Paul Revere by Cyrus Dallin, North End, Boston



Monday, August 17, 2009


I urge you to go here and read this entire post by the eminent, the redoubtable (O)CT(O)PUS and then continue on and read the comments.

What sets this apart is that there are people involved in the discussions who have strong opposing opinions on the subject of health care reform but, unlike other people who get involved in these arguments, the people commenting at The Swash Zone do not stoop to juvenile ad hominem attacks.

I point this out because for the second time in two months I've been attacked and reviled for my having the audacity to have a liberal blog with a liberal point of view, and certain elements in the conservative blogsphere won't have it.

They have slandered me and misrepresented my opinions to the point of behaving like an uncontrolled mob of seething malcontents with nothing to add to our discourse but lies, wild accusations, and contemptible villainy.

As I said in one of the comments defending myself and my right to my opinion, I will no longer participate in a forum of worthless character assassination nor will I allow my words to be "twisted by knaves and made a trap for fools."

"What is objectionable, what is dangerous about extremists is not that they are extreme but that they are intolerant. The evil is not what they say about their cause, but what they say about their opponents." - Robert F. Kennedy

I strongly urge anyone reading this to go to The Swash Zone and learn how responsible people contribute to a blog's comment section, and how people of intelligence deal with people they do not agree with.

It can be done. The liberal blog, The Swash Zone, shows us how to do it.



The Gray Headed Brother said...

It is time for Conservatives and their leaders like Rush Limbaugh,Ann Coulter, Glen Beck and Michael Steele to shut up, and behave themselves.
Act like civil people or get lost.

Shaw Kenawe said...

Unfortunately, those people who listen to them and take their marching order from them have decided that I'm am not allowed to have my own blog with my own opinions.

A group of them have, en masse, ordered their weak-minded followers to never come here again.

It's actually a blessing, since most of them did nothing but spew their incoherent anti-Obama rants.

I have a few conservatives who come here and who actually who have brains and can argue without calling me vile names.

I don't need the other unhappy, hateful, misguided name-callers.

They will not be missed.

Thayer Nutz said...


I've read some of their comments on this blog. Consider yourself well rid of the pests. They added nothing and subtracted from your fine blog. Now that they have made their minds (?) up to never come here, this blog will really be a pleasure to read.

You've been liberated! Good riddance.

Shaw Kenawe said...


Their violent reaction to me is symptomatic of the deep seated hatred that people hold for those who do not agree with them.

It's disturbing and disheartening to think that we don't even acknowledge our common identity--Americans.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Lia said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Shaw Kenawe said...


Thanks for coming here and supporting me, but I don't want he-who-must-not-be-named to use what is in my comments to justify his need to bully and intimidate me, so I deleted your comment about him.

to the commenter Lia,

You added nothing to the post, that's why I deleted you.

Richard Cohen said...

Richard Cohen's take on Sarah Palin's fear-mongering on health care:

"Palinism. What is it? It is an updated version of McCarthyism, which takes its name from the late Sen. Joseph McCarthy, the Wisconsin liar, demagogue and drunk, and means, according to Wikipedia, "reckless, unsubstantiated accusations, as well as demagogic attacks on the character or patriotism of political adversaries."

As far as we know, Sarah Palin is not a drunk.

Friend from SoCal said...

Wow shaw,

that creep without a name who resemble a dog is obsessed with you!

you must be doing something right because all he does is post about you, baby!

they say hatred is just the other side of the coin of love.

he loves you. if it wasn't for you, he'd have no one come to his blog.

everytime he posts about YOU his hits go up.

keep up the good work and your blogging and don't let the assholes get you down.

Arthurstone said...

Certainly this episode gives lie to the argument there are no 'bad dogs'.

Beth said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jennifer said...

Shaw, I don't agree with those that have attacked you. You might want to check out Pam's comment thread....she put her foot down and defended our friendship as have I.

I will skip your idea about visiting Swash Zone though because like your experience at conservatives sights, Pam, Dmarks and I have all been put down by some of them over there. Their discussion of health care only involves those who agree with them because they criticize and slander anyone who doesn't.

I have a unique view of health care because I currently don't have any for me and my family. When my husbands company dropped their insurance, we went out and found our own. Then we faced paying our mortgage or insurance. Something definitely needs to be done, because they way it is now is unacceptable. I don't agree that insurance companies should profit from health care and I have no problem with government regulations. I wish they would tell the insurance companies what they can and can't do, such as denying pre-existing conditions. I think if we could get past a lot of the pettiness we would all see that there are a lot of ideas out there, bad and good and we all want a change in health care.

TRUTH 101 said...

Jennifer: I would love for the town hall meetings and the blog discussions to be civil and productive. Those against national health care that show up at these meetings harp on scary talking points like socialism and make silly nazi comparisons. I saw one misguided, albeit sincere lady I'm sure, read from a 3 by 5 card exactly what Glen Beck has been saying. "I don't like where this country is going."

When will one of them say "why in God's name does the greatest country on earth still have 47 million people uninsured?" "How can we spend 100 billion a year on overseas occupations when our health care system is ranked below 36 other countries?" "Since when did talking to your doctor about a living will become socialist?"

You're in a tough situation Jennifer. Single payer would fix it for your family and your employer by removing the burden of health insurance expense. I hope you come over to my side on this.

Gordon said...

Sorry, but I'm not welcome at the Swash Zone. Apparently I'm a bad, bad boy--either that or I'm weak minded. Possibly I'm both. I can't remember exactly what I wrote, but it must have struck a nerve.

Why do you object to an insurance company making a profit? You don't object to this with homeowner's insurance, or car insurance. Why should your health insurance be different?

In any case, 61 percent of the market in health insurance is now done by non-profits.

You also don't object to regulations. Neither do the big insurance companies. Large companies generally welcome regulation, because the requirements generally make it much more difficult for smaller, more agile competitors to enter the market. Regulations protect the big boys' profits and market share.

I do sympathize with your problem. I'm fee-for-service myself, and while I can keep up with routine costs, I do worry about a serious illness. I wish I could buy a castastrophic policy, but those good old regulations in my state have made such policies illegal. You have to buy a full package or nothing.

I'm willing to take the chance I won't need mental health coverage, pregnancy and abortion coverage and coverage for sexual reassignment surgery. But I don't have a choice.

Jennifer said...

I think that health care is too important to be profit because we see the problems that are happening now, like denying claims, and not covering certain things. When somebody is looking out for themselves it's very hard to give quality care. I wouldn't go so far as to say they have to be exclusively non profit, it just needs to provide quality care and the more they are looking out for themselves the less they are looking out for the consumer.

I'm not sure I understand why regulations would hurt smaller competitors. Things like banning coverage for people with pre-existing conditions, or denying coverage for this or that. Maybe the better word would be restrictions?? I just don't think insurance companies won't give an inch unless forced to.

I know about the all or nothing and that is precisely why we have nothing at the moment. It's actually cheaper for me to go to treatment 3 times a week then for us to buy insurance coverage. If somebody gets seriously ill, then we are in deep trouble though.

Gordon said...


Regulations hurt smaller companies in a number of ways. First, smaller companies often lack the large legal departments (needed for compliance) that big companies have. Second, the content of regulations are influenced by lobbyists, and you can bet they will be influenced in ways to benefit the big boys.

We've seen this in many ways. The steel industry has actively lobbied for regulation since Andrew Carnegie ran US Steel a century ago. The railroads eagerly sought regulation to protect routes and profits.

Most recently the large pharmaceutical firms cut a back room deal with President Obama. In exchange for protection of their profits, they agreed to spend $150 million promoting Obamacare. Of course, this pretty much wiped out the argument that these reforms would save money.

The reason we buy insurance is because we don't know what will happen. If your house burns down, you can't afford to rebuild, so we insure against that possibility. Try getting Allstate to sell you a policy after the fire starts!

And it's the same for health insurance. You buy the policy to protect you if you get sick. If we can all wait until we have a serious illness to buy, then the only people paying premiums will be the very sick. That's going to be a pretty high premium.

Employer-provided insurance came about in this country because of wage restrictions during World War II. Companies weren't allowed to offer higher wages to attract workers, so they sought other ways, and one of them was to offer health insurance. It was a fairly cheap benefit for the company, since the population was young and healthy, and growing quickly. That meant premiums were low.

Now we're an aging country; we're not popping out babies like we used to. We've also discovered new machines and treatments that extend life--but they're expensive treatments. Not that long ago the first heart attack a person had usually killed them. Now, fast treatment with anti-clotting agents, stents, pacemakers and bypass surgeries enable folks to live for decades with heart disease.

I'm getting very long-winded here. But my point is that there are other ways to think about this, and other ways we can reform health care and health insurance (different things). Safeway groceries in California has changed their insurance to operate more like car insurance, where the risk factors you bring affect your rates. By doing it this way, they have kept their costs essentially flat for eight years.

As for folks like you and me, perhaps we can modify the regulations to allow us to buy a policy that covers catastrophic illnesses at first--and once we have a history with the insurer, they can offer us more coverage. Car insurance works that way; when you first sign on, rates are high. Drive safely for a while, and those rates drop dramatically.

Pamela D. Hart said...

Gordon: I'd like to chime in here, if I may. I've been saying that our health ins should be like our car ins for years. But it's not and I can't figure out why companies haven't come along to offer policies like that. As you pointed out, a person who is a high-risk driver pays a higher premium, but if he doesn't have an accident in say 3-5 yrs, his premium goes down. This should be the same for someone who has an illness/pre-existing condition. And most people who have pre-existing conditions normally take BETTER care of themselves because they want to LIVE!! But you have people who will live very bad lifestyles but their premiums won't go up one iota! It's a bit of an uneven playng field.

My question is, why aren't there companies out there doing this?

Gordon said...


I suspect it is because employer-supplied insurance so dominates the market. Most people do have it, and that reduces the market for private options.

If employers provided a health savings account instead, the insurers would compete to be the choice of the worker, instead of the choice of the employer. Consumer Reports or some other third party could rate the policies and the insurer's customer service, as they do now with car and homeowner's insurance.

That's one of the big bugaboos of employer-provided policies; the company is the customer, instead of the insured. That leads to perverse incentives which drive up costs. And because of the group pool, the employee is mostly insulated from bad lifestyle choices and their consequences (copays are an attempt to counter that).

The "exchange" portion of Obamacare is not a bad idea; provide a way to compare policies easily. But introducing a subsidized "public option" means that private companies won't be able to compete. They'll abandon the market for individual or family policies, and spend their efforts lobbying to administer a chunk of the government pie (this is already happening). Big companies will always go for secure profits versus having to seriously compete.

Pamela D. Hart said...

Yes, Gordon, I think that people should be charged for bad lifestyle choices. For example, I smoke but my premium doesn't change..they don't EVEN ask THAT question...BUT they did on my life insurance! If I still choose to smoke and pay a higher premium, then that's my choice. However, there are people who are born with certain defects of their heart yet it won't kill them. For example, my dad has a resting pulse rate of 35 bpm. He is in excellent health at 67 yrs old; he doesn't even have allergies! But it's considered a "problem." They wanted to give him a pacemaker but he refused. He's had this condition his entire life, but they only found it about 6 yrs ago! Now it's a "problem". He's on Medicare but also has another policy to help pay for what Medicare doesn't pay. But his "problem" popped up. It's things like THAT which shouldn't stop people from getting insurance because it's not something that will kill them...well the chances are slim. But yet private insurance will insure people who are drinking, smoking and doing recreational drugs without even checking! It's just ridiculous! But like you said, money talks.