Monday, August 31, 2009

National Security

Great conversation between a progressive and a conservative about the future of American Foreign policy.

National Security

Great conversation between a progressive and a conservative about the future of American Foreign policy.

Racism: Its not just for white people anymore

Turns out that the Hawaiians want their island back from our "white asses." The Southern Poverty Law Center has an interesting report from our 50th state. So much for the post racial era.

Post hoc ergo Proctor hoc or proof that torture works

Ann Althouse argues that the recent revelations about KSM in the Washington Post vindicate Cheney and the Bush administration's use of "enhanced interrogation techniques," the enhancements in this case being, well, torture?

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Teddy we hardly knew you

The side of Ted Kennedy the Mass Media will not be telling you about from Michael Kelly's 1990 profile in GQ.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Standing up to our Allies

For Iran, North Korea, Venezuela -- dialogue. For a loyal ally that acts according to its constitution? Kick them in the teeth. Stab your friends, kneel to your enemies.

Darn Terrorists

It turns out there is an explanation for why a supposed ally subjected us to the spectacle of a mass murderer of Americans being given a hero's welcome--they lied to our Scottish friend. And that is the problem with terrorists. You can't trust them. They are so insensitive. I mean, if they just murdered people you could deal with them but they are so dead to morality that they are willing to embarrass the politicians that appease them. Who could have seen that coming? Heinous, dude.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Watching Oberman

Oberman is incensed that Ted Kennedy's name has been invoked in the health care debate by republicans claiming that they could have reached a deal with the lion of the Senate. this is supposed to be some horrible crime on the Keith Oberman show. But it is reasonable to point out that Kennedy is a deal maker. even though his preferences are extreme in the American context and that McCain and Hatch are in no way in agreement with Kennedy's preferences, it is fair to point out that Kennedy as a Senator has a great track record of making deals, taking half a loaf when he couldn't get everything he wanted. That is, after all, how no child left behind got passed. And the reaction of the Oberlinites is rather odd. they talk of "invoking" Kennedy's name, as if his name is some sort of worship word that Republicans dare not profane with their lips. What is up with that?

The great oddity about the whole debate is that people are against some small scale reforms on the basis of what they think those small scale reforms would lead to in the long run. This makes the debate less about the policy but about the tendency of institutions to evolve after policies are enacted.

Terrorists are not invinceable

The Taliban are losing in Pakistan. they are not popular. you do not have to deal with them. You just have to kill them.

Lieberman and the crytocracy

Senator Lieberman hits the nail on the head:

"These public servants must of course live within the law but they must also be free to do their dangerous and critical jobs without worrying that years from now a future Attorney General will authorize a criminal investigation of them for behavior that a previous Attorney General concluded was authorized and legal."

What are you supposed to do? you are a CIA agent and are ordered to do something by the President which the sitting Attorney General tells you is legal. Are you safe? No. Being a lawyer means never having to say you are sorry. One lawyer says one thing, another says another. There is no safe harbor but inaction and that is exactly what is going to be the result of this witch hunt, inaction. The servants of our country will lawyer up and hunker down, do nothing. Letting Americans die because information that was not divulged by terrorists in our custody can most cost you your job, but doing what you are ordered to do to get that information to save American lives can cost you your freedom and your family their future.

it is also very odd that a special prosecutor is an odd move. The reason we have special prosecutor is to protect against self-interested protection of your political friends. The AG is a Democrat. The abuses were supposedly committed by CIA agents and political appointees under a Republican administration. There is no reason he would have a conflict of interest. He only wants to avoid responsibility.

And the lawyerocracy has no responsibility. they win either way. The damage done by their crusade will never be charged to their account. If other countries do not cooperate with us, if our agents lawyer up and weasel out, avoid taking any risks in pursuing terrorists, there is nothing that will ever harm a lawyer in any of that. If Americans, let alone Afghans, die because of what was not done it will never be charged to a lawyer or a judge. Indeed, they will probably be put in charge of the investigations of the "failings" of the operators.

Power line excerpts some interesting parts of the report that document the attacks that were prevented by the interrogation techniques. Some dismiss the information because it did not lead to many convictions. But it did lead to the discovery of many agents of Al Qaeda that were not otherwise known. They found a lot of Al Qaeda in the US.

The report, from the AG's office, concludes:

"This Review did not uncover any evidence that these plots were imminent. Agency senior managers believe that lives have been saved as a result of the capture and interrogation of terrorists who were planning attacks, in particular Khalid Shaykh Muhammad, Abu Zubaydah, Hambali, and Al-Nashiri."

If future attacks were thwarted by threatening with a gun, a drill, a mock execution and water boarding, fine with me. How many lives do would it be worth to you to keep the likes of KSM--the admitted and proud planner or the 9/11 attacks--free from waterboarding and mock executions? Me? None.

The great drawback of judicializing these disputes is that the question shifts from what is a good idea and what is effective to what will the lawyers allow.

Don't over estimate an insurgency

From Michael Yon:

"Life is far easier for the guerrilla than for the counterguerrilla, just as arson is easier for arsonists than for firefighters."

This is a good point. I hear constantly that we can't win against the insurgency because they continue with these terror bombings. I think that people somehow infer that the people of Afghanistan are with the guerrillas because their campaign continues, but that makes no more sense than concluding that because a group of arsonists are able to go on burning down buildings that the people in an area are against buildings and wish to be nomads.

More Bush Administration Crime! Special interrogation unit run out of the White House

Oh, sorry, my mistake. It is the Obama Administration setting up a special interrogation unit run out of the NSC for "high value detainees." So I am sure it will be fine--or at least there won't be any complaints from the press.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

A Tad Creepy

So the Obamas have their fellow hamburger restaurant patron's cell phones confiscated while they are eating a burger so that there will be no photos of the first family eating junk food. I just find about 8 layers of creepiness in that. The most open administration in history refuses to be seen eating a burger. They don't want to be associated with something like eating a burger. they are so "wee-weed up" about health that they can't stand the idea of people knowing that they eat burgers. They think the image of what they eat matters to anyone. They think they can confiscate the cell phones of private citizens. They use their armed guards to intimidate people into giving up their rights. They have a policy on what they want people to be eating. And that does not include burgers. But the fact that they do not what us to eat burgers does not stop them from eating burgers. They have this weird quasi-fascist worship of health and fitness. It is just creepy!

How dare they oppose our plan! We don't even have a plan!

Arlen Specter on Fox News--the best weapon the Republicans have. He just got finished saying how unfair it was that people are making all these criticisms of Obama care when they don't even have a bill. All they have is a proposal to take over 14% of the economy involving life and death decisions. They haven't decided what they are going to do with it after they take it over.

C-Span broadcasts of health care town halls

Just watching the news.

How bad is the cash for clunkers program? they can't even give away money. 7% of the dealers have been reimbursed. I'm sure they will do just fine running 14% of the economy.

Speaking of health care, now on C-Span there is a town hall on health care in North Carolina. One brave lady--a graduate student--stands up to make the case that she is afraid of having for profit health care companies making decisions about her health care. One thing that was kind of curious was that she said that even though she has health insurance she is not able go to the doctor because she makes only $21k a year and the insurance has a $200 deductible. Is that really high? That is 1% of her income. Why is it somehow necessary that intelligent people are not expected to be able to have 1% or even 5% of their income in reserve for medical care. We have one of the lowest out of pocket expense ratios of out of pocket medicare cost in the industrialized world. Why? Why do we think that health care should be something that you do not have to plan ahead for?

I am watching a blue dog democrat from Mississippi (right next door in Hattiesburg) go through a very painful town hall. He tried to start out with a critique of the Bush administration and the financial hole we are in. The crowd gets really agitated as it goes on and on (about 15 minutes), in part because of the lousy layout of the powerpoint program he had, and he kept trying to tell them to wait their turn. The poor guy finally gives as the crowd starts chanting "health care, health care."

The interesting thing is that he has to stop and remind the crowd every couple of minutes that he has voted against everything that the Democrats have done. The problem is that people keep asking the question in various forms "Well, if you don't like what the Democratic leadership puts up and aren't going to vote for the Obama health care program?"

The best part comes when he tries to explain the importance of generics using the example of Calais when he really meant to talk about Ambien. He doesn't figure it out till the end. He says that the pill they make has gone off patent so is only 50 cents a pill but the one they advertise is Calais KR which is still on patent and costs $5 a pill. He explains holding his index finger and thumb a half inch apart to represent a tiny difference, "and there is only this much difference between them." All the time he the audience is laughing and he can't figure out why. Maybe the difference is unimportant to him. Ahhh, men. They only think about themselves.

Charles Lipson

Charles Lipson asks an obvious question--why don't you see ads for health insurance? There is no national market for health insurance. Compare that to the market for car insurance, where competition is ferocious and satisfaction with the product reasonably high.

Releasing the Lockerbie Bomber

Michael Portillo thinks there may have been a deal behind the release of the convicted Libyan terrorist to a hero's welcome.

I don't buy it. I think the truth is much worse. I wish that there were some sort of venal interest but I think they may have actually thought it was the moral thing to do.

I suspect it is just as simple as moral grandstanding. We, in contrast to the vengeful US and their running dog lackeys at Whitehall, are a forgiving people. There is something about the current age that makes people thing that abasing themselves before the scum of the earth will make them safer. Have people lost their capacity for disgust? This cowardly murderer with his smarmy expressions of "sympathy" for the families of his victims, this man who murdered kids on their way home for Christmas to see their families talking about how he would like to die in the bosom of his, now getting a heros welcome from that base and depraved nation, is this not a spectacle that should excite the disgust of a civilized people?

What kind of people are the Scotts that they should chose to cause such a revolting spectacle merely to inform the world that they exist, that they can make their own decisions?

Ruth Wedgewood chronicles the entire farce of the Lockerbie affair. To my mind it all points to the absurdity of treating an act of war as a crime and tiring it through the international system on top of it.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Feminist Hawks

The New York Times notes the odd bedfellows that are created by the war on terror. They criticize David Horowitz for opportunistically using the issue to promote US intervention while other, supposedly right thinking feminists, look at the issue as one calling for more UN involvement. But the more important point may be that on this issue the division in our society on feminism are just trivial compared to the issues faced in some Muslim countries. Whatever your stand is on Title IX you are, as an American, likely to find the idea of throwing acid in girls faces for the crime of going to school somewhat repulsive.

But How Does it Affect Obama?

"WASHINGTON (AP) — The Obama administration expects the federal deficit over the next decade to be $2 trillion bigger than previously estimated, White House officials said Friday, a setback for a president already facing a Congress and public wary over spending."

Yeah, poor Obama. You know who else this is a setback for? Us! The taxpayers! I know, the really important thing is his Oneness's great project to remake America, but shouldn't the people of America also get a little play in the story? It really is all about Obama. We have gone from being one of the least indebted nations in the industrialized world to one of the most.

There is some good news. The bailouts are coming in at about $200 billion less than was expected (that is, the part that Bush was supposedly responsible for), but revenues are also less than expected.

Mark Steyn, the world's best educated non-college graduate, points out the key fact: the countries that followed our advice and example of passing a big stimulus package are the ones that are still in recession. Fort the countries that ignored us--France, Germany, Brazil--the recession is already over. Causal? You decide. It could be that the countries that passed big stimulus packages were the ones that faced worse economic conditions (though the bank bailout was far smaller in the US than it was in Germany and almost all the other big countries), but it could also be that a huge run up in public debt makes people, you know, nervous about spending and investing?

Friday, August 21, 2009

Death Panels? Silly Gun Clinger.

I love British newspapers. "Please, Mom, I don't want to die." Now that is a lead. Oh what could those crazy Palinites be thinking? National Health care leading to death panels? Absurd!

Once you make a decision to subject the entire range of medical decisions to cost benefit analysis you are going to make decisions about who's life is worth more. It is impossible to make decisions about what diseases are more important than others without making decisions about whose life is more important. And if you are the government you have to make those decisions in the form of general rules. And if you start making general rules you will find cases where the general rules end up leading you into some bad individual outcomes.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Who works for whom?

Barney Frank comes off as somewhat obnoxious but also as very smart in this quasi-town hall meeting. Toward the end the moderator tells people that they are there to ask questions, not make statements. And whenever Frank is booed he rebukes the audience telling them that booing is not an argument. (apparently, though, the rule only applies to anti-Obama care speakers)

What is wrong with this is that they, the political class, work for us. I have heard from several quarters people complaining about the people that have not come to the town meeting to listen. I thought that the representatives were there to listen, no? Who represents who? And what is wrong with booing your representative? They are supposed to get booed when their constituents don't like the job they are doing. There has been this odd movement from the political class to lecture the public on how they are supposed to behave in the mandarins' presence.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Those Death -- oops, I mean "End of Life" -- Panels

 I have nothing really to say about this, I just love the irony of people that pride themselves on being straight talkers and speaking truth to power complaining about "end of life" being equated with "death." 

Now to update from the New York Times, it turns out that the fear of death panels is not entirely irrational. Mickey Kaus has more.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Yeh! Gridlock

Julian Zelizer argues that Obama would be better off not signing a bill at all rather than accept the compromise that is coming out of the Senate, or at least that is how I read him.  Interesting, when a conservative argues that it would be better to do nothing it is called obstructionism, no?

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Mankiw's illustration of the danger of a public option

Mankiw makes a key point that is worth keeping in mind as Obama appears to propose a "public option" without subsidy:  they can still be subsidized without making it official. The best illustration of this is the highly salient example of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.  These entities enjoyed an implicit subsidy that allowed them to crowd out private firms from the market with disastrous consequences.

Why not?

Cochrane asks a question that seems obvious once you hear it: why can't you buy the right to renew your insurance at the same price for a fixed period of time in the future?  You can with life insurance, why not with health insurance.  


It is interesting that Obama relies so much on incentives arguments in his discussions of doctors and insurance companies.  Doctors letting people's feet go rotten because the fee for service model gives them an incentive to do so etc.  It seems that at some point this would lead to someone asking why, if he thinks incentives are so efficacious, he doesn't let them operate for the consumer?  letting people buy their own healthcare and make their own decisions would seem to be the natural policy prescriptions for someone that thinks incentives are so powerful.  Of course Obama doesn't think incentives are that important. they are merely a convenient weapon to use against the private sector.

Life-expectancy as a measure of healthcare quality?

Another analysis of why life expectancy is not a good indicator of a healthcare system's quality from Stephen Chapman.  Good, but still not as good at Steyn's.

Money doesn't always win

Obama's team has outspent the opponents of his healthcare reform 5 to 1.  I guess money isn't anything, even when you do have the greatest orator of all time on your side.

Fox News Sunday Show comments

It is amazing to me how many times in this discussion you hear the argument "well, you don't mind when some private organization makes these decisions so why would you mind if the government makes them?  Well, because it is THE GOVERNMENT????!!!!!

Again, this is obvious if you just transfer the discussion to another context.  My credit card company knows a lot about what I purchase, what is wrong with the government having the same information?  Colleges make a lot of decisions about what students can have in their dorm room and what courses they can take, why not the government?  Because it is the government!  Of course the credit card company or the college may not have my best interests at heart.  But if I don't like them I can leave. Before I join them I can observe how they have treated others.  The government is THE Government.  The idea that people who are worried about the government taking over some power, information or decision making function that is presently in the hands of a large and powerful private entity are being irrational or worse must be shills or dupes of those organizations is extraordinary.  Do IQs drop when healthcare is the topic?


The Death Panels.  If Sarah Palin is so dumb......

It turns out that you don't have to be an incumbent office holder to influence the debate.  Or, indeed, to win it.

Is it hyperbole? I am not so sure. 

Leaving aside the content of the proposal there is a real question of who is doing it.  Several commentators have commented on how similar proposals have been advanced by Republicans without controversy.  Even if one accepts, arguendo, that the proposals are the same it does matter who is making the proposal. There is a difference between Nixon going to China and McGovern.  It is not irrational to accept one and oppose the other.  Even if the words of the proposal were exactly the same it might well be that their authors "mean something different," as Churchill said explaining his break with Bonar Law.


This Vic character coming back to the NFL is on the panel too.  It is amazing that they are all more or less ok with it.  Krauthammer makes the argument that sports stars being role models is so 1950s.  Well, perhaps it is, but perhaps the 1950s were on to something.  Their crazy idea the people you allow to be held up for admiration by young people might have some consequences for the kind of adults they become might have had something to do with the fact that those were better, safer times.  It might have some role in explaining why the level of civility and decency that one used to be able to expect just for being gainfully employed is now available only in gated communities. 


On the Fox News Channel show they are talking about how it will be paid for by prevention.  The example of how this works is smoking: we pay for doctors to talk to their patients and get them to stop smoking.  So, is the reason Obama is still smoking that he can't afford to have a talk with his doctor? 

Seriously, all the savings predicated on people changing their behavior en mass because their primary care doctors give them lectures on how they should eat are just risible.

That Smile

Fareed Interviews Michael Oren, the new Israeli Ambassador to the US.

The Israelis have killed more Palestinians than the Palestinians have killed Israelis, says Fareed. That is true.  It is also true that the Palestinians have killed more Palestinians have killed more Palestinians than the Israelis.  Maybe denying them military would save Palestinians. 

Fareed asks why the Israelis should expect the Palestinians to accept a state without an army when the Israelis "kept their army," after independence. And he smiles.  The smile. That is what gets me.  They kept their army is cute. The day they were created as the Israelis are recognizing the surrounding Arab states they are invaded simultaneously by the armies of four Arab nations bent on annihilating them.  They "kept their army?"  They fought for their lives from the first moment of their existence.  It was a question of fighting desperately for their existence for the moment of their existence.  "Kept their army."  Like it was a goody they got to have and now want to let the other kids have.  And that smile.  People are fighting to keep their women and children from be slaughtered is "getting to keep your army."

Can't Imagine what they are upset about

Nice discussion of Obama's leading healthcare adviser, Dr. Ezekiel Emanuel.  My favorite is from a 1996 Journal article he wrote:

"services provided to individuals who are irreversibly prevented from being or becoming participating citizens are not basic and should not be guaranteed. An obvious example is not guaranteeing health services to patients with dementia."

I just don't don't understand what these old people are riled up about?  Who could have gotten them so upset? But is not just old people:

"he and his coauthors proposed a system of valuation that could take into account that "[a] young person with a poor prognosis has had few life-years but lacks the potential to live a complete life. Considering prognosis forestalls the concern that disproportionately large amounts of resources will be directed to young people with poor prognoses.""

Meet the Press August 16

Meet the Press starts out with a 15 minute discussion of how responsible the REpublicans are for the guy standing outside a townhall with a gun and a sign with Jefferson's tree of liberty remark.  Now that is interesting. I don't recall the Democrats ever being asked about the anti-war protesters with the constant Bush-Hitler comparisons and protesting at soldier's funerals.  Indeed, if you ever brought it up you were engaging in McCarthyism.  Why is one side always answerable for its fringe but the other side not only doesn't have to answer for them but can use any attempt to get them to answer for them to discredit their opponents.

Then there are the "death panel" questions.  Daschle points out that comparative effectiveness is used at the Mayo Clinic.  Now even if they were the same thing it is all the difference in the world when a private organization that has to compete with other private organizations and that you can leave and the government that does not have to compete and which you cannot leave.

Armey gets drawn off in his idea of making Medicare voluntary.  It is an interesting discussion.  they want to use this to show the seniors that they expected to be supporting the Obama proposal that the right has radical goals that you, Mr. and Mrs. Middle America, do not support.  They have a point. The right wants to go much farther down the road to privatization than the media voter.  But that doesn't matter right now.  The important thing is how far down the road to socialized medicine the left wants to go because they are the ones that are writing the bill.  Even reasonable proposals that would do no great harm in themselves might reasonably be opposed by someone that does not want to go as far toward governmental decision making over private decision making as does the left. Rachel tries to do to Armey (and fairly enough as far as I am concerned) that the public has been doing to the Obama administration. 

Daschle defends the public option by pointing out that only 6% chose medicare part D.  But people chose Medicare Part D individually from a national market.  People get their private health care from their employer and from a state market. 

"Comparative effectiveness" has become a slippery term.  Comparative effectiveness covers everything from comparing two highly similar drugs for the identical condition to comparing the social welfare benefits of preventative measures early in life to surgical interventions late in life.

It is not a debate about finding a way to pull the plug on Granny, it is a debate about getting Granny to just take her pain pills instead of getting that expensive hip replacement.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Steyn: the national treasure

Steyn nails the problem with Obama care, again.

Great point about the difference between life expectancy at birth and life expectancy calculated from other points in the life span.  Why is our life-expectancy so low if we spend so much?  Well, for one thing, we have high infant mortality rate that has little to do with medical care.  Moreover, if you measure life expectancy from higher ages we start moving ahead till we have left pretty much everyone but the Singaporeans behind.  And the Singaporeans have private health savings accounts--crazy right wing nutters. 

cut down on the reductio ad Hitlerum

David Gerson reminds us that over-using the Nazi taunt is not hurting our enemies but is helping the Nazis.

Update: Evan Maloney has a nice post on the hypocrisy of the Bushitler left on the issue of reductio Hitlerum arguments and advocacy of political violence. No one seemed to have a problem with posters of a bullet ridden Bush in the mass media...

Scandal "Exposed"?

Navarrette exposes the real reason that Rove was concerned about voter fraud in New Mexico: illegal immigrants voting.  Am I missing something?  How is that a scandal?  Isn't an illegal immigrant voting, like, fraud?

Real Incentives

Scott Gottlieb references work in this article that shows something surprising: it turns out that the US has the lowest out of pocket costs for medical care as a percentage of medical spending of all but four other developed countries.  This may be part of the reason that our incentives to control costs are so out of wack. It is surprising given that you always think of the US as the raw capitalism model, but this is also in part driven by the fact that our overall expenses are so high.  A higher absolute amount may be a smaller proportion.  Our employer based insurance model plus medicare/caid (which has interestingly had declining co-pays over the last couple of decades) can give us the worst of both worlds it seems.

Republicans win by being true to their principles, Democrats by hiding them

Michael Barone brings out an interesting point that has a bearing on the contemporary political debate:

"THERE are more conserva tives than Republicans and more Democrats than liberals...In the 2008 exit poll, 34 percent of voters described themselves as conservatives and 32 percent as Republicans; 39 percent described themselves as Democrats, only 22 percent as liberals."

He concludes that democrats win on party ID, Republicans on ideology.  Another way of saying that is that Republicans lose by failing to live up to their principles, Democrats by revealing them.  That is what has happened to Obama: he ran as a moderate but governed--if that is the word for the teleprompter idol's 6 months service as Pelosi's auto-pen--as a liberal and now people are on to him.  They know his answers sound good when they first hear them but know that when the goods arrive they will be something other than what they expected.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Montana Governor follow up on Obama

Governor makes the argument that we can pay for Obama-care by finding savings by making the argument that we are already paying for them in emergency room care.  Now if they are already getting care doesn't that kind of dial down on the moral urgency of drastically overhauling the system? 

The "Wide Open" Town Hall on Obama-care

Obama is on now. He is doing his initial talk and unctuously going on about how he wants to have a civil dialogue, a “civil” dialogue. “That is what democracy is about.” Now this is rich given that the Obamanoids wanted to have this all done and passed before the August break and has passed bills out of committee before the members of the committee had read them, before they had been printed.

Now he is giving his reasons: preventing insurance companies from dropping people after they get sick. He has some nice anecdotes. Who could disagree? Then again, even his number of 20,000 a year unjustly dropped does not seem a reason for a government takeover and a trillion dollar plan.

Then there is the discrimination against people with pre-existing conditions and caps on coverage. Well, insurance companies are not dead set against the pre-existing conditions reform as long as the burden is spread evenly among them. After all, insurance for a pre-existing condition is not insurance. And an end to caps is simply making it illegal to buy a cheaper policy. It is like ending the evil practice of selling non-Cadallacs. Moreover, isn’t it an argument for making the insurance market national? I should think that the regulations that make these practices possible are based on state laws?

Then he says that all of this has to be done because otherwise costs will spin out of control. And how does this happen? Why experts will get rid of care that you don’t need.

He makes the argument that we have an inefficient system because we pay more and yet we are not healthier than people in other industrialized countries. He proposes a uniquely American solution (though from his remarks it is clear that he would prefer a single payer system but those poor gun/religion clingers are too attached to their employer based health system), which has the advantage of being able to deflect any criticism based on bad outcomes in those countries by saying “Well, that is not what we are proposing.” It is like Communism—the countries where it was actually tried are never really communism.

Now he is brining back the 70s: pay hospitals for outcomes, not procedures. It is an incentive to get the procedure right the first time, it is also an incentive to make sure that the really sick people go to another hospital. And is it really the case that a major driver of cost inflation in the system is hospitals botching things to increase their bottom line?

Now his Oneness proposes that they will save money by instead of doing 5 tests doing one test and emailing the results to 5 specialists. Email? Thanks, Your Oneness. And thank you Al for inventing the internet too.

Quite interesting that he often bases his arguments on incentives and yet proposes more government command and control.

NRA guy asks a good question. Where are you going to get the money?

Obama cops to 80-90 billion a year cost for insuring 47 million but claims that he can get 2/3s from the evil insurance companies who are making record corporate profits (applause), or “wastes and inefficiencies.” The remainder will come from simply decreasing the rate of deductions for those making over 250,000 grand from 37% to 28%.

He gets a lot of applause on purely partisan remarks. That seems to be an indication that this is not a random draw even of a state like Montana that is tending Democratic.

NGO type begins by thanking Obama for the stimulus money that He gave her. It is not his money.

Question is about COBRA and portability. It seems that his argument for portability is really John McCain’s.

Wants to create an exchange to help small businesses. Isn’t that an argument for letting people buy insurance nationally rather than within their state?

Describes the public option as simply another option that may be better because it has no profit motive or lower overhead. Obama accepts that the public option would possibly drive out private insurance if it were subsidized but that it is not going to be subsidized. Well, fair enough, but if it is not subsidized what is the point? How is it different from the many non-profit insurance companies out there now?

Guy points out that medicare/caid are already under reimbursing the costs of hospitals. Now this raises the point that if they are already under paying how much more money is there to be saved? Obama answers the question very well pivoting to the point that you are already paying for the uninsured.

Small business woman’s question. Obama brings up the exchange.

I find this boy-girl thing a bit tedious.

Guy who sells insurance asks a question. Gutsy guy. “My intent is not to vilify private insurance companies, if that were my intent we wouldn’t be proposing to keep them.” (missed something) I am not anti-insurance—we after all allow them to exist.

Makes a really cleaver (and fallacious, I suspect) argument that he is doing insurance reform and expanding coverage at the same time is that the reason companies are unwilling to change some of these practices is that they are not large enough.

This is the first time I have ever been impressed by Obama. He seems to be able to answer succinctly when he gets a good, challenging question. Was this there all the time or was it something that adversity has brought out in the man? What ever else you can say the man is confident.

I think that he does great at this but I think for a lot of people a point has been passed. They have decided that he is a good talker and that if what he says seems to make sense at the moment there is always some clause or definition or fine print that you aren’t catching but that will come out once he has want he wants.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

But I thought they were evil?

The new add campaign supporting Obama care is going to be bankrolled by.....PhRMA, the lobbying group for Pharmaceutical companies.  Now, pay attention children.  When the pharmaceutical companies give money to Republicans it is proof that they are evil, when they support Obama it is proof that his oneness is a moderate centrist. 

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

Dazed and Confused beats Focused and Wrong

The President seems to have defeated his own health care proposals.  The polls have turned decidedly against him on the issue.  Moreover, this has happened in spite of Obama having coopted the actors that took down the Clinton administration's proposals and obsequious cheer leading by the press.  The tide was turned bloggers and wonks, working below the radar.

Standing up to terrorists

So it turns out that the aid to Gaza will go through Hamas after all. Seems they are willing to kill and the compassion mongers at the UN are not so, law or no law, Hamas calls the tune.  I wonder how we could have seen this coming?

At least he is the one on his knees this time

Clinton (the rapist, not the secretary of state) is in North Korea on a "purely private mission," to secure the release of the two Americans being held there.  Bolton makes the good point that this is truly an act of state terrorism, even if it was done through the law and throug