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The Party of Cruelty

     It was amusing to see the Republican party inveigh against health insurance reform as if they were a synod of Presbyterian necromancers girding the nation for a takeover by the spawn of hell.  This was the same gang, by the way, who championed the Medicare Prescription Drug Improvement and Modernization Act of 2003, then regarded as the most reckless giveaway of public funds in human history. Along the way, they enlisted an army of nay-sayers representing everything dark, disgraceful, and ignorant in the American character. If the Republicans keep going this way, they’ll end up with something worse than Naziism: a party that hates everything but believes in absolutely nothing.
     The most striking elements of so-called health care in America these days is how cruel and unjust it is, and in taking a stand against reforming it the Republican party appeared to be firmly in support of cruelty and injustice. This would be well within the historical tradition of other religious crusades which turned political — such as the Spanish Inquisition and the seventeenth century war against witchcraft. Whatever else the Democratic party has stood for in recent history, it has tended to oppose institutional cruelty and injustice, and notice that it has also been the party for keeping religion out of government.
     Now a health care reform act has passed and there’s some reason to hope that insurance companies will be prevented from doing things like canceling the coverage of policy-holders who have the impertinence to actually get sick, which has been their main device for revenue enhancement, and we’ll see how they cope with the idea that being alive in a treacherous world is the fundamental pre-existing condition.
     I surely don’t know if the nation can afford to pay for what this law requires, but then can we really afford to pay for anything? — including the salaries, retirement benefits, and health insurance of congressmen, not to mention two wars, bailout life support for banks, rising unemployment benefits, shovel-ready stimulus projects, et cetera, blah blah?  Probably not.
     My guess is that the health care “industry” will unravel in the years ahead under the weight of its own hypercomplexity just as all the other hypercomplex systems of normal American life (such as it is) groan and collapse under their own unworkable immensities — and I speak here of industrial-style farming, Big Box “consumerism,” Happy Motoring, too-big-to-fail finance, centralized public education, and the pension racket. All the activities of daily life in this country have poor prospects for continuing in their current form.
     At least this once a workable majority in the government has stood up to the forces of cruelty and injustice, and whatever else happens to us in the course of this long emergency, it will be a good thing if the party of fairness and justice identifies its adversaries for what they are: not “partners in governing,” or any such academical-therapeutic bullshit, but enemies of every generous impulse in the national character.
     I hope that Mr. Obama’s party can carry this message clearly into the electoral battles ahead, painting the Republican opposition for what it is: a gang of hypocritical, pietistic sadists, seeking pleasure in the suffering of others while pretending to be Christians, devoid of sympathy, empathy, or any inclination to simple human kindness, constant breakers of the Golden Rule, enemies of the common good.  In fact, the current edition of the Republican party has achieved something really memorable in the annals of collective bad intentions: they have managed to create a sense of the public interest whose main goal is the destruction of the public interest.
      This is exactly what the Republican majority on the Supreme Court did earlier this year by deciding that corporations — which are sociopathic by definition in being answerable only to their shareholders and nothing else — should enjoy the same full privileges in election campaign contributions as human persons, who are assumed to have obligations, duties, and responsibilities to the common good (and therefore to the public interest). This shameful act by the court majority only underscores the chief defining characteristic of Republicans in their current incarnation: an inability to think. And so, naturally Republicans gravitate toward superstition and the traditional devices of improvident religious authorities — persecution of the weak, torture, denial of due process, and dogmas designed to spread hatred.
     I hope the American public begins to understand this, because they have been manipulated in their own pain and hardship by these dark forces, and their thrall to the likes of John Boehner, Sarah Palin, Glenn Beck, Rush, Hannity, and the rest of these vicious morons could easily increase as their economic hardships deepen. We’re facing a comprehensive contraction of wealth and economy that is going to challenge every shared virtue in our national soul, and we’re not going to meet these difficulties successfully without a sense of mutual obligation and sympathy for each other. The Republican party is just itching to turn a giant thumbscrew on the US public — that is, before they try to start burning their enemies at the stake.  We understand that the Health Care Reform Act is a first stand against that.

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About James Howard Kunstler

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James Howard Kunstler is the author of many books including (non-fiction) The Geography of Nowhere, The City in Mind: Notes on the Urban Condition, Home from Nowhere, The Long Emergency and the four-book series of World Made By Hand novels, set in a post economic crash American future. His most recent book is Living in the Long Emergency; Global Crisis, the Failure of the Futurists, and the Early Adapters Who Are Showing Us the Way Forward. Jim lives on a homestead in Washington County, New. York, where he tends his garden and communes with his chickens.

158 Responses to “The Party of Cruelty”

  1. Joe March 22, 2010 at 9:23 am #


  2. GoldSubject March 22, 2010 at 9:27 am #

    Denial is pervasive in the USA; the establishment is simply unwilling to tell the American people the truth:

  3. Al Klein March 22, 2010 at 9:28 am #

    I’d like to believe that the Health Care Bill is a real reform and real progress, but who knows? I guess the proof of the pudding is in the eating. Personally, I would prefer a pure public system.

  4. Chris Lawrence March 22, 2010 at 9:31 am #

    This is not true universal health care, many people are still excluded. In any real solution, citizens should not have to even know what medical insurance is.
    As for cost, here in Canada, health care actually costs less than in the US, per capita. This should be obvious, you are eliminating the middleman, which reduces costs. All this talk about health care being too expensive is a load of bull. Hell, Cuba provides better health care than the US, and they are a very poor country.

  5. Freedom Guerrilla March 22, 2010 at 9:33 am #

    I saw late last night that the Health Care Bill passed, and was extraordinarily unaffected. It doesn’t matter. When we live a life of exponents, all this legislation amounts to is another input of the equation. No surprises there.
    We haven’t really paid for anything in years, so what does another layer do except solidify the concrete shoes before we take a dive into the Hudson River?
    One last thought: this isn’t really a health care plan more than a health insurance mandate plan. Not the same thing. I won’t claim to be an expert because, like most who passed it, I didn’t read the whole 2500+ pages.
    Good luck, All.

  6. Lynn Shwadchuck March 22, 2010 at 9:33 am #

    I heard from a local doctor yesterday, who talks about post-carbon health care. It was an amazing thing to hear a mainstream medical professional take the side of nurse practitioners, midwives, traditional Chinese medicine, naturopaths, and other competitors for his job. He’s collecting old manuals on how to be an emergency doctor in the bush. He believes that the coming collapse of the financial system will force people to do some prioritizing with unhelpful medical testing, for one thing. From my side, now is a good time to take charge of our health by getting real with what we eat.
    Diet for a small footprint and a small grocery bill

  7. martyr13 March 22, 2010 at 9:38 am #

    Is it me, or is JHK much less interesting when he has a liberal penis in his mouth?

  8. Andrew MacDonald March 22, 2010 at 9:38 am #

    That sense of “mutual obligation and sympathy for each other” is best cultivated and practiced close to home, with actual neighbors. But our national life so often bypasses this as we drive somewhere else – or watch it all on TV.
    Local is where we’ll work out our problems, on the ground. It is going to be challenging, more than we know, but it will include much bracing reality, new community. It’ll at least be real!
    Since we’re going there anyway . . .

  9. nothing March 22, 2010 at 9:44 am #

    Jim: The sensible rats are leaving the ship. The even more sensible rats declined to embark in the first place.
    But most of us rats are stuck on board for the long passage to Who Knows Where. We can only protect ourselves as best we can. For those still awake, there are some tips on using the lifeboats at http://www.thenothingstore.com

  10. suburbanempire March 22, 2010 at 9:46 am #

    Damn fine piece of writing…. perhaps your best “Clusterfuck” ever!

  11. ShabbaRanks March 22, 2010 at 9:49 am #

    A superior retort to the continuing rhetoric of fear emanating from the right. It would be an interesting exercise to examine the impact of peak oil on health care provision, specifically on the cost of delivery, impact on labor costs, materials costs etc. Anybody got any idea out there?
    By the way, Cuba’s health care system sucks. It looks like what America’s system could like like post-peak.

  12. Kickaha March 22, 2010 at 9:51 am #

    Interesting how the humor of liberals gets more biting, cathartic, and lucid the angrier they get. Conservatives, on the other hand, simply become more vulgar and meaner.
    JK can put this week’s offering on the mantlepiece as something he can really be proud of.

  13. wardoc March 22, 2010 at 9:57 am #

    Wake up Jim; Wake up people. The bill that just passed is virtually identical (I see maybe 25 words that are different) to the “model health care bill” that was written by the AHIP, the insurance company trade association, and submitted to the house and senate leadership in 2009. Think that through, it was written by the insurance companies via their trade association. DING DONG!!! What does that tell you?
    Many heads need to be pulled from many asses on this one.
    What we have just witnessed is yet another Kabuki theatre presentation wherein the peasant masses are subjected to the cruel hoax that democrats and republics are fundamentally different and, HA !!!, serve different masters. Its all theater for us peasants, so we won’t figure out what’s really going on, i.e. being tricked into being ass raped by corporations who are supported, defended and protected by both Ds and Rs.
    The distraction, confusion, and trickery worked really well this time; they even fooled the likes of James Kunstler. So sad!!!
    WAKE UP !!!!

  14. CowboyJack March 22, 2010 at 10:03 am #

    I knew you folks would be reveling in your “historic victory” this morning.
    Only thing is, you, Jim, have it all wrong. It is the Dems who are turning “a giant thumbscrew on the US public” and who are already “burning their enemies at the stake”.
    Apparently you, like most of those who voted for it, either don’t know what is in that bill or don’t understand its ramifications.
    I thank goodness the Republicans stayed away from this garbage. The only fingerprints on this crap are Democrats. When the true “costs” and “benifits” of this fiasco are finally recognized only one party will be responsible.
    Also, may I remind everyone of this, James Howard Kunstler wrote on blog titled Winter Mind Games, end of third paragraph, dated March 1, 2010, found here: http://kunstler.com/blog/2010/03/winter-mind-games.html or in the archives on his website.
    “I kept wishing that President Obama would reach under the table for a fungo bat every time the miserable Mr. Boehner opened his Midwestern pie-hole to drone out a new lie, and split his fucking head open like a Crenshaw melon …..”
    Now can someone please remind me which side it is that is filled with hate and cruelty?
    “It’s a Long Road Out of Eden”
    The Eagles

  15. Lynn Shwadchuck March 22, 2010 at 10:04 am #

    ShabbaRanks, here’s the doctor I spoke to yesterday, with the answer to your question. http://tinyurl.com/y9jkzpf

  16. LaughingAsRomeWasBurningDown March 22, 2010 at 10:04 am #

    Pretty good today, JHK, I’m not going to mention you not even getting through the first paragraph without breaking Godwin’s Law…
    Thanks to whomever here recommended Erich Fromm’s Escape From Freedom a few weeks back, worthwhile reading for all residents of the CFN.

  17. Smokyjoe March 22, 2010 at 10:10 am #

    All today’s GOP (Gun Nuts, Old White Folks, Puritans) needs now is some Corn Pone.
    How I miss the party of Nixon. I never thought I’d say that. He was a ruthless bastard and his svengali, Henry Kissinger, was a war criminal, but at least they paired ruthlessness with a tragic and correct view of human intentions and destiny. It took ruthless and pessimistic men to start the EPA, open to China, and bomb North Vietnam back to the negotiating table.
    Beware the optimists…they give you theocracy on the right and appeasement on the left. I’m just glad to see the GOP lose something; their evil star has again been on the rise, given Dem-dithering.
    I fear for Obama’s safety, however; the forces unleashed by the largely harmless Tea-Party loonies are going to bubble up a few McVeighs in times to come. If so, we can thank Palin, Beck, Limbaugh, and other demagogues for whipping any emergent maniacs into violence.
    And when the gas prices hit $4 again, all bets are off.

  18. asoka March 22, 2010 at 10:16 am #

    JHK said: “I surely don’t know if the nation can afford to pay for what this law requires…”
    Is this willful ignorance of the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) scoring? This law will REDUCE THE DEFICIT… it pays for itself through a larger insurance pool and increases in efficiency of health care delivery.
    That’s why they have a CBO, to make damn sure it pays for itself, does not increase taxes, does not increase the deficit, etc.
    In this case the new law actually pays citizens, by closing the doughnut hole, etc.!

  19. martyr13 March 22, 2010 at 10:21 am #


  20. TheTruth March 22, 2010 at 10:21 am #

    How many of the 32 million who can’t afford health insurance drive big suvs with fat payment books and have big screen tvs in their homes? So now we add a new entitlement to Medicaid and Medicare that we can not currently afford. This reform moves us closer the centrally controlled bureaucracy that Mr. Kunstler typically rails against. What a hypocrite. Your “Long Emergency” will require a lot more personal responsibility, not less.

  21. asoka March 22, 2010 at 10:23 am #

    Here is David Frum’s take (he was a speech writer for George W. Bush)

    Conservatives and Republicans today suffered their most crushing legislative defeat since the 1960s.
    It’s hard to exaggerate the magnitude of the disaster. Conservatives may cheer themselves that they’ll compensate for today’s expected vote with a big win in the November 2010 elections. […]
    No illusions please: This bill will not be repealed. Even if Republicans scored a 1994 style landslide in November, how many votes could we muster to re-open the “doughnut hole” and charge seniors more for prescription drugs? How many votes to re-allow insurers to rescind policies when they discover a pre-existing condition? How many votes to banish 25 year olds from their parents’ insurance coverage? And even if the votes were there – would President Obama sign such a repeal?
    We followed the most radical voices in the party and the movement, and they led us to abject and irreversible defeat. […]
    So today’s defeat for free-market economics and Republican values is a huge win for the conservative entertainment industry. Their listeners and viewers will now be even more enraged, even more frustrated, even more disappointed in everybody except the responsibility-free talkers on television and radio. For them, it’s mission accomplished. For the cause they purport to represent, it’s Waterloo all right: ours.

  22. The Mook March 22, 2010 at 10:27 am #

    Your right. It is as predictable as watching Bill Maher. Only Bill cries when someone such as Alec Baldwin catches him with his guard down. The other week it was the ultimate liberal fest. Sean Penn was trying to explain the trouble in Haiti but was so stoned he didn’t make any sense whatsoever. Maher would have bashed a conservative or a non-stoner but instead he just pretended they were sitting around the bong saying “heavy man”. I am no conservative by any means, but these liberal know-it-alls are just as bad.

  23. Qshtik March 22, 2010 at 10:28 am #

    From Asoka’s 2:19AM post regarding the prior JHK essay:
    Linda Zhou, Alice Wei Zhao, Lori Ying, ..etc …etc …..etc ………… and Namrata Anand.
    I expect Vlad will be quick to note that in this long list of bright kids’ names (shortened by me to spare the reader) there is not one Leroy Jones and not one Jose Rodriguez.

  24. asoka March 22, 2010 at 10:32 am #

    Qshtik said: “there is not one Leroy Jones and not one Jose Rodriguez.”
    And not one John Smith, not one Susan Johnson.

  25. Kenny March 22, 2010 at 10:33 am #

    I fear that Wardoc and cowboyjack have it closer to right. I see for me a new government imposed bill I neither want or need and I will be punished if I don’t participate. It was this sort of government imposition I recall that led to the first revolution. My ancestors fought in that one and I’ll be damned if it doesn’t look like I’ll be throwing down in the one that’s right around the corner. I’m pissed about it too.

  26. fugeguy March 22, 2010 at 10:33 am #

    The role for government here was to regulate things like the dropping of sick people or for pre-existing conditions, portability and to open up the marketplace to give more choices and prevent monopolies.
    The other choice is a power grab for a large portion of the US economy.
    The answer is always B with these scum bags.

  27. bossier22 March 22, 2010 at 10:36 am #

    although i believe our health care system needs reform, i do not think cuba or canada have a better system. i have a pre-existing condition myself and i do not want to wait in line behind someone who has been on welfare for three generations nor someone who just came across the border illegally. the reason for the percieved shortage of care is increasing population. mostly nonproducers

  28. asoka March 22, 2010 at 10:37 am #

    “I will be punished if I don’t participate. It was this sort of government imposition I recall that led to the first revolution.”
    Don’t forget to stop by the Dept. of Motor Vehicles on your way to the revolution.
    How has DMV gotten away with forcing participation by requiring licenses to drive and forcing people to buy insurance?
    You need to chill, Kenny.

  29. empirestatebuilding March 22, 2010 at 10:39 am #

    Excellent column today. Really hit the nail on the head.
    I lost my power last week for four days due to the freak wind storm that blew through New York and New Jersey. I got a small taste of what it might be like in the days ahead. I wrote about it on my blog at http://www.aimlow.com

  30. Iron_Irv March 22, 2010 at 10:43 am #

    Great commentary, I just would like to make one point.
    Most corporations are in practice not accountible to shareholders but the board of directors who are nothing but insider flunkies for the CEO. By various devices shareholders have been disenfranchised.
    Most big shareholder groups like the mutual funds, insurance companies etc. are run by the
    same group of insiders. This group of insiders all sit on each others boards and get fat checks to attend a few meetings a year to rubberstamp the CEOs big bonus. Its one big circle jerk and
    guess who is getting jerked. Now even the supreme court is in the act with its recent ruling.
    Forget financial reform, until this circle is broken (and I wouldnt hold my breath)we are all screwed.

  31. Kenny March 22, 2010 at 10:44 am #

    Thanks asoka but I’m not unaware of the other cruel jokes, just trying to stay focused on this one. I’m sure a great many folks, scared of conflict, gave George Washington the advice to chill. Instead, he raised an army and did it his way.

  32. Dark Fired Tobacco March 22, 2010 at 10:50 am #

    I thought this was a forum about resource scarcity. Apparently, it is another mouthpiece for the Democratic Party and their compassionate hatred for anyone with ideas different than their own.
    I can get the same stuff on any cable or broadcast news network, at church, and in my local paper. Why not just shorten the pipeline and have the federal government provide health care directly? There will be two levels of care, of course, one for the economic elite (of both political parties) and one for the rest of us.
    Meanwhile, true unemployment and underemployment is 20 percent or more. Where are all the stories about the real suffering going on in this country? Where did the trillion dollar stimulus go? Could it be that big government failed at something?
    We are only a few short years away from the breaking of every social contract, from Social Security and Medicare to the notion that “studying hard, going to school, and getting a degree” will actually provide a quality future. Once those contracts are gone, including this new one, each person will be authorized, not entitled, to whatever the federal government deems he or she should have. For most of us over 50, it will be a bleak final few decades. For those 50 and under, it will be a whole new world.
    A bright and forward-thinking writer wrote a novel about such a time. I wonder what happened to him?

  33. Jim E. March 22, 2010 at 10:51 am #

    There will never be enough resources to give all Americans great health care. You should be the first to understand this.
    So Republicans are cruel Inquisitors? Perhaps most of the opposition sees the unintended consequences and the folly of idealism. If your arguement isn’t rational then demonizing is the next line of action. Please Jim, give us your rational side.

  34. Onthego March 22, 2010 at 10:52 am #

    Speaking of “sociopathic by definition” corporations (and their questionable personhood), it should come as no surprise to anyone that this morning’s paper tells us stockholders are now seeking some answers of their own. Toyota is facing class-action lawsuits by shareholders claiming the company misled them. As if it weren’t bad enough to have the CEOs and high management muckymucks of companies raping and pillaging in the name of shareholders, now the shareholders are turning on their own creations. Dr. Frankenstein would be so proud of these rampaging villagers! Is this how “justice” will be meted out in the white-collar world?

  35. Cash March 22, 2010 at 10:53 am #

    Nixon was an asshole but as you say he did have some real accomplishments. He extracted the US from Vietnam. That whole thing seemed like it would never end.

  36. DeeJones March 22, 2010 at 10:58 am #

    Gee, what kind of insurance do you have anyway? Don’t you already have lines to wait in? We had Kaiser in Cal. Waits, appointments to get appointments to see the Dr.
    Nothing is going to change, nothing is going to get any better.
    Oh, but wait for it: You are now going to be REQUIRED to buy private heatlh insurance.
    Um, with what? I could barely afford the health insurance offered by my former employer with him kicking in half. Oh, wait, you’ll get some kind of tax credit….yeah, like that will really help.
    Anyway, I have left the US and moved to a county that abolished the army and has universal health-care for every citizen & legal, permanent resident. And its cheap, and the lines and wait are no worse than I had to deal with Kaiser in Nor Cal. I will pay less per year than I would have paid per month in Cal. And CR has some of the best trained DR’s too.
    If only the US could do the same.
    Oh, how would that benefit the shareholders? Stupid me, can’t cut the shareholders benefits.
    P.S. Asoka, left you a reply at the end of last weeks thread.

  37. Consultant March 22, 2010 at 10:59 am #

    One of your best comments. Thanks for saying this:
    “At least this once a workable majority in the government has stood up to the forces of cruelty and injustice, and whatever else happens to us in the course of this long emergency, it will be a good thing if the party of fairness and justice identifies its adversaries for what they are: not “partners in governing,” or any such academical-therapeutic bullshit, but enemies of every generous impulse in the national character.
    I hope that Mr. Obama’s party can carry this message clearly into the electoral battles ahead, painting the Republican opposition for what it is: a gang of hypocritical, pietistic sadists, seeking pleasure in the suffering of others while pretending to be Christians, devoid of sympathy, empathy, or any inclination to simple human kindness, constant breakers of the Golden Rule, enemies of the common good.”

  38. Consultant March 22, 2010 at 11:02 am #

    If you don’t like health care, don’t buy it.
    Get sick and do us all a favor and go off to some secluded spot and die!
    That’s what you’re asking everyone else to do. Right?

  39. J Lee March 22, 2010 at 11:03 am #

    The comparative costs for health care per person per year are: USA $7500, Canada $4800, France $3800, Japan $ 2500. And the health outcomes as measured by longevity, disabilities, birth deaths is worse in the USA than in those countries (in fact 38th in the world!). And the cost in the USA is now going up by $3000 per person thanks to Obama and crew. So we are going to be spending close to $10000 per person for worse results. And we call this success? What would be your definition of a failed policy?

  40. asoka March 22, 2010 at 11:09 am #

    Kenny said: “I’m sure a great many folks, scared of conflict, gave George Washington the advice to chill. Instead, he raised an army and did it his way.”
    Are you happy with the results?

  41. Jeff March 22, 2010 at 11:10 am #

    I take no basic issue with your depiction of Republicans on this one. The common thread of their domestic policy for the last eighty some-odd years has been a slavish devotion to the cruelest form of social Darwinism.
    But your main argument is self-contradictory. Why would you support a solution which has as its central design feature a consumer mandate which forces 30 million uninsureds into the private market run by “sociopathic” corporate insurers? Aren’t the government subsidies necessary to accomplish this just yet another give away to the financial sector?
    Do you really think taking the clearly dysfunctional markets for insurance, medical services and prescription drugs and making them larger is the solution? Wall St. evidently likes it, judging by the bump in those industries’ stock prices last week.
    But as a solution, this seems to follow the maxim supposedly coined by Eisenhower: “If you have a problem too small to solve, make it bigger.”
    Unfortunately, I don’t think any sane person could have looked at the health care system and concluded that its defining characteristic as a problem was that it was too small.

  42. Cash March 22, 2010 at 11:14 am #

    Biggest lie going is that shareholders are the owners of the company. If ownership means anything tangible it means the right of use and possession. So what exactly do shareholders use and possess? IMO nothing except the shares which give shareholders certain rights but nothing like ownership of the company. IMO to talk about ownership of a company is meaningless. The activities of a company can be directed like those of an employee but nobody owns a company any more than anyone owns an employee.
    Unless shareholders are being paid big fat dividends I find it hard to figure out what shareholding is all about. Capital gains? Do you really want to let the big swinging Wall Street dicks have at you? In ten years the Dow has gone nowhere, in real terms it’s down about 25%, the NASDAQ is down 50%, in real terms even more. The investor is a minnow in a shark tank. Investor money is there to be flenced by Wall Street money men like blubber off a whale.

  43. asoka March 22, 2010 at 11:22 am #

    Here are ten benefits which come online within six months of the President’s signature on the health care bill:
    1. Adult children may remain as dependents on their parents’ policy until their 27th birthday
    2. Children under age 19 may not be excluded for pre-existing conditions
    3. No more lifetime or annual caps on coverage
    4. Free preventative care for all
    5. Adults with pre-existing conditions may buy into a national high-risk pool until the exchanges come online. While these will not be cheap, they’re still better than total exclusion and get some benefit from a wider pool of insureds.
    6. Small businesses will be entitled to a tax credit for 2009 and 2010, which could be as much as 50% of what they pay for employees’ health insurance.
    7. The “donut hole” closes for Medicare patients, making prescription medications more affordable for seniors.
    8. Requirement that all insurers must post their balance sheets on the Internet and fully disclose administrative costs, executive compensation packages, and benefit payments.
    9. Authorizes early funding of community health centers in all 50 states (Bernie Sanders’ amendment). Community health centers provide primary, dental and vision services to people in the community, based on a sliding scale for payment according to ability to pay.
    10. AND no more rescissions. Effective immediately, you can’t lose your insurance because you get sick.
    In many communities – half-rural and half-suburb — community health centers will receive funding to provide health and preventive services to people with no access right now. And that’s just one benefit. They’re all valuable.

  44. gantech March 22, 2010 at 11:31 am #

    As a physician, I know all too well our system isn’t perfect. (and when oh when will big pharma stop those incessant commercials!)My best bud Jaime developed lymphoma last year and part of his treatment leading to complete remission was a proton beam radiation therapy machine. This machine cost one billion dollars. Entrepreneurship got it rolling . Profit motivated its creation. Is there one in GB Canada or Cuba ?? NO. I want less government in every way. Of course who am I ?
    Just another Joe pulling the wagon and not riding on it.

  45. Grouchy Old Girl March 22, 2010 at 11:34 am #

    You guys watched way too many cowboy and indian movies when you were kids. That’s the only thing I figure would cause the romantic but twisted thinking behind the American mindset. Rugged individualism is one thing, but aren’t you always going on about being Christian too?
    The concepts of the common good, and people looking after each other as described in the Golden Rule, seem to have been lost in the futile pursuit of the American dream.
    For people whose only worry is standing in line behind somebody on welfare to get medical care, I say grow the fuck up. Learn to wait your turn, and get over yourself.
    Yah, I know, it’s only shifting deck chairs on the Titanic, but the passage of this health care bill may just ease the lives of some of your people along the way down.
    I promise, as a Canadian, it really isn’t that bad to have health care. Honestly.

  46. asoka March 22, 2010 at 11:37 am #

    John Boehner, the Republican leader, said this is going to cause Armageddon…
    How long do we have before president Obama signs the bill? We could be in the end days.
    What will people do if the world does not come to an end? How will they vote in November? For the guys who falsely predicted Armageddon?

  47. lancemfoster March 22, 2010 at 11:39 am #

    The question I have for people that were fortunate enough, hardworking enough, shrewd enough, or manipulative enough to “get theirs” — if you don’t give a crap about the poor or less fortunate, about minimal needs for housing, food, or health, as fellow Americans, then by God why should they give a crap about what the well-off want? When you have nothing left to lose?
    The public welfare system isn’t just a safety net for the poor, it is a safety net for the rich as well.
    I see too little discussion these days about the basis for a civil society, which is the concept of the common good.
    For the last 20 years, we have seen efforts to put government, education, and the rest into a business model. You know, “well if I ran my own business the way the government is run…” blahblahblah. A business model is for business, not for a common good.
    I do agree we cannot continue to deficit spend, as Versailles almost bankrupted France and the Parthenon almost bankrupted Athens. There is a lot of corporate welfare that needs to go too.
    I agree with many that they should have ripped open the corruption in the government and the health care “industry” (it builds nothing). They should have brought down the costs and THEN opened up health care to more folks. But that would have been fought by their moneyed interests as well.
    Everybody’s blood is up and so there is not much use in arguing. As they say, you never change a man’s mind by arguing with him.
    I would like people to examine the concept of the Common Good in civil society again, in education and in the common welfare of one’s fellow Americans.
    I have ancestors who fought in WWII, in the Civil War, and in the Revolutionary War. I also have Native American ancestors who were here from the Ice Age. We had better try and find some common ground again, as Americans, if we want to keep America as the beautiful idea it was meant to be.

  48. pentro March 22, 2010 at 11:40 am #

    Jim, you used to be such a good writer. What happened? I used to enjoy your writing so much. I even paid money for it. Your Monday morning posts where delicious little capsules of gloom and doom, which I would savor.
    Now you seem to have lost your way. Did you just run out of material? Were events unfolding too slowly? What made you jump into the quicksand of partisan politics?
    Now you have added your voice to the din, only yours’ is even more strident and bombastic than the people you criticize. Maybe you don’t even see that. I’m glad we are separated by cyberspace, otherwise I would be wiping your spittle off of my face.
    Anyway, thanks for the good things you have done. Hope you find something worth writing about someday.

  49. asoka March 22, 2010 at 11:40 am #

    DeeJones, Maharishi Rushbo said if it passed he’s going to Costa Rica… are you ready?

  50. ozone March 22, 2010 at 11:41 am #

    “Many heads need to be pulled from many asses on this one.” -W.D.
    Nicely put; group-think must go, ya guess?
    “What we have just witnessed is yet another Kabuki theatre presentation wherein the peasant masses are subjected to the cruel hoax that democrats and republics are fundamentally different and, HA !!!, serve different masters. Its all theater for us peasants, so we won’t figure out what’s really going on, i.e. being tricked into being ass raped by corporations who are supported, defended and protected by both Ds and Rs.” -W.D.
    Yep! I think that “the need to chill” ought to be applied to this specific arena. Think awhile. Know yer f-n’ enemy people; otherwise you’ll be used, abused, and finally, thrown under the tank treads for the glory of the corn-pone nazis. (I do see a lot of folks leaning in this direction, and it will be a “Darwin Awards” moment for most of them. Sorry, that’s really what I see coming, so I would advise doing a bit of research while jumping the turnstile of entrenched prejudice. Tough to do? Sure, but mebbe essential?)
    BTW, I don’t see today’s commentary as applause for the do-nuthin’-dems; more of a skewering of lowest-common-denominator thinking that is the forte of the gop and their supremely foolish constituents. Short-sighted, or willfully ignorant? You decide…

  51. rockaway March 22, 2010 at 11:42 am #

    DISCLAIMER: I am not a Republican or a Democrat – please don’t interpret my comments as loyalty to one party or another.
    I continue to find the eagerness of Democrats to spend other people’s money for their own benefit under the banner of “fairness” and “justice” to be comical. I’ve been affected by the recession, but I don’t expect you to pay my bills.
    JHK has written volumes about what happens when people act as if there are no consequence for their actions. If you build suburbs and pretend that energy will always be abundant, you get 10 MPG Hummers and homes designed without regard for how much electricity may be required to keep mama cool in August. You get unmaintainable superhighways, and elementary schools with 2000 students, located so far from neighborhoods that nobody can or will walk to them. Now change the discussion to health care, but don’t forget about personal consequences.
    Today’s health mess is not the result of too little insurance, it’s the result of too much insurance. Let’s not forgot that American health care was not in crisis in the 1950’s or any of the years that Jim identifies as the Great American Years prior to WWII. If you got sick, you either took a home remedy, toughed it out, or went to the doctor. If you chose to visit the doctor, you paid the bill in cash or worked out payments with the doc. Going to the doctor was not something you did because you had a headache or a cough. The simpler life that JHK writes about isn’t just about walkable communities, it’s about personal responsibility, too.
    Doctors did not run seventeen tests on you. Abstracting the cost of medical care from the actual patients is why the system is broken. Do you honestly believe that any of us would agree to seventeen tests if we knew that we had to pay the bill? Do you think the docs would run the tests if they thought they wouldn’t get paid for them? No consequences has created a giant party for doctors over the last fifty years, and best thing to ever happen to Mercedes-Benz dealers.
    Today, a whole generation of people think it’s OK to go to the ER because they have a cold. And we don’t have the sense to look at them and say, “No, that’s not what this place is for. This place is for EMERGENCIES. You’re not bleeding, go home.” Guaranteeing insurance coverage for all won’t help this, it’s going to make it worse — 30 million more people who don’t care how much it costs for the health care product.
    We don’t care how much it costs for an office visit, because we have a $20 copay. We don’t care about the cost of the prescriptions, or a night in the hospital, etc. Should you be obligated to pay for my artificial heart, or prosthetic leg? What if I’m already eighty years old? When is the cost simply too much? Are you willing to put a gun to your neighbor’s head and demand that they pay for your elderly mother’s ICU care? Maybe so.
    I saw a doctor a couple of years ago and was given a prescription for a $200 antibiotic. Since I had a medical savings account instead of a modern PPO $20 copay plan, I balked at the price of the prescription. I asked the doctor what was the benefit of the $200 prescription versus the $10 antibiotic that was commonly available. He told me that the $200 drug was the latest technology, and that it was an improvement over the older drug because it could cure my illness in just two days instead of seven days. I told him I’d prefer the $10 drug. I was fine in a few days. The doctor was shocked that I even questioned the cost. THAT’S THE PROBLEM.
    Health insurance should NOT cover routine expenses. The responsible model is the HSA model. You’re covered for catastrophic illness, but you take care of day to day expenses yourself.
    These discussions sadly seem to come down to one side calling the other side names. Come on, Jim, you’re smarter than that. You know that Republicans are not “worse than Nazism”. That’s an awfully shrill attempt to shut up an opponent who might be trying to have a discussion based on reason, not emotion. I agree with your vision of a future that’s more local, where we grow more local food, and live in closer proximity to our neighbors, but articulating that vision is a long way from compelling someone to make that lifestyle choice.
    I live and work in the middle of a small town, and drive less than fifty miles per week. I made that choice because I agree with Jim’s vision of the future, and think he’s correct about the past. But today the majority of Americans live in the suburbs. That’s a “working majority” in JHK’s words. Should that majority have the right to compel the rest of us to pay to fill their Hummer’s gas tank? I’ve read your books, Jim, and think I know how you’d answer that call.
    Like it or not, there is no constitutionally guaranteed right to health care. I’m not sure why anybody thinks that is cruel or unjust. Our rights come from God, not our government, and while I agree that it’s appropriate to keep religion out of government, it’s undeniable that the founders established our system to protect individual liberty, not individual health. Sometimes I get sick, but it’s not your fault, and I don’t expect you to pay for my illness.
    There’s just no money to pay for all of this, a fact which you identified years ago. The current legislation will simply speed the nation’s march toward bankruptcy and default on its national debt. Then the long emergency really begins.

  52. Victoria March 22, 2010 at 11:45 am #

    Today’s vomit inducing polemic finally convinced me to comment. Suffice it to say that I despise both the Democrats and Republicans right now. Jim said, “We’re facing a comprehensive contraction of wealth and economy that is going to challenge every shared virtue in our national soul, and we’re not going to meet these difficulties successfully without a sense of mutual obligation and sympathy for each other.” Really? And this health care bill is going to fix that? Don’t think so. By the way, our family is living the reality that is the “comprehensive contraction of wealth and economy” having gone through 2 layoffs in the past 3 years, a halving of income, and the loss of our home to foreclosure (we took the emotion out of the decision, and decided that the home had become unaffordable as well as a depreciating asset – a no brainer, really). Please, no comments from the peanut gallery about personal responsibility. I am not bitter. Rather, I am breathless.
    And, since I’m not feeling very creative today and am pressed for time, I’ll just second what Dark Fired Tobacco posted.
    Lynn, I’ve visited your website. We’re currently transitioning to a very downscaled and self sufficient existence. And feeling a great sense of relief. Getting ready for that World Made by Hand.
    Asoka – point #4 of your post – free preventative care for all. Really? Free?

  53. paranoia_agent March 22, 2010 at 11:45 am #

    Im confused. For the past several years you have been hammering on the point that the descent into the Long Emergency is going to require a hardening of the national character, acceptance of a less comfortable and amenity filled standard of living, conviction and leadership from political leaders who must be honest with the people about what this country CAN and CANNOT afford as we enter a much less affluent period in our nation’s history. Yet in today’s CFN, you sing the praises of the Democrats for doing the opposite of all that. How on earth is a massive new entitlement promised by a government that, by your reckoning, is going to become less and less effectual in the coming years, to a nation of people already accustomed to consuming all the goods and services it wants and going recklessly into debt to pay for it, not continuing the the very worst tendencies which have nearly brought our country to economic ruin in the first place? Is not this a clear case of more “something for nothing” for a nation of “over-fed clowns”. And on that note, how do you recocile your criticism of Republican callousness and cruelty towards their fellow citizens with your own sneering contempt for a “nation of over-fed clowns”?

  54. lancemfoster March 22, 2010 at 11:45 am #

    If you can’t afford auto insurance, you can get rid of your car and stop driving.
    If you can’t afford this new health insurance….?

  55. lancemfoster March 22, 2010 at 11:49 am #

    It’s tough to get a job when “American” corporations have sent much of their manufacturing, engineering, etc. overseas.
    I know lots of people would like to be producers if they had a decent job. Flipping burgers and greeting Wal-Mart shoppers doesn’t pay much.

  56. Dennis Novak March 22, 2010 at 11:52 am #

    …it’s not just you. Sad to see such a brilliant mind clouded by partisan politics. Stop drinking the Kool Aid James!

  57. Qshtik March 22, 2010 at 11:53 am #

    “the Republican opposition … : a gang of hypocritical, pietistic sadists, seeking pleasure in the suffering of others while pretending to be Christians, devoid of sympathy, empathy, or any inclination to simple human kindness, constant breakers of the Golden Rule, enemies of the common good.”
    So, Mr Kunstler, if I interpret correctly, we shouldn’t expect that $100 donation to support us in the mid-term elections? — The Republican National Committee

  58. Cash March 22, 2010 at 11:55 am #

    You’re equating Canada and Cuba? HA!HA!HA!HA!HA!. You should get out more often.
    I live in Canada. Last year my wife had a laparoscopic right side hemicolectomy because of a circular, indented growth on her ascending colon. High grade dysplasia was what the biopsy revealed but a high risk the growth would become cancerous. So it was treated as cancer.
    From date of colonoscopy to date of surgery was 5 weeks. Five days in hospital. High grade dysplasia was the final diagnosis. Total cure.
    Fast, high tech, high quality care.
    Out of pocket cost to us? Zero dollars.
    Beat that.

  59. lancemfoster March 22, 2010 at 11:57 am #

    I agree with a of what you said, Rockaway, and this especially:
    “Health insurance should NOT cover routine expenses. The responsible model is the HSA model. You’re covered for catastrophic illness, but you take care of day to day expenses yourself.”

  60. Jim E. March 22, 2010 at 11:59 am #

    Thanks for taking the time to articulate your rational comment.

  61. Jim from Watkins Glen March 22, 2010 at 12:03 pm #

    Beautifully written, and on point. A former president described “us and them” this way: They measure our success by how well the richest are doing. We measure how well the neediest of us are doing. This reform is a step toward collective compassion, which is our only hope of taming the violence we will likely suffer in the coming turmoil.

  62. Loveandlight March 22, 2010 at 12:05 pm #

    Isn’t it lonely to be among the very few who get it because we’re not drinking one of the two accepted flavors of Kool-Aid, wardoc? Thanks for being the first commentor in this thread to clearly explain the situation. People on various forums are all perceiving this rancid slab of legislative sausage through the very thick gauze of their respective duckspeak/ doublethink scripts. As Darva Conger of very short-lived “Who Wants To Marry A Millionaire” infamy said in the wake of her “reality-show” debacle, “America is high school and the Internet is the bathroom wall.”

  63. lancemfoster March 22, 2010 at 12:05 pm #

    Yep, it was written by the health care industry– note no costs are brought down, they just are guaranteed more paying customers.
    The whole thing was plain as day, when Obama took the “single payer” plan off the table (true “socialized medicine” as in Canada etc.) and we were left being told that the “public option” was socialized medicine. Nope. Compare:
    In any case, I am utterly broke, and mainly try not to get hurt, and self-doctor things like the flu (learning more herbalism as well as using stuff like Theraflu which helps you get a night’s rest).
    I just don’t have any trust left in any of the parties because they are all bought and paid for. And people like the Tea Partiers, well I understand their frustration, but there seems to be a lack of reasoning ability in that camp.
    God Bless America, because we surely need it more than usual.

  64. mhelie March 22, 2010 at 12:07 pm #

    As it is the USA is undergoing a strange bankruptcy. Instead of government bonds collapsing, they are being kept artificially low while corporate bonds are rising above them!
    US government bonds fall below Warren Buffet bonds
    This is how the collapse of the government will play out, they will print money to keep a price floor on their bonds, while all other assets will rise in price into the stratosphere.

  65. david mathews March 22, 2010 at 12:09 pm #

    I watched two hours of Fox News last night and it was most enjoyable two hours of tv watching. Watching those fools cry, whine, moan and have a hissy fit was pure delight.
    It was as fun as watching the two months of President Obama angst which occurred on the The Oil Drum and other like-minded oil industry blogs following his election results.
    The Republican party really doesn’t need to exist any longer. It is already consuming itself with the TEA party and other extremists, racists, warmongers, polluters and fearmongers.
    I had to watch Fox News cry while their great cause against progress failed. All their lies and propaganda failed to accomplish its intended task.
    America really is in the 21st century now.
    As for myself, I only have enough time left to think about beauty:

  66. Nickelthrower March 22, 2010 at 12:10 pm #

    Let me see if I can break this down to its simplest level – survival. In order to survive I need water, shelter, food, sanitation and health care.
    If only the wealthy, with their FICTIONAL worthless currency can obtain those things then ALL BETS ARE OFF. Either we work together as a society to insure that all of its members are provided for or I’m going to be the first one coming through your door with an assault rifle to take whatever I want when it all falls apart.
    You guys are not gonna like the “every man for himself game”.
    Finally, I should thank the US tax payer for the years of specialized military training. Thanks Uncle Sam!

  67. lancemfoster March 22, 2010 at 12:13 pm #

    #4 and #9 look really valuable for folks like me. It has been years since I went to the dentist. And preventative care is the best use of your money.

  68. martyr13 March 22, 2010 at 12:13 pm #

    I do believe the right to not by healthcare has just been taken away from me, under punishment of law. Excuse me for not wanting my fellow Americans to decide what is in my best interest in regards to my own health. Have you seen these people? What the f do they know about being healthy?
    Unlike you, I don’t want people to go off and die somewhere, even if they do hold different political views about the role of government. I wish people had an effing clue about how to maintain a healthy lifestyle, but they don’t, and all the g.d. health insurance in the world is not going to change that.

  69. kateseconomy March 22, 2010 at 12:13 pm #

    Fantastic post JHK. It can’t help but feel — confirming, somehow — to have a writer such as you putting into words the way I’ve felt for years on end. The party of cruelty, indeed. It’s truly sickening.

  70. rockaway March 22, 2010 at 12:14 pm #

    Well, that was quick. Apparently there are at least a few who are willing to point a gun at their next door neighbor and take what doesn’t belong to them.
    My advice: take care of your own family, and I’ll take care of mine. And if you think you’ll scare me with your gun, think twice before coming through my door.

  71. insanity shelter March 22, 2010 at 12:14 pm #

    A flurry of news reports abound as President Obama puts on a full court press to pass legislation no one really wants except the President and those who have been bribed.
    Pay back time is November.
    end of message

  72. Stilba March 22, 2010 at 12:16 pm #

    Nobody’s mentioned the student loan legislation that was tagged onto this health care bill. For many young people, that may prove to be as important as the provisions of the main bill in terms of not “crippling” them with debt from the moment they walk out of school till the day they’re dead.
    Stress, depression, hopelessness and other sorts of spiritual sickness are epidemic in 20-30-somethings in this country. No doubt that will continue, generally, but alleviating the studentloan sickness may actually help a few — who knows?

  73. lancemfoster March 22, 2010 at 12:19 pm #

    Yep, you tell the truth Nickelthrower. We need to help each other out as a society. It’s been every man for himself -in an economic sense- for many years. Witness Wall Street. But they just want a rigged game. If they really want that “every man for himself” paradigm, well they are in for a rough time. It’s people with families, war buddies, close friends that will weather that storm best.

  74. martyr13 March 22, 2010 at 12:19 pm #

    …you can stop breathing.

  75. Shambles March 22, 2010 at 12:19 pm #

    Hmmm. . . getting more party political.
    I find it difficult to differentiate bewtween the two US parties, once they are in power. I see Obama as a great advertising campaign: a guy from nowhere who looked great and had the right ethnicity, so the world would trust him.
    so. . . I find the healthcare summit to be a political act, a way of painting the opposition into a corner.
    The end result is not viable. There’s no money for it. It changes nothing about the system.
    It all reminds me of Nixon’s “guns and butter” spending – social reforms at the same time as the Vietnam war. That lead to hyperinflation, I seem to recall.

  76. lancemfoster March 22, 2010 at 12:20 pm #

    Stilba, what about the student loan legislation? What does it say?

  77. lancemfoster March 22, 2010 at 12:21 pm #

    yeah, I thought as much

  78. lancemfoster March 22, 2010 at 12:23 pm #

    See, that’s why we need the common good. People’s hackles are already up. Neighbors need to learn about what it means to be a good neighbor. Band together, provide for the common defense. To counter Pogo: We have met the enemy and it is NOT us.

  79. rockaway March 22, 2010 at 12:35 pm #

    I agree.
    It’s the comments from the hysterical “give-me-what-I-want-or-I’ll-break-down-your-door” crowd that are odds with the idea of working toward the common good.
    The common good requires that citizens take personal responsibility. Sitting back and demanding personal benefits in the name of “the common good” is a recipe for social unrest.

  80. Desertrat March 22, 2010 at 12:37 pm #

    Even a cursory look at the legislative trail of the last several decades shows that the complexity of the cost and administrative aspects derived from federal actions. Now, the very group which caused the problems has claimed the ability to solve them.
    Hightly doubtful.
    In my dozen or so years of browsing around the Internet, I’ve seen far more vituperation from the liberal side of the spectrum than from the conservative. Far more emotion…
    The yowling about the evil insurance companies is wryly amusing. Investments in such as Ronald McDonald’s gutburger chain have been more remunerative than in health insurance corporations. After-tax profits around five percent are not exactly indicative of any rip-off as to unjustified income.

  81. Stone March 22, 2010 at 12:44 pm #

    It is good to see a discussion of the Repugnants that brings to the fore the issues of compassion and morality. It is so true that these people constantly show contempt for the Golden Rule. Since that rule lies at the center of all morality, the Repugnants’ disregard of it indicates that they are an essentially immoral, if not in fact amoral, constituency, and that their Christian aspirations are fraudulent.
    Regarding the attribution of personhood to corporations by our legal code, a question arises concerning the real import of that attribution in the life of this nation: if corporations are really persons, why is it that corporations do not actually run for political office, in contrast to throwing moneys behind individuals of flesh and blood?
    Why doesn’t Halliburton run for president? Clearly, we would scoff or be outraged at such an occurrence. Why is that? Because, I believe, there is a deeply immoral dimension to that attribution.

  82. asoka March 22, 2010 at 12:49 pm #

    I posted yesterday on the college bill passed last night:
    During Obama’s campaign many asked: What does change mean?” They said Obama gives good speeches but has no experience as an executive. They said the USA would be attacked within his first year.
    They were wrong all all counts. Now we know what change looks like: two pieces of historic legislation were passed Sunday:

    The bill rewrites a four-decades-old student loan program, eliminating its reliance on private lenders and uses the savings to direct $36 billion in new spending to Pell Grants for students in financial need.
    In the biggest piece of education legislation since No Child Left Behind nine years ago, the bill would also provide more than $4 billion to historically black colleges and community colleges.
    The bill was paired with the expedited health care bill, a marriage of convenience that helped the prospects of each measure. That combined measure passed 220-211.
    “We are pairing this historic health reform with another opportunity that cannot be missed – the chance to make the single largest investment in college affordability ever at no cost to the taxpayers,” said Rep. George Miller, D-Calif.

  83. Desertrat March 22, 2010 at 12:50 pm #

    Addendum: “…the Medicare Prescription Drug Improvement and Modernization Act of 2003, then regarded as the most reckless giveaway of public funds in human history.”
    Funniest thing: This idea was trotted out by Al Gore in a fund-raiser in Tallahassee, Florida, during his campaign for the presidency in 2000.
    IOW, Bush, as a Statist, persuaded the Congress to enact a Democrat’s proposal.
    Question: Has Obama or any other Democrat proposed to repeal this “reckless giveaway”?
    Ain’t hypocrisy fun?

  84. Velo March 22, 2010 at 1:02 pm #

    Cruelty Jim? Cruelty is being a member of the PARTY OF DEATH like Pelosi, Obama and “Kateseconomy”.
    Go ahead- let the government just reach into your womb and rip the life right out of you to pay the health insurance masters who just gained about 50 million more slaves. Will it be your coveted CHOICE when the IRS comes knocking on your door looking for your mandated “health insurance” payment, while your “health care” services resemble a trip to the DMV?
    Keep ranting Jim, as you bow down to the masters who brought us to this dark day.

  85. messianicdruid March 22, 2010 at 1:07 pm #

    “How has DMV gotten away with forcing participation by requiring licenses to drive and forcing people to buy insurance?”
    By telling people ignorant of their natural right to locomotion, who were not self-governing, that they were extending them a privilege, which of course they had to pay a fee for and submit to regulation thereof.

  86. wagelaborer March 22, 2010 at 1:10 pm #

    It’s not just you, Martyr. Sometimes JHK amazes me with his inability to see through the lies. Such an intelligent man, so easily duped! The problem is the belief that the enemy of my enemy is my friend. Both parties are our enemies.
    I watched Obama and Boehner on Democracy Now this morning.
    Obama did what he’s been doing for a few months, points out that the insurance industry is a parasite, that it profits off people for years as they pay premiums, and then cuts them when they are injured or ill, the executives are obscenely overpaid, etc., etc., etc. As Kucinich pointed out before they threatened him into submission, if you listen to Obama, you’d think he was for single payer, instead of for forcing 30,000,000 more people into paying tributes to the insurance companies.
    Charles Krauthammer nailed it while talking about Afghanistan, “the liberals get the speech, the neocons get the policy.”
    That could be Obama’s Presidential motto. The truly depressing and pathetic thing is that so many liberals fall for it. They seem to be as easily manipulated as the teabaggers.
    Sure Boehner was worse. He opposed the bill for what I consider the wrong reasons, and he was very openly hateful.
    Go ahead and prefer Obama’s soothing words to the Republicans hate filled screeds. But don’t think that he’s on your side.
    Many people have pointed out before that it’s all just KY jelly.
    And the god bless you and america really pisses me off also. Can Obama give one damn speech without genuflecting to the religious?
    You’re still being screwed.

  87. bossier22 March 22, 2010 at 1:16 pm #

    if our health care system sucks soooooo bad, why do people fly in from around the planet to be treated. why dont they go to cuba and let those barefoot docs treat them.

  88. asoka March 22, 2010 at 1:16 pm #

    So Obama spends his first year saving the economy from massive banking system failure and from the abyss of another big D economic depression with the Investment and Recovery Act of 2009 and the economy is actually growing now. No one has lost a dime of their savings due to bank failures.
    Then he passes historic legislation on education and historic legislation on health in 2010.
    The only campaign promise he hasn’t kept is stopping the war. To the contrary he has expanded the war to Pakistan and he is killing Taliban and Al Qaeda leaders regularly through drone bombings.
    Republicans have said “No!” “Liar!” “Kill the Bill” and, failing in that, “Apocalypse!”
    To them I say good luck in November on that platform, compared to what Obama has accomplished with the economy, health, education, and war.

  89. k-dog March 22, 2010 at 1:16 pm #

    Feed my sheep.

  90. Ton Zijlstra March 22, 2010 at 1:18 pm #

    gantech: Proton beam machines don’t cost a billion but 200 million. There are 34 proton beam facilities worldwide, 7 of them in the US. GB and Canada also have them available. For free.
    Other than that 1 case does not a comparison make.
    All in all US is globally 38th when it comes to health. That should be the figure you should be worried about: that everybody else in the western world is outliving you, while you pay the highest pricetag.

  91. rockaway March 22, 2010 at 1:24 pm #

    Notice that all the heady talk about policy, programs, and fairness comes from the crowd who wants somebody else to pay for it all.
    Lemme see if I have this right: the anti-Religion crowd wants to legislate Christ’s commands into statute? Just don’t mention from where the command came, because that would be against the separation of — well, you know.
    I believe that Jesus’ “do unto others” command (Matt 7:12) is not only wise, but the word of God. It, however, is a personal command. I can’t make you do it, and I wouldn’t try.
    Here’s the difference. If I sin and fail to abide by Jesus’ command, but repent, I am forgiven — instantly and completely. Government has no such authority over you or me.
    How’d that “millionaires” tax work out for all the states that imposed it last year? They can’t seem to figure out why their tax scheme backfired and there are so many fewer millionaires in New York and Maryland this year. I have a pretty good idea why.

  92. Stilba March 22, 2010 at 1:24 pm #

    Details are sparse, but it sounds promising: http://www.commondreams.org/headline/2010/03/22-0
    As the Republicans hate it, I can only assume the best.

  93. Funzel March 22, 2010 at 1:30 pm #

    Tell me something you brain washed little republican,FOS,morons.What has health care got to do with your job,or whether you have one or not?
    It is high time to scrap once and for all the criminal inventions foisted upon the American public by these unsupervised corporate criminals and our intimidated shyster congress.

  94. rockaway March 22, 2010 at 1:34 pm #

    Obama IS for single payer. This is just step #1.
    Step two unfolds over the next two years:
    Millions of businesses drop insurance coverage for employees because it’s cheaper to pay the fine than provide the coverage. Doctors and drug stores stop accepting Medicare because they lose money on each transaction. Govt tries more regulation of the doctors and insurance companies to fix the problem. It doesn’t fix the problem. Insurance premiums rise much faster than before ObamaCare. Govt nationalizes the whole thing. Single payer is the only option.
    You’ll get your National US Health Card by 2012. No monthly premiums, total coverage. It’s all free, and it will even reduce the deficit!

  95. asoka March 22, 2010 at 1:41 pm #

    “You’ll get your National US Health Card by 2012. No monthly premiums, total coverage. It’s all free, and it will even reduce the deficit!”
    Sounds good!
    And Obama will be re-elected, you betcha!

  96. rockaway March 22, 2010 at 1:44 pm #

    Agreed. Employer provided health care has always been a terrible idea. It’s the government’s fault for making it a tax deductible benefit after WWII. With the unions on board, companies used it as a way to offer more compensation without paying more taxes.
    That’s what I was referring to in my first post today. Remember, health costs were NOT A PROBLEM for families prior to the introduction of employer provided health insurance. We don’t need more insurance, we need to scrap the whole HMO, PPO model and start over.

  97. wagelaborer March 22, 2010 at 1:52 pm #

    No Child Left Behind was a horrible bill with a great title.
    The lie that going to college will get you a good job is falling apart. Something like 70% of last year’s grads had no job when they graduated.
    They did, however, have massive student debts.
    So what is the solution that the Dems propose?
    How about a living wage for all workers, college educated or not? No.
    How about free college for those who qualify? No.
    How about debt forgiveness for all those college grads working minimum wage? No.
    No. The government will now loan money at a lower rate to those deluded enough to slog through college in an attempt to make a better life for themselves than for those who decline to participate in that particular ritual.
    Wow. All that and great speeches, too!

  98. ATP March 22, 2010 at 1:55 pm #

    Rule number one: All entitlements will be abused – everybody goes for the freebies whether they really need them or not.
    Basic principles:
    1. For minor health problems, make the individual pay for treatment whenever possible. Too many people spending on granite counter-tops and big screen TVs when they should be saving that money for taking care of their health. Also provides incentive for a healthier lifestyle.
    2. Health insurance should be exactly that: An insurance against catastrophic but low probability events. It must not be an entitlement program.
    Workable 3-component system:
    A. Minor health issues: Patient pay fully out of pocket; total free market, doctors compete as entrepreneurs, strict license policing to ensure quality.
    B. Major illnesses: Health insurance; hospitals and doctors may be private or public, patient choice and co-pay options per insurance plan.
    C. Social safety net: Public system, doctors and staff on salary, priority is to serve low income group.

  99. rockaway March 22, 2010 at 2:05 pm #

    Bravo. Remove “health”, insert “automobile”. Your plan has been working just fine for decades.
    Basic principles:
    1. For minor repairs and maintenance, make the individual pay for gas, oil changes, tires.
    2. Auto insurance should be exactly that: An insurance against catastrophic but low probability event.
    Workable 3-component system:
    A. Minor repairs: Pay fully out of pocket; total free market, lots of competition for $19 oil changes and $79 brake jobs.
    B. Major repairs: Extended warranty coverage is available for a reasonable cost to cover unexpected engine failure.
    C. Social safety net: Public buses, drivers and staff on salary, priority to serve low income group.

  100. wagelaborer March 22, 2010 at 2:08 pm #

    Plus, the “great reform” of letting people stay on their parents’ health insurance longer is BECAUSE they can’t find jobs! Or at least jobs with health insurance.
    If we had national health care (not health insurance), all kids would be covered, no matter what their age.
    And to those who don’t think that health care is a right, well, it isn’t.
    It’s a benefit of living in a civilized society, something that people give to each other to make everyone’s life better.
    Too bad that you prefer to have the very rich continue to gather all of society’s wealth to themselves.

  101. antimatter March 22, 2010 at 2:09 pm #

    The day after Obama signs the bill, can those without health care immediately sign up and get it?
    What I read and hear indicates that it will be 2013, 2014, 2015 before the bill’s major provisions will kick in. Meantime, Big Health Care corporations will have plenty of time to 1)raise premiums, 2)drop clients, 3)design new ‘products’ that will a)maintain 30% profit margins, b)contain huge deductibles and c)offer very little comprehensive coverage for a huge price, otherwise known as junk insurance.
    Democrats passed a GOP bill. It does nothing substantive to control commercial health insurance rates, thus preserving the industry. There is no public option.
    From now until November, we will witness hyperbole from Congress and the White House about how groundbreaking this bill is. And many Obama supporters will shout it from the hilltops. But in fact, we got little, other than an IRS-enforced rule to require everyone to buy health care from the commercial marketplace so as not to incur IRS penalties such as wage garnishments.

  102. Stone March 22, 2010 at 2:13 pm #

    I don’t understand your response to my post at all.
    1. I did not make any claims about anti-religion.
    2. The Golden Rule is an ethical maxim, not a religious one (it says nothing about a divinity), although it is of course present in most religious teachings owing to the fact that religions are ethically oriented and contain moral codes of conduct.
    3. I am not aware of anyone’s having proposed that the Golden Rule become part of the legal code of the United States. I certainly said no such thing in my post.
    4. The Golden Rule will never be enriched in a paragraph law, and it will never be so because of its generality. It is not enforceable by, say, the police.
    5. The Golden Rule does not need to be enforced by a law enforcement agency: the behavior of individuals towards each other takes care of that, in the long run, of course.
    6. It is in the interest of each individual to abide by the Golden Rule. The Golden Rule acts as a corrective in the interactions of individuals with each other.
    7. The Golden Rule as embodied in the consciousness of individuals and communities has a very long memory.

  103. Harold from Canada March 22, 2010 at 2:13 pm #

    The Canadian health care system is not the great system that you are told. I had severe bowel cramps and went to the emergency at our local hospital in the south of the city. This was the worst pain I had ever had in my life. I live in a city of 480,000 people. I had to wait 4 hours to get into see the only doctor on duty. That is right only one. I spent the 4 hours in severe pain, going to the washroom to throw up at the same time trying to use the toilet. Many times I felt myself getting starry and beginning to pass out. The two things that stand out for me was how people with minor injuries (a cut big toe) got in ahead of me because they were there first and a girl on a stretcher that was brought in by ambulance 3 hours earlier with a severe asthma attack. She was starting to feel better so her family took her home to see their own doctor the next day. I had to wait four and a half months to get a Cat scan. But it was free.

  104. Stone March 22, 2010 at 2:15 pm #

    Corrective to my March 22, 2010 2:13 PM post:
    In point 4, read ‘enshrined’ not ‘enriched’.

  105. jmsbrmr March 22, 2010 at 2:25 pm #

    Nice shot!

  106. Vlad Krandz March 22, 2010 at 2:38 pm #

    Open to China? You think that was a good thing? Do you know how many manufacturing jobs that has cost us? It’s was a win, win, win, lose situation: the Chinese Goverment won, the Chinese People won, the American Elite won, and the American People lost. And they flooded our market with alot of garbage hurting our Economy from another angle. Seems like Colonialism to me with us as the Colony. Didn’t we fight a war to prevent this kind of thing once?
    And of course there is the lesser but still serious matter of industrial and military espionage by which they have stolen endless American secrets. What they could’t steal, Israel was glad to sell to them – another great ally. With friends like these, who needs enemies. Do we still indend to fight to keep Taiwan “free”? After all this? After we’ve made China a superpower? I wouldn’t put it past them, the Republican Warmongers are really that stupid. After all, we fought the Vietmanese and Koreans while building up Russia who supplied both.
    China got Nuclear technology without espionage – back in the 70’s when liberal scientists were raving about international brotherhood. A brilliant Chinese student came over and learned everything necessary. He went back and helped start their Nuclear Weapons program. Fake Liberalism (Democrats) is just as dangerous as fake Conservatism (Republicans).
    The Answer? America first – and that means tariffs, the builder and bulwark of Nations.

  107. rockaway March 22, 2010 at 2:42 pm #

    I’ll rephrase. I don’t believe its correct to suggest that people with different political beliefs that yours (which I don’t know) are necessarily at odds with The Golden Rule. You don’t know what’s in their hearts or how they live their individual lives.
    I attempt to live my life by that rule, but am fiercely opposed to any government attempt to compel you to live your life by it.

  108. Vlad Krandz March 22, 2010 at 2:48 pm #

    An interesting thought. If the proceedings were real, shouldn’t the stock market reflect that and close sharply lower today in response? And if they don’t, I going to incline to believe with you that it was all very fine Kabuki.
    How is that different from Noh, btw?

  109. Vlad Krandz March 22, 2010 at 2:52 pm #

    Queen D has found you unworthy and you are now banished from her Kingdom of Costa Rica. Dude, I’m sorry but that’s what you get for acting gullible like Charlie Brown.

  110. rockaway March 22, 2010 at 3:09 pm #

    Spot on, DFT. The great debate over next few years is all about how to rearrange the deck chairs on the Titanic.

  111. Al Klein March 22, 2010 at 3:11 pm #

    Well Wagelaborer, how right you are! Health care is what a civilized society provides to its own. It is not a right per se. Problem is, we are pretty obviously not a civilized society. We have an underclass of people who’ve got the “gimmes” and an elite class of kleptomaniacs. The big question is, what can be done about this without a paradigm shift of epic proportions? Maybe a few decades of a grinding “Long Emergency” will do the trick.

  112. budizwiser March 22, 2010 at 3:19 pm #

    Too bad we couldn’t have a Congress and Federal government that was stripped of their own health coverage a faced with using the same legislation that has currently been crafted for the rest of the nation.
    Too bad all the witty State Government officials couldn’t be faced with being stripped of their own health coverage and either accepting the federal version or coming up with a version that all of their citizens as well as they themselves would have to use.
    Too, bad human nature is what it is.
    Most of these fuckers have ward robes exceeding my own net worth. Representative government?
    Yeah right.

  113. rockaway March 22, 2010 at 3:25 pm #

    I’m not in their class — not even close — but how much more is it reasonable to plunder from the producers in our society for the benefit of everybody else? Where do you draw the line? When is it enough? History proves that you can try and take everything from the rich and it will never be enough.
    Read Atlas Shrugged.

  114. Denny March 22, 2010 at 3:32 pm #

    The Republicans have turned this whole thing into an ideological issue, and never got down to trying to make it more practical, such as promoting the use of common sense co-pays, or deductibles, like most insurance plans.
    They seem to have shot themslves int the foor by the exteme rants anmd tantrums. Most notably Johnm Boehner, who seems, on the surface, to be a down to earth person, yesterdday describing the health act approval as “24 hours to Armageddon”. How foolish. Adn, then to top it off, the unknown Republican who called Bart Stupak a “baby killer” for working out the anti-abortion presidential executive order with Barrack

  115. Qshtik March 22, 2010 at 3:40 pm #

    Why are so many people mesmerized by life expectancy stats? Specifically, the US’s supposedly poor showing at #38. As if an exceptionally long life is the end-all and be-all. In fact living too long is one of our greatest problems. If we’d all expire around the biblical “3 score and 10” our Social Security funding problems would be largely solved. The over-population of the earth would slow or reverse. Use of resources (like oil) would diminish. Availability of jobs would improve. The incidence of dementia/Alzheimers would be greatly reduced. Quality of life in the final decade of life would be vastly better (look up suicide rates; they are highest among the elderly). Health care costs would be much lower.
    My mother-in-law will be 88 in less than two months. She is in good physical health but her memory is fading fast. A day doesn’t go by when she doesn’t say “it’s no good to get old, it’s no good to get old.”
    I am against using extraordinary means to extend life. I say, if someone (such as Asoka) is in a coma for 30 days it’s time to pull the plug.

  116. Vlad Krandz March 22, 2010 at 3:49 pm #

    Re: War Industry. Why did you charge a hundred dollars for every screw? Why didn’t you give us “sailors” (the American People) an even break?

  117. byt0saur March 22, 2010 at 3:51 pm #

    Lest we forget it was the Great GOP Tyrant, Richard M Nixon, that wanted universal healthcare back in the days of GOP Terror in the White House. The Democratic White Knight, Ted Kennedy, flawless in character, a masterful driver, and swimmer of Olympic proportions, prevented Tricky Dick from thrusting a GOP Healthcare plan upon us.

  118. Qshtik March 22, 2010 at 4:11 pm #

    “The Golden Rule as embodied in the consciousness of individuals and communities has a very long memory.”
    I like the version of the Golden Rule as spoken by Elvis Presley in the movie Jail House Rock:
    “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you only do it first,/B>.”

  119. Workingman1 March 22, 2010 at 4:32 pm #

    The point is this health care program is financial fantasy. WE ARE INSOLVENT. Both republicans and your beloved democrates are lying thieves. I am more leery of the group that preaches how good and virtuous they are looking out for the health of the American peope. Total bullshit. Very sad that we put up with such a sorry low quality lot of political representatives on both sides.

  120. Nickelthrower March 22, 2010 at 4:34 pm #

    Again, some of you just do not get it so I’ll try one more time.
    The elite have conjured up a system whereas they get to create the medium of exchange while gaming the system to keep the vast majority of it for themselves. Sadly, I need these little pieces of green paper with numbers written on them to acquire health care. I’ve managed to get many other necessity of life items through the barter system but, damn, it just doesn’t seem to work that well when it comes to health care. Anyway, there just doesn’t seem to be enough Monopoly Play Money to go around when it comes to health care.
    Now, a lot of Americans are fine with the fact that 20,000+ fellow Americans die each and every year because they do not have enough Monopoly Play Money to give to the people that are already holding the vast majority of the available Monopoly Play Money.
    I’ll say it one more time for those that are “challenged.” Our system is built on Fantasy Money backed by nothing. The people that make the rules have designated themselves as “banker” and are using the Play Money that they create to acquire from us, by force of arms (it is illegal to refuse their play money) our labor and the product of our labor. So, I’m not going to let myself or my family perish because we lack the necessary Monopoly Play Money. Get it? Good.
    Next, some tool in a previous post said something along the lines of “your little gun doesn’t scare me” kind of crap because he didn’t understand what I was trying to say so I’m saying it again.
    1. The laws of this land either apply to all of us or to none of us – you can not have it both ways.
    2. The resources of this Earth belong to all of its inhabitants. It isn’t fair that someone can say “my great great great grandfather planted a flag on that spot so now I, through a series of accidents, get to profit from the wealth it generates”.
    3. If you choose to not play on the team and work together towards a common good then you do not get the benefit that the team provides – you are on your own. If you choose to be on your own and in your world of ME ME ME ME I GOT MINE then you should not at all be surprised when someone like me comes through your door.

  121. Qshtik March 22, 2010 at 4:38 pm #

    “Why did you charge a hundred dollars for every screw?”
    Well, we figured if prostitutes can charge a hundred dollars for every screw why can’t we? 😉
    Come on Vlad, I thought you were smart enough not to be sucked into believing one of the greatest myths of all time.

  122. GiveMeLiberty March 22, 2010 at 4:38 pm #

    Health Insurance is in no way like car insurance. You don’t have to own a car. The same with having a driver’s license. It is a privilege, not a right. This is what liberals do. They know what’s best for everyone else, and they are willing to steal from others to see their agenda. It is commonly referred to as tyranny. You know not what you do.

  123. Neon Vincent March 22, 2010 at 4:48 pm #

    Jim, I checked in today expecting to read an essay mocking the passage of the Health Care Reform Bill as a completely futile exercise. Instead, I read as positive an essay from you on the subject that was still consistent with your perspective as I could have ever expected. I found it inspirational. Thank you.

  124. QuarereAude March 22, 2010 at 5:10 pm #

    Thank you for the refreshing analysis, brother.

  125. bossier22 March 22, 2010 at 5:11 pm #

    i love the way some the commenters finish there praise of obamacare or single payor with the phrase ‘and its all free.’ nothing is free. someone is godamn sure paying somehow.

  126. rockaway March 22, 2010 at 5:22 pm #

    It’s clear that you do not believe in individual property rights, and apparently subscribe to some form of collectivism or communism. In that regard, I could not disagree with you more.
    Sounds like you’re uncomfortable with any one person or company achieving great success. Maybe you should be the one to decide how much I can earn before I have to give the rest away. BTW, you have the same opportunity to achieve great success, although it doesn’t sound as though you’re equipped to get it done. My what a big gun you have. Very impressive.
    Thug mentality. It’s sad, but you’re not alone. People like you are so dependent on the collective that they fantasize about holding a gun to their neighbor’s head to take what their neighbor rightfully has earned or owns. It’s nothing more than petty jealousy.
    So what are you going to do when you break through your neighbor’s door? Take his money? His possessions? It’s all been done before and the looters never win. We’ll need less non-productive people like you after the coming Depression. Too bad you won’t be able to afford to buy ammo for that fancy gun of yours.

  127. DeeJones March 22, 2010 at 5:27 pm #

    Vvlad, are you smoking the KKK KRAC again.
    I actually INVITED Asoka to come & help me tar & feather Douch Limpbag. I got the feathers all lined up, and Hugo Chavez has offered some of his finest goo…..
    But really, what does it matter anyway. Its all bread & circuses. The Libs can dance a little jig, the Cons can go target shoot, but the only real beneficiaries are the Banksters. They get to pass jail and go straight to the Hamptons in a chauffeured limo-Hummer. No pain, LOTTA gain.
    There will be no Congressional investigations, there will be no Justice Dept. investigations, there will be no investigations period.
    And all that fraud has been quietly shifted from the private sector to the public. And the only outcries come from the Tea Baggers because they are afraid that they will be getting socialized medicine, while they have been royally screwed by the Big Bad Banksters for TRILLIONS.
    Bet those guys are laughing so hard champagne is coming out thier noses…….

  128. martyr13 March 22, 2010 at 5:33 pm #

    What you did was imply that if a Christian is not in favor of the welfare state than s/he is a hypocrite. Don’t get me wrong, there is no shortage of vomit worthy hypocrisy in the Republican Party, but a Christian who is not in favor of government forced redistribution of wealth is not automatically a hypocrite. A Christian’s duty is to live his life in accordance with the way of Christ, not to force other people to do so.

  129. rockaway March 22, 2010 at 5:35 pm #

    Well said.

  130. Qshtik March 22, 2010 at 5:48 pm #

    We have made a huge error in this country pushing the idea that every Tom, Dick and Harry (or Sally, Jane and LaToya) needs a college degree. Just as 80 is the new 70, college is the new high school. Our unemployment lines are now filled with useless-degree holders in fine arts, sociology and women’s studies — known collectively in the trade as “underwater basket weaving” — which, when combined with two bucks, will get you a ride on the subway. As a result there are armies of 20, 30 and 40 somethings groaning under the weight of student loan debt that cannot be paid in a lifetime … my son among them.
    I have no idea of the particulars of the student loan legislation passed yesterday but whatever it’s supposed to accomplish I hope it doesn’t foster useless degrees for all.

  131. Goldrodor March 22, 2010 at 5:50 pm #

    Not that the Dems are much better, though at least their namesake derives from DEMOCRACY and not REPUBLIC, but republicans are fundamentally retarded creatures borne of the magical thinking indicative of religious devotion. These are people who prize faith over reason and hand-select only the bits of critical-thinking based, scientifically grounded fact that support their agenda, which is apparently the wholesale destruction of everything good and just in the universe. Republicans are conservative, and conservatives are fundamentally misguided because they seek to stop change, i.e. halt entropy, the guiding force of existence. (That’s another glaring contradiction: since when have “conservatives” ever conserved anything?) Everything that exists and ever will exist will do so because of change. The current status quo was brought about by change, and these fucking assholes have the unmitigated audacity, the sheer existential hubris to assert that now that THEY exist, the change can stop and everything should stay as it is forever. Their vision of heaven is likewise stagnant and devoid of creativity or good. Republicans, and by extension conservatives, represent a boat anchor around the neck of humanity’s common good–forcing the progressive and rational elements of human kind to drag them kicking and screaming into the future. It pains and sickens me that we have to share breathing space on this small planet with people who believe the world is doomed because the bible says so. People who squander their potential on the same tired tools of control that have been used to coerce the masses since homo sapiens inception. Moral absolutist who think the impacted feces they see in front of them living with their heads up their asses is a truth they are not only justified but obligated to impose on everyone. People so proud and protective of their precious ignorance that they resort to covering their ears and yelling when faced with divergent viewpoints. People so mentally and spiritually enfeebled that they would rather die or kill others than face the truth of their transitory lives and inevitable mortality. I no longer burden myself with the question of how a person can be so hopelessly daft that they willingly welcome the social disease known as Western religion into their mind, and simply cheer and applaud as they die and take their obsolete, devastating and insane way of looking at the world with them.
    To paraphrase the late George Carlin, “Once you convince two-thirds of the population that there’s an invisible man who lives in the sky and watches everything you do, everything else just slides right on by.” If I had one wish, it would be for stupidity to cause pain to the stupid instead of to everyone around them. Everyone who has had the words “keep government out of Medicare” cross their lips should be recycled into fertilizer and biodiesel. I’ve never been a violent individual, contrary to the tone of my writing, but I can easily envision myself crushing the undeserving life out of each and every pro-lifer on the planet with my bare hands. Religiosity is cultural gangrene, and for the good of the host organism it should be excised with extreme prejudice. Then again, maybe I’m wrong—maybe the whole of humanity deserves its collective demise. Hell, most of its most promising factions are already extinct. All that’s left are the violent, hyper-hypocritical, megalomaniacal offshoots that stood on the necks and backs of the peaceable, sustainability-minded peoples who used to inhabit nearly every continent on the planet. Maybe all that’s left is one colossally futile circle-jerk as we complete our trip down the tubes. If so, good riddance to us all.
    It’s interesting that when the expressions “heaven and earth” and “heaven and hell” are aligned, they equate hell and earth as the same place. To further subvert the language of the enemy, it’s even more interesting that when the expression “god gives and forgives, man gets and forgets” is changed to the more real-world applicable “liberals give and forgive, conservatives get and forget” that liberals equate with divinity. Never mind God. Do you believe in coincidence?

  132. littleplanet March 22, 2010 at 6:00 pm #

    Well now…the mightiest nation on the face of the earth / the only true superpower / the home of the brave / the land of the free / the most expensive military (worth all the rest)/ the bastion of super – hallucinated as well as what passes for real wealth…the land of 100-thousand seat college football stadiums…et all and ad nauseum.
    And for some reason (which escapes me momentarily) all this wit, charm, know-how, steadfast righteously progressive self-proclaimed God’s chosen land of freedom can’t figure out how to attend to its citizens’ health?
    The charade is just marvelously entertaining.
    ….would be even more so if it weren’t for the tragicomedy of all the real lives flushed into the crapper.
    It’s a long road back, and maybe it finally started. If not, I get to spend the next decade pondering this little bit of weirdness…..
    Some republican was heard to loudly proclaim his concerns about this new, um “health” plan, God forbid, should not in no way serve to kill unborn babies…
    Hoo! Your health plan has been killing BORN babies for quite some time now.
    (How do fruitbats like that remember how to breathe?)

  133. Workingman1 March 22, 2010 at 6:04 pm #

    Well said.
    I purchased a splitter for my water spigot today.
    American company Gilmour–“made in China”
    We need people trained to real work, make real products that are useful.

  134. rockaway March 22, 2010 at 6:08 pm #

    Check your source. God’s chosen land of freedom is Israel. I hear they have universal coverage there.

  135. Denny March 22, 2010 at 6:17 pm #

    Yes, the health care plan is a form of collectivism. So is eduation, public roads and bridges, parks, and a lot of aspects of trhe overall transportation system.
    But, the fully private alternative is not very appealing, look at the sad progress of Latin Amricva where the elites have successfully managed to starve the public sphere of funding over the years.

  136. Denny March 22, 2010 at 6:18 pm #

    Oops, sorry for my bad typing, its been a long day.

  137. ELI316 March 22, 2010 at 6:19 pm #

    Socialize medicine (end of story)!

  138. martyr13 March 22, 2010 at 6:22 pm #

    –Everyone who has had the words “keep government out of Medicare” cross their lips should be recycled into fertilizer and biodiesel.—
    You mean that one person, who said it that one time?

  139. Ivo March 22, 2010 at 6:23 pm #

    Pathetic. Stumping for the democratic party after Obummer sold the nation smucks down the river. JHK the party hack. The only thing worst then a republican is a democrat.

  140. pluton March 22, 2010 at 6:25 pm #

    “Kenny said: “I’m sure a great many folks, scared of conflict, gave George Washington the advice to chill. Instead, he raised an army and did it his way.”
    Are you happy with the results?”
    I dunno…If GW had ‘chilled”, we’d be in Canada.

  141. Shambles March 22, 2010 at 6:50 pm #

    I’m attempting to take this off topic by introducing the idea of peak oil.
    There are two interesting items in the UK press right now.
    The first is the UK government’s “new sense of urgency” over peak oil, with ministers meeting earlier today with key industrialists.
    The second is an interview with the UK government’s former chief scientist, Sir David King, claiming oil reserves have been massively over estimated for years – by up to one-third – and that demand will likely outstrip supply as soon as 2014.
    I’ve written about both in my new peak oil blog. Right now, it’s less than a week old, and I’m trying to write some background pages (what is peak oil, what should I do, etc).
    Have a look – you’ll be the first to do so. Possible the only one!

  142. Bob March 22, 2010 at 7:09 pm #

    A good rant, for sure. First time reader, but I’m struck by the ignorance, misunderstanding, malevolence and outright impersonation evident in so many responses. The price of anonymity, I guess. I’m glad to see that that someone took the faux doc (gantech) to task for misinformation, but the general tenor of the conversation between commentors is pretty pathetic.
    Get educated, folks — it’s a complex world out there, and we’re not going to get by aping sound bytes spewing from Fox News.

  143. spleen March 22, 2010 at 7:13 pm #

    “If the Republicans keep going this way, they’ll end up with something worse than Naziism: a party that hates everything but believes in absolutely nothing.” – J.H.Kunstler (above)
    “Nihilists! Fuck me. I mean, say what you like about the tenets of National Socialism, Dude, at least it’s an ethos.” – The Big Lebowski
    Has anyone ever noticed that Jim Kunstler and Walter Sobchak never seem to be in the same place at the same time! 😉

  144. asia March 22, 2010 at 7:26 pm #

    the grass is greener elsewhere. In advertising they sell the ‘california system’ in sweden and vice versa!

  145. asia March 22, 2010 at 7:33 pm #

    What, did you disapprove of wagelaborers funding ferdinand, who in turn gave the cash to imelda for her 6000 shoes?
    cute idea, there may be more $ going into nancy p’s plastic surgery and botox than a turd worlder has to spend in years!

  146. asia March 22, 2010 at 7:35 pm #

    I didnt read much of JKs post today, as he started in on the partisanship i stopped reading. thanks for the update.
    DID YOU FOLKS GET YR CENSUSES? NO MENTION THERE OF IF ONES A CITIZEN…JUST..are you latino/cuban? argentina? etc.

  147. asia March 22, 2010 at 7:35 pm #

    agreed… and he dislikes female politicians more than male.

  148. Puzzler March 22, 2010 at 7:40 pm #

    New College Graduates To Be Cryogenically Frozen Until Job Market Improves

  149. asia March 22, 2010 at 7:40 pm #

    OK OK..still that old post contained [ to one who still reads mainstream newspapers…for a laugh]
    this gem:
    ‘I wish I could fetch up something like the glowing false authority of Paul Krugman’
    ill add the false authority of BARACK HUSSEIN OBAMA!!!
    Obama will do what he can to give 20? million illegals citizenship and free healthcare..theyll vote dem if they vote..remember the dems just tried to give felons the vote!!!

  150. asia March 22, 2010 at 7:42 pm #

    actually in the 80s the JB Society was warning about the Uns plan for a ‘ world of shared ideas and technology’
    international brotherhood…..yeah right

  151. asia March 22, 2010 at 7:46 pm #

    For the guys who falsely predicted Armageddon?
    hey, yr the moron who week after week falsely predicts paradise!

  152. asia March 22, 2010 at 7:50 pm #

    im glad someone here shares history….the things i didnt know.

  153. Figaro March 22, 2010 at 7:51 pm #

    I wonder how many defenders of that diseased and degenerate club of sociopaths calling itself the Republican Party–the stench of which would make Goldwater vomit were he alive today– supported the now universally condemned Iraq war which cost almost a trillion dollars but who now screech about the cost of the new health care bill. But that’s the Republicans all over: spend money to kill and destroy? Absolutely! Spend to save lives?
    Absolutely not!

  154. chepup March 22, 2010 at 8:23 pm #

    Wow, my American cousins, I am truly amazed at how vicious and nasty this debate has become. As an Aussie I have enjoyed the quasi socialisation of medicine for around 35 years. It’s all good, no-one is bankrupted for requiring medical procedures, our country continues to flourish and we haven’t gone all commie on you. I don’t understand what part of this you don’t get…allowing corporations to run medicine unfettered is a recipe for disaster. Health is NOT I repeat NOT an industry to allow itself to run under pure market forces. I see in this debate of yours the symptoms of greater malaise. The inability to see the correct path when it is right there in front of you. Many prefer to avoid it at all costs as it “looks to good to be true”. Many seem to prefer to continue on the ever more dangerous, steep, narrowing donkey trail that has become Americas destiny.

  155. Brus MacGallah March 22, 2010 at 8:33 pm #

    for your information proton therapy (and hence the requisite machinery) is used in the “communist” United Kingdom. Some doctor you must be that can’t use the (British invented) internet to check some simple facts. But hell, why let the facts get in the way.

  156. martyr13 March 22, 2010 at 8:34 pm #

    You are new, if you think the average right leaning reader of CFN is a typical Fox News watching automotan. Remember, not every conservative is a Republican, and not everyone who distrusts Obama was/is a Bush humper.

  157. Ang March 22, 2010 at 8:42 pm #

    “As a physician, I know all too well our system isn’t perfect. (and when oh when will big pharma stop those incessant commercials!)My best bud Jaime developed lymphoma last year and part of his treatment leading to complete remission was a proton beam radiation therapy machine. This machine cost one billion dollars. Entrepreneurship got it rolling . Profit motivated its creation. Is there one in GB Canada or Cuba ?? NO. I want less government in every way. Of course who am I ?
    Just another Joe pulling the wagon and not riding on it.”
    I get where you’re going with this. However, if your best bud Jaime didn’t have insurance and/or the means to pay for that treatment, he wouldn’t be here today.
    What makes his life more valuable than another? Just because he has insurance or the funds to pay?
    When are we going to stop assigning a dollar value to people’s lives? And a sliding scale, at that.
    No $ = no value
    $ = worth saving
    As a physician, I expect more from you. I expect you to want to help your fellow human beings. Period.

  158. Ang March 22, 2010 at 8:45 pm #

    lancemfoster replied to comment from asoka | March 22, 2010 11:45 AM | Reply
    If you can’t afford auto insurance, you can get rid of your car and stop driving.
    If you can’t afford this new health insurance….?
    Are you seriously advocating that? Really?
    Don’t be silly.
    In most places in this country, like it or not, you need a car to get to work. So are you suggesting that people should quit their jobs too? Then they’ll have to go on govt assistance.
    Think your nonsense through.
    (Betcha he’ll say to carpool, because that’s so practical…)