Sunday, July 22, 2007

Hypocrisy in ALL directions.

Thanks, all, for your Asia suggestions. Please feel free to send more.

I am too swamped to post with any regularity. Nevertheless, as a symptom of pure fatigue, I must give in to the temptation to unleash (unedited and pretty much spasmodically) a tirade about three mendacities:

One outrageous example of monumental right wing hypocrisy.

A bit of lesser left-wing deceitfulness... (for balance).

And more from those who claim to be neither left not right.

And finally, a blast at all of us for letting our impression of events be ruled by our favorite cliches.


PART ONE: GUT CHECK ON THE FEARLESS LEADER

Something happened today. You all know it happened; it was in the news. But no one in the media discussed how “deep it goes.”

First an aside that makes for rich comparison. Remember “Swift Boat Veterans For Truth?” How they slung dirt at John Kerry, mostly in the form of outright, bald-faced, biblical-proportion lies? Kerry’s people whined about the slander. Alas, though, it should never have been about the veracity of that hatchet job, at all!
Because, even if ALL of the SBVFT allegations were true, it would only add up to one conclusion --
-- that a guy who volunteered TWICE for lengthy and terrifying duty in the Navy’s most dangerous job might have been slightly LESS of a major hero than he had bragged about.

That’s it. Big freaking deal. In SBVFT’s worst case scenario, Kerry was still a hero... at least compared to....

Okay. Now comes the utter hypocrisy slammer.

News that our president has invoked the 25th Amendment of the Constitution to transfer presidential authority to VP Dick Cheney, because Bush would be “incapacitated” while under anesthetic for a routine colonoscopy.

For the record, presidential powers have only been thus transferred, formally, twice before. Once when Ronald Reagan underwent major surgery (and the 25th Amendment was not cited). The other time, a couple of years ago, when George W. Bush likewise went under gas to be anesthetized for the same procedure. For a colonoscopy.

For a WHAT?????

Let’s get this straight. The White House has gone to great lengths to emphasize that this is a TOTALLY ROUTINE colonoscopy. A simple probe with a fiber-optic camera, up the length of the large intestine, to see if any more benign polyps (or worse) might be lurking up there. Hundreds of thousands of men over forty undergo this procedure, every year. Possibly millions. I have.

And dig it. Most of us do it without anesthesia. In fact, most of us do it without even local or topical numbing you-know-where. Oh, it ain’t pleasant... at least for most of us. There are some teeth-clenching moments. I compensated by becoming talkative while the two patient Kaiser technicians put up with my bad (and probably un-original) jokes. But here’s the point. A point that’s admittedly macho and perhaps even a bit intolerant, but still totally apropos and to the “core.”

No real he-man would need to be put under gas and rendered unconscious for a truly routine colonoscopy.

Especially not someone who has made macho bluster the theme of his entire adult life. Not someone who threw a great nation into bloody chaos, hurling the world’s greatest military into a meat grinder, in an act of preening overcompensating testicular fury.

Especially not someone who invokes talk of courage in every speech while he berates and belittles the patriotic fortitude of every opponent.

Especially not one whose people have seriously propounded that his being put unconscious for a couple of hours might actually influence the safety of the people of the United States. A man who, for that very reason, ought to grin and bear it, staying awake for the sake of flag and country.

Now, of course, there are possible “outs.” Were I in a forgiving mood, I’d ponder that the use of anesthesia might implythat it’s not “routine” after all and that we all should be worried about our president having to go under, while we’re told that all’s well. (Ah, but it’s been TWICE!) Had this man ever, once, spoken out in a mature and grownup and decent way to opponents, to neutrals, to the now 70% who deeply distrust him, I’d not raise such an embarrassing issue, in such a demeaning way.

In fact, I am on record, having castigated liberals who went too far in making nasty cracks about Ronald Reagan, a man who, despite many faults and unbelievably exaggerated positives, nevertheless was also in many ways worthy of respect. A man who at least showed fleeting moments of distaste for hypocrisy on his own side, as well as others’.

None of which can be said about the neocons - or their present leaders. This emperor not only has no clothes, he hasn’t even the guts to stay awake while his guts are examined. These people have redefined hypocrisy.

----

PART TWO: THE LEFT HAS ITS... WELL... FIBBERS, TOO.

And yet... they do not have a complete monopoly! Take one Michael Moore.

Oh, I don’t compare him to George W. Bush in magnitude. Or even in most qualities. Moore is no monster. Indeed, he does a lot of good, I’ll posit that. When I see his films, I perceive about a third of the content as right-on, totally righteous, and in tune with things I have independently verified. Another third is generally in the ballpark of true. And thus his arguments seem more than worth pondering...

...despite the fact that about ten percent is flat-out and clearly deliuberate bullshit. Which is tragic, because that’s the part that always hurts his cause, every single time.

I’ll give just one example. Moore says “Is it right that your doctor should have to get on the phone and get permission from some insurance company bureaucrat, in order to get approval to treat you?” And people shake their heads. No! Of course not!

Except that in Canada and France and England and all the nations where “single payer” government programs take care of public health, your doctor examines you, diagnoses, and then...

... has to get on the phone and get permission from some GOVERNMENT bureaucrat, in order to get approval to treat you! And don’t you for a minute think it does not amount to care-rationing. Which helps to keep down government costs, sure, just as the insurance companies try to ration care in order to cut theirs.

With a few differences, of course.
(1) The euro model is vastly more fair.
(2) It is vastly better at preventive care.
(3) It cramps individual decision autonomy in ways that would bug most Americans, even liberals who live over there for very long.
(4) Elaborating on that. At least if you hate your insurance bureaucrats, you can try another company. Government bureaucrats have a monopoly on their rationing power. Is that automatically good?
(5) World medical research is largely driven by the lavishly “wasteful” American system, wherein there are no limits to what the well-off can get, in cutting-edge care, if they are willing to pay. (I lived for extended periods in the U.K. and France and I can tell you that one price of socialized medicine is strict limits on what recent breakthroughs even the rich can ask for. And hence, exactly how is the introduction of rapid breakthrougs supposed to be amortized?)

This last aspect is one that’s never mentioned, never discussed, and yes it’s complex, debatable, and far too involved to get into here. But it is one reason why the rest of the world actually hopes we Americans keep our present system!

Ponder that. Don’t fall for simplistic doctrines. This is an issue where the liberals are right... but... not... perfect.

-----

PART THREE: WE ALL LIE TO OURSELVES

The worst blame doesn’t fall on right or left, since you can expect dogmatic people to lie, by dint of human nature. In fact, the real blame should fall on all of us, on the smartest of us, for swallowing comforting cliches instead of pondering the number of times that the truth is diametrically opposite.

Let me illustrate by picking (unfairly, I admit) on just one side remark made last time by one of you. Last time, Zechariah commented: “See, I know that republicans no longer actually follow through when they promise small government, but at least they still pay lip service to the idea.”

Sorry, friend Zechariah, but your language is weighted and freighted with unmerited and unquestioned assumptions. Forgive me, but this is an example of “ostrich” conservatism at its worst. Looking for an excuse to retain some vestigial loyalty to a “side” that has gone from grumpy to loony to insane to monstrous to outright treasonous in the last decade or so.

“See, I know that republicans no longer actually follow through when they promise small government, but at least they still pay lip service to the idea.”

Um, my friend (and I mean that, so please stay!) Can I ask what your words “no longer” mean?

Can you cite for me an example of the GOP ever... and I mean ever... even before mad neocons hijacked the movement.... and I mean EVER(!)... actually acting to reduce the invasiveness of government in our lives?

In fact, I can! I can name a couple of minor bits of GOP-led legislation that did tweak government just a tad to make it smaller. But I’m willing to bet YOU can’t. Moreover, these were tiny, obscure exceptions to a general rule of claiming to be against big government while doing everything in their power to make government more of a huge, unaccountable behemoth and a cash cow for what Adam Smith himself derided as “cronies of the King.”

Meanwhile... and please dig this very very carefully. Every major PRO-MARKET DE-REGULATION EFFORT, every major - and successful - reduction of federal invasiveness, every single effective and fair lessening of federal non-military manpower or elimination of paperwork, that has been performed in our lifetimes, was instigated, enacted and carried through by Democrats.

Cognitive dissonance time? But it is right there. Trucking, banking, telecommunications, airlines, parcel post. The freaking INTERNET for *&#$! sakes! And so on, ad infinitum.

The ONLY time the non-military US federal payroll, staffing and paperwork went DOWN since 1939 was as a result of Al Gore’s “re-inventing government program” under Clinton, in the nineties. That’s a pure fact. Same with a slashing of government secrecy, which ought to be a goal of any sane conservative. Moreover, this isn’t just at the margins. It is by big percentages.

I am sick of the press never reporting on “dissonance” facts like these, where a party’s lip service runs completely opposite to its actions.

Want another one?

How about “protecting our borders?” With Clinton preaching tolerance while doubling border patrols... and Bush talking tough while actively and viciously and relentlessly undermining the Border Patrol at every opportunity. Yes, we’ve discussed this before. And if you try very hard, you can see why they would do these things. Why they would say one thing for public consumption by their base and then do the opposite.

But whose fault is it that they get away with it? With letting the public perceive their favorite cliches, even when the facts are directly opposite, and have been, for decades?


Oh, the worst, the very worst self-deluders are my dear fellow libertarians.

They are supposed to be the smarty-pants pro-freedom crowd. And yet, so many of them are so steeped in the worst cliches, so mired in the worst self-deceptions, so indignation-junky obsessed with hating government in abstract, instead of loving freedom in pragmatic fact. And thus, so vastly more full of shit than either the right or the left, that it just makes me want to weep.

A decent, genuinely progressive libertarianism -- faithful to Locke and Smith and Hayek and Franklin -- ought to be our path out of this mess, spotlighting much of our path back toward the Enlightenment and a truly open market-system, where reciprocal accountability is the engine of human success and government lessens as a natural process of withering away, as empowered and skilled citizens take sovereignty and responsibility gently but firmly into their own hands.

That’s how it oughta be. But the wondrous thing ain’t gonna come from that tribe. Not from today’s “libertarians” who are as delusional as any clan there’s ever been.

.

25 comments:

Anonymous said...

[i](Canadian doctors have to) get on the phone and get permission from some GOVERNMENT bureaucrat, in order to get approval to treat you![/i]

WTF are you talking about?

Canadian doctors do not require government approval to render any treatment they and their patients deem necessary. If a treatment or procedure is within the scope of coverage (dental care, vision correction, among other things, aren't covered), it will be covered, no questions asked.

Don Quijote said...

Dr Brin,

I think that you should stop your little game of finding flaws in our great right-wing leaders and their policies and then for the sake of balance, bashing a so called "lefties" like "Michael Moore". It is insulting to your readers intelligence and to your "lefty" victim to be compared to any member of the current ruling elite of this country.

I put "lefty" in quotes in that most of the lefties that you pick on are basically centrist who believe in treating people with a modicum of decency, paying them a fair wage for an honest day's work and not letting unscrupulous businesses rip them of left and right.

If this is the definition of lefty, then this country has moved so far to the right that it's getting exactly what it deserves.

Now as far as Medical research goes:

In FY 1999, NIH funding reached $15 billion.

R&D investments by research-based pharmaceutical companies have grown tremendously over the last two decades, from $2.0 billion in 1980 to an estimated $21.1 billion in 1998. Approximately 36 percent of the world’s private-sector pharmaceutical R&D is carried out in the United States, and U.S. firms hold approximately 33 percent of the worldwide commercial market.

Uncle Sam pays for the basic research and then the leaches at PHaRMA use this research to create some drugs and invent new diseases like "restless leg syndrome" or "social anxiety syndrome" to market more useless crap to the American Public.

grendelkhan said...

(4) Elaborating on that. At least if you hate your insurance bureaucrats, you can try another company. Government bureaucrats have a monopoly on their rationing power. Is that automatically good?

Are you aware that citizens of many nations with free universal health care can purchase supplemental health insurance if they so desire? And given that most people get their insurance through their job--indeed, it's used as a tool to keep people in jobs they hate and in which they're treated poorly--you're essentially saying "At least if you hate your insurance bureaucrats, you can get another job." Ponder that.

In any case, while there are clearly flaws in every system, it's disingenuous at best to pretend that there's any sort of debate over whether or not universal health care is a good idea. The extra money that you're so fond of ends up going largely into the pockets of insurance companies--glorified middlemen. There's no reason to assume that taking money away from these leeches is going to also take it away from much-needed research. If you're so concerned about research funding in this country, perhaps you should be more concerned that much of the money that should be funding it is instead funding hookers 'n' blow for high-paid insurance execs.

But perhaps I'm being too hasty. Can you explain how billion-dollar golden parachutes for executives and shamefully high infant mortality rates for the rest of us are good things? Because you haven't said that there's a way to retain the high research funding while ameliorating those problems, and so I'm forced to assume that you consider them regrettable but necessary.

I'd be all for it if you were bringing up interesting points, but you're just repeating the right-wing talking points you claim to have understood and rejected--bureaucrats rather than doctors will make your treatment decisions, R&D funding will dry up, and Michael Moore's films contain about ten percent "bullshit". Perhaps you'd like to consult with Dr. Sanjay Gupta on that last point?

Anonymous said...

As another Canadian, echoing the first comment in this thread, are you high? Canadian doctors do not go through a "getting approval" phase of any kind whatsoever. They see the patient, they recommend the treatment, make referrals, etc. The only personal they consult is you, the patient.

We actually do not wait six months up to our necks in pigshit just to get a bandaid up here! No, there is no nefarious health Politburo who has to "O.K." what doctors decide to do. Doctors *are* the authorities in this system.

Sheesh! Just because it seems logical to you that governmental single-payers must exert bureaucratic control over every transaction in a socialized medical system, doesn't make it true! You logic is more based on outdated red-scare cold-war tribalism than anything corresponding to reality in other countries outside the "Home Team USA" cult.

David Brin said...

I see I provoked some screeches, so let's get perspective, here. MY private insurance doctor (at Kaiser) is no more required to get permission from his company's bureaucrats, for routine treatment, than a Canadian doctor is. Not even remotely. The company does not want the added cost of answering phone calls about bandaids, and neither do govt single payer bureaucrats.

The issues arise when more expensive procedures and tests appear at the boundaries of routine. And here, doctors face supervisors, looking over their shoulders, in BOTH systems.

Only, in most government systems, (for sure in France... and even in Oregon!) government committees actually ration how many - say - quadruple bypass operations shall be performed per yer. They set limits to the age of patients who may get these procedures and do calculations of "quality of remaining years of life" in order to estimate whether the patient's added years, multiplied by some imrpovement factor, justify the expense.

Past a certain age, you can kiss expensive procedures goodbye.

Unpleasant? Grow up and live with the fact that the alternative system is NOT perfect! In fact, it has many ways that it's nasty and officious and dismally awful.

Is it still better than the US system? Sure! By far . Moreover, I have never given you guys ANY excuse for your turgid, unjustified and downright lying attempt to put works in my mouth, that I am defending golden parachute insurance company CEOs. (Cheating/lying CEOs who I've attacked FAR more effectively than you ever have.)

What fascinates me here is how guys can skim a lengthy missive like mine (above) and leap to shriek at the strawman that they think they see...

...while perfectly illustrating my point about simplistic factions being unable to see complexity in any issue.

Dig it, my attacks on the neocons are VASTLY more fierce than my kid glove cautions toward Michael Moore. Your inability to ponder the mild faults of your own side... faults that HURT the credibility of your own side and its pragmatic ability to succeed... only show that you are prey to the same FUNDAMENTAL ETHICAL AND PSYCHOLOGICAL FLAWS AS THE NEOCONS.

You are obsessed with "sides."

I am obsessed with problem solving. And I have never, ever seen a "side" that had a monopoly on wisdom.

Down with monopolies.

Don Quijote said...

The problem Dr Brin is that you are incapable of writing a post that rightfully trashes the Bush Administration and the Republicans without doing a "but on the other hand" the Democrats or the left have committed some minor sin. You keep looking for equivalency, but there isn't any.

David Brin said...

No, Don, YOU are the one who does not get it.

It is plain, in black and white, that I do not claim "equivalency"... so plain that your use of that word constitutes and open and outright, deliberate lie. A knowing and dastardly lie.

I call it that directly, with no allowance for error and telling it to your face that it is a deliberate act. You know very well that I have made EXTREMELY clear the difference in both quality and quantitative scale that makes the movements very very different...

...one of them a direct threat to all of us and all of civilization...

...and the other filled with good people and good intentions, yet also displaying faults that

1) ONLY HURT ITS CREDIBLE ABILITY TO RESCUE US FROM MONSTERS (surely something warranting criticism)

2) Remind us that incipient dogmatic madness lurks in ALL directions! And I refuse to take my wary eye away from dogmatists who are on "my side"... simply because they are on "my side."

Dig it. HOW DO YOU THING GOLDWATER CONSERVATISM GOT TAKEN OVER BY MAD DEOCONS?

They did it step by step, by tweaking the definitions of conservatism and ensuring that no internal critics could ever get away with pointing out the progressive gogmatic creep...

Just as you are trying to do to me.


Ask any reasonable person out there. I rage at the monsters and give them 99.99% of my heat. But I turn my skeptical eye toward ALL would-be prescribers. All "sides." It is what a sane (and I mean that) member of Enlightenment civilization ought to do.

tacitus2 said...

David, you have stirred em up today.
1. regards colonoscopy, you can eschew meds if you desire. Me, I said yes to drugs and dropped out of the time space continuum for about half an hour. President Bush is pretty much damned either way on this one. Either invoke a silly but technically accurate rule and be mocked, or take all kinds of crap for putting Evil Uncle Dick in charge for a while without informing us.
2.Mr. Moore merits little attention from the serious. He is a paunchy opportunist, with journalistic ethics a couple of notches below those of his political isomers over at Fox. Give him credit where he deserves it though. Most serious politicians run and hide from real issues. Moore correctly, and somewhat courageously addresses them. The fact that his conclusions are almost invariably wrong does not entirely detract from this.
3. I concur, it was unfair to take Kerry to task for embelishing his war record. It is a perogative of all old soldiers so to do. It became an issue because the DFL, in its usual tin eared style, decided that a heroic soldierboy was just the thing to run against W. He was a poor candidate in so many ways. An ambivalent voting record, a screechy ketchup heiress wife, an apparent JFK fetish. Who knows what mischief he would have gotten into were he elected on a platform of being a better soldier than the Pride of the Texas Airforce? (save your screeds, he would not, most likely, have done worse)
Lets come up with a couple of better candidates this time, so I can put to rest MY midnight fear, that the country has become something that NO politician can effectively run.
Tacitus2

grendelkhan said...

MY private insurance doctor (at Kaiser)

So are we comparing the health care that you, a reasonably well-off citizen fortunate enough to score health care and presumably not in imminent danger of losing it, get against the health care that every Canadian or French citizen gets? Don't you think that's at least a tad disingenuous?

If you were in a system that provided universal healthcare, and didn't like the rationing, you're in a position to leap across the border or purchase supplemental insurance or whatever--the exact mechanics depend on how the plan is implemented. The upshot, however, is that you get better care than at least (almost certainly more than) fifty million other Americans, and under a UHC plan, you would also get better care than at least (almost certainly more than) fifty million Americans. Your privilege is safe. Honest.

Moreover, I have never given you guys ANY excuse for your turgid, unjustified and downright lying attempt to put works in my mouth, that I am defending golden parachute insurance company CEOs.

You feel that I'm out of line, I see. You were defending the current system by listing some ways in which it's better than a single-payer system. These are bog-standard talking points for insurance company shills, which don't stand up to the merest investigation. If you don't have an interest in keeping HMO execs rolling in hookers 'n' blow, then what's your excuse for spitting back talking points when you should know better?

(Cheating/lying CEOs who I've attacked FAR more effectively than you ever have.)

Must we now display credentials before we can criticize you? It's, I'm told, the only antidote to error--and you've made some.

What fascinates me here is how guys can skim a lengthy missive like mine (above) and leap to shriek at the strawman that they think they see...

It's quite possible, even probable, that I've misread you. I've explain how I derived my conclusions from what you've written; if you'd like to explain how they're wrong, please do so; I would appreciate it if you did more than assert that they're made of straw.

And yes, if I see something that I disagree with, I'm going to reply to it; are you suggesting that I quote the rest of the article and add "I agree" after each paragraph?

Dig it, my attacks on the neocons are VASTLY more fierce than my kid glove cautions toward Michael Moore.

Well, whoopty-do. You're still wrong.

Look, if it'll help you listen to me, I don't think Moore is always right. I think his style is abrasive and frequently smarmy; I think this drowns out the good points he makes, and leads to him preaching to the choir rather than reaching a wider audience.

I said it before, but maybe it got lost in the shuffle: I'm sure there are good points to be made about the downsides of universal healthcare. However, the ones you're making seem to be drawn from the sort of nonsense being spit out by the likes of Dr. Sanjay Gupta at CNN. If you have good points to be made, I can't see 'em.

Simply contradicting what the other person says isn't skepticism; it's silliness.

Zechariah said...

Sorry, friend Zechariah, but your language is weighted and freighted with unmerited and unquestioned assumptions. Forgive me, but this is an example of “ostrich” conservatism at its worst. Looking for an excuse to retain some vestigial loyalty to a “side” that has gone from grumpy to loony to insane to monstrous to outright treasonous in the last decade or so.

Um, my friend (and I mean that, so please stay!)


Citokate accepted, and yes, I'm still here. You're right that I couldn't name any actual legisaltion out of hand. I just listen to the republican debates and they mention specific programs that they would cut. However, during the republican debates I hear Ron Paul talk about cutting the Department of Education (so States have more control) and consistently voting against funding anything he doesn't think the government should fund. Then I get all starry eyed and hope maybe this guy could do it, but maybe I'm wrong.

I do know that not all republicans are as spendthrift as George Bush (and if you look at republican forums, a great many republicans dislike him for that reason). For example, I already knew that Mitt Romney helped resolve deficits in Massachusetts and at the Salt Lake games (although I don't like him so much, just for being a flip-flopper)

Zechariah said...

Oh, and I maintain that having the government dictate how good broadband should be is unneccessary and foolish.

By all means, break up the oligopolies and encourage competition, but don't lose faith in the market system altogether.

Don Quijote said...

An ambivalent voting record,

Ambivalent voting record? Project Vote Smart - Senator Kerry - Interest Group Ratings


Project Vote Smart - National Journal - Composite Liberal Score Ratings

When a Senator gets an 87% Liberal Rating from National Journal, you'll have to point out where you see the ambivalence...

a screechy ketchup heiress wife
Cause Pat, Betty, Nancy, Barbara and Laura have been such delightful peaches...

2.Mr. Moore merits little attention from the serious.
Why not? Has he been found to be inaccurate in his reporting? If so please list those inaccuracies and the court cases that he has lost due to said inaccuracies.

He is a paunchy
Him and a large percentage of the population,
opportunist,
I thought America was about finding opportunity and taking advantage of it, so what is wrong about being an opportunist?
with journalistic ethics a couple of notches below those of his political isomers over at Fox.
I have yet to see him cheer a war in which he is not willing to participate, or to lie about the facts in any of his movies.


Give him credit where he deserves it though. Most serious politicians run and hide from real issues. Moore correctly, and somewhat courageously addresses them. The fact that his conclusions are almost invariably wrong does not entirely detract from this.

So basically you don't care for his conclusions, therefor he merits little attention from the serious. He is a paunchy opportunist, with journalistic ethics a couple of notches below those of his political isomers over at Fox.

Anonymous said...

Brin, why have you not retracted your claim that Canadian doctors need government permission to treat patients?

It's extremely dishonest to continue spreading false information after one has been corrected.

Stefan Jones said...

By co-incidence, I saw "Sicko" yesterday. A funny, relentless, and cringe-inducing polemic. I went in knowing where the holes were, but still managed to be impressed. And learned a lot. Well worth seeing, even if the guy who made it is "paunchy."

In one sequence, Moore describes -- and shows -- the AMA propaganda campaigns used to attack "socialized medicine" back in the 1950s. Real embarrassing red-scare stuff.

Tacitus2 said...

Aww, Don, I knew I could count on you.
I would not mention Mr. Moore's physique except in the context of his most recent project. Ever hear of our national obesitiy epidemic and its effects on diabetes, heart disease etc?
As an MD I could start my own blog about what makes Americans "Sick", and poor choices are way ahead of greedy HMOs.

I was commenting on Kerry's shortcomings as a Democratic Pres. candidate. Really, the standard bearer for the Party of the People? I like Hillary better than Teresa.
And Kerry's record on things was marred by whether or not he was, or was not, or maybe was in favor or opposition to the Iraq war. Gutless. I much prefer Feingold. He is consistent. And he appears to have been right.
Hear that from conservatives very often Don?
Moore gets no more ink from me. I gave him as much credit as I could, he does see the issues of the day. He is just more interested in making money and publicity than solving any of them. And hardly anybody sues characters like Moore, it just feeds their publicity machines.
And, no, I do not care for him, but he enjoys the same First Amendment rights as you and I.
Tacitus2

Tony Fisk said...

Anon:
I believe you will find a refinement to David's comment here, where he places the emphasis on non-standard procedures (those that are perhaps 'not in the scope of coverage'?). Not a retraction, perhaps, but a definitely a clarification.

In turn, I would suggest that it is 'extremely dishonest' to insinuate that(A)the need for 'correction' was demonstrated by you in the first place, and (B) no acknowledgment was given.

Adverbs can be as inflammatory as capitals.

Anonymous said...

The point is that Michael Moore is not a journalist, nor a documentarian, nor even a polemicist. He is a down & dirty propagandist, which is exactly what is needed right now, someone to get down and duke it out with O'Reilly, Limbaugh, etc.

So he makes broad, simplistic arguments leavened with unfair juxtapositions and heavy-handed jeering humour (what he did to Alzheimer's-addled Charlton Heston in Bowling for Columbine was downright viscious). He pulls stupid clownish stunts (just try and go to Cuba and ask for medical treatment; and if you actually do get some, enjoy the quality).

So what? It's called propaganda, not reasoned discourse, and it is how elections are won in the real world.

Nevertheless, he is still far gentler, funnier, and much more intelligent than the Fox stable of frothing raving loonies.

He is also much more closely in tune with the working class/ blue collar NASCAR types that currently vote red, than the Democratic punditry, and, apoligies, libertarian thinkers like Dr. Brin.

You want to beat down the neocons? To echo Rumsfield, you have to go with the political opposition you have, not the one you want, and in that constellation Moore is pretty heavy artillery, god bless him.

(Oh, and comparing international medical care/ rationing systems is a very complex task, that you brushed through rather glibly and proved some of my countrymen to overreact. It's pretty clear that what Americans call "single payer" is the least bad system, but all the systems are so complex that it is easy to find an extreme example of almost anything good or bad that you want. In any case, the relationship between research spending and the mechanism financing care systems is murky at best.)

Canuckistan Bob

Anonymous said...

That would be "provoked" not "proved." My bad.

Canuckistan Bob

Don Quijote said...

Ever hear of our national obesitiy epidemic and its effects on diabetes, heart disease etc?

I have heard vague rumors about it.

As an MD I could start my own blog about what makes Americans "Sick", and poor choices are way ahead of greedy HMOs.

Would it include Corporations marketing crap food laden with corn fructose twenty four hours a day, seven days a week?

Would it also include Land Developers who build neighborhoods without sidewalks or even shoulders in which it is practically impossible to go anywhere without driving?

Genius said...

1. Regards colonoscopy. I see no reason to hold someone who tolerates pain being inflicted on them in a better light than one who doesn't. That seems like an anti-social ideal shall we all poke ourselves in the eye in order to get social approval? That would be a race to the bottom...

2. However you have a point in regard to the SBVFT and the big government etc. Although it seems the SBVFT were trying to point out a sort of dishonesty /hypocrisy themselves regardless of the actual moral implications regarding his war service.

3. regards Moore I don’t take him very seriously - but them again I am being forced to take less and less of the media seriously to the point that it seems to be becoming one huge running gag. The answer to money driven right leaning media is apparently money driven left leaning media... No wonder America is two huge tribes beating each other up.

4. "Although I don't like him so much, just for being a flip-flopper"
I see this floating through all of the debates - apparently in US politics you can't have two different opinions on similar issues no mater how many differences there may be. And you can't change your opinion no matter how much evidence comes up. "Look I'm not a flip flopper I still think bushes war plan was perfect!!"
Or
"Mike Moore only ever says true things!"
No wonder you can’t find a good leader you eliminate all the good ones via your selection process!

Anonymous said...

Wait a minute... I live in France and my doctor never picks up the phone and requests authorization from a gov bureaucrat to treat me!!

Here is how it's done in France:
a) Get appointment with doctor. Easy enough to do: you call, doctor checks agenda, doctor gives you appointment, sometimes as early as... the same day.
b) Get diagnosed by doctor.
c) Doctor fills out prescription.
d) You pay doctor.
e) You get your prescription from nearest Pharmacy.
f) Pay Pharmacy (sometimes, as easy as showing your social security card).
g) The end.

Getting surgery adds a few more steps (see surgeon, make appointment for surgery, pay hospital, etc), but you get my drift.

Mind you, this is in France. F-R-A-N-C-E. No rationing of health care for us, thank you very much, we are French.

The system has its problems (high taxes, recurrent deficit, etc) bu t health care rationing is not one of them.

You diminish your credibility by repeating these neocon lies, IMHO.

Rob Perkins said...

Re Colonoscopy, David, I simply don't believe you. A relative of mine has Crohn's, and described the procedure as marvelously invasive and painful.

Further, the "manliest men", flipping around memes of the anti-gay variety as is intimated G.W. Bush does, would not want any sort of substance sent the wrong direction through the colon, and might actually *need* anesthesia to become less... well... anal retentive about the procedure.

ahem.

Finally, I don't know where you get off announcing that a U.S. citizen can simply choose a different insurance company. Those choices, in my long experience, are usually hedged about by enrollment windows, or in my case at least, simply don't exist at all: Only one company is willing to offer the kind of coverage I (a healthy late-30's male with wife and children, in a small business) need. And even then the deductible plus stop-loss virtually guarantees four years of debt for every year of medical catastrophe anyway.

Chew on that. And thank you very much, when my colonoscopy time comes around, I'll be asking for the Propofol by name and never casting a single aspersion toward ANY man who chooses the same. I can't get Kaiser here (since they don't sell it to even healthy individuals at any price here, ^#$% them!) so I suppose I'll be stuck without the manly test of an anesthesia-free HMO-colonoscopy.

You have no case here, David. No possible rich comparison exists. Kerry's enemies hated him for contextualizing the Vietnam experience in a way which they thought was completely anti-esprit-de-corps. He might not have been the traitor they claimed, but it's certain that he overspent political coin in the 70's to get Vietnam stopped. And it helped to cost him the Presidency.

And perhaps... just perhaps?... the AMA has changed recommendations for a standard colonoscopy since you had it, to include some anesthetic?

Andrew S. Taylor said...

I'm surprised to see so much vitriol here! It really is sad and strange. I'm actually pretty pro-Moore, but I didn't find anything in Dr. Brin's comments that would warrent these accusations against him.

Dr. Brin is basically making the point that the Left needs credibility, and credibility can only be earned by discussing the facts honestly. These differences in perception should be discussed without so much heat and fury.

Now, to (politely) disagree with Dr. Brin - I think it's hard to extrapolate from any one single-payer system to generalize about single-payer systems in general. I'm not sure why Dr. Brin thinks that "expensive procedures" are forbidden past a certain point in these systems.

Here is a link to the Commonwealth Fund study used (very selectively and dishonestly) by Dr. Sanjay Gupta in his fraudulent "debunking" of Michael Moore on CNN.

http://www.commonwealthfund.org/publications/publications_show.htm?doc_id=313012

From here, you can read a summary of the findings, and download PDF's providing data on six countries, including the U.S., and compare performance of health-care systems over a wide variety of indicators.

Whatever restrictions are to be found in single-payer systems, they clearly do not result in poorer health. A visit to the World Health Organization website, where you can look at the stats country-by-country, makes this quite clear.

As for R&D - the U.S. only spends about 5.5 cents out of every healthcare dollar on research. Our inflated exenditures cannot be explained by research finding.

Michael said...

It's pathetic, but I had to jump on this one from the comments.

...invent new diseases like "restless leg syndrome"...

Apparently you missed the news where they've identified genes causing RLS. Since it's hereditary and my would-be-saintly mother has passed it on to my brother and myself, I have to take issue with the notion that it is an "invented" disease. So would the woman whom I sometimes involuntarily kick at night as I'm descending into sleep.

As for Dr. Brin's post, I'm not going to take issue with his practice of finding fault where fault lies. I am an avowed liberal, and I freely admit that liberals do not have all the answers. I have simply asserted for the past ten years that conservatives have made extraordinary advances in finding answers that have no basis in reality, then justifying those answers with remarkably blatant lies. I can understand why Murdoch created Fox News, because without their own propaganda outlet conservatives couldn't hope to pass their lies off on a discerning population.

Libertarians, well, everybody's got their own vision of an impossible utopia. I don't begrudge them theirs.

High_Brisance said...

Dr Brin and others involved,

Very enjoyable observations argument's being made.

I'm a navy bomb technician and I just returned from Iraq a few weeks ago, so I have one distinct pov of the effects of the Bush agenda (really the Chaney agenda). Bush creates a tangled mess with logical fallacies in everything he is involved in and he is totally out of touch with reality, (not that we did not already know this) so I could care less whether he contradicts his man show, re: his colon checkup.

Been meaning to get a viewing of "Sicko", as I had a good conversation with a National geographic photographer on a plane ride recently. He highly recommended watching it, as he is from New Zealand, and he was saying there socialist health care program trumps America's in every way imaginable.

on my way to blockbuster