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Jul 30 2012

What? Am I going to have to vote for Romney after all?

He just praised a universal health care system.

"Do you realize what health care spending is as a percentage of the G.D.P. in Israel? Eight percent,” [Romney] said. "You spend eight percent of G.D.P. on health care. You’re a pretty healthy nation. We spend 18 percent of our G.D.P. on health care, 10 percentage points more. That gap, that 10 percent cost, compare that with the size of our military — our military which is 4 percent, 4 percent. Our gap with Israel is 10 points of G.D.P. We have to find ways — not just to provide health care to more people, but to find ways to fund and manage our health care costs.

Why does Mitt Romney hate America?

84 comments

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  1. 1
    PZ Myers

    Don’t worry, next time he opens his mouth the enchantment will wear off.

  2. 2
    StevoR : Free West Papua, free Tibet, let the Chagossians return!

    ““What? Am I going to have to vote for Romney after all?”

    No.

  3. 3
    holytape

    Mitt Romney doesn’t hate America. He doesn’t hate. Hate would require human emotion.

  4. 4
    StevoR : Free West Papua, free Tibet, let the Chagossians return!

    No, you don’t have to vote at all in the USA if you don’t want to – as I’m sure y’already know.

    Of courase, excercising theright to not vote or vote for Romeny or whoever youdo vote for has potential consequences.

  5. 5
    StevoR : Free West Papua, free Tibet, let the Chagossians return!

    @1. PZ :

    Don’t worry, next time he opens his mouth the enchantment will wear off.

    Don’t worry, I’m sure the slate sketch will have be wiped clean in the passing interim between Mitten’s comments!

  6. 6
    StevoR : Free West Papua, free Tibet, let the Chagossians return!

    be = been

    Me = tired and can’t type and heading for much needed rest rightaway.

  7. 7
    Mario

    Ha! This is clearly evidence of demonic possesions, the demon of common sense must have possesed Romney for a few seconds.

  8. 8
    Bronze Dog

    Things are going to be weird if conservatives start saying that they were always in favor of socialized medicine.

  9. 9
    pentatomid

    Huh? What? Where? How? Mitt Romney making sense? It mus be some sort of trap…

  10. 10
    What a Maroon, oblivious

    Things are going to be weird if conservatives start saying that they were always in favor of socialized medicine.

    Maybe we on the left have been approaching this all wrong. Perhaps if the left started denying global warming, denouncing abortion rights, calling for a constitutional amendment against gay marriage, and so on, the right would suddenly change their tune on all of those issues….

  11. 11
    silomowbray, sans frottage pour la douche

    As one of your northern neighbours, I wish to offer our fine friends in the United States the option of becoming a Canadian Territory (you’d be in good company with the Yukon, the Northwest Territory and Nunavut) with all of its benefits, rights and responsibilities, and the potential to become a Canadian Province in due course. Provincehood is achieved by:

    1. Producing beer that isn’t categorized as “soda pop”.
    2. Adopting hockey (ice hockey, but it’s always just “hockey”) as the number one sport.
    3. Learning how to correctly use “Eh” in all of its nuances.
    4. Also “Tabernac!” if you’re travelling in Quebec.
    5. Spelling the British way, with words like “armour”, “centre” and “travelling”.
    6. Paying higher taxes in exchange for not worrying the fuck about how you’ll pay for the Emergency visit while you’re bleeding out from a nailgun wound.
    7. Understanding that our Head of State is different from our Head of Government, and that you vote in a party and not a leader. And also Canadians generally hold a dim view of open religiosity in government, which we equate with “dingbats.”
    8. Adopting a nasty attitude towards the Eastern provinces if you’re in the West, and a studied disdain and disregard for Western provinces if you’re in the East.

    This offer remains open until the next solar eclipse. However, at no time is this offer open to the part of your fine nation known as “Jesusland”, except to those people within who really, really want to Get The Fuck Out.

  12. 12
    timgoss

    The US gov’t seems to have no practical upper limit on military spending (see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Financial_cost_of_the_Iraq_War) so the obvious solution to the US health care problem is to make everyone in the US a member of the military with full health benefits.

  13. 13
    silomowbray, sans frottage pour la douche

    @timgoss #12

    Your (wonderfully dry) point aside, I have an acquaintance in Illinois who wishes fervently that the U.S. would “once again become a nation of Riflemen.”

    I don’t know what desperate fantasy he has running in his head, but the possibilities make me twitchy.

  14. 14
    What a Maroon, oblivious

    @silomowbray,

    1. Producing beer that isn’t categorized as “soda pop”.

    Canadians have no business lecturing USAians on beer. Let’s just call it a draw.

    5. Spelling the British way, with words like “armour”, “centre” and “travelling”.

    How about you adapt our spelling, and we start using the metric system?

    Or vice versa.

    As for the rest of your list, as long as we don’t have to import poutine or Tim Horton’s, I’m on board.

  15. 15
    Lynna, OM

    Coverage on The Maddow Blog of Romney’s comments on healthcare in Israel:

    At his Jerusalem fundraiser last night, for example, the Republican candidate spent quite a bit of time praising the Israeli health care system, which covers more of the nation’s population than we do, while spending less as a percentage of GDP. Romney may not have thought this one through — Israel has a socialized system and a national mandate. The kind of health care policy he was praising in Israel is the same kind of policy he routinely condemns.

    I’m afraid the truth is quite scary. Romney didn’t really think this through. Neither he nor his staff considered that a top marginal income tax rate of 48% on income over $125,000 supports socialized medicine in Israel. Romney doesn’t think. Specifically, his brain seems to be incapable of see connection between social policies and economic policies.

    I become more and more convinced that Romney harbors simplistic viewpoints, and that even those viewpoints are forbidden to interact with each other, or with reality.

  16. 16
    timberwoof

    silomowbray, I think the San Francisco Peninsula qualifies on the most important points, those being beer, hockey, a disdain for the Eastern provinces (everything east of the Bay), and that complicated one—something about paying lots of taxes and not worrying about how health care is paid for.

  17. 17
    Lynna, OM

    Here’s more of what Romney said in Israel:

    “Culture makes all the difference,” Mr. Romney said. “And as I come here and I look out over this city and consider the accomplishments of the people of this nation, I recognize the power of at least culture and a few other things.”

    “As you come here and you see the G.D.P. per capita, for instance, in Israel which is about $21,000, and compare that with the G.D.P. per capita just across the areas managed by the Palestinian Authority, which is more like $10,000 per capita, you notice such a dramatically stark difference in economic vitality,” he said.

    Okay, so that statement is racist in a way, based on Romney thinking the Jewish culture is superior to Palestinian culture.

    And, as usual, Romney got the facts wrong. As Talking Points Memo noted,

    Israel’s GDP per capita was $31,000 in 2011 and Palestinians’ per capita GDP was just $1,500. Romney at no point mentioned that the Palestinian territories have for decades been occupied without sovereign control, where residents face significant restrictions on movement and employment.

    http://2012.talkingpointsmemo.com/2012/07/romney-israel-palestine-gdp-culture.php

  18. 18
    skeptifem

    lol this is fucking awesome.

  19. 19
    Synfandel

    @Lynna, OM (#15):

    Coverage on The Maddow Blog of Romney’s comments on healthcare in Israel:

    At his Jerusalem fundraiser last night, for example, the Republican candidate spent quite a bit of time praising the Israeli health care system, which covers more of the nation’s population than we do, while spending less as a percentage of GDP.

    Why do Americans feel that covering a large percentage of citizens is a measure of quality in the system, but covering 100 per cent of citizens is unacceptable?

  20. 20
    Shplane, Spess Alium

    Why do Americans feel that covering a large percentage of citizens is a measure of quality in the system, but covering 100 per cent of citizens is unacceptable?

    Because if it’s not covering everyone, then they can still imagine that it doesn’t cover any of those lazy blacks or, GOD FORBID, immigrants.

    I wish I was making that up.

  21. 21
    David Marjanović

    Also noticed on The Zingularity.

    I’m afraid the truth is quite scary. Romney didn’t really think this through. Neither he nor his staff considered that a top marginal income tax rate of 48% on income over $125,000 supports socialized medicine in Israel. Romney doesn’t think. Specifically, his brain seems to be incapable of see connection between social policies and economic policies.

    I become more and more convinced that Romney harbors simplistic viewpoints, and that even those viewpoints are forbidden to interact with each other, or with reality.

    I think all of this is true.

  22. 22
    steve84

    Romney was all for Obamacare back when it was called Romneycare in MA

  23. 23
    What a Maroon, oblivious

    Romney also said this:

    I am overwhelmingly impressed with the hand of providence, whenever it chooses to apply itself, and also the greatness of the human spirit, and how individuals who reach for greatness and have purpose above themselves are able to build and accomplish things that could only be done by a species created in the image of God.

    So even if you interpret this generously not to mean that Palestinians are not the same species as Jews, he’s pretty blatantly saying that success is a sign of god’s good grace.

    Which I guess is a pretty comforting thought if you have Mitt Romney’s bank account.

  24. 24
    Lynna, OM

    Here’s an excerpt from the transcript of Mitt’s talk in Israel:

    I recognize the hand of providence in selecting this place. I’m told in a Sunday school class I attended— I think my son Tagg was teaching the class. He’s not here. I look around to see. Of course he’s not here. He was in London. He taught a class in which he was describing the concern on the part of some of the Jews that left Egypt to come to the promised land, that in the promised land was down the River Nile, that would provide the essential water they had enjoyed in Egypt. They came here recognizing that they must be relied upon, themselves and the arm of God to provide rain from the sky. And this therefore represented a sign of faith and a show of faith to come here. That this is a people that has long recognized the purpose in this place and in their lives that is greater than themselves and their own particular interests, but a purpose of accomplishment and caring and building and serving.

    Mitt attended mormon Sunday school to hear his son Tagg teach about the mythical exodus from Egypt, god providing rain, demonstrations of foolishness being interpreted as signs of faith, and how all of us should recognize the purpose of Israel as playing a part in mormon theology.

    Mitt also seems to have forgotten where Tagg was at the moment. Early Alzheimer’s anyone?

    Mitt uses a tele-prompter, right? If so, why can’t he put together a coherent sentence? Consider this one, “I noted that part of my interest when I used to be in the world of business is I would travel to different countries was to understand why there were such enormous disparities in the economic success of various countries.”

  25. 25
    PatrickG

    He just praised a universal health care system.

    C’mon PZ, there’s no cognitive dissonance here. See, this system is A-OK, because all the “wrong” people are kept in a militarized zone and don’t get access to it.

    If we could just apply that model to the United States, i’m sure socialized medicine would happen overnight!

  26. 26
    Synfandel

    …why can’t he put together a coherent sentence?

    Incoherent babbling got two terms in the White House for Dubya.

  27. 27
    M can help you with that.

    silomowbray @ 11 –

    2. Adopting hockey (ice hockey, but it’s always just “hockey”) as the number one sport.

    Well, number two in Québec. The number one sport is still recreational blasphemy.

  28. 28
    unclefrogy

    I would have thought that “business” would be in favor or universal heath care for practical reasons, like removing any competitive advantage or cost of production advantage/disadvantage that would impact them. I would have thought that GM might like to have healthcare removed from their retirees retirement plans.
    If the cost is spread out in some kind of equitable way at least. Same would seem to go with the small employer as well.

    Is it really a free market issue, the right of some people to make money a lot of money out of the “health care industry”?
    It looks like it is about money and not health care for people to me.

    I think mr. Romney is suffering from the effects of Cognitive dissonance of being a religionist. Believing many things that are not true about reality but trying to exist in reality. It seems a very common affliction of politicians.

    uncle frogy

  29. 29
    Alverant

    Don’t worry, Mittens is like the weather in Chicago. Wait a few minutes and it will change.

  30. 30
    skeptifem

    I would have thought that “business” would be in favor or universal heath care for practical reasons, like removing any competitive advantage or cost of production advantage/disadvantage that would impact them. I would have thought that GM might like to have healthcare removed from their retirees retirement plans.

    that is absolutely why its been an issue at all recently. Regular people have been fed up with this shit for decades but it wasn’t a major component of political campaigning until the last couple of years. It became a political platform issue once some industries started getting angry about how much money was being wasted. We are seeing a big fight between industries trying to take from each other, and the insurance industry has the most to lose in this fight so they are going at it much harder than the rest.

  31. 31
    Lynna, OM

    @28

    I think mr. Romney is suffering from the effects of Cognitive dissonance of being a religionist. Believing many things that are not true about reality but trying to exist in reality. It seems a very common affliction of politicians.

    Yep. Brain damage via religion.

    Note that phrases like “the hand of God” roll easily off Mr. Romney’s tongue, but he can’t present even a consistent version of himself, let alone workable policies.

  32. 32
    Synfandel

    Universal healthcare insurance paid through federal public revenue (à la Canada) should make both individuals and employers happy.

    It should make individuals happy because everyone would be covered. There is great peace of mind in that.

    It should make employers happy because, rather than have payroll taxes bear the full burden, it would share the burden with other federal revenue sources, including the largest one, individual income tax.

    And as an added bonus, it has proven to be less expensive wherever it’s been implemented.

    Win win win.

  33. 33
    belfastian

    Not being from the USA I can’t vote for your president. I don’t like a lot about Obama ( mostly his overseas decisions) but he is the lesser of two evils. Will there- could there EVER be a viable 2rd option… .?

  34. 34
    Hairhead, whose head is entirely filled with Too Much Stuff

    @32 Synfandel:

    Win win win

    No it’s not. If the lazy niggers, dirty wetbacks, and slutty women win, i.e. – get healthcare, then the good, upstanding, white, male, Protestant, hetersexuals LOSE! Don’t the see? The designated, “bad” and “undeserving” and “disobedient” are not just destined for eternal hellfire, they must suffer the tortures of Hades WHILE THEY ARE STILL ALIVE!

  35. 35
    =8)-DX

    Ah, I have another titbit to push to my American friend on the upcoming US elections.

    The thing with conservatism is that the old trumps the new. For this reason Obamacare is evil while Romneycare was divine.

  36. 36
    truthspeaker

    Synfandel
    30 July 2012 at 2:03 pm

    Universal healthcare insurance paid through federal public revenue (à la Canada) should make both individuals and employers happy.

    It should make individuals happy because everyone would be covered. There is great peace of mind in that.

    It should make employers happy because, rather than have payroll taxes bear the full burden, it would share the burden with other federal revenue sources, including the largest one, individual income tax.

    And as an added bonus, it has proven to be less expensive wherever it’s been implemented.

    Yeah, but then rich people might have to pay slightly higher taxes, and we can’t have that. They’re job-creators, you see.

  37. 37
    truthspeaker

    My last comment was sarcastic. This one is sincere. I’ve been to Germany twice. Germany has a pretty high tax rate on the most wealthy. And yet when I was there there were no shortage of rich people driving their Lambourghinis around Berlin. Apparently it’s possible to have progressive taxation without driving the super-rich into penury.

  38. 38
    dianne

    Apparently it’s possible to have progressive taxation without driving the super-rich into penury.

    And even if you do, then the formerly rich get to take advantage of the joys of welfare and food stamps, which, if I understand Republicans correctly, means a life of idle pleasure and no worries forever.

  39. 39
    chrisv

    It is so obvious…I am amazed nobody comments on it….Mitt will say ANYTHING…anything at all…at any given moment….if he feels it will make points. There appears to be no core to him. There is (cliche) no “there” there. Question: why does he want this so badly? What are we missing?Finally, if he is so hot to get a war started in Iran, I want to see the Fab Five Little Mittens on the front lines. Not proselytizing! Grunting.

  40. 40
    Jadehawk

    My last comment was sarcastic. This one is sincere. I’ve been to Germany twice. Germany has a pretty high tax rate on the most wealthy. And yet when I was there there were no shortage of rich people driving their Lambourghinis around Berlin. Apparently it’s possible to have progressive taxation without driving the super-rich into penury.

    well to be perfectly fair, most obnoxiously rich people in Europe have incorporated either in Switzerland or in Monaco :-p

  41. 41
    Brother Yam

    @chrisv

    Question: why does he want this so badly?

    Rich guys like trophies. Sports teams, starlets, or, in Willard’s case, the presidency. Just another thing you can buy, don’t you see?

    Dick measuring.

  42. 42
    Jadehawk

    er. “have incorporated or moved their official primary residence to”

  43. 43
    earwig

    The romneyfications of his pronouncements on health care, Israel, Iran, immigration – and anything really – are truly awesome.
    See also.

  44. 44
    skeptifem

    @39

    Question: why does he want this so badly? What are we missing?

    The white horse prophecy of course, the one where the constitution is hanging by a thread until some mighty mormons and their church come in to save it.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/White_Horse_Prophecy

  45. 45
    David Marjanović

    There’s now a lot of pressure on Switzerland not to harbor tax refugees. They’ve already partially caved.

  46. 46
    robro

    Is it possible Romney doesn’t know the details of how the Israeli health care system works? He’s just spouting off talking points with numbers feed to him by staffers. Based on his other gaffes, ignorance seems to be a common characteristic of the group.

    And need not wait too long to find something to abate this wave of positive feeling for Romney. As I’m sure you all know, he managed to insult Palestinians with his inept comparison of the Israel GDP to the Palestinian GDP. He, and his team, appear to be ill informed about that situation as well. First, he had the wrong numbers for both country’s GDP (Israel is quite a bit higher than he cited, the PA quite a bit lower). Then he showed a complete lack of sensitivity to the situation by siting “culture” as the distinctive difference between them. The implication, I suppose, is that Israel’s Westernized culture is superior to Palestinian culture. Never mind that Palestinians have been disposed from the homes again and again. Never mind that Palestinians have been the targets of the Israeli war machine for decades. Never mind that the border with a major trading partner, Israel, is largely sealed. Never mind that other potential trading partners, e.g the US, aren’t going out of their way to help their economy.

  47. 47
    Blattafrax

    #46:

    Never mind that the border with a major trading partner, Israel, is largely sealed.

    Never mind that the border with _any_ trading partner is largely sealed.

    http://ec.europa.eu/trade/creating-opportunities/bilateral-relations/countries/palestine/

    100 million € trade with EU. 50x less than comparably populated Lebanon.

  48. 48
    Olav

    silomowbray:

    5. Spelling the British way, with words like “armour”, “centre” and “travelling”.

    Aluminium.

  49. 49
    cswella

    Not being from the USA I can’t vote for your president. I don’t like a lot about Obama ( mostly his overseas decisions) but he is the lesser of two evils. Will there- could there EVER be a viable 2rd option… .?

    When scientists can create an entire species of flying pigs, maybe.

  50. 50
    madscientist

    Well, the bastard’s spending all his time in Israel talking up war. He even has to drag health into it: “We’re spending 18% of GDP on health, and only 4% on the military – boo hoo hoo!” Who’s spending 18% on health? Not the government. The US medical system has been in decline since the 1960s when the goddamned insurers were buying the hospitals and private clinics. We certainly have one of the world’s most expensive healthcare systems, but on the whole far from the best. Even in the 1960s the professional liability insurance on surgeons was ridiculous, thanks to the “sue ‘em for anything” culture, so the health insurance industry isn’t entirely to blame. One thing the government is to blame for is that they allow these drug cartels to do as they please. Why do the same drugs cost many times as much in the USA as in Europe? We obviously don’t fine them enough for anticompetitive practices and price gouging/fixing. Even though drugs are cheaper in Europe, the EU courts still found Bayer and others guilty of running a cartel and fined them a few billion dollars. If you’re stupid enough to believe what the drug companies and insurance companies claim, you’ll be stuck with unnecessary high costs.

  51. 51
    dianne

    Why do the same drugs cost many times as much in the USA as in Europe?

    Actually generic drugs are cheaper in the US. It’s just you can’t actually buy them because there are shortages constantly. So the US could actually stand to both increase and decrease drug prices. Need more regulation, in short.

  52. 52
    madscientist

    @Robro#46: Yes, our politicians revel in ignorance. What scares me about Romney is that he’s doing nothing but talking up war – and it’s obvious to me that he wants Israel to start a war. It could be that he’s just playing the redneck fools back home who’d love another gung-ho warmonger president, but either way he’s proven himself an undesirable president – he’s either a fool, a condescending liar or both. I’m rather disappointed that the Israeli politicians haven’t told him he’s an idiot and they don’t care for warmongers. In the previous 2 Iraq wars an awful lot of effort went into keeping Israel out of the wars, even when Israel was being hit by the scud rockets.

  53. 53
    demosthenesofathens

    I was wondering how American commentators handled the opening ceremony of the Olympics where the British actually celebrated inventing universal health care aka “socialised medicine”. How was that explained away?

  54. 54
    madscientist

    OK, I looked up the figures for the US Federal Budget 2012.

    Defense: 24%
    Healtch Care: 22%
    (WTF? 22% and the healthcare system is such shit? Who’s raking in the money?)

    So Romney can’t even get the US budget figures right. 4% for the military my ass.

  55. 55
    earwig

    @madscientist Could you give us a source, please?

  56. 56
    chrisv

    @44

    I wasn’t aware of the White Horse thing. It does seem to explain this manic behavior. Thanks. It would be fun if PZ were to poll us asking us to choose the wackiest religion. Hmm….Scientology? LDS? RC? All of the above? Forget it.

  57. 57
    truthspeaker

    chrisv
    30 July 2012 at 3:26 pm

    It is so obvious…I am amazed nobody comments on it….Mitt will say ANYTHING…anything at all…at any given moment….if he feels it will make points

    Nobody comments on it because that’s the norm, not the exception, for American politicians.

  58. 58
    robro

    Blattafrax — Thanks for that clarification. That wasn’t 100% clear from the article I was reading, although it seemed to suggest that.

  59. 59
    Alethea Kuiper-Belt

    Apparently Romney also called Jerusalem the capital of Israel. Ummm, what? Is that some weird Mormon thing or is it simple geography fail?

  60. 60
    robro

    madscientist — If that 24% is just the DoD budget, doesn’t it exclude some other items such as the part of the DoE budget that goes to defense research and development, the State Department budget that goes to arming “allies,” and so forth? I read that was the case years ago and assume they still shuffle “defense” budget into a lot of buckets.

  61. 61
    truthspeaker

    Alethea H. “Crocoduck” Dundee
    30 July 2012 at 7:26 pm

    Apparently Romney also called Jerusalem the capital of Israel. Ummm, what? Is that some weird Mormon thing or is it simple geography fail?

    Israel moved the capital from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem several years ago. The US was one of the first, if not the first, country to move our embassy to Jerusalem, at the insistence of Republicans (and some Democrats) in Congress.

    Unconditional support for Israel has been a Republican party thing for years, egged on by American fundamentalist preachers. The whole point of the Iraq war (besides profiteering) was to eliminate a threat to Israel.

  62. 62
    Therrin

    God moves Romney’s tongue in mysterious ways.

  63. 63
    Alethea Kuiper-Belt

    OK, it’s more complicated than I thought. But still, most countries of the world do not recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.

  64. 64
    skmarshall

    Has anyone ever asked Romney straight out if he believes in a literal Book of Mormon? If so, he has to believe some those Exodusing Hebrews hung a left at the mouth of the Nile and rowed across the Atlantic to found an ironworking civilzation in upstate fucking New York, and their decendants are the Native Americans.

    I was once in a band with a guy who believed the WWF was a real sport, and we wouldn’t let him drive the truck because we knew he had no critical thinking skills. Now I’m going to have a President of the United States who thinks a guy who put a couple of rocks in a hat could translate “reformed Egyptian” (whatever the fuck that is) into English?

    Jeekus Crow.

  65. 65
    truthspeaker

    No, but the United States sure as hell does.

  66. 66
    StevoR : Free West Papua, free Tibet, let the Chagossians return!

    @Alethea H. “Crocoduck” Dundee :

    Apparently Romney also called Jerusalem the capital of Israel. Ummm, what? Is that some weird Mormon thing or is it simple geography fail?

    Acceptence of reality actually – and the wishes of most of the Jewish people internationally and especially in Israel itself where he was giving the talk. To insult the Israelis by denying their right to have their capital and most sacred city as they choose would have been far worse I reckon.

    @63. Alethea H. “Crocoduck” Dundee :

    OK, it’s more complicated than I thought. But still, most countries of the world do not recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.

    About a metric shit tonne of Muslims dictatorships and Islamic theocracies refuse to recognise Israel’s existence at all. And are constantly threatening and actually attempting to wipe it off the map. By force. Perhaps by nuclear WMDs if they can get them.

    Meanwhile, since they’ve been unable (yet) to exterminate Israel militarily they try to ignore and isolate Israel diplomatically, launch economic boycotts and blockades and keep it out of their school text books. They can’t even bring themselves to say Israel often referring to it as the “Zionist entity” / “crusdaer state” / “Lesser Satan” (the USA being the greater one.)

    You do realise that right?

    Do you think the people refusing to recognise Israel along with Jerusalem as its official capital have the right to exist at all deserve to have your support or belong on the right side of history or reality?

    Would you rather Romney (or whoever else) ignored the wishes of the people in the land he was aguest of and, btw., would you prefer Jerusalem be divided still like Berlin was in the Cold War?

  67. 67
    StevoR : Free West Papua, free Tibet, let the Chagossians return!

    @61.truthspeaker :

    The whole point of the Iraq war (besides profiteering) was to eliminate a threat to Israel.

    That’s a very dubious and extraordinary conspiracy theory claim indeed.

    Historically I think its clear that the main reason for the 2003 Iraq war was to stop Saddam Hussein aquiring WMDs which Saddam was bluffing that he had and which almost everybody *at the time* expected him to be hiding.

    Other motives include :

    - Saddam’s attempts to assassinate the former president Bush’es father,

    - the utter and miserable failure of the UN sanctions to topple the regime or effectively guarantee it posed no regional or global menace, (whilst starving and hurting worst the most vulnerable Iraqis.)

    - Bush II’s personal idealistic religious and political ideas and his mistaken thought that the Iraqi people would behave better than they did and be grateful to be liberated from Saddam’s tyranny rather than looting their land and truning to terrorists and sectarian Jihadist warriors.

    - And, not least, Saddam’s refusal to flee safely into exile with his family avoiding the need for war which the Iraqi dictator was given the opportunity to do.

    IOW, Saddam Hussein needs to take as least as much blame for the war as Bush II does. Israel had very little if anything to do with it.

    Blaming everything wrong in the world on “Teh Joooz!” is a conspiracy theory you seem to be coming uncomfortably close to there, truthspeaker.

  68. 68
    ibyea

    @SteveoR
    You do realize that the whole WMD thing was based on extremely incompentent intelligence, and that the US invasion caused as much death as Saddam did? That everyone expected Saddam to have WMD is their pathetic failure at intelligence.

  69. 69
    madscientist

    @earwig#55: The US Federal Budget is available from the US Treasury, the Government Printing Office (GPO), and even the White House (that’s .gov, not .com). I couldn’t find any pie charts for easy reference from the government sites, but other sites provide such summaries, for example http://www.usfederalbudget.us. While I can’t vouch for the accuracy of the non-government websites, that one I mentioned has a 2012 and 2013 chart which is consistent with the published data. Romney’s “4%” looks like the percentage of the budget allocated to education. Note those figures are not relative to GDP though. Romney’s claim of 4% of GDP on the military is about right (actually it’s closer to 5%), but Romney’s claims of “18% GDP on health” is just wrong no matter how you look at it.

  70. 70
    freetotebag

    Has the House UneAmerican Activity Committee been alerted to Mitt Romney? What about the DHS??

    This actually reminds me of something I saw on Youtube recently. I was watching one of Jackie Mason’s video-rants (his channel is TheUltimateJew and it’s over-the-top right-wing lunacy). In several videos, he goes on and on about Obamacare and how it’s going to be the end of freedom in America and within a year of its implementation, the US will officially be regarded as a socialist dictatorship by the rest of the world and every other outrageous Obama-delusion you can name.

    However, he had another video about his recent trip to Israel. He just couldn’t get enough of their health care system. It worked so well, and they saved so much money for better care and it was so easy to get care and no one had to worry about going bankrupt because their kid got sick.

    When someone pointed out this curious dicotomy. His response was (and I quote):
    “Israel has a population of eight million. Big difference.”

    So the difference between a great health care system and one that is as bad as the Holocaust(his words) is…how many people there are to cover? So all that screaming about socialism and tyranny and death panels is merely because a critical mass has been surpassed?

    And I’ve actually seen a few other conservative blow-hards try to pass off this same argument: well, (country with better socialized health care system) is differet cause there’s not as many people there!”

    What’s weird is the signs I usually see at those rallies say stuff like: “Obamacare gunna kill yer grannee!”, “Obama is the AnteeChrisst!” or “Obama=Hitler”.

    Oddly enough, I never see anything along the lines of “Obamacare wont’ wurk cause thurs to many people to kover!”

    I think the difference that Mr. Mason either doesn’t know or doesn’t want to admit is that, in Israel, they have a sense of comradery and when one of their Israeli brothers is sick, they all want to help. Here in America, after several decades of the Gospel of Ayn Rand, the conservatives say “He’s sick; fuck ‘em. Besides, that’s the best way to help him. We’re not like those democrates who want to make him dependant on medical attention!”

  71. 71
    M can help you with that.

    freetotebag @ 70 –

    However, he had another video about his recent trip to Israel. He just couldn’t get enough of their health care system. It worked so well, and they saved so much money for better care and it was so easy to get care and no one had to worry about going bankrupt because their kid got sick.

    When someone pointed out this curious dicotomy. His response was (and I quote):
    “Israel has a population of eight million. Big difference.”

    That’s textbook “American exceptionalism”. What it boils down to is the insistence that in the U.S. everything works differently — and just because a particular approach to policy may have an excellent track record, and just because an alternate approach has been a miserable failure everywhere it’s been tried, that doesn’t mean that the second policy won’t obviously be better in the U.S. Because the U.S. is exceptional — we’re an entirely different universe, inhabited by entirely different people, so that patterns of psychology, sociology, biology, economics, and even freaking physics must be presumed to operate entirely differently in the U.S.

    (For instance: in most of the world, “anti-Semitism” refers to anti-Jewish prejudice and/or discrimination. In the U.S., “anti-Semitism” refers to failure to sufficiently support the extreme right wing of Israeli politics. So most Americans who are ethnically and/or religiously Jewish are anti-Semitic, but the Christians who support the militant Israeli right wing as a means of bringing about the Apocalypse and the genocide of all Jewish people who don’t convert to Christianity are not anti-Semitic. As long as they’re in the U.S.; as soon as you cross a border or an ocean, logic and reason once more apply normally.)

  72. 72
    Jadehawk

    I was wondering how American commentators handled the opening ceremony of the Olympics where the British actually celebrated inventing universal health care aka “socialised medicine”. How was that explained away?

    for an example of right-wing media dealing with this, see here(with bonus anti-chinese racism)

  73. 73
    David Marjanović

    I was wondering how American commentators handled the opening ceremony of the Olympics where the British actually celebrated inventing universal health care aka “socialised medicine”. How was that explained away?

    Is that the bit that NBC simply didn’t show, claiming it was not interesting for an American audience?

    Historically I think its clear that the main reason for the 2003 Iraq war was to stop Saddam Hussein aquiring WMDs which Saddam was bluffing that he had and which almost everybody *at the time* expected him to be hiding.

    Hah. “Almost everybody” in the US media, because they were too stupid to listen to the UN weapons inspectors. The rest of the world did not expect WMDs.

    the utter and miserable failure of the UN sanctions to topple the regime

    That was never their point. Never.

    or effectively guarantee it posed no regional or global menace

    Huh? We can discuss the relative contributions of the sanctions and the no-fly zone… but… Iraq posed no regional or global menace between 1991 and 2003. What, if anything, makes you think otherwise???

  74. 74
    birgerjohansson

    timberwoof,
    Personally I think San Fransisco should be allowed to join the EU. In fact, bring all of California.

    — — — — — — — —
    In regard to Iraq, there is a shitload of history revisionism going on to retroactively justify the policies of Bush Jr.
    And western support to the Baath party goes back to the early 1960s, a fact we are supposed to forget. After 1991: “we have always been at war with Eastasia”
    — — — — — — — —
    Synfandel,
    Word!
    — — — — — — — —
    After Iraq was kicked out of Kuwait the depleted military forces posed exactly the same threat to the region as Nicaragua posed to Texas in 1980*.
    (*This almost-neolithic country was supposed to threaten USA which is the excuse used by Reagan to fund terrorists who press-ganged farmers into joining)

  75. 75
    truthspeaker

    StevoR
    30 July 2012 at 11:15 pm

    @61.truthspeaker :

    The whole point of the Iraq war (besides profiteering) was to eliminate a threat to Israel.

    That’s a very dubious and extraordinary conspiracy theory claim indeed.

    Historically I think its clear that the main reason for the 2003 Iraq war was to stop Saddam Hussein aquiring WMDs which Saddam was bluffing that he had and which almost everybody *at the time* expected him to be hiding.

    That is a complete fabrication. The intelligence community and the UN inspectors found no evidende Saddam was hiding WMDs. The only people who were convinced he was – or claimed to be convinced he was – were people like Cheney, Rumsfeld, and Wolfowitz. If they really thought he was hiding them, why did they present falsified intelligence – the aluminum tubes, the mobile weapons labs, the uranium from Africa – to Congress and the American people?

    - the utter and miserable failure of the UN sanctions to topple the regime or effectively guarantee it posed no regional or global menace, (whilst starving and hurting worst the most vulnerable Iraqis.)

    The UN sanctions weren’t intended to topple the regime, they were intended to stop Saddam from getting WMDs or rebuilding his military. And they worked. The UN inspectors confirmed they worked right before Bush told them to leave so he could stop bombing.

    Blaming everything wrong in the world on “Teh Joooz!” is a conspiracy theory you seem to be coming uncomfortably close to there, truthspeaker.

    That is not what I’m doing at all. I’m blaming the Iraq war on the Israel lobby in the United States, which certainly does not include every Jewish American – far from it. If you don’t understand that AIPAC is one of the most powerful lobbies in the United States and that it calls the shots foreign policy for most Republicans and many Democrats, then you haven’t been paying attention.

  76. 76
    StevoR : Free West Papua, free Tibet, let the Chagossians return!

    @68. ibyea :

    @StevoR [FIFY btw] : You do realize that the whole WMD thing was based on extremely incompentent intelligence, and that the US invasion caused as much death as Saddam did? That everyone expected Saddam to have WMD is their pathetic failure at intelligence.

    Yes. Okay. We know now that Saddam was bluffing.

    He still deserves at least half the blame for the war which shouldn’t be overlooked.

    Also, the expected outcomes didn’t eventuate. What the US administration thought would happen didn’t.

    If Bush II knew now what he didnt know at the time then in terms of death toll, destruction, negative impacts and consequences, well I’m sure we wouldn’t have gone in.

    Hindsigt is great and I believe the term “Monday morning quarterbacking” or some such applies?

  77. 77
    StevoR : Free West Papua, free Tibet, let the Chagossians return!

    In hindsight there, I’d have spelt hindsight correctly for example, dammit!

  78. 78
    truthspeaker

    StevoR
    31 July 2012 at 10:21 am

    @StevoR
    Yes. Okay. We know now that Saddam was bluffing.

    And many people suspected it then.

    He still deserves at least half the blame for the war which shouldn’t be overlooked.

    Why? After Bush moved the fleet in, he complied with the inspection regime.

    Also, the expected outcomes didn’t eventuate. What the US administration thought would happen didn’t.

    I suppose it’s possible they really were that incompetent that they believed their own predictions. But then we should blame them for being incompetent, and for ignoring the State Department’s warnings about what would happen after an invasion.

    If Bush II knew now what he didnt know at the time then in terms of death toll, destruction, negative impacts and consequences, well I’m sure we wouldn’t have gone in.

    But he still deserves blame for ignoring all the warnings about the death tool, destruction, and negative consequences of an invasion, all of which were in the State Department report describing the likely outcomes of an invasion. He also deserves blame for believing the ludicrous predictions of Wolfowitz et al.

    It’s not hindsight if people were saying it at the time.

  79. 79
    StevoR : Free West Papua, free Tibet, let the Chagossians return!

    @ 75. truthspeaker :

    “Blaming everything wrong in the world on “Teh Joooz!” is a conspiracy theory you seem to be coming uncomfortably close to there, truthspeaker.” -StevoR
    That is not what I’m doing at all. I’m blaming the Iraq war on the Israel lobby in the United States.

    Really? Funny that what you first wrote in comment #61 was :

    The whole point of the Iraq war (besides profiteering) was to eliminate a threat to Israel.

    Which means you are claiming that :

    1. The whole point of “the” Iraq war (presumably referring to the 2003 one rather than, say, all the other wars Iraq was involved in historically such as its war with Iran and its war with Britain and its wars with Israel aimed at exterminating the Jewish state.) was to eliminate a threat to Israel.

    Which ignores all the evidence to the contrary about why the war occurred such as the whole WMD threat and what Saddam was doing to his own people and that he tried to have Bush I murdered and that Bush II believed God told him to do it.

    Nope, you’re claiming that instead it was all the fault of the Joooz I’m sorry, the “Israel lobby” because, sheesh, using the demonised Israelis as a fig leaf for anti-Semitism is so totally unheard of ain’t it?

    Oh & 2. You’re also contradicting yourself by claiming the liberation of Iraq was done was done for the sake of nebulous “profiteering” as well / instead.

    A rather Conspiracy theory improbable and extraordinary claim that isn’t backed up by, oh I dunno, the comments on the record at thetiem and the fact that a whole coalition of nations including Australia & England were assembled in agreement to “profiteer” from a war.

    You really think that’s likely – an international political conspiracy on that scale? Then go prove it. With the required extraordinary evidence rather than just “Corporations being all corporation-y” type talk.

    Not defending halliburton at all, just saying. Horrid as they are, they weren’t the ones making the decisions to go to war here. “Darth Cheney” for all the hyperbole isn’t really a sith lord. Halliburton and some others behaved disgustingly unethically and exploited a bad situation for their ends but they didn’t create it.

    If you don’t understand that AIPAC is one of the most powerful lobbies in the United States and that it calls the shots foreign policy for most Republicans and many Democrats, then you haven’t been paying attention.

    Guess you weren’t paying attention during the last four years or so then when Obama has repeatedly snubbed Israel’s democratically elected PM Bibi Netanyahu in favour of cosying up to the Jihadists on the “Arab Stret” such as in his Cairo speech back when, if I recall rght, Eygptian dictator Hosni Mubarack was still in charge?!

    Yes, AIPAC is *one* lobby group with some political influence. Arab petro-dollars and the weight of all the Muslim dictatorships and theocracies at the UN, well they have a bit of clout too y’know. Plenty of lobby groups out ther AIPAC is one of them. And why not? Why shouldn’t Israel have a lobby group just as the Arabs do?

    Ever thought you might be, oh, I dunno, ju-uust a bit based in your views here?

    I’ll admit I lean a bit more towards the philo-Semitic side of the debate rather than its opposite myself.

  80. 80
    truthspeaker

    I’m not alleging a “conspiracy”, I’m alleging that various nation-states did what nation-states have done throughout history – start a war so the friends of the people in government could get rich at the expense of taxpayers.

    Dick Cheney used to head Halliburton and still had a financial stake in it. Is it really so inconceivable that Dick Cheney helped start a war to make money for Halliburton? It’s not exactly unheard of in the United States.

    Which ignores all the evidence to the contrary about why the war occurred such as the whole WMD threat

    There was no WMD threat, and this was public knowledge at the time. I can believe you are still trying to peddle these lies in 2012, for fuck’s sake. We knew in 2003 that there was no WMD threat.

  81. 81
    truthspeaker

    Blockquote fail. Let’s try again:

    truthspeaker
    31 July 2012 at 12:02 pm

    I’m not alleging a “conspiracy”, I’m alleging that various nation-states did what nation-states have done throughout history – start a war so the friends of the people in government could get rich at the expense of taxpayers.

    Dick Cheney used to head Halliburton and still had a financial stake in it. Is it really so inconceivable that Dick Cheney helped start a war to make money for Halliburton? It’s not exactly unheard of in the United States.

    Which ignores all the evidence to the contrary about why the war occurred such as the whole WMD threat

    There was no WMD threat, and this was public knowledge at the time. I can believe you are still trying to peddle these lies in 2012, for fuck’s sake. We knew in 2003 that there was no WMD threat.

    Guess you weren’t paying attention during the last four years or so then when Obama has repeatedly snubbed Israel’s democratically elected PM Bibi Netanyahu in favour of cosying up to the Jihadists on the “Arab Stret” such as in his Cairo speech back when, if I recall rght, Eygptian dictator Hosni Mubarack was still in charge?!

    And that’s one reason AIPAC isn’t happy with Obama.

    The reason he “snubbed” Netanyahu is because Netanyahu, while paying lip-service to a two-state solution, is obviously trying to expand settlements in the West Bank and East Jerusalem.

    And are you really calling the protestors in Egypt “jihadists”?

  82. 82
    truthspeaker

    And I still can’t do blockquotes today…

  83. 83
    Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls

    I see StevoR is still trying to justify his paranoid bigotry, but doesn’t have the evidence for it. He still can’t come up with a reasonable scenario where it ends up with him being forced to convert to Islam and live under Sharia law. Thinking it can happen is paranoia, as it isn’t reasonable. He needs to shut the fuck up after apologizing to those who follow Islam who aren’t jihadists, which is almost all of them.

  84. 84
    galigolan

    Em. Israeli here – just to inform Mr. Romney, our healthcare system is collapsing. Whatever public healthcare is available is indeed available to all – but hospitals are understaffed, staff is under-payed and overworked (we had a giant doctor’s strike this year – and you know how bad it has to get for friggin’ doctors to strike), entire regions of the country don’t have access to nearby healthcare, and the Health Ministry recently informed the Prime Minister that the health system is couple billion (!!!) dollars short of the budget it needs to provide standard medical care as defined by law to the people of the country.

    We do have public healthcare, and amazing, dedicated medical professionals who are doing their best to help anyone who needs care… but the system is collapsing due to inadequate funds.

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