Thursday, October 11, 2007

Observing the clueless

For totally clueless commentary on most issues, you need the Guardian (or its Sunday stablemate, The Observer). A new name to me, but one who is going to the top of my "Graun writers whom I wouldn't trust to report on their last shit" is Paul Harris.

I mean, really, what teh fuck? Check out these howlers:

At the same time, the two most recent Democratic Presidents - Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton - have been Southern governors with conservative streaks. Not New York senators open to all the cliches about north-eastern liberals.

Hello? No one thinks Hillary is from the northeast. Or liberal. Everyone knows she is a heartland Republican. She worked for Goldwater, FFS.

Giuliani, and his liberal social beliefs, could easily appeal to independent anti-Bush voters.

Not a hope. Americans are, as we know, fucking idiots, but they are not complete fucking idiots. They know Rudy wants to bomb Iran and wouldn't leave Iraq if you paid him to. His "liberal" social beliefs are the clothes he wore to get elected in New York. He'll be pumping the conservative message hard come election time, because he needs to convince a base that distrusts him that he won't give an inch to the liberals, particularly on women's choice.

she could find herself fighting off Giuliani in her own backyard of solid-blue states such as New Jersey.

You know, if NJ goes for Giuliani, America is fucked. You might as well measure yourselves up for your brown shirt now.

Finally, there is the war. Again it is no simple Democrat vote-winner. Like 2004, 2008 will not be an anti-war election.

No, dude, I'm sure a "what a wonderful war" campaign would go down really well.
It will still be an election about 11 September, not Iraq.

Dude, no it won't. How can this guy be a US correspondent? Has he been fast asleep for the past couple of years? Iraq will be the issue in the election. Of course, Giuliani and others will try to spin the election as about the war on brown people but they will be talking to their base.
That can only help Giuliani, whose intimate association with that grim day is potentially a winner.

Actually, a closer acquaintance with the facts, which will be afforded the American people should Giuliani stand for the Repugs, shows that his association with 9/11 is a liability. He's hated by the firefighters, can easily be shown to have fucked up the response to 9/11 (not least by having his emergency centre in one of the towers! That's the kind of foresight you want in a man who is protecting you from terrorist attack) and has milked his moment furiously, which by now will have begun to breed 9/11 fatigue in the public. The war on Terra is nothing like a sure winner for him. His abysmal performance in the ISG has already featured in ads, and more are sure to follow. He's much better off campaigning as an authoritarian, and focusing on what's to come, not what has been.


At 7:43 pm, Blogger Don said...

The first quote was in fact true. Carter and Clinton were conservative Southerners relative to the usual Dem suspects from Mass and NY and CA. This helped them get elected. Hilary OTOH is perceived as more New England than Arkansas, and it's just stupid to say she's a heartland Repub. She comes off as slightly conservative because that's the smart way to go to the general if you survive the primaries. Goldwater was a long time ago.

Guiliani can't let go his pro-choice position without seeming a flip-flopper so he'll keep that. He tries to hide it under the usual faux religious sensibility. If he gets the nom I might actually vote Demo this time. Gasp. Or 3rd party. Or leave it blank. Or write in Wavy Gravy.

Sometimes you get it right but this b.s. about wars on brown people ... I know you didn't come up with that on your nown but geez, Iraqis are no more brown as a group than we are so wtf?

At 3:56 am, Blogger Sal said...

President Wavy Gravy ... now =there's= an interesting idea.

At 9:09 am, Blogger Dr Zen said...

Don, I repeat, no one thinks Hillary is from the northeast. Of course she isn't perceived as "Arkansas". I didn't say so. She is from the midwest, and her campaign has played that and will keep playing it. She comes off as conservative because a/ she is conservative and b/ she represents big money. Dude, you are just so wrong about its being smart to go to the general as a conservative. Most people, when polled, have liberal positions, and you should note that this writer was right that Democrats rarely win elections. Because they can't outflank the Repugs to the right!

Giuliani doesn't have a prochoice position. Look more closely. He's already positioned himself as more neutral than he's often painted. Besides, you'll note that I said that he will mutter about personal views not affecting policy. Dude, he's not going to risk making the religious right stay at home. The writer here is very wrong that he will play to liberals or even independents. There is no way, none at all, that a Repug candidate will stand on anything even remotely resembling a socially liberal platform.

Dude, you're far too pastyfaced to claim to be as brown as Iraqis. Given the hysterical anti-Arab racism that has infected your nation, I have to say it is you who is indulging in bullshit. If you surveyed people, do you really think that if they had to tick a box, white or nonwhite, they would put Arabs in the white box?

At 6:09 pm, Blogger Don said...

Well, I do. And yeah, I'm as pasty as you, but I don't look at myself. When I look out at my world, I see a mix that is only distinguished from a typical Arab-world street scene by being more brown, not less.

However, it is common in some parts of the anti-American-foreign-policy world to regard this "war" as being against "scary brown people". My opinion is that's bullshit more reflective of each writer's self-loathing than the truth.

Also my opinion that anti-Arab racism may be percieved here from abroad, but the daily reality is quite something else. (By "here" I mean in the US, where I'm not at present, but close enough.)

That side convo aside, I admit you're better read on American politics than me. It's just that no one I know who is in any way conservative considers Hillary to be anything but a raging liberal. And Giuliani is a pinch-faced crypto-fascist. Of course he will try not to alienate the pro-lifers, but I think he will fail. Those same people aren't too impressed with his personal life either.

At 6:25 pm, Blogger Dr Zen said...

I'm far from pasty, dude. I could pass as an Arab, as it happens. Or at least I could if it wasn't for the piggy nose.

Your opinion of America's war is noted, but, I think you're aware, I think you've been wrong *so* often that you can't expect it actually to be taken seriously.

And your country is floating on a see of Islamophobia, dude. Suggesting otherwise is just dim. Mine is pretty much the same too. My homeland, not so much, but only because there's a more generalised anti-immigrantism that it's a fragment of. I don't think you conflate those issues the way Europeans do.

Only extremist rightards think Hillary is a screaming liberal. No liberal does! I think she's seen mostly as an opportunist, a centrist. Of course, to most rightists, centrists are just liberals in disguise. Giuliani is disgusting, I agree. It could go either way for him, but don't underestimate a/ the value of being a daddy figure, b/ the value of being a hater. The red half of America loves haters because it is so afraid of the world outside its borders and c/ the media. Most of the latter are centre-rightists, and they secretly love Rudy. If they didn't, they would have destroyed him by now. He's full of holes, but no one is attacking him.

At 12:04 pm, Blogger CXP said...

Because President Carter is a moderate Democrat (he's Left of the then GA Senator Sam Nunn, but Right of his nemesis Edward Kennedy), is why the Democrats of the 1970s opposed him. Their opposition made it possible for Reagan to be elected, as all those Democrat voters switched parties in disgust over ultra-left policies (and those switchers Traditional Conservatives call Neo-Con commies). ;)

But your premise is right that Southerners view Mrs. Clinton as a fellow Southerner (as her husband is). Remember a conversation on the bus with others during the 2004 election, and even back then they said they'd vote for her because of her husband (not only for the "feel good" politics of his Administration, but because the Clintons would understand Southern issues).

In order for the Dems to get a candidate elected, they MUST appeal to the Southern block voter, and the Southern BLACK CHURCH voter (an up and coming and powerful influence in elections now). An election is not won in NYC or LA, it's won when that block vote votes for a candidate -- it's why Southerners tend to get candidates elected, they're very organized to vote enmasse.

Mrs. Clinton understands this, and why she'll secure the nomination.

At 12:19 pm, Blogger CXP said...

BTW, the main fault of Mrs. Clinton to the Conservative base (besides ideologies) -- and the lightning rod -- will be "universal healthcare".

The USA just won't accept "univeral healthcare", because they understand how godawful Medicare has been -- beaucratic and inhumane. It's not that Americans won't want ALL Americans to have comprehensive healthcare, it's just they don't want the redtape that goes with it, and the rationing.

We already know healthcare is a right, but we don't want sub-standard healthcare (anyone with military experience can attest how terrible "universal healthcare" can be -- we had it long before it became a buzzword).

Watch the movie "Born on the 4th of July" and what he faced in the VA hospital -- that's the "univeral healthcare" we know. That image in burned in the minds of that largest block of voters -- 40+ year-olds.

Kids didn't face it, the older folks did. No amount of reasoning is going to erase knowing folks died because of redtape.

At 1:07 pm, Anonymous theminotaur said...

Is there any less red tape in insurance companies? Is it really better to pay one's monthly wages for a tooth filling, or knowing that if you do have health insurance, 60 cents out of every dollar will go to the insurance company, not the provider? Is it really better to know that you can afford your child's checkups once every few months, but if something happens and they have to stay in a hospital for a few days, your financial future is pretty much shot to shit? Ever notice that insurance companies always have the tallest skyscraper in town?

At 1:28 pm, Blogger CXP said...

From my experience, yes it's less redtape. Furthermore, I don't know of someone who died because they wouldn't treat a patience without the medical records inhand, first, with insurance.

Those of us who remember military medicine, remember these things. We also remember those who died because of this "universal healthcare" redtape.

Until you went through it, it's difficult to describe. They nearly killed me and my mom, and did kill my friend's mom with redtape.

After 20 years in the military healthcare system, when my mom needed heart surgery, the care she recieved from the pay-system (and yes it costs a pretty penny), she'd NEVER go back to that "universal healthcare" again. Period. And looking at the scars I have today due to incompetance, nope I won't, either.

And that was from one of the military's best hospitals.

At 4:24 pm, Anonymous theminotaur said...

Dude, you're confusing universal health care with military health care. The two are not the same. Don't you see that in a truly universal healthcare system, since there would be no need to jump hoops to get treatment for free, the red tape would be eliminated? And if you tell me that incompetence is something you don't run into in those hospitals where you pay a pretty penny, well, then you are deluded.

Also, if the billions of dollars spent on the military as a whole went instead to health care as a whole, well, everyone would be much better off.

At 5:37 pm, Blogger Dr Zen said...

I remind CXP that I am English and I come from a country that has had universal health care for 60 years. Universal health care, not univeral health insurance, which is what Clinton proposes. Despite its problems, I am deeply proud of our NHS. It is one of the great achievements of our country, a testament to how good socialism can be for a society.

The US spends more per capita on health than any other nation, yet has a shithouse health system. Not least of the reasons is that, as mino points out, the money is mostly not spent on health.

At 6:47 pm, Blogger CXP said...


"Universal healthcare" IS military healthcare. The US military has had medical care - without paying - as a benefit for active duty and veterans since WWII.

And it stinks.


Dr Zen,

BTW, I used to work for health access. The Medicare/Medicaid/Military healthcare (don't know much about the Native American healthcare service, but it's another "universal healthcare" option) services DO NOT improve the health as UH advocates proclaim. What kills the system -- and even the NHS -- is the administration (redtape). UH systems mothball hospitals and ration access to compensate. UH is only good for preventive healthcare, but terrible with chronic healthcare (which is too expensive for such systems, and why Canadians come to the USA for such treatment).

The perks of our system is: In my small city, we have 7 hospitals alone (regional trauma and burn centers), too many to count clinics, and over 600 physicians. With more diagonistic tools than many larger cities in Canada or what you have in the UK. You can get your non-emergency MRI within 2 weeks, CT scans sooner, and walkins for X-Rays. The poor and disabled are already covered (most chronic care is paid via Medicaid, especially for ESRD patients with dialysis -- and it's blood filtering, not the water method the NHS uses as it's cheaper).

UH is better at preventive medicine, but when it comes to emergency and chronic healthcare, it's dismal. You're not going to get the same level care in the UK in those situations, as in the USA.

And Americans expect that level of care -- euthanasia isn't an option.

At 6:51 pm, Blogger Dr Zen said...

What? Why do my American friends report paying thousands of dollars for chronic healthcare that I get for free? Are they lying?

At 11:25 pm, Anonymous theminotaur said...

Of course not. CXP is simply making generalizations based on some experiences particular to him, and he obviously doesn't understand the difference between universal health care and universal health insurance. Also, he appears to be a strong believer of propaganda created by those who make money in the private health care business (and that is a lot of money) which says that American health care is better than that in the UK, or most Western Europe for that matter, even though any credible statistics shows otherwise. His opinion, baseless as it is, is unfortunately shared by many in this country, which is why I do not believe that we'll have universal health care anywhere in the near future. The issue of health care will certainly be one of the top issues of the presidential election, but it remains to be seen if any change for the better will actually take place afterwards.

At 11:14 am, Blogger Arleen said...

From my experience, yes it's less redtape.

I wish I had that experience. I hate what I have to go through with the insurance company for my daughter's care now.

I grew up in a military family, and my husband was in the army and my children received military care. It was always fast and excellent. My mom and I have had surgery experiences in military hospitals, and when my daughter went in with symptoms of infection at the age of 1, they quickly discovered that she had urinary tract reflux and took very good care of her.

It was a blessing to know that your family would be cared for without having to worry about where the money was going to come from to pay for it all.

When you consider how many military families relied/rely on military hospital care, if it were really as bad as cpx says, there would be an amazing body of evidence and a dreadful outcry. Yes, we've had some horror stories, and it seems that our veterans have received short shrift in the VA hospitals, but the hospitals located on military bases where families live, in my experience, have been as good as any outside ones, without the worry about cost.


At 1:51 pm, Blogger Dr Zen said...

Given the choice between copaying thousands of dollars and filling in a few forms, 9 out of 10 cats chose the red tape.

Yeah, bureaucracies are burdensome, but when you take out health insurance, you pay thousands of dollars for the privilege of being told "we don't cover that" or "we only cover x% of that" and becoming bankrupted if you are seriously ill.

And mino is right: all the stats show that outcomes are worse in the US for more money! You would rather pay thousands for bad care than three or four cents on the dollar for really very decent care? Well, you've got the paradise you wanted, and I simply hope you do not ever become ill. America is a fantastic place, it seems to me, for the fit, young and wealthy. For everyone else, hmmmmmm....


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