The No Fear Zone

 

On issues from taxation to social policy, from the environment to national security, from human rights to public safety, it seems all too easy to convince Americans to support causes contrary to their own interests. The common motivating factor seems to be fear. If we are told to be afraid of something, rational thought shuts down, and we seem incapable of even seeing how we’re being manipulated.

What drives so many of us to vote for the paranoid ticket? I don’t have any answers. I just have questions.

This isn’t a new phenomenon. America went through the red scares of the 1950s. We interned Japanese Americans during the Second World War. And it isn’t exclusive to Americans, or to this era. Europe engulfed itself in a quest to find and to burn witches in the Middle Ages. There seems to be something about the human psyche that lends itself to a fear that shuts off reason.

Politicians are perfectly willing, even eager, to use this fear, and we’ve seen it countless times in the last few years. Proposals for health care reform, for example, were advanced during the 2008 presidential campaign; and the very people who made those proposals, only a few months later, hysterically proclaimed their own proposals to be threats to the very foundation of our Republic. Likewise with the Islamic community center being built in Manhattan; a few months ago, it was a monument to American tolerance and to our willingness to embrace the vast majority of peace-loving Muslims throughout the world. Now it is a slap in our national face, it is a symbol of the terrorists laughing at us.

That politicians use such tactics knowingly and cynically is not new, either. A few years before he died, celebrated segregationist George Wallace revealed he had never believed the hateful racial rhetoric he used to advance his political ambitions. It had all been a calculated strategy, playing on the southern white power base. He spent his last years desperately trying to repair the damage he had done.

So neither our fears, nor the coldly cynical willingness of politicians to use those fears for their advantage, are new. It is clear that Boehner and Cantor and McCain and Gingrich don’t really believe much of their own overblown rhetoric; they’ve flip-flopped so many times, and played the fear card so very often, they often seem to be mere parodies of themselves. Yet there are Americans who seem, for all the world, as if they buy the rhetoric, and are willing to vote for the most absurd policies, simply because they’ve been told to fear.

Allowing the Bush tax cuts for the extremely wealthy to expire will make you lose your job. Reining in the abuses of the insurance industry is a threat to your freedoms. Spending money on American infrastructure, with the side benefit of creating jobs, is taking your money away from you. Creating a sane energy policy that makes us less dependent on imported oil, improves America’s ability to compete in the world market for alternative energies, and stops damaging the environment, well, this is a bad thing because – well, not sure why it’s bad, but it certainly harms your liberties.

As I said, it’s pretty clear the politicians who take these positions often don’t believe a word of them. Why do so many Americans allow themselves to be manipulated in these ways? I seriously don’t get it.

 

 


About dcpetterson

D. C. Petterson is a novelist and a software consultant in Minnesota who has been writing science fiction since the age of six. He lives with his wife, two dogs, a cat, and two lizards, and insists that grandchildren are the reward for having survived teenagers. When not writing stories or software, he plays guitar, engages in political debate, and reads a lot of history and physics texts for fun.
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106 Responses to The No Fear Zone

  1. Monotreme says:

    I was thinking about something similar the other day.Recall the meme that a President Obama was going to take away your gun, tax ammo, etc.?Who started that? I suspect it was gun show dealers who were trying to pump up sales.Who thinks it’s a good idea to buy gold at the top of the market? I don’t, but apparently Glenn Beck does.

  2. Bart DePalma says:

    DC:You are confusing fear with anger at folks who want to run your life and take your money to finance it.Moreover, the current rebellion was started by the voters and not the politicians. The politicos are trying to jump on our bandwagon.How long before you folks realize that the voters are not stupid, racist or afraid. They simply want to be left alone and oppose your policies which get in their business?

  3. Monotreme says:

    How long before you folks realize that the voters are not stupid, racist or afraid. [sic] They simply want to be left alone and oppose your policies which get in their business? — BartHow long before you folks realize that I am not intellectual, anti-Tea Party or brave? I simply want to be left alone and oppose your policies which get in my business and (not coincidentally) kill and maim my brothers and sisters.

  4. dr_funguy says:

    Bart, Some of it is anger, misplaced or not. But those who say that Obama is a Kenyan born socialist communist foreign agitator determined to destroy American as his sole intention in becoming President(or possibly a cactus), do you really think that is anything but fear-inspired paranoid fantasy? p.s. you seem unable to go beyond the current election cycle to the generality the author is stating: politicians use fear to motivate people; remember those scary commercials the dems ran against Goldwater? Why intelligent people (regardless of political leanings) allow themselves to be manipulated by fear-mongering politicians (who people know lie all the time anyway) that is an interesting question. The answer may be as simple as: people are looking for reasons (excuses) to do what they want to do anyway. Particularly if they feel guilty about it for some reason (must reduce cognitive dissonance). Unless they’re a politician (or a lawyer) then the concepts of ‘cognitive’ and ‘dissonance’ (and scruples) rarely apply.

  5. Jeff says:

    D.C. Petterson said: “I seriously don’t get it.”===============After reading your one-sided diatribe, I certainly have to agree with your last sentence, as quoted above.

  6. shiloh says:

    @Bartlesvoters are not stupid, racist or afraid~~~~~~~~~~Idiotic certitudes aside:31% of Republicans believe Barack Obama is MuslimCNN Poll: Only 42% Of Americans Believe Obama Is A Citizen, Only 23% Of RepublicansMajority of Americans Cannot Name a Single Supreme Court JusticeOnly 28% Of Americans Can Identify The Chief Justiceand it was a multiple choice question lol>Which begs the rhetorical question: Bartles, why do we even bother w/you anymore.’Cause like Scalia, Alito 😉 and Sonia Sotomayor, we have empathy for the confused, misbegotten and mentally challenged …btw, how stupid does one have to be to make Bart’s inane generalization, eh.>hmm, no wonder the Chinese are kickin’ America’s butt! as winger trolls like Bart are totally clueless!take care, blessings

  7. Monotreme says:

    Barted:How long before you folks realize that the voters are not stupid, racist or afraid. [sic]…and then, as if on cue:http://religion.blogs.cnn.com/2010/09/28/dont-know-much-about-religion-youre-not-alone-study-finds/

  8. DC Petterson says:

    Bart;”Yet there are Americans who seem, for all the world, as if they buy the rhetoric, and are willing to vote for the most absurd policies, simply because they’ve been told to fear.”Do I need to say more?

  9. Monotreme says:

    The Wages of Fear:$35 billion and perhaps 10,000 young men and women maimed for life. And what did that accomplish?http://discovermagazine.com/2007/mar/dead-men-walking

  10. shiloh says:

    Monotreme again, it truly is amazing America has survived over for (234) years.Just damn fortunate luck ie the right leaders at the right time, pickin’ up the pieces from previous inefficient/corrupt presidential administrations!There’s a lot to be said for resiliency! :)>and dare I say ~ Divine Intervention! 😉

  11. The Real Mike Is Back says:

    American history is on the side of bigot, according to this author. I found the article fascinating.http://killingthebuddha.com/mag/damnation/yes-mr-kristof-this-is-america/

  12. shiloh says:

    @The Real Mike Is Back wrote:American history is on the side of bigot, according to this author. I found the article fascinating.Yes, Mr. Kristof, This Is America ~ Why are we so surprised by our own bigotry?~~~~~~~~~~Fascinating indeed!today 37% of Americans would not approve of a family member marrying outside of his or her race.As Bart’s lack of acumen/knowledge re: current bigotry in America becomes clear!Game, set, match!>Indeed, bigotry is hate/fear of the unknown er lack of knowledge/education, so again it’s totally shocking! 😉 that there’s bigotry/racism in America today considering how well educated we are. lolPeter denied knowing Christ not once, not twice, but thrice because of fear of the unknown/lack of knowledge ~ if one believes the Bible.Billy Graham’s one wish is/was that we were all the same color, ’cause he knew it was one of god’s tests that “we” still fail on a daily basis: coexistence of different races, ethnic groups.The ultimate human nature struggle, even for the well-educated!

  13. GROG says:

    It’s humerous how the left keeps grasping at straws to come up with reasons they’re going to get beat badly in 35 days. But hey, at least they’re starting to realize it. Racism, fear-mongering, Fox News, Rush Limbaugh,bigotry, stupid white people, racism, Fox News……They come up with anything except the fact that the American people are overwhelmingly rejecting their leftwing poliices.

  14. GROG says:

    “I seriously don’t get it.” That’s the understatement of the century. Let’s take Shiloh’s home state of Ohio for example. You have John Kasich (R) who is a former Lehman Brothers exec and Fox News personality running against the incumbant Ted Strickland (D). Kasich has a comfortable lead with 35 days to go. In a bellweather state like Ohio, the Dem Strickland can’t even beat a former Lehman Brothers exec?And in the race for Senate Republican, Rob Portman who was down 15 points in January now has a 15 point lead on Democrate Lee Fisher. Oh, did I mention Portman is a former advisor to President Bush?You guys are getting destroyed when it comes to the issues. You can’t even beat a Lehman Bros exec/Fox News personality or a former Bush crony. Blame it on whatever you want, but the people aren’t buying what you’re selling.

  15. parksie555 says:

    The same way a good chunk of the electorate got manipulated to vote for Obama in 2008. They didn’t like the way things were going and voted for “change”. Throw in a dash of rich white liberal racial guilt, a faltering economy, a guy that gives a pretty good speech, and presto! A Democratic mandate. Now the faltering economy is still there, people have realized that a good speech is about all Obama has to offer, and presto! No more Democratic mandate.I especially love these types of liberals, almost feel bad for the poor misguided saps:http://peterdaou.com/2010/09/liberal-bloggers-are-bringing-down-the-obama-presidency/I mean what did you lefties think was gonna happen? A politician was actually going to keep all his promises? I thought you guys were the reality based community.

  16. parksie555 says:

    At least Biden gets it.http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0910/42789.htmlSmartest thing I’ve heard out of the White House in a long time. Represent DE!

  17. filistro says:

    “Project Vote” examines the Tea Party:”Project Vote described tea party participants as “overwhelmingly white” and “universally dissatisfied,” even though having “the least reason for dissatisfaction.””Only six percent [of tea party participants] reported having to worry about buying food for their families in the past year, compared to 14 percent of voters nationwide, 37 percent of blacks, 21 percent of youths, and 39 percent of low-income voters,” they added.”Increased government spending on infrastructure, education and welfare programs like food stamps and Social Security were favored by large majorities of the electorate but disdained by the tea parties, the poll also found. Similarly, most respondents felt the government should do more to bolster the economy and secure Americans’ well being, whereas tea party conservatives wanted less spending and smaller taxes.”The findings seem to indicate that corporate networks like Fox News have largely ignored majority views in America, instead dedicating large amounts of time to covering the wealthy, vocal tea party minority.”Analysis of the findings from around the net also underscores what we’ve long argued,” blogger Brad Friedman opined. “[The] Tea Baggers don’t actually give a damn about ‘the deficit’ or even the Constitution. If they did, they wouldn’t have waited until after Republicans lost the elections in 2008 to start marching and decrying the deficit explosion (and supposed concerns about Constitutional rights) brought about under the previous Administration. They would have been out marching along with the real Tea Partiers, those who supported Ron Paul as long ago as 2007, and his concerns about unbridled deficit spending and the trampling of Constitutional rights during the eight years of the Bush Administration.””The survey accounted for views expressed by 1,947 Americans who voted in 2008. It carried a margin of error at plus or minus three percent.”

  18. filistro says:

    Link to Project Vote.In the intro at the link: “This poll shows that while many are dissatisfied with the state of the economy, a clear majority of voters want the government to do MORE, not less.”

  19. Bart DePalma says:

    Folks:1) What does polling of minorities of adults have to do with voters?2) Ignorance of a fact causing one to jump to false conclusions like assuming a president with a muslim name is a muslim does not mean the mistaken party is stupid. After all, nearly all of this group appeared completely ignorant of what Obama promised on the campaign trail concerning Obamacare and what was in the actual bill until I posted it for you. You instead made ignorant assumptions. Are you all likewise stupid?Elitists with rocks living in glass houses.

  20. parksie555 says:

    C’mon filly – don’t insult our intelligence with a Tea Party survey from “Project Vote”. Why don’t you just take a survey of ACORN or SEIU members and use that?In the words of our vice president “STOP WHINING!”

  21. shortchain says:

    Obligatory scifi quotes: “Fear is the mind-killer.” and “I’m terrified beyond the capacity for rational thought.”The whole point of instilling fear is to prevent rational thought. There’s been studies on the effect of stress on the ability to perform, mentally or physically, and the results are obvious to those who would seek to manipulate large groups of people.And it works. Statistically speaking, about 30 percent of the population are susceptible, and that’s enough to sway elections.Of course, in cases like Bart or GROG, the need to suppress rational thought is superfluous.

  22. filistro says:

    Bart and parksie… I REPEAT:”Project Vote described tea party participants as “overwhelmingly white” and “universally dissatisfied,” even though having “the least reason for dissatisfaction.””Only six percent [of tea party participants] reported having to worry about buying food for their families in the past year, compared to 14 percent of voters nationwide, 37 percent of blacks, 21 percent of youths, and 39 percent of low-income voters,” they added.”That’s the group you guys really want to belong to? The fat, prosperous, comfy well-fed group that’s perennially pissed off and totally furious because they want more more MORE? The group that doesn’t even KNOW what it’s like to worry about buying food, but doesn’t care if others go hungry?One would think you’d be… you know… a bit embarrassed to actually admit it.

  23. parksie555 says:

    Well filly, if a clear majority of voters want the government to do more, doesn’t it stand to reason that the Democrats should be doing just a teensy bit better in the polls than they currently seem to be? Just sayin’.Why are you wasting our time with garbage polls like this when there are so many other juicy polls out there?Like this:http://www.rasmussenreports.com/public_content/politics/elections/election_2010/election_2010_senate_elections/west_virginia/election_2010_west_virginia_senate_special_electionOr this:http://www.politico.com/polls/politico-george-washington-university-battleground-poll.htmlOr even:http://www.rasmussenreports.com/public_content/politics/elections/election_2010/election_2010_senate_elections/delaware/election_2010_delaware_senate

  24. Bart DePalma says:

    Obama takes Dem voters to the woodshed and tries to scare them to the polls:Admonishing his own party, President Barack Obama says it would be “inexcusable” and “irresponsible” for unenthusiastic Democratic voters to sit out the midterm elections, warning that the consequences could be a squandered agenda for years.”People need to shake off this lethargy. People need to buck up,” Obama told Rolling Stone in an interview to be published Friday. The president told Democrats that making change happen is hard and “if people now want to take their ball and go home, that tells me folks weren’t serious in the first place.”[Listen to daddy, children]Yet in his attempt to light a fire under supporters, Obama comes across as fired up himself about how many backers fail to acknowledge the progress he sees. He said the glass-half-empty view among many progressive voters can be a debilitating force that distracts them from the real worry: Republicans.”BOO!http://apnews.myway.com/article/20100928/D9IGSMBG3.html

  25. filistro says:

    I think shrinkers has put his finger on the very essence of our polictcs…. it really is all about FEAR. We are biologically programmed to be fiercely territorial, and to have an instinctive mistrust of the Other who might come from Elsewhere to do us harm.The fat, furious, well-fed Teapers don’t REALLY worry about “higher taxes,” or “weakening the constitution,” or “losing out national ideals,” or all the other high-flown ideals they claim to espouse (because the truth is really kind of embarrassing.)If you put one of them on the couch and peeled his psyche back like an onion, you’d get down to a hard nub of fear… indeed, of sheer terror. It’s a terror of a flood of black and brown people rolling across the land like locusts, subsuming all in their wake, and taking away what Teapers perceive to be “theirs.”The degree of fear in which one lives is entirley dependent on the reach of one’s world view, and the relative size of its “us” and “them” components.Some people are able to perceive their entire nation (or world) as being a single “US”, so they have, in effect, no “THEM” to fear.Alas, the poor Teapers fear everybody outside tehir own tiny walled enclaves. It must be a terrible way to live.

  26. filistro says:

    Hey Bart, while you were carefully cherry-picking your way through Rasmussen this morning, did you notice that the president’s overall approval has reached 50% for the first time in almost a year? Or that in the past month his job approval rating has soared from -15 to -1?And since Ras sees the fortunes of several senatorial candidates (including Manchin) as “closely tied to the presidential approval ratings,” one would think this has to be pretty good news for the Dems.But by all means, don’t let facts on the ground interfere with your well-crafted fantasies.

  27. Realist says:

    @Bart, Ignorance of a fact causing one to jump to false conclusions like assuming a president with a muslim name is a muslim does not mean the mistaken party is stupid.When it’s something so easy to find out, yeah it does mean the mistaken party is stupid.After all, nearly all of this group appeared completely ignorant of what Obama promised on the campaign trail concerning Obamacare and what was in the actual bill until I posted it for you.Nice of you to bring that up. You failed to acknowlege my response to you about that very bill. The “death panels” were explicitly prohibited by law from doing what you claim they will do. Are you likewise stupid?

  28. filistro says:

    Sorry, I was wrong about Rasmussen’s presidential approval rating.Closer examination shows it was -17 on Sept. 9. Today it’s +1.

  29. Jean says:

    It’s no coincidence that as it approaches November 2nd, the right wing is back to referring to President Obama as “Barack HUSSEIN Obama”. The same GOP fear-mongering they used prior to the 2008 election.

  30. Bart DePalma says:

    filistro wrote: “Hey Bart, while you were carefully cherry-picking your way through Rasmussen this morning, did you notice that the president’s overall approval has reached 50% for the first time in almost a year?”I do not follow Obama’s overall approval rating. I follow the approval of his economic performance and his specific policies. The latter are driving the election. Obama’s overall popularity tends to rebound when he does nothing destructive.Fili: “And since Ras sees the fortunes of several senatorial candidates (including Manchin) as “closely tied to the presidential approval ratings,” one would think this has to be pretty good news for the Dems.”Manchin – a very popular governor – continues to trail. Thus, my point above.BD: “Ignorance of a fact causing one to jump to false conclusions like assuming a president with a muslim name is a muslim does not mean the mistaken party is stupid.”Realist: “When it’s something so easy to find out, yeah it does mean the mistaken party is stupid.”How is it easy to find out? Obama rarely mentions his religion and until this poll you would be hard pressed to find any news story on the subject. Normal folks do not waste their time like you do on this irrelevance.Realist: “You failed to acknowlege my response to you about that very [Obamacare] bill. The “death panels” were explicitly prohibited by law from doing what you claim they will do.”The Dem Senate inserted language prohibiting the Medicare panel from rationing care while leaving it up to the bureaucrats to determine what that means. The bureaucracy will define rationing as a complete denial of care. When the Medicare panel chooses which treatments are more cost effective, they will deny that they are rationing care because you will still get the care the government chooses for you.

  31. dr_funguy says:

    Hello!It is so hard to find out his nationality. He rarely mentions his nationality (or species) and you would be hard pressed to find any news story on the subject…Since “Normal folks do not waste their time like you do on this irrelevance” all those teapers and freepers who insist he is a cactus, I mean, forgeign born muslim socialist-communist, are abnormal?

  32. parksie555 says:

    Talk about cherry picking! Filly, in the last 7 days the approval rating has been as follows:-5, -3, -5, -9, -5, -3, +1Where’s the outlier here? A hint: the only positive number of the 7. Average: -4. About where it’s been in most polls for the last several months, ever since the Obama approval numbers skyrocketed after the HCR bill :).

  33. Realist says:

    @Bart,When the Medicare panel chooses which treatments are more cost effective, they will deny that they are rationing care because you will still get the care the government chooses for you.I’m confused as to the difference between what you describe above and the behavior of medical insurance companies today. The only difference I see is that the insurance companies have incentive to deny more expensive care in the interest of profits.

  34. filistro says:

    @parksie in the last 7 days the approval rating has been as follows:-5, -3, -5, -9, -5, -3, +1…. average -4For the corresponding days last month it was: -9, -8, -3, -5, -9, -12, -12… average -8.5So either:1.) the president’s national approval rating has significantly firmed in the past monthor2.) Ras has now shifted to the more accurately representative sample that many of us suspect he begins to use in the last 6 weeks leading up to any election.So… which is it? Take your pick.

  35. Bart DePalma says:

    BD: “When the Medicare panel chooses which treatments are more cost effective, they will deny that they are rationing care because you will still get the care the government chooses for you.”Realist: “I’m confused as to the difference between what you describe above and the behavior of medical insurance companies today.”Today, you are free to choose among multiple insurers to contract for the coverage you prefer and the insurer is obligated to provide that coverage.Under Obamacare, you can only contract for the coverage the government approves. If you rely upon Medicare, the government can change your coverage whenever it pleases by fiat. You have no contract with the government which the government is bound to respect.

  36. Realist says:

    @Bart,Today, you are free to choose among multiple insurers to contract for the coverage you prefer and the insurer is obligated to provide that coverage.And the specific treatments covered in those policies is defined by…wait for it…the insurer! Whether it’s the insurer or the government, if you’re not getting what is promised, you can sue. Under Obamacare, you can only contract for the coverage the government approves.Which is a minimum bar. You are free to contract for more coverage. Just not less.If you rely upon Medicare, the government can change your coverage whenever it pleases by fiat.And this changed recently?You have no contract with the government which the government is bound to respect.Not a literal contract per se, but the principles are the same.You do realize that there is nothing in the health care legislation precluding you from buying supplementary coverage, don’t you?

  37. Bart DePalma says:

    BD: Today, you are free to choose among multiple insurers to contract for the coverage you prefer and the insurer is obligated to provide that coverage.Realist: “And the specific treatments covered in those policies is defined by…wait for it…the insurer!”You have a choice between contracts before buying insurance. The insurer may not change the coverage under the contract after it is formed.Realist: “Whether it’s the insurer or the government, if you’re not getting what is promised, you can sue.”On what grounds can you sue the government for changing the coverage of a government program?BD: “Under Obamacare, you can only contract for the coverage the government approves.”Realist: “Which is a minimum bar. You are free to contract for more coverage. Just not less.”That has yet to be determined. The grants of power to HHS to determine who is allowed to offer insurance in the government exchanges are incredibly broad and essentially dictatorial. Indirectly, many insurers match their coverage to Medicare and Medicaid. Thus, if the Medicare “death panel” discontinues coverage for Medicare, many private insurers will follow suit.Realist: “You do realize that there is nothing in the health care legislation precluding you from buying supplementary coverage, don’t you?”Medicare Advantage has been outlawed except I believe for a corrupt exception granted to Florida to buy a Senate vote. All other supplemental insurance falls under Obamacare control of the insurance exchanges.There is no escape from the new socialized health insurance.

  38. Jeff says:

    For those people who delight in pointing out the dumb-asses who think Obama isn’t American: The liberal emailers were armed with a poll. The Daily Kos, the mega-activist liberal blog, commisioned a Research 2000 poll that was coincidently also published last Friday. The poll reported that only 42 percent of Republicans believe Obama was born in the United States, while 30 percent were unsure and 28 percent said he was born elsewhere.Most striking, there was a broad similarity between that result and a Rasmussen poll taken in the spring of 2007. That poll found that only 39 percent of Democrats believed W. Bush did not have advance knowledge of the 9/11 terrorist attacks, while 26 percent said they were unsure and slightly more than one third of Democrats believed W. Bush knew his country was going to be attacked.You’ll note that the Daily Kos poll was by Research 2000, which Nate put out of business. Stupid doesn’t have a monopoly of parties. Stupid and mean — could be a different case….

  39. parksie555 says:

    Statistical variation, filly. Embrace it. Or, take the average of a bunch of polls:http://www.realclearpolitics.com/epolls/other/president_obama_job_approval-1044.htmlIf it were two stocks, would you buy the red one or the black one?BTW another nice start for Halladay last night. Faces just 28 batters in a complete game shutout, impressive even against the hapless Nats. Ya gotta feel good for him finally getting to taste the postseason.

  40. dr_funguy says:

    Its not stupid if its true.The PDB of August 6 2001 can be interpreted as advanced knwnledge.http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bin_Ladin_Determined_To_Strike_in_US“Bin Ladin Determined To Strike in US was the President’s Daily Brief given to U.S. President George W. Bush on August 6, 2001,. It was the 36th PDB item briefed so far that year that related to Bin Ladin or al Qaeda, and the first devoted to the possibility of an attack in the United States…FBI information since that time indicates patterns of suspicious activity in this country consistent with preparations for hijackings or other types of attacks, including recent surveillance of federal buildings in New York.”

  41. mclever says:

    Jeff, I suppose it depends how one defines having “prior knowledge of” the attacks. Does the FBI memo from July 10, 2001 that warned of the attack count as “prior knowledge”? Or how about the President Daily Briefing memo from Aug 6, 2001?Honestly, I’m not sure how I’d answer that question, and I categorically reject the 9/11 conspiracy theories that suggest the WTC was bombed by a secret Bush Admin plot. I think Bush was warned and blew off the warnings, but counting that as “prior knowledge” would require that he actually understood those warnings.

  42. mclever says:

    Great minds, dr_funguy!

  43. Realist says:

    @Bart,You have a choice between contracts before buying insurance. The insurer may not change the coverage under the contract after it is formed.They may not change coverage, but they get to define what “coverage” means. Sort of like the difference between legislation and regulation.many insurers match their coverage to Medicare and MedicaidAnd here’s the beauty of the market. You don’t have to buy insurance from those insurers. As you said: “You have a choice between contracts before buying insurance.” Don’t choose one that indexes coverage to Medicare or Medicaid.Medicare Advantage has been outlawed except I believe for a corrupt exception granted to Florida to buy a Senate vote.PPACA did not outlaw Medicare Advantage. It did, however, eliminate the federal subsidy for the program. So you’re still free to buy it. It’s just on your own dime, not mine.

  44. Bart DePalma says:

    After looking at the new CN and WV polling, Nate is opening up the door to a GOP Senate again.

  45. DC Petterson says:

    It seems to me the fear factor also plays into one’s use of poll numbers.We often see an argument of the form, “If you’re so sure you’re right, why do X% disagree with you?” as if effective policy was a matter of opinion rather than of actual impact.Where the fear factor affects this is the idea of safety in numbers. If someone is fearful, then having many others agree with you a) confirms your fears (no, you’re not crazy — unless everyone is) and b) provides you an army of supporters to help fight the Bad Thing (whatever it is).So I suspect this is why we are so often hearing, “If the Democrats’ policies are so good, why do X% of dislike them?” Note that this argument says nothing about the actual impact of the policies — particularly when discussing policies (such as the new Health Care law) which have not had time to have any impact for anyone to be measuring. My point here is not the actual impact of the law, nor the expected impact of the law. My intent is to examine the nature of the argument being put forward. We are being told, “X% feel this way — therefore, you should, too.”It’s an attempt to advance a groupthink, to impose an opinion upon others, perhaps through intimidation. The argument “X% feel this way — therefore, you should, too” does not in any way address the actual merits of whatever policy is being considered. It merely sets up an in-group and an out-group, and suggests which of those the speaker prefers to be included in.It’s not an argument at all. It is an attempt to bully. And it is done because the speaker is already afraid, and wanting his or her fears to be both validated and soothed.

  46. Bart DePalma says:

    BD: “You have a choice between contracts before buying insurance. The insurer may not change the coverage under the contract after it is formed.”Realist: “They may not change coverage, but they get to define what “coverage” means. Sort of like the difference between legislation and regulation.”No they can not. Insurers are only a party to a contract. They can disagree with you as to what the contract says and the courts will construe the contract strictly against them. Insurers have no power at all to change the terms of the contract after the fact in stark contrast to any government program.BD: “…many insurers match their coverage to Medicare and Medicaid”Realist: “And here’s the beauty of the market. You don’t have to buy insurance from those insurers.”If the upcoming age of stealth rationing is not repealed, then the issue of private insurer coverage tracking Medicare will definitely go to the courts because none of the insurance contracts mention tracking Medicare. It is simply an industry practice.

  47. Realist says:

    @Bart,Insurers are only a party to a contract. They can disagree with you as to what the contract says and the courts will construe the contract strictly against them. Insurers have no power at all to change the terms of the contract after the factI didn’t say they get to change the terms of the contract. I said they get to interpret what specific treatments are covered. I have yet to read a medical insurance policy that explicitly outlines all specific treatments covered, and I’ve read many of them. They cover specific conditions, and cover treatments for those specific conditions, but they are (I assume intentionally) mostly silent on what specific treatments themselves are covered. Which specific treatments they will cover is left to the interpretation of the insurer.none of the insurance contracts mention tracking Medicare. It is simply an industry practice.Hmmm…so the industry practice is to change coverage during the term of the contract?And why, if there’s demand for better coverage than the Medicare minimums, would no insurance company offer that coverage?And why do you claim that Medicare Advantage has been outlawed when it hasn’t?

  48. filistro says:

    hey!!… who fixed the “bold”?Man, there are some really smart people in here 🙂

  49. Realist says:

    @fili,That’d be me. (Happy to claim the title of “smart people”) 🙂

  50. parksie555 says:

    @DC – Remember, 538 was primarily intended to be a site for analysis of polling data. Hence the frequent references to polling data.More to your point, I think you stretch your fear analysis a bit. To me the use of polls is primarily to show the level of people’s approval with their current representation. Generally a vote (or poll result) is as simple as a voter agreeing or disagreeing with current policy. I know liberal Dems like to talk about “the sheeple” or “Faux News” or “fear” as reasons for their failings in the polls or at the ballot box but that to me fails into the category of poor excuses. You want votes? Enact policy that the majority want to see enacted.

  51. filistro says:

    @Realist… whew… it’s comforting to know all the Smart People are on the same side.Think how scary the Goopers would be if in addition to all that brashness, passion and smugness, they also had some SMARTS!

  52. DC Petterson says:

    @parksieOf course, 538 was created to analyze polls. There’s nothing wrong with that, and it’s a perfectly legitimate enterprise. However, I was referring to a particular form of political argument, which indeed has been advanced, often with nearly the precise wording I gave — “If the Democrats’ policy is so good, why do X% oppose it?” My point is that this is a poor argument, and it seems to be fear-based, both in the reason for advancing it, and in its intended effect.

  53. shiloh says:

    @Totally humiliated BartHow long before you folks realize that the voters are not stupid, racist or afraid.~~~~~~~~~~Let’s recap, shall we: After making a complete idiot of himself for the umpteenth time, Bart continues to show up in this thread to talk about polls.Let’s repeat re: race in America: Bart once again makes a complete fool of himself at a smallish liberal blog as our resident winger troll is crying out to be heard lol ~ Can you hear me now!>Indeed, Bart just can’t help himself 😉 as he has stupidly/obsessively let his prejudice/fear/hatred of Barack Hussein Obama and the Dems totally consume him!>“Our Republic Has Stumbled, But Has Not Yet Fallen”My descriptive phrases do not begin to do justice to the damage these policies are doing to the country.April 23, 2010 10:46 AMI wonder whether I live in America anymore when the government imposes its will in opposition to the people. That is what ruling classes do, not representatives of the people.May 2, 2010 4:21 PM~~~~~~~~~~>Again, Bart should thank Mr. U for providing him an outlet to make an obsessive/hyperbolic fool of himself daily thus preventing him from going postal!and oh the irony of 538’s #1 conservative bigot sayin’: How long before you folks realize that the voters are not stupid, racist or afraid.A certain cosmos symmetry, eh. lolWhat a shocker Bartles or any other winger trolls haven’t commented on reality ie the article Mike posted: Yes, Mr. Kristof, This Is America ~ Why are we so surprised by our own bigotry?As this thread is about fear/hatred/racism in America!Indeed, the truth is so ugly, winger trolls usually don’t want to touch it as conservative history re: racism is in America is shameful. Shirley Sherrod can also tell you some of the history is quite recent, eh. Gingrich/Breitbart/Beck/Hannity/Billo/Limbaugh etc.>We now return you to Bart obsessively making a fool of himself and 24/7 deflecting at 538 as per usual …

  54. DC Petterson says:

    Oh, and as an example of another fear-based argument, we have Bart demonstrating precisely that, attempting to support the strange notion the the government is out to kill us all, so we must put our trust in corporations. Bart, to your central fear — corporations are riven solely by profit. That’s perfectly reasonable, and there’s nothing wrong with profit. But that is their goal and their motive — not health care, not the well-being of their customers, and not the quality of service you receive. Profit. A great motive, but it’s worth keeping in mind that denying expensive treatments means their profit increases.In America, We the People own and control the government. Our federal institutions have the motives and goals that We the People want them to have. Those who put the health care provisions into effect will have our interests, our health and well-being as their motives. If they don’t, We the People have the power to throw them out on their butts and hire someone who will.Out government IS We the People. Conversely, We the People ARE the government. You’re trying to argue that a profit-driven enterprise can make better decisions about health care than the decisions that would be made by We the People. You are advancing what is at base a corporatist, fascist dictatorship.You say that if the insurance companies break the agreed contract, you can take them to court. Note: the Justice System is a branch of (wait for it) the government. So in the end, even you must rely on the government to make decisions in your interest. Why not cut out the middleman, someone whom you know does not have your best interest at heart?You also speak of the “contract” with the insurance companies, as if the consumer has any say as to what is in that contract. Consumers do not negotiate the terms, and the power differential is enormous. Fighting a huge corporation, even in court, is a nearly hopeless task — particularly if you get your wish for anti-consumer laws such as “tort reform” and unregulated sales of insurance across state lines.Yes, we know you fear the government. You are clearly allowing that fear to cloud your judgment.

  55. shiloh says:

    btw anal retentive Bartles, the abbreviation for Connecticut is CT not CN.take care

  56. parksie555 says:

    DC – Your view of corporations is remarkably simpleminded. Talk about fear and paranoia!Of course there are good corporations and bad corporations, just as there are good governments and bad governments. The good ones are not driven solely by profit. The good ones realize that when they look to the well-being of their customers and the quality of their service, that the profits will surely follow. The bad ones chase profits only in the short term, and usually fail in the long run.

  57. filistro says:

    You all may get a kick out of the fact that I’ve managed to goad Muley into attacking me quite passionately over at the NYT. It’s brightened my whole day :-)Go check the comments on the current thread.

  58. shiloh says:

    Marrying Out ~ One-in-Seven New U.S. Marriages is Interracial or Interethnic is the link where I got the today 37% of Americans would not approve of a family member marrying outside of his or her race. Are those people not American? quote.Indeed, no race/fear/hatred problem in America! ;)btw conservatives, be afraid, be very afraid as older white voters continue to pass on and Latinos continue to multiply ~ and Gasp! interracial-interethnic marriages increase.This is where 538’s winger trolls come in and say they are 1/8 Hispanic er 1/8 African/American er 1/8 Navajo Indian etc. or some such nonsense … carry on

  59. shrinkers says:

    @filistro — Mule is a kick isn’t he 🙂 ranting about ranting.You did make an interesting observation. Some actual data in there as well!

  60. Michael Weiss says:

    parksie555 said:”The good ones are not driven solely by profit. The good ones realize that when they look to the well-being of their customers and the quality of their service, that the profits will surely follow. The bad ones chase profits only in the short term, and usually fail in the long run.”And that’s true for companies that have frequent interactions with their customers. Health insurance is a funny exception. The bulk of health insurance customers are not the ones receiving the health care. Rather, they’re the ones employing the ones receiving health care. And those interactions are typically infrequent, especially for the “big ticket” items.I’ve been working on a larger post to elaborate on this particular market disconnect. It’s a big part of what makes health care such a mess in this country.

  61. filistro says:

    @shrinkers.. You did make an interesting observation.Not really… I was mostly goading 🙂 It’s probably a good thing my foot will soon be healed enough that I can go hiking through the autumn colors in the coulees, instead of starting fights on the Internet. (Though I don’t know what I’d have done in recent days without this blog. Probably would have had to get some actual WORK done… )

  62. filistro says:

    And speaking of starting fights on the internet… parksie, I’m still deciding whether I can forgive you for that nasty crack about how nice it’ll be for Doc to “finally have a shot at the post-season.” I found that (sniffle)… very hurtful…Hey, on the bright side… guess who just waxed the Yankees TWO GAMES RUNNING!!! 🙂 🙂 🙂 My team is a “next-year” team…

  63. Jeff says:

    DC Petterson wrote:Oh, and as an example of another fear-based argument, we have Bart demonstrating precisely that, attempting to support the strange notion the the government is out to kill us all, so we must put our trust in corporations.Bart, to your central fear — corporations are riven solely by profit. That’s perfectly reasonable, and there’s nothing wrong with profit. But that is their goal and their motive — not health care, not the well-being of their customers, and not the quality of service you receive. Profit.==============What extraordinarily strange thinking about corporations vs. government. I’ve finally learned why the left is so entranced by giving power to government.I’ve learned not to trust altruism. As Ronald Reagan used to say “The most frightening sentence in the English language is ‘Hi, I’m from the government and I’m here to help you….'”I love dealing with people motivated by self-interest, when that self-interest aligns with mine. Corporations want to make me happy so I’ll come back to spend more money with them. After all, they know I have a choice.I have ZERO choice in dealing with government. I do things their way — or else. It’s called a monopoly. That’s why Teddy Roosevelt was a Trust-Buster.Monopolies inexorably move towards exploitation of their “customers” and towards their own self-aggrandizement. Monopolies that have courts and guns and prisons have a lot more power than corporate monopolies.There are certainly some areas where a government monopoly is the only practical solution. Even the most ardent libertarian wouldn’t want the criminal court system for sale to the highest bidder!But where it’s reasonably feasible, I’d damn soon rather have a choice of medical providers than no choice. I’d rather be able to make my own decisions than have somebody else make them for me. And I don’t want a bunch of un-elected bureaucrats, protected by civil service, and represented by the SEIU, in charge of my well-being.I live with and tolerate the IRS and the Department of Motor Vehicles. But they aren’t the people I would trust with heart surgery…..

  64. shiloh says:

    @FiliI’ve given up on Nate’s new enterprise, but I’m glad Mule has brightened your day! :)Mule can be quite entertaining by default lol.

  65. dr_funguy says:

    @JeffOh, that must be why so many countries with single payer universal health care are getting so much less health care while paying more money than we do in the US.OOPS, They Don’t?!?!I detect lacunae in your logic.

  66. filistro says:

    @dr funguy ..lacunae in your logic…I stand in awe. What a wonderful phrase.

  67. shiloh says:

    @JeffreyI’ve learned not to trust altruism. As Ronald Reagan used to say “The most frightening sentence in the English language is ‘Hi, I’m from the government and I’m here to help you….'”~~~~~~~~~~Your cliché(s) aside:Interesting dichotomy as recent U.S. military war crimes in Afghanistan/Iraq have their citizens fearful of Americans and hating America! ~ go figure.>But my main point, if not for the U.S. military which is run by govt. er Govt. of the people, by the people, for the people you would probably not have your current freedom of posting nonsense at a liberal blog as the outcome of WWII might have been a tad different …Indeed, we have had this ad nauseam argument before ie what does the govt. provide? hmm, safety ~ someone is breaking into your house or your house is on fire, public schools, food protection, work force safety, weather alerts, etc.and yes tax payer dollars pay for these services, but again, who elects politicians? hmm, a catch-22.>It’s always amazing how many different tangents threads about racism in America expand to. ;)And don’t anyone tell Jeffrey how reliant he is re: govt. services, unless of course he is a billionaire living in a castle, but 538 doesn’t get a lot of conservative billionaires to post here …

  68. DC Petterson says:

    Jeff,I’m afraid you misunderstood me. I said nothing about altruism. Workers in government are also driven by their own self-interest. If we don’t like what they do, we force them to get a different job. That’s how a democracy works.The difference is that corporations exist for the purpose of making profit for shareholders. Now, if a corporation makes some product, one could argue that better quality product will attract more customers and therefore drive up profit. But insurance companies don’t have a product. They take money from consumers, and then either keep it (thus creating their profit) or pay claims (reducing their profit). Therefore, the lower the quality of their service, the higher is their profit. If their profits are too low, the shareholders fire the workers and replace them. Corporate workers are answerable to the shareholders, not to the customers.In a democracy, on the other had, the workers in government must do as We the People tell them to do, or We the People fire them and get new government workers. That’s the whole point of a democracy.There is nothing necessarily altrusitic about it, though there certainly are many dedicated and humane people working in government. Since the purpose of government in a democracy is to serve the will of the people, one would naturally expect humane and altrutic people to be drawn to that service. (Power-hungry types too, of course — see above under voting them out of office.)Summary: A corporation may act in the interests of its customers, as a coincidental side-effect of their attempt to make a profit. A democratic government must act in the interests of the voters, or the voters kick them out. In neither case must one trust “altruism” in order to get the desired result (i.e., profit, in the case of a corporation, or public service, in the case of a democratic government).

  69. mclever says:

    DC: Summary: A corporation may act in the interests of its customers, as a coincidental side-effect of their attempt to make a profit. A democratic government must act in the interests of the voters, or the voters kick them out.Well said. It’s a wonderful treat to see someone so cogently make the point I intuitively understand but couldn’t express myself.

  70. mclever says:

    And to the topic at hand, fear is definitely a major factor in voter decisions. Any politico worth his salt knows this. Be afraid, be very afraid! And the more visceral or intense the fear, the easier it is to override rational thought.Even unconscious fear formed by split-second impressions affects how we vote. I could cite a study that I read by Dr. Mattes at Cal Tech, but I can’t find the link… Anyway, the study was one where subjects were shown pictures of candidates and asked questions about them. To get at instinctual responses, they were only shown the picture for about 40 ms. The upthrust was that candidates who subjects deemed “most threatening” were much more likely to have lost in the actual election. Think how strong the fear reaction must be for the correlation to exist with first impressions from glimpses of candidates’ smiling campaign photos. Dr. Mattes even hooked up fMRI machines to the subjects to verify that the responses/reactions were legit. Cool study. Wish I could find the link…

  71. GROG says:

    @DC Shrinkers:The left and Obama have been trying to stir up the fear in Americans for years.From the whole man made global warming hoax, to Sarah Palin is insane, to anyone who didn’t vote for Obama is a racist, to “it’s not safe for hispanics to go for ice cream in Arizona”, to the GOP is going to take away your Social Security, to The Tea Party is a bunch of violent racists……..it goes on and on and on. Take off the blinders.

  72. Jeff says:

    D.C:”Workers in government are also driven by their own self-interest. If we don’t like what they do, we force them to get a different job. That’s how a democracy works.”=========That’s NOT the way it works. Politicians can get fired. Bureaucrats are protected by civil service and it’s virtually impossible to fire them.”But insurance companies don’t have a product. They take money from consumers, and then either keep it (thus creating their profit) or pay claims (reducing their profit).”=========They do have a product, just like lawyers and accountants. Services are products. Parksie pointed out what you’re missing. YOU, in the overwhelming majority of cases, are not the insurance company’s customer. Employers (and government) are the customer. They look for the best possible price with reasonable coverage. Insurance companies have no incentive to provide individual coverage and, given the existence of adverse selection, the individual customer is not a valued commodity.

  73. Michael Weiss says:

    Jeff wrote:”Parksie pointed out what you’re missing. YOU, in the overwhelming majority of cases, are not the insurance company’s customer.”Actually, that was me. And it explains why medical insurance is a broken market.

  74. shortchain says:

    Jeff, Parksie, Bart,Nice theories. Too bad they don’t reflect reality to any measurable degree. Years ago, before the health insurance companies got really nasty, I had to have sinus surgery. Got it pre-approved between the doc office and the very large (one of the largest, in fact) insurance company, all hunky-dory.When the surgery was over, the doc billed the insurance company, who refused to pay because, they said, the doctor broke the surgery out into three items. They had only agreed to pay one item (the first and least costly item on the invoice).Now, at that point I had some choices: hire a lawyer for several thousand and go after the insurance company, located out-of-state (it was through one of those “friendly corporations” where I was working), or go through the insurance commission in-state. The company where I worked didn’t give a rat’s ass what kind of treatment I received, which was hardly unique, BTW, as I learned over the time I worked there.I investigated the commission, and found that they found for the individual about one-tenth of the time, because of technicalities the insurance companies loaded their contracts with.Result: I was out a few thousand bucks for treatment that the insurance company had assured me was covered.Now I pay for individual insurance which has been grandfathered in under the ACA — it’s simply amazing that anybody can claim, given the grandfather clauses in the ACA, that their insurance is “illegal” — and it’s subject to cancellation any time they want to claim I didn’t tell them something. And they write about 70 percent of the policies in this state.I don’t know what reality you people live in where you imagine that individuals with company-bought insurance — and most especially individuals — have any real chance against these corporations.

  75. DC Petterson says:

    Politicians can get fired. Bureaucrats are protected by civil service and it’s virtually impossible to fire them.Effectively, it can be done easily enough. If We the People don’t like what a given government bureaucracy does, We can elect politicians who will alter it, or even disband it entirely.The democratic government must be responsive to the needs of the people.Of course, we’ve drifted some from the premise of my article — but really not. We’re witnessing it action, as our friends on the right try to convince us to be afraid of our democratically-elected government. So the question is — Why? Why should we fear a government that is designed to do what we tell it to do?

  76. Bart DePalma says:

    The Dems now officially own the recession. Dem Pollster PPP:”Last week someone asked me what poll data I would use to sum up what’s happening in this election in the simplest terms possible. Here it is:-On our last national poll 49% of respondents said the economy had gotten worse since Barack Obama became President.-The folks who thought the economy had gotten worse who had already decided how to vote in November are going Republican by a 92-8 margin.If voters think the economy’s gotten worse under a Democratic President they’re going to vote Republican. Add in the Democrats’ enthusiasm issues and you have the formula for the big GOP victory that’s likely on the way.”http://publicpolicypolling.blogspot.com/2010/09/summing-it-all-up.htmlBefore you even get to voter rejection of Dem policies the issues, the GOP has a floor of about 45% of the voters.This is all over except for the counting.

  77. shrinkers says:

    Bart,How many of those chickens have hatched?But y’know, this fits what we’ve been telling you. It’s all about the economy. But it’s important that you read carefully — “The folks who thought the economy had gotten worse who had already decided how to vote in November are going Republican by a 92-8 margin.”Unfortunately, the article isn’t clear on what percentage (2%? 80%?) had “already decided how to vote.”This also may imply that once people realize how much the economy actually has improved, they may change their minds.

  78. GROG says:

    DC: Summary: A corporation may act in the interests of its customers, as a coincidental side-effect of their attempt to make a profit.If you REALLY believe this statement, you have absolutely no idea how business works. Any successful business MUST act in the best interest of it’s customers every time or they will go out of business. If I run a popsicle stand and I don’t provide a quality product and a good price for my customers, a new popsicle stand will open up which will provide a good product at a good price. If I can’t figure out a way to provide a better popsicle at a better price, I will go out of business. (I know it’s a bad word so I’ll whisper. It’s called free market capitalism.)A democratic government must act in the interests of the voters, or the voters kick them out.Really? Did that happen in Cuyahoga County, Ohio where county commissioner Jimmy Dimora (Democrat) spent 30 years of corruption ripping off the people of Cleveland? Or where county auditor Frank Russo (Democrat) was just sentenced to 22 years in prison for taking over $1 million in bribes over his 20 year career?Government is corrupt at every level. It took investigative reporters to bring down Dimora and Russo in Cleveland. Cleveland is just one example corrupt Government nationwide. Just look at Chicago for crying out loud. DC/shrinkers, the unfaltering faith you have in Government is truly astounding.

  79. GROG says:

    DC: Summary: A corporation may act in the interests of its customers, as a coincidental side-effect of their attempt to make a profit.(You’re not generalizing here are you? I know how you don’t like that.)A business will not make a profit UNLESS it acts in the best interest of it’s customers.

  80. shortchain says:

    GROG,So you’re saying Philip-Morris has always acted in the best interest of its customers.OK.

  81. DC Petterson says:

    Government is corrupt at every level. It took investigative reporters to bring down Dimora and Russo in Cleveland. Cleveland is just one example corrupt Government nationwide. Just look at Chicago for crying out loud. As I said, our friends on the right are doing everything in their power to make us afraid of our democratically-elected government. I could as easily say of you, that the unfaltering faith you have in Big Business is truly astounding. The truth is, however, any system can be corrupted, and any mature system will include corrupt individuals. But our government was specifically designed to have checks and balances, and to be answerable to the people. Corporations do not have these protections, and are run for reasons other than the well-being of their customers.

  82. dr_funguy says:

    Doh!Don’t allow real-world evidence to interfere with ideology.Must relive cognitive dissonance [drilling holes in forehead]much better now9/28/2010 3:58 PM shortchain wrote:GROG,So you’re saying Philip-Morris has always acted in the best interest of its customers.OK.

  83. Realist says:

    @GROG,Any successful business MUST act in the best interest of it’s [sic] customers every time or they will go out of business.If you REALLY believe this statement, you have absolutely no idea how business works. There are plenty of industries for which significant barriers to entry exist. For any of those industries, provided the good or service supplied has relatively inelastic demand, the business has no incentive to act in the best interest of its customers.The higher the barriers to entry, and the less elastic the demand, the less need the business has to satisfy its customers.This applies to government as much as it does to business. Depending on the office and the size of the constituency represented, barriers to entry for successful candidacy can be extraordinarily high. This, combined with the inelastic demand for government services and lack of viable substitutes, creates a similar disinterest in customer satisfaction for some politicians. Where barriers to entry are lower, politicians are more focused on customer satisfaction.

  84. GROG says:

    DC/shrinkers said:Corporations do not have these protections, and are run for reasons other than the well-being of their customers.Then why do we have corporations? Why not let the Government provide all goods and services?

  85. GROG says:

    So you’re saying Philip-Morris has always acted in the best interest of its customers.No they did not and “the people” held them accountable. Speaking of Philip Morris, Democrats love the cigarette industry. It’s another way to tax “the people”. What’s not to love it you’re a Democrat.

  86. mclever says:

    Thanks for the links, Montreme!Sometimes, I think I just imagined reading these things, so it’s nice to find I have actually remembered something accurately!

  87. DC Petterson says:

    Then why do we have corporations? Why not let the Government provide all goods and services?Because they serve different purposes. I have a big believer in a free market. I am also a believer in Democracy.Tell me, do you think we should have no government at all? I bet we agree on the central idea — that both government and free enterprise serve valuable purposes. We disagree, sometimes, on which purposes can be better served in which way.So let’s not make parodies out of each other. Let’s have an honest discussion instead.

  88. DC Petterson says:

    So you’re saying Philip-Morris has always acted in the best interest of its customers.No they did not and “the people” held them accountable. Precisely. The people, to a great extent, through exercising their power by means of good government. A perfect example of why we need governmental oversight of corporations. Thank you for pointing that out. It is precisely the point I am making.

  89. shiloh says:

    @filistrook, peaked in on Mule Rider’s latest inanity!@Mule RiderActually, this is more for the moderators, but would you guys/gals at least consider NOT posting these partisan rants that tend to wander off-topic and focus more on cheerleading one side and demeaning the other instead of contributing to the topic being addressed in the post.Nate indicated before the switch to the NYT that he wouldn’t stand for this off-topic gibberish, and I’ve tried to live up to my end of the bargain as a commenter, so why can’t these others be forced to?~~~~~~~~~~btw, Nate never said anything re: o/t jibberish. and speaking of whining jibberish:Again, a Mule Rider blast from the past!and the replies lol:~~~~~Nick said…Wow, Mule Rider if you were trying not come off as a douche bag, you might want to rethink your strategy.~~~~~Mason said… Mule Rider, Get a life, bro. You spent all Saturday posting? Lame.And to carry a textual fisticuff from one thread to another?Also lame.~~~~~Ed M. said… Mule Rider, bitching about people being mean and angry and claiming to be an independent makes my night. We drink your tears, bitch.~~~~~Dams1986 said… This just in: Mule Rider has been indicted for multiple rapings of donkeys. The federal charges against him are particularly serious, owing to the fact that understandably none of the donkeys consented to being molested by him.~~~~~STepper said… Why are we debating civilly with the execrable Mule Rider. He is the pompous ass — no one is perfect enough ever to earn his vote, by the way — who caused us to have to use word verification.~~~~~Vinny said… Wow Nate, your site sure is an odd one. Usually on a site like this, the Republican trolls go away fast after a crushing defeat. Yet it seems like they’re more active than ever.~~~~~STepper said… @Mule Rider Let’s discuss your permanent departure, troll. ~~~~~Statler N Waldorf said… I’m not on the list? After all the work I did? Fuuuuuuuucccckkkk! I so wanted to piss him off. I tried, I really did. *sniff*~~~~~Davy said… Awww, dang it. Mule Rider left before I could get a last word in.~~~~~matador said… @Mule Rider So you’re right – I do think I’ll leave permanently. December 13, 2008 9:15 PM c’mon Mule Rider, I know you are just kidding. since I landed in this site (june 2008) this should be the 100th time you say you are leaving…~~~~~joel said… It is obvious that Mule Rider has no life, I picture a nerdy looking geek living in his parents basement with no life except leaving venom on political websites. It appears he spends his whole day posting on this site.~~~~~and the band played on …

  90. GROG says:

    DC said:Precisely. The people, to a great extent, through exercising their power by means of good government. A perfect example of why we need governmental oversight of corporations. Thank you for pointing that out. It is precisely the point I am making.Yes. It’s called laws. Businesses must act within the law. No problem with that at all.

  91. filistro says:

    shiloh… I’m pretty sure Muley misses us a whole lot. I’m also certain he is reading us daily (HI MULEY!!! :-):-)… and he is dying to post here but knows if he gets abusive Mr U can zap him… and he cannot BEAR the thought of giving Mr U that kind of power over him.We all know how wildly Muley tends to flip out when he feels he’s being “censored.”I was just so tickled when he launched that surprising diatribe at my inoffensive, impersonal little posting. It was like old times.

  92. DC Petterson says:

    Yes. It’s called laws. Businesses must act within the law. No problem with that at all.Exactly right. And that, of course, is the essence of the recent health care legislation — enacting reasonable laws that health insurers must now stay within.We’re cool. We’ve found a surprisingly large area of agreement here.

  93. shiloh says:

    @filistroYea, I’m 100% positive, as you say, MR is peaking in. Which is why I throw him an occasional kiss! ;)btw, the above post was a reply I was gonna make to him, but decide not to, when we 1st started to do battle 🙂 May/June 2009 as I didn’t become a regular at 538 until after the election. And then when loner made his couple posts re: Mule’s notorious past temper tantrums it was too funny to a late arrival like me.>>>Here’s a few more replies to Mule’s final exit !!!RivierRatt said… Hey, Mule Rider, Earlier, you posted (doubtless using only the fingers of one hand to type): The self-masturbatory political junkies of 538 evidently can’t get enough, but so what? Hmmm…don’t you think “self-masturbatory” is a tad redundant? ~~~~~Matt said… Mule Rider: Part of the reason some people (Like Cugel) are so hostile towards you is that half the time you’re pretty insulting yourself. Calling people “dumbasses” or “gay” doesn’t win you any friends.~~~~~Robby said… Dirty Harry is Mule Rider, if you haven’t figured it out yet.~~~~~Davy said… @ecarlsonI would tell you to go back in time and read Mule Rider’s previous comments. But the worst have been deleted by the moderator. I will tell you this: MuleRider spewed forth the most horrendous, vitriolic, threatening, diatribe on any site, ever. His hatred, hostility, and racism outweigh any credibility that his arguments may have contained. I don’t know if word verification was introduced because of the troll infestation but it did occur soon after the site was overrun. There was a particular incident between Mule Rider and Sean before WV took effect. I can verify that there is no love loss for AssRider here. If there is any type of interdiction to alleviate such behaviour, I am for it.~~~~~joel said… Mule Rider will be back. I believe he is a sociopath and people like that have to keep doing what gets them off. My bet is he an outcast from society who claims he is educated and in reality probably living in his parents basement unable to get a job or socialize in a normal manner. Anyone so full of hate is not capable of leading a normal life. Anyway that`s my take on the psycho. December 15, 2008 8:18 AM ~~~~~~~~~~>btw, was Mule Rider really the reason for word verification lol.carry on

  94. GROG says:

    DC said:Exactly right. And that, of course, is the essence of the recent health care legislation — enacting reasonable laws that health insurers must now stay within.Its a lot more than that.

  95. Monotreme says:

    @Shiloh,The only function of WV is to make sure that a human is posting, rather than a bot. It’s a simple Turing test.Unfortunately, Mule Rider appears to be human, at least in his ability to recognize and reproduce letters of the alphabet in the correct sequence.

  96. dr_funguy says:

    why shucks, it weren’t nothin’ seriously I don’t recall where I first read something similar but alas its not original. Being a biologist, it stuck with me (latin an’ all or should I say et al.)

  97. dr_funguy says:

    Maybe he passes this Turing test, but he couldn’t recognize a “partisan rant” if it was spewing from his orofice. I thought that fil had an interesting observation; quantitative analysis even…

  98. filistro says:

    @dr funguy I thought that fil had an interesting observation; quantitative analysis even…You know, I thought so too. It’s not that Dems outnumber GOP at the site (as some indignant Gooper pointed out)… in fact that just makes the point more viable. It’s that the few GOP posters are so much more VOCAL, while masses of Dems are quiet but committed.I mean… it’s exactly five weeks till the election. Who would one rather be… the party that once had a prohibitive lead but is now fading, or the one that was trailing badly but has begun to surge? 5 weeks out, I’d take surging over fading any day.

  99. Mainer says:

    Fili the Christine Odonnell fairy is going to get you girl if you keep with the surging bit. No surging, I repeat no surging…..why the next thing you know we might have group surging and then biracial surging and then gasp of gasps same sex surging and oh my my my ommmmmmm self surging and then gasp river city would never be the same again.Ah, is it not the ebb and flow of politics? Ebb at the wrong time and flow at the right time and all else is but mere noise……..speaking of noise……..more cowbells……where are the cowbells? Is it possible the the current underground, understated can’t get on ZFox 24/7 campaign strats of some candidates has left voters wondering where the candidate went? Hey the sad thing is running from the electorate will work for some of them but some of them are going to get clocked by it. I think it depends on where the election is and the effectivness of the Dem attack…..’Do you know where your candidate is tonight….last night or any night until the election?” a solid bet is for teaper/fereaper world unless it is on Fox…….nowhere ville. Now if Fox could just rebuild their shows into 1 minute candidate sound bites 24/7 they might pull it off…….nah the resident blowhards couldn’t live with out hearing their own voices that much.

  100. Bart DePalma says:

    DC argues that there should be reasonable laws that business should stay within and Obamacare is an example of these. This begs the question of what is a reasonable or proper law.Libertarians argue that the only proper law is one that prohibits one person from harming another. You make all other decisions on how to live your life, even if others think them ill advised.Almost nothing in Obamacare fits this definition of a proper law.

  101. Mainer says:

    Ok Bart, that is good so why is your little libertarian self not railing against those that are all wound up about, DADT, same sex marriage, womens right to choice……Bart man you can not argue strongly for oneand not the other. Come on man, put it together. It is ok to be fiscaly conservative, it is ok to be Libertarian….those two kind of work together at some level even I see that (I don’t have to agree I just have to see that it is consistant)How do you accept the nonconsistant social conservatism (big government in the bedroom) part of this? And don’t give me the I want to win regardless the cost to my core beleifs because that just makes you a whore. What do you actually beleive in if any thing Bart? How cheap are you willing to sell your supposed libertarian soul. The real libertarians I know are not buying it Bart. They are going for real independents…..one of which may well be the next gov here in Maine and I am helping them……all I freaking can because some of us progressive independents are actually independent as a hog on ice (see famous photo of same by Kosti Rahoma).

  102. shiloh says:

    Now if Fox could just rebuild their shows into 1 minute candidate sound bites 24/7 they might pull it off.~~~~~~~~~~fixednoise is preaching to the choir!carry on

  103. Nice post. I like the way you start and then conclude your thoughts. Thanks for this information .I really appreciate your work, keep it up

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