“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, August 03, 2009

Drudge exposes Obama agenda to eliminate your private health care plan

Redistribution of health care is what this is all about. No surprise.


  1. And this is shocking ...


    Obama has been promoting it, since at least 2003.

    Nothing new there. He always has promoted a Single payer System. But the legislation that is being debated, it was not written by Obama or his staff.
    It was written by Congress, debated by Congress and passed or defeated, by Congress.

    It is up to Ms Snowe and Mr Grassley, what the final product looks like and whether it contains a "Public Option" or a "Non-profit Option".

    One or the other will be in the Senate version. But then there is reconciliation, up or down, no debate, no filibuster. Only needing a majority of those voting, to pass.

  2. WASHINGTON (Dow Jones)--Democrats will not hesitate to forgo bipartisanship to pass a health overhaul bill if negotiations fail in the next month, U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., said Monday.

    Schumer, on a conference call with reporters, indicated that Democratic leaders are actively exploring options to pass the health bill that would not require Republican votes. He pointed specifically to budget reconciliation, a parliamentary tactic that would allow passage of a bill with a simple majority, rather than the 60 votes generally required in the Senate.

    Reconciliation is "clearly one of the contingencies on the table," Schumer said. "We want to get a bipartisan agreement, but if we don't, it's not going to stop us from moving forward with health care."

    Schumer reiterated a Sept. 15 deadline to reach agreement on a bill within the Senate Finance Committee. He emphasized that the deadline was generated by that committee's chairman, Sen. Max Baucus, D-Mont., rather than from Democratic leaders.

    Three Republican members of the panel - Sens. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, Mike Enzi, R-Wyo., and Olympia Snowe, R-Maine, are engaged in talks on the bill. While Republicans such as Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., have derided Democrats' attempts to pass a major health-care bill, the three Republicans involved in negotiations still appear interested in reaching a compromise.

    The Finance panel appears ready to head off for a month-long Senate recess without an agreement on the measure. But Schumer suggested that the Sept. 15 deadline - which is already much later than Baucus had originally anticipated a deal would be made - would be a binding one.

    "If we cannot produce a bipartisan solution by then, you have to wonder if the Republicans would ever being willing to agree to anything," Schumer said.

    Sen. Robert Menendez, D-N.J., who also was on the conference call, cited the role of Senate Republican leaders as a major impediment to talks in the Senate Finance Committee.

    "Every time we get a breakthrough, Republicans crack the whip, and it slows the process," Menendez said.

    -By Patrick Yoest, Dow Jones Newswires; 202-862-3554;

  3. 43 Senators was a bridge to far.

    A lack of focus in 2008, leads to this.

  4. Tyler Cowen at Marginal Revolution:

    Interpreting life expectancy statistics and other health care issues
    Tyler Cowen

    Matt Yglesias and Paul Krugman weigh in on interpreting life expectancy statistics across the U.S. and the Netherlands. The fact under consideration, from a few days ago, is that the U.S. has low life expectancy overall but superior life expectancy after you reach the age of 65.

    One way to interpret this data (re: Yglesias and Krugman) is to think that the U.S. should spread Medicare to its entire population.

    Another interpretation is that spreading Medicare to the entire population would lead to higher expenditures on the health of the young and lower expenditures on the health of the old, for better or worse. "Medicare for everyone" doesn't simply replicate current Medicare outcomes across a broader swathe of the population. Medicare works as well as it does, in part, because not everyone is on Medicare or something comparable. The U.S. split system makes Medicare, at the same time, both more effective in terms of outcomes and more costly in dollar price terms.

    In this country the old don't seem willing to accept losing their privileged "first in line" position, namely Medicare for them and few others. And Congress won't let some egghead committee come along and cut the waste out of Medicare. The immediate results of the current proposed plan would thus be greater health care expenditures overall, pressures on doctor supply a' la Massachusetts, an even more severe long-term insolvency for the whole system, combined with an unclear resolution for all these escalating pressures. I don't see many people on the pro-Obama side simply coming out and admitting these increasingly obvious truths, although Andrew Sullivan deserves credit on this score.

    You may or may not think that's a good deal overall and perhaps you still think it's a good deal if you assign a high enough priority to covering more of the uninsured. Or maybe (Kevin Drum has made this argument) you think it's the only path toward long-run cost control. But if you think it's a bad deal overall, it doesn't mean you are in denial about the fundamental facts of U.S. health care supply or for that matter in denial about the cross-sectional comparisons with Europe. Choosing French health care institutions for the United States has never been on the table, not even in evolutionary terms.


  5. [...]

    Sullivan put it very well a few days ago. He noted that Obama -- a master communicator -- can't convince most people that the proposed reform is a good deal for them isn't a very good deal for most people. That includes some of the people receiving new coverage, such as those receiving the new forced employer mandates. (NB: Their wages will go down and they really need the money! In the shorter run their wages won't go down and some of them will lose their jobs, even with phase-in a few years from now. I'm still waiting for good Democratic economists to condemn this idea but I fear there is so much fixation on a "victory vs. defeat" framing of the struggle, and desire to skirt the CBO, that this isn't receiving the critical analysis it ought to.)

    This desire to claim and promote a more universal distribution of benefits is one reason why you see so much attention paid to the public plan option. The competing public plan at least offers the promise that some part of the proposed health care reforms will benefit virtually everyone. My view is that a public plan would soak up many high-risk cases, benefit those cases and few other people, and that overall a public plan is superior to mandates, not Satan incarnate, but not a cure-all for the system as a whole by any means. Advocates remain oddly silent as to what in concrete terms the public insurer will be instructed to maximize and how that fits in with pressures to extend coverage to more people.

    Plan supporters are quite willing to admit "it's not nearly as good as what we wanted," but they're in denial about how truly bad the proposed reforms are in absolute terms or as a matter of economic logic and by that term I mean the economic logic of good Democratic economics, not extreme libertarianism.

    In the meantime, repeat this sentence after me: if we don't solve the costs problem, in egalitarian terms things will only get worse, no matter how many people we cover.

    The Republicans on this issue are (mostly) very bad and hypocritical but that doesn't give the Democrats license to proceed without a solution.

    August 1, 2009 at 01:55 PM

  6. At the Corner:

    Re: Health Care as a Right [Yuval Levin]

    Edmund Burke offered a reflection on this question in 1790:

    What is the use of discussing a man's abstract right to food or to medicine? The question is upon the method of procuring and administering them. In that deliberation I shall always advise to call in the aid of the farmer and the physician, rather than the professor of metaphysics.

    It seems to me that’s still basically the right response to the question of health care as a right. All sides in the contemporary debate are trying to find a way to provide health insurance to more people more efficiently and cheaply. They are not divided about any fundamental ethical question. People on the left are not saying we should provide unlimited medical care to all without thinking about the cost because health care is a right: They’re arguing their approach would cost less and work better for more people. People on the right are not saying we should forget about the poor because health care is just a privilege: They’re arguing their approach would cost less and work better for more people. Which of them is right is an important question, but it’s not fundamentally an ethical question, and whether health care is a right or not does not seem particularly relevant to finding the answer to that question.

    08/03 12:17 PM

  7. Steve Benen at WashMonthly:

    ADDING A REAL, LIVE BODY TO THE STRAWMAN.... When the current debate over health care reform was just getting underway, Republican pollster Frank Luntz reminded GOP officials not to ignore the desire for change in the system. "You simply MUST be vocally and passionately on the side of REFORM," Luntz advised his party. "The status quo is no longer acceptable. If the dynamic becomes 'President Obama is on the side of reform and Republicans are against it,' then the battle is lost and every word in this document is useless.... Acknowledge the 'crisis' or suffer the consequences."

    For the most part, Republicans have followed Luntz's lead. Whenever President Obama or other reform advocates blast those who defend the status quo as opponents of reform, GOP policymakers are quick to insist that's a "strawman" argument -- they want reform, too, just not the good kind that actually helps people.



  8. At least if I've gotta listen to rufus spend the next few months saying, "Look guys, you may not like it, but you're gonna get it," I have the minor consolation of knowing that the same applies to Afghanistan.

    Makes us even.

  9. The point is; Obama is a lying Sal Alinsky leftist. Period!

  10. The point is; Obama is a lying Sal Alinsky leftist. Period!

    Mon Aug 03, 05:30:00 PM EDT

    I detect frustration.

  11. ...But the legislation that is being debated, it was not written by Obama or his staff.
    It was written by Congress, debated by Congress and passed or defeated, by Congress

    Wanna bet? More than half of Congress has no idea what they vote on. It may be printed by Congress, but did they write it?

    Short answer: No

  12. One old fart isn't waiting the outcome in Washington.

    As of today, my weight is stable at 227, down from 265 in December. My target is 205, or lower. Blood glucose is also stable in the range of 120. Blood pressure measured yesterday was 109/66.

    Weight controlled with 1800 cal/day diet. More exercise would accelerate weight loss, but it's too damned hot. The Type II diabetes diagnosed in April, and high blood pressure are under control with some relatively mild medications which may likely be discontinued with further weight loss. I think the self imposed diet is the key to my progress.

    Discipline. It's what's for dinner.

    And an occasional Bushmill's binge.

  13. You better get that extra weight off before the "Fat-Nazi brownshirts" get out of boot camp.

    You'll be like that poor old cancer victim lady in Washington State denied treatment and sent home to die with dignity and morphine.

    The left claims to be so humanitarian but judging them by abortion and euthansia, I don't think so. Oh wait, I'm sorry, I forgot about their staunch opposition ot capital punishment.

    Never mind. (Remember Emily Latella?)

  14. It's not being "written" at the White House, whit. Mr Grassely has said as much. Mr Grassely, he is one of the ones writing it.

    Working at it 'round the clock.
    He is a Republican, little doubt that he's "puffing" for Obama, is there?

    The Legislation in the House, buffed out by the simonizing Mr Waxman.

    You will not find an Obama fingerprint, until the signing.

    He'll be calling for "Reform" even before he signs it.

    That is the "Alinsky" part of the Program. What comes out of the Congress is the start point, not the end. The responsibility, and the crdeit, that goes to Teddy, who then dies.

  15. linearthinker said:

    "One old fart isn't waiting the outcome in Washington.

    As of today, my weight is stable at 227, down from 265 in December. My target is 205, or lower. Blood glucose is also stable in the range of 120. Blood pressure measured yesterday was 109/66."

    Congratulations! It's nice to know that there's more than old fart on site.

    A year ago I was 265 @ a height of 6'1". I got my weight down to 195 on a nearly carb free diet. But went back to 205 after I resumed eating some carbs. Weight is now stable.

    I envy your blood pressure readings. My worst reading last year was 175 over 125. Now it's about 125 over 85, without meds.

    I don't have that much personal discipline but I respond well to threats. My wife said that if I didn't lose weight I would be eating shit sandwichs for the foreseeable future.

  16. Someone eventually has to say:

    "Sorry, but you've exhausted the benefit package."

    $12,000 per year in insurance premiums does not get you a blank check at the doctor. Besides, that's what is being said to at least 45 million US residents, at present.

    She should see what the procedure costs in India, if it's that important to her.

  17. You might be a redneck if ...

    Your house is on wheels and your car is not.

  18. WASHINGTON (Reuters) - With President Barack Obama's political fortunes on the line, Democrats in Congress vowed on Monday to push healthcare reform through the Senate with or without Republican support.

    "No matter what happens we are going to enact healthcare reform by the end of the year," said Senator Charles Schumer, one of the Democrats who has been working with Republicans to craft a bipartisan plan in that chamber.

    Obama has made overhaul of the $2.5 trillion healthcare system this year his top domestic priority, saying it is central to long-term economic recovery, and its success or failure could define his presidency.

    Obama and the Democrats who control Congress say now is the time to move on healthcare, before lawmakers become entangled in fighting for their re-election next year.

  19. While Obama has set the overall goals of expanding insurance coverage to most Americans and holding down skyrocketing medical costs, he has left the tough details to lawmakers in the Democratic-controlled House and Senate.

    The result is that Democrats have been squabbling among themselves while Republicans have sat back grinning.

    Obama has called Senate Democrats to a White House meeting on Tuesday where healthcare is expected to be a major topic.

  20. Consumer Reports' home insurance group survey is part of a larger investigative report that found that insurers are scaling back coverage, imposing high deductibles on claims for damage from windstorms in many places, and cutting coverage for mold and dog bites. Some companies are using credit-based insurance scores to reject prospective clients and to raise premiums of current ones.

    In some areas, insurers have abandoned homeowners coverage entirely.

    Disasters and dire situations are when consumers truly need coverage that lives up to its promises. Yet CR's evaluation of home insurers found that doesn't always happen.

    Insurance Group Ratings

  21. By Howard Kurtz
    Washington Post Staff Writer
    Monday, August 3, 2009

    In the days before President Obama's last news conference, as the networks weighed whether to give up a chunk of their precious prime time, Rahm Emanuel went straight to the top.

    Rather than calling ABC, the White House chief of staff phoned Bob Iger, chief executive of parent company Disney. Instead of contacting NBC, Emanuel went to Jeffrey Immelt, the chief executive of General Electric. He also spoke with Les Moonves, the chief executive of CBS, the company spun off from Viacom.

    Whether this amounted to undue pressure or plain old Chicago arm-twisting, Emanuel got results: the fourth hour of lucrative network time for his boss in six months. But network executives have been privately complaining to White House officials that they cannot afford to keep airing these sessions in the current economic downturn.

    The networks "absolutely" feel pressured, says Paul Friedman, CBS's senior vice president: "It's an enormous financial cost when the president replaces one of those prime-time hours. The news divisions also have mixed feelings about whether they are being used."

  22. According to the spokesman, among the priorities, healthcare policy reform, economic recovery and energy legislation would be discussed.

    The president would also urge senators to approve about 2 billion U.S. dollars more into a "Cash for Clunkers" program that lets consumers trade in gas-guzzling cars and trucks for more efficient vehicles, said Gibbs.

    The Obama administration has been pushing forward with its climate change and healthcare plans, among others, but the plans are unlikely to be approved by Congress before the August recess begins later this month, partly due to hesitations among his own Democrats.

    Birthday Lunch

  23. Kay Baily is buggin' out of DC, wanting to be Governor of Texas instead of a Senator in the minority, from Texas.

    Now Martin Frost, who represented the Dallas-Fort Worth area in Congress from 1979 to 2005, says that the Texas Senate seat is within a Democrats's reach.
    Read more:

  24. Russia signs oil contracts with Cuba.

    HAVANA, July 29 - Russia and Cuba have signed contracts that ”set the bases” for Russian oil company Zarubezhneft to search for oil in Cuba’s part of the Gulf of Mexico, Cuba’s state-run press said on Wednesday.

    In its online edition, Communist Party newspaper Granma said four oil-related contracts had been signed during a visit on Tuesday by Russian Deputy Prime Minister Igor Sechin to the island that was his country’s close ally during the Cold War.

    Granma, without providing details, said the oil pacts between Zarubezhneft and state-owned Cuba Petroleo ”set the bases for work in (Cuba’s) exclusive economic zone in the gulf.”

    Cuba said earlier this year that Russian companies had been given their pick of 15 blocs to lease in the Gulf of Mexico, but there was no mention of a lease signing in Granma or other news reports on Wednesday.

  25. ?How to Smell a Rat" is an informative look at recent and historic examples of fraudsters, how they operated, and how their scams could have been avoided.

    Author: Ken Fisher with Lara Hoffmans
    Hardcover: 224 pages

  26. Naftali Tzi Weisz, 61, entered his plea to one count of conspiracy and could face up to five years in prison at his scheduled sentencing on Nov. 16.

    Others who pleaded guilty to conspiracy charges were Yaacov Zeivald, 44; Yosef Nachum Naiman, 57; Alan Jay Friedman, 45; and Moshe Arie Lazar, 62, all of Los Angeles. They are scheduled to be sentenced in November.

    Prosecutors said Weisz and others helped donors avoid paying federal income taxes by having them make tax-deductible contributions to charitable groups run by Spinka, a New York-based Orthodox Jewish group led by Weisz.

    Fraud Case

  27. (CNN) -- Former US President Bill Clinton is headed to North Korea to negotiate the release of two American journalists imprisoned there since March, a source with detailed knowledge of the former president's movements said Monday.

  28. Sunlight is the cure!!!

    CNN - Denise Mann - ‎6 hours ago‎
    A whopping 70 percent of American kids aren't getting enough vitamin D, and such youngsters tend to have higher blood pressure and lower levels of good cholesterol than their peers, according to two new studies published this week in the ..

  29. But in Washington, a U.S. State Department official said about the news, ''I have no information.''

    The South Korean daily quoted an unidentified diplomatic source as saying that Clinton, whose wife is U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, was on his way to Pyongyang on a chartered flight.

    A senior South Korean government official said he has heard that Clinton is heading to North Korea.

    On Way to NK

  30. Again, we're ahead of the curve, at the EB, thanks to duece and whit, an assortment of others.

    Scientists study huge plastic patch in Pacific.

    Reuters - Steve Gorman, Dan Whitcomb - ‎53 minutes ago‎
    LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Marine scientists from California are venturing this week to the middle of the North Pacific for a study of plastic debris accumulating across hundreds of miles (km) of open sea dubbed the "Great Pacific Garbage ...

  31. "Discipline. It's what's for dinner."

    I love that.

    "I don't have that much personal discipline but I respond well to threats."

    That, too.

    And congrats to both.

    Caroline Baum at, via the Corner:

    Obama’s More-for-Less Health Care Doesn’t Add Up: Caroline Baum
    Share | Email | Print | A A A

    Commentary by Caroline Baum

    Aug. 3 (Bloomberg) -- President Barack Obama has been exhorting lawmakers to use the August recess to read health- care-reform bills currently before Congress.

    In other words, if the president had gotten his way, members would have voted first and read second legislation to revamp one-sixth of the U.S. economy. No wonder public support for both Obama and his health-care plan is eroding, according to recent polls.

    Yes, people are resistant to change, as the president noted, especially when it comes to something as important as their doctor. But maybe something else is at play: the growing realization that the numbers don’t add up.

    I listened to Obama’s July 29 town hall meeting in Raleigh, North Carolina, hoping to understand how the government plans to deliver more for less, to cover most of the 46 million uninsured Americans while lowering premiums, limiting out-of-pocket expenses and requiring insurance companies to cover preventive care.

    I heard Obama say a lot of people will get a lot more without anyone getting less.

    I heard him say two-thirds of the cost of covering everyone in America can be paid for “by money that is already in the health-care system.”

    I heard him say he favors a public option to increase competition and keep costs down.

    I heard him say he “will not sign a health-care bill that is not deficit neutral” and that doesn’t lower health-care inflation over the long term.

    Let’s see how some of these claims stack up:

    1. Mind Your P’s and Q’s

    Obama wants to insure more people and lower the total cost of care. In economic terms, he wants to control price (P) and quantity (Q). What makes Obama think he can repeal the law of supply and demand?

    To achieve higher Q and lower P, the supply curve has to shift outward, to the right. How does the government plan to increase the supply of health care? By making it less attractive to young men and women with a passion for medicine and a desire for independence?

    Obama says he wants to encourage medical students to become primary-care physicians via financial incentives, reversing the trend toward specialization, which is where the money is.

    Easier said than done, says Paul Feldstein, professor of health-care management at the Paul Merage School of Business, University of California, Irvine. “It takes a long time to produce more doctors.”

    Once the government starts to dictate budgets and salaries in an effort to control costs, medicine becomes a less attractive profession.

    Rationing is inevitable, Feldstein says, and there are only two options: with price and free choice or with regulation. Surely Obama spent enough time at the University of Chicago to understand his P’s and Q’s.


  32. [...]

    2. Inefficiencies of Scale

    Obama says his advisers have identified $500 billion to $600 billion of inefficiencies in the system that would pay for reforms. When was the last time the government wrung inefficiencies out of anything? Medicare is plagued with waste and fraud.

    Health-care reform is long overdue. We need a system that offers wider choice, proper incentives (eliminating fee-for- service) and subsidies for those who can’t afford it.

    We don’t need something that fails to cut costs and eliminates choice. Plan B anyone?

    3. Enhanced Competition

    Obama says the government needs to offer a public health- care option to encourage competition. This line of thinking leads “to the uncomfortable conclusion that the government must be a player in every industry,” says Cliff Asness, president of AQR Capital, a hedge fund in Greenwich, Connecticut, who debunks this and other health-care myths in a paper posted on his Web site.

    How do other industries manage to be highly competitive without Uncle Sam’s interference?

    Unless the public wants health-care outcomes akin to those of the nation’s schools -- another sector offering a “public option,” Asness points out -- Obama needs a better plan and a more convincing argument.

    4. Measuring the Right Stuff

    Obama has accused opponents of his health-care plan of “scaring everybody” with intimations of rationing. He scared back, telling his Raleigh audience last week that “if we do nothing, I can almost guarantee you your premiums will double.”


    Nice article.

  33. So what's Obama giving Kim for their release?

  34. Sending Bill Clinton to N. Korea to pick up a couple of wayward girls


    Talk about your "out of the frying pan," and "into the fire."


  35. "And congrats to both."

    Thanks, Trish.

    It's after midnight and time for a little music.This is for you

  36. An airborne search team saw the wreckage near Ampisibil village in Bintang Mountains Regency, at a height of 2,850 metres (9,300 feet), he added.

    The site of the crash is about 37 kilometres (23 miles) south of Oksibil.

    Indonesia relies heavily on air links across the archipelago but its safety record is one of the worst in Asia and accidents are common.

    Wreckage Found in Indonesia

  37. Sorry, viktor, but "this video is not available in your country due to copyright restrictions." Happens on occasion. (I think it's a ploy on youtube's part to frustrate me personally, without regard for any actual copyright restrictions, but I think that about a lot of things.)

  38. Okay, you're leaving me hanging here. What was it, viktor?

  39. Nope. That doesn't work either.

  40. Well Trish, I'm sorry it didn't work out.

    The first one was Chasing Cars by Snow Patrol.

    The second was Sad Songs by Elton John.

    However, I'm curious about this copyright thing.

    Try this non US version of Chasing Cars. Here

    If that doesn't work I have another idea.

  41. That doesn't work either.

    I don't think I've ever heard Chasing Cars. I've certainly never heard of Snow Patrol.

    Sad Songs I do know.

  42. OK, last try. I've put the song up at my site. Try listening there.

  43. Viktor, I HAVE heard that song and it's just gorgeous. Thanks.

  44. Trish

    I'm glad you liked it.

    If you ever want to listen to a song that you can't otherwise access leave a comment at my place and I will post it for you.

    Now, I must be off.


  45. I just like the valuable info you supply
    in your articles. I will bookmark your weblog
    and take a look at again here frequently. I am somewhat sure I'll be told a lot of new stuff right here! Good luck for the following!

    Here is my blog:

  46. Hi there! Quick question that's completely off topic. Do you know how to make your site mobile friendly? My site looks weird when viewing from my iphone4. I'm trying to find a template or plugin that might be able to resolve this issue.
    If you have any suggestions, please share. Thanks!

    Look into my website ... Www.Szakibazis.Com

  47. I do not know if it's just me or if everybody else experiencing issues with your website. It appears as though some of the text within your posts are running off the screen. Can somebody else please comment and let me know if this is happening to them as well? This might be a problem with my browser because I've had this happen before.
    Many thanks

    Feel free to surf to my web site exercises to increase vertical jump

  48. Howdy! Someone in my Myspace group shared this website with us
    so I came to take a look. I'm definitely loving the information. I'm bookmarking and will be tweeting this to my followers!
    Terrific blog and excellent style and design.

    My site ... workouts for vertical leap

  49. Pretty nice post. I just stumbled upon your
    blog and wanted to say that I've really enjoyed surfing around your blog posts. In any case I will be subscribing to your feed and I hope you write again soon!

    my web-site:

  50. This page truly has all of the information I wanted
    about this subject and didn't know who to ask.

    My page; Exercises To Improve Vertical Leap

  51. What's Taking place i'm new to this, I stumbled upon this I have found It positively useful
    and it has helped me out loads. I hope to contribute & help other customers like its helped me.
    Great job.

    Also visit my site - workouts to improve vertical

  52. Thanks designed for sharing such a good idea, piece of
    writing is pleasant, thats why i have read it completely

    Look at my webpage:

  53. Hello friends, how is all, and what you desire to say regarding this piece of writing, in my view its genuinely amazing designed for me.

    Feel free to surf to my blog:

  54. Hey very nice blog!

    Also visit my weblog: