C-Span and Healthcare

Obama, at a debate against Hillary Clinton, January 31, 2008:

“That’s what I will do in bringing all parties together, not negotiating behind closed doors, but bringing all parties together, and broadcasting those negotiations on C-SPAN so that the American people can see what the choices are.”

C-SPAN CEO Brian Lamb, to Congress December 30:

Please open “all important negotiations, including any conference committee meetings,” to televised coverage on his network.

Congress to US:

“Meh. I don’t think so.”

Update: Pelosi to C-Span:

“There has never been a more open process.”

Well, except for the fact that we don’t know who’s promising what to whom or what’s actually in the bill. Except for *that*, it’s an open process.

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36 thoughts on “C-Span and Healthcare

  1. Bush Campaign speech during 2000 election:"The rule of law, the very foundation for a free society, has been under assault, not only by criminals from the ground up, but also from the top down. An administration that lives by evasion, coverup, stonewalling, and duplicity has given us a totally discredited Department of Justice. The credibility of those who now manage the nation’s top law enforcement agency is tragically eroded. We are fortunate to have its dedicated career workforce, especially its criminal prosecutors, who have faced the unprecedented politicization of decisions regarding both personnel and investigations.”

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  2. It's distracting and irritating. Whether I agree or disagree with Paul's point has nothing to do with the original note: Obama and Pelosi are *currently* in the process of breaking their promise to be open and transparent. Justifying that with, "well, some other candidate 10 years ago said…" is silly.

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  3. I'm certainly not defending Obama. He's a politician, and prone to make campaign promises he can't keep. However, I can no longer support a party controlled by religious demagogues. That doesn't make me a democrat. I can't stand the current political talk from either side. But the right wingers seem excited about the prospect of Obama failing as a president. That disgusts me. All about bringing about the end times, I suppose? It's all just sad. Talk about self-fulfilling prophesy. I'm not pleased with Obama's track record so far, but the thought of Sarah Palin being vice-president makes me shudder. And a presidential candidate that chose her as his running mate could not have been getting good counsel. If the worst criticism that can be found is that healthcare negotiations are not being televised, I don't think you're paying close enough attention. How about his failure to follow through with the closure of Guantanamo Bay prison? How about his inability to implement a clear policy with regard to Afghanistan? How about his failure to pursue criminal charges against the last president for clear violations of the Constitution?

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  4. The most important right is not yours to be free from offense, but mine to offend you freely. I care not that you are offended by my religious political or other beliefs. I refuse to sanction your request for my guilt. I harbor no guilt, but am proud to see the failures in this administration.It is sometimes easy for people to ascribe silly attitudes to religious believers, but I do not seek the end times. Let me be clear: I want to see Obama's ideas fail in an utterly spectacular fashion simply because he is the leader of the collectivist agenda. I want the general idea of collectivism to be killed once again, so my child can benefit from their work and be guaranteed the freedoms listed in our founding documents. I fear colectivism and it's tenets. It is a philosphy of death, as has been proven many times over in the past century. If you disagree, get over it and lets fight this out in the polls. You may have a hot button for religious beliefs, that, if I guessed correctly, would seem to me willfull ignorance of a major part of the human condition. Religion is integral to all aspects of life, even if it is a rejection of religions. But, you know that I assume.See you 02Nov2010.

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  5. Yeah, it is an issue for me. Sorry, Michael, if I souned too harsh in that post…it was typed on the fly and maybe more stringent than I really meant. But yes, it's an issue. Religious belief is integral to societies, but not universally. There are currently examples of secular societies that, while not perfect, do thrive. The Egyptian dynasties lasted for millenia worshipping a sun god, amongst others. That doesn't make their belief system right. As scientific knowledge progresses, it seems disingenuous, if not dangerous, to ignore empirical evidence that doesn't match religious texts. But that gets way off the topic. Or does it? well, too much so for a facebook comment, I suppose.

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  6. Paul, while I understand your position, I think you missed Sean's point that *everybody* has some sort of belief system. Even you.But your position on religious hot buttons is yet another evasion. I made a point that the current leadership is actively avoiding fulfilling their campaign promises, even after pointedly being asked about it by C-SPAN and during a White House briefing today. They know what they're doing. A bill this massive has become a millstone. If they don't pass it now, despite the unpopularity of it, they never will. To do that, they have to avoid the spotlight of embarrasing questions about what's in the bill and also avoid any discussion from opposing viewpoints. To do that, they're taking it behind closed doors, manipulating the bill in secret, then they'll spring it on the House and Senate and give no time to read it before they vote on it.It's highly unethical. I believe they know it's unethical as they've repeatedly stated they're against this sort of behavior.

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  7. The form of governance or identification of defined groups of people as predominant over the individual's human rights and freedoms. I am a rather strict constructionist. Starting with the premise that man is a fallen animal (there's that religion thing again) and that he cannot be perfected, the best that can be done for human polities is to acknowledge the tendency to greed and corruption inherent in man. Government should establish the rules that curtail these tendencies, limiting itself to quashing those precepts that curtail and individual's freedoms much as possible.Government that promotes collective rights of groups establishes the seeds of tyranny of the group over the individual. See all socialist movements on the 20th century from S. Gompers, Fascism, Socialism, Communism, etc. These I would consider "collective" although traditionally, the use of the term meant "collective" ownership of the means of production.Does that help?

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  8. Uh, as far as agenda, I think it is the default agenda of governments to collect power, through benevolent means, or any means possible. Government is force. Uncontained it tends to tyranny.

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  9. I guess the bottom line for me in the last election was the lesser of two evils. I'd rather have a socialist than a theocrat in office. Religion is a form of collectivism itself, though not in the way you're defining it, I think.

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  10. I'm guessing Paul didn't mean Bush. He's saying he voted for Obama who he knew was a socialist to avoid Palin as the theocratic VP.I disagree with the religion as collectivist, though; perhaps Paul still misunderstands the term. The Catholic Church, for instance, helps the poor and the hungry and the unwed mothers and so forth, and they encourage parishioners to contribute to group welfare as a "love thy neighbor" approach.Collectivism takes away that freedom and makes it mandatory and confiscatory. If the Catholic church garnished wages from the rich to distribute to the poor, that would be collectivism.Perhaps Paul's thinking more of "group-think," a group thinking with one mind. In that case, I would disagree with his assertion as I think there are so many churches teaching in error. Contrast, say, The Mormon Church with Westboro Baptist Church. There's nothing in common. In fact, I would argue that being part of an anti-religious mindset yields a more uniform groupthink where one would elect a socialist in order to avoid any taint of religion.

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  11. You are right, Mike. I don't think of Bush as a theocrat. I do think Obama winning the election was partially a backlash against Bush's policies, but I think McCain would have had a better chance had he chosen a more acceptable running mate. The thing most religions have in common is the built-in concept of displacement of responsibility from the individual to the higher power. With Christianity, you have freedom of choice, sure. But choose unwisely, or should I say impiously, and you will be punished for all eternity. It's the old carrot and stick, an effective population control technique used long before Christians appropriated it. I would agree somewhat that the anti-religious mindset is more uniform, because it's usually more reality based, and reality is reality, no matter what your belief system. My "belief system" is based on science and observation. It's not perfect. It's subject to error and misunderstanding and misperception. But I can modify it to account for new data. Christianity is not modifiable. If new data conflict with the texts, they either need to be tossed out or interpreted in such a convoluted way as to make them fit the text. I think this is a dangerous and outmoded way of thinking. The fundamentalists are the worst at this. At least Catholics are better at reinterpreting scripture to fit the data, but then they've always been better at "reinterpreting" scripture, starting with Paul.The idea of a devout fundamentalist (in the modern, religious sense) in office scares me much more than one with a socialist agenda. Of course I think both platforms are flawed. Christians think all men are evil (the fallen animal, we all start out that way, right?), and Socialists think all men are good. I believe we're just animals on this planet. We've evolved a decent set of survival traits. Religiosity appears to be one of those traits. This doesn't mean there is a thunder god, or that the earth rides on the back of a giant tortoise. It means we have the imagination to invent these narratives to help us deal with what the f*ck is going on.

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  12. I realize that post was way off the original topic, but my thinking is this:Obama's main point; "people need medical care, whether they can pay for it or not," regardless of the economic flaws inherent, is basically more sound than: "God will provide and smite the evildoers." The fact that he did not follow through with his campaign promise to televise the negotiations is a small thing compared to, "how are we going to pay for it?"The answer of course is that you and I will pay for it and those that are poor and can't or refuse to get a job will benefit from that redistribution of capital. That sucks for me. I'll be the first to say it.

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  13. Your understanding of Christianity is incomplete; recognition of a sovereign God encourages us to live for something besides ourselves. It's because of this love for others that Salvation Army, Star of Hope, Red Cross, and thousands of other ministries were born.My belief system, too, is based on science and observation. Enough to realize that there is absolutely no way beauty could have been created from Chaos on it's own. And I believe sufficient evidence through history and fulfilled prophecy exists that have led me to a belief in a just and loving God. There is no "carrot and stick," only carrot, if you will. A salvation has been extended to all men to choose or not choose. Your simultaneous belief that "men are good" and "we are just animals" is depressing to me, and I believe is inconsistent. If we are just animals, then there is no reason to be good if one defines "good" as beneficial to others as well as yourself. Kill or be eaten. It is my belief that this teaching has led to the increase of violence among teenagers who are taught their reason for being has no reason. Whereas Christianity teaches that we are adopted children if we choose to be and can live joyful lives for the benefit of others.I once stubbornly refused to accept this. I no longer struggle against what God has planned, and find incredible joy at being the best husband God wants me to be, to use my gift of teaching for the benefit of God and people, and to volunteer when I can to Angles of Light and Star of Hope to bring this same joy to others. That's something "just animals" cannot share.Of course men are inherently evil. Do you have to teach children to lie, or do they figure it out on their own? If atheistic men are good, then explanation of Stalin and communist exterminations are difficult to explain. Power, money, lust all corrupt. Our Founding Fathers understood that and developed checks and balances to guard against tyranny. You might agree that this worked to your benefit when Democrats opposed Bush's judicial appointments. RIght now there are no checks or balances; Congress and the President are combining to destroy the freedom I love in blatant disregard of my opinion. The net result is that I will no longer be able to give that $1 to the poor; the government will *take* $2 from me, spend $3 of it on beaurocracy, charge me another $1 to pay for the deficit, and the poor will be hosed.

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  14. I interpret Obama's main point to be, "people need medical care, whether *we* can pay for it or not, and since we can't fund it all, I issue a dictate that there shall be equally substandard medical care for everybody."And while I agree that "God will provide" (and He has) and that "God will smite the evildoers" (and He will), my opinion of the healthcare bill is not dependent on that view.My opinion is that Congress is confiscating private wealth to fund beurocracy and gain power with the end result of fiscal bankruptcy and government-determined health care. In order to make this appear palatable to the American people, they've cooked the books and are using off-balance sheet accounting, Enron-style, to pretend the healthcare bill is deficit neutral. In order to pass this over fiscally and socially conservative Democrats, the Leadership will be forced to "purchase" votes ala Ben Nelson style, providing money for those districts at the expense of others such as me. In order to keep the American public from seeing these negotiations, they will negotiate behind closed doors and then rush a vote.This is precisely what Obama campaigned on, why he campaigned on it, and why it's important to call him on reneging on his campaign promise. His "Hope and Change" was nothing more than fancy advertisement for "Tax and Spend the Same Way as Always."

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  15. Spot on, Mike. The only quasi-theological comment I would add is that man is not a purely rational being, that there is spirit as well, and this idea flows back in time to the cave painters at Lesceaux (sp.?) through Abram, Socrates, perhaps Plato through Aristotle and Augustine, Aquinas and perhaps ending with Derrida. This idea of "meat with spirit" formed western thought and all of the culture that we inhabit. Not considering the effects that this bi-modal way of being has had on the civilization for which we are a heirs is to close your eyes to tradition. Tradition, of course is the great democratizer, in that it brings the dead forth to influence the present. We stand on the shoulders of giants indeed, starting all the way back to the very beginnings of cognizant thought – that cave man who first painted his hand in ochre on the walls of a french cave, trying to influence the god of the hunt. Apparently, he thought the influence of spirit important enough to consider. Cheers all.

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  16. Michael, I pretty much agree with your assessment of the current health care negotiations in your last post. I also agree that Obama has failed to meet his campaign promise to keep all negotiations open to public scrutiny. The Machine will continue to roll on, regardless of which side of the aisle has a majority. It does get discouraging. I don't really think a socialist or "collectivist" political system would be an improvement. I do think that government oversight of the corporate system is necessary. I don't see that happening with the current administration any more than the last. Discouraging indeed.As to the religious discussion, that's much more interesting to me. Religion is not necessary for spiritualism. From Benjamin Franklin to Albert Einstein and beyond, great thinkers have expressed a deep distrust for the "traditional" religious belief systems. I'm with them. Our founding fathers felt this distrust when they carefully excluded religion from the Constitution. This was deliberate and very skillful on their part at a time when open expression of disbelief was suicidal.

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  17. If you desire to re-invent the wheel, you can. I would urge using some tradition to provide a rudder, and of course, being western I would suggest starting with Christianity's history."Josephus" (the Jew) is a fun read, and sets the stage for 1st century Palestine. It is not a Christian Book. It is a political and biographical tome, but references some of the earliest apostles (I believe the stoning of Stephen is in there). The interesting thing is that men never really change. Ptolemy and Shakespeare dealt with the exact same things we all do. Herod is Obama is Herod…..butI digress.

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  18. Certainly I'm not suggesting discarding the entire Bible, just the supernatural parts, or, to put it another way, the parts that are contradicted by observation. I think the Bible represents a pinnacle of moral and philosophical thought up to that time in human history. Humans haven't changed much over time. But scientific, philosophical and moral thought has evolved over the last two thousand years. We haven't changed much, but our understanding of ourselves and the world has improved.

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  19. I've read many history books of that period…it seems to me that Jesus had a very different message than that of Paul, and Paul's message won out, because it appealed more the the hellenized jews and gentiles of the time. But that's another story. Have you read any Joseph Campbell? He was the one who best helped me put it all in perspective.

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  20. "Hero With A Thousand Faces" is a good start. His "Masks of God" series is fascinating, and really present a wide-screen picture of human imagination, but be prepared to work to get through them.

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  21. Thanks, Ned. I'm with you. Our system is flawed, but I would die to defend it, as I would be proud of my sons and daughters if they fought to protect it. The thing is, Ned, it did just happen. As to the whys and hows, it's up to us to develop our own personal narrative to help us cope with it all and give us meaning. I thoroughly enjoy that process, and I especially enjoy it when people who don't necessarily agree with each other can talk about it. So thanks to Sean and Mike for bearing with my arrogance!After realizing that I had dragged the conversation completely away from the original point of Mike's post, I went back and read some of the articles like the one Mike's referring to, and it's true that as the process of negotiations continues, more and more deals are being made that will help wealthy special interests, and less and less that will benefit the people at large. And the deals are being made without public input or scrutiny. Another example of this "business as usual" can be found here:http://www.huff​ingtonpost.com/​2010/01/07/geit​hners-new-york-​fed-to_n_414449​.htmlAnd it isn't Fox News reporting this. Yes, that's right, redistribution of wealth in order to further an agenda. And keep the unpalatable truth secret from the American people. Sound familiar?

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  22. To bad his results couldn't be replicated in a lab! For more biblical improbabilities​, inconsistencies​ and contradictions,​ go to:http://www.infi​dels.org/librar​y/modern/jim_me​ritt/bible-cont​radictions.htmlAnd bring the kids! But there I go again, not seeing with my eyes and hearing with my ears! I just see epilepsy and crowd control where you see demons and miracles. The funny thing is, realists and religionists often say the same thing, just using different words. Take that last sentence for example! lol. Just kidding.Yes, Mike. I did expect better of Obama, just as I had expected better of Bush when I voted for him in 2000. He quickly disappointed, just as Obama is doing.

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  23. This was a great exchange of ideas and beliefs, gentlemen. The exchange itself justifies all the pain our forefathers endured to allow it to happen (easy for me to say, I know, but I'd take a bullet to protect it now). Paul, stand atop the highest point around, look down at everything around you and ask yourself if life and all of the complexities that accompany it could possibly have just happened. I say not. As to openness, we have sunshine laws to avoid agreements being made without public scrutiny. We must be able to see what is being negotiated to make informed decisions in the voting booth. Agian, thanks to all of you for posting.

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  24. Thanks, Ned. I'm with you. Our system is flawed, but I would die to defend it, as I would be proud of my sons and daughters if they fought to protect it. The thing is, Ned, it did just happen. As to the whys and hows, it's up to us to develop our own personal narrative to help us cope with it all and give us meaning. I thoroughly enjoy that process, and I especially enjoy it when people who don't necessarily agree with each other can talk about it. So thanks to Sean and Mike for bearing with my arrogance!After realizing that I had dragged the conversation completely away from the original point of Mike's post, I went back and read some of the articles like the one Mike's referring to, and it's true that as the process of negotiations continues, more and more deals are being made that will help wealthy special interests, and less and less that will benefit the people at large. And the deals are being made without public input or scrutiny. Another example of this "business as usual" can be found here:http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/01/07/geithners-new-york-fed-to_n_414449.htmlAnd it isn't Fox News reporting this. Yes, that's right, redistribution of wealth in order to further an agenda. And keep the unpalatable truth secret from the American people. Sound familiar?

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  25. Paul, what's funny to me about the "disregard the supernatural parts" is my study this morning of the chapter of Mark, and I'm in Mark 8. Jesus had just finished feeding the 5000 (and the 4000) and healing the deaf man and curing the Syrophoenician woman's daughter the demon possessed man in the synagogue andhealing the leper and raising the daughter from the dead and the legion of demons into the pigs and calming the storm and fixing the man's withered hand and walking on the water and and and and…Then the pharisees ask, "dude, if you're the messiah, show us a sign."But this has all been an interesting diversion. My original post didn't mention religion at all. It was a swipe against the dirty backroom politics going to in order to inflict healthcare on us. Those that voted for Obama must have expected better from him.

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  26. To bad his results couldn't be replicated in a lab! For more biblical improbabilities, inconsistencies and contradictions, go to:http://www.infidels.org/library/modern/jim_meritt/bible-contradictions.htmlAnd bring the kids! But there I go again, not seeing with my eyes and hearing with my ears! I just see epilepsy and crowd control where you see demons and miracles. The funny thing is, realists and religionists often say the same thing, just using different words. Take that last sentence for example! lol. Just kidding.Yes, Mike. I did expect better of Obama, just as I had expected better of Bush when I voted for him in 2000. He quickly disappointed, just as Obama is doing.

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