Monday, September 28, 2009

National Socialism and You

It's become a habit of some conservatives to compare Barack to Adolf Hitler, and equate his economic and social policies to that of Hitler's Nazi regime. These conservatives do a great disservice to the conservative cause. Then again, equally ignorant people on the left of the US political spectrum called George W. Bush a Nazi. Everyone calls everyone a Nazi when they want to win a debate.

Godwin's Law states: "As a [debate] grows longer, the probability of a comparison involving Nazis or Hitler approaches 1."

As a conservative, these right wing ignoratti comparing Barack to Hitler aggravate me. They make the right look bad. But as an amateur historian, anyone comparing anybody to the left of Mussolini to Adolf Hitler pisses me off to no end.

Some really ignorant people are comparing Barack's economic agenda with Nazism. They point out that Nazi is short for National Socialist. When in fact, it isn't. It's short for Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei. This phrase means "National Socialist German Workers' Party."

What is National Socialism? Well much like capitalism, there are different forms of socialism. The socialism of Germany from 1933 to 1945 is different from that of Communist Russia, and from the modern forms of socialism practiced today in the UK, Canada, Scandinavia, and elsewhere. The socialism practiced by Germans, unlike that practiced by Soviet Russia, allowed for individuals to own their own property and goods. So one could own a house, unlike in the USSR where the State owned the house.

The Nazis believed that capitalism was wrong. They believed a government should control the direction of an economy, instead of letting it go wherever the marketplace determined. At the same time, there wasn't nearly the amount of force exerted on the economy as there was in the USSR.

While the Germans' socialism wasn't as hardcore as the Russians', it was more extreme than the socialisms of the 21st century. Canada is a socialist country (relative to the US), but it is also a capitalist country. There's a free market in Canada, with prices set by supply/demand and not the government. People pay higher taxes, receive higher benefits from the government.

Let's say an economy is a road. The amount of government control is the speed limit. Here are some examples of how this analogical road would be under various economic climates:

Pure Capitalism: no speed limit
American Capitalism: 65 MPH limit for safety
Canadian style Cap/Soc: 65 MPH limit for safety, 40 MPH minimum for traffic flow
USSR style socialism: every car must travel at 50 MPH and split gas costs equally no matter how far they have to travel
Nazi-type Socialism: every car must travel between 50 and 60 MPH and drive the same brand of car made in Germany so all Germans are employed

The type of socialism Barack seems to support (socialized health care, billions of dollars to house people in danger of defaulting on their mortgage, buying General Motors) is more of a safety net socialism. And while I vehemently disagree with the ideals of this brand of socialism, it's not as extreme as the USSR's or Nazi Germany's.

And even if Barack's socialism is similar to Hitler's socialism, does that make it or him evil? Do we hate Hitler because he was a lousy economist? No! We hate him because he killed a few million people. The fundamental strength of the Nazis was their belief that Germans were superior to all races. All those rallies, all those concentration camps, all those tanks were built around that belief. Socialism was merely a side dish.

People have been comparing how similar Barack is to Hitler. How much people worship him. How children are literally singing his praises.

And all the "Hope," "Change," and "Yes We Can," is all bullshit, if you ask me. Barack's spread fear of an economic collapse, and is now spreading fear of a healthcare collapse. He hasn't changed the laws regarding same-sex marriage. And he cannot get his healthcare policies passed. He isn't Hope. He isn't Change. But he's also not a fucking Nazi.

Comparing people to Hitler seems like a good way to win an argument. It's half jokingly called reductio ad Hitlerum, or reducing an opposing viewpoint so it can be compared to Hitler/Nazism. Example: Barack wants socialism, Hitler wanted socialism; therefore Barack and Hitler want the same thing and are alike.

But this is such a stupid argument that only stupid people use, and it only works to win arguments against other stupid people. Once this country gets a Zeitzist regime, it will be against the law to use Hitler in arguments.

Albert Einstein spoke German. Adolf Hitler spoke German. Einstein=Nazi

Natalie Portman is a vegetarian. Adolf Hitler is a vegetarian. Natalie Portman=Sexy Nazi

Picasso was an artist. Adolf Hitler painted. Picasso is a fascist.

Hitler wrote a book in jail. Gandhi also wrote while imprisoned. So I guess Gandhi's writings are in the same category as Mein Kampf.

Hitler was German, and so was Albert Schweitzer. So I guess that hospital he built in west Africa was a Nazi hospital.

Hitler had a German shepherd named Blondie. So I suppose all owners of German shepherds hate Jews.

And that was me using reductio ad absurdum on reductio ad Hitlerum. Ship it.

I hate Barack Obama. I hate him and his policies with an unrelenting anger. I would rather a bunny rabbit be President than him. I believe he and his party are ruining our economic future. I think he's indecisive about Afghanistan and people are dying while he struggles to make a decision. I think he's a neo-socialist. I think if George W. Bush spent time trying to get the Olympics in Dallas, liberals would crucify him for it. But it's OK for Barack to go to Denmark to try to get them for Chicago (although Hitler had the Olympics in Germany in '36, hmmmmmmmm).

But he's not a Nazi. He's nothing near a Nazi. There's no Obama Youth movement. There's no propaganda on the scale of the Nazi's. I just said all that stuff about him in the paragraph above, and I won't be visited by the DNC in the middle of the night with a truncheon. He hasn't built concentration camps or invaded any countries. So until he does, let's keep things in context. And let's slap anyone you hear utter comparisons between Barack and Hitler.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

The Health of the Health Care "Debate"

The health of the debate itself is not good. In fact, it's dead. There is no debate over health care. You may think there is, but look closer. Is Jimmy Carter talking about health care?

No, he's talking about the liberal belief that conservatives are conservatives because they're racists.

Is Joe Wilson talking about health care?

No, he's talking about the Republican fear that Democrats want to give illegal immigrants the keys to their houses (Las llaves a sus casas). But Pelosi's reaction is priceless.

Is the artist who made this depiction thinking about health care?

No, he/she was thinking about how badly they failed history class. Comparing Obama to Hitler is like comparing W. Bush to Castro. It doesn't make sense.

I guess my whole point is that neither the liberals or the conservatives are making any points that are actually about health care. It's the same old political poop tossing.

But isn't the onus to make points on Barack and his party? They're the ones in power. They and New York Times pundits have had a field day making fun of jackass conservatives at town hall meetings.

The women is an idiot. But what the hell do Barack and the Democrats want in this "reform?" Do they want universal health care? A public "option?" They haven't figured out what they, as a party, want. They have sufficient votes in both houses to pass whatever plan they concot if they could only FIGURE OUT WHAT THEY WANT.

But what does Barack want? We know his goals: cheaper, more accessible health care. But we don't know his plans to reach these goals. Does he even know? Or is he like the Underpants Gnomes from South Park?

And remember back in January? Wasn't it the Republican Party and its conservative base that were in trouble? They said the Party was dead, and that conservatism was a dwindling minority in this country. The Republicans had no leaders except Sarah Palin and Rush Limbaugh. Yet this leaderless rabble of hicks, racists, "tea-baggers" and ignorant fools have somehow scared enough swing-state-Democrats to ease up on the socialization of America.

And now we'll get the Barack-Attack. An all out multimedia blitz, utilizing tried and true rhetorical techniques delivered via modern vehicles of media. And the spearhead of this attack is fear. If we don't pass health care reform in the next 24 hours, everyone will explode!

I just want the government to stop spending, and stop spending now. That's the only thing I want the government to do as quickly as Barack wants it to reform health care. Complex things take time. Lots of time.

So just take a day off from spending. I'd like to have kids someday, and would like them to inherit the same opportunities I did, instead of a mountain of debt to China, a Dollar worth one tenth of a Euro, and the entire country babysat by the government.

And I want to talk about the actual legislation. I want Barack to just admit that he wants government run health care. He's done it before.

Just do it again. Just tell the truth, please. Barack, I thought you were hope, and change personified. A lying politician doesn't seem very changeful to me.

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

Curing Health Care Ignorance

The greatest strength and greatest weakness of the Modern Liberal is optimism. This optimism is expressed as an undying faith in government (so long as it is a liberally run government) to solve all the problems of the world.

Take, for instance, the detainees at Guantanamo Bay (Miss Gitmo, if you're nasty). Here you have a bunch of guys who have been detained. Not arrested, not tried, not indicted by a grand jury. They're simply detained indefinitely. The liberals wanted these guys released because it's unconstitutional to hold someone without charging them with a crime.

But these dudes are terrorists, and nobody wanted them released. So the optimism of the Modern Liberal meets its ancient opponent: Reality. Barack then decides that instead of detaining them indefinitely, they'll be given "prolonged detention." It sounds nicer, and he even promises to create a legal mechanism to make it all legit.

So instead of doing what they set out to do (free the illegally detained), they're simply going to change the law to legalize their indefinite detentions. That's the kind of clever angleshooting (poker slang for circumventing the rules) that George W. Bush lacked.

And now to health care. does Barack want universal health care? No! At least, not tomorrow he doesn't. He does by the end of his first term, or at least that's what he said in 2007.

So what does he want? Why is it that I don't know what he wants? Why is it so hard to know things about this guy and where he stands on issues? Does he still smoke?

Barack's campaign wrote checks that his policies can't cash. HEALTHCARE IS EXPENSIVE. People live for 80 years now. They spend the last 30 of those years going to the doctor once a month. They spend the last 20 of those years taking 5 pills a day. They spend the last 10 of those years in nursing homes, taking 15 pills a day. They spend the last 5 of those years in intensive care wards.

That shit costs money.

We're able to do things with cancer that we couldn't do 10 years ago. So now a patient that would have died at age 40 in 1990, lives to age 60 in 2009. But that's 20 more years of kemo, pills, and doctor visits.

That shit costs money.

We're able to give EKGs at physicals, have an MRI machine at every hospital, and give people face transplants.

That shit costs money.

So as the cost of health care increase, the costs of health insurance also increase. That's how insurance works.

So I simply don't see how the government is going to reduce costs. Maybe Barack can explain it to me...

So he wants:

1. Cheaper healthcare
2. Choice in healthcare
3. Healthcare for all

Well that's great, but HOW? How do you make an X-Ray machine cheaper?

One proposal makes sense until it's scrutinized a bit (like most liberal policies). 46 million Americans are uninsured, and can't afford to pay their hospital bills when they get sick/injured. So the hospital has to eat the cost, which increases what they charge insurance companies, which increases the premiums insurance companies charge their customers.

Makes sense. If you insured these 46 million people, then this expensive conga-line of charges wouldn't have to take place.

But remember, insurance is based on that whole group principle. It's more expensive to properly insure 46 million people then to give 46 million people medical coverage. Or if insured by the government, it costs the same (that's if the government gets its numbers right, which it usually does, right?)

So including 46 million people among the insured DOESN'T reduce the costs of giving them care. Health insurance is based on the principle that it costs $100/year to care for 10 people, so each person pays $10, even though some people might need $15, or $20 worth of care, and others only $5.

It costs $X to give 46 million people health care. It will cost $X (and possibly more) if they're insured, and it will cost $X if they're not.

Then there's the argument that doctors give unneeded tests in order to fatten their wallets. I talked to my physician about health care reform and he was really offended by this notion.

I remember one time, I had blood in my urine. I drove from Ithaca to Boston to see MY doctor, in MY hospital, because the facilities in Boston are 1,000 times better than some farmer's hospital in Central New York.

I spent the day in Faulkner Hospital, getting bloodwork, peeing into cups, getting X-Rays. The tentative diagnosis was a kidney stone, but my physician wanted to make sure I didn't have bladder cancer. So I went to a urologist, and my bladder was "checked" in one of the most traumatic medical procedures imaginable. And if you're guessing where they put the tube-camera, all I can say is "I wish."

I guess that test was "unnecessary" according to some Super Liberal health care reformist, because I didn't have cancer. And I'm sure that Harvard/Pilgrim (my insurer) called up my physician and asked him why some 20 year old was getting a day of treatments and tests meant for a 50 year old.

But that's what's so great about my private sector capitalist health insurance. MY DOCTOR determines what tests are necessary and unnecessary. But he's watched by the bean-counters at my insurance company. Harvard/Pilgrim doesn't want things getting too expensive because there's COMPETITION out there. And I keep tabs on my insurance company, because if there's something cheaper out there, I'm switching.

The liberals also want to cover people with preexisting conditions, and somehow that will make things cheaper? It's just a fact that an 80 year old diabetic man with three kinds of cancer is more expensive to care for than a 25 year old woman who's at her ideal weight and exercises everyday. So how is insuring the expensive-to-insure, going to reduce costs?

One mantra of the liberals is to pay doctors/hospitals for "Quality" of their care, and not "Quantity." How the fuck do you do that? How do you measure the quality of a doctor's care?

I guess you could go by how healthy his/her patients are. But wait a minute, wouldn't that encourage doctors to fill their patient rosters with fit young people instead of the old and sick? My physician's patients are mostly 50+ (he was my mother's doctor, so I'm one of the few people under 30 that are under his care). How do you measure the quality of care for a physician like him? All his patients are getting progressively sicker, so I guess he's a bad doctor. Meanwhile, Dr. Greedy has the US Gymnastics team for his patients. They're all in perfect shape, so he must be a great doctor. GIVE HIM A RAISE!!!

Health care is not perfect. It's expensive, and people still die. But there's nothing any government can do about it without resorting to socialism. I guess you could make the richest 1% of the country pay for health care. And that sounds nice. But that means less people EMPLOYED by the richest 1%.

But what's another 5% unemployed in a consumer-based economy? At least they'll still have health care. They won't have anything else, like the freedom to go out and make a living for themselves, or the ability to positively contribute to society. But they'll have health care. It will be a long-line, inefficient, the-mayor's-brother-in-law-is-the-nurse kind of health care, but they'll have it.