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In a just world, Ammut would be slavering over Paul Krugman's soul

Paul Krugman took a few minutes out of his pleasant Sunday afternoon hosting a book salon at FDL to bring us this gem:

And the answer is no. The Democrats have done it. The House has passed the Senate version of health reform, and an improved version will be achieved through reconciliation.

This is, of course, a political victory for President Obama, and a triumph for Nancy Pelosi, the House speaker. But it is also a victory for America’s soul. In the end, a vicious, unprincipled fear offensive failed to block reform. This time, fear struck out.

Nancy Pelosi did an excellent job shepherding this through the House, and there's not a doubt in my mind that if Obama had been gung-ho on single payer from Day 1 that we'd have at the minimum ended up with something resembling Jacob Hacker's original 130 million souls PO, or some other less-than-HR676 solution that would still be some true expansion of one or more of our truly public programs and would cover at least 95% well before 2019.

A political victory for Obama? Short term, sure. Our corporate overlords will be pleased that their once-failing business model has found new life and so the campaign coffers of Democrats will be full this year. Voters will still likely be on a contact high from all this Democratic historical historicity and not expecting their new improved now-with-colorguard insurance to kick in until about 2011 anyway and so November 2010 will be one more feather in the Democratic party cap.

After that though it gets problematic. Obama has said many times that he'd be happy as a one-term President and given his short tenure as a US Senator, this isn't an entirely unbelievable claim. But Power is an intoxicating drug and by 2013 Obama may well decide that he likes this Presidentin' thing and would like to keep on with it. The voters otoh are going to be restless by then, wondering, and maybe even hollering, Dude where's my health care? and disinclined to vote for the guy who promised them quality affordable health care with the beginning in 2014 and for only some of you part spoken sotto voce.

By then, if Obama has decided to stay in office, he'll either have lived up to his Nobel Prize billing and ended the wars in Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Somalia. or we'll be in the middle of WW3 and he'll truly be Our War President and how can you change warhorses in the middle of a war?

It's a good thing this vote didn't happen on Palm Sunday, because I'd have been sorely tempted to draw some parallels involving Messiahs and palm fronds and riding into the Holy City on a donkey.

eater of souls

But it's not the eventual triumph or downfall of Obama or the Dems that matters worth even a hill of beans, it's this:

But it is also a victory for America’s soul. In the end, a vicious, unprincipled fear offensive failed to block reform.

In the end, Paul Krugman, inhabitor of ivory towers and inveterate traveler to Third World countries, fails to see [or perhaps hopes that we fail to see] his part in the other vicious, unprincipled fear offensive in this year-long campaign, the one that was waged against otherwise good-hearted folks everywhere, the one that said we must have this unperfect thing nownownow or we're all gonna die! In the end, those of us living outside those ivory towers, some making it from paycheck to paycheck, some living in Third World conditions right here in the richest country in the world, were rendered invisible in the rush to assuage the pricking consciences of the career liberals and progressives.

America's soul is not going to be saved by a "reform" that promises to leave 7 or 8% of her people completely uninsured, another 10 or 12% insured by a public program that requires them to be poor and stay poor, and yet another 19 or 20% covered by private insurance that's so expensive that after paying their premium they won't have enough money left to pay their doctor. America's soul is not going to be saved by a "reform" that promises to throw some 35 or 40% of her people to the wolves.

In a just world, it would be the likes of Paul Krugman fearing the Eater of the Dead, not us. In a just world, Paul Krugman would worry more about the weighing of his soul against the Feather of Truth and Justice and less about what the republicans might do to Barack Obama's reign.

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votermom's picture
Submitted by votermom on

to give you a big thumbs up for the Egyptological references.

Submitted by hipparchia on

i fell in love with pyramids [egyptian and new world, both] when i was probably about 10 years old. i still haven't seen any in person, but i did discover amelia peabody several years ago, which is probably just as well. i was given to understand later on [that time when you're supposed to make all your college decisions] that the employment prospects for archaeology majors were even worse than for oceanography majors.

Valhalla's picture
Submitted by Valhalla on

Actually, that "me too" goes to both loving Amelia AND kudos to hipparchia for the Egyptian gods references.

eta: and I love Kate Ross, too, votermom.

votermom's picture
Submitted by votermom on

I wish she'd been able to write more books.

votermom's picture
Submitted by votermom on

don't have anything to do with Egyptology though. They are a set of 4 fun Regency mysteries. Just an fyi. :)

Submitted by hipparchia on

i have just started [re]reading the ape who guards the balance.

i've never even heard of goodreads. i'm going to have to check it out. also, i would love to read some of the things written by the 'real' people in her books. the closest i've got to that so far is amelia peabody's egypt.

votermom's picture
Submitted by votermom on

is fun, specially some of the groups, but it's had a terribly inflating effect on my to-read pile. Thank heaven for the library.

Submitted by jawbone on

from the Lord of Two Lands trilogy by .

My county library receives a large number of donated books, many of which are in the catalogue already, and those they put on book carts in the foyer for people to take. Free. Which is how I found out about the trilogy. Fortunately, the first of the series was on the cart.

I was attracted by the beautiful cover art and the title-- The Hippotamus Marsh I read a few pages and was hooked.

I got the remaining two books, The Oasis and The Horus Road, from the libary -- and when I finished meant to look for others like them. Forgot -- and thnx for triggering my memory.

Submitted by hipparchia on

ok, now you've caught my eye too with that title. more to add to the list. more, more, more!

nihil obstet's picture
Submitted by nihil obstet on

I admit to finding Amelia Peabody tiresome. My favorite Egyptian mystery writer is Lynda Robinson. She seems to have stopped writing, maybe because her series seemed to be headed towards the murder of Tutankhamen, and meanwhile new tests show that in reality, he wasn't murdered. She's an archaeologist who works at getting the Egyptian history and customs right.

coyotecreek's picture
Submitted by coyotecreek on

I have read all of the Amelia Peabody (Elizabeth Peters) books and I check the book store constantly to see if there are any new ones.

I miss The Cat, Basket and finding out what happens to the family. Seriously addicted.

Never heard of Kate Ross or Lynda Robinson...but I will now learn!

Submitted by hipparchia on

especially if the topic wanders onto books. ditto for me on ross and robinson, and dittoes too on being addicted and caring about the peabody-emerson family, including all the critters.

Submitted by hipparchia on

but i get a real kick out of being transported back to the victorian era and the globe-trotting british adventurers of the time.

i don't know enough to be an intelligent critic, but barbara mertz/elizabeth peters has a phd in egyptology, according to her author bio. as she's my [almost] sole source of information on egypt both ancient and modern, i'm hoping she gets most of it correct.

TreeHugger's picture
Submitted by TreeHugger on

here....I have the complete set in used paperback form and keep rereading them whenever the rest of my life and reading get too stressful.

Her newest Peabodyadventure is due to be published April 6th 2010. It is set in 1910, predating some of her already published adventures so I am relieved that she has not yet allowed Amelia to pass into the great beyond.

Since "Elizabeth Peters" is now 80 years old, she may not be ready to let Amelia go either.

Hooray for the Peabody-Emersons!

Submitted by hipparchia on

but i've been trying to down on my book acquisitiveness syndrome, so i've checked out the later ones from the library. i do like being able to reserve a book from the library over the internet, and since this one is new, it'll probably be a year before i see it. amelia is popular everywhere.

peters has had an assistant for several years now, so i've wondered if the books are going to go on under new authorship or what. i hate like the dickens to think of my favorite characters getting killed off.

par4's picture
Submitted by par4 on

with great insights. Career libs and progs really nails it. I think you could call them Corporate Career libs and progs. Or "I'm not a real liberal but I play one on TV."

votermom's picture
Submitted by votermom on

It’s the health of our bodies and our pocketbooks that have been trashed.

I guess our reward will be in heaven, and thanks to the HCR bill, we will all get there faster. How WONDERFUL.

Submitted by hipparchia on

this was supposed to be a reply here. obviously, i need to take more lessons in using a mouse.

anywho, what happened last night was not a vitory for the country's soul. 'twas a victory for the soul eaters, more like.

letsgetitdone's picture
Submitted by letsgetitdone on

And it was "a victory for the soul-eaters" and also the liars who continue to pollute the air waves with their lies this morning.

Submitted by hipparchia on

thank you.

i [accidentally] happened to catch fox news [or rather it caught me] the other day, when they were running that bit about 46% of doctors will quit or retire if 'health reform' passes. i wanted to jump up and down and scream at the tv it's not true! it's not true, you lying sniveling fearmongering creeps!!!

mass's picture
Submitted by mass on

I don't know how I find myself at such odds with the "conscious of a liberal". And, then the people saying it's "social security". It's "Medicare". It scares me. So this is it? We are stuck with this private, piece meal caste health system forever? I mean, when people say people will be able to someday "shop around" for the right plan for them. It's like they don't know that the incentive is always for less wealthy people to buy the less expensive, high deductible, choice of doctor limiting plan, and for wealthier people to do the opposite. Or, is that supposed to be fixed someday too, now that we apparently have a soul and permanent ObamaCare? I hate to feel so far on the outs of American politics because it is sort of hopeless, but here I am.

Submitted by hipparchia on

next in line: corporations will be getting souls.

It's like they don't know that the incentive is always for less wealthy people to buy the less expensive, high deductible, choice of doctor limiting plan, and for wealthier people to do the opposite. Or, is that supposed to be fixed someday too,

well, i'm convinced it's a feature not a bug, and therefore no, it's not supposed to be fixed someday. many a good-hearted liberal is going to salve their conscience believing that fixing this someday was always in the plan [hint: it's not]. meanwhile, people [will someday] have insurance! yay!

yeah the apparently blithe acceptance of the catfood commissioners [and not just obama's acceptance] is scary. it would be less scary if we could count on 'progressives' to know the difference between social insurance and mafia insurance, but they seem to be short on understanding such a simple concept.

Submitted by jawbone on

area where prior to going on the bamboozle tour of late he showed strong and genuine enthuisiasm. He believes the IMAC will cut Medicare costs; the result will be lower costs through denial of care.

They will skip the referrals folderol and go right after the docs. If docs do too many tests, or whatever the IMAC feels needs to curtailed for "better outcomes," the docs will find their reimbursements docked. And money is a great motivator.

My understanding is that what Medicare does tends to affect what insurers do.

So, people who were looking forward to better health care while on Medicare? Beware!

And then everyone beware.

Submitted by hipparchia on

pnhp seems to be of the opinion that it would be a good thing -- but only if we have medicare for all, where we're all in the same system.

i'm something of a fence-sitter on this one for now. we definitely need to impose some price controls -- with real teeth -- on the doctors, hospitals, etc and it may take an imac to do that. otoh, i'm not in favor of the people giving up what little power they may have and for that reason i'd like to see more of the control stay with congress [like the medpac we have now]. then there's that whole people get 30% too much care thingy, and add to that what i've been reading [where i can] journal articles on comparative effectiveness research, i don't trust this administration to put together a group that would be acting intelligently in the patients' best interests.

Submitted by hipparchia on

die faster! say the republicans. hold on till 2014 or 2016 or 2019! say the democrats.

i agree with krugman on the value of universality, but in looking for that value in this plan, he's barking up the wrong tree. it was bad enough with all the age, income, means, and employment status divisions, but now that women are aliens from outer space, it's much worse.

quixote's picture
Submitted by quixote on

America's soul is not going to be saved by a "reform" that promises to throw some 35 or 40% of her people to the wolves.

Don't forget the entire gender which has been turned into wolf snacks so that Himself could preen over his victory in public.

Coathanger Dems. Hoocoodanode?

Submitted by hipparchia on

that deserves to go viral.

wait, women are people? i admit to not having the fortitude, or the equanimity, to do the math at this juncture. after all, it wasn't included in the cbo report. /s

Submitted by jawbone on

a T. Susie Madrak posted excerpt from a Harper subscription piece, The Vanishing Liberal: How the left learned to be helpless .

A taste:

Obama—like most Democratic leaders—concedes that the way of the world is wrong but tells us why it must stay that way because, some time in the past, powerful interests decreed it so.

Paul Krugman knows this; he wrote this type of thing early on.

Submitted by hipparchia on

Paul Krugman knows this; he wrote this type of thing early on.

yep, it's why we all loved him back then. it's why i'm unkind to him now.

votermom's picture
Submitted by votermom on

Must be Professor Lockhart's de-boning spell.
Come to think of it, the Dem party is full of Gilderoy Lockharts.

Valhalla's picture
Submitted by Valhalla on

last night and thinking how painfully analogous it was to the BHIP bill and, indeed, this Administration in general. Media capture, branding truthspeakers as disloyal traitors and hounding them to death, killing off the inconvenient. Obama et al are Lucius Malfoy's Deatheaters, and the access bloggers are Dudley's little gang of Potter-bulliers, growing spoiled and intolerable under Mommy and Daddy's indulgences.

Aeryl's picture
Submitted by Aeryl on

I kept drawing little connections all night, except I had the Inquisitorial Squad as the access bloggers.

Just small little boys, dying to play with the big dogs. Markos as Filch, Arianna as Umbridge.

Even that big picture of Fudge hanging in the Ministry, with the letter "M" above his head, made me think of Obama and his "O".

Of course, if Fudge is Obama, then Umbridge is Oprah instead.

votermom's picture
Submitted by votermom on

Umbridge: "I really hate children."
Rahm-bridge: "I really hate liberals."

texaslaborleftie's picture
Submitted by texaslaborleftie on

very apropos. A friend of mine, maybe one of the finest friends a person could hope to have, an award winning secondary school teacher -- one who has cradled the lifeless body of a teenage suicide in his school's bathroom, gunshot wound to the head -- stated in all calmness and sincerity how he planned to invest his portfolio in defense industry stocks in the summer of 2007. My mind reverted to my childhood rearing and the only thing that I could do was say to myself, Jesus wept. We had known each other for 30 years. This same friend taunted me for my write in vote for Nader/Gonzalez when in 2008 his candidate, Obama, won the "election."

"Stocks rise" seems to be very on topic, ie Eater of the Dead.

Submitted by hipparchia on

as in ON topic. the insurance companies are very happy [something nobody could have predicted], and people like krugman helped deliver us to them.

CMike's picture
Submitted by CMike on

Hipparchia wrote:

But Power is an intoxicating drug and by 2013 Obama may well decide that he likes this Presidentin' thing and would like to keep on with it.

Submitted by gmanedit on

We are never going to be done with the primary wars.

madamab's picture
Submitted by madamab on

admit that the primaries were rigged, that Obama stole the election, and that our correctness, while premature, cannot now be in dispute.

I yelled at my friend last night. He gave me such a hard time during the primaries, and I told him, "The fact is, I was right about Obama. I was right, and you acted like I was nuts!"

He agreed with me! But then he had to ask me what Hillary would have done differently. I said, "You're just going to start arguing with me again." He promised he wouldn't, so I started telling him:

1) Focus #1 would have been the economy.
2) Step 1: would have been keeping people in their homes.
3) Step 2: No TARP.
4) Step 3: Raise taxes on the wealthy to Bill Clinton levels.

At this point he started arguing with me. "Isn't Obama doing that?" NO, you idiot! When do you think he did that? "Uh, aren't there plans in the works..." Then he didn't do it yet, did he? And was that the question? No, it wasn't.

I swear to Gawd, I feel like Mugatu in Zoolander.

Submitted by jawbone on

power because that was in their job description when they interviewed him for the presidency gig. And then seeded his early primary funding very generously.

Oh, yes. He knows which side his bread is buttered on.

Submitted by hipparchia on

thank you for that post. and thanks for linking to it here too.

i guess we have to give obama credit for telling the truth then. if the powerful interests installed him, then yes they have decreed that things must stay as they are.

Submitted by libbyliberal on

It is so ironic that after running so successfully on "Yes We Can," repeated over and over and over... that he said "NO WE CAN'T" to single payers one time and then we were willfully "disappeared" from his rhetoric and that of the media and of Congress.

Obama can't look back, he can't look left.

The lunatic behavior of the right draws attention from reasonable objections to the bill, and causes the pragmatics to circle the wagons and become defensive and demonize those who are acting like demons, but in that lessen their scrutiny of their own party leadership. Just as any kind of attack creates a shield of chaos for leadership. (Must keep our ears attuned to Iran drumbeat).

Denial is a b*tch. Whether having it or trying to break through it in others.

You take care.

Submitted by hipparchia on

the ofa-ers here in my part of the world were absolutely fired up and ready to go and would have given 110% to getting single payer, medicare expansion, or a hacker plan in place in the first 100 days.

i read the report of the health care house parties back in dec 2008, in which it was noted that even though single payer was not on the specific agenda that house party hosts were supposed to follow, nonetheless, 25% of attendees wanted single payer. i'm paraphrasing now [and from memory], but the report went on to say that this large number was suspected to be due to infiltration of the house parties by special interest groups.

gqmartinez's picture
Submitted by gqmartinez on

While I believe the Democratic Party was well on its way toward irrelevancy by the end of 2007, this seems to have completely solidified the shitiness of the Democratic Party. Once the Dems rigged the primary, I knew they were untrustworthy. But still--still--you think they might be capable of the right thing and then they do this after the bankster bailout. This was well planned and orchestrated. Single payer or a Hacker-like bill could have easily been passed within the first hundred days of the Obama administration. Instead, we get a year or two of lies from the guy who ran Harry and Louise ads during the primary. And career progs not only let him lie without rebuke, they willingly participated in the lies--again.

A truly depressing day.

Submitted by hipparchia on

This was well planned and orchestrated. Single payer or a Hacker-like bill could have easily been passed within the first hundred days of the Obama administration.

yep. bingo. right on. word.

the democratic party would have been wildly popular with voters if they'd done either of those, and they could have done it easily within the first 100 days. of course, that would have made them wildly UNpopular with their donors...

Submitted by hipparchia on

if the left had been as willing to push him as they probably would have been willing to push hillary, i think obama's ego and desire to be seen as transformative could have gotten us some good things in exchange for the chance to go down in history as one of the better ones.

Submitted by Elliott Lake on

..the body may not be cold but the soul? Meh. Already gone.

Love the Egyptological references, by the way. I found the people in the Peabody books too gooey (camp without the self-knowledge), but the historical parts very good.

Someone remind me---what is the detective series set in ancient Egypt?

Submitted by hipparchia on

those ancient egyptians had some very colorful gods and goddesses. i would not have wanted to live there, but i love using invoking that pantheon.

i find the amelia peabody characters gooey and campy too, but for escapist reading i love the adventures they get into and learning about ancient egypt and victorian england, and so i usually end up enjoying the over-the-top characters too.

i was trying to give pk the benefit of the doubt over his soul here, since i've always liked and admired him, but i fear you may be correct.

Submitted by Lex on

Thank you for a place of respite from the auto-erotic back patting that will surely strain some muscles in the coming days.

Politics is truly the Hopium of the masses if i find myself subjected to long-winded screeds about the strategic brilliance of Obama in moving the American Overton Window to the left which i can only reply, "Perhaps the nation moved an inch to the left at the cost of the Democratic Party being moved a mile to the right."


May the weather here turn fully soon so i can forget politics and play in the dirt.


Submitted by hipparchia on

"Perhaps the nation moved an inch to the left at the cost of the Democratic Party being moved a mile to the right."

my feeling is that the democratic party moved a mile to the right a long time ago, and cemented the overton window there with the nomination of obama. this just brings it out in the open. but hey! transparency!

the fact that so many rank and file progressives are hailing this as some lefty victory worries me more than the leadership calling it historic. obviously we have a lot of very stupid progressives in our midst.