“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."

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Interesting times in Europe

Ukrainians Are More European Than the French

13 MAY 26, 2014 10:17 AM EDT

Despite Russian President Vladimir Putin's assertions (here and here, for example) that "neo-Nazis" and "anti-Semites" rule the roost in Ukraine, the extreme right did badly in Sunday's Ukrainian election. It was in the European Parliament election, which ended on the same day, that they triumphed.
So if the European ideal is to create a citadel of tolerance and universal human values, who are the true Europeans?
Probably not those 25 percent of French voters who carried the National Front to victory on Sunday, or the 27 percent of British voters who ensured first place to the anti-immigrant the UK Independence Party. Could it rather be the Ukrainians who, according to preliminary results, gave their pro-European presidential candidate Petro Poroshenko a bigger share of the vote than his 20 rivals combined?
Sure, this is not quite a fair comparison. Those same French and U.K. voters would not have handed real power in their countries to the people they sent to the European Parliament. They voted the way they did to send a message to their own leaders and the EU's bureaucracy. Average turnout was 43 percent, compared to 60 percent in Ukraine (even many in the east could not vote due to instability and interference by pro-Russian separatists).
Most Ukrainians believed they were genuinely choosing their homeland's future. The ideas they support don't bear much relation to the anti-fascist propaganda from Moscow, which has been embraced by many in the EU.
According to exit polls, Dmitry Yarosh, the presidential candidate of the supposedly rampant neo-fascist Pravy Sektor won 1 percent of the vote. Oleh Tyahnybok of Svoboda, a party that might sit alongside Marine Le Pen’s National Front on the scale of extremism, won all of 1.3 percent.
Neither managed to do as well as Vadim Rabinovich, a businessman and the chairman of the European Jewish Parliament, who scored 2 percent.
The purity of Ukrainians' pro-European sentiment contrasts sharply with Europeans' grumbling: Even Yarosh and Tyahnybok, called for a speedy EU accession. The anti-EU vote was limited to about 10 percent, distributed among candidates who used to be close to deposed President Viktor Yanukovych and the communist contender. That is only a slightly higher percentage than Germans gave to the euroskeptic Alternative fuer Deutschland party.
If anything explains the paradox of the two votes it is immigration: Ukrainians want to be part of Europe and to be able to travel and work there, while many protest voters in the EU voted for the right precisely because they want to keep people like Ukrainians out.
Take Andreas Molzer, a prominent candidate for the Austrian Freedom Party. He had to abandon his European Parliament bid after decrying Europe's future as a "conglomerate of negroes," but the party won 20 percent of the vote, compared to 7.3 percent four years ago. Golden Dawn, a neo-Nazi party that is at least as extreme as Pravy Sektor, won 9 percent in Greece. The list of xenophobic victories in the EU election, one of the largest expressions of democratic process in the world, is distressing.
The EU is a remarkable bloc in which many of those who are in want out, but equal numbers of outsiders want in. The reasons for that are largely economic: People want better jobs and better lives, and they tend blame outsiders when they don't get them.
To become that citadel of tolerance and universal values, Europe has to concentrate on what's important. Instead of trying to regulate hairdressers footwear (no high heels, they are bad for your health if you have to stand when you work) or high-speed trading (what is there about it that separate countries cannot figure out?), the EU needs to show that a united labor market evens out imbalances rather than adding to local unemployment. It needs to refocus on creating jobs and integrating immigrants. And it needs to remember its original vocation of uniting Europe, keeping the doors open to those that aren't yet in. Even Ukraine.

To contact the writer of this article: Leonid Bershidsky at

To contact the editor responsible for this article: Marc Champion at


  1. There are many people that object to the results of the "West" winning the 'Cold War' ...
    The supply-side nightmare is comng home to roost, mainly amongst the 'working class'.

    The fall of the Iron and Bamboo curtains helped double the global labor supply, says Daniel Alpert in his new book, “The Age of Oversupply.”

    The expansion of the global labor force — and the sheer number of new workers now ready to truly go “head to head” with Americans and Europeans — has been especially stunning. Thirty years ago, most of the poorest people in the world lived in statist societies walled off from the global economy, and many were essentially peasants, inhabiting impoverished rural landscapes much as their ancestors had.

    All that has changed. Today, the world has a market labor force of roughly 3 billion people, many of whom are in a position to compete directly for a wide range of jobs held by workers in the developed world, thanks to the wonders of multinational corporations, the Internet and other features of a flat world.

    Of these 3 billion workers, nearly half live in China, India and the former Soviet Union. Which is to say that the fall of the Bamboo and Iron curtains, along with economic liberalization, has quite literally brought the other half of the world on line, doubling the global labor supply in the free market in the past two decades.

    So, he working class in the EU and the US is afraid. Afraid of the competition, afraid of the future that 'Victory' has brought their societies. Ronald Reagan got his way ..."We Win, They Lose" ... but never thought through the price of victory.

    "Behind the ostensible government sits enthroned an invisible government owing no allegiance and acknowledging no responsibility to the people." - Theodore Roosevelt


    1. Tallying up trends of recent decades, a 2012 study by the McKinsey Global Institute estimated that 1. 7 billion new workers joined the global labor force between 1980 and 2010, with most of this increase taking place in developing economies undergoing a “farm to factory” shift. The better pay of these jobs enabled some 620 million people to escape poverty.

      Keep this sea of cheap labor in mind the next time you pass an empty factory and wonder why America’s 150 million workers are having a hard time. Another thing to keep in mind is that this vast expansion of workers hasn’t just created an oversupply of labor but has also contributed to the oversupply of capital as hundreds of millions of people have emerged from peasant societies to work for wages and stash at least some of their earnings in savings accounts.

      In fact, because many of these workers live in countries with insufficient social safety nets or pensions (or in nations such as China, which is only slowly expanding its social protections), they tend to put away far more earnings than workers in developed countries. ...
      In 1988, China had a GDP of just $390 billion — and $144 million in gross savings. By
      2011, China had a GDP of $7. 3 trillion and an estimated $3. 8 trillion in gross savings. In a flash — at least in terms of its own long history — China went from being a poor country to one sitting on trillions in excess cash. This money piled up not just because the Chinese are such religious savers, but also because China initially didn’t move aggressively enough to expand public investments in the things that countries typically spend money on when they become rich: schools, libraries, parks, a social safety net, and so on.
      Shanghai has about the same climate as Washington, D. C. — and its public schools have no heating. (Go to a classroom when it’s cold, and you’ll see 40 children, all in their winter jackets, their breath forming clouds in the air.)

      Between 1998 and 2011, tax revenue as a percentage of China’s GDP nearly doubled, and China then dramatically stepped up its investments in infrastructure, energy and education. But this spending barely made a dent in the rising mountain of money. So, instead, all those dollars needed to be invested somewhere outside of China.

      All told, the total foreign-currency reserves of emerging nations rose from around $700 billion in 2000 to nearly $7 trillion in 2012. Meanwhile, several export powerhouses in the developed world also piled up more cash. Japan’s reserves tripled during the first decade of the 21 century, to over $1 trillion. Germany’s reserves also almost tripled, as did South Korea’s. What’s more, many of those nations getting richer fast were just as bad as China at consuming their new wealth.

      As a practical necessity, most of this money went looking for decent returns at relatively low risk of loss in — guess where? The United States and certain nations of Western Europe, with a seemingly limitless appetite for incurring debt of every kind — public, private and corporate.

    2. ... the age of oversupply hasn’t ended — and won’t anytime soon. Abundant labor, excess capital, and cheap money are here to stay.

      The expanding savings accounts of an exploding middle class represent only one reason, among others, that cheap money is going to keep flowing. Exports are another, as in the past. In fact, in the five years since the financial crisis, the foreign-currency reserve holdings of emerging countries have more than doubled, according to the IMF.

      Via extraordinary monetary-easing measures, the developed world’s central banks have turned trillions of dollars of financial investments into so much cash that it is metaphorically bulging out of the pockets of banks and other investors. Yet it is not getting lent and it is not getting invested in new capacity. Why?

      In a nutshell, the reason that the enormous ocean of liquidity is not being deployed is that there is so much global supply and excess capacity of labor, plants, equipment, and goods and services relative to present demand that there is little reason for private-sector investment in the development of additional capacity to produce additional supply.

      What we have on our hands is a supply-side nightmare ...

    3. This is the point at which societies, traditionally, have wars - real wars, not silly little part-time wars, like Iraq, and Afghanistan.

    4. Watched this last night ...
      The Soviet-German War, 1941-1945: Myths and Realities , from the US ArmyWar College.
      The toll was horrific, nearly 20 million combat deaths.

    5. Especially considering the size of the populations of the countries involved.
      And to think that some folks would discount the ferocity of the Russians, fighting in and for Russia, today.

      The Germans, they have had had over sixty years of propaganda to pacify them, the Russians have celebrated their participation in the Great Patriotic War, held the actions of their forebears up to be emulated. The people of the US, are mostly blind to the reality of WW2, having let others carry the water.

      The Campaign in North Africa, which the US and England promote as being oh, SO important ...
      Was nothing more than a side show in the real conflict.

      Quite disheartening, coming to terms with the ignorance propagated by the "Western" propagandists.

    6. Fairly early on, he mentioned 3 Soviet Armies going into, I think it was, Stalingrad, One of which had rifles.

      I think you might have to discount, to some extent, "Armies that don't have rifles."

    7. The Chinese did the same in Korea.
      The US burned up the barrels of the 155's to stop them.

      And remember, the Russian won.
      The Tiger tanks, the Panthers, even though sophisticated could not kill enough to the T34s to save Berlin.

      Kursk tells the tale of mass beating sophistication.

      This video from the USAWC describes the US Civil War and Lee's goals at Gettysburg

      Resources times Will = Victory or Defeat.

      When the Germans reached zero resources, all the will in the world could not save them.
      While the Soviets had much less in material, but much more will. Their sending troos into the fight, without rifles, an illustration of that. Like the Chi-coms in Korea, where the US barely managed to hang-on to the status que.

    8. ... enough OF the T34s to save Berlin.

    9. Yeah, but I'm just saying, all numbers get inflated, re-inflated, and re-inflated again, in War. I know we did it in Vietnam, and I'm pretty sure it's common in all armies, everywhere.

      Just because some old general down in Bulgaria, for ex., said he had 20 Divisions, doesn't mean he really had 20 divisions.

      I'm not disputing your general thesis, I'm just saying all numbers have to be taken with a grain of salt in war.

    10. If you listen to th Colonel, he's saying that the Russians have hidden the true costs of the Great Patriotic War, for reasons he did not elaborate due to time. But that their casualties were higher than rported. The Soviets were downplaying the costs, not inflating them. They were the "Winners" and they wrote the history.

      But that with the 'opening' after the collapse of the Soviet system some of the unspun truth was becoming known.
      Millions upon millions of men died on the Eastern Front, and that is the bottom line.
      Whether it was 10 million or 20 million, does not matter much, especially to a country that believes that 4,200 KIA in eight years of combat is a "War".

    11. Yeah, I got all that, Rat. I'm just saying that, when they say they lost an army here, and an army there, they may not be referring to entities to which we would automatically ascribe the appellation, "army."

      For one thing, IIRC, the majority of Germans trudged into Russia behind horse-drawn carts (not on the backs of Tigers,) and, now, we find they were often met by masses of men without weapons.

      I'm not disputing the accuracy of the man's casualty count, but I'm not at all sure that the Russians had many Generals that would have wanted to go up against Patton's 3rd Army, being supported by the 8th Air Force.

    12. The problem, for US, rufus, was that Patton's 3rd Army was out of gas for long periods of time.

      by September, the fast-moving "Lucky Forward" was lucky to be counting its advancements in yards. The key was logistics.

      On 28 August, Patton summed it up this way,
      "At the present time our chief difficulty is not the Germans, but gasoline. If they would give me enough gas, I could go all the way to Berlin!"
      Using 300,000 gallons of fuel each day itself, the Express pointed out what was becoming grossly obvious to tactical commanders, the Allies were running out of gas. On 28 August, Patton's army was forced to ease up when its fuel allocation fell 100,000 gallons short. Even though gasoline was in abundance in Normandy, the Red Ball could not transport it in sufficient quantities to the Third's forward units.
      On 31 August, after receiving no fuel at all, Patton's spearheads came to a halt.
      Concurrently with his fuel problems, Patton experienced two other situations which began to jab at his side during this first part of September. First, as the Third Army became more stationary, it began to use its larger caliber artillery weapons, causing an ammunition shortage. There was no way to build up ammunition stockage because all available trucks were transporting fuel. As the Lorraine campaign continued, shortages would also be felt in clothing, rations, tires and antifreeze for the quickly approaching winter months.
      The campaign through Lorraine. France, in World War II truly demonstrated that logistics is the key to battle. Patton was an aggressive and powerful commander, but logistics controlled his ability to maneuver. At the beginning of the campaign, when he raced through France gambling with tactics and doctrine wherever he went, he achieved great successes. However, by September he realized that eventually in logistics you must repay and restock the hands that are feeding you. His neglect of fuel and ammunition shortages cost the entire army until finally he was forced to stop and regroup.

      Refuel on the Move: Resupplying Patton’s Third Army -
      Captain Daniel G. Grassi - Quartermaster Professional Bulletin - Summer 1993


    13. They must have thought that they would be resupplying "Montgomery." :) :)

  2. After viewing the Robert Welch video that Deuce posted yesterday, I watched a couple more of his missives ...

    I do recall being taught that the JBS were a bunch of 'wackos', but looking at what Mr Welch was saying, back in 1958, well it seems more prophetic than 'crazy'. His telling of history much more in-line with my current perception of it, than not.

    "History is the version of past events that people have decided to agree upon." - Napoleon Bonaparte

    1. I would change that to:

      "History is the version of events that The Winners have decided to agree upon."

  3. By 6 June 1944, the German army was in full, if orderly, retreat in the East. Surrender was inevitable - the only questions being when and whether Hitler would live to see it. The war was over and the Soviet had paid the price in blood.

    Hitler's Germany, with considerable support from other Europeans, knew that, unless defeated in detail, the USSR would dominate Western Europe. The Soviet was the elephant in the room, being held in check only by the insane paranoia of its leader. Once brought to full potential under rational leadership, it would be indomitable.

    No disrespect intended, but the USA never met a German force, other than during the Bulge, that was not in the process of retreat or in a defensive posture. Like the German General Staff, I think the Bulge was an insane waste of men and material, without any hope of success. It was nothing more than the last delusional command of a mad man.

    As to Memorial Day, I respectfully remind those giving thanks that I am not dead and that my day comes in November. It most be the most misunderstood of all American holidays.

  4. Why Obama Is Leaving 10000 Troops in Afghanistan - TIME
    Obama seeks to cut troop level in Afghanistan to 5000 by end of 2015 - Los Angeles Times - by Christi Parsons

    Obama to announce plans to leave 9800 US troops in Afghanistan - Reuters

    Is 9,800 the same as 10,000 and does that equal 5,000?
    Details are not the stuff of headlines.

  5. If the Japanese had not attacked the USA at Pearl Harbor but had instead attacked the Russians in the east, as the Germans were urging them to do, the Germans would have been able to prevail over the Russians in the west and the outcome would have been considerably different.

  6. Bob's right.

    The Japanese lost the war for the Germans.

    1. Psychological ResearcherTue May 27, 03:34:00 PM EDT

      That bob is always right.

    2. Guy is a genius. Knows everything. Even things I don't know.

      He's never wrong, about anything at all.

    3. Fjord OlesvensensonTue May 27, 03:40:00 PM EDT

      In the brains department, only guy that comes close to Bob is Quirk.

      Quirk though has his good and his bad days.

  7. West Virginia Senate seat is going to the Republicans, is lost for the democrats -

    Because of Obama's war on coal and war on coal workers.....

  8. Tea Party strong in Texas -

    (Reuters) - Texas conservatives are hoping to win two major Republican run-off elections on Tuesday, for lieutenant governor and attorney general, underscoring the Tea Party’s enduring influence in the state.

    Those two races were left undecided after no single candidate crossed the 50 percent threshold in the March 4 Republican primary, setting the stage for what has been a bruising run-off election between establishment candidates and conservative challengers who have the backing of both the Tea Party movement and its Texas star, U.S. Senator Ted Cruz.

    The winner of Tuesday's run-offs will go on to face a Democrat in the November elections.

    In the race for Lieutenant Governor, Tea Party favorite State Senator Dan Patrick took 41.5 percent of the vote in the four-candidate March primary, and is favored to win on Tuesday. The three-term incumbent, David Dewhurst, finished with 28 percent.

    The run-off race for state attorney general features a similar showdown, after Tea Party-backed State Senator Ken Paxton took 44 percent of the primary vote and State Representative Dan Branch won 34 percent.

    The current attorney general, Republican Greg Abbott, already has his party's backing to face Democrat Wendy Davis in the race for Texas governor in November.

    Nationally, the movement for smaller government that takes its name from the 18th century U.S. revolt against British colonial rule has seen its strength wane this year. That does not appear to be the case in Texas.

    "Republican politics in Texas has become a race to the right," said Republican strategist Bill Miller. "I do think the Republican Party could be eclipsed by the Tea Party here."

    One exception to the Tea Party's expected dominance on Tuesday could come in a Dallas-area congressional race. Congressman Ralph Hall, a 91-year-old lawmaker running for an 18th term, is favored over his Tea Party-backed challenger, John Ratcliffe, a former U.S. Attorney.

    Hall, the oldest serving member of the U.S. House, has a host of conservative backers of his own, including U.S. Representative Michele Bachman and former Congressman Ron Paul.

    While Ratcliffe, 48, has tried to use Hall’s age against him, Hall has embraced it. In a television ad, Hall pointed to a wrinkle and said he had earned it battling liberal policies.

    "By gosh, I’ve got room for a few more wrinkles," he said.

  9. ...surrounded by sock puppets...

    A false online identity, typically created by a person or group in order to promote their own opinions or views. (Oxford)


    Exaggerated or obsessive enthusiasm for or preoccupation with one thing. (Oxford)


    The most expedient means of killing a blog. (Horseradish)

  10. This comment has been removed by the author.

  11. There's an owl hooting outside my window, low and soothing, a very soft hoooo,hooooo.........but what's he dong in the heat of the day?.......he should be in a tree trunk somewhere......curled up in the cool.....

  12. Tyrants - sometimes, depending - make life simpler -

    Israel better off with Arab tyrants
    Op-ed: In the name of our egoistic interest, we only want dictators in our neighborhood. Let Washington deal with democracy and freedom of expression.
    Published: 05.27.14, 00:37 / Israel Opinion

    Egyptian polling stations opened Monday morning across the country. Tens of thousands of inspectors-judges, representatives of civil organizations, foreign diplomats and even representatives of the Arab League have arrived to ensure that no one would try to tamper with the ballots.

    Follow Ynetnews on Facebook and Twitter

    The truth is that there is no need for that. Barring any dramatic surprises, "Egypt's strongman," Field Marshal Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, will be the president. All surveys grant the second candidate, Hamdeen Sabahi, symbolic success. Sabahi himself is already offering his services, hoping that they'll just take him, as the prime minister or vice president.

    Egypt-Israel Ties
    Israel in danger without Egypt's army in Sinai, says al-Sisi / Roi Kais, Attila Somfalvi
    'If the consequences of terror in Sinai necessitate changing the peace accord, then we will and Israel will not object to that because it is aware of the gravity of the situation,' Egyptian presidential candidate says.
    Full story
    Next week will be the turn of the sweeping victory in Syria. After arranging two anonymous "rivals" for himself and forcibly taking the right to vote from the six million refugees who have run away from him, Bashar Assad will be the "rais" for the third time. He will of course justify himself by saying that "that's what the nation wants," and no one will be able to force him to keep promises or create reforms.

    The reason is so prosaic: Up until this moment he hasn't even bothered presenting a political platform or economic programs. He doesn't have to. Bashar will win for certain, and after the elections, as they say, everything will work out (for him).

    In the past few days I have been hearing more and more complaints from people I talk to in the Arab world that Israel – and the criticism focuses constantly on Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu – only wants dictators in our neighborhood. We democrats don't care about the Arab Spring, the protests, the terrible economic distress, the refugees and the terror attacks.

    My interlocutors present irrefutable proof of their claim, how Israeli messengers are lobbying vigorously, as we speak, for the waiting president al-Sisi among the high echelons of the administration in Washington. Netanyahu, they say instinctively, is insisting on not getting in Bashar's way. He is the only one he wants in the palace.

    It's not our problem
    Between you and me, they're right. We're better off with dictators. A look at the 22 states of the Arab world provides a feeling that it's more helpful for us to have a rais with iron fists in charge of the security and army systems. Any other adventure, in the name of freedom of expression and human rights, is asking for trouble.

    Al-Sisi has already thrown a crushing remark towards all those developing high expectations, that this is not the time to dream about democracy. First of all, he will build the country, and the economy, and the investments, and the tourism, and will settle the score with the Islamists. Good for him.


    1. From our angle, the important thing is that he promised Sinai would not be a center of terror against Eilat, and all the rest is the problem of 90 million people in Egypt. It's not our problem.

      Two-thirds of the citizens of the neighboring countries – Egypt, Syria, Lebanon, Jordan – and the countries in the second circle – Saudi Arabia, Morocco, Tunisia and Iraq – are young people under the age of 30. Some of them are university graduates, the large majority is unemployed and frustrated, and the government only gives a hoot about them when they go out to protest against it.

      We have no access to them. They can continue tweeting on the social networks. Their blogs, believe me, are fascinating. But when it comes to government versus government, we only want contact – above or under the table – with dictators.

      At the end of the day, this is not the time for the bleeding hearts. In the name of the egoistic interest, we vote for Bashar, we support al- Sisi, we are willing to make an effort for the Jordanian royal family to live on, and in the meantime it doesn't matter that Hassan Nasrallah is interfering in the election of a new president in Lebanon or that Iraq's manipulating prime minister, Nouri al-Maliki, runs to Tehran for operating instructions.

      We will not prevent the dictators' from giving food to the masses, raising investments, building factories, and throwing whoever they want in jail. Let the government in Washington rack its brains about democracy and freedom of expression. We are not taking any chances. We are better off with tyrants.


  13. Hospitals hiking cost on the poor due to … ObamaCare

    Share on Facebook 300 417 SHARES
    There are multiple levels of irony in this New York Times report on the impact of ObamaCare on poor patients in the nation’s hospitals. Congress demanded the power to revamp the health-insurance industry and expand Medicaid in order to help the poor get better medical care for less money. In reality, the opposite appears to be happening, as hospitals attempt to force the poor into ObamaCare:

    Hospital systems around the country have started scaling back financial assistance for lower- and middle-income people without health insurance, hoping to push them into signing up for coverage through the new online marketplaces created under the Affordable Care Act.

    The trend is troubling to advocates for the uninsured, who say raising fees will inevitably cause some to skip care rather than buy insurance that they consider unaffordable. Though the number of hospitals tightening access to free or discounted care appears limited so far, many say they are considering doing so, and experts predict that stricter policies will become increasingly common.
    Why did this unintended consequence occur? In part, because ObamaCare penalizes hospitals for extending charitable assistance:

    Driving the new policies is the cost of charity care, which is partly covered by government but remains a burden for many hospitals. The new law also reduces federal aid to hospitals that treat large numbers of poor and uninsured people, creating an additional pressure on some to restrict charity care.
    Got that? The law that supposedly answered the fierce urgency of now in assisting the poor penalizes providers for, er, assisting the poor. They want to force low-income patients to either enroll in an ObamaCare plan, or to accept Medicaid coverage — even though fewer and fewer providers will see patients with either coverage.

    This sets up a damned-if-they-do conundrum for hospitals, which have been the front line of caring for the poor:

    1. “Do we allow our charity care programs to kick in if people are unwilling to sign up?” said Nancy M. Schlichting, chief executive of the Henry Ford Health System in Detroit. “Our inclination is to say we will not, because it just seems that that defeats the purpose of what the Affordable Care Acthas put in place.”

      But advocates for the uninsured point out that many Americans avoided obtaining coverage in the inaugural enrollment period of the Affordable Care Act this year because they found the plans too expensive, even with subsidies. Many uninsured people also remain unaware of the new insurance options, And immigrants who are in the country illegally are not even eligible to apply.
      Most hospitals are not reducing charitable service to those who fall under the federal poverty level, the NYT’s Abby Goodnough reports. It’s a different story, though, for those who earn between 200-400% of the federal poverty level, where Medicaid eligibility ends and the mandate requires everyone to buy coverage and accept subsidies. Thanks to the new federal restrictions on charity, hospitals have to focus their efforts on the neediest patients — and everyone else gets stuck with the bill.

      These are the kinds of things that one might have foreseen had Congress not been in such a rush to pass a bill without carefully reading through its language. On that point, CNS News and the Daily Surge note a moment of supreme irony last week in the debate over how to fix the VA:

      “We have not held a hearing on this legislation. And some of us are old-fashioned enough to know that maybe folks in the Senate might want to know what is in the bill before we voted on it.”

      Nope, those aren’t the words of a Republican shaming the Democrats during the Obamacare debate–it’s none other than Bernie Sanders! Taken from the Senate floor just a couple of days ago, the “Independent” senator from Vermont is suddenly urging caution when it comes to passing bills. Why? Well, it was barely two two weeks ago that we told you Bernie has been quivering in his Socialist boots over the VA scandal. As Chairman of the Veterans Affairs Committee, the effects of a probe into the misconduct at VA hospitals has a good chance of showering a pot full of slop onto him personally, and in a tense midterm election year, he obviously does NOT want to be associated with this scandal on any level.