Health Care Bankruptices: More Liberal Lies

What was that line from Mark Twain?  “A lie can get halfway around the world before the truth can even get its boots on.”

In the course of the last two days – and watching mostly Fox News, no less – I have at least four times heard an advocate for the Democrats’ health care boondoggle recite the crap statistic that “60% of bankruptcies are due to health care costs,” with nary a reply by the journalist who should be able to separate fact from fraud.

If you’re going to interview a liberal, be aware that lies tend to accompany the movement of their lips.  When you have the latter, you almost certainly have the former.

It’s not that this hasn’t been repeatedly refuted.  It’s that the lies are piling up far faster than the refutation can keep up with them.  Democrats know from Hitler and Goebbels that if they keep telling a lie over and over again, people will eventually believe it.  So we just keep hearing about this massive number of bankruptcies over and over again.

It’s not true.

From ABC News:

Medical Bankruptcies: A Data-Check

March 05, 2009 12:37 PM

(3 p.m. update: See italicized items with responses from the lead author of the Harvard study, Dr. David Himmelstein.)

President Obama’s kicking off his health care reform today in the worst possible way: with a mischaracterization of data.

“The cost of health care now causes a bankruptcy in America every thirty seconds,” Obama said at the opening of his White House forum on health care reform. The problem: That claim, based on a 2001 survey, is simply unsupportable.

The figure comes from a 2005 Harvard University study saying that 54 percent of bankruptcies in 2001 were caused by health expenses. We reviewed it internally and knocked it down at the time; an academic reviewer did the same in 2006. Recalculating Harvard’s own data, he came up with a far lower figure – 17 percent.

A more recent study by another group, approaching it another way, indicates that in 2007 about eight-tenths of one percent of Americans lived in families that filed for bankruptcy as a result of medical costs. That rings a little less loudly than “one every 30 seconds.”

The extrapolation of Harvard’s data to “a bankruptcy every 30 seconds,” which Obama also mentioned in his address to a joint session of Congress last month, comes, per the White House, from a 2005 Washington Post op-ed by Prof. Elizabeth Warren, a co-author of the Harvard paper. Fact-check.org has noted that even using Harvard’s numbers, it’s more like a bankruptcy every minute; indeed if you add up all bankrputcies in a year you barely get one every 30 seconds. (I’ve e-mailed Warren for comment.) But more to the point is that the Harvard data are clearly inflated, or at best, mischaracterized.

Himmelstein tells me that the reason for the difference is a change in federal law that sharply reduced the number of bankruptcies. In 2005, the year he and Warren wrote their op-ed, there were just over 2 million bankruptcies. Data out just today say that in 2008 there were 1.1 million (up sharply, by the way, over 2007). So this error in the White House claim stems simply from the fact that it’s using out-of-date information. The next question is whether the estimate of “medical bankruptcies” is reliable in the first place.

A good part of the problem is definitional. The Harvard report claims to measure the extent to which medical costs are “the cause” of bankruptcies. In reality its survey asked if these costs were “a reason” – potentially one of many – for such bankruptcies.

Beyond those who gave medical costs as “a reason,” the Harvard researchers chose to add in any bankruptcy filers who had at least $1,000 in unreimbursed medical expenses in the previous two years. Given deductibles and copays, that’s a heck of a lot of people.

Moreover, Harvard’s definition of “medical” expenses includes situations that aren’t necessarily medical in common parlance, e.g., a gambling problem, or the death of a family member. If your main wage-earning spouse gets hit by a bus and dies, and you have to file, that’s included as a “medical bankruptcy.”

When I asked the lead author, Dr. David Himmelstein, about his definitions of medical bankruptcy back in 2005, he said, “It’s a judgment call,” and added that any death, for example, “to our mind is a medical event.”

A last problem was sampling: The Harvard researchers surveyed bankruptcy filers in five federal court districts accounting for 14 percent of bankruptcies nationally; projecting this to the other 86 percent is sketchy. Said Himmelstein: “Obviously the extrapolation is rough.”

Of such rough extrapolations are presidential pronouncements made. […]

“It stinks to be uninsured. I don’t want to be quoted saying anything else,” Dranove says. “But there are correct studies, and incorrect studies. For academics, the validity of the research methods matters.”

It should for the rest of us, too.

So you see a horrible study – absolutely horrible – that is clearly biased and filled with faulty assumptions and questionable definitions.  But it’s from Harvard, so it must be true.  Let’s run with it.  I noticed CBS and NBC news articles that did just that.  Factchecks?  We don’t need no stinkin’ factchecks.

ABC took that Harvard study, did their own review simply by recalculating the Harvard leftist professor’s own data – and came up with 17%.  But they were also able to find another study that concluded: “about eight-tenths of one percent of Americans lived in families that filed for bankruptcy as a result of medical costs.”

A professional named Steve Elias who specializes in bankruptcy cases comes to a similar conclusion regarding his own practice — that health care costs are at best a very minor part of our bankruptcies.

So every time I hear someone say “sixty percent of all bankruptcies are the result of health care costs, so we need to pass Obama care right now!” I know I am dealing with an ignoramus, or an ideologue, or both.

And every time I see that comment uttered to or in front of a journalist who doesn’t respond by correcting the record, I know that there’s yet another journalist out there who isn’t good enough at his or her job to pass muster.

Now, I could have stopped here.  But let me go on – because there are WAY too many lies being told by Democrats.

(CBS) Today the President again insisted that his health care reform won’t force you to switch plans or doctors.

“What I’m saying is the government is not going to make you change your plans under health reform,” said Mr. Obama.

That’s technically correct – but what the president didn’t say is that reform could lead your boss to change your health care plan, reports CBS News correspondent Sharyl Attkisson. Here’s how: 160 million people are insured through work and their employer actually picks up most of the cost. Under the president’s plan, Americans would be required to carry a certain level of coverage, which means many people would have to increase their insurance.

“Employer premiums will go up, and employers might respond by dropping coverage entirely,” said Michael Cannon, with the Cato Institute. “So if you’re one of those unfortunate workers then it will be a government policy that ousted you from your health plan.”

And if you do choose a public plan, you may want to keep your favorite doctors but they may not want to keep you. Under government health care, they could be paid 20 to 30 percent less.

Here’s another gargantuan Obama lie.  And – while I’m surprised and grateful that CBS took a swipe at it – I fear they didn’t go far enough, and won’t come back to the truth often enough.

A Wall Street Journal article absolutely destroys any claim to credibility Obama has in claiming that his plan won’t force tens of millions of people out of their private health care.

The last thing Obama and his Democrat allies have repeatedly lie about is that “Republicans are opposing reform.”

I would confront Obama by saying, “Name one.  Name one single Republican who is on the record opposing any kind of health care reform.”  It is demagogic rhetoric.  And the president is clearly becoming unhinged to rely on such demagogic attacks to force a clearly unpopular agenda down the country’s throat.

President Obama went after Senator Jim DeMint for his “Waterloo” remark.  DeMint, to his credit, fired right back, and pointed out that as a Senator Barack Obama voted against every Republican effort to reform health care.  So, in point of fact, who’s really against “reform” here?  And why doesn’t anybody remind Democrats how THEY were the party of “no” when Republicans were in charge prior to 2006 (which I might point out was prior to when our economy tanked).

There are way too many lies masquerading as truth claims going on.  It’s time to recognize who is lying to you, and to demand a fair presentation of the facts.

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10 Responses to “Health Care Bankruptices: More Liberal Lies”

  1. Truth seeker of Colorado Says:

    finally a refreshingly fact based article about the dems fib machine and how desperate they are to pull the wool over our eyes yet one more time. Stop the run away tax and spend machine now! I can’t wait for 2010 so we can kick the losers out of office. Hoo Haa

  2. Michael Eden Says:

    I believe all the indicators are that Democrats will lose massively in 2010. My fear as an American is that we have already done so much damage to our economic/financial structure that we will be crippled with debt no matter WHO wins the majority. There comes a point where a system is so broken that it can’t be fixed. I worry that we’ve already crossed that Rubicon.

    Stopping health care was/is our last chance to save ourselves. If it passes, there will be no way to undo the damage. And we will be undone by trillions and trillions of dollars just in interest payments.

  3. California_Dreamin Says:

    “Democrats know from Hitler and Goebbels that if they keep telling a lie over and over again, people will eventually believe it.”

    Actually, you’ve got this completely wrong. Neither Hitler nor Goebbels said anything or the sort. Hitler accused the Jews of telling “the big lie” and Goebbels accused the English of using the tactic of reapeating the same lie over and over until people believed it.
    <a href="http://www.squidoo.com/famous_misquotes&quot;

    You’re also wrong about health care. If we do nothing, our economy will be broken by the escalating cost of health care. Whatever your political stripe, you are either ignorant or intellectually dishonest if you don’t acknowledge that the American health care system is in dire need of reform.

    Oh, and about bankruptcies, I believe that Elizabeth Warren contributed to the study that you site. She’s no “leftist.” She’s an honest, intelligent, 59-year-old woman from Oklahoma with some fire in her belly who is horrified at the way that deregulation of financial services has been decimating the American middle class over the last 30 years.
    <a href="http://www.squidoo.com/elizabethwarren&quot;

  4. Michael Eden Says:

    It figures you would defend Hitler and blame Jews.

    From Wikipedia:

    “The Big Lie (German: Große Lüge) is a propaganda technique. The expression was coined by Adolf Hitler in his 1925 autobiography Mein Kampf for a lie so “colossal” that no one would believe that someone “could have the impudence to distort the truth so infamously”.”

    The phrase was directly applied to Hitler by the American OSS:

    “The phrase was also used in a report prepared during the war by the United States Office of Strategic Services in describing Hitler’s psychological profile:[3][4]

    His primary rules were: never allow the public to cool off; never admit a fault or wrong; never concede that there may be some good in your enemy; never leave room for alternatives; never accept blame; concentrate on one enemy at a time and blame him for everything that goes wrong; people will believe a big lie sooner than a little one; and if you repeat it frequently enough people will sooner or later believe it.[5]”

    And let’s take a moment to look at the phrase by Hitler in question:

    All this was inspired by the principle–which is quite true in itself–that in the big lie there is always a certain force of credibility; because the broad masses of a nation are always more easily corrupted in the deeper strata of their emotional nature than consciously or voluntarily; and thus in the primitive simplicity of their minds they more readily fall victims to the big lie than the small lie, since they themselves often tell small lies in little matters but would be ashamed to resort to large-scale falsehoods. It would never come into their heads to fabricate colossal untruths, and they would not believe that others could have the impudence to distort the truth so infamously. Even though the facts which prove this to be so may be brought clearly to their minds, they will still doubt and waver and will continue to think that there may be some other explanation. For the grossly impudent lie always leaves traces behind it, even after it has been nailed down, a fact which is known to all expert liars in this world and to all who conspire together in the art of lying.

    Now you can feel free to explain to me that it was those damn Jews who used the big lie, and most certainly NEVER your beloved Fuhrer. Pardon me, but Hitler – who embraced his “big lie” as being true even as he himself personally formulated the propaganda technique; is clearly and without any question at all the man who used the big lie as no one ever had before.

    So, with all due respect, I’m not wrong about anything. Hitler invented the propaganda technique known as the big lie, and he himself relied on the principle. The fact that you are trying to suggest that it was about the Jews pretty much means you have to buy Hitler’s own use of big lie propaganda in the first place.

    As for your third paragraph, since I ALREADY expressed myself in the article, let me say it again:

    The last thing Obama and his Democrat allies have repeatedly lie about is that “Republicans are opposing reform.”

    I would confront Obama by saying, “Name one. Name one single Republican who is on the record opposing any kind of health care reform.” It is demagogic rhetoric. And the president is clearly becoming unhinged to rely on such demagogic attacks to force a clearly unpopular agenda down the country’s throat.

    Pardon me, but YOU’RE the “ignorant” or “intellectually dishonest” one here. NOBODY IS SAYING THAT OUR SYSTEM DOESN’T NEED REFORM, AND YOU ARE PARTICIPATING IN YOUR OWN ‘BIG LIE’ FOR TRYING TO CLAIM OTHERWISE. And YOU’RE the fool for making the impossibly stupid straw man that we need reform, so we should do something that ALL the evidence and ALL the most significant testimony (CBO) says will make the problem WORSE and not better.

    I frankly don’t care WHO contributed to the study I cited, given that ABC so clearly and effectively blew it completely away. You, on the other hand, seem to believe that one’s good liberal intentions are enough to overcome facts.

  5. Caoifornia_Dreamin Says:

    Well, O.K., it seems that we do agree on one thing–that the American health care system needs reform.
    We may have a slightly different perspective on the matter though. I’m actually an ex-pat American living in Japan, a country that has a functioning health insurance system, and consequently much healthier citizens. I’ve also lived in Israel and the U.K., and in none of these countries is getting sick a financial disaster.

    Anyway, I got you wrong in assuming that you opposed health care reform, but you got me wrong by saying that I’m defending Hitler and blaming the Jews. What I was saying is that you misquoted both Hitler and Goebbels. But don’t feel alone, it’s something that everyone does.

    The “big lie” idea did originate with Hitler. He wrote about it in Mein Kampf, but like Goebbels, far from promoting it as an effective propaganda technique, he cast it in a negative light. Hitler claimed it was a dastardly technique used by the Jews to pull the wool over the eyes of the innocent German people. Here’s an excerpt from Mein Kampf:

    “All this was inspired by the principle – which is quite true in itself – that in the big lie there is always a certain force of credibility; because the broad masses of a nation are always more easily corrupted in the deeper strata of their emotional nature than consciously or voluntarily; and thus in the primitive simplicity of their minds they more readily fall victims to the big lie than the small lie, since they themselves often tell small lies in little matters but would be ashamed to resort to large-scale falsehoods. It would never come into their heads to fabricate colossal untruths, and they would not believe that others could have the impudence to distort the truth so infamously. Even though the facts which prove this to be so may be brought clearly to their minds, they will still doubt and waver and will continue to think that there may be some other explanation. For the grossly impudent lie always leaves traces behind it, even after it has been nailed down, a fact which is known to all expert liars in this world and to all who conspire together in the art of lying. These people know only too well how to use falsehood for the basest purposes.”

    Of course, the idea that a big lie repeated over and over is the most effective propoganda technique is usually attributed to Goebbels. But that is an apocryphal attribution. Which is ironic, because that makes it a kind of lie, that has been repeated over and over again, and which people have eventually come to believe.
    The truth of the matter is that Goebbels’ propaganda was never so crude. However, he did write the following in 1941, in an article entitled “Aus Churchills Lügenfabrik,” that is, “Churchill’s Lie Factory.”

    “… One should not as a rule reveal one’s secrets, since one does not know if and when one may need them again. The essential English leadership secret does not depend on particular intelligence. Rather, it depends on a remarkably stupid thick-headedness. The English follow the principle that when one lies, one should lie big, and stick to it. They keep up their lies, even at the risk of looking ridiculous.”

    Before you get the idea that I’m defending Goebbels, here is the conclusion of an essay I wrote on this subject:

    Joseph Goebbels never claimed that simply telling a big lie repeatedly was effective propoganda–he was much more intelligent and subtle than that. That is exactly why he was so dangerous. The following is an excerpt from “Joseph Goebbels’ Principles of Propaganda”:

    “Reichsminister for Propaganda and National Enlightenment, Goebbels was given complete control over radio, press, cinema, and theater; later he also regimented all German culture. Goebbels placed his undeniable intelligence and his brilliant insight into mass psychology entirely at the service of his party. His most virulent propaganda was against the Jews. As a hypnotic orator he was second only to Hitler, and in his staging of mass meetings and parades he was unsurpassed. Utterly cynical, he seems to have believed only in the self-justification of power. He remained loyal to Hitler until the end. On May 1, 1945, as Soviet troops were storming Berlin, Goebbels committed suicide.”

    Comparing the Democrats to Hitler and Goebbels is flippant and insubstantial, especially when you misquote the two master propagandists in the process.

  6. Michael Eden Says:

    If it makes you feel any better, I was just about to go to bed, felt bad about going off on you with the “Hitler thing,” and was coming back to edit it to make it nicer and saw you’d already left a comment. You didn’t deserve my opening salvo, and I apologize.

    The further fact that you are as polite as you are after I “Hitlered” you is all the more proof that you didn’t deserve the shot.

    And, yes, I think we BADLY need to reform the system. But we DON’T need to socialize our medicine to do it. As a conservative, I believe that any solution that doesn’t involve TORT REFORM won’t address the problem. WE ALL AGREE we need to trim out waste and fraud. And extending care to illegal immigrants borders on madness.

    The goal should be to bring the COST of health care down; not change health care.

    I can’t do much more re: the Hitler “big lie” thing than I already did. I am certainly well aware of what Hitler said. As are you. My argument is that Hitler 1) developed the concept of the big lie and coined the term; and 2) his very use of the propaganda device known as the big lie in his unpacking of it was ITSELF a use of the big lie. That’s the part I don’t think you get. The mere fact that Hitler attributed the “evilness” of the big lie to Jews doesn’t mean he didn’t use it himself, or even that he wasn’t using it WHEN he attributed it to the Jews. It wasn’t the JEWS who were the BIG LIARS; it was HITLER and GOEBBELS who were the BIG LIARS. Hitler was clearly applying his propagandist device in a propagandist way, attributing to his hated enemies what HE HIMSELF was actually doing. That said, I don’t see how you can tell me I “misquoted” them; I APPLIED them quite accurately.

    Let’s get to the quote you disagree with me on:

    “Democrats know from Hitler and Goebbels that if they keep telling a lie over and over again, people will eventually believe it.”

    Now, I’ll tell you what: YOU rewrite the sentence for me. Assume for the sake of argument that Democrats are in fact employing the “big lie” strategy. And then complete the sentence: “Democrats know from _________ that if they keep telling a lie over and over again, people will eventually believe it.” And write it in such a way that it is accurate, but short/pithy such that it conveys your perspective.

    Clearly, it would be profoundly wrong to say, “Democrats know from Jews that if they keep telling a lie over and over again, people will eventually believe it.” They neither formulated the concept of the big lie (Hitler did) or employed it (again, Hitler did). So, if I’m going to apply the big lie to anyone, who should it be??? The rather obvious answer is Hitler, who developed the concept and proceeded to actually USE it against the Jews by telling a BIG LIE about them. And Joseph Goebbels, as Hitler’s Minister of Propaganda, kind of deserves to be thrown in there too. Because pretty much damn near everything either one of these guys said was a “big lie” – at least in the objective sense.

    So, I’m sorry. The idea that you’re somehow massively correcting this terrible historical error I made just doesn’t fly. To whatever extent I “misquoted” Hitler, it was ONLY to the degree that I didn’t participate in his vicious hatred of Jews or apply his “big lie” to them as he did. And I call upon YOU to do the same. Especially given that I showed you how the OSS – who presumably understood Hitler better than either of us – did the same thing I did.

    “The phrase was also used in a report prepared during the war by the United States Office of Strategic Services in describing Hitler’s psychological profile:[3][4]

    His primary rules were: never allow the public to cool off; never admit a fault or wrong; never concede that there may be some good in your enemy; never leave room for alternatives; never accept blame; concentrate on one enemy at a time and blame him for everything that goes wrong; people will believe a big lie sooner than a little one; and if you repeat it frequently enough people will sooner or later believe it.[5]“

    I believe that I am in the better company siding with the OSS than I would be siding with you here.

    I am not out to call Democrats “Nazis” or compare them to “Hitler” (although Goebbels I have to admit I’ve done once or twice). And here I’m very specifically applying the BIG LIE idea to Democrats; NOT Nazism. What I routinely DO do is point out that fascism – the root from which Nazism grew – is itself a profoundly leftist political philosophy that Democrats are bringing back to life yet again. We can look at American progressivism from Woodrow Wilson to FDR and see pure incipient fascism. And, sadly, fascist thought is making a serious comeback in the American political left.

    “Fascism,” further, is NOT equal to “Nazism.” Jonah Goldberg (“Liberal Fascism,” the title of his book is borrowed from an H.G. Wells speech denoting what HE was seeking and believed he’d found politically in FDR, btw), points out that Italian fascism was a VERY different thing from Nazi fascism. And that the extreme racist element of Nazi fascism was not at all shared by either Italian fascism, or most other developments of fascism. Goldberg also described that American fascism would in fact be significantly different from European fascism, due to the fact that fascism as a political philosophy was also impacted by the surrounding culture/society.

  7. California_Dreamin Says:

    ‘Clearly, it would be profoundly wrong to say, “Democrats know from Jews that if they keep telling a lie over and over again, people will eventually believe it.”’

    Yes, that would be wrong, but even so, there are three things that does not prove:

    1. That the Democrats are employing the big lie strategy.

    2. That the Nazis employed the big lie strategy.

    3. That the big lie strategy is effective.

    Joseph Goebbels was a brilliant, amoral and unscrupulous man who held as one of his main tenets as a propagandist that the truth was much more effective propaganda than were lies. The Nazis of course told a lot of very big lies, but no bigger than those of any myth makers–whether they be governments, religions or new-age gurus.
    The Nazi’s ruled by a combination of total control over the media, appeals to man’s baser instincts, and coersion. “The big lie” was not the basis of Hitler’s power.

    As far as fascism goes, if I were you I wouldn’t worry about American fascism. I had a quick read of the Wikipedia article on fascism and was struck by how nearly it describes the country I’m living in: Japan.

    In fact, the Nazi economic system was one of the main models Japan based its own on. Japan’s modern economic model, sometimes called the “East Asian economic system,” was first developed in the Japanese puppet state of Manchukuo. It proved very effective at rapidly boosting the economic development of first Manchukuo and then postwar Japan; remember the “economic miracle”?

    China has now adopted the Japanese model, and where Japan satisfies most criteria of the definition of fascism, China satisfies all of them with a capital F. Countries such as Iran are not a theat to the way of life of Americans, the burgeoning economies of East Asia are the real threat. Especially China. Japan’s aggressive economic policies have done enormous damage to the American economy, so that now, to return to the health care discussion, the U.S. literally doesn’t have enough money to pay for basic health care. But in the end, Japan is an ally that wishes for America’s success. The same can not be said of China.

    Anyway, the current American president is a former constitutional law professor, and a complete nerd when it comes to the American political process and the thought of the Founding Fathers. The charge that he intends to take America down the path of fascism is completely unfounded.

  8. Michael Eden Says:

    I’ve got some massive issues with your beginning, and your ending.

    If the Nazis didn’t employ the big lie, then no one ever has, and no one ever will. Being that a “big lie” is merely a statement that is CLEARLY not true to anyone who will a) learn or b) stop and think based on sheer repetition by leaders and “experts,” I think you couldn’t be more wrong. Let me give you an example of a big lie from Hitler: that the Jews were subhuman and evil, and Germany needs to wipe them out in order to become the master race.

    I have twice cited the OSS assessment of Hitler which VERY MUCH attaches the “big lie” to him. Here it is again:

    “His primary rules were: never allow the public to cool off; never admit a fault or wrong; never concede that there may be some good in your enemy; never leave room for alternatives; never accept blame; concentrate on one enemy at a time and blame him for everything that goes wrong; people will believe a big lie sooner than a little one; and if you repeat it frequently enough people will sooner or later believe it.”

    But you clearly know far better than they do. What can I possibly say before such an expert big lie theorist?

    The United States rebuilt Japan after WWII and shaped their economic system. Their constitution has been called “The MacArthur Constitution” because of his influence upon it. To the extent it was “fascist,” (and I haven’t thought about this before), it might be because a military man shaped the system in an authoritarian manner.

    The U.S. provided an INCREDIBLE amount of assistance to Japan to help them create your “miracle.” One of the huge things was the fact that the U.S. essentially rebuilt the Japanese steel industry while our own foundries were over a century old.

    What you say about China and fascism is true: they HAVE become much more fascistic in their economic model. But stop and think about what is also implied: fascism in fact IS a leftwing economic model which did not create a great deal of difficulty for leftists communists to embrace.

    I very much agree with your point that China is not our friends. Japan competes with us and in the end of the day is our friend; China competes with us and in the end of the day is our enemy. We may not be shooting at each other; but our national goals are almost COMPLETELY different.

    Obama’s being a “constitutional law professor” (The Chicago Sun-Times criticized Obama for calling himself a professor when, in fact, the University of Chicago faculty page listed him as “a senior lecturer (now on leave).” The Sun-Times said, “In academia, there is a vast difference between the two titles. Details matter.” But the U. of Chicago basically made him a “professor” AFTER the fact.) doesn’t mean he understands the Constitution as our founders who wrote it (and clearly understood it) understood it. Take Ruth Bader Ginsburg vs. Antonin Scalia: CLEARLY somebody doesn’t have a clue, or else the Constitution is truly a meaningless document that means whatever the hell anybody wants it to mean.

    Here’s Obama’s view of the Constitution (youtube):

    “I think that we can say that the Constitution reflected the enormous blind spot in this culture that carries on until this day and that the framers had that same blind spot. I don’t think the two views are contradictory to say that it was a remarkable political document that paved the way for where we are now and to say that it also reflected the fundamental flaw of this country that continues to this day.”

    Now, you may have absolutely no problem with that. And you may think he understands the Constitution better than any man who ever lived. Frankly, I trust my next door neighbors – on all three sides, my you – understanding of the Constitution more than I trust Obama’s.

    It didn’t surprise me at all that Obama made “empathy” his key ingredient for a Justice. Lady Justice wore a blindfold before Obama; now he’s ripped it off so the judge can look upon the plight (and skin color) those who approach the bench. It was SUCH AN AWFUL IDEA that his own pick – Sotomayor – had to completely repudiate it. Some expert.

    I have been reading two books, “Liberal Fascism” by Jonah Goldberg, and “New Deal or Raw Deal,” by Burton Folsom. Both books are exquisitely footnoted with primary sources. And it is utterly amazing how incredibly fascistic the New Deal was. Alexander Sachs, a leading economist – who had grown up in Europe and seen fascism firsthand – was invited to consult on the formulation of the NRA (National Recovery Administration). He later became part of the administration. He warned that such an entity as the NRA could only be administered “by a bureaucracy operating by fiat and such bureaucracy would be far more akin to the incipient Fascist or Nazi state than to a liberal republic.” When “Brain Truster” Rexford Tugwell visited Italy in 1934 he found the Fascist project comfortingly familiar: “I find Italy doing many of the things which seem to be necessary… Mussolini certainly has the same people opposed to him as FDR has. But he has the press controlled so that they cannot scream lies at him daily.” And when the Research and Planning Division of the NRA commissioned a study entitled, “Capitalism and Labor Under Fascism,” it concluded: “The fascist principles are very similar to those which have been evolving in America and so are of particular interest at this time.” There are OVERWHELMING similarities between the New Deal and fascism.

    Now, you’re in Japan, so I can only forgive your for having no idea how many references have been made about Barack Obama and the New Deal.

    So, you can go on telling me how “completely unfounded” the charge of Obama being associated with fascism is, but you’re wrong.

    As we speak, the U.S. Congress has shelved Obamacare. He has a Congress with total Democrat Control, with a filibuster-proof majority, and the plan is so radical that even DEMOCRATS are afraid to vote for it. We are talking about INCREDIBLY radical policies.

    I’ll leave you with words from the Wall Street Journal:

    Mr. Obama’s $3.6 trillion budget blueprint, by his own admission, redefines the role of government in our economy and society. The budget more than doubles the national debt held by the public, adding more to the debt than all previous presidents — from George Washington to George W. Bush — combined. It reduces defense spending to a level not sustained since the dangerous days before World War II, while increasing nondefense spending (relative to GDP) to the highest level in U.S. history. And it would raise taxes to historically high levels (again, relative to GDP). And all of this before addressing the impending explosion in Social Security and Medicare costs.

  9. California_Dreamin Says:

    “If the Nazis didn’t employ the big lie, then no one ever has, and no one ever will.”

    You’re completely missing my point here. I’m not saying that the Nazis didn’t lie. On the one hand, I’m saying that the over used line, “As Goebbels said, if you tell a big lie and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it” is not only a cliche, it’s inaccurate–Goebbels didn’t say that. On the contrary, he derided the practice as being a crude form of propaganda. But anyway, that’s just a pet peeve of mine and not particularly important.

    More importantly, glib comparisons to Hitler, Goebbels, or the Nazis in general are always wrong because they trivialize what the Nazis did. Nothing is really like Hitler. History has no shortage of great villians, but nobody is quite as bad as Hitler. Saying that the Democrats are engaging in the Big Lie strategy is hyberbole that is in no way reflected by reality–do the Democrats have a Ministry of Propaganda?

    About Obama, now that you’ve pointed it out, I realize that it’s an exaggeration to call him a “professor,” he certainly wasn’t at The University of Chicago long enough to have gained that title.
    As far as the quote about the Constitution, that’s taken out of context because it doesn’t mention what the “blindspot” is. What he’s talking about is the contradiction between, as the Declaration of Independence says, “We hold these Truths to be self-evident, that all Men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness”, and the fact of slavery.

    At any rate, as much as I enjoy a good debate with someone who can make their points logically and intelligently, I don’t think either of us is going to change the other’s mind. Basically, I’m a liberal, you’re a conservative, and we see things differently.

    One thing though that I do know a lot about is Japan. I’ve lived here for 20 years and both speak and read the language. The Japanese are excellent propagandists and are very good at manipulating the way that the American media depicts their country. By saying that, I don’t mean to spread yellow peril hysteria or imply that ordinary Japanese are duplicitous or in any way untrustworthy, because that’s not the case. Ordinary Japanese don’t really know much about the way their country is governed, and for the most part don’t much care.

    I do mean to say that the Western news media have been incredibly remiss in not reporting more on the Japanese economy and the way that it’s eclipsed America’s. The reports of the death of the Japanese economy are very much exaggerated.

    China, which is run by very smart people, has now taken up the Japanese economic model and I’m sure that at least many American politicians must be experiencing a strong sense of de-ja vu as they hector China to open its markets to U.S. products and services, and stop holding the yuan down to artificially low levels; with no result.

    One book that every American should read is Eamonn Fingleton’s In The Jaws Of The Dragon. I urge you to check out his website: http://www.unsustainable.org/index.asp?navID=1

  10. Michael Eden Says:

    I’ll let the “big lie” thing go as a pet peeve of yours.

    The right has suffered “glib comparisons” to Nazis and fascists for decades – when in point of truth and fact it was THEY who were far friendlier to Nazism and fascism, and it IS they whose philosophical and political presuppositions are FAR more in harmony with both Nazism and fascism.

    Having said that, when people start doing things the Nazis/fascists/Hitler did, I am going to point it out. I was very specific in my comment about “Hitler”; I referenced the big lie – NOT his policy of genocide, etc. And in point of fact I would argue – as a student of history – that terrible ideologies grow out of a nest of ideas and activities. Ideas have consequences. And the idea of never daring to mention Hitler in the context of things that are happening today means we are much more likely to see another Hitler.

    So why your point certainly has some merit – i.e. that some caution is warranted when making such comparisons/contrasts – I’ll continue calling the game as I see it. You’ve got a good point; I believe I do also. Perhaps you might should be more willing to point out more incipient fascism, and I should be less willing.

    As to Obama’s “blindspot.” In point of fact, the founding fathers were far more brilliant than Obama (or you, it would seem) give them credit for. They understood the dilemma of slavery. They knew it was an anathema to the country they envisioned. But they also knew that if they made abolishing slavery a requirement for the new United States of America, that there would BE no such country. The southern states would NEVER ratify a Constitution that banned slavery.

    What the founding fathers did, in their brilliance, was create founding documents that would necessarily result in the abolition of slavery. The founding fathers chose to create a great nation based on the greatest principles in history rather than not create anything at all. That is hardly a blind spot. And it is Obama’s blind spot not to understand that.

    Further, Obama most certainly did NOT end there with his “blind spot” view. He also believes that “negative rights” (what the government can’t do) is a “blind spot” versus what he wants: positive rights. That is a huge bag of worms difference. It’s a “positive rights” view that holds that the government owes us health care. It’s a complete butchery of the form of government that the founding fathers envisioned/intended.

    Your question, “Do the Democrats have a Ministry of Propaganda?” I would argue, “Pretty much.” It’s called the mainstream media. The Democrats haven’t out and out nationalized the media, but read up on the “Fairness Doctrine,” and just how terribly wrong it is for Democrats to go after conservative talk radio when the television media is so in their pocket. There’s clearly a push toward that sort of thing from the left and the Democrats. Currently the “Fairness Doctrine” is being renamed and redirected to accomplish virtually the same goal.

    I wrote this a while back. Other, more recent studies, have come out since pointing out that Obama received FAR more positive coverage his first 100 days than did Bush. Evan Thomas, editor of Newsweek, once said that liberal media bias was worth 15 points in the polls to Democrats. That quote, and a whole bunch of other examples of liberal bias and its consequences, is found in a list of quotes from journalists.

    The media has been so blatantly biased throughout its election coverage that it is completely accurate to say that we are now in a propaganda state. There is no possible way that Republicans can win in this media climate: whether you look at the Media Research Center, or at the Project for Excellence in Journalism (or again at their brand new study), or at the University of Wisconsin’s Wisconsin Advertising Project, there is widespread agreement with one longtime ABC journalist that the media is dangerously biased. Pew Research discovered that Americans believe by a 70% to 9% margin that the media is biased in favor of Obama and against McCain. The media now represents a fifth column of government – a propaganda wing – that attacks conservatives and celebrates and defends Democrats and their ideology. Democracy is going extinct in the country that founded democracy, because no free society can survive such a climate of propaganda.

    Of course, you’ve got Chris Matthews, a liberal who has served in Democrat administrations, presented as one of our leading political analysts. He said he got shivers running up his leg over Obama. Guys like George Stephanopoulos went from Democratic political party to MAJOR political news coverage. And we have the media pronouncing that “Obama is sort of God.” How’s THAT for a heaping does of fascism?

    Helen Thomas, longest-standing White House reporter, is a hard-core liberal and proud of it: “What else should a reporter BE but liberal?” This is terrifying: they don’t ever even consider questioning any of their presuppositions!!!

    So I would respond to your question by arguing that, yeah, they clearly DO have a ministry of propaganda, or merely by pointing out that they hardly need one because the media has made ITSELF a ministry of propaganda.

    Your knowledge of current Japan is most certainly far superior to mine (although I do know a fair amount regarding the WWII period). And you say nothing that strikes me as particularly controversial.

    Your comment about the Japanese press is most certainly not “yellow peril.” It’s not just the Japanese media that does this: its the international press, and it is the American press. And the fact of the matter is that we know longer have access to an independent media that even TRIES to present the news in an objective manner.

    And whenever you have that level of press bias, you have the primary ingredient for the next wave of fascism. All you need to do is add a “crisis” and stir.

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