Instapun*** Archive Listing

Archive Listing
March 20, 2010 - March 12, 2010

Friday, March 19, 2010

Nowhere to go...

HAMMER TIME. You know it's bad when even David Brooks of the New York Times is foaming at the mouth:

Deem and pass? Are you kidding me? Is this what the Revolutionary War was fought for? Is this what the boys on Normandy beach were trying to defend? Is this where we thought we would end up when Obama was speaking so beautifully in Iowa or promising to put away childish things?

Yes, I know Republicans have used the deem and pass technique. It was terrible then. But those were smallish items. This is the largest piece of legislation in a generation and Pelosi wants to pass it without a vote. Itís unbelievable that people even talk about this with a straight face. Do they really think the American people are going to stand for this? Do they think it will really fool anybody if a Democratic House member goes back to his district and says, ďI didnít vote for the bill. I just voted for the amendments.Ē Do they think all of America is insane?...

Either this whole city has gone insane or I have or both. But Iím out here on the ledge and Iím not coming in the window. In my view this is no longer about health care. Itís just Democrats wanting to pass a bill, any bill, and shredding anything they have to in order to get it done. Itís about taking every sin the Republicans committed when they were busy being corrupted by power and matching it with interest.

But people are talking about it with a straight face. There's some tutting and clucking to be sure, but mostly it's all about handicapping a horse race, not defending the liberty and solvency of the republic. Last night Bill O'Reilly, the guy who's "looking out for the folks," did as good a job of the CBO Straddle as anybody (or should I say everybody) else, simultaneously expressing doubt about the absurd budget-impact estimates the Democrats have extorted from this supposedly neutral bureaucracy and adopting a moderate wait-and-see approach about the real economic impact of the bill. Yes, somehow, it's all really about politics and competing partisan claims, and it will all come out in the wash eventually. That's how the professional pundits are playing it for the most part. (Yesterday, Mark McKinnon, one of GWB's former political advisers, actually penned a column explaining that Obama's at his low point now and should rally in time to win reelection in 2012. So why is the Republican establishment actually opposed to the healthcare bill if it'll be irrelevant in a year or so? Just playing the game?...)

O'Reilly topped off his brilliant talking points with a smirk-and-grin inquiry of Glenn Beck about whether he was going to leave the country if the bill passed. Soooo funny.

Truth. There's nowhere to go if the congress destroys the American healthcare system. We have been the last best hope of the world for a very long time now, and destroying that identity -- our identity -- appears to be the real mission of this insane administration. There's no one like us out there to take up the slack.

And if we're the only ones who are goggling at the utter corrupt madness of what's going on, guess what? We're the ones who will be judged insane. Maybe we should organize our own asylum.


THE JESUS FACTOR. Just to refresh your memories, I'll quote a relevant chunk from the last post that wasn't about healthcare and the death of the United States. (btw, saying I'm ready to die right now isn't a suicide threat; it's a way of saying the stakes are now life and death in a way they haven't been for generations, and being ready to die for those stakes is a necessary price of admission to the discussion. "Ready" and "anxious" aren't synonyms in my lexicon.) Ahem. The chunk:

[T]his is not a narrow religious question. We have just seen that science is capable of not only conspiracy, but also of poisoning the waters, so to speak. The Global Warming 'crisis' -- and the exposure of its corrupt 'science' -- is proof that small, venal, parochially human incentives for career or political gain can result in mass distortions of what is popularly conceived to be indisputably true and factual. We have seen for ourselves that scientists are willing to pervert their disciplines in the name of what they see as socially and politically and financially advantageous or merely congruent with their pre-existing prejudices. Are you scared or angry yet? Are you really prepared to let them do in your conceptions of God and meaning and morality because they have giant instruments they're willing to apply on behalf of their preconceptions? Or are they just greedy mechanics with ready access to a wrench they'll use, when pressed, to bash in their wife's brains? Because everyone knows she didn't have any 'understanding' to begin with. Talk to me.

Actually, I have more than three points. But that's all I'm going to offer for now. What I have, in truth, is the basis for a reconceptualization of the entire human social contract in the age of the Internet, mass media, the so-called information explosion, and a threadbare consensus reality. Anybody want to hear it?

Several of you say you do. I'm only going to outline the basic ideas here. Your discussions and questions can be the means of fleshing out the depths and additional dimensions inherent in the outline. The most important concepts are historical stratifications of authority, mass media, post-modernism, traditional assumptions about organizations versus individuals, consciousness, and the Internet.

Historical Stratifications

All societies to this point in time have been organized around caste systems. The ancients had mostly layers of hierarchy, gods, royals, priests, soldiers, craftsmen, and peasants, with little freedom of movement between layers. This state persisted into the middle ages, where some of the layers became social segments not quite as precisely arranged in a hierarchy. Thanks to the Renaissance and the Enlightenment, artists and intellectuals -- and later, scientists -- acquired an authority that could sometimes successfully contend with the hierarchy, which remained absolute in a social sense but not necessarily in all other respects. Still, the craft (trade) and peasant classes were subordinate to all others. The rise of capitalism changed the equation again because money could buy power, however low its origins, although the social castes remained. An aristocrat was always automatically superior to a peasant, and highly educated intellectuals were always superior to those of more humble schooling. This state of affairs survived even the American Revolution and the cultural exceptionalism and the social mobility it enabled. Even the low-bred barons of industry acquired social status only through the increasing educational credentials of their children.

The important thing to understand about this is that social mobility (and consequent influence) was a function of moving from one segment of an increasingly complex and staggered hierarchy to another. It was a movement among categories -- say, from aristocrat to scientist/artist/intellectual, from nouveau riche to old money, from peasantry to economic power, from middle class tradesman to intellectually credentialed, or to any number of permutations of these. George Washington and Thomas Jefferson were always socially superior to Benjamin Franklin. But Franklin moved into a segment that was approximately equivalent if not entirely equal. In every case, however, the movement was from insignificant to powerful, connected, and therefore famous and influential. Versus not.

Mass Media

The ascendancy of these -- from books to newspapers to magazines to advertising to movies to records to radio to television -- have increased mobility to some extent but have also ossified the oldest slots and boxes while adding a few more categories to the mix: journalist, movie star, musician, cultural icon. The mass media also made it possible for politicians and political movements to become influential despite lack of social credentials: organized labor, oppressed ethnic and racial minorities, the female sex. All of which led to a certain process of cross-pollination; it became possible to belong to more than one authoritative segment: female intellectual, ethnic artist, labor leader, peasant movie star, intellectual journalist. Etc. The proliferation of such cross-pollinations multiplied the number of definable segments and created a vigorous and confused amalgam of authorities that seemed very much like a democratic mingling, a marketplace of ideas.

Post Modernism

But it wasn't really. In important ways, all the new competing and overlapping segments were mere camouflage. Underneath, the old hierarchies flourished and reasserted themselves in the dark. There were the people who had money and power and breeding and a natural authority nothing could undo. And there were, in the post-Enlightenment era, people whose educational credentials meant that they knew something, as opposed to all the people who didn't. Know anything, that is. And because what they shared was power and influence, they began to grow together, to complement one another, based on their conviction that collectively they were the right people to tell everyone else what to do, meaning all the dumb people who didn't have breeding and power and influence and education and ideas and the means to drive their ideas into the population as a whole. Which is when they began abandoning ideas altogether in favor of concentrating their power over the dumbshits who annoyed them so much. That's when they decided -- given that the only truth they could agree on was the importance of power -- that ideas and even truth didn't exist. What existed was the infinite ability of those in the right positions to remake truth on the fly based on their superior capacity to wield facts like weapons and distort anything and everything for their own purposes. Religion, literature, art, science, philosophy -- all of it meant nothing. It could all be whatever they needed it to mean at the moment, which was proof positive of their superiority over the worthless commoners. Every idiocy people could be made to believe was only reinforcement of their own natural right to reinvent the truth on a day-to-day basis. And so they did. They used an imagination no longer geared toward creation to transform black to white, good to evil (and vice versa), justice to injustice, virtue to vice, and most importantly, native common sense (which they never had) into demonstration of ignorance and folly.

Traditional Assumptions about Organizations Versus Individuals

Meanwhile, the increasing proliferation of segments and sub-segments had led to the creation of all kinds of organizations. The celebration of individuals and individual mobility which had accompanied the American Experiment and its proliferation of confusing cross-pollinations was becoming a hindrance to the atavistic preference for the simpler hierarchy of the high and the low all power-seekers rediscover in their experience of making up truth for their inferiors. Which caused them to forget some things. Like the fact that almost all important breakthroughs are not the function of commissions, congresses, corporations, colleges, committees, and political alliances, but of one guy with a better idea: Henry Ford, Albert Einstein, Nicola Tesla, William Shakespeare, Thomas Jefferson, Leonardo da Vinci, James Madison, etc. You see, the community of the superior rarely consists of the actually superior. It consists of the self-anointed ones, the superiorly disposed. Who rely on the group to affirm their omniscience and right to lead. The story of corporations is almost always a story of decline from the brilliance of the founder to the embarrassments of bankruptcy. The story of governments is even more pitiful. From false humility to fatal hubris and shocking irresponsibility leading to utter ruin. Thus is the tale of human civilizations written across the pages of history.


What human civilization still has going for it. Your consciousness. Mine. The consciousness of people who don't necessarily accept the laws laid down repeatedly for them by those who deem themselves smarter and more aware. But what is consciousness? It's the ability to make decisions for yourself about what is, what has been, and what will be. What is fact. What is truth. And what constitutes the difference between them.

The Internet

What is it? It's nothing less than the collective consciousness of the entire human race. It's the biggest breakthrough in the history of humankind. Why? Because it records everything. It bashes all the distinctions between layers and segments to nothing, which is what they always were. There are no layers. No segments. There are only the regions of the whole each individual person impinges on or is defined by. We all now have the power to Google a person, a belief, an organization, a set of relationships, a pattern of ideas. There is no more pyramid. There are only smears of links upon links that create tiny percentile regions of the whole representing the reach of single persons, ranging from the official bios that used to intimidate us to the silliest, most parochial things they have ever done. Joe Biden is no longer just his carefully constructed senate cv; he is also his YouTube gaffes, the senate gossip, his hair plugs, the blogs of friends, family, and acquaintances, the indiscreet twitters of his intimates. He is a fallible and limited man, not the falsely grand persona of his NYT defenders.

The same is true of absolutely everything in the world. Global Warming may be a science. It's also a scandal, a religion, a financial scam, a political conspiracy, a cultural byproduct of the baby boomer revolutionaries, etc. Is there one truth of the matter? Probably not. But paradoxically, this "fact" doesn't mean the post-modernists are right. It means they're wrong. It means, rather, that values are more important than facts, since we have seen that facts -- and all the people who believe they are in possession of the truth because they possess more facts -- are not necessarily right. We can see, and even prove to ourselves, that where they begin affects where they end up, no matter how much they claim to be pure intellectuals.

Which is where the Reconceptualization figures in. The overwhelming tidal wave of information on the Internet suggests that truth outweighs facts, because facts can be and generally are twisted in service to a pre-existing notion of truth. In other words, we are all capable of recreating the universe in terms of the truths we believe and the questions we ask, whether we're Oxford PhDs or curious amateurs, with no better chance of being absolutely right because of PhDs or native intuition.

Which suggests... a lot of things. Not that we should ignore facts. But that we should trust our individual experience, use it to discern between pontification and modest inference. We need to abandon our corporate, committee, and other organizational training in favor of what the earliest scientists would have considered empirical experience. What happens when you skip a pebble across a river? What does that say about Global Warming, universal healthcare, the existence of Bigfoot, time travel, the age of the universe, and race relations in the United States of America?

The vast glut of the Internet is driving us relentlessly back to ourselves, to the ideal of humanity as a sliver of divinity represented by Christianity, and to the simplicity of thought and analysis we find in our own minds as the basis for all aspiration and decision making.

The Internet should not intimidate us. It should empower us. It reaffirms that the smartest can be the dumbest, and the simplest can be the smartest. It does not argue against the acquisition of new knowledge. It commands us to confront facts with the bedrock of our own experience.

Many mansions. There can be more than one truth. Perhaps there can be many. Yours is one of them. It only becomes a white elephant when the answers get too easy. And my guess is that when there's more than one truth, they'll be strangely consistent with one another, which would militate against outright religious war. If your own mansion isn't conceived as a fortress besieged.

Redemption Day

APOLOGIES. Have to admit, the yard is a mess and I'm not feeling good about the future. Feeling old, in fact. So here's the Johnny of Cash. Just a reminder of the wishing well where the pennies don't always add up to salvation. Wish I hadn't done so much killing. Wish I didn't still look so good in my ankle-length leather coat. Oh well, we all take redemption where we find it.

Why do I find it so difficult to believe
that  someone's following my dreams?

I'd do more Iggy, but I can't find it. Ain't that the way? So I'll do Bowie instead. (uh, here's the real clip they won't let us use...)

I watch "Criminal Minds." In their argot, I'm devolving. Returning to my sixties "kill all the bastards" roots. That's where I am. I believe in Christ and redemption and forgiveness. Just not for the clowns who have killed my country... For them I have only punk anthems.

And a final cut about Nancy Pelosi (unless this is):

To hell with everybody.

And a general lament:


Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Gonna Pass.

Sorry. The Medusa will win. Snakes DO rule. The United States is done. All of you who loopily voted for "hope and change" have killed us. I hope you're happy with your choice. Ours was the greatest country ever, but doomed for that very reason. Life is like that. Now we get to do the autopsy, at great length, and hopefully you too will all die before the end comes.

Me? I'm ready to die right now.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Jesus TV

Jesus the Myth and Jesus "The Real."
Note how the 'blue eyes' of our usual
depiction (left) are cripplingly wrong.

SEE HIS FACE... Easter will fall on April 4th this year, so it's predictable that the History Channel, the Science Channel, The Learning Channel, the National Geographic Channel, et al are already moving into their seasonal ratings bid via Jesus TV. What's that?

It's the flood of past documentaries dealing with the various ways in which science has explored the facts that can be known or inferred about who Jesus really was or might have been based on archaeology, forensics, genetics, and history.

I'm not automatically imputing ill will here. It's a legitimate endeavor to apply the tools of science and academe to the mystery of Christian origins. I watch these things. Because I'm curious. Curious about what has been discovered and curious about what scientists of various stripes are doing to position themselves vis a vis the the biggest fact of all -- the near-miraculous existence of Christianity in the first place and the subsequent overwhelming historical dominance of Christianity as a religious and transforming cultural force.

I'm curious and the effect of the programming is curious. It's like watching the kind of production that's common on one of their cable cousins, the Military Channel -- a show we could call 'Sniper Science.'† We study the weapon, beautifully machined steel and optics (laser sights these days!) and coldly impersonal projectiles. We observe the snipers themselves, expertly trained in the art of camouflage, patience, marksmanship, and impersonal execution. Then we watch an individual mission. Research, planning, preparation, deployment, the firing moment, and then, uh, success? No. At the last moment the target is jerked away and as the credits roll, we're assured that in the end all is a matter of faith. Happy Easter.

But I'm not fooled by that. The quarry is well defined and it is Jesus Christ. I'm guessing the snipers think they have wounded the target, again and again and again and again. But also curious is why they feel the need to keep firing new rounds year after year. In recent years what have we been scientifically educated about with respect to the target? (Sorry I don't know all the show titles; I'll provide them when I remember them.) The cross is not a cross but a tee, er a Greek Tau. Jesus most likely had a huge extended Jewish family with aunts, uncles, brothers, sisters, cousins, etc, which makes the gospel version of a solitary childhood (or immaculate conception) disingenuous if not laughably fraudulent (The Secret Family of Jesus). Jesus couldn't have looked like Jeffrey Hunter because he looked like Stuart Margolin instead, most likely displaying the same mugshot befuddlement (see photo right above) as Rockford's con-man sidekick, Angel Martin (The Real Jesus.) Unless he was a black man instead. (a.k.a. the WAPO view.)

But that's not enough either. Every year brings new "insights." In 2007 we had the "Tomb of Jesus," pushed by James Cameron, which argued --with all awed reverence -- that the bones of the murdered and definitely dead Jesus had been discovered in an ossuary by a hockey stick-wielding Canadian broadcaster. Last year (or so) we had the "Judas Gospel." This year we have the "First Jesus" and "The Framing of Jesus." Haven't heard of these? "The First Jesus" is a messianic Jew killed in 4 BC, and an Israeli scholar is sorta kinda sure that an ink on limestone text says he rose from the dead in three days. Except, 59 minutes and 59 seconds in we learn that the best archaeological photographers in the world can't confirm that the one letter he needs to prove the resurrection in three days part can't be read. Tune in next week for the second blockbuster, the one about 'Framing Judas,' about which Jonah Goldberg offers this:

Who Framed Jesus?

A friend writes about the new Discovery Channel special.

Discovery Channel: Who Framed Jesus?

Logline: New suspects emerge in the death of Jesus.

I'm pretty much speechless. I was unaware the case was open. That said, good luck getting the Procurator of Judśa to prosecute. Guy's got a serious conflict of interest.

Based on my knowledge of cable tv, I hypothesize the new suspects are:

1. Freemasons
2. Ghosts
3. Bigfoot
4. Midgets or dwarfs (TLC only)
5. Nostradamus
6. Hitler
7. A bridezilla
8. Flava Flav or Bret Michaels
9. The Real Housewives of Galilee
10. Some shirtless guy on Cops.

Just a guess,

Update: A fire-hose response from readers says my friend left out a key suspect: George W. Bush.

Three points that occur to me. First, such supposedly objective scientific tales are always tales. There is no historical confirmation that Jesus actually existed. Only two sources mention him: the New Testament and the histories of Josephus, a Jewish scholar. Nothing factual can ever be proven. Analyzing such fine details about the life of Jesus are in every way equivalent to claiming that science can perform a definitive analysis of the forensic contacts between King Arthur and Merlin. Which doesn't mean that King Arthur and Merlin never lived. It just means that science has no data for pronouncing judgment one way or the other. They can act like they do. But why would they? Unless they have a political dog in the hunt.

Second, what are we supposed to make of the so-called objective participation by 'scientists' in speculation about Jesus Christ? Speculation on this subject is fine. I would never discourage it. But as soon as they bring out their calipers and start measuring things, I begin to suspect the "baffle them with bullshit" syndrome. As if their particular flavor of speculation has more merit than anyone else's because at some level they can dream up a reason to bring electron microscopy into it. It doesn't. There is only one important question about the life of Jesus Christ. I first saw it stated when I was young and confused as a teenager. It was posed by -- of all august scientific sources -- the Encyclopedia Britannica. It said (and I paraphrase, substituting my degraded eidetic memory of near half a century ago for the actual text): "For those who wish to disbelieve in the historical existence of Jesus Christ and his resurrection from the dead, a disbelief which has been rampant from the mid-nineteenth century onward, there remains the challenge of explaining the rise of Christianity to a worldwide, culture-changing religion based on a man who, if he lived at all, probably spoke to no more than a few thousand persons in his life. This represents a primary mystery in the history of recorded human life on earth."

Third, this is not a narrow religious question. We have just seen that science is capable of not only conspiracy, but also of poisoning the waters, so to speak. The Global Warming 'crisis' -- and the exposure of its corrupt 'science' -- is proof that small, venal, parochially human incentives for career or political gain can result in mass distortions of what is popularly conceived to be indisputably true and factual. We have seen for ourselves that scientists are willing to pervert their disciplines in the name of what they see as socially and politically and financially advantageous or merely congruent with their pre-existing prejudices. Are you scared or angry yet? Are you really prepared to let them do in your conceptions of God and meaning and morality because they have giant instruments they're willing to apply on behalf of their preconceptions? Or are they just greedy mechanics with ready access to a wrench they'll use, when pressed, to bash in their wife's brains? Because everyone knows she didn't have any 'understanding' to begin with. Talk to me.

Actually, I have more than three points. But that's all I'm going to offer for now. What I have, in truth, is the basis for a reconceptualization of the entire human social contract in the age of the Internet, mass media, the so-called information explosion, and a threadbare consensus reality. Anybody want to hear it?

I know all this seems irrelevant during the week when the Democrats are claiming they can defy popular will and transform American life by doing what is best for us even if we don't want it. But it's not irrelevant. The nature of human life and the operation of the universe is never irrelevant.

Nothing is what you think it is. Not even your next breath.

P.S. One of the 'Jesus' shows I can't find is a documentary I saw no more than a year or two ago. A geneticist traced the oldest family grouping in Galilee and showed us what may be the closest surviving descendant of Jesus Christ. Unlike the stereotypical icon above (left)), he had blue eyes, an aquiline nose, long hair, and a deerhound tee-shirt. Not saying that carries any moral weight. Just saying, I'm pretty sure he was Scottish. Who else would have gotten so upset about the moneychangers? Forget that. It was a joke. The important thing? I saw this documentary. NO way to find it now. It's disappeared. Utterly. THAT concerns me. How does this machine work?...

Friday, March 12, 2010


Dumber and Smarterer
Howell Raines and Shikha Dalmia

HAVE WE EVER TALKED ABOUT CONTEXT? Within an hour, the two pieces featured in this post were linked at Hotair. That's good work. Reading them against one another is about the only way I would have done another healthcare entry today, because I'm tending to agree with Jonah Goldberg that it's just become too much (go ahead, watch the funny coconut video), but all he could offer as a worthwhile read on the subject was an excruciatingly long (excellent but excruciatingly long, did I mention that?) historical disquisition in Commentary Magazine.

But in these two much shorter essays we have an object lesson in know-it-all liberalism and old media hubris contrasted with what is rightly labelled Uncommon Sense. They're actually fun to read if you can manage the trick of putting them side by side in your head. Try it. They're each other's context. You'll see what I mean.

In the first piece we have Howell Raines, NYT dinosaur and erstwhile mentor of journalistic fraud Jayson Blair, lecturing the media community about what journalism is and why Fox News doesn't belong in the club. His central example is, of course, the endless healthcare debate. A taste:

Through clever use of the Fox News Channel and its cadre of raucous commentators, Ailes has overturned standards of fairness and objectivity that have guided American print and broadcast journalists since World War II. Yet, many members of my profession seem to stand by in silence as Ailes tears up the rulebook that served this country well as we covered the major stories of the past three generations, from the civil rights revolution to Watergate to the Wall Street scandals. This is not a liberal-versus-conservative issue. It is a matter of Fox turning reality on its head with, among other tactics, its endless repetition of its uber-lie: "The American people do not want health-care reform"...

It is true that, after 14 months of Fox's relentless pounding of President Obama's idea of sweeping reform, the latest Gallup poll shows opinion running 48 to 45 percent against the current legislation. Fox invariably stresses such recent dips in support for the legislation, disregarding the majorities in favor of various individual aspects of the reform effort. Along the way, the network has sold a falsified image of the professional standards that developed in American newsrooms and university journalism departments in the last half of the 20th century.

Whatever its shortcomings, journalism under those standards aspired to produce an honest account of social, economic and political events. It bore witness to a world of dynamic change, as opposed to the world of Foxian reality, whose actors are brought on camera to illustrate a preconceived universe as rigid as that of medieval morality.

Wow. Read that last paragraph out loud. Savor the unintentional irony of the soot-crusted pot calling the bright new kettle black. And ponder the almost incredible projection involved in the phrase "a preconceived universe as rigid as that of medieval morality." Reading the whole thing is like some flashback to Baghdad Bob proclaiming victory on camera as the American tanks rolled in behind him.

The second piece is by Shikha Dalmia, a columnist for Forbes and Reason, who explains the deluded lefty logic behind the Democrats' kamikaze healthcare mission and what it tells us about our president. Clear, unhysterical, and perceptive. Excerpts:

So why didn't the Democrats pull back when they still had the chance? The reason is that both the Democratic Party and President Obama have mutually reinforcing blind spots that have rendered them incapable of seeing what's crystal clear to every other sentient being in the country: This was the wrong bill at the wrong time.

The only comic relief in the otherwise grim, yearlong ObamaCare saga has been the spectacle of progressive pundits scratching their heads to explain the bill's nose-diving popularity: Betsy McCaughey is a lying bitch whose chatter about death panels has spooked Americans; the bill is too tame for Americans who really want a public option; Democrats are just too damn nice to engage in the gutter partisan politics necessary to push their agenda through; Republicans are nay-saying obstructionists; and, my personal favorite, President Obama, arguably the most gifted orator alive, does not have the communication skills necessary to sell this bill (of goods).

In fact, the real reason why ObamaCare is so unpopular is that it is proposing a giant expansion of the entitlement state precisely when this state everywhere is coming apart: here and abroad; at the federal level and the state; in the public sector and the private. Suggesting a giant government takeover of a sixth of the economy can't be a popular selling point in a country whose DNA has a programmed hostility to Big Government...

Pushing ObamaCare was an astonishing misjudgment, the domestic policy equivalent of President Bush launching a full-scale preemptive strike against Iran after embroiling the country in Iraq and Afghanistan. But why don't progressives get that this is terrible economic timing? Because this is the moment they have been waiting for since Lyndon Johnson enacted Medicare... and they will be damned if they'll allow quotidian worries about the economy or anything else to stop them. It is now or never.

There's a great deal more meat to Dalmia's argument, as well as far-seeing insight, than I've included above, but I wanted to illustrate how comically Howell Raines is simultaneously demonstrating the liberal blindness she's describing. He insists that Americans like multiple elements of the healthcare plan, so it's got to be some kind of rightwing propaganda conspiracy that's fooled the stupid people into opposing the bill. Well, there are many features of the BMW 7-Series (er, the 2012 product, not the 2014 product we'll get with healthcare) that I like too. It doesn't mean I'm open to being legally compelled to buy one. I might want to pay my mortgage and eat instead.

Everybody likes stuff. Not all of us look to
congress to (pretend to) give it to us for free.

I know you're sick of the subject too. But read these two volleys into the fog of partisan legislative war and see if the smoke doesn't clear just a bit for you. Sometimes a good laugh refocuses the mind on the important things.

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