Anita Dunn names Mao Zedong her “favorite philosopher”

Anita Dunn is the White House Communications Director, who’s been quoted everywhere for her on-target assertions that Fox News is a Republican channel, not a news channel. When I heard her say it a few days ago I was stunned (in a good way) that she was making this the official White House position. Sure, we’ve all known it for years, but it’s never been said by the Democrats on the record, and this was long overdue.

And now, just seconds ago, I watched Glenn Beck take Anita Dunn’s scalp, playing again and again a video clip of her telling an assembly of high school students, “My two favorite philosophers are Mao Tse-Tung and Mother Teresa.” He kept playing it, holding up a picture of Mao and reciting the usual litany, including the claim that Mao had killed more people than Hitler (70 million is the number he used). It was devastating. Beck is evil, but you have to give him credit for cunning and for dramatic effect. This made for very good theater. And you have to wonder, could Dunn actually have said this? How could she not see the danger?

[Update: You can see the clip here. Apologies in advance for linking to a right-wing site.] Malkin’s Hot Air has it, too, along with the obligatory 70-million murdered meme.

I see Fox News as bad news (pun intended) and I see Glenn Beck as a bad man. But unless that clip was doctored and shown wildly out of context, Beck scored a coup today. I don’t think it was entirely fair, but when is politics fair? And you can’t really fault Beck, as much as I’d like to. If the Democrats had a similar clip of Rush, I think they’d trot it out, too.

Dunn clearly meant that she admired Mao’s determination to continue going after his goal – to overthrow the Nationalist government – despite being told it was an impossible dream. She was talking about persistence. And Beck, of course, twisted that to make it sound as if she were endorsing the cold-blooded murder of 70 million Chinese. However, there are many wonderful examples of people who persevered in the face of difficult odds. To single out Mao, of all the inspiring people throughout history to choose from, as her mentor in this regard is inexplicable, and she will pay a heavy price. Needless to say, it will give Beck and the wingnuttosphere more fuel for claiming it’s an administration of radical Marxists who are scheming to impose their own Cultural Revolution on America. It was painful to watch. She actually said Mao is one of the people she turns to most.

Yes, Mao was persistent, as most tyrants are. Unfortunately – and again, like most tyrants – he also left a stream of death and destruction in his wake that China is still reeling from. How could she not know this? My jaw dropped. Score one for Beck.

The Discussion: 204 Comments

Dunn is married to Robert Bauer, a Washington, D.C. corporate lawyer who served as general counsel for Obama for America. It was Bauer who lobbied the Justice Department unsuccessfully last fall to pursue a criminal probe of American Issues Project (AIP), an independent group that sought to run an ad spotlighting Obama’s ties to Weather Underground terrorist Bill Ayers. It was Bauer who attempted to sic the DOJ on GOP donor Harold Simmons and sought his prosecution for funding the ad. It was Bauer who tried to bully television stations across the country to compel them to pull the spot. All on Barack Obama’s behalf.

Maoist Hardliner & Ayers Associate Comes to Obama’s Defense

This past weekend it was discovered that Barack Obama, terrorist Bill Ayers and Maoist hardliner Mike Klonsky worked together in the same office building on the same floor for several years.

October 16, 2009 @ 6:30 am | Comment

October 16, 2009 @ 6:31 am | Comment

The woman is clearly, for want of a better word, a total bloody idiot.

October 16, 2009 @ 6:32 am | Comment

You know, FOARP, I really admired what she said about Fox and how she said it. But I may have to agree with you – it shows either appallingly bad judgment or a deep ignorance of history. Either way, bad for Obama, catastrophic for her, and a gift from god to The GOP and Fox. Roger Ailes and Bill O’Reilly et. al. must be having multiple orgasms right now.

October 16, 2009 @ 6:40 am | Comment

Yarrrr, turning to the Gateway Pundit (one of the leaders of the birther lunacy and a favorite of Michelle Malkin) won’t win you points here. I don’t think there was anything “Marxist” about what Dunn said. It was just dumb. If they really were stealth Marxists trying to take us over Invasion of the Body Snatchers-style, they’d never have been so stupid as to praise Mao in public. Dunn was dumb, but is absolutely not a “Mao hardliner.” Predictable that the nutters are saying that.

October 16, 2009 @ 6:47 am | Comment

White House Communications Director? Looks like she has DRY MOUTH or some type of tongue problem in the video.

October 16, 2009 @ 7:17 am | Comment

Thanks for that thought-provoking observation, Yaro.

I am expecting quite a few visits tonight from Greater Wingnuttopia. Welcome, wingers.

October 16, 2009 @ 7:20 am | Comment

I dont think anyone has to be a Right Winger to see this administration is loaded with extreme left leaning people.I dont like Fox and I am certainly not a Republican, but certainly glad to see Mr.Beck enlightening about these whackos.There is absolutely no way a white male in a Public Position could say he admired anything about say Hitler and not have CNN and the left all over it.This administration is shaping up to be as bad as the last!

October 16, 2009 @ 7:36 am | Comment

I would agree about your “if a white male said this about Hitler” argument. True. However, no one in Obama’s administration can get away with that either. I don’t think Dunn will get away with this.

This has nothing to do with left leanings – please remember that along with Mao she named the fiercely anti-abortion Mother Teresa. It is a matter of pure stupidity. What is surprising is that she is a Washington insider and should certainly know better.

October 16, 2009 @ 7:41 am | Comment

The East Is Red

“East Is Red, The Sun Rises, A Mao Zedong is born in China, he toils for the people’s livelihood, he is the savior of the people”

The above lyrics is the original lyrics of a famous song called “The East is Red”, written in 1947 by a farmer in China’s Shanbei Province, 2 years before the Communists won China. It was adapted into a musical ballet in 1964, by musician He Luding. Mr. He Luding changed the “people’s livelihood” from the original lyrics to “people’s happiness”.

Almost everyone my generation in China can recite the entire lyrics and sing the entire song in our sleep. The original author’s name was Li Youyuan. He is a utterly poor farmer in the Shanbei Province, and farmers like tosing songs during their sparetime. Li youyuan never received any education, and could read no more than his own name.

Then, why did he create such a song as “East Is Red”? Is it for fame? The fact is, very very few people knew the Li Youyuan as the original author of the lyrics, even Mr. He Luding does not know about Li Youyuan after later. So this orignal song was spread amongst the villagers of Shanbei Province, and eventually spread around the entire China.

If Li Youyuan did not create this song for fame, then why did he do it? Obviously there was no such concept as intellectual property in China in the 40’s, so he writes and sings this song (or other songs) as a way to release some emotion, or for pure recreation. Clearly he also did not write this song to kiss someone’s ass, because he never attempted to make it known that he wrote it. Also, Li Youyuan was never a Communist party member, never participated in the Revolution, and never received any benefits or “promotion” for this song. He was just a simple farmer and had been that way till death.

Another interesting thing is: most of the famous songs today (even old folksongs from long ago) are written by professional musicians, writers, or at least educated “intellectuals”. I have not seen another case where a popular and famous song is written by a simple, plain, poor person, and an illiterate farmer at that.

And in 1943, when the song was written, the Communist Party was still struggling with the ruling Nationalists and didnot have the money and the resources to hire people to make propaganda for them, and certainly did not have money to pay people to make propaganda. Most farmers in Shanbei Province had never even seen Mao Zedong, even during the Revolution, the landlord of the house under which Mao lived in did not realize his tenant was the famous Mao Zedong. This makes it even harder for such a song to spread so quickly by itself.

Now, let’s speculate on how this song was created. Perhaps one morning, the sun was rising from the east, and Li Youyuan’s mind was hit by a sudden inspiration, and he started saying those words in his minds. He could not have written them down, because he barely knew how to read his own name. So the lyrics and melody of this song was “sung” in his mind, and as he started singing loudly in the field, other villagers heard and really identified with the lyrics and the melody, and quickly it spread from one village to another, one province to another, all through people singing to each other. In his lyrics, he used “toils for people’s livelihood”. Clearly, there were severe problems with the Chinese people’s livelihood, and the villagers easily identified with it.

“East is Red” is also the song that’s broadcasted about 20 times on China’s first satellite, before that, neither the US nor the USSR had the idea of playing a song from a satellite in space. In fact, the first ever song in human history to be sent into space was written by that poor farmer Li Youyuan.

Whenever I see so many people celebrating the birth of Mao Zedong on Christmas Day every year, I feel especially happy and pleasurable. Mao was born on the same day as Jesus Christ. But because of time differences, when the East is on the 26th of December, the West would still be on the 25th. Therefore, I think “East is Red” should also be sung during Christmas just like any other Christmas carols, perhaps one day, all Churches everywhere would have lovely children choirs singing “East is Red”.

October 16, 2009 @ 7:52 am | Comment

Math, you’re a bit off topic, don’t you think?

October 16, 2009 @ 7:53 am | Comment

Richard, like it or not, the history of the progressive movement is marred with admiration for tyrants. If you study the writings of so-called Liberal scholars during that 1920s and 1930s you will be amazed at how much sympathy they had for Mussolini, Hitler, and others. Only when things got blatantly ugly and violent in Europe, did these scholars distance themselves from such tyrannical ideologies.

The only surprise in this story is how stupid she is to say such a thing in public.

October 16, 2009 @ 8:08 am | Comment

The Duck seems skeptical of the scale of Mao’s crimes. Get real. For example, check:

October 16, 2009 @ 8:29 am | Comment

The scary thing of this is that Ms Dunn is not the only one in the admin that seems to have these ties to extremist. Jones, Loyd, Apollo and Acorn connections. Just seems like he is surrounded by people with these types of views. I agree with a previous writer… just as bad if not worse than the previous admin.

October 16, 2009 @ 8:40 am | Comment

Good thing for her she didnt say “Bush”

Dunn clearly meant that she admired Mao’s determination to continue going after his goal – to overthrow the Nationalist government – despite being told it was an impossible dream. She was talking about persistence. And Beck, of course, twisted that to make it sound as if she were endorsing the cold-blooded murder of 70 million Chinese.

Thank you so much for telling me what she meant to say. Can’t you let her words speak for them self? How good of a communications director can she be if she needs you to tell us what she really meant? Beck played her entire comment in context. What is shocking is that she is either stupid enough to say such things in a public forum, or warped/comfortable enough to think there is nothing controversial about publically proclaiming that Mao is one of her favorite philosophers.

But yeah you are right, let’s admire Mao’s determination, his stick-to-it-ness. Sure he was a bad man but he accomplished his dream. How good for him. I can barely think of any other human being that beat the odds who would be more appropriate to cite as a man of conviction to inspire a bunch of high school students.

What is funny to me is that using your logic, she could have said George W. Bush was her hero, not because she admired what he stood for but because he accomplished his dream. You know his determination to go after his goal. But no, if she would have said that she would have become an instant pariah in your circles and laughed off the stage; clearly admiring Mao was the wiser choice.

What bathers me, however, about the tone of your post is that it leaves the impression that you are more disappointed in the fact that she said what she said, than the fact that she thinks what she thinks.

October 16, 2009 @ 8:52 am | Comment

I think it is incredible that you don’t see and hear what she says in her own words, and it is obvious that you are already part of the political spin process to save this obvious communist. When did this great country start embracing communists? I think it’s great to say what you believe, but there are certainly consequences for what you say and believe. No one that despises what communism does to the individual will belittle those that voted for Obama for wanting “change”. Even the Republican base wanted change and believed there were things that had to change. But I find it hard to believe that when faced with a true communist that anyone that truly believes in individual freedom would defend communists in this country . Too many of our brothers and sisters have died to fight for our freedoms. To not call out and identify communists would dishonor all those that have died to give us freedom from tyranny. It is even those that voted for Obama that can help him get on the right track to a proper change for this country. No one voted for communism last fall. Let’s be honest.

October 16, 2009 @ 9:02 am | Comment

The Duck has written many times here about Mao’s crimes and is by no means easy on him. See the post and comments immediately below this one – I rate Mao as one of history’s most tyrannical and destructive despots. The 70 million figure, however, is suspect. I would say 40 million is more accurate, but no one really knows. I think “between 30 and 50 million” is most safe.

Jam, I heard the tape, and she explained why she chose Mao, for his persistence. I was appalled, as i said, because she was, I dunno, kind of leaving something out of the equation, like the Cultural Revolution and the Great Leap Forward. You badly misunderstand my logic and my post. I am saying NO MATTER WHAT this was inane and awful. No matter what. I am also saying it’s clear what her reasoning was – that Mao stuck to his goals – but that even so, this reasoning is dreadful, since there are so many better choices, most of whom could not claim to have the blood of 40 million people n their hands. So please read the entire post again and see that I am not cutting her slack. The unfairness i refer to was the way Beck made it sounds as if she had supported Mao’s murders, but I also say that she left herself wide open and I do not fault Beck for this story.

October 16, 2009 @ 9:08 am | Comment

Rlawrence, she endorsed Mother Teresa – is she an anti-abortion nut? No. She said, idiotically, that she admired more than nearly anyone else Mao for having a goal and not letting anyone discourage him. I did not hear her ever endorse communism, and if you are going to make that charge you had better document it.

Of course, she will now be tarred a communist. I see no way out. The tape is there, she said something way out of line, and many Americans, instead of seeing that she was being stupid, will see her as being a communist. And there’s no way to argue with these people. They are, unfortunately, as stupid as she is.

Dror, agree about the liberal scholars. But usually they made their mistakes before they actually saw the bloodshed, like GB Shaw and Bertrand Russell fawning over Russian Communism – i.e., it was part ignorance, part denial of reality. This instance is just flat-out idiotic and inexplicable. I don’t see Dunn as a liberal scholar. Most liberals disavowed Mao long, long ago.

October 16, 2009 @ 9:11 am | Comment

Richard – you have to admit that there are plenty of other examples of persistence to choose from, especially when talking to young people. In any case, she clearly said that Mao is one of her “two favorite political philosophers” that she “always turns to”. That’s a pretty comprehensive endorsement, and you are not gaining any points by apologizing on her behalf.

I don’t think she admires Mao’s murders, but the fact that she could not think of any other remarkable individual to use as an example is somewhat disturbing.

Beck is not the issue here; he saw an opportunity and he seized it. I leave it to you to imagine what the “Liberal” media would have done to Glenn Beck if he would ever make a historical comparison of this kind.

October 16, 2009 @ 9:15 am | Comment

Dror, read my post!

However, there are many wonderful examples of people who persevered in the face of difficult odds. To single out Mao, of all the inspiring people throughout history to choose from, as her mentor in this regard is inexplicable, and she will pay a heavy price.

And reread – I am not faulting Beck!! I said I couldn’t fault him. He won. He did a damned good job.

We are in complete agreement on this one.

October 16, 2009 @ 9:22 am | Comment

You excuse Mao because,”The 70 million figure, however, is suspect. I would say 40 million is more accurate, but no one really knows. I think “between 30 and 50 million” is most safe.” How ridiculous for saying, in essence, “Mao’s not THAT bad”. LOL
Mao was a mass murderer, but if he wrote philosophical quotes thats okay? Do liberals have any value for life?

How many other Marxists, Socialists, Communists, Globalists, Collectivist, Chicago Thugs, and Anti-American Progressives are in the White House? How can anyone believe that Obama, who surrounds himself with these kind of people, has good intentions for America?
George Soros admitted on TV that he collaborated with the Nazis and he owns the Democratic Party. I’m disgusted with these, “Birds of a feather…

October 16, 2009 @ 9:39 am | Comment

This is why I loathe arguing with wingnuts.

You excuse Mao because,”The 70 million figure, however, is suspect. I would say 40 million is more accurate, but no one really knows. I think “between 30 and 50 million” is most safe.”

Um, no. Do I excuse Mao? Did you read my post? It’s all about Mao being a monster who killed millions. I have never excused Mao, and humorously enough, I get accused by many here for being too hard on Mao. Again, read the post and comments directly below this one and you will see how much I despise Mao. The blood of 30 to 50 million qualifies him for a high position on the Evil Totem Pole, though not quite up there with Hitler, Pol Pot and Stalin.

Meanwhile, I believe there are no communists in the Obama administration, which is far less progressive than I’d like. Van Jones was a confessed former Marxist. Dunn has never endorsed communism. Most of those in this administration are middle of the road, not very daring, and anything but radical. If you can find any example of radicalism, do let me know. But make a good case for it. I can make a case right now that Dunn was an idiot. I can show you the words she said that were idiotic. Can you show me the words she said that indicate she is a communist? No, I didn’t think so.

October 16, 2009 @ 9:46 am | Comment

I just wonder why you think playing an unadulterated clip of someone speaking at a public event is “not entirely fair”. Can you elaborate on that?

October 16, 2009 @ 9:50 am | Comment

Wow. Just, WOW. Let’s hope she resigns.

October 16, 2009 @ 9:52 am | Comment

Yes. First, my precise words:

I don’t think it was entirely fair, but when is politics fair? And you can’t really fault Beck, as much as I’d like to. If the Democrats had a similar clip of Rush, I think they’d trot it out, too.

I don’t fault beck for doing it. He did it well. It wasn’t entirely fair because he made it sound as though she was an endorser of the death of 70 million. First, that is an inflated number (see my comment above – it is still a huge number, but not 70 million). Second, while she can be faulted for stupidity, to lead viewers to see her as endorsing the death of 70 million is not entirely fair, though on a scale of 1 to 10 on the Unfairness-O-Meter I’d probably give it a 4. As I said, not entirely fair, but fair enough – he did it with enough skill that he can’t really be faulted. And aside from those three words – “not entirely fair” – I do not fault Beck for this story.

October 16, 2009 @ 9:57 am | Comment

Chip, I think she’ll have to. No way out, fair or not.

October 16, 2009 @ 9:58 am | Comment

If you can find any example of radicalism, do let me know.

I think this was part of Beck’s point. The fact that you don’t think a high level White House official publicly saying that Mao is her favorite philosopher, who she frequently turns to, is radical, makes him and me cringe at the philosophical direction this country is heading.

October 16, 2009 @ 10:08 am | Comment

Cringe away, Jam. I call it stupid, not radical. If she had said Mao was her favorite because of his policies or his ideology I would be 100 percent in agreement. She never said anything even close. She said it was his resistance in continuing to fight despite being told it was impossible. You know, like the Man of La Mancha: “To dream the impossible dream…” This was bizarre. This was stupid. This was inexplicable. It was not the slightest bit radical.

October 16, 2009 @ 10:17 am | Comment

It just goes to show that Obamas’ white house is staffed top to bottom with staffers who embrace marxist communist revolutionary ideals. It gives a clearer picture of the structure of the transformative change so prevalent in Obama speeches. It is also a tragic error in judgement on the administrations’ part seeing as how anti-communist sentiment runs incredibly deep in the U.S.

October 16, 2009 @ 10:20 am | Comment

Cringe away, Jam. I call it stupid, not radical. If she had said Mao was her favorite because of his policies or his ideology I would be 100 percent in agreement.

Why would she single him out if she did not admire what his philosophy actually was? That’s like saying my favorite rock group is the “Doors” not because of their music but because they tried really hard to make it. It makes no sense and but if you feel more comfortable assuming she is an idiot go right ahead, but then again what does that say for the professionalism of the White House as an organization. Amateur hour.

October 16, 2009 @ 10:28 am | Comment

Greg I’m laughing. There is no evidence of any communist being in Obama’s administration. I again ask, what has Dunn done to indicate that she is a communist? Her other choice is Mother Teresa. Does this mean she is a militant anti-abortionist? Maybe. But I won’t say that unless I have some evidence, like words she said or stuff she did. You have been sucked in by the Hannity-Beck-Limbaugh noise machine that keeps pumping out the same message, that the administration is full of commies. “I have a list in my hand….”

Right. Obama is strictly in the center, owned by Wall Street and corporate interests as much as the rest of them. He is anti-radical. But of course, in the eyes of the indoctrinated, those who have gleefully surrendered their critical faculties to the right-wing echo chamer, he is a Marxist Muslim fascist radical born in Kenya. Who can argue with these people?

October 16, 2009 @ 10:30 am | Comment

Jam, Jam – what am I gonna do with you? We’re not getting anywhere! Because you are not basing your argument on what she actually said.

She was extremely specific about his philosophy that she admired – his philosophy of persistence, of not giving up in the face of adversity. She exounded on this, she broke it down. Did you listen, darling? She did not, in her expounding, say anything about communism or Maoist policies. She was being awfully dumb. She was not being radical or communistic. If she was I would call her on it. And I’m usually right.

October 16, 2009 @ 10:32 am | Comment

But of course, in the eyes of the indoctrinated, those who have gleefully surrendered their critical faculties to the right-wing echo chamer, he is a Marxist Muslim fascist radical born in Kenya. Who can argue with these people?

This is just unfair. But clearly you have the market cornered on reason and logic, and the rest of us can only conjure up opinions that have been spoon fed to us so simplistically that our few remaining brain cells can actually process them.

I have not heard one person here suggest Obama was born in Kenya, or that he is a Marxist Muslim fascist radical.

Some of us are simply stating that we do not appreciate high level administration officials expressing sympathy or admiration for Mao, Chavez, Castro, or any other communist/socialist revolutionaries, or you appologizing for it.

These people do more to affirm our assumptions of radical leftist thinkers in the white house than it does to dispel it. So maybe your beef should be with Obama for his clearly lacking ability to vet his staff.

October 16, 2009 @ 10:39 am | Comment

What is simply stunning to me is the fact that Ms. Dunn gave this speech to a bunch of high school graduates. Just let that sink in a moment. She praised Mao as one of her favorite political philosophers — somehow, amazingly enough, she believed that Mao’s philosophy would be something of value to a group of students who were about to make their way into the world. Would any sane person do that? Out of all of the people that Ms. Dunn could have chosen to mention to a group of high school students as a role model for achieving their future dreams, she chose Mao as one of the select few she would mention in her speech. Again, let that sink in a moment. Then, ask yourself, what does that say about her? How sane is this woman? Do her beliefs come anywhere close to your own? What does that say about the administration that thought well enough of her to hire her as their communications director? Should their judgment be questioned as well?

October 16, 2009 @ 10:44 am | Comment

JAM, the right-wing noise machine has been pumping out those messages for months. This will now be used to reinforce the meme of secret government ready to plunge us into Marxism. Please, read up on Pam Geller and The Other McCain and the rest of the loons.

And you know something? (Rhetorical question; I know the answer.) I don’t appreciate it either, that Dunn said this. Thus my post. I think what she said was an outrage. Normally I’d just laugh but her being an administration official – it won’t wash.

There are no radical leftists in the White House. This is a fantasy.

October 16, 2009 @ 10:45 am | Comment

I heard what she said, but I am saying that if she has admiration for the man (who happened to kill millions of people), this is a radical statement. I can’t see how you cannot agree with this.

One of the two people I most admire in the world is Adolph Hitler. His determination in the eyes of adversity, his willingness to see things through to the end. Never letting anyone stop his dream, I turn to him when I look for inspiration.

Is this statement anymore ridiculous than hers? Or more radical?

The man and his actions cannot be separated. For some people this is the case. Like Hitler, Mao is one of them.

October 16, 2009 @ 10:47 am | Comment

Radical statements are made by radical people

October 16, 2009 @ 10:50 am | Comment

Again, what she said was awful. She then broke it down and explained, rather idiotically, that what she admired in Mao was his persistence in standing up to the Nationalist army. Very specific. Not smart. Terrible. If she had left it general, that Mao was her favorite philosopher, I would call her radical. After she explained why she selected Mao for his perseverance, I could only conclude she’s stupid or nuts. But not radical. Not communist. She explained why she chose Mao, and it was not really for his philosophy at all (another evidence of her stupidity) but of his stick-to-it-iveness. Goofy. Not radical. But haven;t we argued about this enough? Can’t you simply concede, gracefully, that I am right and you are wrong? No one will hold it against you.

October 16, 2009 @ 10:52 am | Comment

Kris, I agree with most your comment. (Once Jam and the others get that, maybe they’ll open their eyes a bit and see I am no radical myself, and no apologist for radicals.)

I am not ready to say this calls into question the administration’s judgment. It might. It depends if there was a history of this sort of thing that they missed in their vetting. I don’t know.

October 16, 2009 @ 11:00 am | Comment

I think our definition of “radical” differs. Therefor we cannot agree upon the premise of this argument, thus rendering it fruitless.

The fact that Mao popped into her head as someone who can be admired, be it for his fashion sense, or his determination, leads me to believe she is radical, or at the least can sympathize with radical people. This in my view makes her radical – it is not a matter of being right or wrong, it is a matter of opinion.

October 16, 2009 @ 11:08 am | Comment

Fair enough. I don’t think Mao popped up in her head. This sounded to me like a long-held conviction, this admiration for Mao’s resolve. And that is kind of scary, too. Where on earth was she coming from? I’d love to hear how she explains this.

October 16, 2009 @ 11:10 am | Comment

It had to pop into her head at some point, and the fact that it was long held in my view makes it worse (she had time to ruminate the idea and yet still felt it was appropriate to say) – I am just wondering, but how do you explain/apologize away the other members of Obama’s circle who have expressed sympathies for other Communist/socialist revolutionary leaders?

BTW I am not saying that this administration is overrun with a political underground, however, I do believe Obama and his agenda is already radically leftist (not radical enough for you), juxtaposed to the philosophy of our founding fathers (radicals of their own time, perhaps). Fortunately, this I believe, will be his undoing – because thankfully the rest of America is not ready for his agenda. But that is just my crazy wingnut inbred knuckle dragging postulate.

October 16, 2009 @ 11:27 am | Comment

All I gotta say is, this woman is jaw-droppingly stupid.

And I agree with Richard — I’ve been saying it since the primaries — Obama is purely a centrist in his policies and in the pocket of Wall St. He admires certain leftist tactics — the organizing methods of Saul Alinsky, for example — but not in the service of radical goals. He seems more interested in winning than anything else. Policy-wise, it’s all about compromise, whatever it takes to claim victory.

October 16, 2009 @ 11:36 am | Comment

Jam, as far as I know, one fellow in the administration, Van Jones, openly admitted that years ago he was a Marxist. So what? I credit his honesty. I look upon his crucifixion as a pure smear job. But he left himself vulnerable with quotes that can easily be taken out of context, and politics is a cruel game. Dunn, on the other hand, has never expressed support for communism (at least not that I’ve heard), and I know of no instances of her attempting to steer the administration in the direction of communism. We have a dumb quote that raises all sorts of questions, but that’s all. Again, I look at what she said about Mother Teresa (and you keep ignoring this), and don’t see it as meaning she takes a stand on abortion, or even about religion. She was very specific about why she chose Mother Teresa, as she was with Mao.

If you told us what you feel is radical leftist about Obama’s agenda I may take you more seriously. Obama’s “agenda” has been pro-Wall Street, his health care plan has been centrist (ask a radical lefty like Bob Dole) and his policies toward “harsh interrogation techniques” and FISA have been nearly a mirror of Bush’s. There is nothing radical there. Period. It is all in your head, based on superstition and, with all due respect (because you’re obviously not unintelligent) ignorance. Show me the radicalism. You can’t. It’s all noise over nothing.

Anyway, I think we all know where we stand by now.

October 16, 2009 @ 11:39 am | Comment

Thanks Lisa. You want to take up the arguing with wingnuts while I take a break? 🙂

October 16, 2009 @ 11:40 am | Comment

Anita Dunn: A corruptocrat flack and a Mao cheerleader

October 16, 2009 @ 11:42 am | Comment

Whatever. Unfortunately, she did present herself as a Mao cheerleader, without understanding who Mao really was. If all she could point to in his career that she so admired was his perseverance… Well, I’ll say it again: Bizarre. Inexplicable. Jaw-dropping.

October 16, 2009 @ 11:50 am | Comment

Again we are getting back to you defining everything based upon your finite frame of reference (however, and thankfully for the rest of us you are not the fulcrum of the universe). Sure to you, a self described leftist, Obama may be a centrist, however, based on the reference point of the founding fathers and the constitution (a more logical starting point, no offense), Obama’s healthcare proposal is indeed radical, his purchasing GM and Chrysler and giving it away to the UAW (by subverting bankruptcy law) was radical, his giant pork filled “stimulus” package was radical. That sure is a lot of noise.

October 16, 2009 @ 12:01 pm | Comment

Come on Ducks. Mao (like Che after him) has many admirers. First there are hundreds of millions of Chinese, then there are lots of Europeans, especially the French. Also many Americans, like Anna Louise Strong. Didn’t they make an opera about Mao, Zhou, Nixon, and Kissinger? Even the Dalai Lama claims that he has a lot of respect for Mao. Today Maoists are active in many parts of the world (Nepal, India, Peru, etc). What’s the big deal that Ms. Dunn happens to be one of them? Actually it’s kind of cool to be an unrepentant Maoist. Haven’t you seen Andy Warhol’s Mao portrait? Mao is part of our pop culture.

October 16, 2009 @ 12:02 pm | Comment

Jam, Bush would’ve bailed out Detroit as well. Radical? Hardly. Not to your liking? Yes. You toss the word “radical” around as if it applies to anything you don’t approve of. Obama is a centrist. His policies have delighted Wall Street and most of corporate America. His philosophy toward health care reflects traditional liberal values and is anything but radical.

Serve, I’m honestly not sure how Nixon or Kissinger actually felt about Mao. I think he was bordering on senility and and not all there when they met him. Were they really “mao mi?”

Mao may be part of pop culture. But most educated Americans know he is not someone you emulate, let alone put on your Top Ten (or Top Two) list – especially if you are in politics. She shoulda known better, and I’m afraid she’s going down. I’ll give her a week to resign. (Most likely tomorrow evening, the usual Friday night decision to “spend more time with her family.”)

October 16, 2009 @ 12:14 pm | Comment

Again, I believe his philosophy is radically different from those who wrote our constitution. That is what I care about. I never mentioned Bush, why did you? What are your thoughts on Rutherford B. Hayes?

We already established we disagree on the definition of radical. Remember?

October 16, 2009 @ 12:19 pm | Comment

Those who wrote the constitution were more liberal.

I mentioned Bush because you cited the bailout of Detroit as radical. Bush was the bailout king, and was adamant that Detroit not be permitted to collapse. So if Bush and Obama are both radical, we might as well say everybody is radical. The truth, however, is that neither of them are/were radical. Maybe they were wrong, maybe misguided, or maybe they were spot-on. But they weren’t radical. Bailouts have happened in America before. They are nothing extraordinary, no matter how distasteful they may be.

Hayes is a mixed bag: he tried to reconcile the North and South, sometimes clumsily, and the firing on striking railroad workers was a dreadful thing. But we’re wandering a bit off-topic.

October 16, 2009 @ 12:34 pm | Comment

Richard, your definition of centrism rests on the false assumption the big business and big government represent competing interests. In reality, and historically, they are actually partners and rely on each other. I know that these names trigger instinctive responses – but if you look at the initial policies of Hitler and Mussolini, and the way they worked together with big business, you will see this process quite clearly. As you may already know, both Hitler and Mussolini were popular socialist leader. Socialist. Socialist. Socialist. There were not “Right Wingers”, they were not “Conservatives”. They were socialists, and they were damn proud of it. And then it all went pear-shaped.

Whether you like them or not, Obama’s policies represent a radical change in America’s way: unprecedented deficit spending, socialized healthcare, cowering to backward dictators (while expanding military activities), and many other things he has on the agenda.

And by the way, Mussolini was also the pioneer of “centrism” and the “third way”. Sad but true.

October 16, 2009 @ 12:38 pm | Comment

The deficit spending is not unprecedented. It’s been done before in America and elsewhere. Nobe laureate Paul Krugman faults Obama’s deficit spending for not being nearly enough, so I guess you can’t win. This is pure Keynesian economics – you may see it as ineffective or as radical, but it’s been the best solution we have.

I won’t go into the “Hitler as a socialist” myth. There were elements of socialism in National Socialism, but precious few. Gregor Strasser was thrown out of the party and eventually murdered because he wanted to strees the “Socialist” part of National Socialism. The party started that way, as a worker’s party. It then went in a very different direction with Hitler’s marriage to the German industrialists, and the socialist aspect was minimized.

Obama is a centrist. “Socialized” healthcare is humane and non-radical, something taken for granted in every other developed nation. It is long overdue and is a right. I’ve seen no signs of any Obama agenda thus far other than to basically carry on where Bush left off – and in that regard I am quite disappointed. Again, show me the radicalism. And if you point to heathcare, I and the rest of the developed world will laugh at you – it works and it’s inevitable. Healthcare will bankrupt America if it’s left on the present course. I experienced “socialized” medicine in Taiwan and Germany and I gotta tell you, it’s wonderful. It is many things; radical is not among them, unless you define radical as cost-effective, a relief to the poor and working classes and a great boon to all of society. (But this argument will also be futile, I know. Paulists on one hand, Malkinintes on the other.)

October 16, 2009 @ 12:53 pm | Comment

If she said Mao was one of 2 her favourite philosophers, doesn’t that imply that she has at least some admiration for the philosophy? Saying that it was his persistence doesn’t quite wash. Persistence is only good if what you are attempting to achieve is good.

October 16, 2009 @ 1:22 pm | Comment

Dror, you fail to realize that since Richard says Obama is a “centrist” it immediately becomes fact. Your citations, although pertinent and apropos in buttressing your argument, do little to establish reality, see Richard himself possesses the ability to supplant such in place of his own, it’s actually quite impressive.

Just don’t make him mad, there is no telling what he can do.

October 16, 2009 @ 1:41 pm | Comment

Peter, it might imply that, but when she explained, there was not even a hint about Mao’s political philosophy, only of his philosophy of never faltering from working toward your goal. Batty, I know. Meanwhile, I am still waiting for someone to show me something, anything, that indicates Dunn is a communist or has ever advocated communism.

Jam, that’s part of the joy of running a blog – I can get to be right. But I am definitely willing to back down and admit I am wrong. if someone shows me something Obama is advocating that is demonstrably radical, something that the Congress hasn’t considered before because it was considered too bizarre or left-wing, I will acknowledge my mistake in a heartbeat. Dror’s allusion to healthcare, long part of the Democratic Party’s agenda and something that Obama campaigned on, something that has been received with considerable popularity over the years, plus Dror’s vague allusions to a “radical” agenda don’t cut it. Seriously, where is the extreme leftism? Where is the radicalism? Bob Dole and Bill Frist both said we need to act on healthcare and form a bipartisan solution – neither said Obama’s direction was radical. It has been on the Democrat’s agenda for decades. But because of fears of Obama, stirred by Michelle Malkin and Fox News et. al., some see something sinister here, something dangerous, part of an agenda of a cabal of Marxists who seek to take over America. Theirs is a fantasy world of death panels and forced abortions and rampant “liberalism.” Of course, it is utter nonsense, built solely on fear and rumor, but it has a powerful effect on people, making them see things that aren’t there. Obama, radical? Complete and utter claptrap. The man who kept Gates as his SoD and surrounded himself with Washington insiders like Rahm and Geithner, the man who said he won’t go after those who architected the torture memos and the illegal wiretap program – a radical?? Seriously, that is pure rubbish. I ask again, where is the radicalism? What has he done that is so wildly different from traditional American politics? And don’t talk of some shadowy fantasy “agenda,” which speaks volumes about the accusers while saying nothing about Obama.

Obama, a radical? So funny…. I only wish we had a president who were a bit more radical, and willing to challenge the entrenched kleptocracy of America’s plunderers instead of giving them a free pass. Obama is a hero over at Goldman Sachs. Enough said.

October 16, 2009 @ 2:05 pm | Comment


– The current expansion of US monetary base in unprecedented, and is completely off the charts.

– Krugman is a political hack. To claim that any opinions other than his are invalid is dangerous and silly. Keynes, as you may know, was also a fan of National Socialism and dissociated himself from it only once the murders began. “Experts” are always big fans of central planning. Krugman is the same bright mind that advised Greenspan to lower interest rates in order to “create a housing bubble to replace the tech bubble”. Worked out pretty well…

– The fact that other countries have certain policies does not mean that America is “centrist” by adopting them. Obama’s policy represent a dramatic change in American politics and is not as benign as you try to make it seem.

– Whether or not socialized healthcare is “humane” does not change the fact that America never had such a thing, and that having it is anything but “centrist”. In addition, there are important issues here beyond the general “feel good” of saying that everyone should be insured, including: the fact that people are forced to get something that they don’t want; the fact a government player will reduce choice and eliminate competition; and the most distressing fact that America simply cannot afford this program.

– Hitler was a socialist: government control over most of the economy; full employment; socialized healthcare and benefits; etc. The fact that his opponents were Red Communists does not make him a libertarian… Just like the fact the Bush was driving America towards fascism does not mean that Obama is not continuing, and accelerating, along the same path. There is a wonderful book (written by a communist!) called “Behemoth” about the political and social organization of the third reich. Highly recommended.

It is disappointing that you cannot judge these issues based on merit. And incredible that even though you understand how destructive many of Obama’s policies are, you have a religious reluctance to tell it like it is. It’s a little creepy, actually.

October 16, 2009 @ 2:17 pm | Comment

Dror, I love you like a brother, but we will never see eye to eye on government, sorry. Look, I am very critical of Obama. I don’t quite subscribe to your worldview, and most others don’t either. Roosevelt, Clinton, Kennedy, Obama, Truman, Johnson – every single one of them proposed “socialized” healthcare. It’s one thing for you to see that as radical. But to attribute it to Obama, as though he has proposed this- something America has been in favor of for a long time – in a vacuum is not based on reality.

I’ll take up the Hitler as socialist argument later. As I said there were socialist elements to the Third Reich but Sweden it wasn’t.

I don’t see Obama’s policies as any more destructive than any past president’s. So sue me. Look at where Bush’s policies have landed us (talk about radical change!). I don’t venerate Obama, I am disappointed in Obama, I don’t sing his praises at all. I am simply saying, he is more of the same, 100 percent. Those going apoplectic about Obama as though he is doing something unprecedented and radical are simply in denial. He’s your typical corporate-owned, Establishment American president, a bit better spoken than the last one and not as stupid, but he’s not Mr. Smith going to Washington. I also think he is trying to do the best he can with what he’s got and that we’re headed for catastrophe no matter what he does, Sorry if you find this view “creepy.”

Are you still in America? Hope you had a great trip.

October 16, 2009 @ 2:28 pm | Comment

I am back in Beijing.

Again, the problem with Obama’s plan is in the details: It is coercive and it eliminates choice. It also does nothing to deal with the real causes to why healthcare is so expensive in the US.

So, even if you think it would be good to have everyone insured, supporting Obama’s plan is simply the wrong thing to do. Even if it was a perfect plan, you should still not support it at this point since America has no money to pay for it, and debt is by far the most pressing problem.

In addition, I think you are severely underplaying the crisis America is in and the dangers in what Obama is doing, especially in light of the personality cult around him – which even you seem to be unable to completely break away from.

And again – the amount of debt that he is getting America into is unprecedented. There was never anything like it. It is extremely dangerous. It puts the most remarkable country on earth in jeopardy. It is scary.

October 16, 2009 @ 2:49 pm | Comment

The comment was stupid, and as usual the subsequent reaction is grossly upstaging the original stupidity. The Cold War has moved from an international conflict to a domestic one. Hooray for Neo-Mcarthyism!

I could write a lot on this topic, but after reading the thread above, I can already see it’s not worth it. Personal opinion has somehow become a “sacred cow” in the US with no one willing to listen to any information that contradicts their vain worldviews. Ideology and willful ignorance are what we need to fear now; they killed China under Mao, they’ll kill us too. “Freedom and Democracy” are as corruptible as “Communism and Revolution” when all is said and done.

October 16, 2009 @ 3:11 pm | Comment

Wow, this post really gets people talking. 60 comments?
First, I don’t really think that calling Mao a philosopher is fair to philosophy. If it’s a philosophy, it’s only of the type that can get a college sophomore excited for a semester before realizing it’s a load of pseudo-philosophical horseshit.
Second, it’s quite ironic that someone who has been outspoken in criticizing Fox News (which is a criticism that needs to made) would nevertheless consider Mao a great philosopher, as Fox is essentially the closest that one can come to a Yanan-style network in the US, although it admittedly carries somewhat different (yet at the same time also surprisingly similar) ideological baggage.

October 16, 2009 @ 3:11 pm | Comment

Dror, I think the healthcare plan is bad as well. You simply cannot have a plan that mandates people buy crappy overpriced coverage from insurance companies without adequate cost controls. Sorry, I don’t want my money going to subsidize healthcare industry multi-millionaires.

Now, extend Medicare to anyone who wants it — and yes, I know I’ll have to pay for it — that I will take, happily.

Without cost controls and without real competition from a vigorous public option that is not a walled-off ghetto for those who can’t get any other kind of insurance — it’s a health INSURANCE industry bailout, and nothing more.

However, I have no patience for people who act like Obama is some kind of socialist extending “gummint power” to unprecedented levels. That would be George W. Bush, who has put us untold trillions of dollar in debt, whose Wall Street bailout provided the template for Obama’s, and whose shredding of the Constitution and abuse of civil liberties are a repudiation of everything decent that this country stands for.

I’m no Obama fan, but I get really tired of people who foam at the mouth that he’s a IslamoFascistCommieNazi or what have you. It makes actual criticism of him impossible. And I wonder, where the hell were all of those people when Bush was invading a country that did not attack us, engaging in unconstitutional acts, spying on the American people, draining our public treasury, etc. etc. etc.? NOW you’re complaining?


October 16, 2009 @ 3:41 pm | Comment

“I’m no Obama fan, but I get really tired of people who foam at the mouth that he’s a IslamoFascistCommieNazi or what have you. It makes actual criticism of him impossible.”


People are too wrapped up in ideological debates or attacking political personalities to provide any real constructive criticism. (For any sinophile this should sound all too familiar…)

Political implosion anyone?

October 16, 2009 @ 4:35 pm | Comment

Peter, it might imply that, but when she explained, there was not even a hint about Mao’s political philosophy, only of his philosophy of never faltering from working toward your goal. Batty, I know. Meanwhile, I am still waiting for someone to show me something, anything, that indicates Dunn is a communist or has ever advocated communism.

I have to admit I haven’t watched the talk. It just seems a little strange to admire someone’s tenacity in working towards a goal if you don’t have at least a little sympathy for that goal. For example she may have been attracted to the vision of an egalitarian society built on co-operation rather than competition, without necessarily approving of what Mao did trying to implement it.

October 16, 2009 @ 5:01 pm | Comment

It concerns me more that she thinks Mother Teresa had anything at all worthwhile to say.

My sympathies in this case align perfectly with Christopher Hitchens

October 16, 2009 @ 5:14 pm | Comment

to many Chinese people, Mao always be a hero

October 16, 2009 @ 6:25 pm | Comment

to many Chinese people, English always be a mystery

October 16, 2009 @ 8:02 pm | Comment

Thanks Poet, for pointing that out, i do truly appreciate that you have the patience and imagination to understand me.

October 16, 2009 @ 8:28 pm | Comment

Hm. Sarcasm. You’re not so bad after all, Chi!

October 16, 2009 @ 9:35 pm | Comment


Curiously that you put this article under “Republican stupidity” – apparently you don’t have equivalent tag for Democrats or liberals in general.

Don’t you think it is time to conjure up a “liberal hypocrisy / ignorant” tag?

October 16, 2009 @ 9:49 pm | Comment

#1) “On target assertion…” How do you figure? Which Fox news programs (or even opinion programs) are biased? Do you have a link to any research that backs this assertion up? It’s easy to throw around wide assertions with no basis… What do you think of MSNBC’s fairness?

#2) There are dozens of great philosophers or motivational speakers to choose from if your desire is to highlight “being persistent.” It would be like praising Hitler because you are making a point about how great it is to have autobahns/superhighways.

While I am all for giving people the benefit of the doubt, this is a big stretch to say Dunn randomly chose Mao. Obama’s own writing extols his being befriended early on by Marxist ideology… Why are there so many individuals around the President with these radical viewpoints?

October 16, 2009 @ 9:59 pm | Comment

I agree with Serve the People. I think when Anita Dunn was referring her ‘favorite philosopher’ was Mao means that she believes in Maoism. Maoism is alive and well because his revolutionary ideas of guerrilla warfare, and not for his deeds and ideas in GLF.

October 16, 2009 @ 10:03 pm | Comment

I have rarely seen someone pummeled so badly by both Chinese (red-flag waving Chinese?) and Americans (red-state flag-waving Americans?) as Richard has been over the last few days.

It’s a bit like gangs in high school, really. Try to not take sides and all will hit you over the head.

(Huh! I must write a poem on this.)

Anyhow, I am starting to seriously dislike red as a color.

October 16, 2009 @ 10:14 pm | Comment

Jon, Fox is a stacked deck, relying on freaks like Karl Rove, Oliver North, Dick Morris and other assorted criminals to give an extremely biased take on what’s happening, shepherded by fiercely anti-Democratic pundits like O’Reilly and Hannity, and clowns like Beck. Their news reporting can be quite good, but their news agenda (Roger Ailes’ famous talking points) have been exposed – they truly do have an agenda, focusing on and inciting the Tea Parties and Acorn, with minimal focus on anything that makes Republicans look bad. But that’s another thread. And this was not a “random choice” – she obviously has deep-felt beliefs that Mao is a paragon of persistence. I have no idea what’s in her head. And I am not offering up excuses. I think she pilloried herself.

Basically what Lisa said about Obamacare – I am not delighted with the way it is shaping up. But it’s not like the right has helped to have a rational discussion on the issue, which might have left us with a better plan.The shouting and fear and hysteria have only made it more difficult to have a meaningful dialogue, and the tidal wave of damnation has, as Lisa said, made it harder to .

Jeremy, I am with you. Hitchens, as usual, was spot-on. Both choices were bizarre.

Pug, she explained why she named Mao. It was a nutty explanation, be she herself offered it, telling students what the qualities of Mao’s philosophy are; too bad she sounded as though she knew nothing about Mao or history. I am not letting her off the hook. I am just saying I don’t know if she is a blind believer in Maoism or Teresaism. If she is, she didn’t say it. I am very, very eager to hear her defend herself.

October 16, 2009 @ 10:56 pm | Comment

Thanks for the civil response…

Personally, I feel over the past 20-30 years, the old-school media (CBS/ABC/NBC) shifted to a very left-leaning bias. As a kid, I remember some poll that showed 90% of “journalists” voted for McGovern. What that appears to have resulted in, is a skewing of what people perceive as balanced. In other words, the “average” of the news sources are dramatically to the left of center, yet perceived as “balanced” by many because the movement was slow (like the proverbial frog in slowly-warming pot of water). So, now I see Fox as providing center-based reporting, but from a relative perspective, many people think it is right of center, which I don’t believe is corroborated by any statistics whatsoever.

I saw some research (pugh?) that showed the coverage around the post-convention period. It compared something like number of favorable/unfavorable reports on McCain and Obama. IIRC, Fox was dead nuts split 40-40. MSNBC was 94% pro Obama… and the other old-school media was similarly skewed wildly in favor of Obama and anti-McCain.

Our country’s Founding Fathers knew that maintaining freedom required a free and SKEPTICAL press. I do not see the old-school media having been/being very skeptical of much of anything of true value to this country. Do you think they adequately looked into Obama and his hand-picked people?

Even sports coverage has been dumbing down Americans with idiotic and meaningless statistics passing off as true statistics. The charges of racism and other passionate arguments being reported on as fact without due diligence, dissuades meaningful dialog.

I hope 30+ years of liberal bias in the education system haven’t resulted in a complete dumbing down of our country’s citizenry — or we are doomed to fail as a civilization (Collapse, by Jared Diamond, comes to mind).

The USA *can* fail.

October 16, 2009 @ 11:39 pm | Comment

Most smart people, of course, are liberals, like our Founding Fathers. With Fox, it’s not a matter of liberal or conservative. It’s a matter of actually being a Republican-owned station with a pretty obvious Republican agenda. Their reporting can be quite excellent. But if you watch Neil Cavuto and Sean Hannity, you immediately see the slimeball tactics they are famous for. I don’t like Keith Olberman much, and he may be the closest liberal equivalent, though he is far more fact-based and isn’t obviously demagoguing like Hannity, who is famous for his blatant smears. I will never forget his “reporting” on the Terry Schiavo story.

Liberalism made this country and, I hope, will eventually save it. We saw in the last 8 years what Republicanism can do. Obama is not my first choice for turning it all around, but he’s a big step up from what we had. The idea of Palin being a heartbreat from being crowned Queen of the World is truly horrifying, and a perfect example of what Republicanism has become – a populist con game, celebrating mediocrity and stupidity, appealing to people’s basest emotions. The cynicism is staggering.

We’re off-topic, by the way.

October 16, 2009 @ 11:52 pm | Comment

How are you really going to talk about Maoism to high school kids then?

Class struggle, right? Is that struggling to not fall asleep in class?

October 17, 2009 @ 12:37 am | Comment

Dunn cites Mao as here favorite POLITICAL PHILOSOPHER, someone who she turns to often. It’s not JUST his perserverence she admires. That’s a character trait.

October 17, 2009 @ 12:40 am | Comment

She did refer to them both as “political philosophers.” But listen to the clip. (I just listened again to be sure.) It’s all about everyone having their own paths. Not about which path they choose, but sticking with the one that’s right for them. Same with Mother Teresa (“Go find your own Calcutta.”) She is not endorsing Maoism or Tersaism, and indeed says you have to choose the path yourself. However, this is a fine distinction that I don’t expect those on the right to get, and this distinction does not save her – it was a hopelessly awful choice.

October 17, 2009 @ 12:49 am | Comment


– If you think the plan is bad, why do you support it?

– You are trying to use the Left/Right argument against me, but it can’t work since I am not a fan of either. Saying that Bush was bad does not help convince me that Obama is not a disaster.

– And to claim that Obama is proceeding with the bailouts and stimulus just because “Bush made him do it” is not serious. Obama, to his “credit”, managed to do a lot of damage completely on his own since he took power.

– I am not here to defend what everyone is saying or not saying about Obama. I only represent myself. There are daunting similarities between the current state of mind, and state of affairs between the US and Weimar Germany. They are not the same, but there are daunting similarities. Germany was not less civilized back then, and its citizens not less intelligent. Of course, this process did not begin with Obama, but it is definitely peaking under Obama – the debt, the march towards government control of everything, and the personality cult of a “Liberal” people who have nothing else to say anymore other than “you are racist” or “everybody should have the same as everybody else”.

– If you look at how much America has changed since WWII, you will understand what I am talking about: the growth of the military industry, the erosion of civil liberties, the belligerent foreign policy, the government-induced growth in private debt, the meteoric rise of public debt, government control of large parts of the economy, the meteoric rise in the size of government under both Republicans and Democrats, and many many other things. Something bad is happening to America. Obama did not start this process, but he is definitely accelerating it.

October 17, 2009 @ 12:53 am | Comment

I guess you want to ignore what she actually said. Yes, in the limited context of the speech she spoke directly to his perserverence and his imperviousness. But she suggests a much more general admiration. When Bush cited Jesus as his favorite political philosopher, passing over all the founding fathers, Thoreau, Emerson, all the great classically liberal philosophers, YOU didn’t think that spoke volumns?

October 17, 2009 @ 12:57 am | Comment

By the way, the “Liberal” media is not the only one that has been becoming more and more extreme during the last couple of decades. Classic conservative publications such as The National Review, The Weekly Standard, and The American Spectator are also drifting away from traditional conservative values. Check out this recent survey.

The American media is ridiculous. Their coverage of Obama and the Financial Crisis is pathetic.

October 17, 2009 @ 1:01 am | Comment

Universal health care is something Americans want and that is long overdue. I don’t think Lisa said she supported the current plan. Speaking for myself, I’m holding off until I see what the plan actually is. If it doesn’t have a strong public option, I probably won’t support it.

Obama has been more of the same, surrounded by the same power brokers. I hear what you’re saying about the sorry state of America. I agree in part with your gloomy outlook. Obama is simply continuing the policies that put us on this path. If you want him to realign the economy and correct the wrongs you point out – now that would be truly radical. Stopping corporate lobbying and ending Wall Street’s stranglehold on the economy – now that would be truly radical. I wish we had a truly radical president. Radical in the sense of standing up to the forces that put us where we are today. Obama is not that man. Obama is cut from the same cloth as most Democrats, and is anything but radical. He is too timid to be radical, and too much a part of the political machine.

Aside from pursuing the traditional Democratic goal of universal healthcare in keeping with the wishes of their constituents, I can’t see what Obama is doing to make government dramatically bigger. This is all based on fear mongering and whisper campaigns, and yes, at least some of these contain elements of racism. (And I despise tossing around the “racist” slur; when Glenn Beck called Obama a racist it was his darkest hour. Luckily many of his advertisers agreed and pulled all their Fox advertising.)

October 17, 2009 @ 1:11 am | Comment

Richard, “Most smart people, of course, are liberals,…”

Ummm… humble too.

“…our Founding Fathers [are liberals]. ”

BTW: I wonder how you define “Liberal?”

An interesting glimpse into the lives of many of the Founding Fathers and their beliefs can be had in “The 5000 Year Leap.”

October 17, 2009 @ 1:31 am | Comment

Liberal, as in based on Enlightenment values, with belief in our unalienable rights, freedom of speech and of choice, civil rights, equality. For their time, the Founding Fathers were nothing short of a miraculous combination. The preamble to the American Constitution is a work of art. If it hasn’t been perfectly carried out, it is nevertheless one of the most inspiring documents ever written (as is our Declaration of Independence – these guys were awesome).

Jon, life is too short to be humble. If I were humble I wouldn’t be blogging, and then where would all of us be?

October 17, 2009 @ 1:43 am | Comment

It’s a joke, man

October 17, 2009 @ 1:50 am | Comment

You leave out a belief in limited government; as freedom, they rightly perceived, is a zero sum game vis a vis the individual and the state.

October 17, 2009 @ 1:50 am | Comment

Richard – do you think Jefferson would be pleased to see the size and scope of America’s current government? The taxes? The military? Even universal healthcare? Have you read the constitution recently?

Do you really believe that the word Liberal today still means what it used to mean 200 years ago?

October 17, 2009 @ 1:53 am | Comment

My list of their attributes was by no means complete.

It’s hard to say now what the FF’s would think of our current state of affairs. Personally, I think they would be appalled at the use of the 2nd Amendment to justify carrying guns to soccer games, and i think they’d be strongly in favor of universal healthcare. And horrified at the far-right’s war on science. But who knows?

October 17, 2009 @ 1:56 am | Comment

“I can’t see what Obama is doing to make government dramatically bigger” (??!!?!?!!)

October 17, 2009 @ 1:57 am | Comment

Dror, can you be more specific please?

October 17, 2009 @ 1:59 am | Comment

Methinks I detect some desperation in that last response.

October 17, 2009 @ 2:03 am | Comment

Your president is now the Chief Officer of several large US corporations. Government spending as % of GDP is going through the roof. The new Healthcare bill means that government will have control over all of your most private information, and force you to provide it to it and use its services. It also means that you forfeit a large part of your personal responsibility and choice and put it in the hands of your government. Can you not see how dramatic this is?

And by the way – do you understand the full meaning of saying that “If it doesn’t have a strong public option, I probably won’t support it.”

Do you understand that a public options limits competition, hinders innovation, and ultimately makes prices higher, services worse, and choice inexistent? Do you realize that all the wonderful medical technologies that you take for granted would not have existed without a free market?

October 17, 2009 @ 2:07 am | Comment

Pardon me, Kyle?

I think this thread is deteriorating fast. Apologies.

October 17, 2009 @ 2:08 am | Comment

Richard – there is a difference between striving to provide everyone with basic care (which I support), and saying that the government should do so directly. If you think the founding fathers would support government healthcare, I think you should re-examine their writings.

As late as 1913, government expenditures as % of GDP in the US was around 2%. Today, it is over 20% and growing fast. No need to go as far as the FFs. You can have a look at the opinions of Grover Cleveland, for example. He was a Democrat.

October 17, 2009 @ 2:11 am | Comment

I just meant that when one’s argument weakens one often reaches for strawmen.

October 17, 2009 @ 2:12 am | Comment

Wake up, people. You can’t make excuses for a woman who’s first pick for political leader is Mao. She KNOWS about the number of people killed during his takeover. This is about fundamentally changing America into a socialist state. Even Bill Mahar says we are too stupid to understand, but some of us do. It’s time for the American people (liberal,conservative or those in between) to take back our country from these corrupt politicians. Find candidates (thru in depth investigations) to PROMISE thru written pledges to bring back this country from the brink of extinction.

October 17, 2009 @ 2:13 am | Comment

Okay, we’ve gone down this road before, Dror. Obama, under the guidance of the usual geniuses – Bernanke, Summers, Geithner – has continued the bailout started by Bush, the man who more than anyone else put us on the road to pauperdom (a process that started generations ago). I don’t think there was much else for Obama to do. He has no good choices, and nothing he can do can make much of a difference, I think his main job is to keep the public’s spirits up and give them hope (and yes, that is always a key role of the president). In that regard, I give Obama very high marks. The short-term mood is rather extraordinary (witness the surge in equities and Obama’s relatively high polls ratings) and for that I have no choice but to respect Obama’s communications skills. This won’t save us from the economic trainwreck to come, but as you well know, there is no way out at this point. A wonderful time to work in China and get paid in renminbi.

October 17, 2009 @ 2:19 am | Comment

Richard said: Universal health care is something Americans want and that is long overdue. I don’t think Lisa said she supported the current plan. Speaking for myself, I’m holding off until I see what the plan actually is. If it doesn’t have a strong public option, I probably won’t support it.

Yes. That is my position as well.

Except I wouldn’t call it “Obamacare” — he has been pretty detached from all the battling here, which is a part of what I don’t like about him as President. My sense is that he doesn’t have any particular strong attachments to any concrete policies in terms of domestic issues — just about everything is on the table in service to passing some kind of “reform.” It’s actually starting to remind me a lot of Bush’s Medicare “reform,” which as I understand it is pretty much a debacle.

As for this advisor and her silly comments, I hardly feel like there’s anything to argue about. What she said was dumb. Regardless of how she meant it, politically it was a boneheaded, amateur-hour move.

And yeah, I agree about Mother Teresa as well!

October 17, 2009 @ 2:25 am | Comment

Sue, read through the entire thread. Meanwhile, there will always be corruption in politics, but so far Obama’s administration appears relatively clean. For real corruption, look at Tom Delay and his takeover of K street, look at the Iraq contractors fleecing us, look at Halliburton and Blackwater and the whole list of Republicans eating out of Jack Abramoff’s hand. If you have any reason to cite Dunn for corruption (as opposed to idiocy), please share.

October 17, 2009 @ 2:26 am | Comment

Thanks Lisa. I think Obama’s distance from the actual plan is strategic, and probably came from counsel from Hillary Clinton. Part of what did in her own plan in 1993 were accusations of the White House being too involved with the fine print, which is supposed to come from the Congress. By strategically keeping arms’ length from the hammering of the bill, Obama can claim that it truly came from the people’s representative in Congress, while making clear along the way the key elements he hopes to see in the plan (as he did in his excellent speech last month, a political masterstroke).

October 17, 2009 @ 2:31 am | Comment

The people who say Anita Dunn is dumb are wrong.

Bush once had a press secretary, Dana Perino, who didn’t know what Bay of Pigs was. Dunn is far smarter.

October 17, 2009 @ 2:44 am | Comment

Richard – you are letting your political sympathies get in the way of your understanding. The process started long before Bush, and blaming Obama’s policies on Geitner and Bernanke (his appointments!) is not a serious answer.

October 17, 2009 @ 2:47 am | Comment

She was unquesionably politically dumb, that’s for sure. Otherwise there would be no thread over here. I have no means of comparing her dumbness with Perino’s, at least not yet. Politically, this was more damaging than Perino’s not knowing the Bay of Pigs.

October 17, 2009 @ 2:48 am | Comment

What FOARP said at #3.

October 17, 2009 @ 3:11 am | Comment

Yeah, and I just want to say, I didn’t call Anita Dunn “dumb.” I called what she did “dumb.” I have no way of knowing how intelligent she is or isn’t otherwise, just that this particular action was stoopid.

October 17, 2009 @ 3:12 am | Comment

Back to the topic, it’s interesting to se how Beck himself once named Adolf Hitler as a “great mind.” Heh.

This doesn’t seem to have had much of a negative effect on Dunn, and it appears she’s safe. It’s good to know that these isolated incidents, like Perino’s aforementiond example, won’t wreck the careers of our dedicated civil servants.

October 17, 2009 @ 3:13 am | Comment

One thing that the people from the U.S of “Awsome” appear to be oblivious to is the hard reality checked fact that Glenn Beck is before everything else: An entertainer.

“Ex-DJ, recovering alcoholic, etc”

This video is not a leak; it was obviously and deliberately released on the net, and it’s an integral part of the “message” for the mass.

This guy popped out of nowhere land a couple of months ago, literally, out of nowhere. How convenient, isn’t it? And he’s working for FOX. I mean, common, can it be more literal and obvious than that?

He IS the answer to Alex Jones and all the other loonies out there. This guy is a massive fraud (the others as well) and he is what we call a disinformation agent.

His main task is to control the “message”. He’s a right wing nutters messiah, controlled by Big Boss. He is THE answer to what a certain portion of the US population wants to hear. Bread and circuses for the people. He’s just another layer being placed on top of an ongoing program. On top of the “underground” and “alternative medias” movement. Note the usage of the quotation marks here when using certain terms, it’s important.

People constantly debate about the right and the left, and by doing so, they lose their focus on the core and critical parts of the debate, they even lose their critical thinking. Give it a try, get out of the mold for just one second, stop playing the game, and take a look at what the world really is for a second, just one single and simple second, you will see and be amazed to discover something new, but you might not (or could) be pleased by what you discover.

This entanglement of partisanship and political views is not happening by coincidence, it is by DESIGN. People get lost into details, while the real agenda keeps going on. Oblivious they are to this reality. Nothing new here, thanks to the old divide and conquer adage. Centuries of studies of the human psyche have consequences and practical use. If you doubt about this, you are a moron and you might end up being a “useful idiot” in a game much bigger than you.

Some people like to comfort themselves between clear delimited boundaries, while secretly investigating and learning about “other alternative views”. Good for them I say, at least they are not totally trapped. There is hope for them. The others, I’m not so sure.

So many “coincidences” happening now. Random “events”. All over the place for us to witness.

I’m constantly thinking about one thing: How many “coincidences” does it take for someone to wake up? This is what I’m wondering right now. It really puzzles me to see people defending their old narrowed political and world view, in these extraordinary times we are going through. The only conclusion I can come to is that this is an ongoing learning process and that different people are at different stages of their comprehension of the world we live in.

H1N1, The “Killer Vaccine whistle blower campaign”, The Economic Crisis, Obama the Socialist Joker, Iran the Decoy state, North Korea the “enemy”, Pakistan the “playground”, Puttin the Tiger Slayer, Planet X, 2012.

Fear, is control. A slow vibrating wave of control, spreading over your mind, constantly, daily and uninterruptly.

The world is definitively headed toward socialism. In which exact form? Nobody knows yet. Will it be a dystopian reality similar to 1984 or will it be a peaceful and “harmonious society” like China? Is it for the better or for the worse? We’ll have the answer very soon and we will witness it in our generation.

October 17, 2009 @ 3:43 am | Comment

Oops, my bad! In my first comment I called her “jaw-droppingly stupid.” Ah well. Sorry!

October 17, 2009 @ 3:49 am | Comment

Bao, there’s a great series on Beck at Salon ( — he was one of those “Morning Zoo” AM dj’s who did funny voices. ‘Nuff said.

I actually agree with a lot of what you said, though I hope your characterizing of China as a “peaceful and harmonious society” was intended ironically. There are many things to admire in China, but “peaceful and harmonious” it ain’t. Along with the 100K or so “mass incidents” occurring annually, I’d also include the despoiling of the environment as anything but peaceful and harmonious.

October 17, 2009 @ 3:52 am | Comment

Here’s the answer to a question I asked months ago to the readers of this blog. I knew there wouldn’t be any answer to it when I asked it. Dangerous game I know, people label you as a wacko really easily in these times.

“There appears to be no historical record of any established society’s leader who deliberately and comprehensively redesigned a culture to fit the changing times

Really ? I can think about one… Can you ?”


October 17, 2009 @ 3:53 am | Comment


“Note the usage of the quotation marks here when using certain terms, it’s important.”

October 17, 2009 @ 3:55 am | Comment

If she were a young college student expressing her admiration for Mao, I’d call her ignorant and ignore her. She’s not a dumb college student, she’s a grown adult, and should be treated like one. She knows fully well who Mao is and what he did, so I don’t see any problem with assuming she has communist sympathies.

@Richard, “Most smart people, of course, are liberals,…”

I’d say, there are amazingly smart people on both sides of the political spectrum (whose views are usually hidden by noisier, dumber opinions). I also believe most smart people have political views that are too complicated to be confined to categories of “left” or “right”. I remember O’Reilly was in an interview with David Letterman, and asked him whether he wants to win in Iraq. When Dave didn’t supply him with a yes or no answer, O’Reilly asked him why he couldn’t, to which Dave responded “Because I’m thoughtful”.

Now, this doesn’t go to say that Letterman is a smart person, by I think what he said is pretty important. Have you read this article:

October 17, 2009 @ 4:00 am | Comment

Chip, I was being a bit tongue in cheek with my “most smart people are liberals.” Once in 1997 I met a smart conservative. But soon he died of a heart attack.

Hard for me to say whether she has communist sympathies. As I’ve said repeatedly, does she also follow the teachings of Mother Teresa and rage against abortion? I don’t know. Looking at he actual words, at the hard evidence, her statements were mind-bogglingly narrow, focusing on one small strand of both careers – determination and grit – and praising them for that and for that alone. She seemed to be in a cocoon. Obviously she thought what she was saying made total sense and was inoffensive, or she’d never have said it publicly. In which case, I have to wonder how her mind works.

But all of this could well be moot. The media and the public appear at the moment to have shrugged the story off.

October 17, 2009 @ 4:15 am | Comment

“I have to wonder how her mind works.”

Richard, will all due respect, I think you have to start to think about how the “machine” works. And think outside of the box (you are already, obviously).

Call me a freak, call me a wacko mind, but I’m still waiting for the day when you will finally acknowledge (or not) that things are not as simple as they appear to be.

Calculated, cold bloody calculated it is, in my humble and paranoid opinion at least it is. Think about it like a school play, for dummies…

Isn’t she cute in her Pumpkin Costume? Take a picture!

October 17, 2009 @ 4:25 am | Comment

Bao, when have I not acknowledged that things aren’t as simple as they seem to be? Read my exchange with Dror – I say we are in much graver economic peril than the media would have us believe. I never take things at face value, at least not until I understand them better.

If you find this blog too shallow and not conspiratorial enough for your tastes, there are many others at which you’d feel more at home. No one forces you to read TPD.

October 17, 2009 @ 4:35 am | Comment

Bao, I wondered, but you were not consistent in your use of quotes — that is, you quoted “harmonious” but not “peaceful” — like you said “it’s important.”

October 17, 2009 @ 4:44 am | Comment

Bao has, um, a history on this site and I’m not sure I want him spamming threads with his usual off-the-wall conspiracy messages. Things are never quite as they seem, and none of us has it all figured out. So when people like Bao come here knowing all the answers, having figured the whole world out and knowing how everything will turn out and who is orchestrating what and insisting all of us are deluded (except, of course, Bao), my patience gets strained quickly.

October 17, 2009 @ 4:52 am | Comment

I’m just commenting. I have a “special” history Richard, as all the reader of this blog know. But please keep and open mind. I’m not asking for anything else, really. I’m touched, that I deserved I disclaimer, a special place in your heart I guess… 😉

And you can always block me, just make my voice void, it’s alright.

October 17, 2009 @ 4:57 am | Comment

I will quote myself, how lovely it is:

“Some people like to comfort themselves between clear delimited boundaries, while secretly investigating and learning about “other alternative views”. Good for them I say, at least they are not totally trapped. There is hope for them. The others, I’m not so sure.”

October 17, 2009 @ 5:07 am | Comment

Bao, please consider yourself courteously warned: If you want to interact and comment on my posts please feel free. If you want to come in and mumble to yourself like someone who was just let out of the funny farm, please do it somewhere else. Thanks for your understanding.

October 17, 2009 @ 5:13 am | Comment

Understood Richard. Will do.

October 17, 2009 @ 5:18 am | Comment

Tell me about “orchestration” Richard, please do. DO you have “any” opinion about this subject?

What does the the word “orchestration” means to you?

I know your public answer already, but one day, face to face, we will exchange our true opinion.

October 17, 2009 @ 5:31 am | Comment

Since Anita Dunn appears to be safe, I am glad to conclude that most Americans do not think Mao as evil as Richard thinks he is. 70 percent right 30 percent wrong is still the verdict.

October 17, 2009 @ 6:20 am | Comment

Heh. Most Americans know as much about Mao as they do about Che, or about Deng, for that matter (someone most Americans associate almost exclusively with 6/4). The thing about this story is that it got no pickup aside from Beck and the blogs, so I’m thinking maybe the mass media has decided Glenn Beck is best left ignored. I don’t even think Fox News did anything with it. We’ll see,

October 17, 2009 @ 6:39 am | Comment

You know Mao is a towering and complex figure. He achieved a lot but also did many bad things. It is not easy to stick a label on him. Maoism is a sophisticated political ideology which appeals to many people. You have to be pretty knowledgeable and intelligent to be a Mao admirer. He is not a man for the hippies or the nutty left.

Dunn’s explanation of her affection for Mao was not satisfactory. But then she was talking to high school kids. They are obviously not the audience for a lecture on the policy differences between Mao and Comintern.

I have to say that Dunn’s story is just not as funny as Perino’s Bay of Pigs story. Can you imagine anything more hilarious than the most important spokesperson of the US government no knowing what the Cuban missile crisis was?

Which one is dumb? And which one is dumber?

October 17, 2009 @ 7:04 am | Comment

What a fun thread! The idea that Obama is a leftist is a bit of hilarious right-wing cant. Just yesterday the new financial sector regulator was announced: 29 years old, former Goldman Sachs exec. The administration is clearly owned by Goldman Sachs.

The Obama administration is just another center-right administration in the Clinton mold, with the added twist of being left two losing wars, and economic devastation, by an incompetent far right nutcase President. The security state erected by Bush is being left in place (in fact strengthened), as are the wars, military spending is being increased, the financial industry clearly owns the White House, and ordinary Americans and working people are being ignored. This year we will spend over $60 billion on Afghanistan, and the Guardian just announced that the British have been notified by the US to expect a US increase of 45,000 troops (no announcement out of Washington yet). Since they will take months to arrive, the clear purpose of the increase is to stay in Afghanistan for two more years. Lessee, de-industrialization, subsidies to the finance industry, perpetual war, security state, socialization of losses, cosmetic cuts in carbon outputs…. yes, we are looking at a right-wing corporate state. It seems like there’s a lot of cluelessness out there as to how the US actually works.

I’m not sure why Anita Dunn’s stupidity means anything. Call me crazy, but trillions for war and corporate financial houses would seem to be more indicative of where we are than remarks in a speech.

It’s also fun to read that the public option — whose clear purpose is to permit the completely unproductive insurance companies to survive a few more years, killing people and sucking down dollars that might go for more useful purposes — is “leftist.” In most countries it has across-the-spectrum political support. In the US the first politician to propose such a program was that well-known Leftist Maoist Communist Teddy Roosevelt.

Do you understand that a public options limits competition, hinders innovation, and ultimately makes prices higher, services worse, and choice inexistent? Do you realize that all the wonderful medical technologies that you take for granted would not have existed without a free market?

This is just plain retarded. In Taiwan we have a single payer system and costs are a miniscule fraction of the US system (in US insurance company admin costs are 20%, in Taiwan, they run less than 2%). Prices are ultimately lower, and choices are much greater (I can see any doctor I want anywhere in Taiwan anytime they are open). Taiwan also has a booming medical device industry, a booming medical research complex, and a growing biotech sector. It pays far less than the US does as a portion of GDP, and basically everyone is covered. That is also true of every other industrialized country in the world which has a single payer system.

Michael Turton

October 17, 2009 @ 7:05 am | Comment

Thank you MIchael! I experienced first-rate medical care in Taiwan when I got seriously sick there in 2006 and I worked with numerous doctors there as part of my job. They are among the world’s best. We could have that in America, but the naysayers have done a good job in planting doubts – better than the right did in response to Medicare under Johnson, though they tried hard to derail it. And Social Security, too. Universal healthcare works and it is affordable. But my new visitors from Wingnutville won’t believe a word of it. And for that, you should feel flattered and validated.

I’m not sure I’d put Obama in the center-right, but definitely the center, with spill-over onto both sides from time to time.

October 17, 2009 @ 7:16 am | Comment

Michael –

– Your assumption is that supporting the financial sector = not being left wing. As I pointed out to Richard previously, the growth and co-optation of the banking industry has been a major policy of the two most “successful” socialist movements in human history: national socialism, and fascism. Having large banks and large corporations (and any other type of centralized power) is an essential step in the socialization of any economy.

Trying to put things into the mold of “right” and “left” is silly and will not help you get to the bottom of things.

– Glad that you think I am retarded. It is silly to focus on a narrow aspect of this issue. In order to proceed, let me ask you: Do you have any idea why healthcare costs are so high in the US? Would you say that at the moment there is a free market for healthcare in the US?

– As for Taiwan, there are a few problems with the comparison to the US. To give you a couple: (1) It is possible to have socialized healthcare, as long as you rely on technologies and drugs that were developed by free markets in other countries; and, more importantly, (2) Taiwan is not exactly a shining example of individual freedom and democracy. It is OK to choose socialist policies, but it is important to understand the consequences it has for individual freedoms and economic development.

The government should secure everyone against medical disaster. People spend trillions on alcohol and tobacco; most of them can afford regular healthcare costs. Those who cannot, should be subsidized or assisted in case of emergency (not through elimination of a free market, but through subsidies within the market). Can you explain to me what is the moral justification of taking money from people in order to subsidize any type of medical expense? on top of that, what is the moral justification of forcing people to purchase service that they are not interested in?

– And for both you and Richard speaking about “first-rate” medical care based on your own anecdotal experiences in Taiwan – As it happens, the best medical facilities and doctors in the world are still in the US. The fact that they are over-priced and too few is a problem, but if you study the causes of it you will see that it has a lot to do with existing government regulation, and has little to do with the free market.

October 17, 2009 @ 8:11 am | Comment

The free-market insurance companies drive people into bankruptcy and death. Reform is long over-due. They throw people off their policies for an obscure pre-existing condition, depriving someone with cancer of insurance because they failed to report an acne medicine they were taking.

I don’t think you are retarded, Dror. Misguided, but very smart.

By the way, the media are covering this story mainly in the blogs like this one. The nutter blogs are of course going ballistic, but I’m not convinced this story has traction, for better or worse.

October 17, 2009 @ 8:14 am | Comment

No doubt that reform is overdue, but is this the type of reform we need?! Try to step outside of the slogans and look at the details.

I might be misguided, but I think you – and many others – are simply un-guided. You take a strong position on an issue without doing proper research, based on your personal sympathies and existing political allegiance.

Since I am your friend, and still have faith in your ability to learn, let me give you a hand:

– Under Section 59(B)(a) of HR3200, the bill making its way through the House, and Section 151 of the bill that passed out of a Senate committee, every American would be required to buy health insurance. So – every one would be forced to buy insurance.

– According to the proposed bill, these mandatory insurance plans would have to meet certain qualifications that will be set by government bureaucrats.

– To give you an example of these qualifications, Section 122(b) of the House bill, states that all plans must cover hospitalization; outpatient hospital and clinic services; services by physicians and other health professionals, as well as supplies and equipment incidental to their services; prescription drugs, rehabilitation services, mental health and substance-abuse treatment; preventive services (to be determined by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the United States Preventive Services Task Force); and maternity, well-baby, and well-child care, as well as dental, vision, and hearing services for children under age 21.

– Section 1239(b) of the bill also establishes a federal Health Benefits Advisory Committee, headed by the U.S. surgeon general, which will have the power to develop additional minimum benefit requirements. This means that the door is open for politicians to throw any as many arbitrary requirements as they wish.

Now, let me ask you: does this sound like the plan we need? Does this sound like a plan that will increase choice? Does this sound like a plan that would limit the power and politicians and lobbyists?

The evidence is clear that the plan gives insurance companies a captive market, controlled by politicians, with an ability to prosecute individuals who do not wish to take part.

To me, this does not sound like a good idea, or like a solution to America’s current problem. Maybe I’m just retarded… but I suspect you might agree with me if you actually do some research.

Universal healthcare is a great idea. What Obama is proposing isn’t.

October 17, 2009 @ 8:30 am | Comment

By the way, you can have a look at the formidable work government-backed Fannie and Freddie have been doing in helping all Americans own a house, and the way their virtuous efforts helped create affordable housing and ‘promote the welfare’ of all people.

Supplanting the free market is not the solution. The government can provide solutions within it, at much lower cost and without compromising civil liberties.

If you want healthcare reform, start by breaking down the restrictive policies on educating new doctors and testing new drugs.

October 17, 2009 @ 8:34 am | Comment

This might not be the plan we need – I have not endorsed it yet, and think it will be considerably rewritten down the line as it moves out of committee. We all have to pay taxes. We may all have to buy health insurance. We all have to contribute dollars to the building of our roads and provision of our drinking water. We’ll see how the bill shapes up. The Baucus bill is probably not acceptable. It’s a start.

October 17, 2009 @ 8:39 am | Comment

What Michael T. said. Though I thought admin costs in US healthcare were way higher than that (up around 40%).

October 17, 2009 @ 8:41 am | Comment

Richard – enough with the weasel words. As the bill is at this point – do you think it is a good idea? Why are you defending it?

And if you think that Obama’s financial policies are shaped by his corporate overlords, what makes you think that his healthcare policies aren’t?

Clearly, the proposed by serves the large insurers and medical monopolies…. (despite they “show” from last week about insurers “fighting” against Obama).

Apart from that, even if the plan is perfect. Can America afford it? Is this the most urgent thing on the agenda?

October 17, 2009 @ 8:49 am | Comment

Dror, please don’t be so confrontational. We’re friends, and this is just a blog.

Look, I am in favor of universal healthcare. I am “weasely” about the bill because it’s still going through committee. I don’t like the Baucus bill. I want to see where it goes.

Obama is a corporate man, a centrist, but that doesn’t mean he doesn’t care about the people. Clinton was the same way. That doesn’t mean he didn’t want to make people’s lives better. And he managed to juggle the two fairly adeptly.

I have become cynical about US politics, and the most we can hope for is for corruption to be held in check (since it can never, ever be eliminated) and that as government feeds the corporate machine, it will also watch out for its people as best it can. I found the Bush administration relatively uninterested in the lives of its people, especially the underprivileged. Obama seems more determined to help the working classes, as long as he can still delight Goldman Sachs and the oligarchy we all have to live with. There is no way to fight the machine, so we learn to compromise and to adjust our expectations. Call this my version of realpolitik. I don’t know if we’ll ever have a truly progressive government, unbeholden to corporate interests – Fox News and others will shout them down and paint them as “radicals.” So I am resigned – we have Obama. Time to get over it. I hope he does the best he can. He’s better than what we had before, I am glad he’s made healthcare a priority (especially essential in the face of our depression, as people lose their insurance and increasingly go into debt), and I’ll give him a fair shake, especially since I know his options are so limited, his predecessor (continuing Ronald Reagan’s dream of complete deregulation) having set us on the path toward being a third-world power.

You warn against radicalism, but it seems your solution is most radical of all, realigning America from the ground up, radically shrinking the size of government and cutting loose the entrenched bureaucracy. Sounds good, and I wish you good luck. I, on the other hand, am looking at what we’ve got and thinking along what I believe are more realistic lines. The oligarchy is here to stay and cannot be ousted. The very best we can do is understand it, and try to outsmart it. Question the dominant paradigm. Buy gold.

October 17, 2009 @ 10:58 am | Comment

Why the fuss over Anita Dunn except for lighting up a conversation? All the liberals are socialists and all the conservatives are wingnuts! Give me a break! It doesn’t matter what you believe, it ain’t enough to get the US out of its current mess.

Richard, have you forgotten that in the book The Family, which was profiled by Rachel Maddow. The founder, which started it in the 30s and is now, a supporter of many Republican southern members of Congress and secret meeting place for them, and which has many members also in Congress, argues that Jesus liked men of power?

And who did they name as role models in their use of power? Adolf Hitler and Osama bin Laden, among others. Now they mentioned Osama bin Laden as a role model _after_ 9/11. And Republican members of Congress took part in these Family meetings.

There is something very quirky in the American psyche on both sides. It’s like both Democrats and Republicans have this secret desire: “We love and support democracy, but wouldn’t it be great fun just to kill a few million people once in a while to show who’s got what?”

Just shows you what a few years of living and working in Washington DC will do to anyone’s mind, regardless of their political leanings one way or another. What Anita did is just the thinking person’s way of going postal. Obviously the quality of her thinking is not very good either.

Yet another sobering thought and good reason to live outside the US.

October 17, 2009 @ 11:26 am | Comment

If, in fact, Ms. Dumb, I mean Dunn, meant she admires Mao’s perseverence and not his political techniques, perhaps she should make that clear instead of claiming the commment was meant to be ironic, or that she was joking. That makes her sound like a grade school kid who got caught talking smack about someone…”I was only kidding, geez!”. Regardless, there are many more positive role models, political philosophers, etc, she could have used but chose not to. And when you couple her comments along with the comments from her left wing colleagues about their admiration for the dictators Chavez and Castro, or the “revolutionary” Che, the light cast upon her becomes even more damning than her comment alone. Like they say, birds of a feather flock together.

October 17, 2009 @ 11:34 am | Comment

@Paul – I hate to say this dude, but that sounds like the classic “[Insert Country Name] is going to hell in a handbasket”speech which you will hear from expats the world over.

October 17, 2009 @ 12:19 pm | Comment

Once I had a temporary position at the National Taiwan University and before my employment started I had a physical exam. My experience was 100 percent positive. Admittedly I was flirting with the nurses most of the time during the exam, and did not pay much attention to the bigger issues like the quality or the affordability of health care,

On the other hand I did hear horror stories of Taiwanese doctors running away from their hospitals during SARS a few years earlier, in contrast to Hong Kong and mainland doctors who stayed with their patients throughout the crisis. It was not a good display of professionalism of Taiwanese doctors.

So it is hard to say whether the Taiwanese system is better or worse than the American system. If you are wealthy, you definitely want to be in the US. There was a superb Canadian movie, The Barbarian Invasions, which vividly illustrated this point.

October 17, 2009 @ 12:40 pm | Comment

Michael –

– Your assumption is that supporting the financial sector = not being left wing. As I pointed out to Richard previously, the growth and co-optation of the banking industry has been a major policy of the two most “successful” socialist movements in human history: national socialism, and fascism. Having large banks and large corporations (and any other type of centralized power) is an essential step in the socialization of any economy.

Dror, I’m not saying that the government is “supporting” or “propping up” or “controlling” the financial sector. I’m saying that the financial sector is running the government (clearly!). The economy is not being socialized; it already has been: losses are socialized, profits are privatized. We’ve had corporate welfare for decades, with massive transfers of wealth from the low and middle deciles to the highest 1%. Time to come out into the real world, Dror. The idea that Obama is some leftist socialist is complete crap, a fantasy of people who do not understand the world.

Trying to put things into the mold of “right” and “left” is silly and will not help you get to the bottom of things.


– Glad that you think I am retarded. It is silly to focus on a narrow aspect of this issue. In order to proceed, let me ask you: Do you have any idea why healthcare costs are so high in the US? Would you say that at the moment there is a free market for healthcare in the US?

No, there isn’t a “free market” for anything. The free market is to economics what the unicorn is to zoology. It is simply a pleasant fantasy of neoliberal religious nuts. Hence, your question is like asking: “Do you think we are living in End Times?” or “Are the Thetans controlling Wall Street?”

– As for Taiwan, there are a few problems with the comparison to the US. To give you a couple: (1) It is possible to have socialized healthcare, as long as you rely on technologies and drugs that were developed by free markets in other countries; and, more importantly,

Completely pathetic. Completely ignores the actual existence of booming medical research, medical device, medical product, and biotech industries in Taiwan. Completely ignores things like the high externalities of knowledge, the interplay between government and business in research, etc.

The great free market of the US has about 2,000 biotech firms, the horrible socialized economy of Taiwan, over 300. Proportionately, Taiwan has more. There are two dedicated science parks for biotech here, none in the free market US. The US is also behind horrible socialized Europe in that regard as well.

(2) Taiwan is not exactly a shining example of individual freedom and democracy. It is OK to choose socialist policies, but it is important to understand the consequences it has for individual freedoms and economic development.

I totally agree that we should look at consequences for individual freedoms. So let’s look at the consequences. (1) The US has the smallest small- and medium-sized business sector of any of the OECD countries, relatively speaking. Taiwan, by contrast, as everyone knows, has a thriving SME sector. The lack of single payer is killing the US economy. (2) single payer was long a reform demanded by the democratic opposition here and was implemented as part of the reforms. (3) the US is also not exactly a shining example of democracy. Been to Guantanamo lately? We tortured over 100 human beings to death in our jails. (4) single payer/universal systems have been implemented under all sort of political regimes: conclusion — they are politically neutral. They don’t have anything to do with democracy one way or the other.

The government should secure everyone against medical disaster. People spend trillions on alcohol and tobacco; most of them can afford regular healthcare costs. Those who cannot, should be subsidized or assisted in case of emergency (not through elimination of a free market, but through subsidies within the market). Can you explain to me what is the moral justification of taking money from people in order to subsidize any type of medical expense? on top of that, what is the moral justification of forcing people to purchase service that they are not interested in?

Moral justification? You mean — wait — I need to make a moral case for caring for my fellow beings?

But the justification is obvious. The government at present is taking wealth from the poor and middle classes and transferring it to corporate executives. The moral justification for that would be…????? The moral justification for permitting widespread bankruptcy (the US leads the world in medical bankruptcy) is…? Do I benefit when my neighbors are beggared and go without health care? NO! It would be economically wise and morally correct for everyone to lower everyone’s costs by paying into a universal health care system.

Single payer offers the best of both worlds — costs would plummet, and coverage would be universal. In the US, you have a nightmare double whammy, not everyone is covered, and costs are more than twice that of a rational and caring system. It is a mystery to me why anyone would prefer such a system, unless they take joy in the death of their neighbors and the destruction of their own economy.

The argument about alcohol and tobacco is a bit moralizing emotional appeal. All the money I’ve spent on wine won’t ever equal the cost of one spinal surgery. Moreover, from an economic point of view your position makes no sense. In fact what you speak of has actually happened. As Left Business Observer pointed out a couple of months ago, health care costs have risen so rapidly that the US consumer is now spending less on nonhealth care costs as a portion of income than at any time since 1960. The lack of cheap, universal, government health care is killing US consumers and US small businesses.

And for both you and Richard speaking about “first-rate” medical care based on your own anecdotal experiences in Taiwan – As it happens, the best medical facilities and doctors in the world are still in the US. The fact that they are over-priced and too few is a problem, but if you study the causes of it you will see that it has a lot to do with existing government regulation, and has little to do with the free market.

Neither Richard nor I dispute that the US has better doctors and facilities, we merely claimed the health care here in Taiwan is top notch. But let’s not confuse “health care” with “health insurance.” Single payer has not lowered the quality of Taiwan’s medical care, instead it has gone up (I was here BEFORE single payer and know that well.) The fact that the system is widely popular is proof positive that it is better, overall, than what went on before.

The high price of health care in the US has to do with a number of factors, including high per capita incomes, the high cost of medical educations, the market that biases drug development toward unnecessary best sellers like headache meds, producing fewer new needed drugs, the lack of regulation of payouts from below, and so on.

Meanwhile we’re going to spend $60 billion murdering Afghans this year, and that will go on for two more years, whle thousands of my fellow Americans will die for lack of coverage, and tens of thousands more will go bankrupt. And you want to claim that it is moral to take tax dollars for that, but not for caring for my fellow Americans.

Listening to the health care debate, I can only conclude that my nation is insane.


October 17, 2009 @ 12:57 pm | Comment

” Admittedly I was flirting with the nurses most of the time during the exam, and did not pay much attention to the bigger issues like the quality or the affordability of health care,”

Hhhhmm… not a bad point. Nurses flirting qualities should also be included when measuring quality of a health care service.

October 17, 2009 @ 3:11 pm | Comment

Am I allowed to say, “what Michael Turton said” twice?

I’d actually like to say it about five more times if that’s okay.

October 17, 2009 @ 3:26 pm | Comment

Thanks for the elaborate response. I am happy to take part in a civilized debate. I believe you are mixing a few things, so let me try to clarify:

– I did not say Obama was “left wing”. I said he is a socialist. The fact that government is controlled and/or coordinated with big business has been a major feature in many socialist countries (China, Nazi Germany, Mussolini’s Italy, and others). Let me know if this is clear.

– I am glad you agree that there is no free market in healthcare. However, you try to render this point irrelevant by claiming that there is no free market for anything. We are talking about practical issues here, not about ideals, so let me ask you this: (1) Compared to the market for, say, architects, would you say that the market for doctors in the US is free? If not/yes, how so?

(2) Compared to the market for electrical appliances, would you say that the market for medical equipment and drugs in the US is free? If not/yes, how so?
and electrical appliance

– Your circumstantial evidence on the number of companies in this or that field in Taiwan still does not refute my basic argument that the whole world – including completely socialist countries – enjoy medical technology and methodology that was pioneered in countries with free(er) markets. In any case, such systems are judged over time, and they might work in some countries (usually in very small ones, with specific eating and excercise habits, and for limited amount of time).

– I was not asking about the moral justification of believing that all people should be protected in case of a medical disaster (although this would also be a valid question). I was asking what is the moral justification for the current plan – a plan that forces everyone to get a lot of things they do not need and eliminates choice. I also believe that civilized societies should protect their citizens in case of a personal catastrophe, but we should distinguish between the goal and the means to achieve it. Happy to hear your thoughts.

– The argument about tobacco and alcohol is very relevant. People need to take responsibility for their own lives. The plan Obama is proposing does not cover people only in the case of an expensive operation. I covers almost everything, including random visit to a “physician of other health practitioner”. Most of these services are not that expensive and not always necessary. Again – unless in extreme cases of emergencies or very disadvantaged people, what is the moral justification for taking money from one person in order to subsidize trivial medical needs of any another person?

– I think you analysis of the causes of expensive healthcare in the US is lacking. You should spend more time looking at the structure of the medical monopoly in the US.

– Your comment about spending money on wars in Afghanistan is completely irrelevant. In any case, I do not support any intervention in the affairs of other countries, so – again – if you are trying to turn this into a classic left/right argument you are barking up the wrong tree.

Happy to hear your thoughts.

October 17, 2009 @ 3:26 pm | Comment

Here we have national coverage and also private health insurers.

I have both. Public and private. The public health coverage I have even if I don’t want it.

The system is saturated, takes a long time to reach an specialist, but if you really have a serious problem they have the best equipment and facilities. The only problem is to reach them… in time.

My Private insurance I use to get fast to an specialized doctor or treatments.

It is a strange situation but I feel comfortable with it. I know I have always a last resort health service which is not bad at all, and can get faster options through private alternative (if not too serious illness)

About world best Hospitals in the US. I prefer to have less world best Hospitals and much more affordable ones.

October 17, 2009 @ 3:28 pm | Comment


Please read your comment and reconsider. Basically, you are saying that Obama is supporting the big banks and big business in general, which means he facilitates the robbery of the American people, but that since he is a nice guy and “cares about the people”, we should accept it and be happy.

Are you serious?

In any case, I am not as cynical (I’m young…), and I believe things can change and large interest groups can be fought and vanquished.

October 17, 2009 @ 3:29 pm | Comment

Universal health care is socialist, socialist, socialist, period.

Not that socialist policies are necessarily bad or evil – it is an economic choice among many. The problem of Obama is that he doesn’t seem to know with every choice comes price. He is dumb in thinking that he can nice-and-empty talk away the price of his random-shoot “initiatives”.

America, unlike China, cannot afford Keynesian economics or univeral medicare at the moment, pure and simple (which part of this statement you don’t understand?). The only way that a deficit-ridden country can pursue fiscal stimulus or surge in social spending is through INFLATION, i.e. robbing people especially the middle-class. I agree with Dror that if this is the hidden agenda of Obama and his troll Paul Krugman (or is it the other way around?), they should say it loud and clear to the American people rather than cheating the populace into beliving he is a messiah who can escape economic rules.

I dislike this guy ever since his budget plan came out early this year – did he really believe what he is saying? More likely he (and his advisors) are moonshining. So far he has broken almost every capitalist principles from bankruptcy rules to monetary discipline to the no-man’s zone of quantitative easing. China looks more and more like a shining beacon of capitalism by the day (mind you that China doesn’t have capital gain tax!!!).

October 17, 2009 @ 3:41 pm | Comment

Yes math, as a Tibetan who survied Mao, we were taught to sing “The East is Red,” with our blood, we always muttered under our breath.

English is not my language so pardon me if I am guilty of reading too much into Anita Dunn’s proclamation about her favourite ‘philosopher’. But when I hear someone saying a peroson is their favourite philosopher that one comes back to often for inspiration or guidance, the example following it is not the only aspect of that philosopher that he/she finds worthy of emulating but one of the many qualities. So I understand it to mean that mao is one of her idol.

it is easier to blame a mistake on stupidity but I think the bottom line is that she is an adult and someone holding a very responsible post. It might be more about wilful ignorance or at worst buttkissing communist China. Nothing is “par hasard” as they say in French.


October 17, 2009 @ 7:38 pm | Comment


“America, unlike China, cannot afford etc.”

Funny to hear that America is a poorer country than China. I don’t agree. It’s not poorer, not even “at the moment.”

@dror, richard, michael turton & everybody else

I also throw my weight behind Michael Turton and Other Lisa, for what it’s worth; not that numbers matter in a battle of ideas.

Basically Dror never got seriously ill while he was without insurance. That’s what I understand from the whole argument. Once that happens to him, it’ll be a wonder to see how fast his Weltanschauung changes.

Reminds me of blue dog Jane Harman, (D-CA) who was adamant that she would vote against socialist health care, until her son got a perforated ear drum and the first thing the insurance company did was to… cancel his insurance. Source here:

Now, wouldn’t you know it! Jane Harman wants health care reform! Funny ey?

Health care reform isn’t really a financial issue for the US (has this country really become poorer than Slovakia and Portugal?) it’s a moral one.

Basically it’s all about if you’re willing to give a dime (literally) to help one another. C’est tout.

October 17, 2009 @ 9:24 pm | Comment

@ Resident Poet: Clearly, you haven’t been paying attention. We are talking about the right way to achieve something, not about whether or not it should be achieve. We are not talking about “seriously ill”, we are talking about the million other little things that can be easily afforded, but are being forced on people as part of the new bill.

And just for the record, I was raised to be responsible for my own life exactly because my parents and grandparents were refugees who always had to take care of themselves. Also, as it happen, my ancestors belong to a small minority that was shunned by governments – and so, it developed its own cultural arrangements were people take care of the education, healthcare, and general healthcare of their fellows – not through top-down government coercion or taxation, but through bottom-up community organization. This is how I believe most social problems should be solved (and that societies that cannot/are unwilling do so can perish and make way for those who do).

October 17, 2009 @ 10:00 pm | Comment

I do apologize if I have misunderstood or missed parts of your argument(s).

Well, about the “other million little things that can be easily afforded”: that’s not a huge issue, methinks. Let the people pay for all medical interventions costing less than $200, or $500, or some decent mandated limit, then let the public option kick in if the costs go over that. This way no one will hurry to pop pills for no reason or get their eyes checked too often or whatever – because these $200 or $500 are still serious money to the vast majority of people – and also no one will get bankrupted by medical fees…

You also say “societies that cannot/are unwilling do so can perish etc.”

Actually, the average American really wants to get health care reform (at least the polls I’ve read say so). I was under the impression it’s not so much a societal-anthropological problem – as in, Americans aren’t really, as a whole, mean bastards whose only purpose in life is making ever more money, welfare be damned – as a systemic problem: a few corporate giants buying politicians to endlessly delay or skew reform. For profit.

Well, those Americans who are CEOs of such corporations or lobbyists for them really are mean evil ass****s and they should absolutely perish or make way for something else.

Thing is, how do you make them perish? Through “bottom-up community organization”? Short of organizing the community to put pipe bombs in their trunks, nothing will even make them blink.

I personally think the only actor with the power to make these bastards give way is government. A majority of Americans have expressed their desire for some form of “public option” in poll after poll and march after march for decades now. So what changed?

October 17, 2009 @ 10:48 pm | Comment

As someone whose adult life started in this decade, it is odd to note that the newspapers have already started to publish ‘decade in review’ pieces:

This decade has seen two big changes, one of which I (and a lot of other people on this forum) was privileged enough to see first-hand. The first has been the relative decline of America, far sooner than anyone would have expected it at the start of this decade. The other has been the quiet assent of China. It is tempting to connect one to the other, but this is foolishness, the American decline is a home-made one, coming entirely from the absolutely failure of its political establishment to get to grips with the true problems that face it. Pick any of the statistically significant problems – healthcare, education, immigration, desertification, carbon-dioxide emissions, prison population, and see if there was been any improvement or any coherent attempt to improve. The argument above is just yet another episode in this.

This is not surprising. None of the world’s developed democracies have managed to properly tackle these problems. In Europe we have managed to perpetually delay the only project of global significance left in that part of the world – the European Union. Even assuming that the tepid and overly complex Lisbon treaty is finally approved it will have taken eight years to reach that point. Japan, a country whose economic growth once threatened America’s top spot, has failed to do anything to change the trend of economic and demographic decline. Many parts of the developing world, however, have managed to effect changes of global importance, mostly by simply discontinuing their previous disastrous economic policies.

October 17, 2009 @ 11:00 pm | Comment

I just realized, as I read the above comments on health care, that Mao did give universal health care to China. As a consequence life expectancy in China rose to a level nearly as high as in many Western nations. Maybe Anita Dunn is right. As far as health care is concerned, Mao is admirable. Of course Mao can only give bare-foot doctor type care to peasants. He could not afford PET scan. Still many lives were saved by the bare-foot doctor. Many diseases were eradicated.

Today the bare-foot doctor is gone. Health care in China is business. The majority of people do not have health insurance. Universal health care (public or private) is as illusive in China as in the US.

October 17, 2009 @ 11:24 pm | Comment

Resident Poet:

– By perishing I mean that if people in these societies fail to take care of each other (and themselves), they will be superseded by other societies that do know how to take care of themselves. Fighting the moral decay of American culture by forcing people to be nice to others only delays the decline of the current culture and hinders the growth of a new, more viable one. As I noted in my example, orthodox Jewish communities lived as outsiders all over the world, without receiving services from the local government. They developed their own community arrangements in order to take care of the weak and the sick, together with an general inclination towards saving, self-sufficiency, and personal responsibility. Their society survived because it was superior to other, more selfish and brutal, societies.

– As for the “million little things”, let me give you two example:

Scenario 1: Joe is 30 years old, healthy, and earns an OK salary. John is also 30 years old, healthy, and earns an OK salary. Joe hardly ever goes to the doctor. John goes to the doctor 5 times a year – every time he feels slightly unwell or needs to get permission to be away from work. So, in total, Joe spends about USD 100 a year on health services; John spends about USD 3,000 a year on health services. Under the proposed plan, Joe would have to subsidize the healthcare needs of John. Would you say it is reasonable? Note that we are not talking about average people living healthy lives.

Scenario 2: Jim is 30 years old, healthy, and earns an OK salary. He saves most of his income for a rainy day. He can afford regular day-to-day medical expenses, so he chooses to get a health insurance policy that only covers large-scale emergencies. In this way, he only pays a small premium each month, and is covered against disasters. Under the proposed plan, Jim would be required to purchase an expensive, comprehensive insurance policy, based on a list of requirements that is determined by the government. Would you say it is reasonable?

Let me know what you think.

October 18, 2009 @ 2:21 am | Comment

I’m glad I’m Australian. Here’s to government paternalism! Here’s to universal healthcare!

If that makes me socialist, socialist, socialist then please excuse me while I write the lyrics to The South is Red.


October 18, 2009 @ 7:17 am | Comment

“Health care in China is business.”

Never have truer words been spoken on this forum. With the demise of barefoot doctors, medical professionals in China replaced the hippocratic oath with an ode to the chequebook.

October 18, 2009 @ 10:22 am | Comment


Well, what happens in scenario no 1 is not reasonable, of course, that’s why I think the public insurance should kick in after a certain amount. If John has to pay some money out of pocket every time he goes to the doctor, I really think he won’t go too often.

As to scenario no 2, I can see why you think it’s not reasonable to have Jim pay a lot more for insurance he probably won’t need. BUT every country in the world, including those (many!) with better healthcare outcomes, spend less (sometimes much less) on healthcare than the US.

So maybe Jim will actually have to pay about as much for his gov’t-provided comprehensive insurance than for his current, private, skimpy insurance. Health insurance policies are incredibly expensive in the US, as it is.

Secondly, Jim is also being taxed right now for things like highway maintenance. What if he doesn’t have a car? Is it fair for him to “subsidize” drivers?

By your argument, it would seem that we also shouldn’t tax people who don’t have cars for highway maintenance 🙂 Fair enough. But don’t we all gain from having a good transport infrastructure, drivers and non-drivers alike, just as we all gain from having as many healthy people in our society as possible?

October 18, 2009 @ 12:06 pm | Comment

@Dror Poleg – However, the reality under the current American system is that neither Joe nor John nor Jim can really count on their insurance companies to pay out if they get really sick, and that most likely they will not be the ones paying for for their insurance anyway – their employers are.

And think – cannot the same arguments you use here be applied to other fields of activity? Why should single, healthy Joe have to pay for the cost of educating married, healthy John’s children? Why should Joe, who lives in a safe, quite neighbourhood, have to pay for the higher costs of policing Jim’s dangerous and violent slum? Why should Joe, who is a pacifist due to reasons of religious conviction, have to pay for the military campaigns which he is personally opposed to? Put like this, and you can see that sickness is as much a problem for society as a whole as crime, ignorance, and terrorism are. If John is uninsured, his sickness is not only his problem.

October 18, 2009 @ 12:21 pm | Comment

To Dizzy over at this blog: I was almost going to keep your comment despite its relentless personal attack on me. And then I got to the last line: “I hope you get AIDS from a loved one.”

Again, I hate dealing with wingnuts. Nasty, petty, inbred and dangerous. That you could say tht to another human being – because you don’t like what they say in a blog post. I’d return the favor and wish the same on you, but i can’t do that. Which is probably why I’ll always be poor.

October 18, 2009 @ 2:21 pm | Comment

@ Resident: The case for highways is also open to discussion as far as I am concerned. Still, highways happen to be one of the few fields that, upon careful consideration, justify a concentrated government investment for the common good (and even then, the money for it could be derived from car licensing fees or other taxes that relate specifically to car ownership/usage). This does not apply in most cases, and I am still not convinced it applies to healthcare. In any case, you agree that the current bill proposed by Obama is not good.

@ FOARP: As I noted above, I do think that it is everyone’s problem – to an extent – if one individual is sick. However, I do not think that the solution to this is to force people to become irresponsible and careless about their health or avoid the consequences of their own decisions.

As for insurance companies – if you are talking about them promising to pay something and then avoiding it, this is clearly a legal matter and has to do with enforcing contracts (one of the few things that government should be actively involved in). The new healthcare bill, in its current form, will only make insurance companies stronger since it would force everyone to get insurance, and force everyone to get a certain type of insurance.

October 18, 2009 @ 3:32 pm | Comment

That’s Bill Jacobson’s blog, a associate law professor at Cornell and a jerk for whom I’ve got plenty of choice expletives, but I can’t see him making comments online hoping for people to die of AIDS.

Methinks someone is using his website address for their comments.

However, you never know. If it is him then it’s time to have some fun at \ˈlē-gəl\ \ˌin(t)-sə-ˈrek-shən\.

October 18, 2009 @ 3:38 pm | Comment

I’m still laughing over “America can’t afford Keynesian economics,” frankly.

October 18, 2009 @ 3:59 pm | Comment

There are just too many liberals who hasn’t got a clue about economics (especially about government finance or public / private choices) here.

October 18, 2009 @ 4:03 pm | Comment

@Other Lisa,

With your government’s deficit at THIS level, where do you think Obama is going to find money to finance fiscal stimulus? They find a way called “quantitative easing” – in plain English it’s called money printing (outright money printing that is). Who is going to pay for it? You are.

October 18, 2009 @ 4:07 pm | Comment


Don’t worry. You are going to get rich. Judging by your ability of attracting these many people to this blog, it’s only a matter of time that you figure out how to turn it into a business and find a venture capital sugar daddy.

But by the time you get rich, you are going to become a wingnut. Mark my word.

October 18, 2009 @ 4:34 pm | Comment

“I hope you get AIDS from a loved one.”

If I truly love her, would I mind to get AIDS from her?

October 18, 2009 @ 5:08 pm | Comment

@Dror Poleg
“… Jim would be required to purchase an expensive, comprehensive insurance policy, based on a list of requirements that is determined by the government. Would you say it is reasonable?”

Sounds reasonable to me. The reason for a nation wide, age wide, insurance policy is to be able to afford the cost of health care for those groups with higher risk, but hopefully not the majority of the population.

We all eventually will end in one of this health risks groups. It is just a matter of time. You get faster if unlucky.

If only the elderly, or other health risk groups had to cover the cost… Well, I don’t wish you to belong to one of them.

The trick of a nation wide health insurance is how to kept cost from exploding, about bloated services, know what treatment are meaningful to provide and run it efficiently.

I am quite happy with the combination I have. Public + Private. Even if I pay twice. Nevertheless I would like greater competition measures in the public one.
Some have been already implemented, free choice of doctor and health center. Some other still pending, hospital and doctor rankings, public mortality index in hospitals, etc.

October 18, 2009 @ 5:18 pm | Comment


I don’t really know what the Obama administration will do in terms of health care because no one knows. But, yes, lots of the details that transpired so far are utter crap…

Still, almost whatever happens would be an improvement from the current situation. Health care provision in the US is right now quite… barbaric.

October 18, 2009 @ 11:27 pm | Comment

Twisted, the commenter wrote back and said he/she is not Bill Jacobson despite listing it as their blog, so let’s not retaliate.

What FOARP, Lisa, Poet, Eco and Twisted said above. I can only describe Dror’s vision of how the world should work as Darwinian.

October 19, 2009 @ 2:02 am | Comment

@ Resident:
“I don’t really know what the Obama administration will do” – Just have a look at the bill they are proposing…

“lmost whatever happens would be an improvement from the current situation” – Famous last words. They said the same thing about banking, housing, and many other things just before the government stepped in…

@ Eco: Again, the devil is in the details. I don’t mind paying a extra in order to make sure everyone is protected in case of an emergency. But what is the justification for me (and you) to pay much more in order to sponsor the trivial expenses of a healthy and able individual? In addition, do you realize that once you give people complete coverage without the need to bear (or even know!) the costs of each service they receive, that will dramatically increase the amount of unnecessary services that are being consumed, strain resources, and – indeed – drive prices up?

@ Richard: The world is Darwinian. I did not create it, I just tell it like it is. If you think you can force people to be moral and prosper – you might be in for a surprise. Forcing bad people to behave in a good way by denying them the ability to make decisions only delays their decline, but it does not prevent it. It also blocks any hope they may have had to change their ways, since instead of giving them a chance to become responsible for each other, you block any possibility of that by eliminating individual choice and responsibility. Morality does not exist in an coercive environment, it only exist where people have the ability to choose.

October 19, 2009 @ 2:23 am | Comment

They said the same thing about banking, housing, and many other things just before the government stepped in…

You’re serious and that amazes me.

But what is the justification for me (and you) to pay much more in order to sponsor the trivial expenses of a healthy and able individual?

A healthy society. Sadly, a graceful ornament to the social order such as youself might have difficulty understanding that.

Forcing bad people to behave in a good way by denying them the ability to make decisions only delays their decline, but it does not prevent it. It also blocks any hope they may have had to change their ways, since instead of giving them a chance to become responsible for each other, you block any possibility of that by eliminating individual choice and responsibility. Morality does not exist in an coercive environment, it only exist where people have the ability to choose.

You live in a mythical world where welfare systems are completely overrun by cheats. Where do you get your numbers? Ronald Reagan speeches?

Morality is human not animal. Morality does not exist in an darwinian environment, it only exists where people have the ability to be humane.

October 19, 2009 @ 5:39 am | Comment

@ Twisted:

1. Before the establishment of the Fec and the FDIC, there were worries about instability and crashes that hurt individual savers. Please let me know if the size, scope, and damage to individuals got better or worse since then. Before the establishment of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac there were worries about the affordability of housing and instability of the housing market. Please let me know if houses became more affordable since then and whether or not consumers are safer today.

2. Again, you are failing to differentiate between being willing to sponsor someone in need and being forced to sponsor everyone, all the time, including the vast majority of people who can afford day-to-day healthcare costs. If this point is not clear to you, please ask.

3. I am not talking about cheats. I am talking about the simple fact that once you allow everyone to use a service without putting a price limit on it, and without paying for it, they are bound to use it more than they do now. Let me give you an example: everyone needs bread and water. Most people can afford bread and water. Imagine that tomorrow that government anounces that from now on, everyone will receive bread and water for free, whenever they need it. Do you think this will increase or decrease the average demand for water and bread? Do you think it would make the usage of water and bread more or less wasteful? Again, if my point is not clear to you, please ask (as you can see, I have a lot of patience… and patients).

4. Morality is indeed human, but human societies rise and fall based on their performance and ability to adjust to natural conditions, just like any other organism. The fact that we are conscious of our actions does not, unfortunately, put us above nature (not yet, at least). Again, the argument is about the ideal way to establish a just and viable social order, not about whether or not we should strive to establish one.

Lenin, for example, aspired to give everything to everyone. I am sure you do not think we should just ignore the methods he proposed just because the ideal he aspired to was lofty. Let me know.

October 19, 2009 @ 5:59 am | Comment

And by the way, everyone: the main question is whether or not America can afford the new healthcare plan and what would be to consequences of all the new debt and inflation created in order to (try to) meet these obligations.

October 19, 2009 @ 6:15 am | Comment

Dror, are you sure you aren’t an Ayn Rand fan?

I’ll comment more on the healthcare plan when there is one.

October 19, 2009 @ 7:01 am | Comment

Richard: This is the opposite of Ayn Rand! You and I have the same social goals. The difference is that I am looking for a viable way to achieve them, over the long term, without compromising basic freedoms or creating moral hazard. You are shouting heartwarming slogans about how everyone deserves healthcare, but so far have not proposed any practical solution, even though you acknowledge that the solution you currently support (Obamanomics) is not a good one. Shouting that everyone should get everything, asap, regardless of the details or social costs is not liberalism and not socialism – it is nihilism.

Apart from that, even if Obama’s proposed plan was perfect, I am still waiting to hear how exactly it will be financed.

October 19, 2009 @ 8:45 am | Comment

I support single payer, or “Medicare for All,” funded by taxes on individuals and business (or I dunno, maybe a VAT kind of deal). Standardizing forms, taking out massive profits and the scale of it bring prices down across the board.

I think the current proposals for healthcare reform are problematic on many many levels. It might be worth it if there is a strong public option open to all who want it, but if that doesn’t happen, the whole thing deserves to fail.

October 19, 2009 @ 10:53 am | Comment

Anita Dung is Obama’s Joseph Goebbels. How dare these Marxist
traitors dismantle our Constitution, and our First Amendment!!!

October 20, 2009 @ 9:20 am | Comment

Unfortunately I have to agree with other people here. The current healthcare plan would envisage increasing coverage but only in part over a decade or so. I’m not sure whether even this change will be properly funded.

But more importantly little or nothing’s being done about the fact that in coming decades healthcare costs are going to cripple America.

In some respects I think lisa is right that it might be better for this to fail now. If it passes no president will touch the subject again for decades. Action to defuse the timebomb is needed now, not after 2020 when it will be too late.

October 20, 2009 @ 6:52 pm | Comment

Anita is right on. Mao was a great influence on the Chinese nation. Talk to a person from Taiwan or better talk to an American born Chinese. Then talk to a Mainlander. The mainlanders often talk with great confidence on what they believe. Chairman Mao gave the Chinese people the confidence. China, after all, put the almighty UN army into a draw and made it to the UNSC big 5.

You guys constantly dissing Mao, like he’s the only guy who’s responsible for all the sins the CCP committed. But he sure should take a lot of credit for several monumental decision makings (invading Korea, developing the NUKE and so on). You guys moan all you like. Mao is greatly respected by the little people in China. Go to any village, the farmers will tell you their children will do great things in the future. it’s Mao who started the modern education in rural China.

Don’t judge Mao now, like GWB would say. He’s a tremendous figure in world history. He will be remembered in the same league of the First Emperor. He will stay inspirational to all poor farmers in Nepal, India and all third world countries.

October 21, 2009 @ 2:46 am | Comment

All I can say is freedom of speech! If you against that,.then you are not an American

October 21, 2009 @ 9:10 am | Comment

@Observer: So what? How does any of that excuse the fact that due to his and the CCP’s negligence and stupidity tens of millions of “little people” died slowly of starvation and disease?

the almighty UN army: Ha! That’s known as an oxymoron.

He will be remembered in the same league of the First Emperor: Qin Shihuang was a tyrant who believed himself to be a god.

October 21, 2009 @ 11:15 am | Comment

Qin Shihuang was a cruel man, so what, show me when emperor who was not as cruel at the time. He united China and have been and will always be remembered as the man who started the thing called China. Top that!

Same goes to Mao, he had some stupid ideas of how to run the country. No denying of that. But he will be remembered as the man who built the foundations of the dominant world power (or one of the dominant world powers). Top that!

When Mao took over China, china was like Somali today, just 100 times bigger. Now China is on the brinks of being something truly great, no?

Yeah, millions of people starved to death in the great leap forward, no denying of that. Like people didnt starve to death under the KMT.

You hippies should know better than Glenn Beck.

October 21, 2009 @ 11:33 am | Comment

The eXiled is hardly a great source for news, but this article was quite shocking and seems genuine.

Medical insurers can ask people to get sterilised before they will insure them? Enjoy your third-world health care system America, you’re welcome to it.

October 25, 2009 @ 12:22 pm | Comment

It’s the American way. Are you a socialist?

October 25, 2009 @ 2:23 pm | Comment

She is courageous and right to express whatever opinions she has on Mao or Theressa, despite the ammo that definitely fuels Fox and other right-wingers to blast the Obama administration. I admire her consistency and character in this regard. For those who don’t, you might want to reread your High-school or Middle-school literature book, Catcher of the Ryne. You can’t disguise phonies as intellectuals. At least, she is not phony, and sounds a real intellectual. BTW, I don’t admire Mao. But I can surely buy her point, especially in the context of character traits that she is trying to inspire those high-school students.
When we grow old, we often think a skillful manipulation of words and sensitivity toward your opponents or your position is a sign of maturity, but if you really think beyond the surface it is a simple sign of stupidity. I am glad Obama team has plenty of so called “simple, common sense thinking people.”

October 26, 2009 @ 4:26 am | Comment

I actually tend to agree with you, Arbutus. And she’s going to survive this, though at first i thought she was through. I do feel it was a stupid moment, an inexplicable one. But we all have such moments, and I give the Obama team credit for not letting this destroy her career.

October 26, 2009 @ 4:54 am | Comment

It strikes me as somewhat strange that everyone here has focused on Anita Dunn’s comments pertaining to Mao, and totally failed to address her comments pertaining to FOX.

Does no one here take issue with a member of ANY admisistration deciding which news organizations are or are not real news organizations? She was not speaking as an individual, but as a spokesperson for this Admiministration. Many of you on this site have been highly critical of the PRC when it did precisely the same thing. How do you reconcile these two positions? My guess would be that your distaste and/or disapproval of FOX is coloring your opinion.

And as regards the truly stupid aspect of this: did any of you catch the fact that in her condemnation of FOX she points to a GOP scandal that FOX supposedly failed to cover, or give sufficient coverage (in the administration’s opinion)? Turns out it was FOX that not only broke that story but pursued it while the other “real” news organizations gave it no time at all for almost 2 weeks. If you think Beck had a field day with her Mao statements – can you even imagine what Hannity, Limbaugh, et al are doing with this?

What bothers me most about this is this seems to be another in a list of poor choices this administration has made. Being a cynic of government to start with – this just intensifies it for my part.

October 28, 2009 @ 2:47 am | Comment

Richard, my apologies for posting twice in such a short time. I wanted to make a seperate point concerning Obama.

In one of your comments here you speak of Obama being locked into Bush’s policies in Iraq and Afghanistan. Others have bemoaned Obama’s lack of choice in other areas as well – TARP, Auto bailout, etc. Obama himself has spoken of being burdened with the policies of a past administration.

My question is simply this? Is everyone saying that they believe that Bush is still in control of this government – even this long removed from the White House? Is Obama so weak and ineffectual that he cannot put his own agenda in place and pursue his own policies? Obama, after all, did explicitly promise to immediately right the wrongs of the Bush administration.

This is the questions asked of me by a German friend who has been a huge Obama fan since the early primaries. What I had dismissed as minor escuses for not performing as expected – he saw as weak and vacillating. Maybe this accounts for Obama’s drop in the polls – for what polls are worth.

October 28, 2009 @ 3:09 am | Comment

Fox is not a news organization. Period.

Bush is not in control of the government. If he were, we wouldn’t be having the health care bill, nor would we have Justice Sotomayor. How weak and ineffectual Obama is remains to be seen. He has done a few things very well. He has been a major disappointment in regard to harsh interrogations and bringing those who licensed torture to justice, among others. Undoing Bush’s policies, however, is no small feat, and I’m willing to give him a bit more time. On Afghanistan and the economy he’s caught between a rock and a hard choice with no good choices. I’m not ready to put all the blame on him, not by a long shot. And I don’t believe Obama ever, ever ” explicitly promise to immediately right the wrongs of the Bush administration.” Nothing like that could ever be done “immediately” and I would love to know your source.

October 28, 2009 @ 8:13 am | Comment

The issue is not your opinion of FOX. The question is: Should the White House be making such declarations? Why limit the discussion to FOX? Why not mention other news arganizations? Since the WH has not mentioned Al Jazeera – does Obama view that as a real news organization? Pravda? What of the WH saying it was going to limit the access of FOX personnel? Where is the hue and cry about the First Amendment and the chilling effect thereon? Using the same logic, could the WH simply declare the Supreme Court is not a real court if the Court doesn’t agree with the WH? If there was a huge swing in Congress, could Obama ignore Congress if he decided there were too many Republicans in it?

The point I am trying to make – if a bit verbose – is that it is entirely inappropriate for The WH to summarily decide who is or is not a real news organization. This by no means is to suggest that Obama has to just sit and take it. He is free to call FOX out as he sees fit, as other Presidents have. He can also have others make his case for him, also as other Presidents have.

I attended an Obama campaign stop in my home state (WI) and he told the crowd that the Bush administration had pursued bad policies and that his first order of business would be to “correct them immediately”. You may say this was just campaign rhetoric and he possibly got a bit carried away with a wildly supportive crowd. But say it he did. And, as you have pointed out, he hasn’t exactly kept other campaign promises.

But the point of my friend’s questions was that the whining (as he put it) makes Obama look weak. All during the campaign, Obama hit hard on all the messes created by Bush. Now he complains about what he inheirated. And whats the point? Its not as if there are alot of people sitting around saying Bush did such a great job. Hell, even his defenders have fallen away from him. If Obama keeps it up he may make Bush a sympathetic figure by kicking him when he is down.

Do you remember HW Bush’s response to Clinton talking about what he inheirated from him (Bush)? When is he going to stop whining and start being President?

We do seem to be having two discussions at the same time. Multitasking?

October 29, 2009 @ 4:05 am | Comment

It is not the WH’s decision. It is a matter of fact. Fox is not a news station, it is a broadcasting arm of the Republican Party that hires criminals and goons (Ollie North, Dick MOrris, Karl Rove, the dirty OJ detective Mark Fuhrman, etc.). The WH policy is just fine. I am delighted with it.

There is an article in Salon this week on all Obama has accomplished to date in foreign policy. If you want to see whether or not he is actually governing, look around and you will see. If you want to focus on failures or what you see as weakness, you can find that, too. Obama is doing as well as can be expected under the circumstances. He is not nearly as progressive as I’d like and I admit I have my disappointments, but he has showed far more leadership and skill than Bush ever did. But I don’t think we are going win the other over. It’s pretty clear you have your opinion about Obama and want to make the point he is a bad president, which is fine. I just disagree, and don’t see any point in thrashing it out all over again. Suffice it to say that it’s still too early to say. Give him at least a year and a half in office.

October 29, 2009 @ 5:52 am | Comment

Apparently, A whole lot of people disagree wlith you. Fox has had a strong surge in the ratings – while the alleged real news outlets (CNN, MSNBC, NYT, etc) have had drops in their ratings. If the WH hoped to marginalize or discredit FOX it has failed miserably. Even worse for the WH, it has become the butt of late nite comics. Even Letterman has poked fun of Obama. Obama comes across looking petty and venal. Maybe he should give ol Bill a call. Clinton was savaged to an almost unprecedented degree greater than Obama but handled it very very adeptly.
This is not the first WH unhappy with FOX. But this position is just plain dumb. The WH has put itself in a position that even its supporters in the so-called real news can’t defend. The other networks have let the WH know that they will not attend news functions that FOX is banned from. The WH’s press allies are now supporting FOX. Quite honsetly, the WH looks like the PRC when it blocks Danwei and the Duck. Not a good image. At a time when the WH is pushing hard to accomplish its goals against very stiff opposition – it has managed to ensure that more and more people will get their news of its goals filtered through FOX. ….the cheering you hear is the GOP….

The ironic part of this is that Obama’s problems are not with the Republicans. The Dems are in control of both houses. The Repubs cannot even fillibuster in the Senate. Obama’s problems are from within his own party. The GOP is in disarray and in danger of disintagration – self induced. Who gives a rats ass what any GOP outlet has to say?

The question is not if Obama is failing or not. The quesion was if he appears weak when complaining about the mess left by Bush. Obama knew the problems he faced and ran for the job anyway. Now its almost as if hes saying its too much for him. One of the worst problems for a President to have is to not look “Presidential”. Ask Carter.

Give him a year and a half? Really? Do you think Iraq, Afghanistan, the economy, etc can wait that long? And where did this time frame come from? Its not like it was in place for Bush. Obama himself never suggested it either. Does the phrase “hit the ground running” ring any bells. Maybe I am expecting too much too soon. But it was Obama who encouraged those expectations.

October 30, 2009 @ 6:38 am | Comment

I knew there was no point arguing. I’m sure Palin would have handled all these problems, and we’d be awash in cash, with all the horrors of the Bush administration rectified. Afghanistan would be basking in the radiant glow of democracy, the economy would be roaring and there’d be full employment – it would almost be as great as it was under Clinton.

I don’t care about ratings. Fox News is a tool of the Republican Party.

Here it is, 9 months into the Obama presidency, and we are ready to dub him and Clinton and Gates catastrophic failures after 8 years of devastation. Whatever gives you pleasure. I’ll wait and see what he does, criticizing him and praising him along the way as I’ve done (mainly criticizing). I am no Obama lover. But I despise those who seek to smear him as loser or as the cause for these daunting crises that we all saw take shape under his predecessors (and I am not saying you are in that category). Thanks for the debate.

October 30, 2009 @ 6:56 am | Comment

And if you’re still hanging around, Jim, check out this article in the rabidly left-wing Economist (sarcasm):

Measured against the expectations of those who bought pictures of him riding a unicorn, Mr Obama’s presidency has been a failure. Measured by a more reasonable yardstick, however, it has seen solid successes. For a start, the financial system appears to have stabilised. Continuing where Mr Bush left off, Mr Obama intervened to prop up ailing banks and insurers, thereby probably averting catastrophe. The bail-out may cost him votes, but it was necessary. And though the economy is still in a terrible state, it could now be through the worst.

Patience required
His big domestic reforms are taking time, but this is hardly surprising. He wants to reshape the one-sixth of the economy that is health care. This would affect almost everyone who expects to die someday. The details must be agreed on by a supermajority of senators, all of them opinionated and some of them nervous about re-election. Small wonder the deal has not yet been sealed. Cap-and-trade will be next, but since this would reallocate trillions of dollars and affect everyone who uses energy, it could prove even more contentious. Immigration reform, meanwhile, seems to be receding into the future.

Mr Obama’s election has dramatically improved America’s image abroad. That surely counts for something, even if it has yet to pay tangible dividends. He has unnerved America’s trading partners by caving in to congressional pressure for protectionism, but he has not sparked a full-blown trade war. He is pulling out of Iraq gradually and sensibly. His preference for talking to rogue states such as Iran and North Korea has so far yielded no substantial benefits, but diplomacy is seldom swift. His strategy for Afghanistan is up in the air. His indecision alarms hawks, but others contrast his cool deliberation favourably with his predecessor’s impetuousness.

The best test of Mr Obama’s presidency is not whether he changes things quickly but whether he changes them for the better. Perhaps, as the economy starts to recover, he will lay down a path towards fixing the budget. Perhaps his health reforms will curb costs. Perhaps he can reach a deal with Iran, and set up a cap-and-trade system. It is still too early to know any of this: but in the next few months, America and the world will start to see whether he can or he can’t.

You can rush to judgment and declare it all a failure if you’d like. I find that rash.

Finally, for anyone who has still clings to the fantasy that Fox is a real news channel, please watch this.

October 31, 2009 @ 2:06 am | Comment

Staying on the subject as usual… Obama + Unicorns = Awesome Art!

Unusual Paintings of Obama Naked with Unicorns

October 31, 2009 @ 2:59 am | Comment

Could it be that we are now witnessing a reversal of ideology? Somewhere in this world?

“And if you can read between the lines Richard, I think you know why I reversed my name at this time.”


October 31, 2009 @ 3:27 am | Comment

Just Google it Richard, as usual. With the quotes of course. And see which “unique” link, at which date, shows up.

Results 1 – 1 of 1

Bull’s eye or Bullshit, as you might call it.

October 31, 2009 @ 3:30 am | Comment

Bao, what are you talking about? Seriously – I have no idea what you are trying to say. Can you try to communicate without the pretentious riddles?

October 31, 2009 @ 4:35 am | Comment

So who’s more like a news organization, Fox or Xinhua?

My vote goes to FOX

November 1, 2009 @ 3:26 am | Comment

They are both pretty bad.

November 1, 2009 @ 8:28 am | Comment

My first observation is that Beck showed a full 2 minutes of her speech so that the context could not be misconstrued. Kudos Glenn, you nailed it. Second, the Obama administration continues to produce these kind of statements, one after another. Yet, many people continue to be surprised by the radical disconnect from reality the Obamaites display.

November 13, 2009 @ 12:10 am | Comment

Wrong on all counts. Turns out Beck wickedly cut her off in mid-sentence; do your research. I only just learned this. I would have been much more sympathetic to Dunn had I known she did NOT say MT and MZD are the two people she turns to most. She said she turns to them most only when she wants to remember the impiortance of perseverance. Kind of like saying, “Mr X said “Hitler is the person I turn to most” and the actual quote, “Mr. X said, “Hitler is the person I turn to most as an example of evil efficiency.” Beck was the usual sack of shit, cutting the quote in mid-sentence. Enjoy him.

November 14, 2009 @ 10:40 am | Comment

“Yes, of all the people she could have picked, she chose Mao, so we must spin this into something it’s not to bore the tits off intelligent people and enrapture our voter base..”

She paraphrased Mao, so now she’s a Maoist???? Qu’est que c’cest la Phuque???

I quoted Mickey Mouse once; that make me a cartoon mouse?

November 24, 2009 @ 4:24 am | Comment

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