Friday, September 11, 2009

The Daily Dissent

Andrew Sullivan is back from his weeks long retreat to Provincetown, and it's as if he's gone back in time. Back to when I would disagree with just about everything he writes.

For instance...

The Cap -- Since Obama mentioned it in his speech, Sullivan has a series of posts in support of tort reform (1, 2, 3, 4) and the institution of a cap on malpractice awards. The President is wrong to throw the "tort reform" bone along with all the other concessions he is making, and Sullivan's support is just as misguided. Tort reform is a red herring issue and a crock of shit. I'll need to say more about that later.

Give Wilson His Due? I'm not even sure wtf Andrew is talking about here, but there's no real apology in this three minute campaign cash appeal.

9-11 -- Good God is Andrew right back to his bedwetting post-attack patheticalness. Still rationalizing the mistakes made by Bush and his own ridiculous posture and lockstep support ("fifth column," anyone?). A sample [my emphasis]:
It's worth also recalling, after the bitter and often justified criticism of the last president's subsequent war policy, how intense and terrifying it was for those in power back then. They deserved the support they were given because they were our elected leaders, regardless of party, and the nation had been attacked. It was extremely hard to know what to do in the absence of actionable intelligence and a display of such theatrical nihilism. Emergency measures in the aftermath are what the executive branch is there for. Mistakes are [made?] and should be forgivable at a moment like that. And, as readers know, my own passionate support for fighting back against Islamism under the last president only collapsed with the feckless negligence toward Afghanistan, the disastrously conducted occupation of Iraq, the shady intelligence fiasco that made it possible, and, much more profoundly, the embrace of torture in a war for human rights.

Terrifying for those in power? Horseshit. I'm no Truther, but I don't think any part of Cheney was terrified for even a moment. The clear path to power must have been exhilarating to him and his ilk. I'm not exaggerating when I say that one of my first thoughts when I realized what had happened was that the Bush Administration would capitalize on and milk the shit out of it. And I wasn't half as cynical back then. But, while cold-hearted, I was being realistic. And I was right. We didn't ALL lose our shit, Andrew.

Wrong Again -- He declares David Brooks' flawed and frame-laced "analysis" of Obama's speech as "brilliant." Trust me, it's not. I read it so you don't have to.


I'm tired and cranky, and I'm going to bed.


Toast said...

It's always the same refrain from guys like Sullivan when it comes to rationalizing their behavior after 9-11: "We were ALL so afraid."

No, we "all" weren't. A lot of us kept our cool and saw the situation clearly and rationally. I think the reason Sully and others can't recognize that is because they know it makes us better than them.

Mr Furious said...

Guys like Sullivan will always be the first under the boot.

Despite his claims to be conservative and libertarian (to a degree) he craves an authority telling him what to do.

It was never more clear than post-9/11.

steves said...

I agree that tort reform is a red herring, but why are you being an apologist for Obama and saying that he is throwing it out as some kind of concession? Given his generally pro-business sentiments, why would you assume his isn't in favor of tort reform?

I don't entirely agree with Sullivan, but he makes a good point. From what I have read in regards to people that were working on the OLC, there was a great deal of fear in the gov't that there would be further attacks. That doesn't excuse shitty policy, nor is it some kind of blank check, but being scared is understandable.

I am not paranoid by any means and I was scared for a time.

Mr Furious said...

Steves, I thought about it. A lot. But I went on with my life.

I'm not sure how it would have been for me if I still lived in NYC (Mrs F and I had moved to Ann Arbor a month prior). My office was across the river in Brooklyn and faced the WTC.

But I assume, like everyone else in NYC, I would have had to get right back on the subway to go back to work, etc.

Meanwhile, loudmouth assholes in Tulsa (or wherever) insisted that "9/11 changed everything" in REAL America.

New Yorkers had to actually smell Ground Zero and pile into underground trains filled with people screened with nothing more than a turnstile, while the rest of the red states was afraid to fly and would shit their pants if they saw anyone with a black beard at the local mall.

steves said...

True, that's why I said "for a time". Life certainly does go on.

Smitty said...

Tort reform is a horrible issue and I am pissed but depressingly unsurprised that Obama would use it as either a carrot for the industry or that, as steve points out, he actually agrees with it.

One of my clients fell victim to tort reform under the Engler administration in Michigan, and their entire industry...defending people who are severly injured by negligence or profiteering, is drying up. If you need anything for a tort reform post Mr. F, I have tons of stuff. But suffice it to say that it's a bone to throw insurance companies and docs that ends up hurting victims and rewarding bad behavior. Health care doesn't cost so much because a victim can sue for damages. It's uncompensated care, for one, that increases costs. And would we eliminate uncompensated care and needless ER visits due to lack of insurance coverage for primary care...hmmm...on the tip of my tongue...

steves said...

You are right, Smitty. I have seen plenty of data on tort reform and the only provable beneficiaries are the insurance companies. That isn't bad, in and of itself, but people are told we need tort reform because doctors are unable to practice because of fear of being sued. The reports I have read suggest that tort reform either has no effect or a very minimal affect.

Mr Furious said...

Steves, Obama has been disappointingly on the side of business and Wall Street on several issues. While the nature of some of the problems he faces might lead to that, there have been specific choices made that benefit moneied interests over the public—such as cramdown.

So, yes, it might be that Obama supports it, but it's more likely he is buying off the industry with it.

It's unfortunately become one of those issues where a line has been drawn and it is viewed politically and not rationally. Republicans want to limit risk for business in general, and this has the added bonus of harming a group that tends to support Democrats—lawyers.

Funny how Republicans are all outraged at the government wanting to limit things in the market such as executive compensation for bailout companies or create competition for insurance companies but they have no problem having the gov't step in and limit the amount of money a paintiff can sue for...

Seems a bit, hmmm, hypocritical?

steves said...

It does, but I am sure they would see it as limiting "activist" courts that have allowed awards that are too big. Historically speaking, large awards are relatively recent. There has to be some middle ground. From what I hear, there is plenty of evidence that lawsuits have almost destroyed the light aircraft industry in the US.

Bob said...

Would people here trade an awards cap for a public option? I might.