Saturday, September 01, 2007

Giuliani on Healthcare

I missed this story on Giuliani, where he was speaking on health care reform in the US. I was shocked by some of his statements, the most profound of which I'll quote here. Note that when I say "profound," I mean it in the context of today's politics.


To those who have followed the health care issue over the years and have learned to speak the language of health care reformers, Rudy Giuliani was saying everything wrong when he unveiled his reform plan this week.

He said that "Government cannot take care of you. You've got to take care of yourself."

He said the marketplace, not the government "nanny state," needs to do the work of fixing the nation's health care problems.

He said that "We've got to solve our health care problem with American principles, not the principles of socialism."

Then there's this beauty:

But just as important as details is Giuliani's frank language: "Americans believe in free-market solutions to the challenges we face, and I believe we can reduce costs, expand access to, and improve the quality of health care by increasing competition. America's health care system is being dragged down by decades of government-imposed mandates and wasteful, unaccountable bureaucracy."

It's not often that one hears a politician talking about getting government out of something, rather than getting government into it. Giuliani just jumped a bit in my opinion.

Celebrity Report: Ahmadinejad Green Lights Biopic

Celebrity Report: Well, it's on. Iranian President Imajihadi gives the green light to Oliver Stone's biopic of the wacko. And since that sentence wasn't entirely clear, the "wacko" I'm specifically referring to is Imajihadi.

Another Cheap Shot at Ayn Rand Thanks to "Bioshock"

I was pretty certain that the release of "Bioshock" would bring Ayn Rand and Objectivism to the forefront, and not in a positive light, and here's another story that support my contention. In one of the most disgusting descriptions of Ayn Rand I've read, at least in the fewest words, the News & Observer had this to say:

Rapture is the creation of Andrew Ryan, a crazy cutout of Ayn Rand, the pseudophilosopher who hated poor people and didn't care for much outside the realm of free market capitalism and sleeping around.


Bush on China - Yeesh

Bush amazes me sometimes. As President, heading into the summit of Pacific Rim leaders, I would expect him to take something of harsh stance, use his bully pulpit a bit. China has a horrible human rights record, has threatened the US with economic warfare, of a sort, has done little to control the piracy of US intellectual property, etc.

Here's the part that bothers me the most:

“As a part of our engagement with China, we have worked with (President) Hu Jintao to convince him to help convert his economy from one of savers to one of consumers, which means -- and, by the way, that takes a lot of effort and work to get in a position where you can even make those kind of constructive suggestions, which means the development of a pension system, or health care, so that people don't feel like they have to hoard their money to save for a rainy day, but in fact there's some kind of safety net that is predictable, which then would convert a Chinese person who is beginning to realize better income into a consumer,’’ the president told reporters. “And then all of a sudden you've got consumers, which provide opportunity.

Rather than calling on China to rid itself of its Communist government, embrace individual rights, and allow capitalism to work freely (thus allowing that middle class to grow on its own without government interference), he essentially says that China should simply change how it controls its people's lives. I don't think it's the lack of a "pension plan" that causes the Chinese people to hoard every dollar, I think it's the fact that they have so little control over their own lives.

Read the rest if you want, but it's all pretty much just as bad.

Digg Report

Digg Report: Today's #1 Digg, at 2536 Diggs, is yet another prepubescent post, this time a link to a non-existent story about a Facebook group devoted to finding a girl's camera because she's a "Hottie."


Should the US Boycott the 2008 Olympics?

Here's a pretty fervent plea for boycotting the 2008 Olympics in China. It's based on a necessarily biased paper issued by the Falun Gong, and so it's hard to tell from this one blog entry alone whether things in China are as bad as stated.

Some examples:

Not only is China bankrolling Darfur’s Genocide; for more than eight years it has sought to eliminate Falun Gong, which in 1999 had an estimated 70 million practitioners in China; it has likewise abused democracy activists, lawyers, human rights defenders, religious leaders, journalists, trade unionists, Tibetan Buddhists, Uighurs, ”unofficial” church members, and political dissidents.

I've read of these particular accusations on numerous occasions, and so I would tend to give them some credibility. And, at least some in the US government agree:

All of these reports culminated, on August 3, 2007, in Congressman Rohrabacher introducing House Resolution 610 [3], aptly named because the “610 Office” in China is an extra-constitutional agency established by the former leader Jiang Zemin. It was specifically created to persecute Falun Gong and has absolute power over every level of the Communist Party and all political and judiciary systems.

Rohrabacher’s H.Res. 610 expresses “the sense of the House of Representatives that the United States Government should take immediate steps to boycott the Summer Olympic Games in Beijing in August 2008 unless the Government of the People’s Republic of China stops engaging in serious human rights abuses against its citizens and stops supporting serious human rights abuses by the Governments of Sudan, Burma, and North Korea against their citizens.”

Rohrabacher proclaims, “In 1936, Nazi Germany hosted the Olympics giving Hitler a worldwide platform to showcase his fascist propaganda. It was wrong to support the Olympic venue then and it’s wrong for the United States to support this prestigious event being held in a similarly fascist regime in 2008.”

Communist China lost its bid for the 2000 Olympics because of its horrific human rights violations. Recognizing this concern, the Chinese regime explicitly promised to improve human rights [4] in order to win the 2008 Olympics Games. Its subsequent record belies its empty promise. Human rights in China have not improved; they have grievously deteriorated.

Ultimately, I think I would support such a boycott, although, like Carter's boycott in 1980, I don't think it would have much effect. And as I think about the whole thing, it strikes me how much of a free rein China receives in the mainstream media for its human rights violations vs. its economic policies and product safety issues. Hmmm.

Russian-Chinese Alliance Not Likely?

This Wall Street Journal blog post posits that worrying about the Russian-Chinese relationship might be a little premature. Basically, it says that Russia and China have too much not in common to form an alliance. It makes some good points, but then so do some of the commentors.

The gist:

Despite some fears in the West, China and Russia have too little in common to form a mighty Sino-Russian axis anytime soon, writes foreign-policy analyst Ian Bremmer in Slate. Some Washington observers worry they see the early signs of a military bloc in events like the two countries’ recent joint military exercises. But these small instances of cooperation shouldn’t disguise the fact that the two countries’ fundamental interests don’t mesh, says Mr. Bremmer, president of political risk consultancy Eurasia Group.

I dunno. Russia and China are a little unpredictable right now, I think. It bears watching.