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mygif

As you’ve presented the issue here, it’s easy to see the problems with healthcare reform as parallel to the problems with any issue lobbyists have a stake in. For example, farms get unnecessary subsidies because, although the total benefit to the farms is less than the total cost to the taxpayers, it’s not pronounced enough for any one individual or even group to oppose the subsidies; the cost is spread over everyone in America so that no one person feels the pinch. The difference is that the town hall shouters don’t so much have a stake in blocking healthcare as they have heads their up their asses, and farm subsidies aren’t actively increasing my risk of heart disease.
Also, kudos on netting so many good guestbloggers. I don’t think I’ve ever seen the sexiest blog in western civilization update so fast.
Also, obligatory FIRST!!!111!1!

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mygif

I would say don’t talk about selfishness. Conservatives don’t care if they are selfish. Hell the crackpot Libertarians feel selfishness is a virtue.

I say if the wrong-wing conservatives support the idea that people should be paid based on how much they are worth, then they have no business whining when they are taxed based on how much they are worth.

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mygif

… and now I’m having visions of you debating Glenn Beck. Awesome, awesome visions.

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Polychrome said on August 17th, 2009 at 4:04 am

Rex the Motherfuckin’ Wonder Dog could get us health care.

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fred davis said on August 17th, 2009 at 7:21 am

Where’s the massive pro-health-care rallies?

1, people wouldn’t be able to get enough time off work to do that (which is why confused elderly people are most of the obstructionists at the town hall meetings)

2, americans are mostly too ill to attend the rallies anyway deu to a lack of affordable health care (hence most of the people complaining about how government run healthcare is going to euthanise the elderly are elderly people on medicaid – they’re the only ones healthy enough to attend the meetings and stand up and shout loudly).

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Anton P. Nym said on August 17th, 2009 at 7:55 am

Mr. Davis, all I can say is “awwwww.” As MGK pointed out, the Pakistani lawyers went out at *immediate* risk of of getting *shot*… if health care reform is as important to Americans as rule-of-law was for them, then losing a day’s wages or risking an episode of illness shouldn’t be a deterrant.

And if it’s not that important, then frankly Americans should stop making such a big fuss about something they’re unwilling to actually strive for.

— Steve

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fred davis said on August 17th, 2009 at 8:31 am

As MGK pointed out, the Pakistani lawyers went out at *immediate* risk of of getting *shot*

Pfft, Abortionists in america do that everyday just getting up and going into work – and unlike lawyers, abortionists and other healthcare specialists don;’t require holy or fire type damage to be killed. What’s your point? The american political system in the recent past has tended to ignore genuine mass demonstrations and protests which involved any where from a million to merely hundreds of thousands of protesters, and yet 7 old guys turn up to a town hall meeting and shout stuff and all of a sudden the protests matter and need to spawn massive, million strong, pro-government counter-protests or else the tiny minority of crypto-facists gets their way?

What the hell sort of insane double standard is that exactly?

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mygif

I’ve simply given up on our system and look forward with great anticipation to the day I can be referred to as an ex-pat

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FifthSurprise said on August 17th, 2009 at 8:51 am

Forget Glen Beck vs. a honest-to-god Canadian.

I want Glen Beck vs. Rex the Wonder Dog.

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Lister Sage said on August 17th, 2009 at 8:53 am

Anton P. Nym:”risking an episode of illness”

This is going to sound nasty, but that’s exactly what we be need. For someone with a terminal illness to march in a pro-health care rally and get sick while doing it. It would prove the point and make an important visual example of what those people are really going through.

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mygif

@ Lister Sage – hey, remember the homeless march on Washington back in 1989? People took part in that risking more than just episodes of illness – lots of the people marching were homeless people who had AIDS, TB, and drug problems. 5 women on that march had miscarriages; 4 kept marching afterwards.

MGK – The government didn’t continue to fail to meet the needs of homeless people after that march because some people had Free Mumia signs, or due to a lack of personal sacrifice on the part of the people participating in the march. In fact, the successes that that march DID have were largely due to the homeless people who started it rejecting imposed organizational structures that were too hierarchal and insisting on representing themselves.

Massive protests of millions of people focusing on a single issue are great, but they don’t happen in a vaccuum. Dissent needs to be fostered in all it’s various forms before the majority of people – comfortable people, whose immediate needs are being met – will feel comfortable taking part in forms of mass dissent, and before the people in charge actually decide that it’s in their best interests to listen. Dissent is not something that can be flawlessly organized, administered, or legislated if it is going to work; it is a living, breathing thing. It needs to be the very lifeblood of our society. It needs to take more forms than marches and rallies (example: today I do a volunteer shift at a revolutionary grocery store, because protesting the negative environmental impact of the food industry is all well and good, but what should people eat?), and most importantly, it can’t deny the intersection of important issues.

And yeah, that means that occasionally some people will have Free Mumia signs at rallies that aren’t specifically about Freeing Mumia – it’s an inevitable consequence of not limiting dissent to one single issue presented by people who all have the same agenda. Big fucking deal. What do you have against Mumia, anyway?

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mygif

and yet 7 old guys turn up to a town hall meeting and shout stuff and all of a sudden the protests matter and need to spawn massive, million strong, pro-government counter-protests or else the tiny minority of crypto-facists gets their way?

When the 7 old guys are arguing for the status quo, yes, they’re more effective. That’s why the status quo is the status quo; it’s by nature immobile and highly resistant to change and more easily bolstered.

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mygif

In fact, the successes that that march DID have

By which I think you mean “zero,” because if there’s a better example of disorganized, ineffective liberal activism than the 1989 homeless march on DC, I can’t think of one. It dissolved into a vanity exercise gone mental.

And yeah, that means that occasionally some people will have Free Mumia signs at rallies that aren’t specifically about Freeing Mumia – it’s an inevitable consequence of not limiting dissent to one single issue presented by people who all have the same agenda. Big fucking deal. What do you have against Mumia, anyway?

Nothing particularly, although he’s probably still guilty of manslaughter or accessory to, rather than the first-degree murder for which he was charged. Probably doesn’t deserve to be executed; not really a good person by any stretch. I’ve always felt that there were much, much better poster children for protesting the abuse of police powers than Mumia Abu-Jamal.

But I use Mumia as an example because protest marching is about challenging the status quo, and because if you challenge the status quo on multiple levels you will inevitably fail. It has to be done one bit at a time if you want real lasting change to happen. Conservatives can get away with it because they’re “defending” multiple aspects of an extant system. Liberals can’t.

No, it’s not fair, but that’s how it is, and I prefer effective liberalism to the vanity of most radicals. “Effective” doesn’t mean adopting a conservative ethos, but it does require serious examination of how the system works to prevent change and how to best defeat those systematic issues.

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Lister Sage said on August 17th, 2009 at 1:47 pm

Laura: Actaully, no, I don’t remember that march, but I imagine that’s because I was 4.

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Anton P. Nym said on August 17th, 2009 at 3:12 pm

Fred, stop expecting the world to be fair. It’s not. Try doing something to mitigate this, instead of clogging bandwidth with pointless complaints.

Abortion doctors do risk their lives in many locations… and because of that, they’re winning. Too slowly, and at too high a price, admittedly; but the anti-choice militants are losing as they die off faster than they can be replaced by younger recruits… because today’s youth doesn’t see the subject as taboo anymore, thanks to the courage and dedication of those advocating change.

Again, if health care reform is so important that it’s worth a national debate then it behooves proponents of reform to be at least as well organised (preferably better) than those favouring the status quo. If there were more blog posts working on organising effective representation, and fewer blog posts whining about how the world isn’t reshaping itself to the posters’ whims, I’d not be treating the subject with so much disdain.

— Steve

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mygif

[…] rest of the industrialised world in healthcare and income equaity, while Christopher Bird tells you what to do about it and Fred Clark takes on the right-wing faux-indignant people who’ve once again prevented you […]

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fred davis said on August 17th, 2009 at 5:13 pm

When the 7 old guys are arguing for the status quo, yes, they’re more effective. That’s why the status quo is the status quo; it’s by nature immobile and highly resistant to change and more easily bolstered.

Bah! Stop confusing “is” with “ought”; the american “democratic” system wouldn’t fucking care if every single person in america including all the congresscritters and politicians took to the streets in protest against the current american insurance model of healthcare, it still wouldn’t matter – this battle is about lobbyists, on one hand you have the new group supporting the sensible business types who know that even a national insurance scheme like japan’s will cut the costs they face providing for their workforce’s healthcare insurance, and on the other the insurance lobby.

What your article doesn’t explain is the precise mechanism, given the way the american system of government is designed to be insulated from mass protests and democracy in general, by which a bunch of americans protest for better healthcare, will magically make the congress critters who have already been paid to vote how they’re going to vote realise their error and do the thing that doesn’t actually benefit them personally in any real way.

Fred, stop expecting the world to be fair. It’s not.

I dunno about that, I’ve got universal healthcare and being british I can apparently bludgeon to death all the elderly disabled babies and assorted puppies I want, so it’s all good on my end (which is fully functional thanks to the NHS btw, as is steven hawking’s eleven dimensional robowang).

Anyway, do you have an actual arguement for why there’s a need for there to be massive protests to get american politicans to do what they’re already supposedlydoing or are you just compelled to spout nonsensical cliche all over the internet by some untreated disorder?

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mygif

@ Lister Sage – I was three when it happened, but that doesn’t mean I can’t, you know, read a book. I use “remember” in the general sense of “heard about at some point”.

@ MGK – right, so liberals are vain sometimes, but radicals are totes more vain. Um, what? Seriously, you’re accusing radicals of being vain for… having liberals co-opt movements like the homeless march on DC? And then your argument is that liberalism is totes more effective than radicalism?

Maybe I am still slightly delirious from the raging infection in my face, but I honestly have no idea how that makes any sense at all. I’m not trying to be snarky, it just… seems like an incredibly defeatist point of view. But then, that was kind of my experience with liberalism in general – depressing as fuck, no victory without compromise, no promise of progress within my lifetime. Maybe it’s just me, but I really need to be able to expect more than that in order to get out of bed every morning and try to make some kind of difference. Perhaps I’m just deluding myself, but how else can I function if your world-view is the correct one after all?

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