Friday, October 09, 2009

President Obama & the Nobel Peace Prize

My only comment is that I am very happy that the Nobel Prizes for the Sciences and Economics have slightly tighter criteria.

73 de Larry W2LJ

22 comments:

John AE5X said...

Given who's received it in recent years, I'm beginning to see the Nobel PP not as an award but as a means of "understated coersion".

Obama wasn't awarded the prize for anything he did but rather to make him feel beholden to govern in a way that those giving the award would approve. Egocentric as he is, this no doubt escapes him.

goody said...

...and how the rest of the world views the US escapes 22% of the US population...

Larry W2LJ said...

So in essence, this is PR? That's it?

As long as the world views us as "The Good Guys"; it doesn't matter if extremist groups rebuild and pull off another 9/11 at some point in the future - as long as we're seen as the "Good Ol' Benevolent USA" that funds everything and goes along for the ride?

goody said...

As long as the world views us as "The Good Guys", we get cooperation, diplomatic help, intelligence, and military assistance. When we're not, the opposite happens. This is something the last administration didn't get and certain party still doesn't understand. If the world dislikes us and we engage in failure politics and strong arm rhetoric in the name of national pride for political points back home, then yes, we will fund everything, go it alone, continue to lose more troops in endless wars, and we'll continue to deal with extremists blowing up buildings for the next several decades, and continue to make little progress and gain any security.

Larry W2LJ said...

Respectfully disagree. We end up funding everything whether we're liked or not. And I don't see any difference in cooperation whether we're the "Good Guys" (world view) or not.

In the "War on Terror" which everyone wants to forget, we got cooperation of several staunch allies - as well as Poland, whose people definitely remembered what it was like to live under tyranny.

For that cooperation, we threw the Polish people under the bus by pulling the missile shield away from them. Popular project?, no; but an important and effective one, yes.

The name of the game here is security and a strong national defense. It's not about pride and strong political points. You can argue the fine points with me all that you want; but as far as I'm concerned .... Taliban = Al Qaiada; and we're already showing signs of caving there.

I don't want to live through another 9/11 and one is on the way. Or have the recent arrests gone unnoticed?

Jeff, KE9V said...

I am completely lost by the juxtaposition between the Nobel Prize and some future terrorist attack but it's tough to disagree with the guy at the State Department who said yesterday:

"Certainly from our standpoint, this gives us a sense of momentum -- when the United States has accolades tossed its way, rather than shoes."

Snarky but true...

Larry W2LJ said...

I'd rather know where the shoe is coming from than a compliment and a knife in the back later.

Also, snarky ..... but true.

Jeff, KE9V said...

"I'd rather know where the shoe is coming from.."

Actually, we do know where those shoes came from. They came from the ungrateful people of a country where we frittered away $2 trillion of US treasure and wasted thousands of our brave soldiers lives in the ridiculous hope that the Iraqis might "like" us...

And we're still there.

It's like the Hotel California -- you can check out anytime you like but you can never leave.

pidloop said...

The name of the game is not security, it is liberty. Bush promoted the former at the expense of the latter, Obama is doing exactly the opposite. It is the harder path but it is my preference.

Larry W2LJ said...

I think bigger government and even more intrusion is a bigger threat to liberty

KB9BVN said...

Well....like I always say...Jail Congress.

Sam Kaufman said...

it would seem that Obama winning the Nobel Peace prize represents a vote of confidence from Europe...

goody said...

>For that cooperation, we threw the Polish people under the bus by pulling the missile shield away from them. Popular project?, no; but an important and effective one, yes

The project is addressing a problem that is no longer there: a USSR that wanted to nuke us. Now it's a waste of money. Whatever happened to fiscal conservatism? It seems like that disappears in conservative circles when it involves wars and expensive defense projects. But try to stimulate the economy or institute a costly social program and there's a whole different reaction. The problem now is Iran, and the money is being directed towards that. You complain of the Nobel PR, but somehow we should dump millions of dollars into what has become needless public relations for Eastern European countries?

>Taliban = Al Qaiada; and we're already showing signs of caving there.

So we should keep dumping money and troops' lives in? This is the blind spot we in the US tend to have; sometimes it's smarter to back away than have the all-important victory.

>I think bigger government and even more intrusion is a bigger threat to liberty

"Big government" is a right wing populist rallying point, but in practice the right doesn't follow the anti-big government mantra. Government size and liberty are two different things, and liberty is determined by the laws and practices of the government. And often those who protest the loudest about government intrusion don't have a problem with it when it supports their religious beliefs and initiatives. Liberty isn't just owning guns.

>I don't want to live through another 9/11 and one is on the way. Or have the recent arrests gone unnoticed?

The key word in that sentence being "arrests". It's an example of our agencies doing their jobs. 9/11 would have been prevented if that had occurred previously. Having bin Laden's head on a platter may put the organization into further disarray for some time but there are plenty of rich Saudis willing to fill the funding gap and millions willing to volunteer for the group. At some point there needs to be an admittance that Middle Eastern culture is what it is, it's not going to change, and we need foreign policy and intelligent relations to help prevent what developed.

Larry W2LJ said...

Thanks for the education - but I think I've heard all of this on NPR before. No, maybe it was salon.com or perhaps the Huffington Post.

goody said...

Cynicism noted. Huffington Post and Salon are obviously biased to the left, but more people should listen to NPR. Their reporting is superb and is unbiased most of the time and is of higher quality than either the so-called "mainstream media", the "fair and balanced" channel or the 91% of talk radio that is conservative.

K4GDW said...

I do not care one whit about whether or not the rest of the world likes the US. That holds especially true of third-world cesspools like Iran. Absolutely the only reason I don't call for the US to withdraw from the UN and kick them off our shores is doing so would cost us our veto power on the security council.

Sure, the US, like all human undertakings, is imperfect. However it is the closest the world has ever seen. There is no country anywhere in the world that wouldn't be improved considerably be becoming more like the US. That's why I get sick to see Obama, our esteemed apologizer-in-chief, and his cohorts in congress trying to make the US more like the rest of the world.

Giving in to those who hate us will only encourage more hate. I say let them keep on hating us, as long as they also fear us.

goody said...

>There is no country anywhere in the world that wouldn't be improved considerably be becoming more like the US

There were regimes in history that thought the same of their nations. Those regimes are now defunct and the nations are shadows of their former selves. I'm sure millions would disagree with your statement above, especially those in countries like Norway, Sweden, Spain, and others who all enjoy better standards of living/quality-of-life than the US. Additionally, one measurement of overall quality-of-life that transcends GDP and wealth is infant mortality rates. The US rates in the mid 30s to mid 40s in worldwide rank. We enjoy prosperity and have a considerable financial position in the world, but it is delusional to think that we're significantly better today than all other nations.

I'd be curious as to what improvements all countries in the world could benefit from. The US doesn't hold the patent on personal freedoms or free markets. Arguably there is often more opportunity in the US, though that is often driven by geography, resources, and culture more than anything. Countries with more restrictive gun laws are often quite happy with that, and European countries in particular tend to reject our conservative Christian culture with no ill social effects. Other countries have better healthcare and better health than the US. They tend to have healthier diets. Our educational system isn't much better. You certainly wouldn't want each country consuming the energy we do.

Just as there are some aspects of other countries that make sense to implement in the US, there are some aspects in the US that could be implemented abroad, but it's quite a stretch to say all countries could be improved considerably by being more like the US.

>and his cohorts in congress trying to make the US more like the rest of the world.

Bush and Cheney tried to make us like the rest of the *third* world by implementing torture and warrantless wiretaps. I'll take this administration's adoption of more positive internationally commonly accepted practices and initiatives like universal healthcare over that any day.

It's arrogant and ignorant to think we can't adopt initiatives from other countries that have been successful and beneficial, especially when it's tradition, nationalism, ideology and politics that are the roadblocks.

> I say let them keep on hating us, as long as they also fear us.

...as long as we can keep funding the world's largest military. You can't complain about taxes and big government with that strategy, a strategy that is doomed for failure.. Diplomacy coupled with partnerships and a reasonable defense is much cheaper than defense alone... and attitude.

On an aside, the irony of your post above is interesting, if not astounding. You dislike those trying to make the US like the rest of world, yet you hold a belief that the rest of the world should be "improved" to be like the US....a belief and attitude that has caused many in the world to hate the US.

K4GDW said...

I didn't say they should be more like the US. I said they would be better if they were. It's totally up to them if they want to live in a country where the government sticks it's nose into every aspect of life in exchange for the illusion of safety. I personally believe that government is at best nothing more than a necessary EVIL. The less the government sticks it's nose into my life the better. And why is it that those who apparently like the idea of government intervention in their lives complain about the patriot act and so-called warrantless wiretaps? You can point to absolutely no instance where anyone was harmed by those things. I'm sickened by the idea that those who are not US citizens or even legal immigrants are granted the same constitutional rights as citizens and legal residents. If you're conversing with known terrorists or agents of our enemies you deserve to have your phone calls tapped. And if those warrantless wiretaps are so bad why didn't anyone complain when Clinton did it and the Obama administration continues to do it?
Universal healthcare is a pipe dream. The best thing the government can do to improve healthcare in the US is get out of the way and let the free market handle it. Federal regulations already in effect are doing more to reduce competition in the health insurance industry than anything else. If our healthcare system is so bad then why do so many from countries that have so-called universal healthcare come here for treatment? Because their healthcare systems suck universally. They have outrageous waiting times for treatments and diagnostics that are routine and quickly available here in the US. On the rare instance where someone in the US goes overseas for treatment it's to take advantage of a treatment that is unavailable in the US because it's not FDA approved. Obama is lying through his teeth when he says that his healthcare reform plan will not force people out of the system they're currently happy with. Make no mistake, 85% of Americans are happy with the healthcare they currently have and they'll lose it and be forced into a system that works like the DMV. I've seen this disaster coming for a long time but had hoped that I'd be safely dead and buried before it happened. Anyway, this really isn't the appropriate forum to hash this out so I'll close with this. If you really want to live where they have cradle to grave socialism, then move to where such a thing exists or stay there if that's where you already live. Don't ruin it for the rest of us who actually like things the way they are. As a current cancer patient, I have a big stake in things. The changes being proposed will likely force the cancer center where I'm currently getting great treatment to reduce services and possibly stop seeing patients. I'm in real danger of losing my current excellent health coverage and having my treatment stopped if any of the bills in congress become law.

goody said...

> And why is it that those who apparently like the idea of government intervention in their lives complain about the patriot act and so-called warrantless wiretaps

Govt intervention makes sense when it's in the public's best interest and doesn't violate our ideals and ethics. One can support the govt providing basic services, defense, social programs, and regs to protect people, industries, property, and the environment, but it doesn't follow that we want all of our rights stripped and our ideals thrown out the window to pursue terrorists at any cost while damaging our reputation abroad.

>You can point to absolutely no instance where anyone was harmed

Perhaps not directly, but that along with torture put us in the category of those we consider ourselves above, namely third world countries where torture and rights violations are commonplace. We may not pull a citizen off the streets and torture them, but you can bet we'll have our POWs and hostages abroad be tortured, because turnabout is fair play. Our rules and ideals regarding torture were in place to protect our people, not the bad guys.

>The best thing the government can do to improve healthcare in the US is get out of the way and let the free market handle it

That's what we have, and our healthcare costs the most per capita in the world and it's rated 37th in the world. No business would accept such performance, but this is the crux of the problem, health insurance is a for profit business, and they are driven by financial results, not healthcare metrics. Furthermore, the system suffers because healthier citizens are more likely to not have health insurance and they don't subsidize the system for less healthy and more costly policyholders. But the uninsured can get treatment anyways if they get sick, and the insured end up paying for it. What's worse is they usually don't get preventative care so the treatment needed is more costly. And we're stuck paying for illegal immigrants and aliens because no one is going to let them die outside a hospital. Insurance and healthcare are simply industries that shouldn't be for-profit, but should be driven by high level metrics.

>If our healthcare system is so bad then why do so many from countries that have so-called universal healthcare come here for treatment? They have outrageous waiting times for treatments and diagnostics

That's the only advantage of our healthcare system, lowest wait times. In every other metric we're well below other countries. Empirical evidence from other countries shows that wait times are longer for common procedures, but treatment of severe illness is typically not delayed.

>If you really want to live where they have cradle to grave socialism

Unemployment, Medicare, Medicaid, welfare, school lunch programs, and Social Security are all socialism. As a compassionate, civilized society, we practice socialism. It's only recently that the word "socialism" has become a popular because it scares people into thinking we're turning into cold war USSR. There's a sound bite of Reagan talking about socialism and how he feared the day when people would be talking about a time when "men were free". He was talking about Medicare before it was passed. Take away Medicare today and you'll have the White House stormed by several million seniors. It's socialism.

People who want universal healthcare, believe it or not, want healthcare, not socialism. It's not some Marxist plan to take away your rights and have everyone live on state-run communes. I don't want to lose my house, 401K, and life savings because I lost my job and the next week I had to go into the hospital.

> I'm in real danger of losing my current excellent health coverage and having my treatment stopped if any of the bills in congress become law.

Explain this to me.

K4GDW said...

>> I'm in real danger of losing my current excellent health coverage and having my treatment stopped if any of the bills in congress become law.

> Explain this to me.

For example, the Baucus bill that was just approved by the Senate finance committee. It gets most of it's so-called savings by cutting Medicare payments to providers. Medicare payments already are insufficient to cover the costs of providing treatment for cancer. If they're cut even more many cancer centers will be forced to reduce services or even close their doors. Add to that the fact that most insurance companies pay out for services based on what Medicare does and you get a double whammy. If medicare cuts their payment rates so will most private insurers.

As far as me losing my current insurance goes, it's quite simple. Why would my employer, or any other employer for that matter, continue to provide health insurance as a benefit to their employees while being taxed at the same time to fund a government run program? The answer is, they wouldn't. All employers will either drop their healthcare benefit altogether or at least stop paying their portion of the premium. The effect of this will be that most people who currently get health insurance via their employer will have to pay a much higher premium or move to the government program.

> I don't want to lose my house, 401K, and life savings because I lost my job and the next week I had to go into the hospital.

Then buy health insurance. Even if you're getting insurance through your employer you can continue it after you lose your job through a program called COBRA. Or you can get it from any number of health insurance companies that are advertising on TV. I saw three different ads on TV last night from companies offering health insurance. Personally I see nothing wrong with making people actually pay for the goods and services they receive. Everyone with half a brain knows that life is about taking risks. One of those risks is the possibility of getting your credit dinged up if you choose to not buy insurance.

goody said...

>For example, the Baucus bill that was just approved by the Senate finance committee. It gets most of it's so-called savings by cutting Medicare payments to providers. Medicare payments already are insufficient to cover the costs of providing treatment for cancer. If they're cut even more many cancer centers will be forced to reduce services or even close their doors. Add to that the fact that most insurance companies pay out for services based on what Medicare does and you get a double whammy. If medicare cuts their payment rates so will most private insurers.

But doctors are free to opt out of Medicare or any private insurance network. If the payment rates drop to the point where too many doctors and facilities opt out, the payment rates will naturally increase. But those facilities that can provide services at lower rates and not opt out will get the business, so by default it creates incentives for efficiencies and driving down healthcare costs.

>As far as me losing my current insurance goes, it's quite simple. Why would my employer, or any other employer for that matter, continue to provide health insurance as a benefit to their employees while being taxed at the same time to fund a government run program? The answer is, they wouldn't. All employers will either drop their healthcare benefit altogether or at least stop paying their portion of the premium. The effect of this will be that most people who currently get health insurance via their employer will have to pay a much higher premium or move to the government program.

I will agree with you that making companies provide health insurance and pay taxes to cover healthcare reform wouldn't be right, but does the approved bill (which is a combination of previous bills) require that? I haven't yet found a summary for what's currently on the table. (I don't think the Baucus bill did)

Regardless, your scenario above doesn't take into account market forces. If the employers do begin to drop their healthcare benefits, this will cause health insurance companies to lower their rates in order to keep and attract corporate customers. For individuals shopping for insurance, the private health insurance companies will have to make their private individual policy offerings more attractive than the public option (or co-ops). Furthermore, the insurance companies will benefit indirectly from the public option as it would eliminate uninsured healthcare costs, passed onto them via their policyholders' healthcare rates, so that will be another force driving down private insurance rates. So it's not a given that private insurance rates will go up.

>Then buy health insurance. Even if you're getting insurance through your employer you can continue it after you lose your job through a program called COBRA

COBRA was a step in the right direction but in reality it is impractical for those out of work because they don't have any income coming in to pay for it. Given the choice between dumping their savings into food, heat, shelter, and COBRA/insurance, most will naturally drop COBRA/insurance first. COBRA is a "let them eat cake" solution to the problem.

K4GDW said...

> But doctors are free to opt out of Medicare or any private insurance network. If the payment rates drop to the point where too many doctors and facilities opt out, the payment rates will naturally increase. But those facilities that can provide services at lower rates and not opt out will get the business, so by default it creates incentives for efficiencies and driving down healthcare costs.

They are free to opt out, however, if they do so they don't get the business. The whole problem with a public option is that it's a false premise that it will create competition. How well would Coca-Cola do if Pepsi had the power to regulate and tax them? They'd not do very well at all. That's what'll happen with a public option. The government will regulate and tax it's competitors out of the market. When the government enters a market as a competitor it has the unfair advantage of being able to set the rules under which everyone else has to operate while it routinely exempts itself from it's own rules.

I guess at least part of my problem is my absolute distrust of government. It's promises always come with strings attached and a boat load of unintended consequences and it is next to impossible to get it to reverse itself when those unintended consequences make matters worse.

> I will agree with you that making companies provide health insurance and pay taxes to cover healthcare reform wouldn't be right, but does the approved bill (which is a combination of previous bills) require that? I haven't yet found a summary for what's currently on the table. (I don't think the Baucus bill did)

The Baucus bill's main problem is that it cuts payments to health care service providers while doing nothing to encourage providers to stay in business or encourage new providers to enter the market. It will inevitably lead to rationing of healthcare. If you increase demand, while at the same time taking steps that will reduce supply, there will be shortages. Shortages will lead to higher prices. If prices are kept artificially low by caps those shortages get worse because there is no incentive for people to enter the market increasing supply.

> Regardless, your scenario above doesn't take into account market forces.

Actually it does. The problem is that market forces function very differently when one of the competitors has the power to tax and regulate the others. Anyway, I'm sure the others that read this blog are getting tired of our bickering. It's obvious, at least to me, that we will never agree on this issue. If you want we can continue this privately in email. k4gdw[at]arrl.net