Things that make you go hmmmm…

The video below contains expletives galore. Be warned. Chris Rock sees things that others do not, and says them out loud. He may give us some of what George Carlin used to offer, true insight. May he live well and prosper.

I don’t know if when you watch this you are forced to watch a fucking ad (it is a Chris Rock piece, so I can say that) – if so, do what I do: Turn off the sound and cover the screen with a magazine. Under no circumstances do we ever reward bad behavior.
PS: A backward stroll from the advent of the Civil Rights movement forward to now indicates that FBI has kept a close watch on potential and active black leaders, and that many of them find their way to either prison cells or early graves. These words by Rock above are potentially unifying, and have probably crossed a desk or two at the Bureau, who function as political police. I hope he is aware that he might be seen as an influential leader, and take precautions. (Security guards, no small planes.)

About Mark Tokarski

Just a man who likes to read, argue, and occasionally be surprised.
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20 Responses to Things that make you go hmmmm…

  1. rightsaidfred says:

    I didn’t know you were able to notice racial things. I thought you had that part of your brain removed.


    • That part of my brain has just not been blown up like a Macy’s parade balloon.

      How are ya, Fred?


    • rightsaidfred says:

      How good can I be, after the act of reading your blog?

      (I’m riffing here off the German major who, after observing the einsatzgruppen in eastern Poland, wrote back, “how can we expect men to commit these acts and then go home and live normal lives?”)

      <a href=""Here is one of my typical days since reading your blog.

      It was a year ago since I showed up. <a href=""Here, if the link works. You sent me off to read Mark Danner’s book, “Stripping the Body Bare”. I like the guy; his thoughts and observations are sympatico with mine, though a small bit more left wing.

      But it highlights the chasm here. You and Danner put all your eggs in the political basket. Things aren’t as they should be because, well, politics: too much privatization of public goods; not enough bureaucrats watching the flock; not enough laws protecting those who haven’t achieved. I, on the other hand, realize the value of good generalship, but I also know that much of life is organic to the people that make up the society. Sweden is kind of a nice place because it is full of Swedes (for the time being, anyway.) Norway kind of works no matter the government because it is full of Norwegians. Nigeria is full of Nigerians, so we get the kind of society that Nigerians tend to foster. Haiti=Hatians, Minnesota=Minnesotans. China=Chinese. You are invested in not noticing these things, so you are always at a loss as to why everywhere is not a Scandinavian paradise with such a readily available example for all to see. So you fall back on blaming it all on hidden and unknowable secret cabals. Emotional closure is more important for you than reality.


      • I despise reductionism. Please expound your own views rather than characterize mine.


      • Let’s confine it to, say, Sweden and health care. (Sweden, like all countries, has issues and problems, but its people are generally better off and happier off than Americans. Right now they are stressed by an EU-wide problem of Iraqi refugees of the American attack landing In Europe, probably Syrians to follow now that that country is under attack too. That immigration could be an quasi-official response to low birth rates, done on the sly. Low birth rates plague wealthy countries.

        But I don’t know that. It does create tensions.)

        But for the lone issue of health care, their system, single payer, works very well. Costs are low, outcomes good, public satisfaction is very high.

        Well, you say, that’s because Swedes are Swedes, Norwegians are Norwegians, etc., while the U.S. is a mixed society. It can’t possibly be that our system is poorly designed and highly inefficient.

        You don’t know that! You’re merely deflecting.

        It could be that single payer works everywhere it has been implemented because it is a good system. That is what evidence says.

        No, you say. I don’t think it should work so when it does work, I’ll just make up some reasons why I think that it’s working had nothing to do with it being a good and efficient system.

        That’s grab-assing, nothing more, on your part. You don’t bring much to the table besides characterizations of my views, and deflections like that.

        The US health care system, a mixture of single payer for seniors and many poor, government-owned and run for Natives and Veterans, and a heavily subsidized insurance cartel for everyone else, is stressed, expensive, inefficient, and has poorer outcomes than any other industrialized country. Go deep on me for once, and tell me why, without deflecting, our system performs so poorly compared to other countries.


      • Big Swede says:

        Fred, I read this just a couple days ago about the perceived paradise that is Sweden..

        “One of the things that puzzles many conservatives is the appeal of socialism. Just what is it about this poisonous concept that appeals to so many people? It’s never worked anywhere it’s been tried. In the past century, mankind has experimented with national socialism, international socialism, socialism as a cult of personality and every other variation you can think of. They have all failed. All of them.

        “But Western Europe! But Scandinavia!” cry the socialist apologists. Failed. The “successful” democratic socialist regimes in Europe only “succeed” because we were paying their freight, through subsidies, grants, loans or outright gifts, not to mention the big one: they outsourced their defense to us. None of them could afford their lavish cradle to grave entitlement state if they had to pay for their own defense. If we hadn’t defended them, and they had chosen to forgo defense to fund their entitlements, they would have become a different type of socialist state in short order: Soviet.”-openblogger.


        • Let’s see, socialism works everywhere it has been tried, including here, where we only call it capitalism. (We gave up on capitalism in 1929.) Our system is corporate socialism, aka “socialism for the rich, free markets for the poor.”

          Again, Swede, your fatal flaws are showing: Confirmation bias, and anecdotal evidence. You never progress beyond them.


  2. rightsaidfred says:

    Well, you say, that’s because Swedes are Swedes, Norwegians are Norwegians, etc., while the U.S. is a mixed society. It can’t possibly be that our system is poorly designed and highly inefficient.

    The systems reflect the populations in a general way. I’m not saying it explains every little detail, but it is something to consider.

    If we put you in charge and instituted a single payer system funded by general revenues, I suspect we would have the same complaints and outcomes as we have today, firstly because there is a general inertia about these things, and secondly the current system is not as bad as you think and the alternatives are not as great as you think.


    • If anything in that paragraph were supported by evidence, I would agree.


    • rightsaidfred says:

      I don’t believe you have ever been in charge of large groups of people, or been involved in a leadership position in changing the ethos of a business or public agency. This lets you carry an idealistic view of what is possible.

      You have some good ideas here, but let’s face it: US health care is largely a jobs program, and if you cut costs that means you hire fewer people. And where do they go? The education industrial complex?


      • You’re backing down here somewhat, not denying the success of government-run health care in other countries, even if chastising me in the process.

        As Chomsky says, the U.S. is a “business-run” country. Businesses do not run jobs programs, but they are rent seekers, and economic “enclosure” is their game. They do not add anything to our heath care system, but do siphon 20% off the top before anyone gets any care.

        The effect of the insurance cartel building a fence around our health care system has been a massive corporate bureaucracy, designed to keep people out of the system. Prior to ACA we were losing 50,000 people each year to illness for lack of access to health care. Our costs are the highest in the world. I think ACA improved access, but our system is still the worst in the industrial work, and easily the costliest.

        That I cannot change it, change the “ethos” as you call it … No one can. Corporations are too powerful. But what we can do is start small, perhaps with publicly subsidized community health care centers available to all designed to offer triage and take care of small matters that people currently avoid treating due to high costs. That’s all I was hoping for here in Colorado, as the legislative and initiative systems are windmill-chasing operations.

        ACA, after all, only came about because California and New Hamphsire were considering single payer systems. In Canada it was Tommy Douglas (Keifer Sutherland’s grandfather) in Saskatchewan who first bulled through single payer for that province. It worked and within a decade Canada had booted all the insurance companies. Success breeds success, and no one has copied the American system anywhere. The insurance Cartel feared that would repeat down here, that one state adopting single payer would lead to others, and eventual collapse of the private system, and so hired Obama, Baucus and others to head them off.


      • rightsaidfred says:

        I’m not going to categorically state business is better than government. There are useful, well run businesses; there are useful, well run gov’t agencies and vice versa. I tend to favor a business approach because one can line up a few incentives now and then much easier than in gov’t.

        The effect of the insurance cartel building a fence around our health care system has been a massive corporate bureaucracy

        That is the jobs program. That is one reason ACA was crafted this way, to keep those people employed. If you had your way, and they were all fired, what would you have them do?

        Prior to ACA we were losing 50,000 people each year to illness for lack of access to health care.

        You know that is a problematic claim; that it depends on how you count things. We are the country that has illegal aliens waiting for their fourth liver transplant; the country that has million dollar street people. Meanwhile Denise Richards and Princess Diana would probably have lived if their accidents were in the US. I don’t want to sit here and defend the US system, but I’ll point out that there are trade-offs and the US “community” based systems like the VA and Indian Health Service have plenty of problems.

        Good for the Canadians if they like their system, but its success stems partly from having a country and political system populated by northern Europeans with a penchant for organization and altruism.

        Good for Tommy Douglas, but I’m a bit leary of ranking lists: it is part of the mindset behind propping up a corporate CEO as number one and thus needing vast amounts of wealth to maintain him in a manner commensurate with his place on the list.


        • I’d like for you to review the health care systems of countries around the world, and then come here and argue. This constant argument from complete lack of knowledge that I get from you and Swede is bothersome.


        • rightsaidfred says:

          That is not what this is about.

          Analogy: Dick Cheney and George W. Bush imagined themselves Masters of the Universe. They looked around their domain and said, “hey, you know that Iraq, they have a bad system. It costs too much for what they get. They have a bunch of rent seeking parasites at the top who no one will miss if we get rid of them. We will go in there; clean house; and impose a better system; maybe Singapore’s; maybe Sweden’s; heck, it will be better with Trinidad and Tobago’s. If anyone suggests otherwise, we will tell them to review the systems of countries around the world, and then come here and argue. This constant argument from complete lack of knowledge that we get from our critics is bothersome.

          So, anyway, if you haven’t noticed, Iraq still looks like Iraq because, well, it is full of Iraqis; with all their cultural and genetic accouterments. You are no doubt deeply disappointed that true communism did not take hold, but you take comfort in knowing that it was all orchestrated by sinister, evil, unfindable people behind the scenes.


          • Like Swede, you are unable to stay on topic or answer legitimate questions, but instead dart and weave about. All the information about alternative health care systems is out there. It won’t fall in your lap, but it would not take much effort for you to review it. Even only to pick a country or two on Wiki would be useful. But you don’t. Why?

            Argumentum ad ignorantiam is an appeal to ignorance, and does not quite describe what you do, which is a very common thing. You deliberately keep yourself in a state of ignorance … why?

            Interesting you chose Iraq. They had a workable health care system, but you’re ignorant of it, of course. After Bremer took over in 2003, they were given instead a version of the American system and told to adopt it.

            So there you have it: The only country on the face of the earth ever to adopt the American for-profit health care system, and done the American way, at the point of a gun.


          • rightsaidfred says:

            I came here to discuss the cheap sentiments represented by the Chris Rock piece, and you promptly swerve into health care where you can loop the tape, so it is funny of you to complain about discussions going off topic.

            I’ve read plenty about other countries’ health care, and I don’t dispute the points you raise about improvements being possible, or other countries having experiences worth considering.

            The US has a certain way of doing some things: we spend massive amounts of money in the belief that if you pour resources into something, you get better results. Our current health care system has many entrenched interests that are going to be difficult to uproot if you are going to install a Singapore type system that spends just four percent of GDP on health care. At some level we like our system, despite your claims to the contrary: lots of hospitals; lots of clinics; lots of specialists; lots of insurance agents; lots of research; lots of procedures; etc. Who wants to give it up? You blather on about cutting administrative costs, which you know won’t amount to much when the smoke clears. Otherwise our system is like a big union jobs program, which you like in other contexts.

            And yes, that was my point about Iraq: self righteous, holier-than-thou do gooders show up with a copy of the Communist Manifesto in one hand; a lightly read vanity blog in the other; a gun in the gripping hand and start talking about the greatness of some other country’s system (be it health care or political) when no one really wants what they are selling. And when it is not adopted (or doesn’t work when adopted) they blame it on wreckers; Dick Cheney; the Koch bros.; the Joint Chiefs of Staff; secret cabals et al when it is part of how things work in nature if they would bother to look around and consider something other than the looped tape they keep scrolling.


          • rightsaidfred says:

            One link to one blog piece…

            As if more links would make any difference.

            We could sit here all day and suggest improvements to any system, but implementing it is the key, and the area where you have no ideas, just depression.

            And please note that you are defending the waste and inefficiency of our privately run health care system against the efficiency and effectiveness of government-run and single payer systems elsewhere. I am enjoying this much.

            You really wrote this? Our system can hardly be described as privately run.

            You obviously know nothing about pre-1991 Iraq.

            I never claimed subject matter expertise here, and this was not the point of anything, but you’re welcome for myself being the target of a gratuitous insult which is one of the perks that gives you a reason for having a blog.

            You obviously can’t deal with scale…

            Whoosh. I was analogizing to point out some problems with changing public policy, but you didn’t follow it.

            And you’ve obviously not read any polling data on health care

            People vote with their feet.


          • The reason I don’t think you’ve ever read anything about other health care systems is that you don’t seem to know anything about them. You paint with a wide brush and are laden with stereotypes.

            Implementing is indeed a problem, but nothing to stop change. Generally there is pent up demand, a huge backlog of untreated conditions, a huge influx of new patients, and then it settles down. If you want to know about how that works, you might review the last country to switch to single payer, Taiwan. It was done, can be done, is feasible. Of course, again, it would require that you actually review evidence.

            You’ve never demonstrated that your racial assertions regarding health care are anything more than a fixation of yours. You’ve merely asserted that without evidence. Again and again.

            The bulk of our health care system has been cordoned off by the private insurance cartel. Senior citizens and poor people, since they are unprofitable, have been consigned to the government, except those now given insurance via subsidy of the insurance cartel via ACA. The vast majority of doctors are privately employed. Most of our hospitals and clinics are private. Medicare and Medicaid have to deal with the private sector, just like in a single payer system. Single payer does not mean government-run or owned.

            I do hope that your ‘people vote with their feet’ chestnut does not refer to Canadians coming to the US for care, which is wildly overstated and misinterpreted.

            You’ve a penchant for statements without analysis, assertions without substance, throwdown comments with no importance. Again, a few sessions merely reading about health care in other countries would help, but it’s an American tendency never to look at evidence.


          • One link to one blog piece on the French health care system is your evidence that you’ve done your due diligence? That don’t cut it.

            I did not go off topic here. You did. There is a POM piece nearby on health care and a meeting I went to. Perhaps you got confused.

            And please note that you are defending the waste and inefficiency of our privately run health care system against the efficiency and effectiveness of government-run and single payer systems elsewhere. I am enjoying this much.

            You obviously know nothing about pre-1991 Iraq.

            You obviously can’t deal with scale, having to reduce American foreign policy to a few individuals when it is the result of push and pull among entrenched powerful factions, elected officials having no control over any of them.

            And you’ve obviously not read any polling data on health care, as our own is only popular among insiders, people with affordable access to heath care, and no one else. In other industrial countries, insiders represent 100% of the population.


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