Friday, 14 August 2009

Humanizing Obama

After the slant of my last couple of posts I feel I need to say this to all who might come across this blog:

My blog is not intended to be political. But when politics come across the major themes of my life, religion, ethics, and health care, I urgently feel the need to speak out. I am not anti-Obama, and I consider the conspiratorialists - well represented among Republicans - who believe he's not an American citizen and as such is not a legitimate President to be right nutters. But no more so than the conspiratorialists who think the Bush administration was behind 9/11 - who are equally well represented among Democrats.

Truth is, I would not have so much against Obama if he - and everyone else - just acknowledged that he is simply a politician cut from the same block as all other (successful) politicians, perfectly willing to wheel and deal and half-truth and even lie himself to power. Conservatives do it, and Liberals do it. It's not exactly news. But the mainstream media, in a disgusting display of double standards, has accepted at face value his claim to be some sort of Messiah, "The One" who will lead not only the US, but the entire world, from the dark abyss of tyranny and oppression towards green pastures of freedom and light. I'm not even exaggerating here - a Newsweek editor literally assigned him a role in world politics as a "sort of God"! Truth is, of course, it's all a fiction, like everything else in politics. It only goes to show how desperately people want to believe that there is Someone out there who will liberate them from their troubles and lead them into the Promised Land.

America, Behold Thy Saviour Cometh...

This is supposed to be the guy who's going to save American health care?

Of course, it's the same guy who said this:

and this:

not to mention this:

But we all know that it was George W. Bush who was the speech-impaired moron, don't we?

Wednesday, 5 August 2009

Divine Beauty: Rheims Cathedral

Once the venue for the coronation of the Kings of France. May the French people by the intercession of St. Louis come to acknowledge Christ as King.

Tuesday, 4 August 2009

The Change We Don't Need

In today's "don't expect to see this in the mainstream media" section: how come President Obama is so adamant to bring 'hope' and 'change' into the American health care system when
  1. Americans have better survival rates than Europeans for common cancers.
  2. Americans have lower cancer mortality rates than Canadians.
  3. Americans have better access to treatment for chronic diseases than patients in other developed countries.
  4. Americans have better access to preventive cancer screening than Canadians.
  5. Lower-income Americans are in better health than comparable Canadians.
  6. Americans spend less time waiting for care than patients in Canada and the United Kingdom.
  7. People in countries with more government control of health care are highly dissatisfied and believe reform is needed.
  8. Americans are more satisfied with the care they receive than Canadians.
  9. Americans have better access to important new technologies such as medical imaging than do patients in Canada or Britain.
  10. Americans are responsible for the vast majority of all health care innovations.
Apart from the screening bit, which is not altogether unproblematic, it doesn't seem too bad after all, does it? Go here for the details.

(H/T Newsbusters)

Saturday, 1 August 2009

Macchiavelli: a Liberal Hero

I find it extremely ironic that Liberals always complain about cynicism and foul play on the part of Conservative politicians yet they have no problem playing politics as if they wrote the playbook.

Case in point: AP reports that an amendment to the health reform bill currently being reviewed in the US Congress which would have set strict limitations to coverage for abortion was voted on in the Energy and Commerce Committee of the House on Thursday. The amendment had been proposed by Republicans fearful that a reform resulting in near-universal health coverage would be used to drastically expand access to abortion.

Several Conservative Democrats joined the Republicans in voting for the amendment, and it was initially approved. But then, just a few hours later, something strange happened: the committee Chairman, a Democrat, invoked some House rules which made it possible to vote on the amendment a second time. And all of a sudden, one of the Conservative Democrats (Bart Gordon, D-Tenn.) who initially had voted in favour was now against the amendment, and another who initially hadn't voted now also voted no, sending the amendment crashing by the slimmest possible margin of 29-30.

I wonder what Rep. Gordon was offered or threatened with during that lunch break?

(Via CMR)

Obama Advisors Envision the End of US Health Care

I should say from the start that I have never been a fan of the US health care system. I have of course been fed with all the usual Liberal/European propaganda against it, and I am in no doubt that it is better than its reputation, but I still do not think it particularly charming to allocate patients to varying standards of treatment based on their income. Nor can I see anything cost-effective about spending time trying to determine what procedures a patient's insurance will cover.

Now in Denmark we have a deeply Socialist health care system which is taxpayer funded and covers all citizens. It is a principle set down in law that all persons must receive the same treatment based on no other consideration than their need. Naturally, people with higher mental and social resources know how to work the system better, but in principle there is equal access for every single citizen. When we see a patient needing surgery, we don't waste time wondering about which procedure is most affordable or cost-effective, we just refer them to what they need.

Such a system is naturally very costly, and Denmark cannot be said to be in the vanguard when it comes to pioneering treatments and medical technology. In due course, public health bombs such as obesity and the growing number of elderly might break the back of the system. The waiting lists for treatment are also in many cases prohibitively long. To salvage the system, I envision a two-track solution where those who can afford it may receive privately funded care at separate private hospitals while an equal access system remains in place for the majority of the populace.

In the US, in addition to the problems with the uninsured (the numbers of which have, though, been grossly overestimated) the costs of public health programs is skyrocketing (the US actually spends almost the same proportion of GDP on public health programs as Denmark). So President Obama is trying to reform the health care system - a worthy aim, to be sure, but the plans envisioned are of dubious quality. And some of the advice he is getting seems to not be entirely sound even according to normal Liberal principles. According to the NY Post, two of the President's close advisors on health care policy, Drs. Ezekiel Emanuel and David Blumenthal, favour rationing health care by making doctors assign treatments based on government-issued guidelines for appropriate and cost-effective treatment. At least Dr. Emanuel openly argues that disabled and elderly persons should not receive treatment:
"He says medical care should be reserved for the non-disabled, not given to those "who are irreversibly prevented from being or becoming participating citizens . . . An obvious example is not guaranteeing health services to patients with dementia" (Hastings Center Report, Nov.-Dec. '96)."
Say what you will about the American health care system, but it undoubtedly does have the highest standards in the world. Not everyone may have access to the very best clinics, but it is a misconception that you have to be very wealthy to do so: taking out a second mortgage and loaning money from friends and relatives is possible for most people. If the government takes over the system, inefficiency and waiting lists will mount. Even then, what the system might lack in efficiency it might make up for in humanity as long as all patients are treated equally. What Obama's advisors are envisioning is, meanwhile, not a 'nanny state' solution but rather an 'evil stepmother state' solution where patients are viewed as inferior and undeserving of help if they are not good, productive citizens. It is totalitarian to the core, and unabashedly so.

Of course, it is not the first time that media outside the mainstream have exposed strong totalitarian sentiments among Pres. Obama's advisors. One has to wonder why he surrounds himself with people who hold such despicable views - and why the mainstream media couldn't care less.

(Via the Cube)