Supplemental: Robert E. Lee was a very fine man!

THURSDAY, JULY 2, 2015

Also, new thoughts from Frank Bruni:
Yesterday, Elias Isquith got it right about Frank Bruni’s latest.

Or at least, he started an important discussion. But first, let’s consider last Friday’s column by David Brooks!

Personally, we’re not a fan of Brooks Derangement Syndrome. That said, Brooks is becoming extremely strange in his new career as a TED Talk character guru. This was never more apparent than when he decided to ponder the greatness of General Robert E. Lee.

We can think of few discussions which matter less at this point than an attempt to cipher Lee’s morality quotient. Last Friday, though, Brooks decided to give it a try.

His analysis started like this:

“The case for Lee begins with his personal character. It is almost impossible to imagine a finer and more considerate gentleman.”

As he continued, Brooks mentioned Lee’s “impeccable honesty, integrity and kindness,” both as a general and as a public figure. “As a family man, he was surprisingly relaxed and affectionate,” Brooks added, noting that Lee “loved having his kids jump into bed with him and tickle his feet.”

Lee could “write witty and even saucy letters to other women” Brooks saucily observed, though Lee only did this “with his wife’s cooperation.” Beyond that, he was “a gifted watercolorist, a lover of animals and a charming conversationalist.”

Did we note the fact that none of this actually matters at this point? That no one who loves community should get drawn into discussions of General Lee, fair or foul?

Except from someone deeply conversant with the morés of a distant time, it really doesn’t make much sense to measure the moral greatness of Lee. Having said that, let us also say this: It’s peculiar to read, of any person, that it’s “almost impossible to imagine a finer and more considerate gentleman,” only to reach a disclaimer like this rather late in the discussion:
BROOKS (6/25/15): The case against Lee begins with the fact that he betrayed his oath to serve the United States...

[…]

More germane, while Lee may have opposed slavery in theory he did nothing to eliminate or reduce it in practice. On the contrary, if he’d been successful in the central task of his life, he would have preserved and prolonged it.

Like Lincoln he did not believe African-Americans were yet capable of equality. Unlike Lincoln he accepted the bondage of other human beings with bland complaisance. His wife inherited 196 slaves from her father. Her father’s will (somewhat impractically) said they were to be freed, but Lee didn’t free them.

Lee didn’t enjoy owning slaves, but he was considered a hard taskmaster and he did sell some, breaking up families...
Brooks even decided to drag Lincoln in, partially making him play over there on the general’s side!

Even by our permissive standards, we thought that column was pretty strange. Every column by Brooks gets trashed. For that reason, we expected to see this column torn limb from limb.

We didn’t see anyone cite it at all!

Yesterday, in a bit of an echo, we got a rather peculiar column from Bruni. As Isquith correctly noted, the oddball column started like this, headline included:
BRUNI (7/1/15): The Sunny Side of Greed

In the dire prophecies of science-fiction writers and the fevered warnings of left-wing activists, big corporations will soon rule the earth—or already do.

Fine with me.
In fairness, Bruni was being a bit tongue-in-cheeky. But he went on to praise the corporations for their stands on several “social issues,” analyzing the reasons behind their obvious moral greatness:
BRUNI: [T]hose efforts, coupled with whatever genuine altruism and civic obligation some corporate leaders feel, have produced compelling recent examples of companies showing greater sensitivity to diversity, social justice and the changing tides of public sentiment than lawmakers often manage to.

Corporations aren’t paralyzed by partisan bickering. They’re not hostage to a few big donors, a few loud interest groups or some unyielding ideology.

“They’re ultimately more responsive to a broader group of voters—customers—than politicians are,” said Bradley Tusk,
whose firm, Tusk Strategies, does consulting for both private corporations and public officials.

“If you’re a politician and all you care about is staying in office, you’re worried about a small group of voters in your district who vote in the primary,” he told me, referring to members of the House of Representatives. “If you’re a corporation, you need to be much more in sync with public opinion, because you’re appealing to people across the spectrum.”
Damn the torpedoes! Full speed ahead! Let corporations rule!

Even at the new Salon, Isquith correctly railed against the strangeness of the piece. We’re sorry he linked to a piece which has the unmistakable feel of journalistic borrowing, but we can’t say he necessarily could or should have known.

(For that linked piece, you can just click here. People are supposed to say where they got all their information.)

In our view, the Bruni piece has more to tell us that even Isquith said. In our view, it helps us see something we might not otherwise tend to notice—the way we get sold “social issues” by many corporate journalists, even perhaps by our fiery “liberal” corporate journalists, even as they hide the ways the entire country is getting looted by the pols and the corporations on the “budget issue” side.

Health care spending, we’re looking at you! Also, TPP!

Having just learned that tomorrow’s a holiday, we expect to discuss this topic next week. In the meantime, Elias Isquith got it right, while leaving more to be said.

73 comments:

  1. TV Land cancels reruns of 'the 80's sitcom Dukes of Hazzard" because executives just discovered that the "General Lee" 1969 Dodge Charger was instrumental in encouraging Millennials to jump their Nissan Cubes over selfie sticks.

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    1. And don't get me started about FLOTUS letting selfies defile tours of the GayPostcard House she and POTUS once shut down in spite over Congressional action on his enormous PORCULUS deficits.

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    2. The reason for banning photos was that flash bulbs fade the paintings and tapestries. Digital photos don't use flash so there is no reason to ban them. Michelle made the announcement to underscore that she is the lady of the house, tasked with all things trivial.

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    3. Looks like disclaimer gal is busy sharpening her claws for 2016 by reviving the anger at all things Obama spawned in 2008.

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    4. cicero and Bob are usually right about liberal attitudes toward black people.

      http://thedailybanter.com/2015/07/the-dukes-of-hazzard-had-more-black-characters-than-friends-and-seinfeld/

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  2. "That said, Brooks is becoming extremely strange in his new career as a TED Talk character guru."

    Not the only reason I come here, but one of them.

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  3. I hate reading dumb pieces like this when I get online and surf the world wide web.

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    1. I like Somerby regulars trying to be trolls.

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    2. Totally! Incapable of defending Mr Mustache's myriad intellectual nefariousness, they log on to their high speed or dial up connections and employ sarcastic sarcasm which some people like,

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    3. Don't you just want to barf at dummies like that?

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  4. Fine company Bruni keeps. Tusk's primary political sponsor, Rod Blagojevich is in federal prison now. I don't know that I'd be quoting Tusk's wisdom on the nature of politics.

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  5. From the Salon piece:

    "But when it comes to all that economic mishegoss — all that health care, education, equality, human welfare stuff — Frank Bruni, new owner of a $1.65 million apartment on the Upper West Side, couldn’t care less."

    And that is why Bruni does it.

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    1. Yes, and just think, if the columnist had made better parental, college, and marital choices, he could afford more than a 2 bed, 2 bath flat when he reached the age of 50.

      He could be moving into a four bedroom full floor Flat Iron conversion for just $9.25 million, a price discounted it is rumored, almost as much as Bruni's whole place cost. That is what Chelsea Clinton could swing at the age of 35.

      Shoot, at the early age of 35, Bruni was still chasing around writing about George Bush's mischievous boots. And all he got for that was a book deal (he finished his) and that lousy nickname.

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    2. Chelsea Clinton graduated with two masters degrees and a doctorate (Oxford University, Columbia University) in public health. She married a Wall Street investment banker and herself worked on Wall Street (management consulting, investment) before joining the Clinton Global Initiative and becoming a mom. I don't like it that Wall Street workers make such huge amounts of money doing nothing productive, but don't pretend she didn't earn her salary (or that her husband doesn't work for a living).

      But Chelsea Clinton is not a political candidate. She never has been and has shown no interest in becoming one in the future. She sometimes campaigns for her mother -- as do all of the adult children of other candidates in both parties.

      Bruni could have spent more time in school, could have chosen to earn bigger bucks on Wall Street or in business, as could anyone these days. But Chelsea isn't pretending to be a journalist while selling out to corporate interests. Bruni is. Book deals are how conservatives get paid for their services these days.

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    3. You think the comment was really aimed at Chelsea Clinton or Bruni? Only someone with grey matter turned to mush from a horrible injury would take that comment so literally.

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    4. You're right @1:05. The comment is yet another attack on Somerby. Anyone who wants to discuss the substance of any argument here is out of luck. That's the goal of our trolls -- disrupt normal discussion on this blog so real issues cannot be talked about and the corporate propaganda machine can do its work. What goals are you furthering?

      From your reference to brain injury, you are KZ. Off your meds again today? Why not shift your focus a little and tell us how ObamaCare has benefitted you in your treatment of your disorders? Oh, I forgot, you can't. It is a symptom of your disorder.

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    5. Two Master's Degrees plus a PhD on top of a Stanford BA?

      Sounds like someone who is even smarter than Rachel Maddow and can afford a bigger apartment in Journalist County. Heck, that person can live near a NASCAR Star and Major Recording Artist/Movie Star. No need to slum it around someone who earns as little as an average middle infielder for the Yanks or Mets.

      Only in America can a gal with pluck overcome the handicap of two parents who are broke and in debt.
      I'll wave my flag harder tomorrow. May even fire up a Roman candle.

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    6. Chelsea "built that" but you didn't build yours. Democrat hypocrisy. What else is new?

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    7. Chelsea isn't running for anything. Any number of people can afford to live in Manhattan. Many more cannot. What is your point?

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    8. I can't believe people are attacking Chelsea Clinton so soon after she became a mom. I don't remember such attacks on her NBC News colleague Jenna Bush when she had a baby.

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    9. @ 1:01,

      Chelsea is more than a sometime campaigner for HRC. She is a central guiding figure in all aspects of her mother's campaign and the Clinton Foundation.

      "...there’s little doubt that today, what some in the Clinton orbit call the “invisible hand of Chelsea” shapes almost every significant decision her parents make, according to multiple sources familiar with the family’s dynamics and their vast $2 billion philanthropy, the Bill, Hillary and Chelsea Clinton Foundation."

      "Politico: Chelsea Clinton’s invisible butterfingers on Clintonland"

      http://hotair.com/archives/2015/04/13/politico-chelsea-clintons-invisible-butterfingers-on-clintonland/

      http://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2015/04/hillary-clinton-2016-chelsea-116910.html?hp=t1_r#.VZbbAXzbI2z

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    10. So that's the latest conservative meme. The evil Hillary is guided by her evil daughter who will be the next generation of the Clinton dynasty. How silly is that!

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    11. As a squeezed middle class working American I have contempt for the 1%, the hypocrites in particular. Call it class envy or whatever you want. Rich Democrat politicians and their filthy rich kids are like every evangelical preacher caught with his pants down.

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    12. Here is the dilemma -- it takes money to run for office. If Democrats insisted that all their politicians be poor or even middle class, they couldn't afford to run for office and we wouldn't have any candidates at all.

      You can call it class envy if you want, but I call it conservative trolling. First, Chelsea didn't get her money from her parents. Second, she is not running for any office. Third, her parents get their money by giving speeches for large fees and by working for their family foundation, and by being in office, as former president and secretary of state. Those are not exactly the same kinds of jobs as Jeb or Mitt held. If you don't differentiate between different ways of getting rich, you aren't using your brain for its intended purpose.

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    13. "Getting money" by exploiting your political connections is the most offensive way of getting rich.

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    14. "Rich Democrat politicians and their filthy rich kids are like every evangelical preacher caught with his pants down."

      Obviously, you think this because you're a fucking moron. Democratic politicians don't preach that it's evil to make a lot of money, and they don't take a vow of poverty. Hillary Clinton can be obscenely rich and still advocate raising taxes on the very rich. I understand this kind of tilts your brain, because it doesn't compute. Why she would gladly pay more taxes?

      “The liberty of a democracy is not safe if the people tolerated the growth of private power to a point where it becomes stronger than the democratic state itself. That in its essence is fascism: ownership of government by an individual, by a group, or any controlling private power.”
      ― Franklin D. Roosevelt
      “We had to struggle with the old enemies of peace—business and financial monopoly, speculation, reckless banking, class antagonism, sectionalism, war profiteering.

      They had begun to consider the Government of the United States as a mere appendage to their own affairs. We know now that Government by organized money is just as dangerous as Government by organized mob.

      Never before in all our history have these forces been so united against one candidate as they stand today. They are unanimous in their hate for me—and I welcome their hatred.”
      ― Franklin D. Roosevelt

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    15. Business is all about making money off all kinds of connections.

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    16. There is a Jim Bakker vibe to 1 percenters who preach against gross income disparities.

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    17. These particular people have been preaching against gross income inequalities their entire political lives, rich and poor. Income disparities were much lower during Clinton's terms. I see no hypocrisy in the economic opportunities he created for all citizens while president.

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    18. @mm,

      FDR wealth was accumulated by Warren Delano, his mother's father. They lived off of the profits that Warren made selling opium in China. Libs have never associated evil with building fortunes on the misery of others.

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    19. And next cicero, historian of Howlerville, tell us about where the Bush wealth came from. We know the Koch's daddy made their stake by getting in bed with the mass murderer of Ukrainian farmers, didn't the Bush patriarch make some nimble investments in Europe as well?

      Too bad your dad left you only piece work on Al Gore's invention.

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    20. @ 4:08

      Should I ever cite the Bush family as the paradigm of virtue their source of wealth would be germane for rebuttal.

      However, it was mm who professed to not care about the origins of the "obscenely" wealthy. He then went on to use one of the most grandiloquent quotes ever uttered by a politician. FDR in 1936 posing as an underdog welcoming the hatred of his own class after being Governor of New York and heading into his 2nd term of four.

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    21. @mm,

      Not surprising you are invincibly ignorant about HRC's own voting record on raising taxes.

      2005- Clinton voted yes on extending the first round of Bush tax cuts, some of which were set to expire.

      2006- Clinton voted to extend enhanced Section 179 expensing limits and to increase the AMT exemption, agreeing to retain the reduced rates on capital gains and dividends through 2010.

      2006- Clinton voted against permanently repealing the estate tax. Months later, she again voted no on a bill that would make increases to the estate tax exemption and reduction in the estate tax rate enacted as part of the Bush tax cuts permanent.

      2007- Clinton voted to restore a top rate of 39.6% on those taxpayers with taxable income in excess of $1,000,000.

      2007-2008: voted against raising the exemption amount to $5 million.

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    22. She is voting no on tax changes that benefit the wealthy and voting yes on tax cuts that helped middle class and lower income people.

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    23. "However, it was mm who professed to not care about the origins of the "obscenely" wealthy."

      You're a fucking liar. I never said that.

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    24. mm just called cicero a liar.
      I can't wait for cicero's response. Will he admit that mm is correct, or will cicero defend himself against the charge by admitting that he really believes the idiocy he spouts here?

      The suspense is killing me.

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  6. I've picked up this "Corporations are more responsive than politicians" viewpoint several times lately, especially on social media and conservative media outlets.
    Could it be that the origins of this meme are the corporations themselves?
    Could it be that this is actually a planned, cooperative campaign?
    They claim that they are more responsive to the public than the government, but it is THEY that made this so.

    2016 political campaign expenditures are predicted to be more than $5 Billion and possibly even $10 Billion, mostly paid by corporations to media corporations.

    In the meantime, rent a copy of the 1975 film ROLLERBALL to see what the corporations are really after. (Hint: It's not No More War!)

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    1. Rollerball comes right behind Blue Crush in my ratings of films people should rent.

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  7. Elias Isquith's piece was very much in the fine tradition of Bob Somerby. But first let's consider what he left out about Bobo, namely that his defense of the fine character of R.E. Lee was, in his view, a response to some who would remove the names of all historical Confederate leaders from public facilities. This was like Somerby disappearing the confederate flag itself from any discussion of what Paul Butler was talking about and instead inventing that he was being dismissive of grieving black children. Bob knows how to disappear things that don't fit his meme.

    But what, pray tell, has he disappeared about Elias Isquith, who he once spent a whole post chastising for not reading transcripts as carefully as he, Bob Somerby does? What is missing?

    Oh, we know. How wet behind the ears this young scribe is. Compared to David Graham, this boy at Salon, where they have Salonistas and Maoists, is a mere infant. Bard Class of 2011 compared to David Graham, Duke 2009.

    I don't know if I can go back, find and count all the nasty references to Graham's age. After all, Somerby only posted it the day before this offering. Gee Isquith is almost King like. A man at 25 or 26.

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    1. So, if you dislike Somerby and find his posts misleading, you have no reason to be here. Why not go away and leave this blog to those who do find it valuable?

      You, and other trolls here, focus relentlessly on the rhetorical devices Somerby uses to enliven his posts while entirely ignoring the main points.

      I agree with Somerby that it is in poor taste for Brooks to extoll the virtues of Robert E. Lee so close on the heels of a massacre in the name of race. I especially agree that Bruni is carrying water for corporatists when he claims that corporations are more representative of consumer demand than government is of its constituents. Beyond this, does it matter whether Somerby is consistent about when he does and does not focus on the age of journalists?

      Your hatred for Somerby is between you and your therapist. Why inflict it on the rest of us? Doesn't it make you feel icky inside to defend corporate greed and Southern historical revisionism? It should.

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    2. Disclaimer PersonJuly 3, 2015 at 12:52 PM

      Warning to casual readers of this unmedicated blog. When the author (who is held in such high esteem by his readers few dare mention him by name) attacks some writer for "disappearing" anything it is merely a rhetorical device to enliven the post. Think of it as somewhat similar to, say, a Salon post on vaginal knitting.

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    3. @ 12:09 using your logic, if Somerby hates all other writers and broadcast personalities so much, he has no reason to read.

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    4. You keep returning to Somerby as the target, instead of responding to the substance of his posts.

      What do you think about Bruni using his position to advance corporate interests while pretending to be a journalist? Do you think the NY Times should be engaged in propaganda? Was it tacky of Brooks to defend Southern heroes of the Civil War as pushback against the call for elimination of racist symbols so soon after the funerals? Was Robert E. Lee a man of his times or a defender of slavery?

      Trolls have no opinions on any of these issues. Their only target is Somerby and the best they can do is attack trivialities of his writing style. We all know you cannot go away because you are (1) paid to be here, or (2) obsessive and disturbed and not in control of your own actions.

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    5. Who is we? 1) Your friend with doopy eyelids, or 2) Ambiguous-gendered Anonymous Disclaimer Life Form?

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    6. Everyone here except you troll(s). Notice that when I say no one wants you here, no one disagrees with that statement. There are a number of folks here who have interesting opinions on a range of topics. There used to be discussion. Now there is only you and your ilk.

      That you apparently think droop eyelids are funny marks you for a troll as surely as anything else you write. No empathy. I would be embarrassed to be you. I would be embarrassed to reveal the utter emptiness of my soul for all to see, with or without the Anonymous moniker.

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    7. None of the happy Spellcaster customers, who are here in far greater number than fans of Somerby who discuss his work, have ever voiced any dissatisfaction with your incessant attacks on me or with Somerby himself for that matter. Perhaps I should shed my current therapist for Dr, Ukaka,

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    8. "...Bruni using his position to advance corporate interests while pretending to be a journalist..."

      It's even worse than that. He's pretending to be a progressive journalist writing for a pretend liberal newspaper.

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    9. So says a commenter on a blog that pretends to know something about journalism written by a pretend liberal who hates people of that persuasion.

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    10. So says a troll pretending to be a legitimate commenter on a blog where he has no place.

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    11. Who belongs and is their legitimacy verified by one of the cute little analysts?

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  8. Of course corporations are more responsive than government, for exactly the reasons given. If liberals weren't saddled with anti-corporation bigotry, this would be obvious.

    However, the article doesn't focus on the major way in which corporations are more responsive. That is, in the way they deliver their products and services. E.g., computer manufacturers have to give their customers good machines at a low price, or they won't have any customers. Most people are happy with their computers.

    OTOH we're stuck with ObamaCare. Even if the care it provides is mediocre and expensive, we have no choice. Many people are dissatisfied with ObamaCare, but we're stuck with it.

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    1. There is a major way in which corporations are not responsive to consumers. They exist to make money off of them. Their survival depends on profit, which means taking more from the consumer than is given back to them in products or services. Government exists to serve the public. It is non-profit, which means it is supposed to use its funds to give back to the public in ways that will benefit the people. Even its employment function serves the public by giving people good jobs. It exists to accomplish goals that are defined as pro-social and aimed at promoting the common good. That is a huge difference.

      People are not capable of differentiating which of their dissatisfactions are due to the nature of private health insurance companies and which are due to the regulation of those companies under ObamaCare. Repeatedly surveys are showing that people both like and benefit from the mandates of ObamaCare, including coverage of young people up to age 26, inability to refuse people with preexisting conditions, and free preventative care, including mammograms. People are told by conservatives (like you) that they should be dissatisfied with ObamaCare but the reasons people really dislike health insurance are innate to private insurance, not government oversight.

      I have a friend who needed surgery for droopy eyelids. She was told only one eye was covered by her insurance. She couldn't afford the surgery for the other eye, so she chose to forego the surgery rather than walk around with odd eyes. That kind of thing is routine because private health insurance lives to take money from consumers while giving back the absolute minimum in care. It does that because it is a money-making corporation, not a public service that cares about serving people in need.

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    2. Your friend should have had someone without droopy eyelids read the policy before she bought it.

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    3. Do you think any of the policies are different when it comes to stuff like this? Only government makes them treat people fairly. In California, health insurance didn't have to cover restorative breast surgery after a mastectomy, until the state legislature required it. Women were expected to walk around with a drastically changed physical appearance, if they didn't have the money for the "cosmetic" surgery after their cancer treatment. There are lots of stories like this.

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    4. You are right, DinC. We are stuck with ObamaCare.

      IMHO it is because the POTUS didn't turn his health care initiative over to his own FLOTUS who clearly had the same educational credentials with which to tackle the task as did the first FLOTUS given that duty. Perhaps the first FLOTUS would have had more luck if there had been a family foundation employing a journalist/expert in health care policy. He could have sent her private "keeper" e-mail memos full of intel on the topic he gleaned from buddies/partners with plans to launch a start-up health care company.

      FLOTUS # 2 could have more efficiently deliver health care reform and service by listening to Republican Congressional customers who kept insisting, over and over again in unison, a year into the process, that Obama should "start over with a clean sheet of paper." Most Americans would be happy to show their doctors and hospitals a clean sheet of paper when asked to present proof of insurance.

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    5. AnonymousJuly 3, 2015 at 12:48 PM -- Yes, in theory government should be able to provide services cheaper because they don't have to include a profit. However, in practice is seldom works out that way. Here's the problem IMHO:

      Just as corporations have a profit motive, so do we all. We all want more money rather than less money. In particular, each government employee wants more money. For elected pols, that means getting re-elected is most important. A high priority to getting elected is pleasing groups with large amounts of money or with the ability to deliver important services to the candidate. This means pleasing big donors, media, and labor unions, who are represented by lobbyists. ObamaCare was more or less written by lobbyists. So, it works for the plaintiffs' attorneys by not reforming malpractice, but even making it harder to reform malpractice. It works for insurance companies who stay in the loop. It works for big hospitals, who helped design the law.

      BTW your friend did well to have one eye covered. I had surgery for 2 droopy eyelids, and neither one was covered by insurance. It was considered cosmetic surgery.

      P.S. although the government isn't a money maker, they too have to balance their income and outgo. So, ObamaCare excludes things, too. E.g., my niece needs a medicine for MS that costs tens of thousands of dollars a year. It's not covered by ObamaCare.

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    6. I doubt ObamaCare excludes the medication. Why would they exclude treatment for MS? It is more likely that it is an off-label treatment and thus excluded, or an experimental treatment or it may be your insurance company that is excluding it, not ObamaCare at all, probably due to cost. They may be offering a generic or a medication with a better history of effectiveness and your niece may prefer the other medication. No insurance offers carte blanche and ObamaCare has nothing to do with those types of policies where insurance companies try to limit their costs. Limiting costs is what business (e.g., private insurance and health care delivery) is all about. High salaries of government workers aren't why your niece's medication costs tens of thousands per year.

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    7. IMHO CleanSheetOfPaperCare would do a lot better job of uniformly addressing all health problems.

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    8. "..my niece needs a medicine for MS that costs tens of thousands of dollars a year. It's not covered by ObamaCare."

      Compared to what, dickhead? You've bored us with this sketchy bullshit on prior occasions, but you're not very specific and you ignore questions when asked about it.

      Again, compared to what? Are you saying that before the affordable care act she was getting health insurance that paid for this mysterious medicine? I call bullshit.

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    9. Michelle Obama has a very different idea of her job than Hillary did. It is the difference between having a husband who feels diminished by a strong wife and one who feels strengthened. Bill Clinton, for all his infidelity, never required Hillary to be less so that he could appear more manly. Most competent women would forgive a lot of such a husband. Michelle has sacrificed for her husband and the nation is worse off because she is diminished in what she is permitted to do with her abilities.

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    10. mm is a peepee brain.

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    11. KZ, please take your meds

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    12. "Bill Clinton, for all his infidelity, never required Hillary to be less so that he could appear more manly."

      Yep, all he needed to appear more manly was a thong clad ex-intern young enough to be his daughter he could poke his cigar into.

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    13. That's why he lied about and concealed the incident.

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  9. Dylan Matthews says the American Revolution was a mistake. Under British rule:

    A. Slavery would have been abolished sooner.
    B. American Indians would have been less horribly abused.
    C. We'd have a more democratic, parliamentary government.

    http://www.vox.com/2015/7/2/8884885/american-revolution-mistake

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    1. Also, we probably wouldn't have the Louisiana Purchase (because of Britain's relationship with Napoleon) so we would have half the territory. Mexico would be much larger. The Irish wouldn't have come to US in such numbers, dramatically altering politics, show business and American literature -- and how would the railroads have been built? The war between the states might have happened over economic issues or religion (Catholic vs Protestant) instead of slavery, especially given ties with France and Spain among the Southern colonies. Westward expansion would have been limited by European treaties and thus perhaps greatly curtailed. No cowboys and ranchers, and Texas wouldn't have emerged.

      Does he say any of that stuff?

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    2. Not to mention there would have been no War of 1812 and we wouldn't be stuck with the piss poor poem we have embarrassing us as a national anthem.

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  10. Hating America. All the rage among the ignorant undergrad left.

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    1. Who let the 12 year olds onto the website?

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    2. They guy who sneers at them when they are between 18 and 35.

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  11. David Brooks is only mildly annoying unless he's trying to do satire, at which he is utterly hopeless. What he reminds us here, and I do think it relates to our struggles in finding a sound place in our heritage for the Confederacy, is that Lee was both and good and bad man. That he was wonderful in some ways, but that he did some terrible things.

    Is this really a tough one? Can we not grasp that as the case with many historical figures? Of course we can. Yet Bob, in his weirdo fixation on defending southern atrocities, once again gets very, sort of, well I don't know what about Brooks making these obvious points. And of course, what Brooks says about Lincoln is true as well! Something most people can take away from studying the Civil War in High School!

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    1. Lee's character is not the point. You have to ask what Brooks' motives were in discussing Lee at this point in time. Think about the essay in the context of the Charleston shooting.

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    2. No one who can read has to ask what Brook's motives were.
      They were stated quite clearly.

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