The Year of Magical Thinking

What the health care debate and the credit crisis have in common Did you hear? Barrack Hussein Obama wants to pull the plug on your granny, so...

What the health care debate and the credit crisis have in common

Did you hear? Barrack Hussein Obama wants to pull the plug on your granny, so he can plug in his hybrid! In the meantime, he'll make you sit before a Death Panel-to distract you, as he tries to raise Lenin's ghost at a Kenyan séance led by Witch Doctor in Chief, Jeremiah Wright.

Those hideous distortions pale against what's actually being floated about Obama and his health care plans. But the recriminations and misinformation aren't new. For over 100 years, mass hysteria has derailed every president who has tried to reform the insane mess that is our health care system. Both Truman and Roosevelt saw their attempts at universal health care squashed by Red baiting. So it's not surprising that there's a nut fringe out there more likely to believe an email forward about covert government conspiracies rather than the numerous fact-checking outlets that have rebutted those myths again and again. That's our country, and that's freedom of speech.

And it's not what's most troubling about the garish farce that the health care "debate" has become: Rather, it's that the crazies actually reflect the attitudes of a broad swathe of America. Since June, opposition to health care reform by Congress has risen from 45 percent to 53 percent. There are reasonable, middle class people who hear Obama calmly debunking smears about the Democratic plan and then watch right-wing groups shouting that Obama's a Nazi-and they say to themselves, You know, I'm with the guys carrying handguns.

How does such mistrust take root? You can blame Republicans for cynically twisting words or you can blame Obama, for not communicating more forcefully or clearly-and for leaving the policy details to an inept and crooked Congress.

But it still doesn't explain why we're so unable to deal with the plain fact that the United States spends an inordinate amount of money getting tragically poor results. Or the fact that if health-care costs continue to rise at their current rates, we'll be spending a third of our GDP on health care in 25 years.

That kind of financial insanity can have crippling effects. You don't have to mine American history for proof. You just have to look at the consumer-credit crisis we're living through. There, the ultimate blame couldn't be laid on greedy corporations alone. We were also at fault, because we all thought that magically, we'd never have to reckon with any long-term costs.

We were the ones who were too happy to take out loans we couldn't afford; the ones unable to deal with the idea that money should dissuade us from owning what we've always wanted-who believed that jeans might be $200, but the happiness they imparted was "priceless." And we're now the ones who cloak ourselves in rage when the very prospect of "money" or "cost" gets raised in relation to health care-no matter how broken our finances become, or how clear it is that we have to change.

We lost our minds about debt, buying up houses, cars, and jeans. That mentality lives when it comes to health care. We don't care if tests and surgeries are unwarranted or ineffective; we just want more. But health care resources, like credit, have to be used wisely.


The Justice Department sent immigration judges a white nationalist blog post

The blog post was from an "anti-immigration hate website."

Attorney General William Barr via Wikimedia Commons

Department of Justice employees were stunned this week when the Executive Office for Immigration Review (EOIR) sent court employees a morning briefing that contained a link to a "news" item on VDare, a white nationalist website.

According to the Southern Poverty Law Center, VDare is an "anti-immigration hate website" that "regularly publishes articles by prominent white nationalists, race scientists and anti-Semites." The website was established in 1999 by its editor Peter Brimelow.

The morning briefing is distributed to all EOIR employees on a daily basis, including all 440 immigration judges across the U.S.

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Except that's apparently not true at all. A major study from Cigna on loneliness found that feelings of isolation and loneliness are on the rise amongst Americans but the numbers are nearly identical amongst those who use social media and those who don't. Perhaps more importantly, the study found five common traits amongst those who don't feel lonely.

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He risked his life to leave a "historical record of our martyrdom."

via Yad Vashem and Archive of Modern Conflict, 2007

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Throughout the war, over 210,000 people would be imprisoned in Lodz.

Among those held captive was Henryk Ross. He was a Jewish sports photographer before the Nazi invasion and worked for the the ghetto's Department of Statistics during the war. As part of his official job, he took identification photos of the prisoners and propaganda shots of Lodz' textile and leather factories.

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WITI Milwaukee

Joey Grundl, a pizza delivery driver for a Domino's Pizza in Waldo, Wisconsin, is being hailed as a hero for noticing a kidnapped woman's subtle cry for help.

The delivery man was sent to a woman's house to deliver a pie when her ex-boyfriend, Dean Hoffman, opened the door. Grundl looked over his shoulder and saw a middle-aged woman with a black eye standing behind Hoffman. She appeared to be mouthing the words: "Call the police."

"I gave him his pizza and then I noticed behind him was his girlfriend," Grundl told WITI Milwaukee. "She pointed to a black eye that was quite visible. She mouthed the words, 'Call the police.'"

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