Friday, July 24, 2009

New Rule: Not Everything in America Has to Make a Profit

How about this for a New Rule: Not everything in America has to make a profit. It used to be that there were some services and institutions so vital to our nation that they were exempt from market pressures. Some things we just didn't do for money. The United States always defined capitalism, but it didn't used to define us. But now it's becoming all that we are.

Did you know, for example, that there was a time when being called a "war profiteer" was a bad thing? But now our war zones are dominated by private contractors and mercenaries who work for corporations. There are more private contractors in Iraq than American troops, and we pay them generous salaries to do jobs the troops used to do for themselves ­-- like laundry. War is not supposed to turn a profit, but our wars have become boondoggles for weapons manufacturers and connected civilian contractors.

Prisons used to be a non-profit business, too. And for good reason --­ who the hell wants to own a prison? By definition you're going to have trouble with the tenants. But now prisons are big business. A company called the Corrections Corporation of America is on the New York Stock Exchange, which is convenient since that's where all the real crime is happening anyway. The CCA and similar corporations actually lobby Congress for stiffer sentencing laws so they can lock more people up and make more money. That's why America has the world;s largest prison population ­-- because actually rehabilitating people would have a negative impact on the bottom line.

Television news is another area that used to be roped off from the profit motive. When Walter Cronkite died last week, it was odd to see news anchor after news anchor talking about how much better the news coverage was back in Cronkite's day. I thought, "Gee, if only you were in a position to do something about it."

But maybe they aren't. Because unlike in Cronkite's day, today's news has to make a profit like all the other divisions in a media conglomerate. That's why it wasn't surprising to see the CBS Evening News broadcast live from the Staples Center for two nights this month, just in case Michael Jackson came back to life and sold Iran nuclear weapons. In Uncle Walter's time, the news division was a loss leader. Making money was the job of The Beverly Hillbillies. And now that we have reporters moving to Alaska to hang out with the Palin family, the news is The Beverly Hillbillies.

And finally, there's health care. It wasn't that long ago that when a kid broke his leg playing stickball, his parents took him to the local Catholic hospital, the nun put a thermometer in his mouth, the doctor slapped some plaster on his ankle and you were done. The bill was $1.50, plus you got to keep the thermometer.

But like everything else that's good and noble in life, some Wall Street wizard decided that hospitals could be big business, so now they're run by some bean counters in a corporate plaza in Charlotte. In the U.S. today, three giant for-profit conglomerates own close to 600 hospitals and other health care facilities. They're not hospitals anymore; they're Jiffy Lubes with bedpans. America's largest hospital chain, HCA, was founded by the family of Bill Frist, who perfectly represents the Republican attitude toward health care: it's not a right, it's a racket. The more people who get sick and need medicine, the higher their profit margins. Which is why they're always pushing the Jell-O.

Because medicine is now for-profit we have things like "recision," where insurance companies hire people to figure out ways to deny you coverage when you get sick, even though you've been paying into your plan for years.

When did the profit motive become the only reason to do anything? When did that become the new patriotism? Ask not what you could do for your country, ask what's in it for Blue Cross/Blue Shield.

If conservatives get to call universal health care "socialized medicine," I get to call private health care "soulless vampires making money off human pain." The problem with President Obama's health care plan isn't socialism, it's capitalism.

And if medicine is for profit, and war, and the news, and the penal system, my question is: what's wrong with firemen? Why don't they charge? They must be commies. Oh my God! That explains the red trucks!

111 comments:

Patricia said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
MikeyObjectivist said...

The code of morality that lead to Bill Maher writing this ridiculous article is the code of altruism. Altruism's code, in large part, is this:

"[I]t is immoral to live by your own effort, but moral to live by the effort of others"it is immoral to consume your own product, but moral to consume the products of others"it is immoral to earn, but moral to mooch"it is the parasites who are the moral justification for the existence of the producers, but the existence of the parasites is an end in itself"it is evil to profit by achievement, but good to profit by sacrifice"it is evil to create your own happiness, but good to enjoy it at the price of the blood of others." - http://tinyurl.com/oacrm5

When applied to health care, it amounts to the enslavement of the doctors to their patients. Maher's article implies that health care is a HUGE value (i agree), but thinks that BECAUSE of that, those that create that value should not be allowed to profit from it (I strongly DISAGREE)!!

It is precisely the profit motive, that is to say, the self-interest of the doctors that has lead to the incredible discoveries in medicine. The value that doctors create as a result of their incredibly hard work and dedication is their property, and should be left for them to trade with others that can afford it, like any other good or service. http://tinyurl.com/kqthx9

ZenGrouch said...

Things are fucked up... true that...

However, some things have changed for the better.

For example...

In today's comic section of the newspaper, a character named "Daddy War Bucks" would be drawn as a less jolly and benevolent, Santa Claus like, figure.

Sure, he'd be adopting little orphan girls, but you can bet he'd be raping 'em like he was Michael Jackson and they had tiny little Johnsons between their scrawny legs.

Michael said...

very well said. i agree that it is morally wrong to profit off of people's illness and misery. say what you will about michael moore, but his movie "sicko" did a pretty good job of explaining the healthcare business in america. its a nightmare. sweet blog

ZenGrouch said...

Sometimes I feel old, but grateful to remember an America where the general attitude was, "Enough is Enough" as in everyone wasn't out to rape everyone else for an extra 10% of whatever...

Oh yeah, if someone would bad mouth you on the street, you could beat the shit out of each other, and nobody went to jail!

Oddly enough, people were more civil with those rules.

Tracie said...

Everyone in America (including every journalist) seems to have missed this all-important sentence in President Obama's press conference last night, July 22, 2009.

"If you don't have health insurance, or are a small business looking to cover your employees, you'll be able to choose a quality, affordable health plan through a health insurance exchange – a marketplace that promotes choice and competition Finally, no insurance company will be allowed to deny you coverage because of a pre-existing medical condition."

The operative words here are "Health Insurance Exchange".

This is directly from the transcript. The complete transcript can be found at: http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=106905354

(This quote came toward the beginning of the press conference when he was outlining what congress has agreed upon. All that's left will be the structuring of that insurance exchange. To get a preview of what the battles of the structuring will be, click on the link at the bottom of this post.)

So, there's a reason why, the talking heads today are wondering, Obama has stopped saying the actual words "public option" as of today. The reason is, apparently, because our "public option" is going to be private insurance!.... with government subsidies for those that qualify.

A "uniquely American solution"? Yes. Insane? Yes.

---An insurance exchange (which is what Obama said we'll be getting) is where the private insurance companies get together and offer a variety of policies obtainable through the government (with the government setting some standards of cost and who they have to cover). What happens there is that, if you choose to go with this government option, the government vets your income and decides what you will pay per month and gives you a choice of private insurance policies to choose from depending on what "tier" of coverage you qualify for. The money you pay goes directly to the private insurance companies and the rest of what they charge for that policy is paid to them by the government (if you qualify for an insurance subsidy). This is the worst possible choice that could have been made. Now the insurance companies not only get tons of new customers but they also get taxpayer money on top of it. Which, to me, means that everyone will be paying them twice.

I have NO IDEA how Obama can say, with a straight face no less, that this is a public option that will give insurance companies competition. So for those of you with any spare money, feel secure in buying that Aetna stock!

Here is a link to more information on the insurance exchange and what would need to be done to make it even remotely functional.

http://www.centeronbudget.org/cms/index.cfm?fa=view&id=2785

Make no mistake, this will pass because it makes sure that the insurance companies will very profitably exist in perpetuity. The conservative dems get to keep their relationships with Corporate America, so they will no longer obstruct and the only winners will be Big Insurance and corrupt pols. A "uniquely American" solution. Every other country also had Big Insurance before they went to nationalized (single payer) insurance. We're (as usual) the only morons on the planet that can't seem to make democracy work for the people.

This also makes the amendment to ERISA, that Dennis Kucinich just got passed, pointless. Which may explain why it passed with bi-partisan votes. They knew what was coming.

KIttybrat said...

There is absolutely no reason we cannot get a single payer health care plan to cover all of us in this country. The only stopping point is greed, pure and simple greed.
Bill Maher is absolutely 100% correct and says it so well!

LadyVet said...

Dear Mr. Maher:

I am highly disappointed in you for your comment trashing National Guard volunteers. I completed a peacetime tour in the US Army in 1984. I volunteered to go back in with a National Guard Unit that was headed to South West Asia during Operation Desert Shield. I volunteered to serve two more tours
after the Evacuation Hospital I was assigned to received their orders to go home. During my first tour I worked 20 hours a day seven days a week with only 1 and
1/2 days off after 60 days of service.

Now, does that sound like the incompetent weekend paint baller you described in your routine? Usually I agree with your political points of view. But this time, I found your comment HIGHLY offensive.

I have a severe case of the Gulf War Illness, yet I continue in a volunteer capacity to serve my country. I have given as much of my energy humanly possible to work with other activist members of Vote Rescue to get back our accountable transparent elections by means of hand counted paper ballots. I have volunteered as an election judge to make sure our elections were as fair as I could ascertain considering there were electronic machines involved. I volunteered for more than 5 years for the Muscular Dystropy Association.

I am active volunteer for the Vets Journey Home Organization. I have done public speaking engagements (for free) to educate others regarding the truth about the Gulf War Illness, Reactive Airways Disease, Multiple Chemical Sensitivity, PTSD, and depleted uranium poisoning; all of which I currently suffer from. I left my health on the battle field so that people just like you could say pretty much what is on your mind in safety protected by the First Ammendment. I write poetry. I perform my poetry in public to try to further inform people of necessary truths. And you have the audacity to call people like me a weekend paint baller. Do you really believe that was an accurate statement now? Did you serve? If so when and where? If not, maybe you might think of cutting those of us who had the courage and moral conviction to put
our lives on the line to protect and serve this country a little slack.

By the way, an apology wouldn't hurt, either!!!

Sincerely,
Lee LeTeff,
US Army (disability) Retired

P.S. When called for jury duty...I served!!! I am proud of the job I have done to try to make my country a better place. You may not agree with the wars, but it is pretty bad to defame those willing to defend this nation!

Jake said...

Dear Bill,

Though I missed overtime tonight, I wanted to chime in briefly on tonight's discussion regarding the taxpayer bailout and recently announced Goldman and JP Morgan Chase profits. This is a tricky issue on which, initially, I was inclined to follow Matt Taibbi's line of reasoning -- why should these companies and their employees reap the immense financial benefits made available to them only through the provision of significant taxpayer dollars? But upon further reflection, I find that despite my own sense of justice, the profits should be left untouched and go to the employees.

Any partial solution that attempts to sweeten the bitter taste of this failure of fairness by funneling some (or all) of this money back to taxpayers, could take us down a very slippery slope. If the line of argument is that this is a specific and unprecedented case in the use of of public funds and that, especially during such difficult times, this money should absolutely not go to line the pockets of already rich financial magicians, I think it opens the door of opportunity for people to lobby for taxpayer dollars to be used in similar situations, as an investment tool.

Notwithstanding your insightful health care related comments on which industries should not be for profit, this type of "taxpayer investing" could remove incentives and create some serious obstacles to the ability for certain industries to continue to drive for profits without Big Brother's hand in their pockets. It is the positive effects of this mostly unfettered capitalist drive for profits that has, through our history, given the United States the opportunity to metamorphose from 13 vulnerable colonies into the international leader it is today. Capitalism must of course be kept in check, but, like our unhealthy citizens, it is ultimately more costly to let it fall fatally ill.

Sincerely,

Jake Englander
Brooklyn, NY
Cornell '06

P.S. Very interesting tidbit from Susan Eisenhower on the original inclusion of "Congressional" in the MIC Farewell Address. I could not agree more with the general consensus among the panelists that, in the face of a rising defense budget (under Obama!), the denial of funding for the F-22 is but a paradoxical token victory that is not really to be celebrated in the midst of the fight that we should be (and are not) leading against the Military Industrial Complex and its powerful engine, the Iron Triangle. We continue to ignore GENERAL (and President) Eisenhower's 48-year-old warning at our peril...

Sunset Records said...

I want to make sure that everyone including Bill and his people know that WWI was the way war profits started and thrived in the US. Fanta was the soda coca cola made up to enter Germany...ESO was an American gas company that made that its name to get into the markets we were at war.....Car dealers like Ford changed their names to enter the German and Europe markets during that war....American companies would create subsidiaries so they could open up in German markets. And the best part of WWI is that is where IBM began to thrive as a worldwide company. They also made another name for its company to enter the German markets. And they had the Nazi account because they would use tickets at that time to keep things organized like we do with a computer today. And, the owner of IBM himself (something Schmidt) was not only friends with Adolf Hitler, they were the exact company used to track whom the Germans killed and/or what the outcome of the people were they captured during that war. And, further, these ticket punch holed systems were calculated and tabulated every month by the IBM company staff people. They would literally take the trains and pick up the stats at each station every month...They would then tabulate and calculate the results of what happened to every human captured in that war. And, these tickets if you will, are viewable today...and again, they are tracked back to the IBM company,....Everyone that is interested in this issue, conversation and subject, honestly needs to see this movie called, The Corporation...It is a necessity because we have even found a way to own genomes and actual genes. We can now own a cure for cancer if we can find it...Even that will be a privately owned entity and also, everything including air, the oceans...land of course..is privatized and/or regulated and/or owned by some human and in some way is making profits...even the people that create smog regulate the times of the day they can use our air to spew smog into it....certain companies own miles of oceans so they can catch lobsters...And, then the land that was free at one time which goes way back, but yeah...World War II was used by start up companies and larger corporations to gain huge profits and these companies are thriving in business today.......And, yes..the prisons being private is insane...think about that slave trade logic ion these modern years...in 1985..some American introduces Crack Cocaine to the US...and make coke so cheap whereas before that year, it was a rich mans drug done by people with money. So, then instantly, everyone that tries that drug one time, gets sort of addicted....and/or really addicted...which leads to crime because they will need money...and because prisons need people...and there are not that many murderers to fill every private establishment, this is easy prey...and then the prison makes license plates so to speak...sells them to the local town for 10 bux..and pays the prisoner 25 cents a day for that work....Its brilliant profiteering at its best..you get people addicted to shit drugs and you throw them jails after they do them..You make them work for pennies and then you resell that product for major profit...even the toothpaste and the phone services are privately owned so everything done in the prison is a way to make money off the people they planted the seed to throw them in jail in the first place.....Think about that cycle..and think about the prison population from 1985 till now...and how many drug users are in jail...and/or non violent people...the numbers are huge....and so is that profit if you own a prison...and if you own a prison what do you want done to make money? You want that prison filled every day like a motel.....

William_mtl said...

Isn’t it just right to help each other? Profits I believe are important, they stimulate desire to prosper and therefore motivate us to achieve higher education, personal growth and work hard. Is this not how we evolve as a species? However, whenever we envision an idealistic future for man, we all seem to agree that there is no disease, no sickness and funny enough no need for money. How do we find a balance where as a society we strive for growth yet never leave anyone behind?

When I was young and first heard that other countries did not have healthcare for everyone, I just couldn’t believe it. It just seems inconceivable that one man would allow another man to suffer, feel ill or even die while holding the tools to treat him. Is this not passive murder? Or is it natural selection?

Hard work deserves rewards, and doctors who work so hard to become what they are and work so hard to help others should be well rewarded (as well as their teachers but that’s another discussion). Financial rewards are imperative, but if society would offer as much respect and admiration for those that save and teach us as those that “defend” us, I believe that the immorality of profiting from sickness could eventually be seen for what it is.
.

Dustin Newcombe said...

In response to "MikeyObjectivisit," I must ask what recent discoveries in medicine lend any credibility to his response? Viagra? Botox? It strikes me that the profit motive ensures that research is done where there is profit. The profit motive has provided us with Viagra instead of an AIDS vaccine, because Old Rich Men can pay to keep it hard while those out of work and dying of AIDS can't afford their cure. I'm sure you'll be one of the gross, 60 year old men with a fake sex drive and a 20 year old gold digging wife and be quite happy.

Sarah said...

Bill is correct. There is always someone out there who is going to think, hey, I can make money off of this. If it is a need, there is a demand, therefore, someone has to provide that need generally for a fee.
I also think that there are people out there who go into the medical field because they honestly want to help others: not to make millions of dollars.
Maybe if medical school was more affordable, we also would be able to cut health care costs for those doctors paying off their debt.
But, it isnt like being a doctor is so glamerous...I'm sure most have a passion for their career...not just purely for greed.
Its those men that own all those companies and own the doctors that are ruining life for the rest of us.

independent_thinker said...

What the hell is wrong with making money? Bill Maher sure makes it cutting down others that do!

I don't see anybody ridiculing him for sitting 60 minutes spawning his hate! He doesn't even post here! What does that tell you? Computer Illiterate Moron!

Give me a frickin' break!

ZenGrouch said...

There's a difference in making a profit in the entertainment industry, where people can take you or leave you...

...and making a profit on something that people need to FUCKING SURVIVE! YOU FUCKING DOUCHE BAG IDIOT!

It was depressing to watch the McLaughlin Group today, where the cunts on the right were bemoaning the fact that the insurance companies might not be able to compete with AFFORDABLE INSURANCE OFFERED BY THE GOVERNMENT!

FUCK THE INSURANCE COMPANIES WHO ARE CONCERNED ABOUT PROFIT AND *NOTHING* ELSE!

independent_thinker said...

Zenny, you arrived!!!!

Bottom line.....tell Obama's wife to quit taking sideline shopping trips to London? (which you paid for)

Then we'll talk!


What the hell is wrong with making money?

Oops! I forgot, we are now a European Country ( and no, I am not a millionaire, just a working surviving American who faults nobody for working hard for the money...if Zenny made 10 cents for every curse word he says......Watch out....anther Bill Gates!!!)

independent_thinker said...

When is everyone going to stand up to our Government and "tell" them to take the same benefits they are forcing on us?

Hellooooo?????

Wake up!

independent_thinker said...

IT WILL "NEVER" HAPPEN!

Do a show on that Mr. Maher!


Are all of you that truly stupid?

independent_thinker said...

YES!!!!!!

ZenGrouch said...

"When is everyone going to stand up to our Government and "tell" them to take the same benefits they are forcing on us?"...

Pay attention, you stupid bitch.

Obama is struggling to give "US" the same benefits "THEY" are getting.

WHAT THE FUCK IS WRONG WITH NATIONALIZED HEALTH INSURANCE?!

OHHH, THE POOR INSURANCE COMPANIES WON'T BE ABLE TO PROFIT AS PEOPLE DIE FROM SUB-PAR HEALTH CARE...

Don't make me bring back the "C" word you dumb bunny.

ZenGrouch said...

"When is everyone going to stand up to our Government and "tell" them to take the same benefits they are forcing on us?"...

Pay attention, you stupid bitch.

Obama is struggling to give "US" the same benefits "THEY" are getting.

WHAT THE FUCK IS WRONG WITH NATIONALIZED HEALTH INSURANCE?!

OHHH, THE POOR INSURANCE COMPANIES WON'T BE ABLE TO PROFIT AS PEOPLE DIE FROM SUB-PAR HEALTH CARE...

Don't make me bring back the "C" word you dumb bunny.

ZenGrouch said...

I tried to change from one form of Blue Cross, to another form of Blue Cross that was less expensive.

Fine, they sent a guy with a portable computer and scanner into my doctors office, since by requesting new insurance, I was forced to give them that right.

Guess what? In California you can't be denied insurance for pre-existing conditions, that weren't actual, but conditions doctors in the past created to make a buck off my ass like it was an ATM.

Go in to check on a condition, then they start talking cutting your ass up so they can cash in.

Then I'd say, fuck that, let's see how this shit works itself out.

Anyway, now I got conditions that can't legally keep me from being insured, BUT they can charge me thousands of bucks a fucking month to cover my sad ass!

BAM! no insurance, and I go blind enough so that I lose my driver's license.

OK, I see a doc tell him I haven't got insurance and what's his best price. It was way the fuck less than he would have charged my insurance company.

My regular doc is willing to work with me to give me cheaper blood and whatnot tests, for less than half the insurance costs.

The tricky part is, before my eye operations, I had to be checked out top to bottom, to make sure that my ass wouldn't have a heart attack on the operating table. Reason being, the doc told me that they don't want to give me a million dollars worth of treatment for that heart attack if I'm uninsured.

Anyway, this shit would be a lot less with a single source insurance plan, such as NATIONALIZED FUCKING INSURANCE!

As it is now, I'm going to the herbal doctor in Chinatown, before I see my regular doc.

Fuck me, as long as Blue me to death Cross makes a gigantuan profit!

maria said...

Mikey Objectivist = another young guy thats probably still living off his dad's money and doesnt understand the realities of this world.

Mikey, all overarching ideologies, including Objectivism are unrealistic and outdated. Pull your head out of your arse and look at the real world rather than an old, badly written philosophy book.

For the past century, every society has been a mish-mash of different ideologies - a little bit of capitalism, a little bit of socialism - YES, including the US! (how do you think the police force works? Fire department? 911? How do your roads get built? because they are all SOCIALISED!!!)

When you grow up, you will realise that the world is more complicated than you think and that its problems cant be solved via one idiotic ideology. Look at the big picture mikey, dont navel gaze and engage in bullshit philosophical whimsy - real people need help, not your smarmy platitudes.

dee said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
joan said...

Isn't it interesting that the profit-driven mentality ramped up to insane levels right around the time we got our first "MBA" president?

I never understood why it was considered a good thing to run a government like a business. It's not a business. It has an entirely different set of functionalities and objectives.

A corporation (by definition) exists to maximize returns to the shareholders. And the American people sure aren't the shareholders in our current system. It's the Cheneys, the Halliburtons, the Frists, the Goldman Sachs, etc...

You're right Bill. Enough is never enough for some people. They're looting this country to the tune of billions of dollars while watching the nation that enabled (hell...subsidized!) them decay and crumble. What do they care?

On a side note ... I'd like to see all of these MF'ing Repub congressmen who are fighting health reform surrender their tax-payer financed health care coverage--as a matter of PRINCIPLE.

These are the people that say gov't can't do anything right, and yet they benefit from some of the best health insurance available, courtesy of our taxes. John McCain has never had to pay for private health insurance since the day he was born. Father in the Navy ... covered ...joined the Navy ... covered...went to the Senate ... covered. Let's see him take his millions to the private sector (which we all know does everything better) and try to get comparable health care at his age and with his history of cancer. Good luck !

It's time these pricks in Congress put there money where their mouths are and if paying for private health insurance is great for the country, then let them join our ranks. They should either surrender their tax-payer funded health insurance or shut the hell up.

Ger said...

Mayo, Cleveland Clinic, Kaiser, Bassett...a number of world class plus health care systems with providers on salary. Fee for service profit motive absent.
A beginning from which to spread.

HSmith said...

We Didn’t Just Fail To Support President Obama And Professor Gates; We Failed To Support The Common Sense Values We All Share As Americans.

The president of the United States made a straight forward common sense comment about the Gates’ arrest at a national press conference. I’m sure he assumed that there would be universal common sense understanding throughout the media and our society about the injustice of arresting a middle-aged man within his own home for being rude to a police officer. Sadly the media, law enforcement, political institutions and race baiting public in this society allowed this common sense evaluation to spiral out of control. The minority population in this country has always and will always need a coalition of proactive citizens with a similar sense of values in this society so injustices can be expressed without chaos, political unrest or violence. That has been the basis of every minority civil rights movement of our country. The president acknowledged an obvious injustice at a national press conference and expected common sense police officers, nurses , doctors , teachers, the media, politicians and everyday citizens to understand and support his outrage at the injustice and humiliation Professor Gates endured in his own home. Common sense values dictate that no one would want their dad or grandfather to be arrested in their own home for being rude to the police. But instead, this society debated and continues to debate whether Professor Gates should have been humiliated in such a manner by a professional police officer. President Obama is president of the United States, but he is also a member of a minority group of citizens in this country, and he has to navigate in ways someone who is not a member of a minority will never have to. As a member of a minority group, just as in the civil rights movement, President Obama's voice on injustice in this country, is and will only be as strong and as loud as the courage, strength and volume of the coalition of common folks who elected this president to office. Without common sense folks repeatedly speaking out loudly and confronting an obvious injustice, the president’s voice will be drowned out by the race baiting fringe groups, media and other institutions that know his voice is only as strong as yours. The radical fringe wants everything about President Obama, from birth certificates to pre-school, from friends to religious associations, marriage, political appointments and opinions to revolve around race, so that the voices of common sense folks with common sense values and issues can be drowned out by fake controversies, chaos and political unrest. If we empower the president's voice on common sense issues within this country, we will mute the divide and conquer tactics of these racists fringe elements in our society that surely benefit from political unrest and racial strife in the United States. The president spoke out about an obvious injustice to one of the most respected scholars in the country. It is our responsibility as citizens to back the common sense approach and determination that the president came to, repeatedly and loudly. In this democracy our president is a reflection of who we are and what we represent as a society. If we fail to speak up and support this president’s common sense approach on issues of injustice and policy in this country, the president we elected will have no voice, and neither will we.

H. Smith

RC said...

Bill,
Great New Rule - I would love to see you get behind a new thought of Health Care Reform. Please consider this:
In 1936 Congress decided (wisely for a change) to make changes in the "utilities companies" in the "best interest of the public". In this case it was best to have a monopoly therefore each state set up a commission to oversee the utility companies. The same will be the only way to solve the Health Care Reform, needed in a new century.
1 - All health care insurance companies must be changed to be a "not for profit" company. Let's face it, they are now beholding to Wall Street as a "for profit" entity. Ask Wendell Potter. I guarantee that "reform" will NOT do anything if this change is not done.
2 - Establishment of a health board in each state with oversight from a national board, will determine fees and costs for all health care providers (hospitals and doctors, etc). There is such a wide spread disparity of fees and costs it boggles my reasoning mind. Use the "utility commissions" as an example.
By the way, doctors are not multi-millionaires for no reason.
Happy to give you more details on all this if you are interested.
RC Shuaige, Kansas City.
rcshuaige@yahoo.com

John Boy said...

Your treatment of Matt Taibbi on 7/24 (cutting him off before he showed how wall street operates) Was disturbing. I thought your access through HBO gave you more freedom from the power of wall street.

AWearyCitizen said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
AWearyCitizen said...

What percentage of the total U.S annual budget is provided to the military? I'm not saying DON'T spend it, I'm just asking why it is such a large portion. Know why? Because it is in the nation's best interest to be protected. Why protect your COUNTRY when the citizens of that country are sick and dying? It is in the nation's best interest to provide itself healthcare. Just a thought but since federal taxes are taken out of your paycheck, an no one wants to see their total tax payment get too large, move it around. Instead of a 15-20% bite going to federal income tax, lower the income tax portion and move it to a federal insurance plan. The overall tax amount is the same but you are paying for your health insurance. Any increase in the insurance part of the paycheck taxes would have to be offset by something else. Have the federal government direct a portion of the excise tax on cigarettes and alcohol into this same "health insurance pool" of cash. Again, any increase in either of these excise taxes must be offset by a decrease in something else. If the government wants to implement this, to minimize the effect on the population, they have to lead by example and utilize some existing federal taxes to prime the pump so to speak on a single payer system.

jc said...

You can think of it this way. When your home is in flames and the firemen arrive, they tell you that the cost of water just tripled and maybe next time you should consider buying fire insurance from their friends, the Gambinos.

Michael said...

You are to be congratulated once again for speaking the truth when no one else will do so. Profit has no place in health care, particularly in health insurance. At last count, 27% of every health care dollar was profit going to insurance companies and not into the health care system.

We have made two grave errors in health care in the USA. The first: to allow insurance companies to be the dictators of health care. The second was to allow them to make a profit. This is not the place that needs a middle man. Wait until more than one out of every three health care dollars goes into the care of Alzheimer's disease, as it will in less than 20 years from now.

Effort, unlike what MikeyObjectivist says, doesn't mean that you have to make a profit. I make a decent salary in health care and neither myself nor my employer has to make a profit. The medical discoveries resulting in profits from intellectual property are more often happy accidents of research performed to advance science or academic standing, not necessarily for a profit motive.

Natural said...

Bill, thanks for posting this transcript. One line really stood out for me: "When did the profit motive become the only reason to do anything? When did that become the new patriotism? "

I'm so sick of hearing "when did making a profit become evil?" from the conservative leeches. Profit became evil when it became the most important thing.

I think your question is so important - these days, you're made to feel unamerican if you're not a business owner, not out to rip everybody off, just out to make a living.

Thanks, Bill.

Dopey LaRue said...

No joke.

A few weeks ago my boyfriend was in a bicycle accident that crushed his nose and neck, broke four teeth, and removed half of his face (I could actually see bone). I had to literally drag him against his will to the hospital because he was so afraid of the bill as he is uninsured (like most people I know, including myself). The visit itself - not including necessary prescriptions for antibiotics or the follow up appointments to fix his nose and teeth - totaled over $10,000...for two hours in the ER, an x-ray and 14 stitches. At $8,000 for a single x-ray I am starting to think that they write the prices down on a dare.

Something needs to change when someone with bones sticking out of their flesh have to fear with a panic going to only people trained to fix such situations.

Mona said...

Bill,
just saw you on CNN. I don't watch you because you are about as dumb as a bag of rocks. When I want to watch superficial, sissified rants about how bad the US is, I'll tune in. But I'm not really a masochist, like some.
It's funny. There's an old line..." A rich communist is nothing more than a capitalist"
That's why your cowel never reaches outside of the sphere of dummified pot smokers.
Now, go get your pansy ass knocked out by Erik Estrada or something.

"Mikey" said...

New Rule: Not Every American qualifies for a loan.
Clunkers for cash is a joke. Most people who drive clunkers is because they can't afford car payments and/or qualify for a car loan... DUH

And until gov't re-does the credit rating system this recession is going to last for years. Banks got their bailouts and they look great on paper but loans to those who have lost jobs or who have been foreclosed on don't even get a nod from a bank.

Just a couple of examples of how far withdrawn gov't is from the people.

mthinker said...

I appreciate your thesis. I also believe that institutions such as health care and prisons should not be profit-oriented. In particular, privitized prisons are an abomination. After all, if a prison is for profit, then they need clientele to be profitable. Why do you think so many citizens are incarcerated? We have a permanent underclass of citizens in and out of the prison system, many whom are nonviolent, addicts or alcoholics. Our prison system is one of the worst in any industrialized nation. And no, I am not a felon, nor have I ever been incarcerated. Actually, I am a businesswoman who believes in a fair profit. But prisons for profit are disgusting.

Andrew said...

Bill... without you i don't know how i would have gotten through the Bush years, when the Republican Spin apparatus became so adept at manufacturing and selling perspective counter to reality that i almost actually believed that i was a unpatriotic for thinking Bush was an idiot. For that i thank you, and your keen ability to cut through bullshit. But i have to take issue, if you were not going to devote the time and energy to even highlight the main points of Matt Taibbi's story, then you should not have had him on as a guest. i feel like you didn't even give it a chance and you did his Brilliant work a great disservice. This is the kind of crookery you usually spotlight all the time, but these guys are the kings of it all!
How could you?
p.s. - still totally want to blaze with you

ageiger
ft laud, FL

lawpaul74 said...

Dear Mr. Maher,

I do not agree with you on many, many things however your recent comments about the state of Democratic inaction on HC reform I absolutely agree with. I cannot understand what the so-called Blue Dog Democrats are doing blocking this issue and why Obama has not yet brought them to heel. LBJ would never have had this problem -- he knew how to bust congressional heads together. I fear Obama, however, is unable.

If HC reform doesn't pass this time, I don't want to wait another 15 years for the stars to again align. By then it may be too late. I just vacationed in Canada and I honestly saw no dead Canadians lying in the street. I will seriously consider emigrating to Canada if the Democrats again fail this country regarding universal health care. I am on COBRA and I can't afford it forever. I'm ashamed to live in a country where a minority party gleefully uses people's health as a political football -- and the majority Democratic party for some reason bends over backwards to help them!

almosfamous said...

BILL please do a show on the company MONSANTO who has already patented a lot of seeds and are now trying to patent the pig... so more people are informed

this is all about profit and controlling of food which eventually will control everyones life. thanks.

here is one example of many a documentary shown in france but not here in the states.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DCFnx2W6CvY

here is another about the pig patent:

P1) Monsanto Patent for a Pig (Pt.1 of 5):
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4-ouf_...

ZenGrouch said...

I don't understand the problem.

If someone whats to design a better pig and patent the porker to protect whatever investment they jammed into makin' bacon, what's the big fucking deal?

You don't like it? Well then, make like a Jew and don't eat swine.

Fuck... I'd love to see 'em develop a pig that is intelligent enough to talk, and have that motherfucker beg for it's life in the slaughterhouse.

ZenGrouch said...

"You are to be congratulated once again for speaking the truth when no one else will do so."...

Holy Shit!

Suck dick much while you're ignoring the *intelligent* news media?

Maher's OK, but he's not the only one blasting the current situation in the health care industry.

There are doctors out there writing books and organizing other doctors to speak out for nationalized health care. But I guess they might as well be pissing in the wind when it comes to people like you, who only listen to the cool cats.

Lifer said...

The one thing that constantly irks me is that Americans, actually think they live in a Democracy. At the federal level Americans live in a functional plutocracy, which is the "fusion of money and government" and controlled by a small elite of wealthy individuals (including corporations).

That's why you have idiot's running for president. It's like being named prom-queen; totally irrelevant. Americans prefer inverted fascism, where corporations control their lives, know they're spending habits, and "ration" their health care. However, when public interest is discussed it's called socialism or communism, unless of course someone can make some coin off it and then its fine.

Lifer said...

With respect to the military: Over a Trillion dollars are spent each year on military preparedness, housing over 737 bases in 130+ countries including operating "black sites" for torturing prisoners, "intel" gathering through the DIA, the NSA, the CIA, DHS; medical services through the VA; the nukes program (through DoE)...etc. America spends more the rest of the entire planet combined on its military, yet somehow was unable to protect itself from attack by terrorists and is still unable to defeat two fifth-world insurgencies that have no air force, navy, or even army; just dirty sandal-wearing fanatics. Money well spent not actually protecting America, but protecting the financial interests of the warmongers.

Second, most medical doctors provide only services, such as pushing pills. Scientists, not the ones who work at big Pharma, but the guys who work at the NIH and universities and conduct 99% of all fundamental research, are the ones who conduct most of the life-saving research that people prize through publically supported grants (Socialism by definition). Do you know how much a top-tier post-doc earns? Crap! Scientists act for the benefit of humanity, we don't do research to make it big; have corner-offices; or the chance to participate in casino-capitalism. We work 60+ hours at crap wages to find cures for cancer, understand ecosystems, and invent the next technological innovation that hopefully helps humanity and the planet. All that is from altruism; not from some vaunted Wall St. derived motivation for greed and profit!

Billy R said...

Bill is right, some things should not be "for profit" and for those who don't agree, just ask your parents especially those on medicare, social security, medicade etc. Back in the day most regular companies and even some today don't even have retirement plans so with times like they are, paycheck to paycheck who can save for retirement? Social Security and myself kept my widowed mother a little above the poverty line. My parnter's mother is a widow living with our help and a small social security check & a small retirement check, because for years Whirlpool didn't even have a 401K or anyother retirement plan and she worked there 28 years and her retirment check is less than $300.00 per month....think about all the other in the same boat.

makdove said...

Dear Mr. Maher:

You seem to hate the "regular" people in America. Why is that? Specifically, what is it that you find so stupid about Americans? You seem to hate people that you have never met and have no understanding about. You seem to prefer to hate what you don't understand. Isn't that a clear definition of stupid? If you hate America so much, why don't you do everyone a favor and leave? Go to another country that hates America and spew you venom from a distance. Then your hatred will be understood and will make a lot more sense.

I always try to understand people. I find when I try to understand, I tend not to hate. Anger of course is a different thing. Anger is sometimes appropriate. However, to call a whole group of people stupid that you no nothing about seems kind of stupid to me. You are an enigma.
Sincerely,
Mary

The Thrifty Countrywoman said...

Yes Bill! Americans are stupid. They look to a two bit "comic" like you for political advise.

Marc said...

Bill.

You are right. Note everything should be about profit including malpractice lawsuits. Redundant defensive medicine is estimated to cost about the US about $100 Billion per year. If we had serious tort reform we could probably save close to $500 Billion over the next decade and avoid job destroying tax increases on small businesses. So where is Obama and the democrats on tort reform? You guessed it. They don't support it. I expect you don't have the guts to advocate tort reform because that would mean you agreed with Bush on something.

Bill you claim you are a smart guy and that anyone who disagrees with you is stupid. So smart guy please tell we why Walmart supports Obama's health plan? Maybe because Walmart knows the combination of insurance mandates and increased taxes on small business will drive their competition out of business?

Homerii said...

Maher is a prime example of Americans being dumb. The people that watch him are idiots. There are a lot of suckers in this country that "Obama yo mama" got to vote for him. He is now president of all 57 states. Biden eats at at cafe that was torn down 20 yrs ago. Yeah, We are full of sucker. Obama is the racist after his "Acted stupidly" remark about the Cambridge police. I think he sets a bad example to young people by always saying "Let'S have a beer".

Homerii said...

Maher said everyone in America is dumb and I must say he is a prime example except for the idiots that watch his "show?). I must say there are a lot of suckers in America after the way they got sucked in by "OBAMA" yo mama. No, I'm not a racist, I'm a democrat, Obama is the racist after his "STUPIDLY" remark about the Cambridge police. I think he sets a bad example for all young people by suggesting we have a beer!!!

Dopey LaRue said...

@Homerii: Wow. Even after you edited your response and posted it again you still sounded ignorant! Amazing! How many states are there in this country??? If you want to make a convincing argument you might try proof-reading and fact checking.

@Every other hater here: If you hate Bill Maher so much why the heck are you spending your time reading what he has to say and then taking MORE time to comment on it??? Jeez! You might be less hateful people if you focus on reading, supporting, and promoting people who match your ideals!

Bill Sr said...

Bill is an absolute moron. Personally, I think we should buy him a plane to any where he would like to move outside the US.

Perhaps, North Korea, Iran, Venezuela, Pakistan or Libya just to name a few. His ideology is better suited to a socialist and/or communist led government.

I resent that he makes a mockery of conservative values, while he tries to sell his brand of liberal bullshit.

it is because of people like him that our country has fallen into the abyss it is in.

Some should take him out to the proverbial woodshed and give him a lesson in American history, perhaps then he would come out with a better understanding of what this country is all about, and certainly is not his brand of liberal crap.

He isn't even funny! He and Al Franken are cut from the same sick cloth. They make me want to puke.

ZenGrouch said...

"You seem to hate the "regular" people in America. Why is that?"...

Because you're a fucking idiot, that's why.

Now, run off and figure this one out for yourself, Stupid!

Crusader said...

If there's one thing that gives me intense respect for bill is his stance against animal cruelty

Rachel said...

If "Taxing the Rich" is taking money away from someone who has worked hard for their money, then the vast majority of the middle class should not have an average salary of only $35,000/year.

Your net worth is not based on how hard you work. In fact, some of the laziest people are rich. The fact that they can pay someone to find every tax loophole and end up paying a lower percentage of income tax than their secretary should in itself be a crime.

Get the tax rules where it should be and close the loopholes. We can pay for the necessary changes to healthcare and make it affordable. Mr. Blue collar making only $800/month cannot pay 1/4 of their income on health insurance all in the name of Insurance Company Profits.

Do I want my Government dictating what medical services I can or cannot receive? No, but how many Medicare claims have been rejected?? Granny's got her hip replacement long before Little Johnny can get emergency care at a out-of-network provider in the 3rd party world.

Proud to Work in Non-Profit Healthcare!!

Rachel said...

If "Taxing the Rich" is taking money away from someone who has worked hard for their money, then the vast majority of the middle class should not have an average salary of only $35,000/year.

Your net worth is not based on how hard you work. In fact, some of the laziest people are rich. The fact that they can pay someone to find every tax loophole and end up paying a lower percentage of income tax than their secretary should in itself be a crime.

Get the tax rules where it should be and close the loopholes. We can pay for the necessary changes to healthcare and make it affordable. Mr. Blue collar making only $800/month cannot pay 1/4 of their income on health insurance all in the name of Insurance Company Profits.

Do I want my Government dictating what medical services I can or cannot receive? No, but how many Medicare claims have been rejected?? Granny's got her hip replacement long before Little Johnny can get emergency care at a out-of-network provider in the 3rd party world.

Proud to Work in Non-Profit Healthcare!!

Marc said...

Rachel,

Your perception doesn't match reality.

Some people are wealthy because they inherit their wealth. But many of the wealthy are hard working people. Many of them are entrepeneurs that risk everything to create new companies and new jobs for other people.

Note that "The last time the top federal income tax rate was 50%, the richest 1% paid only about 25% of all income taxes. Today, at a 35% rate they pay nearly 40%."

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB124753106668435899.html

So there are very few secretaries that pay a higher tax rate than their bosses.

Increasing tax rates on the wealthy will increase taxes on small businesses which create the vast majority of new jobs in America.

So you worry about Mr Blue collar paying 25% of their income to insurance companies. Maybe you should worry about Mr Blue collar having a job.

LadyVet said...

Sometimes I wonder what some of you do for work. As a female supporting 2 kids without child support and refusing to take welfare, I had to work multiple jobs and was rarely above the poverty level.

I would pray every day that my children didn't break themselves as none of my jobs offered health care.

As soon as I got a job that had benefits, I hung onto it for dear life. Then had to be medically retired due to the Gulf War Illness.

Most people would gladly pay for health care if they could do that AND continue to feed their families. There is no reason that we don't have health care for everyone. The greedy would rather borrow from Social Security (which really means to steal as those funds are NEVER paid back)

I don't understand how any of you can sincerely be against health care for everyone

makdove said...

What Obama and his czars are doing to this economy is really horrible. I have worked for a small business owner for almost six years. She was the best boss I ever had. She had to lay off her entire staff because of this horrible economy. Obama could do something simple like stop payroll taxes for 6 to 12 months and the economy would boom. However, I am convinced that he wants the economy to be as bad as possible so that he gains more control over our country.

Marc said...

LadyVet

Its about how you finance healthcare for everyone. The bill is $1 Trillion for the next ten years. Obama's answer is to increase taxes which will destroy jobs. There is another answer. Its called tort reform. Defensive medicine due to fear of lawsuits cost about $100 Billion per year or $1 Trillion over a decade. No other first world country has as many malpractive lawsuits or massive awards as we have in America. So if you want a European healthcare system then we should have European legal system for handling malpractice. If anyone is greedier than insurance companies its trial lawyers who just so happen to be one of the largest contributors campaign contributors to Obama.

We need to make healthcare more efficient instead of raising taxes to make the world's most expensive healthcare system even more expensive.

independent_thinker said...

ZenGrouch said...

"When is everyone going to stand up to our Government and "tell" them to take the same benefits they are forcing on us?"...

Pay attention, you stupid bitch.

Obama is struggling to give "US" the same benefits "THEY" are getting.

WHAT THE FUCK IS WRONG WITH NATIONALIZED HEALTH INSURANCE?!

OHHH, THE POOR INSURANCE COMPANIES WON'T BE ABLE TO PROFIT AS PEOPLE DIE FROM SUB-PAR HEALTH CARE...

Don't make me bring back the "C" word you dumb bunny.






Who's the dumb one? Apparently you can't understand what you read. I "said", if this Healthcare bill passes and "we" all have to have Nationalized Healthcare then, the Day that Obama & Family along with the entire Government use the "SAME HEALTHCARE"? I will bow down before you Zenny!

Also, the day we "recieve" our full Salaries thru Social Security? I will bow down again to honor your Genius little brain you think you have!

Dumb asshole!

Back later!

c said...

Bill - We just saw an ad on Animal Planet for a DOG SNUGGLIE - You know because sweaters are so hard to get over their head. I hope you get this, it is soooooo good. Thanks, Pat Spievak, Long Beach.

SL Jones said...

"Cash for Codgers"

"Turn in gramps ... get cash ... relieve a bit of the pressure on the health care system."

"Don't worry ... we'll take GOOD care of him."

Candace said...

Dear "Objectivist"

The statement is not EVERYTHING in america has to make a profit. The value or even the cost of doctors is in NO WAY diminished by allowing a working class social worker, like my Mother, obtain the proper medicine OR a teacher such as my self afford to have her wisdom teeth removed ( a necessary procedure for the health and beautiful maintenance for rest of my teeth) I know. . .how vain of me! LOL There are many countries that have successful and even profitable systems of AFFORDABLE ,universal health care. WE are simply talking about making it affordable in this country. Furthermore, in your comment you mention "breakthroughs in medicine" . . . in this for profit and not for people ( humanity) country we live in. . The pharmaceutical companies couldn't care less about the HEALTH of their clients only the profit, and that we are subjugated into buying more and more of the product. The money is not in the cure; it's in the patients addiction to alleviate symptoms. Hence, we still have not found the cure for Diabetes!!! ( That is pathetic but profitable) For that reason, america stands at 37th in the world in healthcare and 50th in life expectancy. THIS IS VERY REAL to people like me. Example 1: In my community, I witness teachers diagnosed with cancer at an abiding rate and the cost for various therapies devastates their savings, retirement plans, and puts a great deal of financial stress on whole families. . . and then there are those that don't have a family to depend on. I could give you many more examples for you to consider and I assure you that you may understand that this is not a learned-helplessness, philosophy, It's very real and very needed. I have been a teacher for only seven years now. I and my colleagues are very passionate about the service we provide. In many cases my students do not have adequate school supplies. As a matter of fact, forget school supplies!!! Many of my students have not had anything to EAT since they left school the day before. It is the teachers at our school who are consistently left to pool our money and buy supplies and snacks for our children. On average all teachers spend $500.00 a year on school supplies and the latest educational manipulative to better educate our children. We are seldom even thanked or acknowledged for this. I want to thank all tax payers for affording I and other teachers our meager salary. I assure you, I DONT believe in working for free and we SHOULD be and can be compensated a lot better for the endless service we provide. HOWEVER, as I have sadly witnessed this in other countries, I don't think a child should be unable to receive an education because he/she (or the whole family) can't afford tuition!!! Education is the key to any country advancing in its civic philosophies, ideology, communications, technological advances, and yes, economic policy.
Thank God we have, at least, some universal education in this country!!!!! With the proper universal health care maybe we could continue these services by allowing the teacher to live and be healthy.

Candace said...

Dear "Objectivist"

The statement is not EVERYTHING in america has to make a profit. The value or even the cost of doctors is in NO WAY diminished by allowing a working class social worker, like my Mother, obtain the proper medicine OR a teacher such as my self afford to have her wisdom teeth removed ( a necessary procedure for the health and beautiful maintenance for rest of my teeth) I know. . .how vain of me! LOL There are many countries that have successful and even profitable systems of AFFORDABLE ,universal health care. WE are simply talking about making it affordable in this country. Furthermore, in your comment you mention "breakthroughs in medicine" . . . in this for profit and not for people ( humanity) country we live in. . The pharmaceutical companies couldn't care less about the HEALTH of their clients only the profit, and that we are subjugated into buying more and more of the product. The money is not in the cure; it's in the patients addiction to alleviate symptoms. Hence, we still have not found the cure for Diabetes!!! ( That is pathetic but profitable) For that reason, america stands at 37th in the world in healthcare and 50th in life expectancy. THIS IS VERY REAL to people like me. Example 1: In my community, I witness teachers diagnosed with cancer at an abiding rate and the cost for various therapies devastates their savings, retirement plans, and puts a great deal of financial stress on whole families. . . and then there are those that don't have a family to depend on. I could give you many more examples for you to consider and I assure you that you may understand that this is not a learned-helplessness, philosophy, It's very real and very needed. I have been a teacher for only seven years now. I and my colleagues are very passionate about the service we provide. In many cases my students do not have adequate school supplies. As a matter of fact, forget school supplies!!! Many of my students have not had anything to EAT since they left school the day before. It is the teachers at our school who are consistently left to pool our money and buy supplies and snacks for our children. On average all teachers spend $500.00 a year on school supplies and the latest educational manipulative to better educate our children. We are seldom even thanked or acknowledged for this. I want to thank all tax payers for affording I and other teachers our meager salary. I assure you, I DONT believe in working for free and we SHOULD be and can be compensated a lot better for the endless service we provide. HOWEVER, as I have sadly witnessed this in other countries, I don't think a child should be unable to receive an education because he/she (or the whole family) can't afford tuition!!! Education is the key to any country advancing in its civic philosophies, ideology, communications, technological advances, and yes, economic policy.
Thank God we have, at least, some universal education in this country!!!!! With the proper universal health care maybe we could continue these services by allowing the teacher to live and be healthy.

Justin Case said...

Think about this for a minute. Seriously. We pay into a system that earns profits from the one portion of our society who are statistical the least likely to ever need health insurance... able-bodied workers age 18 to 65.

And when you retire, when you’re old and actually do need major health care assistance, the system you paid into for years isn’t there for you. So how about we stop feeding that monster.

I have never heard anyone point out this simply flawed logic of our current system:
We are over insuring those who don’t need it, and under insuring those who do.

And we allow an entire industry to profit from that? That’s just nuts.

-JC

Michael Mignogna said...

Candace and Maria (and everyone else who doesn't believe in property rights),

The rights to life, liberty, the pursuit of happiness and property DO NOT guarantee anything. Rights are not rights to material goods or services, but to action, i.e. the right to be free to act according to what YOU deem necessary for obtaining values.

When you state that it is good and proper to enact laws that legalize the expropriation of one's property so that it can be unjustly given to another, what you are admitting is that property rights do not exist--that the right to life is really a duty to the lives of every life EXCEPT your own.

You think I am just a young ignorant child who doesn't know anything because I haven't been on this earth as long as you, but you are mistaken. I believe in freedom, and I'm sure of it. I am very much aware of the consequences of believing freedom to be the problem, e.g., Soviet Russia and Nazi Germany.

Both of those slaughter houses held the same principles that you hold currently, most notably, that altruism and self sacrifice are the noblest of virtues. The result was EXACTLY what they strove for, whether they realized it or not.

I am here to help you realize that what you hold as noble is not merely wrong, it is the most evil moral code one can have, and completely incompatible with life on earth. The altruistic morality that you ascribe to was behind the darkest times in human history, and is currently what is going to destroy the world.

Read about Soviet Russia. Read about Nazi Germany. If that is what you are striving for here, you are doing the right thing. If not, I suggest you read Capitalism: The Unknown Ideal, Economics In One Lesson, and Atlas Shrugged as a start.

Vikrim said...

Michael says: "The altruistic morality that you ascribe to was behind the darkest times in human history, and is currently what is going to destroy the world."

This is what can easily be defined as a slippery slope argument.

Michael regardless of your age, you seem like a well spoken and articulate person. But I have to disagree with you. You're sounding the alarm of totalitarianism when none is even remotely being suggested. Thus, a classic slippery slope argument. I hate to break it to you but socialism in various forms has existed in the US since the 30's, and it exists in other western countries that are enjoying a far better standard of living. That being said, none of them come even close to Soviet Russia or Nazi Germany in terms of limiting one's personal freedom.

The only signs of Nazi Germany or Soviet Russia found in American politics today are the tactics of fear mongering against anything that is self-described as being "un-American", and the manipulation of your complicit and bias media (whether left or right). It's borderline nationalism (which perpetuated the Nazi movement in 1930's Germany), and from my vantage point is being propagated mostly by the conservative right. If you're not for the Iraq war you're against the troops. If you don't wear a flag pin or lip-sync the pledge of allegiance you're not a patriot. If you're for gun control you're against freedom and the American constitution. If you're for universal health care you're a communist. No debate. No middle ground. Just absolutes, with lies and misconstrued facts to back them up. Couple that with extreme mindless ideology, a complete inability for critical thinking among the masses, and a sensationalist rather than truth-seeking media and you have a recipe for the very restriction of freedom and independent thought you cherish.

Michael Mignogna said...

Hey Vikrim. Thank you for posing an attack-free argument, unlike most people who choose to attack the person and not the issue.

Obviously I disagree with you, and here's why:

Regarding my claim being a slippery slope--that the altruistic morality resulted in the darkest times in human history--I would like to back that up with facts. In reading any history book, one will learn that the middle and dark ages were the most religious of times, and consequently the most brutal. What is the moral basis for religion? Altruism. What is the religionists argument as to why one should accept that morality? Faith. In other words, it is noble to live for the sake of others, trust us.

If there is a more efficient way at destroying man's mind, I am not aware of it. If destroying man's mind is not the best way to assume complete control over their lives, please fill me in.

You argue that I'm prematurely sounding the alarm in fear of totalitarianism, and again I disagree. The altruistic morality necessarily leads to dictatorship. In Soviet Russia it lead to communism; in Nazi Germany is lead to fascism. Both are variants of the same basic principle: That one's life belongs to the state, in the name of "the common good", i.e., that one's noblest virtue rests not on self-fulfillment, but self-sacrifice, i.e., altruism.

Regarding what one "self-describe[s] as being 'un-American'": Your implication is that "un-American" is not even definable. Putting it in quotes is simply an attempt to undercut the belief that there is even such a thing. But there is. This is the first country in history whose basis for morality were rational selfishness, and therefore wrote a constitution that was dedicated to protecting individual rights. For a proper explanation as to what individual rights are, copy and paste this: tinyurl.com/c66sj6

Any proposed policy or bill or law that goes against the principle that one has a right to his OWN life, liberty, property, and pursuit of happiness--must be fought--as it is without question, un-American.

As far as where I get my media: I get it from everywhere, left and right. But that is not the important question. The real question is: Where do I get my ideas that allow me to judge the media and hold convictions about what I consider good and bad? The answer: Philosophy. Specifically, I ascribe to the philosophy of Ayn Rand, known as Objectivism. She briefly explained it when she said: "My philosophy, in essence, is the concept of man as a heroic being, with his own happiness as the moral purpose of his life, with productive achievement as his noblest activity, and reason as his only absolute." I recommend reading her most famous novel, Atlas Shrugged. (more in next post)

Michael Mignogna said...

(continued from above)

I agree with you that it is unfair to conclude that if someone is not for the Iraq war they are against the troops. That is right-wing rhetoric trash and I am NOT a proponent of that, nor any buzz lines aimed at enticing people not to think. The same goes for the lip-syncing to the pledge of allegiance.

If, however, you are for gun control, you are most certainly against freedom and the document that was written to protect it: The American Constitution. I would definitely not like the government to have all of the guns. In fact, one of the constitutions mains goals was to protect the people FROM the government.

If you are for universal health care, you are not necessarily a communist. You could be a fascist. Either way, though, you are collectivist--one who ascribes to the morality of altruism--that you are your brother's keeper.

And yes, you hit the nail on the head; there is no room for debate, only absolutes. Right and wrong ARE black and white, though the goal of most of the dominant articulate voices has been to teach that everything is grey, that we can't know anything for sure. My response to people that believe they can't know anything for sure is: Really? Are you positive? Are you sure?

If you have a bad taste in your mouth as a result of the arguments you hear by the conservatives in response to the left, I feel your pain. They do not address the real issues. Furthermore, they hold the same basic premises as the left, but with different rhetoric. Their ultimate goals are actually the same. They are not capitalists; they are religious altruists who argue that capitalism is good and that people should take their word on faith. They never argue that capitalism is good because it is moral. For a great book on the morality of capitalism, read Capitalism: The Unknown Ideal.

I look forward to your response.

Vikrim said...

I actually agree with most of what you're saying. Altruism in it's purist form can be dangerous. I'm not a socialist. That said, I also agree with you that the major issues of the day are not black or white, they're grey.

So in the spirit of debating in the grey I'd still claim your argument to be a slippery slope. Regardless of whether you're lassiez faire or socialist the ultimate goal is (or should be) to live in a society where everyone has at least a minimum access to prosperity to survive, be healthy and be happy. With that, I'm a capitalist and believe that for the most part a free market system will allow most people to achieve the above. But I also recognize that there are areas a free market system simply doesn't cover (or cover well) leaving a good portion of society out of that opportunity. So unless you're comfortable with social darwanism I believe the government does need to fill-in the holes a free market system can't, and am willing to contribute taxes to do so (however this doesn't mean I'm not going to scrutinize heavily the appropriation of those taxes).

Healthcare is a perfect example of this. For the same reason you don't leave policing to private militias and firefighting to for-profit corporations, you need some government intervention/ownership so that everyone has access to what I'd consider a fairly basic requirement of any civilized society. And although this might be an example of society giving over a portion of freedom (really only the financial freedom of insurance companies) for the greater good, I also don't believe this is leading you back to the dark ages of altruism. That's the slippery slope.

Why is it a slippery slope? Because I live in a nation that has policies like universal healthcare and gun control and I can guarantee you that I have as much if not more freedom than my American counterparts. But that's also just a state of mind, which requires you to step outside of your current lot and ask yourself if the policies being proposed are actually stripping away YOUR personal freedom. If you equate freedom with the ability to make limitless amounts of money then maybe you have a concern (although again, the concerns would be for insurance companies not you personally or small business). If you equate freedom with the security of knowing the health of you and your family would be looked after as you go about your day or that there aren't millions of guns floating around that can kill you, than that's another. I personally feel no hindrance to my freedom to do as I please (for things that matter) and speak what I want to speak. And believe it or not I've also had the freedom to make some pretty good wealth despite not living in America.

Michael Mignogna said...

Vikrim, please re-read my stance on moral greyness. I said I believe in black and white.

My goal is to live in a society that is free. The constitution does not guarantee that one is going to acquire the values he desires, only that he will be free to act in order to PURSUE those values.

I am not suggesting the policing of the nation, i.e., the protection of individuals, be left up to private militias. But that is not an example of the failure of the free market to cover all the holes in a society. It is only proper that a standardized rule of law be put into place and enforced by the government, as it is the government that protects individuals from force or fraud by other individuals.

As far as roads and fire fighting, that is a very long and separate discussion. My stance is that both should be private, and the result would be an increase in quality of both. For roads, however, there may be a totally different system. If roads were private, there may be a market for an intricate network or high-speed rails, and maybe there would be far fewer cars on the road. It's impossible to say.

When you say you advocate a system where everyone is guaranteed "a fairly basic requirement of any civilized society" (referring to health care), the next question that must naturally follow is: Provided by who? The answer: Those that are productive. In other words, you believe in a system of laws that make it illegal to keep what you work to earn, and instead are forced to give to complete strangers.

To claim that you are freer as a result of living in a place that has universal health care is a misrepresentation of freedom. To be free does not mean to be free from responsibility of earning values. To be free means to be free from the responsibility of earning values for everyone but yourself. The right to pursue your own happiness does not mean you have the right to be happy, but the right to act in PURSUIT of that happiness. What you support are laws that force the productive people in society to give away that which is necessary for the happiness of those that cannot, or simply do not, earn it themselves.

You believe it is right that one can hold a claim on another man's life--that one is born into servitude and that it is just. I strongly disagree.

But your stance isn't that cut and dry. You ARE grey. In some cases you believe in freedom and in others you believe in servitude. In short your stance is this: You believe in freedom some of the time. You believe in the right to your own property some of the time. But so long as someone NEEDS it, they have a right to it.

Your stance in one sentence reads as follows: You believe in the right to life, so long as what you live for is every life BUT your own.

Vikrim said...

It's interesting Michael because I used to be just like you. In university and some years beyond I had opinions that were absolute, with all issues of the day being filtered through those absolute opinions. Without labeling it at the time I believed in social darwanism and that if people weren't making their own way they were a hindrance to me. I then started to mature, started gaining responsibilities like a career, a mortgage and eventually a family. I've traveled abroad and throughout North America, and I've earned a wealth of knowledge learning from a variety of different opinions. I'm not suggesting for a minute that I have everything figured out, but what I do strive for is the notion of critical thinking. I still believe there are those that leach off society which I have little time for, but in the broader picture I've learned, as I mentioned, that a purely laissez faire approach leaves holes in our society that are hard to dig yourself out of no matter how hard you work. I also learned that helping your fellow man weather directly (charity) or indirectly (taxes) is noble and ultimately benefits me and my neighbors. Put whatever label you want on that belief, but at the end of the day it's just common sense.

Back to critical thinking. Being a student of philosophy you should know this. If there's one thing I learned in first year philosophy classes is that one needs to suspend judgement until they have considered all the facts, and that just because it "is written" it doesn't mean it's right. Like people of religious faith you believe in your constitution, no questions asked. Don't get me wrong it was a revolutionary document for the times and HAS indeed been a positive influence on the world, but like religion anyone with an ounce of common sense knows that human cultures evolve and adapt from the generations that preceded them. In other words, they figure things out that actually work for the times they're in.

Philosophy is great at 30,000 feet but at ground level it could be a bit of a wank. My mistake in misreading your position of black and white. To me, having opinions that are absolute is the very problem in our society. Most people are moderate, not left wing or right wing (they live in the grey), but unfortunately it's the knuckleheads on the extremes of the spectrum that have hijacked the debate while the rest of us who don't prescribe to any one ideology are going about our lives in the real world, making decisions on what makes sense given the facts and options before us. Having absolute views is what I consider to be dangerous, because as I mentioned above you tend to filter everything through that view and don't open yourself to counter opinion and possible solutions to real world issues (black or white).

Thanks for the debate but because of your absolutist views it's not worth continuing. Agree to disagree. Good luck to you.

Michael Mignogna said...

Vikrim,

If there could have been a more predictable response, I'd be very surprised. I don't mean any disrespect, but every argument you posed in that last response is a contradiction in terms, and is what is heard by anyone articulate enough to explicitly express their beliefs, and believed implicitly by those unable to formulate a complete thought.

The basis for that belief system is PRAGMATISM--the belief that there is no absolute truth, only the truth of the moment--that what is good now, might not be good at another point in time.

You said, “It's interesting Michael because I used to be just like you. In university and some years beyond I had opinions that were absolute, with all issues of the day being filtered through those absolute opinions.”.

Then you went on to say, “...anyone with an ounce of common sense knows that human cultures evolve and adapt from the generations that preceded them. In other words, they figure things out that actually work for the times they're in.”.

Then you grope at experience for support: “I then started to mature, started gaining responsibilities like a career, a mortgage and eventually a family. I've traveled abroad and throughout North America, and I've earned a wealth of knowledge learning from a variety of different opinions.”

“[The Pragmatists] declared that philosophy must be practical and that practicality consists of dispensing with all absolute principles and standards—that there is no such thing as objective reality or permanent truth—that truth is that which works, and its validity can be judged only by its consequences—that no facts can be known with certainty in advance, and anything may be tried by rule-of-thumb—that reality is not firm, but fluid and “indeterminate,” that there is no such thing as a distinction between an external world and a consciousness (between the perceived and the perceiver), there is only an undifferentiated package-deal labeled “experience,” and whatever one wishes to be true, is true, whatever one wishes to exist, does exist, provided it works or makes one feel better.” - “For the New Intellectual,” page 34

Michael Mignogna said...

The other common belief that you hold--resulting from the belief that there are no absolutes--is the misconception that the practical is not the ideal.

Arguing the latter, you will often hear one say, "Communism looks good on paper, but it doesn't work in the real world". In other words, "Communism is the ideal, but it's not practical". The statement is half right. It's definitely not practical, and it's not practical BECAUSE it's not ideal. This is a classic case of context dropping. In claiming communism is ideal but not practical, the context one drops is that of the nature of man. If something looks good on paper, but doesn't work in real life, check your premises; one of them is wrong.

You said, “To me, having opinions that are absolute is the very problem in our society. Most people are moderate, not left wing or right wing (they live in the grey), but unfortunately it's the knuckleheads on the extremes of the spectrum that have hijacked the debate while the rest of us who don't prescribe to any one ideology are going about our lives in the real world, making decisions on what makes sense given the facts and options before us.”

In other words, you claim that to believe there are answers to right and wrong is naive, and that possessing a mere conviction to one’s beliefs is the problem--that instead, the answers lie in what is practical, as against what is ideal. You believe it is, by default, dangerous to decide on one philosophy, even if it’s good.

“To make it more grotesque, that haggling is accompanied by an aura of hysterical self-righteousness, in the form of belligerent assertions that one must compromise with anybody on anything (except on the tenet that one must compromise) and by panicky appeals to ‘practicality’. But there is nothing as impractical as a so-called “practical” man. His view of practicality can best be illustrated as follows: if you want to drive from New York to Los Angeles, it is “impractical” and “idealistic” to consult a map and to select the best way to get there; you will get there much faster if you just start out driving at random, turning (or cutting) any corner, taking any road in any direction, following nothing but the mood and the weather of the moment.” The fact is, of course, that by this method you will never get there at all. But while most people do recognize this fact in regard to the course of a journey, they are not so perceptive in regard to the course of their life and of their country.” - - “The Anatomy of Compromise,” Capitalism: The Unknown Ideal, 144.

Michael Mignogna said...
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Michael Mignogna said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Michael Mignogna said...

You then try and cut down my argument by equating me to those that believe in religious documents. You imply that my belief system is just like any other religious dogma--that I am unable to consider other viewpoints, not even because I have thought about them and deemed them contradictory to my beliefs, but because I blindly reject opposing viewpoints out of some mystical motivation that I’ve programmed myself to possess. You claim that I am too “extreme”, as if being “extreme” is necessarily bad. Shouldn’t one ask what it is that one is being extreme about before they label it as bad? Is it bad to be extreme in one’s commitment to attaining happiness or maintaining integrity? You’d argue that it IS bad, because to be extreme is bad by default.

“In politics, also, pragmatism presents itself as opposed to “rigidity,” to “dogma,” to “extremes” of any kind (whether capitalist or socialist); it avows that it is relativist, “moderate,” “experimental.” As in ethics, however, so here: the pragmatist is compelled to employ some kind of standard to evaluate the results of his social experiments, a standard which, given his own self-imposed default, he necessarily absorbs from other, non-pragmatist trend-setters . . . When Dewey wrote, the political principle imported from Germany and proliferating in all directions, was collectivism.” - Leonard Peikoff, The Ominous Parallels, 128.

You attempted to end the argument by saying, “Thanks for the debate but because of your absolutist views it's not worth continuing. Agree to disagree.” In other words, “Thanks for the debate, but because you have conviction that there is such thing as right and wrong, it’s not worth continuing.”.

Then you said, “Good luck to you.”, and to you I say, good premises--the real message being: I recommend you obtain better ones.

Nick said...

YES. The only reason people oppose the public option is because nobody in their right mind would choose to be insured by a private firm (profit-motivated) than their own government (responsible to citizens). Why? The most profitable health insurance maneuver will always be to collect dues and deny care -- and there's no way for us to stop them.

Read more:

publicoption.blogspot.com
publicoption.blogspot.com

Michael Mignogna said...

Nick, your comment makes no sense.

I still understand what you're stance is, though.

Your last claim is the funniest. That's like saying that the most profitable business plan for a shoe manufacturer is to make shoes our of paper for less than a cent a pair. But in a free market where people have the choice to go elsewhere, they would not last.

The most profitable plan for any business is to make the best product for the cheapest price. Health care is no different.

Furthermore, what makes you think that just because people are employed by the government that makes them less likely to enter into corrupt business practices?

You should delete your comment in hopes that no one else sees it.

Vikrim said...

Michael - you accuse me of being contradictory but have done nothing to prove why. You simply recite what I wrote, add your "in other words", apply a label to it then copy and paste something from one of your philosophy textbooks.

I get that you're likely in the midst of or recently finished a philosophy degree, and I appreciate your enthusiasm for trying to apply it to the real world, but it's just not working.

Again, much of what you have written I agree with, but in the areas where you're challenged your rebuttals are quite frankly just platitudes.

(note this is not a continuation of our debate, it's simply a defense of your attacks)

Michael Mignogna said...

Vikrim,

At first I liked our discussion/argument. Now I consider you a guy who has chosen to give up.

You said that when you were younger you had dreams--that you were enthusiastic. You even said I reminded you of yourself when you were in college.

You have since chosen, as a result of what you call "the real world", to give up on your convictions--believing them to be futile.

I will never be like you.

You assume that I am recently finishing a philosophy degree. I am not. They don't teach Ayn Rand in schools as part of a philosophy major. I took it upon myself to learn everything I could.

I take it as a compliment AND an insult that I come off as one who has graduated with a degree in philosophy. Most people that graduate with a philosophy degree are taught exactly what you believe: That nothing is knowable and that the truth lies in the expediency of the moment.

You claim to agree with what I said, and if you truly believe that, you should take another glance at the argument. When I do the whole "in other words" thing, what I am doing is exposing your beliefs in principle. If you think my assessment of your beliefs is wrong, explain why.

I challenge you to argue your point some more. I challenge anyone to argue in your defense. I am as confident as I am because I've done a lot of reading and have thought very deeply about all of the issues we've discussed.

You are a textbook example of a man who, after years of "life experience", has decided to chalk it all up to "this is just how the world is and there's nothing we can do about it". Well, my friend, there is.

It's okay to dream, despite how "old" you might be. It's never too late.

We are at a crossroads right now in this country (the US). We are being confronted with the health care debate, but ultimately we are being faced with the essence of the debate: Freedom or slavery.

I do the "in other words" thing because I am able to think in essentials. I can read what you wrote and determine what you philosophy is--the principles that guide your beliefs.

If you can prove to me that my "in other words" statements are false, I'd be very surprised.

Finally, you said: "(note this is not a continuation of our debate, it's simply a defense of your attacks) ".

I'm not attacking you. I'm exposing you.

Kull said...

Hey MikeyObjectivist, why don't you go live in Rapture????

I am very happy about the u.s. not having "evil socialized medicine" so when you get some serious but curable/operable disease your Insurance Company will find a way not to pay for it due to some bogus "pre-existing condition" or something...

Jim said...

uhm.... Bill....

Catholic Hospitals?

These are the same hospitals that are told they must allow things to happen in their buildings that they don't agree with or face a loss of reimbursement for things they do agree with.

Profit?

Who is profiting with those practices?

Vikrim said...

Ok Michael I'll bite. You're not only paraphrasing what you think I mean to set-up your counter-point, but you're outright changing my words to give them different meaning.

How in the world do you deduce that I once had dreams and convictions that I've abandoned? I said that my thought process for addressing the issues of the day has evolved from filtering everything through an absolutist view to being more open minded and pragmatic. I have by no means checked out, "chalking it up to this is how the way the world is." Absolutely not. Otherwise I wouldn't be on this board debating with the likes of you.

So let me clarify: I do accept that there are absolute truths but just not via an all-encompassing "ism" or ideology. In other words, rather than look at the world through ideological lenses I deduce what I consider to be true on a case-by-case basis. The answer can come from the right, the left, from an Objectivism pov, an Altriusm one, whatever. You've labelled this thought process as "pragmatism" and somehow deemed it to be a flaw with me and anyone who would defend my position which is both astonishing and very closed minded. Thus the problem I have with your line of thinking. You appear to need to attach a label to every point-of-view and put it into some sort of "ism" box. That's what I mean when I say I used to be "just like you." I needed to categorize viewpoints as being a liberal or conservative opinion, and riled against the ones that didn't prescribe to the one I happened to follow. Now I've moved to the center, and rile against anyone who views their particular ideology as the absolute truth on all subjects.

Contrary to what you claim I do in fact believe we can do something about the problems of the world and don't accept that it's "just the way it is." This is even more true NOW since I've started a family than it was when I was younger (it's mind boggling how you made that leap). I believe there are absolute truths (again, case-by-case) and base my beliefs on history, scientific fact, statistics and of course like everyone some personal opinion derived from experience. I will also readily admit I have no clue rather than try to apply some philosophy/ideology to each issue.

For example I believe that due to overwhelming evidence climate change is real. I used to doubt it because I was admittedly influenced by ideology on the right, but critical thinking eventually won out.

I believe that lax gun laws lead to more gun violence. Why? Because looking at comparable cultures outside of the US that have tougher laws the statistics of lower per-capita gun violence is overwhelming. Again, just because it is written in your constitution doesn't mean it's right, or at minimum should apply today. In my opinion opposition to gun control is purely based in ideology, not common sense.

Vikrim said...

(continued...)

It is absolute truth that the current for-profit health insurance system in the US isn't effective in delivering basic healthcare to all its citizens. I'm not claiming that a carbon copy of another system is the answer, but again there is overwhelming statistical evidence that countries with UHC are more effective in delivering said healthcare. This not only good for the health of citizens, but in the long run it is beneficial to the economy.

But that's if, and only if, you believe everyone should have REALISTIC access to basic healthcare. If you believe in social darwanism to the point of letting people die or lose everything they have then there's no point in debating healthcare on the merits of facts and statistics. There's also no point in debating it on the merits of ideology and the notion that it's somehow leading down the path to servitude with someone who has absolutist views. Not because I'm giving-up but because there is little hope of influencing your opinion (at least in the short term) given your rebuttals are steeped in ideology and not real world facts.

Michael Mignogna said...

Vikrim,

I mainly just recommend you reread our entire exchange, but I'll address a few things based on the paragraphs you wrote.

Paragraph 1 - I deduced that because you said you used to be like me.

Paragraph 2 - The labels you refer to are simply words. Words have definitions. They allow us to form abstractions and understand the world around us. "Labeling" something is precisely how one acquires knowledge. You are a pragmatist. I think pragmatism is bad and explained why.

Paragraph 3 - You believe there are absolute truths on a case by case basis. That makes no sense. If I understand correctly, you believe there are absolute truths but they are different depending on the case? That's a contradiction.

Paragraph 4 - http://tinyurl.com/laf9w6

Paragraph 5 - I believe that making it a law that no one is allowed to drive a car leads to less car related deaths. But I certainly don't advocate that sort of thing because I prefer FREEDOM.

There is no such thing as common sense. No one is born with innate knowledge.

--Your second post--

Paragraph 1 - The for-profit health insurance system is not a fair indicator of what the system would look like if totally freed from government interference and coercion. To blame the problem of health care on capitalism is to blame it on something that does not exist.

Paragraph 2 - I believe everyone should be free to pursue their own life. I've already explained my stance in that regard.

I do not ascribe to the beliefs of social darwinism at all. That is an incorrect assessment of my beliefs. Social darwinists believe that when one succeeds, it necessarily means another must fail. But that is false. I believe that to succeed one must be productive and trade the product of his effort with others, resulting in a mutual benefit. For example, when you buy a pack of gum, you are benefitting by obtaining the gum and the store owner is benefitting by obtaining your money. It is only by this mutual benefit that production is able to occur.

Finally, what is your aversion to "ideology" - a system of ideas?

The more we talk, the more I realize what a waste of time it was. You are as addicted to buzz phrases and anti-concepts as everyone else who shares your beliefs. How you were able to cover that up until now makes me a little disappointed in myself.

You have not addressed any of my points. Instead, all you've done is attacked my method.

A summary of my stance on your beliefs:

You are a pragmatist (http://tinyurl.com/mtobfo) who doesn't believe in absolutes (http://tinyurl.com/mb4s9r).

IN OTHER WORDS... =) ...Let's do what you suggested and end this conversation, because not only are we not going to convince each other, but one of us doesn't even understand the meaning of his own beliefs.

“Give me liberty or give me death.”

independent_thinker said...

Damn, I leave for a few days and we have a "new" feud going?

Love it!

Robyn Webb, CTS said...

I’m not sure I understand why people with conservative views are so angry about President Obama’s “health care reform” proposals. Anyone who has read the details of the proposals or listened carefully when Obama describes the plan can see that it’s just a transparent attempt to preserve the status quo, while dressing it up and calling it “reform.” In fact, it goes even further than that. This plan not only guarantees more of the same for those who can’t afford health coverage, it goes so far as to require that we make this purchase anyway, regardless of our ability to pay for it. Management of the so-called “public option” will be outsourced to private insurers under lucrative no-bid federal contracts, a tremendous windfall to corporate America. The chances that the premium amounts will be reduced are slim to none, and the private insurers will develop an additional revenue stream by billing the administrative costs to the taxpayers. What CEO wouldn’t be tickled to death to have a huge new market open up that is required to buy their product?

So, where is the change? The people who should be angry are those of us who are currently uninsured and can’t afford coverage. The only change we’re likely to see is the spare change we’ll need to panhandle from strangers to pay for the insurance Obama will mandate that we buy in service to his corporate masters. That’s change Stephen Hemsley (CEO of United Health Care) can believe in! This is biggest steaming barrel of pork anyone on Capitol Hill has ever peddled.

Anyone not talking about single payer is not talking about health care reform.

Michael Mignogna said...

http://www.classicalideals.com/HealthCareBill8-2009.htm

Michael Mignogna said...

http://fr-ls.blogspot.com/2009/08/in-attempt-to-undercut-arguments-that.html

Korey said...

Can't there be a happy median between greedy assholes taking advantage of sick people, and the government squeezing money out of us for socialized medicine? Can't we reform health care without forsaking the free market? I'm just not understanding why people are acting though it has to be one way or the other.

And why can't we have a partial universal system, where people can have the option of using private health care instead? If I'm not mistaken, I believe this has been done before in other countries. I don't see why we couldn't do that here.

Dean Jackson said...

The April 2000 Air Force Instruction, as in effect on 9/11/01, said, "The First Air Force Commander...provides SURVEILLANCE AND CONTROL OF THE AIRSPACE OF THE UNITED STATES..."

In 2004 the Air Force contradictorily said, "Before 2001, 1st Air Force was charged with keeping an eye on the nation’s borders, usually looking for threats in the form of Russian aircraft skirting too close for comfort to the mainland. In those few hours, the command’s mission went from looking outward to looking inward."

See the 5 articles on NORAD at www.DNotice.org

Quenby Wilcox said...

This greed and desire to make a quick buck is not only American. It's going on all over the world.

Greed and avarice rule even in communist countries, perhaps particularly there. I have visited a few, and there solution is NO solution. Even Sir Thomas More in Eutopia stated, way back then, that this whole thing wouldn't work because people (everywhere) would never be willing to put the common good before their own interests. Once again an example of someone (this time Marx) not reading the full text and pulling out what fitted his political agenda.

Could Rush Limbaugh be a descendent of Marx?!?! Wouldn't that be a good joke!!!

If anyone wants to hold socialist OR communist healthcare systems up as something to be immulate, they had better go and look at the reality of these systems. I have lived under socialist healthcare for 20 years and it is not working either.

In my own case after paying 20 years into private and public socialist systems, the judicial system embezzles every penny I own, slaps child support payments on me when I have no income, threatens me with incarceration if I do not pay them and then tells me that I have no health care coverage, or pension!! This is the reality of all too many divorced women that I know in Europe, so I hope that the Americans will not go down the road of the Europeans.

What we need is a totally new road, and one helluva, damn good bull-dozer.

Vusi Moloi said...

First of all it's the first time I am posting a comment on your blog as I have just discovered your blog. I have the greatest respect for you and have been for a long time and will always be. You are the great human being whose ideas I respect greatly.

My reason to comment is that I was watching a Youtube video Bill Maher Pokes at Obama's Weaknesses on Health Care in which you say Obama needs some personality of George Bush. I understand your reasons and the point is well taken but I want to make the following observation:

George Bush had an easier time because even though no one wanted the war the establishment (corporations i.e. General Dynamics, etc.) were on his side because they stood to gain from it. In Obama's case the establishment (insurance corporations and others) are not on his side because they stand to lose from his Heath Care Reform Bill.

This fundamental difference does put him at a disadvantage. Mao Zedong once observed that a freedom fighter is like a fish and the people he fights for are like water. The fish needs the water. Obama needs to be reelected and that serves as a constraining parameter for the political fish. Philosophically Obama is a balanced scale thinker and that also serves as another constraining parameter. That's a good synthesis of his style.

I have one constructive criticism of Obama when Republican Joe Wilson blurted "You lie" and President Obama's response was "It's not true" which came across as somewhat akin to a scripted or perfunctory response. This is a moment he should have exploded with passion in defense of his plan. Instead of keeping a level headed (linear) response he should have demonstrated a passionate and instinctive (non-linear) grasp of a serious situation that threatened the credibility of his message. Credibility is the oxygen for a fish without which its gills become useless.

However I still respect the great President Obama and in my blog Zulumathabo on the Internet I wrote an article Obama's Transcendence of Race http://www.zulumathabo.com/2009/09/obamas-transcendence-of-race.html

Keep up the great work Bill.
Vusi Moloi

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