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A Reorientation

Friday, October 16th, 2009

The inevitable thesis, the thrust of my posts for the past few months has been clear: the right wing opposition to Obama, the Republican party, the conservatives – are now a fractious and generally incoherent force in American politics. They offer virtually no legitimate opposition – instead they lie and throw smears and engage in petty propagandistic techniques – even in their so-called intellectual journals. It’s rare to find any piece of right wing writing that isn’t weighed down by clear and obvious falsehoods. The right wing’s talking points – whether expressed by pundits or politicians – have become almost entirely unhinged from reality.

I don’t mean to suggest that there are no legitimate reasons to disagree with the Obama administration: There is a genuine feeling of discontentment at the root of the deficit politics movement; libertarians and paleoconservatives have mounted substantial critiques of the Obama administration; and the left, especially regarding civil liberties, the wars in the Middle East, and gay rights has also had serious criticisms.

But the Republican Party and the major pundits of the mainstream right have instead engaged in fantastical criticisms – they describe their worst fears and ascribe them to the Obama administration – irrespective of what is actually happening. If the Obama administration is proposing that the government offer a government-run insurance option similar to Medicare which the independent and bipartisanly cited Congressional Budget Offices estimates would attract 1/30th of the American population, then Obama is attempting a hostile Marxist takeover of 1/16th of the American economy! If Obama acknowledges America’s role in overthrowing the democratically elected government of Iran in 1953, he is “apologizing for American success” and supporting tyranny and the murder of innocents! Obviously false statements are routinely used as cornerstones in building the case against Obama. There has been virtually no attempt by the right (with the exception of libertarians and paleoconservatives) to seriously engage with the reality of what Obama is doing.

I believe it is important to have a genuine opposition. Any political movement can fall victim to the excesses and blindnesses of its politics if it does not have an effective opposition.

At the same time, I agree with much of the agenda that the Obama administration has – even as I have found myself wary of certain initiatives.

Given all this, I’ve decided to reorient one of the foci of my blog from debunking right wing smears to searching for authentic critiques amidst the smears.

Light Blogging

Monday, October 5th, 2009

It’ll be light blogging this week.

I’ve been attempting to take a break now for several weeks, but haven’t really gotten around to it (despite my announcing I was) aside from the odd off day.

But this week, I have things to do, and I expect only 2 or 3 more posts.

Big Project At Work

Thursday, September 24th, 2009

A big project at work will be keeping me busy for the next two days – as I’ll be staying late each night or taking work home…

So, you’ll have to wait for this coming Monday for your next 2parse fix.

A Week Off

Monday, September 14th, 2009

Have I mentioned before that this blogging and working and commuting altogether is exhausting?

I’ll be taking this week off from substantive blogging, though I’ll be posting links to some articles and other pieces work reading.

Blogging break..

Wednesday, September 9th, 2009

I apologize for the unannounced blogging break. I have a few days off from work, extending the long weekend and though I anticipated throwing up a few posts, I get involved in other projects.

But, no fear, 2parse will be back tomorrow with a response to Obama’s speech tonight, unless something happens so compelling I am forced to respond immediately.

An ebay for Health Insurance

Wednesday, August 5th, 2009

[digg-reddit-me]Politifact – a fact-checking organization – declared one statement from the mass email being circulated about health care (the one that cites the page and line numbers of various mythical provisions) “truthful.” Towards the end of the email it states, “All private healthcare plans must conform to government rules [in order] to participate in a Healthcare Exchange.”

This is true – and it’s a good thing. I actually think that – contrary to the opinions of most progressives – the key to effective health care reform is not the public option but a strong health care exchange. (Ezra Klein has a lot to do with this opinion.) where can you buy finasteride in ireland The cheap accutane health reform Democrats are fighting for would create an buy amoxicillin 500mg canada ebay for health insurance – in which the government creates a market with set rules that sellers would need to follow in return for which the exchange would provide an easy way for buyers to evaluate and purchase the service (of health insurance in this instance.) This market wouldn’t replace the existing marketplace, but would only supplement it.

I support the public option – but health insurance reform will succeed based the effectiveness of the Health Insurance Exchange. It also should be able to receive bipartisan support – as it internalizes many Republican and free market doctrines (though it won’t receive any support from the Republicans.) The Health Insurance Exchange – if it is effective – will allow our system to gradually move away from health care insurance tied to employment; it will restrain costs; it will allow for decentralized, market-driven consumer decisions; it will provide safety and security that our current health insurance system is sorely lacking.

I’ve maintained before that free markets are a government creation. ((Not solely the government’s creation – but the government with society.)) In a Hobbesian universe, markets aren’t free – they are subject to the whim of robbers, poor transportation infrastructure, lack of protection for copyright or new technology, etcetera. Even in a state that offers these basic protections, a market can become unfree if any single company or group of companies attains too much power and begins to dominate decision-making. The strength of free markets comes from their virtues – competition; a lack of centralized decision-making; transparency. To the extent that the American economy is free, it is because our society and government have embraced these values. But this means that markets are a creation of the government – and they are maintained by it.

It is clear for anyone studying economic history that the market gets out of whack – that parts of it move irrationally. Costs move up too quickly; bubbles develop; monopolies take over. Seeing this, Friedrich Hayek, that pillar of free market thought and scourge of socialists the world over, suggested in his Nobel Prize acceptance speech, that those tasked with managing the economy look at their role as “gardners tending a garden.” This is exactly what the Democrats are setting out to do with this health care reform.

The Health Insurance Exchange is a governmental attempt to create a market for health insurance – an ebay in which sellers agree to follow certain rules in return for access to a customer base that trust the overall process. On ebay, those individuals and companies that choose to participate in this market agree to abide by certain rules: They accept that they will provide the service or good paid for in a prompt manner; they agree to be subject to a rating system; they agree to be honest in their postings; they agree to a certain degree of transparency; and they agree to numerous other rules that ebay sees as necessary to protect the community at large and individual consumers. In a similar way, the Health Insurance Exchange requires insurers who participate to be more transparent in their plans, to provide a certain base level of insurance, to subject themselves to being rated by their customers. And as ebay prohibits various fraudulent practices, the exchange would disallow the abusive practices of insurance companies from rescission once customers get sick to the abuse of claims of preexisting conditions.

This exchange would not replace the more free-wheeling market outside of the exchange, but would supplement it – just as ebay has not replaced the broader market, but provides a specific useful service within the broader market.

This ebay for health care insurance would create a market for health insurance that would ensure that companies would compete to make profits not by rescinding coverage or insuring only those who are healthy or simply denying claims – but by providing the best service for the lowest price. That’s not socialism – that’s creating a market that accomplishes something other than generating large profits for Wall Street and big name CEOs. I would even call it change I can believe in.

[This image is believed to be trademarked. It is being used to identify the organization eBay, a subject of public interest.]

List Week! coming 4/20

Monday, April 13th, 2009

This blog is on vacation until April 20, 2009 – which will be “List Week!” including lists of the Ten Core Principles of Market-State Liberalism (inspired by Russell Kirk’s Principles of Conservatism), a list of competing theories of the financial crisis, a list of reasons why marijuana should be legalized, and more!

Early Weekend

Friday, April 3rd, 2009

No blogging today.

But hopefully next week, a post on 10 theories of the financial crisis.

Blogging Break

Tuesday, January 20th, 2009

I’ll be taking a break from blogging until January 19th January 21st, the day before after Obama’s inauguration.

Hopefully by then, I will also be re-launching 2parse with a slightly re-tooled look.

Update (January 22): Pushing back the re-launch of 2parse yet again.

You may have noticed the changes to the site’s theme. I’m working on a few other changes, trying to figure out exactly how to focus the blog more particularly, to launch the Quotations website I started over a year ago, and get a broader multimedia presence from YouTube to Flickr. Plus while making the changes to the site today, I got stuck in a series of those html/css ruts where I couldn’t get the looks and effects I wanted.

A preview of what’s forthcoming: I’m going to focus the site more on national security and the rule of law, though leavened by politics. As my regular readers know, I’m more of an establishmentarian – which doesn’t mean I defend the establishment, but that I try to look at issues from the perspective of those with the power to affect things rather than that of a revolutionary trying to create a new world order. I believe the threat from terrorism is real – and I’m concerned that the right trivializes the War on Terror as some G.I. Joe fantasy while the left seems to be betting on a constantly receding threat from terrorism. Neither approach serves the country well – and both threaten to undermine our core values in the aftermath of another attack.

Blog down

Monday, November 24th, 2008

My blog was down over the weekend, so I wasn’t able to pre-schedule my Monday posts as I usually do.

Not to fear – posts will begin again tomorrow.

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