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Posted at 8:42 AM ET, 02/ 9/2011

The Morning Plum

By Greg Sargent

* The Democrats face a dilemma on job creation: What to watch for: Senate Dems are set to go to their retreat for the rest of the week, where they will try to figure out how to come up with a job-creation agenda at a time when official Washington -- including many Dems -- seems consumed with prioritizing reductions in spending and the deficit.

Thought: Maybe those priorities are the problem?

* Cantor to explain to Obama how business works in America: With Obama set to host GOP leaders at the White House today, Chris Moody reports that Eric Cantor has a message to deliver:

[I]f given the opportunity, he will explain to the president that businesses do not have a "responsibility" to the nation or to the government in the way Obama explained in his speech to the Chamber of Commerce earlier this week.

Moody has the rest of Cantor's message here. I'm looking forward to the readout on that conversation.

* More on the House GOP's push to defund health law: The GOP's measure to defund the law next week will be an amendment to the larger bill to fund the government, meaning that it will get tied up in efforts to keep the government funded.

Key takewaway: The battle over the law is becoming so all-consuming that it will spill into other arenas.

* House GOP advancing socially conservative agenda with language of fiscal restraint: Good read from Jennifer Steinhauer, gets inside GOP efforts to move two bills through the House that would greatly restrict funding of and access to abortion in service of controlling spending, a sign that social conservatism is unexpectedly alive and well in today's GOP.

* Patriot Act failure a sign of restiveness within GOP ranks: Paul Kane and Felicia Sonmez have the overview of yesterday's defeat of the extension of key Patriot Act provisions, which reveals a "sizable resistance to compromise" from Tea Party freshmen and other House conservatives.

* But don't expect ideological consistency from the Tea Party: While some did oppose the Patriot Act, Stephen Stromberg points out that the real test will be whethether Tea Partyers will oppose intrusive government on big social issues like gay marriage, abortion, and the separation of church and state.

Hint: They won't.

* Tea Party reality check of the day: Indeed, Steve Benen takes a closer look at the Patriot Act vote and finds that the vast majority of the Tea Party caucus actually supported it. So there you have it!

* Fact-check of the day: Post fact-checker Glenn Kessler absolutely demolishes Donald Rumsfeld's audacious falsehood that Saddam threw out the inspectors, which is repeated endlessly on the right to this day.

* Arianna Huffington's next act: Dana Milbank has an interesting look at Arianna's place in history, and while I think the idea that she's moving away from the left is a bit too pat, he makes a strong case for why she's "one of the extraordinary personalities of our time" who is "always chasing the next big idea, wherever it is on the ideological spectrum."

* The traditional media is doomed! DOOMED! Also: Felix Salmon explains why The New York Times will lose to HuffPo.

* Blue Dog Dems have their tails between their legs: Josh Kraushaar takes a look at why the Blue Dogs are suddenly discovering their bark is a lot worse than their bite.

* Olbermann finally free to donate to political candidates: Interesting nugget: As part of his new Current TV deal, Al Gore will allow Keith to donate to political candidates to his heart's content, as long as he discloses it to viewers.

* And why are scientists predominantly liberal? Paul Krugman takes a stab at an explanation:

Does this reflect discrimination, or the tendency of people who actually know science to reject a political tendency that denies climate change and is broadly hostile to the theory of evolution?

Hmm. The latter? And what else is happening?

By Greg Sargent  | February 9, 2011; 8:42 AM ET
Categories:  Foreign policy and national security, Health reform, House GOPers, Morning Plum, Tea Party  
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Next: Newsflash: Tea Party didn't kill Patriot Act

Comments

UNC-Duke at 9 PM tonight.

Posted by: DDAWD | February 9, 2011 8:50 AM | Report abuse

RE: The "No Taxpayer Funding for Abortions Act" (Jennifer Steinhauer piece, above)

Is it me, or did the House GOP just agree that tax expenditures constitute spending? They have had the position for years that tax expenditures are in fact tax breaks, and therefore separate from spending. Are they now willing to eliminate other tax expenditures to reduce spending? Somebody needs to ask....

Posted by: jamois | February 9, 2011 8:54 AM | Report abuse

"he will explain to the president that businesses do not have a "responsibility" to the nation or to the government in the way Obama explained in his speech to the Chamber of Commerce earlier this week."

Cantor is correct, of course. Corporations are psychopathic organizations with no obligation to anyone but their shareholders. (Highly recommended: Corporation: The Pathological Pursuit of Profit and Power, by Joel Bakan). We should stop pretending that corporations are loyal Americans. They aren't. Corporations care nothing about the United States or the World. See Global Warming, for starters.

Posted by: wbgonne | February 9, 2011 8:58 AM | Report abuse

The "Blue Dog" link illustrates the consequence of redistricting as a political game. Most CDs become incontestably R or D.
That leads to a HoR in which moderation is rare. It became almost extinct on the R side first, but it will soon be an antique remembrance on the D side, too.

Partisans tend to despise the moderates of their own parties but look favorably upon the the opposing party's moderates.
The resulting polarization looks illogical to moderate voters. And there are more of us than there are pols who represent us, unfortunately for us, and we think, unfortunately for America.

Posted by: mark_in_austin | February 9, 2011 9:00 AM | Report abuse

In clicking on the link tao (TM) provided last night to Reason (TM) magazine, I see that Townhall (TM) has a straw poll up for favorite conservative presidential candidate next election and way at the top is Sarah Palin (TM) at 22.3 with Romney (TM) at 14.

It might get interesting as Kristol's recent comments on Palin and Beck echo around.

Posted by: bernielatham | February 9, 2011 9:00 AM | Report abuse

Yike?

"WikiLeaks cables: Saudi Arabia cannot pump enough oil to keep a lid on prices
US diplomat convinced by Saudi expert that reserves of world's biggest oil exporter have been overstated by nearly 40%"

http://www.guardian.co.uk/business/2011/feb/08/saudi-oil-reserves-overstated-wikileaks

Posted by: bernielatham | February 9, 2011 9:02 AM | Report abuse


This twitter is hilarious - the tweets like these are not allowed on the blogs.

The terms of service would never allow it. This site is forbidden.


http://twitter.com/#!/MayorRahmE


Rahm thinks that he is going to coast in - Too many people hate him for that

At this point, Rahm's fiscal proposals fall far short.

So, Rahm is running now - he is supposed to have his proposals ready - RAHM'S BUDGET FALLS SHORT AND FAILS TO ADDRESS THE PROBLEM. Any person voting for Rahm is making a mistake.

Cillizza might say the address of this page is @MayorRahmE on twitter, but I don't know about that.

.

Posted by: RainForestRising | February 9, 2011 9:05 AM | Report abuse

"Partisans tend to despise the moderates of their own parties but look favorably upon the the opposing party's moderates.
The resulting polarization looks illogical to moderate voters. And there are more of us than there are pols who represent us, unfortunately for us, and we think, unfortunately for America."

Just what is a "moderate voter"?

Does he or she wish to protect Social Security? Does he want a public health insurance plan to choose from? Does he want to see marijuana legalized? Does he want taxes raised on Rich Americans? Does he or she want to ensure that his or her children have the same beautiful planet to treasure?

that his or

Posted by: wbgonne | February 9, 2011 9:08 AM | Report abuse

Later.

Posted by: wbgonne | February 9, 2011 9:13 AM | Report abuse

The reason for the focus on social issues, by Republicans in office?... They have nothing else to offer! They have no real idea how to meaningfully cut spending or create jobs, and so they are throwing the only "bone" they have to offer to their base - social issues and attacking abortion rights. It's the same old smokescreen being hauled out again.

Posted by: WallysSon | February 9, 2011 9:15 AM | Report abuse

@DDAWD

UNC-Duke at 9PM.

Did you go to school on tobacco road or is it you're simply a basketball fan?

Posted by: rukidding7 | February 9, 2011 9:18 AM | Report abuse

jumpinjesus... the NRO poll today has the fun question - How do you rate Rumsfeld's tenure as Sec Def...

sub-par - 9%
disastrous - 10%
average - 26%
extraordinary - 56%

Posted by: bernielatham | February 9, 2011 9:18 AM | Report abuse

UNC. And we've made it into the rankings. (I know, not a huge accomplishment for the program, but we've been out of the top 25 for almost the whole season) And our guard play has been developing real well, so it should be a good game.

Posted by: DDAWD | February 9, 2011 9:25 AM | Report abuse

Obama's "responsibility" comment really does seem like a divide between left and right. Ironic that the party of "responsibility", be it personal or corporate is the Democratic party.

Posted by: matt_ahrens | February 9, 2011 9:29 AM | Report abuse

@mark in austin

Agree 100% with your insight at 9:00AM

I linked yesterday to a piece showing the redistricting battle here in Florida.

Like most states Florida has suffered from egregious gerrymandering under BOTH parties.

In an effort to clean up the mess our voters had a ballot initiative..actually a pair of Amendments 4 & 5 that forced our state legislature to redraw the new districts according to geographical, and population metrics, nothing based on demographics or political consideration.

The Voters passed these measures by a large plurality despite all the screaming coming out of Tallahassee. Our republican legislature actually tried to slip a subsequent amendment on the same ballot that would negate the decision of 4 &5.
A judge saw through the legislature's lame and IMHO horrible attempt to thwart the will of the people.

Now we have a fraudster tea party Governor, he is such scum I don't wish to defame the entire R party..he is a tea party success story, who won by the narrowest margin in our state's history.
A margin BTW dwarfed by the results of the "fair district" amendments.

And so Dictator Rick Scott is sitting on implementation of those Amendments. His predecessor RINO Charlie Crist had moved forward with the process only to have it stopped by Dictator Rick.

A small postscript. Dictator Scott is now being sued for failure to act on the "will of the people" as clearly expressed at the ballot box.

Posted by: rukidding7 | February 9, 2011 9:31 AM | Report abuse

Earth to Sarge Greg: The blue dogs don't have much bite because most of them got shellacked last November along with the Obamacrat lickspittles.

The big "D" after their names was the kiss 'o death. Looks like more of the same for 2012.

I have come to the conclusion that Obama is a cosmopolitan, community organizer version of the worst of Carter and Clinton.

A weird combination, indeed.

Posted by: battleground51 | February 9, 2011 9:33 AM | Report abuse

Rumsfeld on Limbaugh's show yesterday...

"We are up against a vicious enemy, the radical Islamists are there, they intend to try to create a caliphate in this world and fundamentally alter the nature of nation states, and we're reluctant to engage in the competition of ideas and point out what they really are and how vicious they are. This current administration is even afraid to say the word Islamist. And we need to fight. We need to be willing to say what it is and be willing to tackle it. And thank goodness for people like you who are willing to do it."

http://www.salon.com/news/egyptian_protests/index.html?story=/opinion/walsh/2011/02/08/rumsfeld_limbaugh_caliphate

And how long before Muslim Califatism and the Homosexual Agenda team up?

Posted by: bernielatham | February 9, 2011 9:37 AM | Report abuse

@DDAWD

I used to live in South Carolina as well as the Tri Cities of TN/VA. I am well aware of ACC basketball and in particular the games of the season...any contest between Duke/UNC.

Good luck tonight. I have more Tarheel friends than Blue Devil friends...generally though I simply root for a good game. Another thing that drives my rooting interest is "parity". Since Duke has been so tough the past few years and you guys are underdogs...I'll root for your team tonight DDAWD. :-)

Posted by: rukidding7 | February 9, 2011 9:38 AM | Report abuse

The Obamacrat solution to creating jobs:

"Create more big, government boondoggles so we can hire more bureaucrats faster than private industry can lay them off".

Posted by: battleground51 | February 9, 2011 9:41 AM | Report abuse

Falling into the Big Friggin Surprise category...

"Cops: We Haven't Heard Any Of The 'Threats' That Nixed Palin Event"

http://tpmdc.talkingpointsmemo.com/2011/02/cops-we-havent-heard-any-of-the-threats-that-nixed-palin-event.php?ref=fpb

Posted by: bernielatham | February 9, 2011 9:41 AM | Report abuse

Yeah the corporations have no responsibility to the country that enables them to do business.

Just build roads for us to ge our junk to market on, deliver us educated (and obedient) workers, put out fires, keep society stable, keep the nation secure, and don't expect us to contribute a bloody penny or employ one more worker that we can do without by putting the squeeze on the few we employ. And oh, by the way, fụck you.

Someone please give Eric Cantor a swift kick in the balls.

Posted by: caothien9 | February 9, 2011 9:42 AM | Report abuse

"Since Duke has been so tough the past few years and you guys are underdogs...I'll root for your team tonight DDAWD. :-)"

Well, we did win the National Championship two years ago...but any rooting for us would be great since we are definite underdogs tonight. Thanks!

Posted by: DDAWD | February 9, 2011 9:46 AM | Report abuse

wbgonne, some moderate voters see the same sets of domestic problems that liberals do but do not take the federal government to be the default choice as a first responder.

The moderate voters of whom I speak [there are at least two of us, so I can use the plural] were more impressed with conservatives who offered alternatives than with conservatives who denied the existence of the problems. Those conservatives were the ones who are now labeled "RINOs" or "Kevin Willis" by their copartisans.

Those moderate voters of whom I speak did not want a "public option" or expanded Medicare, but were OK with Wyden-Bennett, and really thought PPACA was a barely tolerable mess. "Barely tolerable" b/c it seems a better than the status quo ante. A mess because it is a mess.

Those moderate voters of whom I speak are generally friends of small biz and see the federal govt. as typically friendly to Big Biz, Big Banking, and Big Labor. They wonder how it is that they can no longer get LOC loans to be enable them to bid contracts when they have good credit records, thus forcing them to lay off long time employees. They do not understand why their Congresspersons no longer answer with anything other than a form letter "...share your concerns...", "...many priorities...", etc.

They don't like gratuitous regulation that increases their paperwork compliance but has no real world effect otherwise - like the 1099m provision slipped into PPACA. Fortunately, everyone now agrees that was a wart on the nose of progress, but who the h-ll had that idea to begin with?

Posted by: mark_in_austin | February 9, 2011 9:48 AM | Report abuse

Thanks to DDAWD and ruk for trying to teach ScottC to read, but really you should only take on promising pupils.

My actual words are there for anyone to read. FTR, I like 12BR, like her a lot, she's the only person on here (the entire Post, not just PL) I've spoken with on the phone. And truth be known every time I go after someone like tao9 who uses religion as a cudgel there's a little nagging voice reminding me of my respect for 12Bar and my deep desire to not offend her and a few times I've written her to make sure she knows this.

Because she's one of those grand people for whom faith isn't a bunt instrument, but a source of goodness and warmth and humanity, and while I can't bring myself to believe in God I'm very mixed in my feelings about those who do.

She and I have discussed this, and (hope I'm not betraying a confidence) she is aware how goofy the belief is to an atheist. And I am an atheist, have been one over 40 years, but I try not to be a militant one. But when it comes to the cudgel-bearers and the snotty fundamentalist types I'm going to hold my ground. Keep your hands off science, and don't bloody tell me that believing in a spirit is a prerequisite to leading a moral life.

Posted by: caothien9 | February 9, 2011 9:52 AM | Report abuse

RUK, It is good that Scott is being sued - should be a mandamus action I would guess.

Posted by: mark_in_austin | February 9, 2011 9:53 AM | Report abuse

"Stephen Stromberg points out that the real test will be whethether Tea Partyers will oppose intrusive government on big social issues like gay marriage, abortion, and the separation of church and state."

Won't the Tea Partyers perform a sort of "punt" on those issues by saying they are state rights issues (church and state issue excluded)? The state rights claim will be there cover for restricting abortion, prohibiting gay marriage and other socially conservative policies.

As for Cantor's comment, I know how we liberals feel about it and how the conservative posters feel about this, but his blunt statement has to make many "independents" uncomfortable right? I mean its an odd juxtaposition where our troops are lauded for fighting to protect our free market and Obama is vilified for allegedly trying to end it (overwhelming evidence to the contrary notwithstanding) yet the corporations that enjoy the right to buy elections and the benefits of our free market owe no loyalty to anyone but their shareholders?

Posted by: ashotinthedark | February 9, 2011 9:58 AM | Report abuse

Regarding the Patriot Act .... Twenty-six Republicans voted with 122 Democrats to oppose the measure, while 67 Democrats voted with 210 Republicans to back it.


Are you going to demand ideological consistency from these 67 dems? They voted for intrusion in one area, should we expect them to vote with the social conservatives in the areas you mention?

Posted by: NoVAHockey | February 9, 2011 10:01 AM | Report abuse

Talk about and early flameout. The shellacking was over jobs, every poll says this, there is no indication that anyone wants to revisit the pelvic issues anymore, but there're the Republicans, doing nothing about jobs, and back to obsessing over abortion and gays.

And worse: they're echoing that harpey Fiorinia, circling the wagons for big business and defending the most unscrupulous business climate since the Robber Barons, if not in all American history.

The attack ads write themselves.

Enjoy your two years, you psychopathic bashterds. It's all you'll have.

Posted by: caothien9 | February 9, 2011 10:02 AM | Report abuse

"he will explain to the president that businesses do not have a "responsibility" to the nation or to the government"

How patriotic and American of Cantor.

I don't know where this modern crop of Republican leaders loyalty lies cause it sure as heck ain't here in the U.S.

Country first? Fat chance.

And re NC/Duke.

I had a chance to see them play from Box seats at the NC Stadium in Raleigh when I lived there years ago. Was a great atmosphere.

Posted by: mikefromArlington | February 9, 2011 10:02 AM | Report abuse

Oh and DDAWD and rukidding, I will be watching the Duke/UNC game with considerable contempt as my saddness of the collaps of MSU's season shifts to anger.

Posted by: ashotinthedark | February 9, 2011 10:03 AM | Report abuse

Arianna is slick. Considering how her political views drift in which ever way will make her a buck, I could see how she'll strip her followers away from the Democratic party and further splinter them into groups.

From her platform, writers have hammered this admin from day one on everything from financial reform to stimulus to not nationalizing the banks to health care reform. They've nitpicked to death every issue and sensationalized all the bad and not much of the good.

That phony is bad for the Democratic party.

Posted by: mikefromArlington | February 9, 2011 10:07 AM | Report abuse

[Greg asks: "why are scientists predominantly liberal?"]

Professors (philosphers) and so-called "social" scientists skew the curve.

When natural science and applied science professionals (doctors) are polled, then scientists are predominantly conservative.
http://www.nytimes.com/imagepages/2010/01/18/arts/18liberal-2.html

/those who can, do...

Posted by: KaddafiDelendaEst | February 9, 2011 10:08 AM | Report abuse

B,

How come I got a (TM)?

Posted by: tao9 | February 9, 2011 10:11 AM | Report abuse

"I had a chance to see them play from Box seats at the NC Stadium in Raleigh when I lived there years ago. Was a great atmosphere."

I am envious Mike. Any Duke/NC hoops game is special, such a classic rivalry!

@ashot...Yeah WTF happened to MSU? Not to rub it in..because I feel your pain.

Posted by: rukidding7 | February 9, 2011 10:12 AM | Report abuse

Perhaps tao9©...

Posted by: tao9 | February 9, 2011 10:13 AM | Report abuse

Rightwingnut hack pigs like Cantor want corporations to have all the rights of citizens, but none of the responsibilities.

Posted by: Observer691 | February 9, 2011 10:14 AM | Report abuse

That was fun talking about science and semiotics last night. I could make a windy case for agnosticism based on what we know and therefore, can not know, about neuro-science, but I'll spare you.

Mark, your 9:48, so confusing, I agree with most of what you said, yet I consider myself a leftist, not moderate at all. Making the distinction between latter day liberals and leftists has been a waste of time though, akin to arguing about religion. As I said last night belief is for people who choose to be dishonest, yet I believe there are important differences between liberals and leftists. Oh well. I'll try more coffee first.

Posted by: shrink2 | February 9, 2011 10:15 AM | Report abuse

yeah right.

scientists who study the natural world hold political featly with uneducated mentals who don't believe in it.

Go back to freerepublic and brag to the bog troll girls with the swastika tattoos that you brought the liberal blog to its knees.

Posted by: caothien9 | February 9, 2011 10:26 AM | Report abuse

That was fun talking about science and semiotics last night. I could make a windy case for agnosticism based on what we know and therefore, can not know, about neuro-science, but I'll spare you.

==

I have a sweet tooth for that stuff, particle physics most of all. I'd love to read your views, this sounds like an intersection I would really enjoy. David Brooks writes about related stuff too.

I consider an Open thread to be just that, and the roundup I pretty much have to myself for about six hours.

Have at it. You have one captivated reader.

Posted by: caothien9 | February 9, 2011 10:33 AM | Report abuse

@DDAWD

Apologies for overlooking your National Title! How soon we forget. LOL :-)
Ahhh but not those whose teams have won the championship. At least you only have to go back a couple of years...as a Tampa Bay Bucs fan I still have to savor 2004 and our S.B.

Posted by: rukidding7 | February 9, 2011 10:33 AM | Report abuse

ok cao, I'll find you later, sleep well.

Wow, this sure is stupid, there are so many things wrong with it: "The West must press Egypt's vice president to get serious about reform." NYT

Posted by: shrink2 | February 9, 2011 10:36 AM | Report abuse

It will be hard for Democrats to produce jobs because the Party of No always stands as an impedement to any progress. Republicans are a Disgrace to Congress and this country, giving truth as to why they always say Government is the problem -- It is a pity that Republican groups are so selfish and self-centered that they cannot meet Dems half way or compromise just a little, so that political agendas and necessities can get accomplished for the people and the country, instead of standing stataic and at a standstill watching other countries move forward with progressive agendas and accomplsihing big things.

Instead they argue and bicker, stay in static mode which will, and certainly has, brought decline and decay.

Posted by: wdsoulplane | February 9, 2011 10:40 AM | Report abuse

Go 'Heels

Posted by: mark_in_austin | February 9, 2011 10:40 AM | Report abuse

The west will put Israel's interestes first as usual and simply reprise the mistakes that led to Khomenei, the Sandinistas, and Castro.

Can't wait to hear Lieberman weigh in. Joe or Avigdor, doesn't really matter.

Posted by: caothien9 | February 9, 2011 10:41 AM | Report abuse

NoVa-

Greg pointing out a lack of consistency in the 'baggin' crowd does not automatically trigger a "nya, nya, nya, those guys do it, too" response from some folks.

Easist cheap shot on the interwebz.

Posted by: ChuckinDenton | February 9, 2011 10:44 AM | Report abuse

Huge crowds both yesterday and today in Tahrir Square plus lots of Unions getting in on the action. I don't believe the protesters have accepted the international solution of Suleiman. Gee, I can't imagine why. The protest is costing Egypt $310 million per day now. Anyone catch Anderson Cooper's "Mubarak has blood on his hands" report from Monday?

""4:14pm The AP news agency reports that protesters are responding angrily to Suleiman's statement on Tuesday, in which the vice presidnet said that continued protests would not be tolerated and would trigger a "coup" :

'He is threatening to impose martial law, which means everybody in the square will be smashed,' said Abdul-Rahman Samir, a spokesman for a coalition of the five main youth groups behind protests in Cairo's Tahrir Square. 'But what would he do with the rest of the 70 million Egyptians who will follow us afterward.'
Suleiman is creating 'a disastrous scenario,' Samir said. 'We are striking and we will protest and we will not negotiate until Mubarak steps down. Whoever wants to threaten us, then let them do so.'""

http://blogs.aljazeera.net/middle-east/2011/02/08/live-blog-feb-9-egypt-protests

Posted by: lmsinca | February 9, 2011 10:44 AM | Report abuse

@rukidding- I haven't looked at the fg% numbers, but my impression is that MSU is a jump shooting team that just doesn't make jump shots. Without Raymar Morgan at least posing a threat down low, we are pretty much at the mercy of Summers' jump shot. Needless to say that jump shot has not been merciful. There really isn't anything that they do well.

Posted by: ashotinthedark | February 9, 2011 10:45 AM | Report abuse

@shrink

Interested on your take about which "professions" tend to be dominated by "liberals" "progressives" or whatever we call them these days and which are dominated by Conservatives.

Obviously artists in virtually any field...literature..movies..theatre..music..ttend to be far more progressive than Conservative. With the obvious caveat about exceptions to the rules etc.

Banksters, Derivative traders and other wealthy folk tend to be more Conservative..as in IGMGFY.

In my own personal experience of attending many Dental conventions and meetings with my wife...Dentists are largely Conservatives...in Florida anyway...it's probably 95% C 5% L and I'm being generous to the liberal side of the equation...I recall a couple of summers ago attending a meeting with my wife where the featured speaker was a dentist running for the Fl state senate. This bozo got up and pontificated on "Obamacare" with all the lies and right wing talking points to a cheering crowd. The half dozen or so Dems just had to stand there and listen to that crap. This is why I now refuse to attend another dental function with my wife.

But back to my point...dentists are a conservative lot anyway...in terms of dress..you should see them on the dance floor..then again no you shouldn't...and of course there is a lot of IGMGFY at play here as well.

I'm curious as to where your profession comes down shrink...evenly split? more liberal or conservative. And are there differences within your profession such as between clinical shrinks, University research shrinks, and shrinks paid by corps to come up with productivity improvement.

Just curious..the Krugman link from Greg is what refired that question in my mind.

Posted by: rukidding7 | February 9, 2011 10:46 AM | Report abuse

Im still laughing about this

This twitter is hilarious - the tweets like these are not allowed on the blogs.

The terms of service would never allow it. This site is forbidden.


http://twitter.com/#!/MayorRahmE

.

Posted by: RainForestRising | February 9, 2011 10:47 AM | Report abuse

Shrink, I think what appealed to moderates about Wyden-Bennett was that it stepped away from "employer-centric".

The unions hated it.

I and at least two other moderates still believe that "employer-centered" health care insurance coverage puts America at a competitive disadvantage with its trading partners. We do not think PPACA will address this.

Posted by: mark_in_austin | February 9, 2011 10:49 AM | Report abuse

The East sees The West as The US of Israel.

Meanwhile, "Arab leaders are scrambling to boost salaries and subsidies in a bid to head off the kind of popular uprisings that have threatened the Egyptian president's hold on power and led to the ouster of Tunisia's leader after more than two decades. But experts warn the moves might actually prolong the economic imbalances that helped spark the unrest in the first place." AP

Hmmm subsidies to paper over growing economic imbalances, sounds familiar.

Posted by: shrink2 | February 9, 2011 10:50 AM | Report abuse

~"Does this reflect discrimination, or the tendency of people who actually know science to reject a political tendency that denies climate change and is broadly hostile to the theory of evolution?"~
---------------------------------------------

Mmmm. Well yeah Paul, but there's more to it than that. I'd say it's more a matter of people who believe that everything they need to know, they learned in Sunday school tending not to seek careers in the sciences. Conversely, the single most common fundamental character trait among liberals -- real thinking liberals I mean, not the drearily predictable, ideologically doctrinaire cartoon fringe who end up being just mirror images of right-wing crazies -- is the willingness to break with tradition, question conventional wisdom, take chances and try new things. Those are traits that typically select for scientific curiosity to a much greater extent than the smug satisfaction that one already knows the answers to life's big questions.

Posted by: CalD | February 9, 2011 10:51 AM | Report abuse

All, a much needed reality check from Adam Serwer on the Tea Party and the Patriot Act:

http://voices.washingtonpost.com/plum-line/2011/02/the_tea_party_didnt_kill_the_p.html

Posted by: Greg Sargent | February 9, 2011 10:52 AM | Report abuse

mark, you know how I feel about the great health care industrial complex profiteering assurance act of 2009. Throwing much more money into the same silos is not health care reform.

Posted by: shrink2 | February 9, 2011 11:00 AM | Report abuse

@Mark in Austin

While I'm apparently to the left of some of your "moderate" positions you are easy to deal with. Largely because to me what you describe as "moderate" simply seems pragmatic. At least on many issues.

And so once again I find myself in complete agreement with...

"I and at least two other moderates still believe that "employer-centered" health care insurance coverage puts America at a competitive disadvantage with its trading partners. We do not think PPACA will address this."

Of course my solution was anathema to you. I support single payer Medicare for all...largely for the reason you just stated...and also because IMO it's the only "real" way to get a handle on cost and begin to address the current medical "rationing" in our country in a compassionate yet fiscally sound method.

Virtually all of the rest of the civilized world starts out with a budget for healthcare...15% of GDP or whichever figure they select. They then admit their limitations and do not spend quite the same % of $$$ on heroic, often times futile measures in the last year of life.
In many case the most cost effective and again IMO "humane" way to address some of these thorny "rationing" questions is better use of resources like Hospice.

At any rate it's great to have a moderate with us. :-)

BTW perhaps you'd like to weigh in on the question I posed to shrink. In your opinion, unless you have links to actual surveys..or remember the results (I trust you...no need for attribution) that show whether attorneys are liberal..conservative..or evenly split.

Posted by: rukidding7 | February 9, 2011 11:02 AM | Report abuse

"often times futile measures in the last year of life."

That's the problem with the Medicare-for-all solution. it it will further politicize health care. If you're (rightly) concerned about end of life costs, nobody is going to say no to the baby boomers when there are at the end of life. Like they're going to go quietly into the night.

Posted by: NoVAHockey | February 9, 2011 11:12 AM | Report abuse

ruk:

""Banksters, Derivative traders and other wealthy folk tend to be more Conservative""

And you know this...how?

Posted by: ScottC3 | February 9, 2011 11:17 AM | Report abuse

@shrink2 "mark, you know how I feel about the great health care industrial complex profiteering assurance act of 2009. Throwing much more money into the same silos is not health care reform."

My favorite alternate title for the act was the one David Brooks coined:

Status Quo Sanctification and Extension Act

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/09/04/opinion/04brooks.html

I also agree with his fundamental critique of the bill:

"Several months ago, President Obama made a promise: People with health insurance would be able to keep exactly what they have.

We all understand why he made that promise. He wanted to reassure people who are happy with what they’ve got. He wanted to mollify the industries that have a vested interest in the status quo.

But Obama’s promise sent the reform effort off the rails. It meant that efforts to expand coverage marched ahead, but efforts to fundamentally reform the system got watered down.

Instead of true reform we got a series of bills that essentially cement the present system in place. The proposals do not fundamentally challenge the fee-for-service system. They don’t make Americans more accountable for their own health care spending. They don’t reduce costs. They just add more people into the mess we’ve got.

The president made this promise to ease passage. But it ended up hollowing out the substance of the reform. And the political benefits didn’t even materialize. Voters are still spooked by the costs, the centralization and the cuts they are sure will come."

Posted by: jnc4p | February 9, 2011 11:25 AM | Report abuse

@rukidding7

"Of course my solution was anathema to you. I support single payer Medicare for all...largely for the reason you just stated...and also because IMO it's the only "real" way to get a handle on cost and begin to address the current medical "rationing" in our country in a compassionate yet fiscally sound method."

Have you read the article from the Atlantic by David Goldhill "How American Health Care Killed My Father"?

http://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2009/09/how-american-health-care-killed-my-father/7617/6/

He makes an interesting proposal to have the Federal government provide a true catastrophic only health insurance program along with some basic preventative care and everything else is funded out of HSA's. Lower income people would receive subsidies for the HSA's, but everyone would still be doing their own health care shopping.

Posted by: jnc4p | February 9, 2011 11:37 AM | Report abuse

jnc4, yes, I remember reading that piece and since I live in a room full of [semiotic] mirrors, all I could see was me*, I swore to myself I wrote that, many times over.

*Jimi Hendrix

Posted by: shrink2 | February 9, 2011 11:40 AM | Report abuse

ruk:

Between 1990 and 2010, people employed by Goldamn Sachs contributed $20.68 million to the Democratic party and Democratic candidates. During the same period they contributed only $12.56 million to Republicans.

People employed by Goldman Sachs contributed more to D's than R's in every single election year since 1990 except for 2010.

During the same period, big money donors (ie the richest) from GS, those donating more than $50k, donated a total of $4.23 million to D's, and only $2.06 million to the R's.

http://www.opensecrets.org/orgs/totals.php?id=d000000085&cycle=2010

I'm pretty sure I gave these facts to you the last time you made this silly assertion about "bankers" and "rich people" being conservative. And I will probably do it again the next time you make it, which I can confidently predict you will. You don't seem to pay too much attention to things that don't fit neatly into your caricatured understanding of the world.

Posted by: ScottC3 | February 9, 2011 11:41 AM | Report abuse

ruk,

"And are there differences within your profession such as between clinical shrinks, University research shrinks, and shrinks paid by corps to come up with productivity improvement?"

Yes, these are the distinctions that matter. The American Psychiatric Association/Big Pharma crowd are the reactionary conservatives. The Community psychiatrists (the ones in the trenches, the ones who rarely see insured patients through no fault of their own) tend to be do-gooders, the social engineers, the liberals. Those still in private practice tend to be apolitical, they just don't have the time.

Posted by: shrink2 | February 9, 2011 11:49 AM | Report abuse

"those moderate voters of whom I speak did not want a "public option" or expanded Medicare"

Well, the problems being addressed were lack of health care availability and rising costs. By all measures, the public option/expanded Medicare would have addressed both. And 70% of the American People wanted exactly that. Not to mention that the public option was proposed as the compromise position, giving a government plan the chance to compete against private insurers on a limited basis. And the opposition to the public plan was based solely upon a reactionary ideological antigovernment philosophy.

So by what definition is that position "moderate?"

Posted by: wbgonne | February 9, 2011 11:52 AM | Report abuse

And what is the "moderate" position on the other issues I mentioned:

Protecting Social Security?

Marijuana legalization?

Raising taxes on Rich Americans?

Global warming?

Posted by: wbgonne | February 9, 2011 11:55 AM | Report abuse

"That's the problem with the Medicare-for-all solution. it it will further politicize health care. If you're (rightly) concerned about end of life costs, nobody is going to say no to the baby boomers when there are at the end of life. Like they're going to go quietly into the night."

That is a problem with the dysfunctional American political system, not with Medicare-for-All. Everyone knows that End-of-Life Care is far-and-away the greatest waste of health care dollars. Until Americans grow up and act like adults we won't solve any major problem. And that probably can't happen within the extant two-party duopoly because the entire political system has been commandeered by Big Business.

Posted by: wbgonne | February 9, 2011 12:03 PM | Report abuse

the closeted alcoholic said...

"...we are pretty much at the mercy of Summers' jump shot. Needless to say that jump shot has not been merciful."

That is what I used to say about the Obama administration's supply side approach to economic recovery. So how is quantitative easing helping to create jobs? It isn't. Stock market valuations turn into jobs someday, right? Wrong. The housing crisis continues unabated, 2011 will have more foreclosures than the 1,000,000 that occurred in 2010. Over two million foreclosures in two years, that is some serious downward mobility.

Posted by: shrink2 | February 9, 2011 12:05 PM | Report abuse

@ScottC3 "ruk:

Between 1990 and 2010, people employed by Goldamn Sachs contributed $20.68 million to the Democratic party and Democratic candidates. During the same period they contributed only $12.56 million to Republicans.

People employed by Goldman Sachs contributed more to D's than R's in every single election year since 1990 except for 2010.

During the same period, big money donors (ie the richest) from GS, those donating more than $50k, donated a total of $4.23 million to D's, and only $2.06 million to the R's.

http://www.opensecrets.org/orgs/totals.php?id=d000000085&cycle=2010

I'm pretty sure I gave these facts to you the last time you made this silly assertion about "bankers" and "rich people" being conservative. And I will probably do it again the next time you make it, which I can confidently predict you will. You don't seem to pay too much attention to things that don't fit neatly into your caricatured understanding of the world."

You assume that they are donating because they agree with more with the Democratic positions, as opposed to simply buying influence.

"The usual Obama backers are expected to be in attendance in New York. But, according to the Democratic fundraiser, there may be another motivation for showing up to help the president.

"I was talking to one Wall Street guy, and he said, 'Ugh. Do I have to help Obama?'" recounted the Democratic fundraiser. "I said: 'Of course you do. He's going to be president again!'""

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2011/01/27/AR2011012707307.html

Posted by: jnc4p | February 9, 2011 12:08 PM | Report abuse

It is dangerously naive to expect corporations to be altruistic. In fact, any corporate director who sacrificed profits for altruism could -- and probably would -- be sued for breach of fiduciary duty by the shareholders. Corporations exist by virtue of their charters and their charters call for maximizing profits and shareholder value, nothing less and nothing more. It is delusional to think that corporations will voluntarily be "good citizens." That is why they must be regulated.

Posted by: wbgonne | February 9, 2011 12:10 PM | Report abuse

@shrink2 "the closeted alcoholic said...

"...we are pretty much at the mercy of Summers' jump shot. Needless to say that jump shot has not been merciful."

That is what I used to say about the Obama administration's supply side approach to economic recovery. So how is quantitative easing helping to create jobs? It isn't. Stock market valuations turn into jobs someday, right? Wrong. The housing crisis continues unabated, 2011 will have more foreclosures than the 1,000,000 that occurred in 2010. Over two million foreclosures in two years, that is some serious downward mobility."

I'm not sure I would characterize Obama's approach thus far as "supply side" as commonly understood:

"Supply-side economics is a school of macroeconomic thought that argues that economic growth can be most effectively created by lowering barriers for people to produce (supply) goods and services, such as adjusting income tax and capital gains tax rates, and by allowing greater flexibility by reducing regulation. According to the theory, consumers will then benefit from a greater supply of goods and services at lower prices."

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Supply-side_economics

You can make a pretty good case that the stimulus and quantitative easing are demand side, Keynesian approaches. My rule of thumb is that if Paul Krugman advocated them, then they are probably demand side not supply side.

Posted by: jnc4p | February 9, 2011 12:16 PM | Report abuse

Since no one else is I'l be sending some love to Coach K and the Dukies. Besides, my nephew plays college hoops and he is good friends with Kyrie Irving, the star freshman for Duke who got hurt early in the year. Go Blue Devils!

Posted by: wbgonne | February 9, 2011 12:16 PM | Report abuse

@ScottC3:
"" "Banksters, Derivative traders and other wealthy folk tend to be more Conservative"
And you know this...how?""

That theory would not be consistent with donation patterns in 2008.

http://www.opensecrets.org/pres08/contrib.php?cycle=2008&cid=n00009638

http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=newsarchive&sid=a2fIFVWje23E

Top donors (as in, where individuals who worked for this company donated to Obama) includes Goldman Sachs, Citigroup, JPMorgan Chase, etc. Obama just made former JP Morgan exec his Chief of Staff.

Obama did a little better with banksters, derivative traders and other wealthy folk in 2008 than Republicans. Republicans did better in 2010 than Democrats. But not so much that there's a serious broader conclusion that one party is the party of "the rich" or of "success and achievement" and one is not.

Ideologues tend to be more complicated than opposing ideologues want to give them credit for being.

Posted by: Kevin_Willis | February 9, 2011 12:21 PM | Report abuse

The meager stimulus was demand side, QE in the way it is being done (not to mention, no interest rates on borrowed money, lowest tax rates for the rich in decades, "free" trade and so on), is supply side.

Posted by: shrink2 | February 9, 2011 12:22 PM | Report abuse

re: "real" conservatives DON'T like gov't intrusion on abortion decisions

terrific stuff about some state legislators in Wyoming:

maddowblog.msnbc.msn.com/_news/.../6017300-actual-conservatives-ftw

smd

Posted by: smd1234 | February 9, 2011 12:23 PM | Report abuse

@jnc4p: ""My rule of thumb is that if Paul Krugman advocated them, then they are probably demand side not supply side.""

Paul Krugman? You mean the guy who won the Economic Destruction of Capitalism Nobel Prize?

As he graciously accepted his award, the ghost of Khrushchev beat his ghostly shoe on a ghostly table.

:P

Posted by: Kevin_Willis | February 9, 2011 12:25 PM | Report abuse

@wbgonne ""That's the problem with the Medicare-for-all solution. it it will further politicize health care. If you're (rightly) concerned about end of life costs, nobody is going to say no to the baby boomers when there are at the end of life. Like they're going to go quietly into the night."

That is a problem with the dysfunctional American political system, not with Medicare-for-All. "

Medicare-for-All effectively turns the health care system into an extension of the American political system (more so than it even is today). See the continuing failure with the Doc fix year after year.

"Until Americans grow up and act like adults we won't solve any major problem."

We are doomed then. I would submit that we would be better served to have a system that incentives Americans to grow up and act like adults by making them more responsible for their own health care costs individually, rather than masking them from the costs because the government, through Medicare-for-All is paying for it.

"It is dangerously naive to expect corporations to be altruistic. In fact, any corporate director who sacrificed profits for altruism could -- and probably would -- be sued for breach of fiduciary duty by the shareholders. Corporations exist by virtue of their charters and their charters call for maximizing profits and shareholder value, nothing less and nothing more. It is delusional to think that corporations will voluntarily be "good citizens." That is why they must be regulated."

This is completely true, and why if Obama's plan to reduce unemployment centers on lecturing American corporations about their civic responsibilities, then we aren't going to see much progress.

Posted by: jnc4p | February 9, 2011 12:26 PM | Report abuse

jnc:

""You assume that they are donating because they agree with more with the Democratic positions, as opposed to simply buying influence.""

To be sure, buying influence plays some part. But if that was the primary motivation one would expect that donations to R's would be larger than to D's when R's were in power. But in fact, as I said, donations to D's outpaced donations to R's in every year except in 2010. That spans a time period that includes an R president, an R controlled congress, and at times both. Influence buying does not explain that.

Posted by: ScottC3 | February 9, 2011 12:27 PM | Report abuse

"we would be better served to have a system that incentives Americans to grow up and act like adults by making them more responsible for their own health care costs individually, rather than masking them from the costs because the government, through Medicare-for-All is paying for it"

A theoretically reasonable proposal but it won't work b/c even people who have no health care coverage by choice will still be treated when they are in life-threatening conditions. We have as a culture moved to a point where Americans dying in the streets in simply unacceptable. We must recognize that reality. That means we should recognize health care as a fundamental human right and provide it to everyone. Only the national government can do that.

"if Obama's plan to reduce unemployment centers on lecturing American corporations about their civic responsibilities, then we aren't going to see much progress"


Ha! Devilish understatement.

Posted by: wbgonne | February 9, 2011 12:33 PM | Report abuse

@Scott

Is it your serious contention that these Goldman Sach's bankers made these contributions from their political beliefs or their wish to influence policy.

I think that is an incredibly specious connection. My wife who is a lifelong very liberal Democrat has made 10 political contributions to R's for every one she's made to a D. And in terms of actual $$ the ratio would have been far worse. Her profession, "Organized Dentistry" in particular the Florida Dental Assn certainly covers their bases by giving to BOTH parties but the ratio of $$$ to R's versus D's is again more than 10:1. My wife loves her chosen profession and pretty much follows the directions of her ADPAC. We have had some real battles over this. e.g. She wrote a nice check for Jeb Bush when he ran for Governor while at the same time voted against him at the ballot box. This drives me crazy!

And so Scott I think that is not a valid metric to determine individual political persuasion. And in fact Scott I would accept YOUR anecdotal evidence about Derivative Traders as being more credible than the metric you've just offered.

So if you wish to tell me from your experience as a "D Trader" that your brethren are more liberal than Conservative by the same ratio as the Goldman Sachs stat...I'll believe you and stand corrected.

Simply post that from your anecdotal perspective more of your fellow derivative traders are liberal or "progressive" than Conservative and I'll take your point and stand corrected.

BTW Sorry if this post repeats another response because I immediately scrolled down to post a comment and perhaps my response is redundant. But the point is Scott simply tell me your experience with that question of "progressive" versus Conservative and I'll happily take your word and stand corrected. ;-)

Posted by: rukidding7 | February 9, 2011 12:39 PM | Report abuse

The incentive (or motive) problem is where health reform has to start. The sicker you are, the more money the industry makes, this is why we spend so much on end of life care. Things that seem simple, like catastrophic coverage for all just makes people exaggerative, conspire with the provider to upcode (or just wait) small problems become big problems to net the entitlement.

Posted by: shrink2 | February 9, 2011 12:45 PM | Report abuse

@NoVA

"If you're (rightly) concerned about end of life costs, nobody is going to say no to the baby boomers when there are at the end of life. Like they're going to go quietly into the night."

Well that's a valid opinion...but at the end of the day just that..an opinion! I am one of those boomers..at the head of the cohort in fact..and I most certainly plan to go quietly into the night. In addition if heaven forbid I should develop prostate cancer and the situation is as currently stands (I'm sure you know more about the details than me NoVa considering your professional background) but as I understand there are three accepted treatments...two are within hailing distance as far as cost...the third is far far more expensive and produces statistically only a 1% of so more efficacy. I shall choose the economical treatment. Most of my "boomer" friends feel the same way. And ALL of my boomer friends want the plug pulled when they reach Schiavo status. Most of my friends dread living long enough to be warehoused in a nursing home...and alas that is another real problem we have. I visit my mother in law in the Nursing home weekly...not pretty places... many (not all there are still some vibrant folks as well) old withered bodies with non functioning brains...our medical system is a victim of it's own success.

I do not disagree there will be plenty of political battles every year..and so we need to do the best we can to "de-politicize" the process. Let DOCTORS AND SCIENTISTS offer the ACTUAL prognosis and statistics for the various treatments and then we'll have an honest political debate about what we can afford.

Mind you that none of this will effect the health care of the top 1% who largely use "boutique" providers anyway...that is to say they'll still be able to use their $$$ to purchase any treatment they wish whether outcomes dictate that purchase as fiscally prudent or not.

Posted by: rukidding7 | February 9, 2011 12:56 PM | Report abuse

"why are scientists predominantly liberal?"

I'd be interested in a more detailed poll, one that examined the political inclination of scientists according to the field and industry that they work in.

As a liberal scientist working in the 'defense' industry, it sure doesn't seem like my colleagues are predominantly liberal.

A more detailed examination would certainly be interesting.

Posted by: mmyotis | February 9, 2011 1:01 PM | Report abuse

RU, gotta be brief...at work:

"Tao in particular, you tangentially, have tried to force religious beliefs down others throats by using them as rationales for things that are normally reserved for the purview of "science" or "facts"."

Not true at all, my friend. I forced nothing religious at anybody.

Nor did I shoehorn anything religious into the purview of science or facts.

The thread and my (ill-advised and waste of time) fencing with cao shows nothing of the sort.

Posted by: tao9 | February 9, 2011 1:09 PM | Report abuse

rukidding:

Great post! My experience is the same as yours. Most people who consciously consider it do not want the extraordinary and futile measures routinely used in end-of-life care. The profit motive is the main reason for the waste.

Posted by: wbgonne | February 9, 2011 1:12 PM | Report abuse

Sorry, Shrink, I didn't see your 12:45 PM post before I commented. I second your comments there.

Posted by: wbgonne | February 9, 2011 1:18 PM | Report abuse

@shrink- "the closeted alcoholic said..."

Hahaha...well done!

"The incentive (or motive) problem is where health reform has to start. The sicker you are, the more money the industry makes, this is why we spend so much on end of life care."

PPACA does make an effort to alter incentives, by emphasizing and rewarding quality of care and cost savings (although if you give them money for saving money, who's saving money?). But as long as we have a fee-for-service system, we're swimming upstream...against a strong current...with fisherman picking us off on both sides of the river...and others throwing sticks of dynamite into the water.

Posted by: ashotinthedark | February 9, 2011 1:27 PM | Report abuse

ruk:

""Is it your serious contention that these Goldman Sach's bankers made these contributions from their political beliefs or their wish to influence policy.""

I don't pretend to know what motivated these particular donations, but as I said above the consistency with which donations to D's outpaced donations to R's regardless of which party had power suggests that buying influence was not primary among those motivations.

""I think that is an incredibly specious connection.""

Incredibly? Specious? Really.

""And in fact Scott I would accept YOUR anecdotal evidence about Derivative Traders as being more credible than the metric you've just offered.""

Well, I wouldn't if I were you, but here it is. I sit on a desk with 5 other people. One is a raging lefty, one is moderately to the left, 2 are moderately to the right, and one has, to my knowledge, never expressed a political opinion in his life. And me (fit me in as and where you like).

Posted by: ScottC3 | February 9, 2011 1:35 PM | Report abuse

"And ALL of my boomer friends want the plug pulled when they reach Schiavo status."

Just curious .. have any put those wishes in writing? have they notified their children of their wishes. Politics and policy aside, it's heartbreaking to have to start CPR on someone who isn't going to get better as the kids fight about it in the kitchen. Most people express the exact sentiment that you and your friends say. but they often fail to implement the plan when the time comes. the only people who are really good about it are medical staff -- emts, nurses, etc. i'll try to dig up some studies that are buried in my office somewhere that show these folks are far more likely to have their end-of-life plans spelled out than the general population.

"I do not disagree there will be plenty of political battles every year..and so we need to do the best we can to "de-politicize" the process. Let DOCTORS AND SCIENTISTS offer the ACTUAL prognosis and statistics for the various treatments and then we'll have an honest political debate about what we can afford."

completely agree, but like jnc notes, this goal and expanded Medicare coverage is simply not compatible. it's easy to have that honest debate in the abstract. but actually transitioning to palliative care through a national policy? no way. just not going to happen. you saw what happened to the idea of even paying docs to discuss end of life. wbgonne blames the profit motive. it's much simpler and far less nefarious than that. people don't spell out their wishes, are scared and their families don't know what to do.

It takes a lot of courage to be the one that makes the call to stop treating mom. people know that their loved one won't get better -- but maybe they'll make it to Christmas, or see the grandkid one more time.

Posted by: NoVAHockey | February 9, 2011 1:37 PM | Report abuse

ruk:

And BTW...the raging lefty is (by many multiples) the most wealthy of any of us.

Posted by: ScottC3 | February 9, 2011 1:39 PM | Report abuse

"wbgonne blames the profit motive. it's much simpler and far less nefarious than that. people don't spell out their wishes, are scared and their families don't know what to do."

I don't disagree with what you say. Because people aren't executing Living Wills when the time comes everyone is paralyzed so the default position takes over: extraordinary care. If there were no financial incentive, would extraordinary measures still be the default position? I think not.

"you saw what happened to the idea of even paying docs to discuss end of life"

That is a reflection of the dysfunction in our current political duopoly. It is not inevitable that Americans behave as idiots.

Posted by: wbgonne | February 9, 2011 1:44 PM | Report abuse

@Scott

I take your points and stand corrected!

That is if your point is that the Financial sector by and large is not composed of "right wingers"

BTW does this eliminate you being perpetually wrong in my eyes...perhaps a downgrade to "almost always" status is in order. :-)

The last line of your response does engender a question.

"And me (fit me in as and where you like)."

I'd rather fit you in where YOU like. Out of respect I should allow you to choose your own label or perhaps decry their use altogether.

IMHO I think I recall you claiming "libertarianism" but I may be mistaken.
And so where do libertarians fit on the political spectrum. I realize the CW puts them in the camp of the right...but I never cared for the CW...where do YOU place libertarians on our scale of left/right?

Posted by: rukidding7 | February 9, 2011 2:27 PM | Report abuse

@NoVa

Yes my wife and I both have living wills.
Most of my friends also have them, but I concede that is largely because of my circle of friends, more affluent and better educated than the public at large.

I ABSOLUTELY accept your point that "everyone" should get them. How hard would it be to begin at least with a massive campaign explaining why they are important...if that doesn't produce significant results they could be mandated.
Ohhh the horror of that word. But if we mandate people to pay FICA for Medicare we could easily tie the benefits to first producing an up to date "living will".

@Jnc4p I've read of your support of HSA's in several posts now. Have you ever actually worked with them? As in a small business owner. Our health insurance broker is really, really "free enterprise".
He touted these to me about five years ago as the "next big thing"...a real way to being solving our health care crisis.

Sorry Jnc4p they were a ludicrous, cumbersome non solution. Eg. A person making $40,000, the average salary of my employees...takes 10%..and you do realize what an ENORMOUS commitment it is for someone earning $40,000 to give up 10% of their salary. And for what...a crappy little tax deferment? You don't really need to go to the brackets to understand the difference in tax on 36,000 as opposed to 40,000 is truly insignificant. Meanwhile the employee is out 10% of their earnings. Oh and what does that buy on the current health care market. Again I pay over 20,000 annually in premiums for me and my healthy wife, or let's say more than 10,000 for me. Two summers ago a simple kidney stone added $4,000 in co pays to that bill. Voila...one relatively minor, non life threatening, but incredibly painful illness just wiped out an entire year of savings.

Ohhh and there's more. We tried HSA's for less than three months. The broker gave me the website of a company and set up an account for us. It required a 16 page download of explanations etc and application forms for every employee...in other words..hand holding from me to explain to them which person to write in as their beneficiary..complete of course with all SS#'s. That was it for me...too much paperwork...to little benefit...and not really going to make an iota of difference in our health care.

I'm a person who believes in a time honored method of success...from Napoleon Hill's "Think and Grow Rich" in the '30's to current day guru Anthony Hopkins..they all suggest "modeling." Seems like common sense to me. Look at something that is working or a person who is successful and emulate their actions. We have a terrific model just North of our Border. I've asked literally hundreds of Canadians..used to work in journalism..and have never had one of them speak badly about their health care..ohh but the paid stooges of AMERICAN insurance companies sure talk poorly about the Canadian system.
Could be part of the "profit motive" wbgonne is addressing?

Posted by: rukidding7 | February 9, 2011 2:45 PM | Report abuse

Up skiing recently, one of my best friend's Dad shot and killed himself. We found out on the chairlift. He left a wonderful, loving note, a letter to the world really. He was neither terminally ill nor depressed. He had multiple health problems (age 90) and took a handful of pills everyday. Apparently, I read the letter yesterday, he lived in fear of being a burden on America, his family, and he lived in fear of end-of-life care. He said, "I can't accomplish anything anymore and that is what I am here to do."He was a decorated WWII Corsair pilot. We will miss him.

Then on the other hand, I have a friend with a father that is trying to die, or not. Massive amounts of money are being spent, he has multiple organ system failures, he has been in and out of intensive care for two years. His prognosis is obvious, yet he together with the family for whatever reason (my friend can barely discuss it), feels compelled to do, "everything they can."

No moral to the story, it is just true and seemed relevant to the thread.

Posted by: shrink2 | February 9, 2011 3:04 PM | Report abuse

"where do YOU place libertarians on our scale of left/right?"

I don't think they fit on the scale. the scale is calibrated on degrees of authoritarianism and measures what areas people prefer to exert control and power, (regardless of motive). So the scale is measuring a quality doesn't really apply to libertarians.

Posted by: NoVAHockey | February 9, 2011 3:15 PM | Report abuse

ruk:

""where do YOU place libertarians on our scale of left/right?""

Largely on the right. And I would place myself firmly on the right as well. No shocker there.

Posted by: ScottC3 | February 9, 2011 3:27 PM | Report abuse

@shrink

Sorry for the loss of your best friend's dad.

Please don't take this as callous or heartless..perhaps I just have a different view of death. I think your friends father made an excellent decision for all the reasons he described.

My wife and I had an acquaintance who just died last month. He was going down a ski run (one of his all time favorite activities) with his wife skiing just behind him. He suddenly went down, collapsing in a heap. A massive heart attack had killed him very quickly. They didn't even bother with CPR at the bottom of the slope because he was clearly dead.
He was 49 years old.

I am 63 and would be happy to check out either way..the 90year olds solution or the 49 year old unexpected one. Both men had good lives. And I always think of the movie with Brad Pitt where he survives all manner of trauma such as WWII...losing his wife and child...but in the end as a man about my age..he's out in the woods when he tangles with a grizzly. No need to guess who won that battle. As the old Indian narrator concluded..."It was a good death." That is what concerns me..a good death...not when.

I do not wish to lie in the fetal position drooling, and pooping on myself..or worse still like one poor old lady I pass each week in the hall who appears to be in a permanent state of a nightmare...struggling..horror on her face..whimpering from whatever demons are assaulting her...IMHO..not a good death.

But see we are skirting some really, really thorny issues...easier for society to remain in denial than actually addressing these issues.

Posted by: rukidding7 | February 9, 2011 3:49 PM | Report abuse

"where do YOU place libertarians on our scale of left/right?"

I don't think they fit on the scale. the scale is calibrated on degrees of authoritarianism and measures what areas people prefer to exert control and power, (regardless of motive). So the scale is measuring a quality doesn't really apply to libertarians.

Posted by: NoVAHockey | February 9, 2011 3:15 PM | Report abuse

Modern Libertarianism is anachronistic in that it presumes that all "authoritarianism" resides in government. In a plutocracy like ours, the powers of government have been largely harnessed by the multinational corporations. By all but the most simplistic measures, there is far more power vested in corporations than in government in the United States today. The United States government can do little that Big Business does not approve. either in domestic affairs or foreign policy. Today's libertarians should be aiming at corporate control of government. That is the most pernicious threat to American citizens and liberty today.

Posted by: wbgonne | February 9, 2011 3:49 PM | Report abuse

ruk, thank you I get it. We are all a little off on this in my circle. Don't know what to think. The paper handled it well, the prosecutor decided not to look past the obvious after seeing the note. But we are supposed to feel bad about a guy killing himself (who was not terminally ill, nor depressed) and we, well we don't really. The grownups kind of admire him, after all the tears that losing a loved one requires no matter what. Still I wonder how his grandkids will think about this, young adults I have known since they were a gleam in their parents' eyes. We are supposed to revile suicide. But the alternative has become even more disgusting, a horrible, brutally painful, not to mention expensive exercise, torturing the dying person and their loved ones is now the routine. They still have to die.

Posted by: shrink2 | February 9, 2011 4:21 PM | Report abuse

"In a plutocracy like ours, the powers of government have been largely harnessed by the multinational corporations."

I think libertarians are actually pretty vocal about the problems of corporatism. It's hardly a free market if you can call up Congress and get a bailout for your politically connected auto manufacturer.

Posted by: NoVAHockey | February 9, 2011 4:21 PM | Report abuse

"I think libertarians are actually pretty vocal about the problems of corporatism."

I haven't seen much of that. From what I can tell today's Libertarians have bought the GOP's gibberish hook, line and sinker. The way to combat corporatism is through effective government regulation, so that business cannot foist the cost of its externalities (like pollution) off on the American People, to prevent monopolies, and otherwise. There is no other entity that can do it except government. Today's GOP is just a front-group for Big Business (think the U.S. Chamber of Commerce's political analogue) that pretends that deregulation is "liberty," when all it really means is that multinational corporations are free to do anything they want to the United States and the American People.

"It's hardly a free market if you can call up Congress and get a bailout for your politically connected auto manufacturer."

Tip of the iceberg. What happened on Wall Street makes that a pittance.

Posted by: wbgonne | February 9, 2011 4:35 PM | Report abuse

"Tip of the iceberg. What happened on Wall Street makes that a pittance."

True -- but libertarians were opposed to Wall Street bailouts too.

"The way to combat corporatism is through effective government regulation, so that business cannot foist the cost of its externalities (like pollution) off on the American People, to prevent monopolies, and otherwise. There is no other entity that can do it except government."

This is where we part ways. You've argued that business and government are basically in cahoots. And the solution is to give government more power? And just trust that they'll use it wisely?

Posted by: NoVAHockey | February 9, 2011 4:53 PM | Report abuse

also, since i know you're in to that sort of thing, the Gov of Vermont is proposing a single-payer system.

http://www.kaiserhealthnews.org/Stories/2011/February/08/vermont-governor-shumlin-single-payer.aspx

Posted by: NoVAHockey | February 9, 2011 4:55 PM | Report abuse

@shrink

"But the alternative has become even more disgusting, a horrible, brutally painful, not to mention expensive exercise, torturing the dying person and their loved ones is now the routine. They still have to die."

As someone who visits my 92 year old mother in law once a week...the home has a very cool "Shabbat" dinner every Friday night. Neither my wife nor I are Jewish, nor is her mother, but upon performing due diligence this is the home my in laws decided was best for their mother. I concur with their decision. For a "nursing home" it is excellent. And we enjoy the Jewish customs at the Shabbat..even as gentiles. And if I might engage in a little pro Semitism..is that a word ?;-) it does seem as if the Jewish people treat their elderly well...at least that's been our experience.

It's really the yin and the yang at the nursing home. A month ago I had a conversation with a 102 year old Rabbi.
He regaled me with stories about how his family fled to England early on to stay ahead of the curve of what they believed, obviously correctly, was the coming persecution of Jews on the Continent. At 102 he is amazing..his mind is still incredibly sharp, he has a strong memory..better than mine lol...he does have difficulty hearing...again so do I..and he walks with a walker but can still get around if you give him enough time. He and others like him provide me with great inspiration....but....

On the other end of the floor are the people suffering from Alzheimer, other forms of dementia, some are in worse shape because they still have their wits and can feel the pain of their withered bodies. They face the daily embarrassment of crapping themselves...needing to be fed..well you already know that scene as you described it so well in that sentence I lifted from your post.

IMHO...and indeed it is humble in these kinds of discussions...I admire, respect, and appreciate the choice made by your friend's father. He had a "good death".
As you say, aside from the grieving of those left behind...it was all good. I hope I have his courage if I reach that point in my life.

Posted by: rukidding7 | February 9, 2011 5:06 PM | Report abuse

ruk, that is interesting, good for you. I've so many Jewish friends, I get it, but most of the goyim don't.

When I was younger I saw an old Norwegian fisherman in my extended family curled up in a ball, crying constantly, dying ever so slowly, no one wanted to visit him anymore. Brutal.

In re the courage, I agree, but it is still a shocker because the person is supposed to be terminal etc., but he knew once he became helpless, which was coming, the choice would no longer be his. I've never understood why it is against the law.

Posted by: shrink2 | February 9, 2011 5:26 PM | Report abuse

"The way to combat corporatism is through effective government regulation, so that business cannot foist the cost of its externalities (like pollution) off on the American People, to prevent monopolies, and otherwise. There is no other entity that can do it except government."

This is where we part ways. You've argued that business and government are basically in cahoots. And the solution is to give government more power? And just trust that they'll use it wisely?

Posted by: NoVAHockey | February 9, 2011 4:53 PM | Report abuse

NoVaHockey:

That's a fair point. Yes, government has been largely hijacked by concentrated wealth in this country and, therefore, government is largely doing concentrated wealth's bidding. However, as citizens we have far more control over the government than we do over corporations. I think we agree that plutocracy the should end. Concentrated wealth naturally controls a capitalist society. To the extent you minimize government you empower corporations that have no accountability whatsoever to American citizens. We must re-claim government for ourselves and take it away from the corporatists.

Posted by: wbgonne | February 9, 2011 5:49 PM | Report abuse

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