arias' proposal.

    "The US could make this be over in a second if it imposed strong sanctions,'' Mark Jones, a professor of political science at Rice University in Houston, Texas, said.

    "But in doing so it would hurt the poor, it would hurt our allies.

    So, the Hondos won't be bought for $16.5 million. Good for them.

    Wonder if the Israeli will stand firm, when the 'enormous pressure' is brought to bear, there.

  72. At the Pentagon, Mr. Gates said that Gen. Ray Odierno, the top American commander in Iraq, assured him that U.S.-Iraqi cooperation had been steadily improving in the days since the June 30 handover. The defense chief, who goes to the Middle East on Sunday, said that Iraqi officials have ratcheted up comments about keeping the U.S. military on a tight leash for domestic political reasons.

    "It is perhaps a measure of our success in Iraq that politics have come to the country," he said.

    Mr. Gates estimated the temporary expansion of the army will cost $100 million this year and $1 billion in fiscal 2010. He said the move would be funded by cutting Pentagon programs such as the F-22 fighter, reiterating the White House promise to veto any bill that attempts to salvage the jet. Congress will vote Tuesday

    —Gina Chon in Baghdad contributed to this article.

  73. In a robust increase of pressure, the European Union suspended 65.5 million euros ($A114.24 million) in aid to Honduras on Monday.

    "I very much regret that it has not been possible to this date to arrive at a mutually agreeable solution to the Honduran crisis, in line with the proposals made by President Arias," said EU External Relations Commissioner Benita Ferrero-Waldner.

    Washington has frozen military aid to the de facto government but it has also warned Zelaya against rash moves that might jeopardise dialogue.

    Fears of Violence

  74. As rufus said, they vote, now.

    About five million more people voted for president in November than four years earlier, with minorities accounting for almost the entire increase. About two million more black and Hispanic voters and 600,000 additional Asians went to the polls.

    While the figures reflect a long-term demographic shift, they also attest to the success of the Democrats' extensive campaign to register their supporters and get them to the polls. Overall, the 64% turnout was unchanged from four years earlier

    Population growth required 5 million new voters, to maintain that 64% turnout. That growth was not a straight line extrapulation of what's been.

    It's a new day, in America
    It's dawned upon the Hondos.

    Minority Turnout Was Critical to Obama's Election, Data Show

  75. "Various ideas were discussed on ways to help North Korea when it is denuclearized," Wi Sung Lac was quoted by Yonhap as saying.

    Wi, special representative for Korean Peninsula Peace and Security Affairs, emphasized the North's denuclearization is a precondition for such aid.

    The briefing was held by South Korean government officials in a video conference organized by Goldman Sachs, said Wi, who participated in the event.

    De-nuclearized NK

  76. Now, there is no easily found back story as to why, but the F-22 was initially developed by General Dynamics, Lester Crown's company.

    By 1990 Lockheed Martin, teamed with Boeing and General Dynamics, had built and flown the demonstration prototype aircraft, designated YF-22.

    But some where along the way, for reasons yet unknown, at least to me, General Dynamics was 'eased' out of the contract.

    Now, the F-22 will die. Not another single plane will be contracted for, no matter what Mr Murtha desires.

    Forbes - ‎Jul 17, 2009‎
    John Murtha, chairman of the subcommittee, said Thursday he is confident that plans to add $369 million to the Pentagon's budget for a dozen more F-22 jets ..

    State of the art and obsolete, already.
    Bring on the UAV fighters, all the capability at a third the financial cost. With no blood to lose, if the treasure is splashed.

  77. Conservative Senator Hugh Segal, the former chair of the Canadian Senate committee on foreign affairs and international trade, says that an entirely new airborne operation of perhaps 200 people, including a squadron of 12 pilots, as well as backup pilots, maintenance and ground crews, is feasible as a replacement for the Canadian combat mission - which currently has close to 3,000 troops in Kandahar.

    "There will be many people in the military who would disagree with that," Segal said. "They would say perhaps it is too expensive.

    It is the wrong theatre for those, but the truth of the matter is that the CF-18s have over the last 10 years been modernised."

    Possible Escalated Air War

  78. Business leaders — a key sector of support for Micheletti — also vowed to tough it out, hoping the U.S. government is as wary as they are of Zelaya, who has aligned himself with leftist Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, one of Washington's biggest antagonists in the region.

    Zelaya angered many people in Honduras by ignoring Congress' and the courts' objections to his effort to hold a referendum on changing the constitution, which many saw as an attempt to impose a Chavez-style socialist government.

    "We prefer sanctions to Zelaya's return," said Adolfo Facusse, head of the country's National Association of Industries. He said restoring Zelaya to power would bring the "loss of liberty, dictatorship, communism."

    Team to US

  79. China has repeatedly blamed outside agitators and the influence of the "three evil forces"—extremism, terrorism and separatism. Specificially, it has blamed leading Uighur activist Rebiya Kadeer with instigating the protests that led to violence when police stepped in.

    In Washington, D.C., Kadeer, who lives in exile, has denied it. On Monday, she urged the Obama administration to more strongly condemn what she called China's continuing crackdown on Uighurs.

    Kadeer told reporters that China was still "hunting down" Uighurs involved in the riots.

    Policies not to Blame

  80. From viktor's link, viva Mexico!

    Guarantee your clients only the best and most highly accredited doctors and hospitals in the world. Sell them medical and travel insurance. And tie it in with sunny retirement communities for Boomers. It will be a Gold Rush.

    Insurance companies can undersell any US government monopoly, just by sending their patients to high-quality hospitals abroad. The United States may lose General Motors, but we'll get International Blue Cross instead. And do you have any idea how much you can do diagnostically these days over the web? Your highly qualified offshore doc can just send you the testing kit, you send it back, and have long, cozy conversations over the free VoIP service. In five years we'll have EKGs plugged into your home computer to be read by Indian doctors in Hyderabad. Virtual microsurgery is in the cards. Computing is going to keep getting cheaper, the web will get faster and more interactive, and you'll be able to do some virtual medical travel without moving from home. Indian psychiatrists are so comforting, and they will talk with you for hours for $9.95, special rate just for you

  81. Brave Israeli vandals, killing olive trees that do not belong to them. That is no way to maintain the moral high groound, if it was ever theirs to defend.

    A group of eight masked men felled some 15 olive trees belonging to Palestinians and damaged others, some of them ancient, military sources said on Tuesday. Residents of the village Bourin, near the Jewish settlement Yitzhar in Samaria, alerted the IDF and police who sped to the spot, but the perpetrators, suspected as being settlers, fled the scene.

    Earlier on Tuesday, Palestinian Authority parliament member Walid Assef was lightly wounded and his car was damaged by stones allegedly hurled by settlers near the Gilad Farm outpost in Samaria.

    A member of the Civil Administration at the scene aided the parliamentarian and recommended he file a complaint with the police. The stone-throwers evaded attempts to apprehend them.

    On Monday night, settlers continued to riot over outpost demolitions, hurling stones at IDF soldiers and Palestinian cars in the West Bank

    The JPost tells the tale

  82. 20:19 When thou shalt besiege a city a long time, in making war against it to take it, thou shalt not destroy the trees thereof by wielding an axe against them; for thou mayest eat of them, but thou shalt not cut them down; for is the tree of the field man, that it should be besieged of thee?

    20:20 Only the trees of which thou knowest that they are not trees for food, them thou mayest destroy and cut down, that thou mayest build bulwarks against the city that maketh war with thee, until it fall.
    ___JPS, Tanakh (1917)