The Road We’ve Traveled (updated with complete documentary)

this is a 2 min trailer for his upcoming 17 min (!) documentary.. Tom Hanks narrates it…

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115 Responses to “The Road We’ve Traveled (updated with complete documentary)”

  1. yeh re-election campaign hai kya?

    • Koi shaq? although the RepubliCons are in such a bad shape that he does not need to have a campaign….lol

      • desh kaa satyanash hai..time to cum back ;-)

      • AamirsFan Says:

        agreed. republicans are doing no favors to themselves. obama is just sitting back and laughing in the oval office.

        To me Ron Paul talks with the most sense. His style isn’t the best but what he has to say makes sense and is what this country needs.

  2. sun sun sun- Di Di tere liye Obama aaya hai…..LOL….

    • Aur nahi toh kya….pata nahi kyun usney itni badsurad kay saath shadi ki…lolz
      R U in USA? Do you follow politics? What do Indians in India think of Barrack Osama?

      • Ya , I am in USA and follow politics of USA as well as India…
        I am not a big fan of Obama but prfer him any day over the current RepubliCons….
        don’t know what people living in India think of Obama…

        • Rocky, I think Romney will win the nomination and go on to beat O. Independents are pretty pissed with the economy and jobs. O did not do himself any good by focussing on Health Care for the first 2 years, instead of jobs. He will never win the 25% of the rabid right wing, but he will lose due to the Independent/Moderate vote block. Romney has so called exec experience, was a successful businessman and he will connect with independents. His own base will have to vote for him mormon or not, since they’d rather take anyone over Obama.

          • i really think obama will get re-elected. it will be a stunning upset if romney is victorious over obama. the odds are not really in his favor. the bottomline is romney is just NOT likeable enough. not only that, he hasn’t done a good job of explaining to the American people who he really is/what makes him tick. they know him superficially: former massachusetts gov, a filthy rich mormon. a married father of 5 sons, that’s about it. voters have to know you intimately to throw their support behind you. you have to be able to connect with members of your own party, and romney hasn’t done that. you know it spells big trouble when conservatives refuse to get behind him. he doesn’t have obama’s soaring oratory, charisma and likeability. unless he somehow unites his party and gets overwhelming support from independent voters, he loses to obama come november.

          • agreed.. the thing is that no matter how much you unite in ‘hate’ for the other guy that still isn’t enough to mobilize support in the way that actual ‘love’ for a candidate can. So for example the Dems really hated Bush in 2004, that was a close election but nonetheless they couldn’t defeat Bush. They didn’t get the surge in their ranks that they produced for Obama four years later. Because Kerry was a Romney figure for them (candidly Romney is even worse.. with kerry no one was excited about him but they knew he was on the right side of all the issues.. with Romney they’re not excited and half the party or more thinks he’s a fraud). I also agree that leaving aside ideological issues and so on Romney is just a poor politician at a very basic level.

            Now having said that it is also the case that Obama won in 2008 with 365 electoral votes which was big but in the popular vote it was 6-7 point lead. Hardly a landslide. My own theory is that massive landslides are really possible only for Republicans in the modern era because of the overall shape of the electorate. Nixon won 49 states in ’72 as did Reagan in ’84. For a Dem it would take overwhelmingly good news just to get to 40. So for example unemployment is expected to be just under 8% in the best case scenario come Nov but more likely at 8 or something. Now let’s say that some dramatically unexpected happened and unemployment fell to 6%. In this fantasy scenario a lot more states suddenly fall into play because at that point all the ‘soft’ negativity disappears and you get all the independents and even some moderate Republicans grudgingly. But my point is that in this dramatic scenario the Reagan-like figure gets 49 states where Obama might get 35. Again the field is structurally lopsided. Some red states would not vote for Jesus if Jesus was a Dem! But blue states are not quite as closed off to the idea given the right figure. There was a lot of consternation about Reagan in ‘blue’ circles once and he was in a deep funk in 1982 facing his own recession and losing big to Dems in Congress. However by election time things started trending well, unemployment was around 7.2% and they called it Morning in America. Obama is in a very similar situation. In fact he got through a much bigger economic crisis. He will be reelected even at 8% unemployment and beat Reagan’s number, he could even replicate his 2008 map but even in the best case scenario I don’t see how he could better it. For him (or any Dem) to do a Reagan or Nixon the news would have to be way better than it was for them. Romney has zero appeal in the South. hasn’t touched 30% in this region so far. But that hardly means he’s going to lose these states in the general!

          • AamirsFan Says:

            “So for example the Dems really hated Bush in 2004, that was a close election but nonetheless they couldn’t defeat Bush. They didn’t get the surge in their ranks that they produced for Obama four years later.”

            totally agree with that statement satyam bhai. in my opinion unless someone else comes along and truly ignites the right side…in a way Obama did back in 08…noone has a shot. Republican Party as a whole needs a make over…the extreme tea party is killing the true Republicans.

        • gss- with Perry saying he will go back to Iraq, Newt buildinga colony on Mars, Mint RawMaoney saying Corporations a re people too and stashing his money in Cayman Islan, Rick Sanitorium saying Obama is a Snob for going to College etc……there is no way any of tese Jokers can win….

          • LOL..Agreed the primary season is a roflol marathon. I was so upset when perry and batshit crazy bachmann called it quits robbing us of all the fun. I will take Obama myself over these clowns anyday although I am slightly disappointed with what he has done so far. While I came to the US right around the 04 elections and did not quite get a reading of the hatred for Bush, this time I can see some sane colleagues of mine diss Obama for all the crazy stuff and they are supposedly independents! Assuming both bases vote for their respective candidates the idiots called independents will likely decide the election as always. Hence my observation that Romney might just beat Obama. I’d be very happy if proved otherwise!

            Btw, Satyam and Rocky – What do you think of Paul? I listened to him few times and he seems to make lot more sense than the other morons? Also was Reagan really the messiah that the right claim him to be – he is consistently rated in the top 5 presidents by historians and pundits alike.

          • gss – there is a video prepared by DNC compiling all the goof ups by these candiates( i could not find the link)…. it will destroy each one of them…Rom Paul is good but his son is scary…..

  3. Alex adams Says:

    A very cunningly astute teaser
    From the father of mass internet election campaigns cums the latest blockbusters

    Havent been following the US Stuff but the ‘man on the street’ appeared to be quite unhappy with him on my visits

    I suspect that worse could’ve happened with america

    What’s your take, Satyam
    Ie what’s the current status on the ground in general vis a vis obamas ‘performance’

    As for rocky -seems his wife (&kids) are away and he is back to being a ‘tiger’ with whisky in hand (albeit briefly) :-)

    • ha ha………. Scotch will be in my hands but late in the evening….lol

    • It would take me a long time to answer that question on Obama! Do think he’s a very significant president and has put up some legislative victories and milestones that to quote Doris Kearns Goodwin will “ripple through history.” I can’t say I’ve been disappointed in a very serious way by anything he’s done or not done. My greatest criticism would be that as president he’s not willing to be the astonishing campaigner that he is in terms of rhetoric and so on. There’s this enigma about him. As president he’s suddenly the technocrat barring speeches here and there on special occasions. And this is puzzling. He turns it on in the campaign. You look at some of his stump speeches currently and he’s on his game. As president he’s a bit of a chess player which is fine but sometimes one has to project more rhetorically. His other ‘odd’ (for a politician) problem is that he just doesn’t like people that much in terms of spending a lot of time with them or ‘hanging out’ and so on. He has close friends, everyone else is a transactional politician for him, to be engaged with or not. And this too has led to certain problems. Nonetheless if you’re the first guy to get health care done when every other president couldn’t for a 100 years you’re probably doing something right. There’s other stuff too. All of this could be expanded on but in terms of disappointment check out this piece:

      The problem in politics is always separating media chatter from reality. Many thought for example that the financial reforms package wasn’t tough enough but check out this piece:

      Again on health care this is an outstanding piece:

      I could go on depending on how much one wants to get into the weeds!

      The reason this stuff is important is that these are the ‘details’ that impact history over time and settle the ultimate question of a president’s legacy. It’s unknowable in the present just how great a president is or not. It depends on historical factors. But to the extent that a president can ‘unleash’ all kinds of changes Obama has done it as much as anyone else. The Dem Congress over the first two years was one of the most productive in history.

      There’s also the larger matter of comparing a president’s accomplishments with the historical romance of other leaders. Even FDR or Lincoln couldn’t have competed with their historical romance (that has developed over time) in their respective political careers. And so when Obama is compared to other figures it’s a hard battle to win. Not least because reality in the present is always prosaic while over time it becomes a historical ‘narrative’ or story. Two very different discussions. Living through the Great Depression for a decade couldn’t have been fun but the history since makes for a great line like ‘FDR kept America together during the Depression’!

      I should probably end this thesis here but there was always a bit of a contradiction between Obama’s extraordinary and elevated rhetoric and his policy prescriptions. People heard the first not the second as much. He always sounded revolutionary but he was otherwise much more cautious (which is to say pragmatic) in his policy goals. also what people never quite realize is that you can’t have a revolution in a democracy. Or put differently you don’t vote in a revolution! There are constraints to power. But this is a greater problem for a once in a generation political figure like Obama.

      • Alex adams Says:

        Thanx for that analytical piece
        I also feel his extraordinary oratorical skills actually ‘hamper’ him in actual presidency
        As a president, one has to ‘hold back’ a bit and cannot dish out stuff as in campaigns to avoid the ‘foot in the mouth syndrome’

        But agree that he became a once in a generation politician immediately on being elected

        Somehow one feels the ‘support’ for him from even his own party has sometimes been a bit circumspect

        And what has been his biggest moment as president
        IMO -abottabad !!!
        This has all the hallmarks of a true leader where the elation of victory was coupled with a similar chances of an ‘egg in the face’ embarrassment

        • Alex adams Says:

          Having said that -reminds me of a copy that has been gathering dust for a while
          Phas Gaye re Obama
          Let’s see if it elicits interest
          Any1seen it?

          • Phas gaye Obama is a decent watch, after watching the movie one of my watch who like me belongs to a small town was a bit sscared to go back to his town….LOL

        • true.. it’s been forever since a Democrat has actually been so strong on the foreign policy front, i.e. stronger than the Republican. Ironically Obama was always more interested in this. His hand was forced by the recession. Nonetheless he went for healthcare in the face of opposition from all his closest advisers.

      • chipguy Says:

        Satyam, can’t say I agree with your estimation of him as a President. Not only did his signature healthcare legislation not achieve the goal he set out to bend the cost curve, getting there was unnecessarily messy because he decided to sit out the details and let Congress haggle. This was a main reason the Dems got shellacked in 2010.
        He did do a good job in dealing with the economy in 09 getting the auto bailouts and stimulus done, but since then he’s been quite ineffectual.
        Needless to say though, he looks like a giant statesman in comparison to the Republican bozos running Congress and running for President.

        • CG, that’s true but historically these things are always a mess in Congress from FDR to Johnson and so on. As for not bending the cost curve actually it has by about 2% so far but that’s nothing because Medicare is growing at a dramatically faster rate. Of course as some like Krugman like to point out the problem is not a Medicare/Medicaid one as much as the fact that ‘private’ healthcare is just too expensive. And given their extraordinarily powerful lobbies (for example the pharmaceutical industry is even more powerful than the defense industry!) you can’t simply ‘curtail’ them in Congress. Because if you try to do that the entire legislation just fails! So the best way I think is to simply put something on the books and late later generations or what have you take care of it. Now there is some cynicism here but it works toward progressive ends (if one is of that persuasion). For example when Social Security was first installed it was basically for war widows and orphans. It then grew dramatically in scale. Today though there isn’t a serious SS problem even if there were the politicians couldn’t really take away benefits except at the margins. The welfare system has a very powerful constituency (remember those absurd Tea Party tirades — tell the govt to leave my Medicare alone!) in every sense. so if you put something into law it cannot be taken off. Even the most powerful conservative presidents have not been able to do anything to SS or Medicare. Which is why in one sense those on the right were more on the money than those on the left. The latter felt it was too timid, didn’t have a govt option and so on but the former remember what happened with SS and Medicare. Scott Frum made exactly the same point when the law passed saying that the Republicans because of their intransigence had been fools. They could have compromised and reduced the scale of the program. Note how even though the Mandate is the sticking point here, if it were to be struck down (and this would of course be a big political deal.. though the Supreme Ct has signaled it might push off a decision till 2014…) this would still not take the law off the books. But in any case my point is that the legislative histories of the past are every bit as contentious and murky and what not. And in every case the opposition screamed it was going to be the end of the world.

          On the big losses in 2010 to be honest with the economy the way it was they would have lost big numbers anyway. And if the health care issue hadn’t been around Republicans might have created the hysteria about something else. Because had he tried an energy bill the same thing would have happened, they already opposed Dodd-Frank. Anything would have given them an excuse. Also remember that the Dems because of big victories in ’06 and ’08 controlled some rather red districts that they would ordinarily never have won. Despite such historic losses the Republicans have a relatively small 25 seat majority in the House. With terrible economic news it’s just very hard for incumbents. Not saying that health care didn’t magnify things. Also he got a great deal done in the first two years. Since then the Tea Party has stopped people like Boehner from doing what he normally would be inclined to. We saw this with the debt ceiling issues. So yes the current Congress is one of the most obstructionist in US history.

          It’s true that the Republican lineup is pretty terrible. However the question one must ask is: why didn’t any of the heavyweights want to take on Obama when he was far weaker in the polls and the economy looked far more uncertain?! All the excuses about ‘devoting time to family’ and so on are silly. Most of these guys will be ready in 2016! Clearly even at Obama’s weakest they sensed something. And actually I believe they were right. Obama is the sort of political athlete to beat whom you need some very bad news on some front. The poll numbers turn with success. The auto bailout is a classic example. Everything that seems bad about the stimulus will also poll well the better news gets on the economic front. There is the short term of politics and the long term. I always had the sense he’d be reelected. Said this to many people before he won in ’08 (there might be some comments on this blog too). The reasoning was simple. he clearly had important political gifts. When things tanked on the economy that too was better news than it might have been. He was lucky to see the peak of the recession in the early part of his term. Had this happened two years later he would have been in deep trouble. But he had enough time to run through his programs (which a Dem president always would have with those numbers in Congress, actually even many Republicans would have done some of this stuff) and also ride out the worst of the recession. This year he could well be reelected with the highest unemployment number in history. I personally don’t think contra all the pundits that it will be a close race. Not with this opposition. Unless of course something terrible happened (you can never rule that out). In fact if things get better than expected faster than expected it could be a big win once again. Once you get reelected the whole narrative changes overnight. Everything will be reinterpreted in the afterglow of victory!

          If by any chance the Dems take back the House (seems unlikely.. again I doubt they’ll lose the Senate) I believe he’d push for a big energy package. That is really the biggest thing he could do. But in some ways this is at least as hard as healthcare. Even without the majority the Bush take cuts expire unless something is done. The debt ceiling vote is also coming up. The post-election period should be really interesting. And of course Obama won’t be on the ballot again!

          • chipguy Says:

            Satyam, I don’t disagree that he’s probably advanced the progressive goals for medical coverage, much as the Republicans did with prescription coverage- to the detriment of our long-term fiscal health I believe, but that’s a different topic. The issue though is that for such a supposedly strong communicator, he botched the health care debate. The goals were initially bending the cost curve, then it was coverage- and then the final legislation was a complete mish-mash that no one understood or really knew whether they wanted and didn’t really achieve either goal.
            Similarly with the stimulus- it was undertaken and sold half-heartedly. A lot of the time, he leaves me wondering if he really knows what he wants… hence my half-hearted estimation of his stature.

          • It’s true that the message on health care was botched. On the other hand the public was never really in favor so he was going against the general mood pushing this when people were so anxious about other stuff. On bending the cost curve I personally don’t think that was the driving reason. That’s just something he used to make it seem like an accounting issue. A mistake in my view because big visionary programs cannot be sold by stealth. And since he had to face hysteria on the right anyway he might as well have sold it as such.

            Charles Krauthammer (with whom I rarely agree) once said about Obama that he can see further into the distance that even his biggest strategic supporters. And I think he was right. Obama always goes for the long game, is always very particular about timing. But always looking at the long game means that you sometimes have to pay a price in the present.

            But yes the health care thing should have sold much better. The same for the stimulus.

          • chipguy Says:

            To give him his due, he handled the payroll tax cut issue late last year extremely well which could suggest that he’s regaining his mojo- just in time

          • true and the Republicans made the victory easier for him though I’d again say that I would never expect him to botch up this kind of thing around this time of the political season..

            Do think he has a certain distaste for political wrangling. Which again makes it odd. Here’s a guy who doesn’t really want to socialize, doesn’t really like the game and yet wants to be president!

      • Since I tend to lean on side of hyberbole, I would say he is communist.

      • Satyam, very insightful as always. I do like Obama in campaign mode, gives me goose bumps. But as a policy maker he falls short simply because he tried this bipartisanship with the idiot republicans and always ended up playing defense. Ended up not getting anything in return,thereby appearing weak to his base. I think this is a touch re-election campaign for him and I strongly think Romney will win. I hope I am wrong, but I cannot see how he can win given his base is not very enthusiastic and the moderates I have spoken to are not happy…

      • great piece Satyam…. I partially agree…

  4. Alex adams Says:

    ha ha………. Scotch will be in my hands but late in the evening….lol

    Let’s give u madhuri in the other hand
    Will she do?
    Ok :maybe kareena
    Happy ;-)

  5. AamirsFan Says:

    full of empty promises…

  6. Alex adams Says:

    “full of empty promises..”
    Is that about obamas promises
    Or about kareena to rocky (or both)

    So is the verdict on Obama negative
    Feel he is a better orator than other aspects (though my info here is negative )

    I suspect this verdict on Obama depends on the part of the states one is in

    What’s your take on Obama aamir fan

    • ” (though my info here is negative )”
      Phir bhi you have to weigh in…lolz
      Do you like your country’s PM? (which country is it BTW?)
      Which part of india are you from lexy? Why do you not speak hindi/urdu? How many wives/kids? ;-)

      • Alex adams Says:

        Certain entities are not bounded by these demarcations & boundaries
        And dont believe in wives ;-)

    • AamirsFan Says:

      well that’s just my personal opinion on how i feel he has done his job. i agree is a great speaker. unfortunately not a great leader. we’ll see how his second term goes(no way he is losing to romney or santorum). i recall clintons first term wasn’t so great but his second term was far better.

  7. Alex adams Says:

    Clinton was a good leader-liked him
    And he somehow hasn’t got his ‘due’ for that, courtesy lewinsky
    Btw what’s lewinsky up2 now . Just curious lol

    having said that, Obama has presided during perhaps some,of the most difficult times economy wise

    It was interesting to see how the take on Obama changes between Florida, sf, Chicago …

  8. alex adams Says:

    interesting stuff there about obama there, chipguy…

    The turin horse
    oh my–have received another pass for an auteur screening of the turin horse -by bela terr
    the ‘tree of life’ types with auteur making notes etc followed by a ‘panel dicussion’
    Satyam or anybody elese here-have u seen this one?

  9. alex adams Says:

    Turin Horse
    saw bits of turin horse–in an auteur screening-=couldnt complete due to toher ‘pursuits’
    more than the film, the setting and audience was interesting

    well, may write on it later but will suffice to say:
    this was a masterpiece but the extremely slow painstaking nature makes it inaccessible/unpalatable to most viewers

    As for Obama, dont see anyone beating him the second tiome round , more due to the lack of competition than due to his own (lack of ) performance

  10. AamirsFan Says:

    in a somewhat related note…finally saw “ides of march” last night. decent movie. overall i liked it but hated the ending personally. I like my endings to be concrete and that was my only big flaw.

  11. alex adams Says:

    Turin Horse
    Bella Tarr

    A thoroughly incapable of commenting on this one but will suffice to say– a ‘unique’ experience -wont call it just ‘cinema’ either…

    will restrict to the brief storyline-
    1889. German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche witnessed the whipping of a horse while traveling in Turin, Italy. He tossed his arms around the horse’s neck to protect it then collapsed to the ground. In less than one month, Nietzsche would be diagnosed with a serious mental illness that would make him bed-ridden and speechless for the next eleven years until his death. But whatever did happen to the horse? This film, which is Tarr’s last, follows up this question in a fictionalized story of what occurred. The man who whipped the horse is a rural farmer who makes his living taking on carting jobs into the city with his horse-drawn cart. The horse is old and in very poor health, but does its best to obey its master’s commands. The farmer and his daughter must come to the understanding that it will be unable to go on sustaining their livelihoods. The dying of the horse is the foundation of this tragic tale.

    coming to the ‘Looong takes’
    Borrowed someone elses more educated views on it—
    How can you make someone see what is staring them in the face?

    Tarr is nothing if not serious cinema. It may not move, entertain or give you a thrill to the bottom of your popcorn. But it is also, for many cineastes, a standard by which other art cinema can measured. And if that introduction is overweening, perhaps it will deter anyone even vaguely faintly thinking about popcorn – but encourage serious-minded cinema-goers to consider dropping everything to see this.

    Hungarian Grandmaster Bela Tarr uses a technique made famous by Russian director Andrei Tarkovsky – that of incredibly long takes. We are forced to immerse ourselves in real time, to experience the minutiae of existence (and its totality) in the same way the characters do. But in terms of ‘suspension of beliefs’, Tarr goes one stage further than Tarkovsky. The latter’s films were often connected with metaphysics and decorated with religious iconography; whereas Tarr eschews God and religion in favour of the people, in favour of human rights, in favour of righting wrongs, or simply in favour of what is most basic to any individual. At times seen as heavily political, his films are careful to portray only a ‘documentarist’ style reality. They are films designed to make you think, rather than make you entertained. In this respect, his work preserves a thread from the fierce artistic integrity of Godard – perhaps by way of Fassbinder, who would also at times exemplify a fierce minimalistic style.

    In The Turin Horse, Tarr gives us a six-day prelude to an actual event that we never see. Even in those six days, nothing very much happens – yet you could probably write a Masters philosophy dissertation on that ‘nothing very much.’ The ontological lynchpin of the film is Nietzsche: in terms of storyline and also the dilemmas a viewer might confront.

    Our movie begins by informing us of a well-known tale concerning the German philosopher. Nietzsche had caused a public disturbance – apparently by attempting to save a horse being flogged. Immediately afterwards, Nietzsche collapses and succumbs to mental illness. He will remain that way for the rest of his life. Tarr’s film is an imagined reconstruction of the days leading up to the incident. It features the ailing horseman, his grown-up daughter, a visitor who provides the film’s only monologue, and a brief visit by a band of gypsies. The horseman and his daughter live in the most spartan of conditions trying to survive, surrounded by a harsh and barren landscape. He probably would have rejected Nietzsche’s philosophy, the rejection (or death) of God, and the idea of the ‘slave-morality’ dominating society. Indeed, the horseman dismisses the reflections of the visitor, whose thoughts are perhaps a shadow of Nietzschean ideas, as “rubbish.” We can perceive a shift from classical belief to atheism as the ideas move quite politically: ‘man is responsible for his own fate, but there is something greater that takes a hand’ – yet that ‘something’ might be nature, rather than ‘God’ and it seems undeniably demonstrated in the harsh conditions that gradually drive the horseman and his daughter nearer extinction. Or it could, of course, be ‘the ruling classes.’ But this is not a film where intellectual arguments are expounded or debated. Most of the dialogue, in the rare instances where dialogue occurs, comprises an occasional monosyllable. The film is in black and white, and consists of merely thirty long takes – that would be excruciating were they not mesmerizingly beautiful. Each shot is perfectly composed, right down to the individual hairs on the horseman’s Rasputinish beard. (This is one reason why it could not work as well on a small screen – the other being that its impact depends on being a captive audience.) As in The Man from London, Tarr uses environment as main ‘characters’ – the buildings, the landscape. They are ‘major players.’ This gives not only a tremendous sense of grandeur and majesty in simple images, but allows Tarr to convey a more cosmic point, even with such a miniscule budget. The characters each form a microcosm, doing what they do (what Man does) in order to survive. We are aware of the oppression and hardship of the plebiscite – oppression we can say is caused by ‘conditions’, but equally by the ruling classes. Dirge-like music, a daily meal of boiled potatoes eaten without cutlery, and a bleakness from which there is no apparent escape.

    On the Second Day, the horse, once hitched, won’t move. The daughter expresses some sympathy for its abject refusal. Yet the horse’s gradual deterioration (to a point where it is starving itself to death) almost mirrors the plight of its owners. The horseman and daughter struggle against becoming dehumanised: he by fighting, she by gentleness. What does it mean to be human? As the wind whips dust across the landscape, she reads of the “holy places violated.”

    The downsides of The Turin Horse are that, given its minority-appeal audience, most people will only see it on DVD. The political landscape about which Tarr is so passionate demands extra study in order to be illuminated by the film. Nietzsche declared that art is the proper task of life, that it is not merely an imitation of the reality of nature, but a metaphysical supplement to nature’s reality. But can The Turin Horse stand philosophically on its own merits? Some may feel that Tarr has indeed flogged his point to death, and fails to offer any man or super-man to triumph at the end of his inevitable Gotterdammerung.

    Constant use of steadicam gives the impression that we are personally observing what happens – even when all motion stops and the last light is extinguished. Susan Sontag once championed Tarr as a saviour of the modern cinema. If she had lived to see this, probably his last film, she surely would probably have felt doubly justified.

  12. Alex adams Says:

    Visuals that still linger in my mind-
    Brliiant Atmospherics
    An experience -strangely surreal enigmatic brilliance

    Ps-movie to be watched @ your own risk/discretion

  13. Alex adams Says:

    Merci pour le criblage Heidi de prévision Ne l’a pas aimé autant au commencement mais bâtiment sur moi, comme nous avons suspecté

    • Alex adams Says:

      Obama will win this one as well-little doubt

    • Alex adams Says:

      Took long time to ‘digest’ it but it’s a unque masterpiece
      Builds up in your system
      A true auteuristic exercise which tests ones patience
      Turin horse

      • Why are you suddenly typing things in french…no kool chicks to impress here ;-)
        Unless Ami likes french a lot. lol

        • Alex adams Says:

          Ha- that was for somewhere/one else wrongly punched in here
          Always have millions of windows open (in the name of multitasking) ;-)
          Don’t think the french stuff should impress as such lol
          Btw u don’t know but there are some who i know who read stuff here but don’t cumment :-)

  14. Once again this is a very well-produced effort (with all the names attached to it this isn’t surprising) but notice how when ‘reality’ is made to resemble a Hollywood movie it becomes strangely deconstructed. In other the footage makes the impact of a ‘movie’ and not that of something much ‘larger’ (in terms of the stakes involved). Of course the Obama campaign knows very well that you always err on the side of the ‘image’ in this age. So even as the movie makes the reality behind it seem ‘cliched’ (because it evokes a very common thriller trailer) it also renders the rough edges of the Obama record ‘smoother’ and more palatable (for those who are persuadable). Put differently it familiarizes his administration far more than is the case through partisan prisms. Health-care is the key example here. The truest faultline of his presidency and here in the film it’s presented so seamlessly that who could be against this?!

  15. Hi Satyam, can I have your e-mail? or can you e-mail me? Thanks.

  16. GOP as a party is in total disarray. Ignorance and arrogance are recipes for disaster. The social conservatives have gone too far right, and totally lost their moorings with right of center fiscal conservatives. No wonder, their primary is a big clusterfuck. Obama will waltz into his second term. I just hope that in the afterglow of his re-election, he does not re-double his efforts to banish America into a socialist machine which will sputter and splatter onto itself. The faint glimmer of hope comes from financial markets. The Chinese cannot buy too many Treasuries anymore, which means that the Social Agenda will lack the free money it needs. Financial Reality will hopefully manage to chain in Obama’s real socialist desires.

    • Huh? Obama is a Socialist? Do you even know what it means to be a socialist? It is really sad to see sane people repeating nonsense spread by some in the media.

      • So, Obamacare is not socialism? 2 yrs of complete Democrat govt control (House+Senate+Presidency) gave us Obamacare. The 2010 Repub victory put an end to any further damage.
        If it were not for a Repub majority in the House, a bunch of Left fav memes wouldve been in effect right now. Anytime one party has complete control of the govt, the results are always disastrous. Bush and Repubs gave us the Housing bubble + Iraq war. Obama and Dems gave us Obamacare. Enough damage to the US already, more than what the next gen can handle.
        There is actual policy balance now, just like it was under Clinton when the Dems did not control the House. I hope this continues.

        • On Healthcare, I would like to add, in Obama’s defense, that the country has no choice. Medicare/Medicaid are already Socialist programs, but they were a half step towards universal healthcare. They cannot survive in their present forms. In order to keep them alive, universal healthcare (ie Obamacare) will be necessary.
          The Conservatives have to decide: either forgo Medicare/Medicaid, or accept universal healthcare. They cannot keep Medicare alive while rejecting universal care. The numbers will not add up.
          So therefore, we were already in semi-socialist healthcare, now we either discard it totally, or adopt a complete socialist healthcare system.

          • I think one can criticize policy prescriptions one way or the other without introducing catch-phrases like ‘socialism’ which are completely inaccurate in this context by any stretch of the imagination. Do you recall those Tea Party signs that said at the height of the health care debate — ‘get the govt out of my Medicare’?! This ‘idiocy’ should in some ways be taken seriously. The welfare state is part of everyone’s life and everyone who’s a beneficiary is very happy about it too! When FDR started Social Security or Johnson began Medicare the programs were a negligible fraction of what they are now and they were facing the same socialism charge. All these changes have been incorporated into the system over time but the opponents still keep using the same labels to argue against every new bit of progressive legislation. Again one can be against these as long as one is willing to be against all the other stuff too!

            On the question of the Republican Congress providing balance given the Tea Party types who’ve been too much to deal with even for the relatively (and close to extinction) moderate types of their own party I hardly think this is the desirable balance. It’s a bit like saying, Gandhi was too liberal so Godse was needed for balance!

            But leaving aside the specific policy debate on healthcare on anything else Obama has implemented I think one should expand the argument a bit. I’ve been having this conversation with many ‘desi’ cross-sections for years. Those (and there are very many) who’ve been traditionally quite receptive to the Republican economics and family values (no sex, no gays, no women talking back, no stopping us from taking our guns to the bathroom… though please let us have our our ‘highest number of strip bars per capita’ in the Bible belt..) messages. After 9/11 many subcontinental Republican Muslims I know suddenly became Democrats! I had no sympathy for this. I understood why but the Republican platform always had this ugly underside to it. And this holds in many other matters. The whole ‘debate’ over illegal immigration. Notice how in this discussion the (illegal) immigrant functions as the ‘normal’ one while the (legal) immigrant is the exception to the rule. So they’ll say stuff like ‘we want people to come here legally and follow the rules and not break the law’ (this raises the specter that the ‘ordinary’ immigrant is likely to do both!), incidentally this too is about the triumph of more progressive politics in this area, but we don’t want illegal immigrants who commit crimes, who rob and kill and rape. So they constantly raise this horror movie scenario of bands of Hispanics crossing the border and descending on peace-loving, nice white families and destroying the state and so forth. But hey legal immigrants are ok. In this entire discourse it is the marauder immigrant who is privileged, not the ‘techie’ somewhere in NJ!

            Again my larger point is that you can’t divorce Republican economics from Republican identity politics. Which is not to say that I agree with all the identity ghettoization that Dems have fallen into over the decades (we’re for gays, blacks, women etc..) but it is a more progressive worldview. It seeks to include more while the Republican discourse relies on exclusion. The latter use phantom arguments (as I just pointed out on immigration) to make their point but let’s not kid ourselves about the policies they would pursue on immigration in an ideal world. Similarly the whole issue over contraception and so on recently illustrates what they really would like to do about women’s emancipation over the decades.

            It is not about balance here. One discourse even if excessive is about greater inclusiveness while the other is about ugly stereotypes (in the good old days women kept aspirin between their legs, now they insist on making us pay… Limbaugh then took it further by saying that he should be treated to some of the sex tapes since he was paying for birth control). The problem is that as ‘immigrants’ from a certain part of the world we do not have the luxury to be Republicans. The ‘economics’ comes later. Let’s settle the essential identity issues first. This doesn’t seem like a problem on most normal days but when the right crisis happens (as with 9/11) suddenly the ugliness comes out. Or for example with reference to Obama a great deal of criticism and a great deal of non-acceptance by many segments of the electorate is just racist. Though it’s in code. When more than half of white voters in the South say that he’s a Muslim and another quarter say they ‘don’t know’ that’s essentially racism in the guise of religious bigotry. Or for example in 2008 the only whites Obama did not do better with than Kerry were all the deep South. all of these strands make up the current Republican party. This is not an older Republican outfit where moderates were still quite powerful. Nixon had a healthcare plan well to the left of Hillary Clinton’s which in turn was to the left of Obama’s. The Obama plan was the Republican alternative to Hillary’s. It’s the one Romney implemented. Could one possibly argue that Nixon was an ultra-socialist?! He also founded the EPA by the way!

            And again the identity issue is important here. I know what important cross-sections of the Republican party think about certain kinds of immigrants (there’s a racial component here). I am not interested in supporting such a party even if my taxes could be lower under them. And if I were I would just be contributing to a brand of politics that one day could turn against me. The Muslim Republicans of my example who turned after 9/11.

            The thing is that even in a very stable Western democracy where most of the time it seems like there’s no difference no matter what part wins. You keep doing your job and you’re more or less ok. That’s true for the most part but a certain percentage of the time one can be on the wrong side of history and then a certain right of center party if always tougher than a left of center one. So I’m not even getting into the argument of healthcare (leaving aside the point I’ve made.. which is that it’s somewhat amusing that people who are already the beneficiaries of a system that ‘Obamacare’ builds on take these things for granted and are opponents of the newest program) but something far more basic than this.

          • The best way in which I’ve heard healthcare framed is that:

            1)The problem is not Medicare or Medicaid but just the overall health industry costs which are too high and which because of various lobbies are the hardest to bring down.

            2)But to be fair to the private market here for a minute health-care is an ‘irrational’ industry. If you have a mother who’s 87 and who’s getting all kinds of comprehensive care in hospital for all kinds of conditions and who’s not likely to survive for long even if she makes it through that one episode you’re still not likely to say — hey it’s not ‘rational’ to spend all this money on someone who’s 87 and who might get to 88 or 90, incurring far greater costs in the meantime so let’s enable her to expire! If not who pays for this? The model is inherently irrational from an economic perspective. The government ‘has’ to step in, otherwise there are very many unpleasant decisions to be made. Think about this — using the very same example (and of course allowing for all the healthcare issues associated with govt bureaucracies in terms of coverage and/or reimbursement.. remember an overwhelming number of Medicare users are actually happy with it).. if there were no govt program or a very limited one what would happen? Who would pay for those astronomical hospital charges? Even with Medicare a lot of people have a problem getting the right kind of supplemental insurance. getting the right plan, being able to afford it and so on.

            So I think in the abstract it’s easy to be against it or for it but one has to look at concrete examples. Specially so when precisely because of medical technology old people tend to become ‘older’ than they used to be previously. But forget even the the older folks. There are very many who have private insurance issues for one reason or another. Without any assistance (and again I’m not getting into the whole emergency care issue where one is paying anyway) imagine having a child go through a serious problem and not being able to pay for it. I get into these visceral examples not as a manipulative thing but because these are real situations and in each case the economic rationality model doesn’t hold.

            Of course there are no economic decisions that are not grounded in some important political decision to begin with. The field is never as neutral as it seems.

  17. Alex adams Says:

    Among other things in Vicky Christina Barcelona, found javier bardem also good. Gud to see him in malliks next and sky fall as the villain!!

    An update
    Born in the Canary Islands, the youngest of a family of actors, Bardem has often appeared alongside his mother, Pilar Bardem, and older siblings, Monica and Carlos Bardem. He learned English by listening to heavy metal, in particular AC/DC, and is known for speaking up on issues he believes in. An atheist, he created controversy after the legalisation of gay marriage in Spain when he said in 2005 that if he were gay, “I would get married tomorrow, just to mess with the church.” Last year, he joined the Enough Project, an organisation that raises awareness about conflict materials in eastern Congo.

    As for joining the list of actors who put their names to political campaigns, the actor does not think it a surprising phenomenon. “Movies are powerful. But I think everything is political. When you put gas in your car you are making a political statement, because you are supporting the empires that control and continue the destruction of some countries. What I mean is that of course there has to be a relationship between politics and film.

    “The question is, how far do you want to go with it? If you feel you should do something, then do it. And do it in a way, or form, or shape that you think can help the best, which in my case is making movies. There are also a lot of movies that are just entertainment, which is good and we all need it.”

    The next year will be a big one for the actor, with roles in two hotly anticipated films. First up, the new as-yet-untitled Terrence Malick picture rumoured to be heading to Cannes. “Of course I cannot tell you what it is, or what I do,” says Bardem, maintaining the secrecy that surrounds Malick’s films. What is known is that it stars Ben Affleck and Rachel McAdams, and is about an American man who reconnects with a woman from his past after his marriage to a European falls apart. Bardem plays Father Quintana.

    Then comes the fulfilment of a childhood dream. He will play the villain in Skyfall, the latest James Bond film. “I was born watching James Bond movies and there are many reasons to do this – the cast, the script, the story, the role and, of course, [director] Sam Mendes,” he says.

  18. Alex adams Says:

    After free of life, awaiting mallicks next
    But am more looking forward to Rachel mcadams, jessica chastain, bardem , affleck starrer
    The other two
    Terrence Malick has assembled all-star casts for his next two films, which he’ll shoot back to back in 2012: Lawless and Knight of Cups. Glen Basner’s FilmNation will launch both projects to foreign buyers at the American Film Market, which gets underway Wednesday in Santa Monica.
    Ryan Gosling will stake a starring role in Lawless, while the supporting cast includes Christian Bale, Cate Blanchett, Rooney Mara and Haley Bennett.
    Bale will take the lead in Knight of Cups, which also stars Blanchett and Isabel Lucas. FilmNation will represent international rights, while CAA is representing domestic rights.
    Malick is in pre-production on both films, but is keeping mum as to the plots of each.
    “FilmNation couldn’t be happier to continue to act as Terrence’s international sales agency. Terrence is a brilliant filmmaker and an enormous drw for talent and filmmakers alike. We look forward to robust sales at AFM on both of these films,” Basner said.
    FilmNation is virtually sold out of Malick’s currently ntitled film starring Ben Affleck, Rachel McAdams, Javier Bardem and Rachel Weisz. That movie is in post-production.
    Sarah Green and Nicolas Gonda, Malick’s longtime producers, are reteaming with the filmmaker on Lawless and Knight of Cups. The three worked together on Malick’s worldwide indie hit The Tree of Life, which Summit International handled internationally.

  19. Alex adams Says:

    Good writeup there Satyam
    Usually stay mum on this but the slight problem with Obama wrt healthcare bill..
    Yes, it was a historic victory to get it passed
    But he has this tendency of ‘sitting it out’ instead of ‘putting his cards on the table’
    This is a gr8 ploy In most cases but not in this contentious one.
    ‘communication’ & ‘public perception’ is the key here

    The main problem here imo
    Is the issue of ‘living beyond ones means’ !,
    No matter how u play it-it HAS to bite-howsoever one tweaks this ‘spending’ model

  20. Alex adams Says:

    Bill nighy in love actually-ROTFLOL
    Revisiting bits
    A thesis coming up folks
    For all the cliched predictability-
    Is this one I’d the best romcom of all time

  21. “The welfare state is part of everyone’s life and everyone who’s a beneficiary is very happy about it too! ”
    It works only if there is a system of checks in place to ensure that it is not abused. We have Lotto Millionaires receiving foodstamps! There are people who generate piles of cash through their cash-intensive businesses, but pay hardly any taxes. They are generally the first in line to apply for Medicaid and a host of other low-income programs.
    The system works fairly only as long as the welfare state figures out a way to justly reward those who generate the moolah that runs the welfare programs. We have a system which snatches hard earned money from one set of people who really cannot hide any income. There are some truly deserving welfare recipients, but the system does not separate the manipulators. It gives to anyone that figures out a way to qualify.
    The system can work only if there is a way to fund these programs other than by perennially raising taxes on those who actually take the risk.
    Countless business leaders (including the late Steve Jobs), entrepreneurs, those looking to invest, etc. have railed against the policies of this President. He is lucky in that the Repubs have bowed down to their lunatic fringe. Santorum, Bachmann, Gingrich, etc could not dream of running in a normal world.

    With regards to policy balance, a Repub House, even if it is ruled by their lunatics, is necessary to ensure that we do not descend into a lunacy of the left. As it stands now, a divided govt is working wonders to stave off the lunacy of both the extreme right and the extreme left.

  22. “The best way in which I’ve heard healthcare framed is that:…”

    Let me put it this way: The only reason we have not had runaway inflation in non-healthcare sectors is because it got outsourced abroad. A hospital/doctor/nurse are the only entities who cannot get outsourced. This is one of the main reasons overall healthcare costs keep going up.

    Private Insurance costs (for non-retirees) rise due to inefficient pools of the insured. As of now, private insurances are bound to divide their pools by state, ie, a NY insurance cannot operate in NJ, or any other state. As a result, the pools cannot attain economies of scale. God knows who or what caused this law to be enacted. Early on in the healthcare debate, there were proposals to do away with this law, but it got swiftly pushed under the rug.

    Medicare costs go up, obviously because of the tsunami of retirees that has started hitting the system with every passing year. But there are no proposals to rein in egregious costs, such as giving a hip relplacement to a 90 yr old! The “Obama Death Panel” is in fact much needed to control these costs. If that 90 yr old has not paid a cent into the system, but is able to receive hundreds of thousands in free govt healthcare a year before dying, then there is clearly something wrong with the system.

    • yes but if you do it across state lines the problem is that the same companies would just pick the healthiest pools everywhere and we would be back to square one. On the ‘Obama death panels’ it’s amazing how you keep echoing Tea Party language. All that healthcare bill has is counseling services for works who make end of life decisions. That’s all! The state does not decide for anyone. But let’s put your question a different way.. if you have a loved one at that age who needs that replacement and you can’t pay what will you say to that loved one? Live in pain the rest of your days because you didn’t pay into the system!

      • If the state does not have money, and the family does not have the money, it effectively is the end of the road for that loved one. Thats the way it works in the rest of the world where millions of elderly people die in circumstances which they cannot control, or cannot afford to control. Some of them are rich, but have no access to world class healthcare. So they die, some in pain, but they accept it and go. There is no equivalent benefit of any sort that can be extracted by the state in incurring the cost to keep that 90 yr old alive. At some point, this “keeping the almost-dead alive at any cost” philosophy has to be discarded. There is no productive purpose associated in piling on debt burdens for future generations.

        Re: insurances across state lines: They cannot pick based on pre-existing conditions, thats the law I believe has been passed, isnt it? If so, then at least there will be more competition and greater number of insurance companies in any state. As of now, several states are dominated and monopolized by 2 or max 3 companies, which creates the environment for annual cost increases.

        • Yes they can’t pick based on pre-existing conditions.. but that’s different from selling across state lines. Current law does not allow this. The Republicans have long favored this. The Dems have felt that this would allow insurers to pick the healthiest patients and the legality questions also become more complicated when you cross state lines. Note that even within states some insurers have dealt with the new law by for example not offering insurance to people over a certain age at all. That way they’re technically not discriminating. Because the new law also requires them not to cap coverage and so on. But getting back to the state lines point they do have a provision for health ‘compacts’ which is basically a bunch of states getting together, mostly on a regional basis, and deciding on some common standards and so forth.

          On your other point it’s not just about old people. It could be about a young child who has say cancer and is terminally ill. The cost of keeping such a child alive keeps increasing and there might be an equal certainty that such a child wouldn’t survive. I cannot conceive of the parent who would follow a purely mathematical logic here — hey I can’t pay, the state doesn’t want to, this is the end of the road!

          And these examples can be multiplied. In all sorts of medical situations involving all sorts of ages one could do a cost-benefit analysis and decide the person in question was better of not being treated or even dying in the service of economic rationality. Someone could become a paraplegic in an accident. What would be the ‘advantage’ in paying for such a person’s medical costs forever?

          • Its always going to be a human/moral vs financial decision. Unfortunately, every single human being of every age group cannot be given the highest quality of healthcare, unless there is some hidden treasure somewhere to pay for all of it. The US is not some mythical island of prosperity, it cannot bend rules of finance, rules which are adhered to by the rest of the world.

          • But how are those rules bent in many parts of Europe where outcomes tend to be better than in the US and at much lower cost? Surely Germany and Norway are not bankrupt for these reasons?! Or does Canada have a serious problem because of a much wider healthcare ‘net’?

            Again I am not debating the virtues or demerits of this healthcare bill versus any other. I am just arguing for the ‘idea’ of universal healthcare. This seems to me an ‘irrational’ model whichever way you look at it. In other words simply an argument of economic rationality cannot be applied here even if there is far more of such an argument relevant in this situation. So presumably tons of people wouldn’t show up at emergency centers for relatively common problems if they could get healthcare some other way. I think everyone ‘pays’ for this one way or the other. The solution here is for the govt to not just provide healthcare but reduce costs from hospital care to drugs and so on. All these lobbies are very powerful and it’s hard to get this done and this is the issue that current health care bill couldn’t resolve. But doing both is the answer. A country like the US can afford its universal healthcare but not by letting some of these industries make out like bandits. The pharmaceutical lobby in Congress is even more powerful than the defense industry. It’s just hard to accept that the ‘natural’ price of drugs has to be so atrociously high.

          • @Nykavi
            >Unfortunately, every single human being of every age group cannot be given the highest quality of healthcare, unless there is some hidden treasure somewhere to pay for all of it.

            Switzerland does it for every single human being of every age group and is given the highest quality of healthcare.

  23. Alex adams Says:

    “Unfortunately, every single human being of every age group cannot be given the highest quality of healthcare, unless there is some hidden treasure somewhere to pay for all of it. The US is not some mythical island of prosperity”

    V Good posts there: new York kavi
    U seem to be a ‘hospitalist’ rather than a ‘kavi’

  24. Alex adams Says:

    So now we know where oldgold is hiding ;-)
    She got so impressed with Srk-yrf films that she actually lives there

    On a serious note: feel there should be a clear demarcation between emergency care and elective
    Life saving and cosmetic
    In ANY economy
    NO economy is big enuf
    Including the Americans who need to realise that they arw not the spoilt ‘chosen one’ subspecies on earth
    Time to leave within ones means America
    Otherwise the Greek model on a muCh smaller scale should be used as a sobering thought somewhat

  25. Alex adams Says:

    And Oldgold: just wondering -do they also pay for all the cosmetic surgery / implants/ Botox etc

    Btw a ‘superpower’ needing citizens to have insurance even for emergency care doesn’t deserve the superpower tag !!

  26. Satyam, the Canadian and German models will not cater to the 90 yr old who wants a hip replacement. Those systems, alongwith the British and many other European systems do not provide instant access to specialists and their record on emergent care is not that great either. Universal healthcare for them is the ability for any individual to go to a hospital. But that ability may not translate into actual care! The reason is simple: there are just not enough dollars available to cover every little healthcare need of every individual. You also have to remember, that those countries have tight caps on tort, their docs are not paying out ‘arms and legs’ in malpractice insurance.

    The quality of universal healthcare is much better in smaller nations with good per capita incomes, and cash-surplus govts, such as Switzerland or Norway. Their systems also stress on the preventive aspects of healthcare, rather than just the reactive. There is a big diff between tending for 300 million people, vs less than 10 million. Per capital allotments, the strength of the govts, their debts, etc has to be taken into consideration. It was very clever of Obama to satisfy the drug and insurance lobbies, but conveniently throw doctors under the bus, by not addressing tort reform at all. You cannot have universal healthcare by squeezing out docs on compensation, yet asking them to keep doling out malpractice insurance.

    • The Canadian and German systems have better outcomes than the US. How did that happen?

      Also when you’re comparing population numbers shouldn’t you also do the same for the size of each economy?

      • I have Canadian friends who whine about their system all the time. Long waiting times for specialists, unfulfilled tests, checks, etc. etc. I am not sure which studies have resulted in Canadian outcomes being better. There is no incentive for providers in such systems to work harder for a patient. Its comparable to the VA healthcare system in the US, where problems are swept under the rug. We have VA patients who arrive at our practice, with issues that were never addressed, cause the docs really did not want to go out a on a limb. The reason: VA docs get paid a good 30%+ less than those in private hospitals/practices. At the end of the day, a doctor has to be able to get a monetary reward for their hard work. Absent that reward, the care goes downhill. Its a simple economic concept.

        As for size of the economies: The Europeans do not spend as much on defense, on free sops to undocumented immigrants, and a host of other programs where the US just drains off its resources. The money has to come from somewhere. If the US wants similar systems, they also need to cut back on a bunch of other spending which is deemed necessary.

        • In every study those outcomes have been better for Canada and most of the advanced European economies. As for the litany you have here about the US system exactly these things are said in places like Eng and France and these days even Denmark about immigrants and so on. In fact they indulge in the greatest hysteria about how immigrants are overrunning their countries and putting severe strains on the social safety net and what not.

          It is true that for example in the UK there can be long waits after one is put up as a candidate for heart surgery. But they just cover more people. The person who’s not getting any coverage might not mind waiting! Some of the more well off then have to wait too. On the other hand in the US the latter do very well but many of the rest are in worse shape than they would be in other countries. Health care costs are lower in those other places and they are coupled with better outcomes. This is something that economists of many stripes in the US routinely accept.

          The US spends a great deal on defense true but this industry also then services a larger share of the economy in various ways. But leaving this aside defense is a big expenditure for sure but it’s not back-breaking. In other words if you reduced defense spending dramatically you still wouldn’t be able to address some of these other budgetary issues related to health care. For the latter you just need a different taxation system plus greater monitoring of the health care system in terms of costs. And again there are certain European models here (which incidentally have been beating the US even in terms of social mobility over the last 15 years or more!) where again there are no ‘growth’ issues and so on. A lot of what is presented as Europe in the US is just the worst kind of caricature.

          Incidentally I have known people from Canada and Britain who have whined in both cases. This sort of anecdotal stuff isn’t evidence. One must look at results. Their outcomes are just better.

          • Satyam, universal coverage will mean that the “mean or average” outcome will be better than the US. In the US, only those who can afford healthcare, (mostly due to employment or through Medicare) obviously have better outcomes. So, yes, if you want to put it that way, certainly, universal healthcare has better average outcomes. But still, that 90 yr old will not get the hip replacement in the Canadian/European systems, simply because care is rationed. This is the basic argument: Should a millionaire who can afford a hip replacement for his 90 yr old mother have to pay into a rationed universal healthcare system?

          • But that’s how you measure these things. You don’t just look at the people who have the best healthcare plans! Your point is a bit like saying that the per capita income in India is say $300 to $10000 in the US but if you just look at people who are doing extremely well in India they are at 8000 or something!

            When people measure outcomes they look at the totality of the situation. They don’t compare the guy who has a high end Oxford plan in the US and compare him with some on NHS in Britain! Here’s the thing you’re failing to understand. when 30-40m people don’t have any kind of health insurance they will typically damage their health a lot more than the average person who has insurance before they show up even in emergency rooms. If you’re not getting regular physical checkups that most people who have insurance would have no reason to avoid then a lot of stuff that could otherwise be picked up at the right stage and treated with ‘less’ suddenly gets to the crisis point. In Britain you have atrocious waits a lot of times, I’ve heard a lot of stories, but it is still better than not getting anything! Do relatively well-off people in the US probably get better care than relatively well-off people in Britain? I suspect the answer to that is yes. But that’s not the whole pie! But even including all of this those outcomes are still better elsewhere. Now in fairness some cultural and sociological factors go into this as well but the healthcare system is a part of it. But I can’t agree to slicing and dicing a country’s population to then call the US ‘better’.

            Let me offer an analogy. Sweden is an extremely prosperous country, better than the US in terms of many metrics. However if you want to make it to let’s the top 5% of the population in terms of income the US traditionally makes it far easier to do that as opposed to Sweden (assuming the same kind of education and so on). Of course it’s an irony that over the last 15-20 years the US has lagged behind some of these countries in terms of mobility but let’s leave this aside for the moment. The ‘average’ Swede has a much better social safety net than does the ‘average’ American. However if one wants to play ‘who wants to be a millionaire?’ the US wins.

            A similar situation holds with healthcare. Now surveys routinely reveal that Medicare is a tremendously popular program. In other words the program itself provides services that people like. If you then do universal healthcare on the model of ‘Medicare for all’ (one of the proposals when the debate was taking place) you don’t have an issue with the basic functioning of the program but you have to find a way to pay the bill. And this is where you then have to look at the economics of it whether it’s on the tax issue or tort reform or drug costs or redundant testing or whatever. But to turn this all around and say that everyone cannot get everything because it’s too expensive misses the real crux of the debate. That 90 year old can get a hip replacement if you are willing to pay say 40% (federal) taxes instead of the current rate. Now you might not want to do this. But don’t say the program isn’t affordable. In Sweden they make you pay that 40%. Incidentally in the greatest period of economic expansion for the US after WWII tax rates were astronomically higher than they are today going upto 70% for certain brackets and there was no issue! The question is I think as much of a moral one as it is an economic one. If my grandfather needs a hip replacement at 90 I am not likely to shove him aside using some sort of economic rationale. And the same goes for younger people with life threatening illnesses and so on. With certain kinds of lung cancer you are told you have six months to live and that nothing can really change this. And yet the entire health care system is deployed to ‘treat’ such a person. Let’s say he’s 45 years old. What’s the point in spending so much when we know that barring a miracle such a guy wouldn’t survive?

            so there are all sorts of questions that come up. It’s not only about the elderly. The economic argument is a bit of a smokescreen. You can’t have everything. if you like the Republican side of the argument on economic issues it’s true that Medicare will never be affordable for the nation. The question simply is whether one slices the economic pie a bit differently.

            With all those other European examples and with all the budgetary challenges they’ve faced over the decades they fundamentally decided that it was a ‘value’ to have a bigger social safety net and so on. This has not led to economic ruin necessarily as those Scandinavian examples or better still Germany proves. But to sustain that ‘value’ they’ve decided on certain things that are typically less palatable in the US. Having said that the US itself has only expanded it’s net over the last 70 years or more. It has never gone in the other direction.

            And again costs in the health care industry (in the US) are simply astronomically high. This problem can be fixed. whether there is the political will to do it or whether it is even structurally possible at this stage with the way Congress works is another matter. But it can be done. We can’t compare one kind of imperfection with another and use each as an absolute model. There are some good models out there and no one thinks that the US has one of them. The US is more or less behind every important industrialized nation in terms of these outcomes. The two obvious differences are the great nets in these countries but also lower costs in most of them. The societal factors are of course very important but why not focus on that which can more easily be resolved?

            I’ll leave you with one example. It’s true that in Britain for example they sometimes make you wait for months after selecting you as a candidate for a bypass. In the US there is an increasing number of studies about how many bypasses are simply unnecessary. So it works both ways.

          • >But still, that 90 yr old will not get the hip replacement in the Canadian/European systems, simply because care is rationed.

            You shopuld make a stuidy of the different Healthcare systems in Europe before speaking,and since you say ‘Europe’ I must tell you that in Switzerland (and I’m sure the Scandinavian countries) the **best** is available to everyone including **specialists** for treatment from A to Z to replace anything.
            There are no waiting lists. The private hospitals may work outside the healthcare system, but have to cater to any patients sent to them either for emergencies or for treatment by a specialist, who works both for private and under the healthcare system.
            The system is so good that most of the rich are also part of it. The private hospitals usually have patients from abroad including the US ;-)

  27. The road I have travelled with traffic cops tailing me.

    • alex adams Says:

      Oldgold: im genuinely impressed by this cumment of yours :-)

      ditto for new york kavi..

      ps Oldgold—Switzerland is anyhow not a ‘poor’ patients case study anyhow
      What is the proportion of NON-rich folks there btw

  28. Alex adams Says:

    “The road I have travelled with traffic cops tailing me.”
    Hahaha Sanjana
    So did u get fined or jailed, finally lol?

    ” It was very clever of Obama to satisfy the drug and insurance lobbies, but conveniently throw doctors under the bus, by not addressing tort reform at all. You cannot have universal healthcare by squeezing out docs on compensation, yet asking them to keep doling out malpractice insurance”-interesting point there

  29. i can’t resist posting this. my fav hwood actor from the current lot, matt damon(who is one of the most “socially and politically conscious” actors around) appears to be mighty pissed with obama.once a staunch supporter of obama,he recently told one of the publications- “a one time president with some balls, who got stuff done for his country, would have been, in the long run, much better.”

  30. alex adams Says:

    “The Europeans do not spend as much …. on free sops to undocumented immigrants..”
    Think this should be “british” rather than “europeans”.
    Some like the germans, swiss are relatively “closed” though
    even somewhat “sterile”
    Amercians complaining about ‘immigration” is like “fire” complaining about the “matchstick” or “smoke” complaining about “fire” or more appropriately-
    “condom” complaining about “sex”!!! ;-) what an oxymoronish thought

    • After Luxembourg, Switzerland has the highest percentage of immigrants – more than Britain.

      • alex adams Says:

        thanx for the link oldgold
        must say was quite informative
        Also must say that didnt see much of ‘immigrants’ (in the sense commonly used) in switzerland (on multiple visits)
        maybe there are some ghetoised areas not visited by me
        ditto about the scandinavian and some other european countries mentioned
        But wont discount these since my visits/experiences have been more of the capital/metro/mainstream settings than some ghetto/pockets
        ps–Are the white french/italian speakers in switz also being counted as ‘immigrants’ technically here?

        • >didnt see much of ‘immigrants’ (in the sense commonly used) in switzerland (on multiple visits)

          That’s switzerlnd for you.
          The immigrants look like anyone else, because they are well looked after. A lot of money goes into that.
          There are no ghettos or slums.
          Anyway, you cannot usually make out the financial status of people. You could be rubbing shoulders with a millionaire in a supermarket. Unlike as in India or the US where an Ambani builds himself a stinking rich mansion.

          • Missed the last part of your comment. Immigrants are from EU countries, Balkan refugees, Iraqi refugees, several from the former communist countries, from Africa, and Asia (Thais and filipinos). If I find the percentage breakup I’ll let you know.

          • alex adams Says:

            hmm gud points oldgold
            seems the swiss are lookin after u well.
            so r u good at skiing? im getting better :-)

            ps—switzerland is not comparable to the much bigger/complex models like britain, germany, forget USA.
            But switz is surely a unique case due to the small size and highly specialised labour force which along with the immense economic and political stability makes it a very good model.
            One can have a small green house but maintaining it on a big scale becums difficult
            The ‘immigrants’ u are talking about are surely not the ones being mentioned by satyam/ nykavi above
            BUt yes- they have played it shrewdly, made the correct alliances and ‘neutrality’ where it suits them
            The banking sector and the whole ‘swiss bank facade’ suppors this.

          • >One can have a small green house but maintaining it on a big scale becums difficult

            I’ve heard that before. Good excuse.
            I think if individual states did things like a small nation the whole country would prosper.

            I didn’t miss your ‘digs’, but am not going to get into this kind of discussion which probably stems from …. envy? ;-)

          • >The ‘immigrants’ u are talking about are surely not the ones being mentioned by satyam/ nykavi above

            Forgot to mention this. The number of immigrants who need complete care make up a large percentage of them. About 20 + years ago there was an influx from Sri Lanka, former Yugoslavia followed by those from Iraq etc

  31. alex adams Says:

    “You shopuld make a stuidy of the different Healthcare systems in Europe before speaking,and since you say ‘Europe’ I must tell you that in Switzerland (and I’m sure the Scandinavian countries) the **best** is available”–oldgold, pray tell us more about the various healthcare models in europe eg in switzerland or the scandinavian countries

    ps–just read satyams ultra-loooong above
    HE has nicely answered all of new york kavis points, i think

  32. alex adams Says:

    btw dont get me wrong
    Love swiss and visit often
    Trying to master skiing currently–r u any gud skiing?
    btw which is your favorite ‘peak’
    like the clockwork precision of trains etc the most
    and yes–btw NOT a big fan of swiss chocolate lol

  33. alex adams Says:

    “Nothing”–?? what was that…lol
    so oldgold, if they look after u so much
    y dont u ask for a multiplex shoiwng bollywood to save u the flight trips ;-)

  34. alex adams Says:

    errm (clearing the throat)
    seems the movie is just ONE item in the menu of those ‘trips’ then :-)

  35. alex adams Says:

    time for some “skiing & trekking’ practical tips from oldgold
    cmon og
    gud nite folkz

  36. Satyam
    I am not denying the benefits of a system that covers everyone and improves lives. However, to get back to the start of our discussion, my basic premise is this: If we have universal healthcare, we cannot have a private healthcare system as it exists in its current form. Obama should come clean, and let the nation know that universal healthcare can only lead to the decimation of the present system. Universal health is not possible unless the total population pays into it. If people pay the govt, why would they pay a private insurer again? And further, if govt is going to control healthcare, it also needs to put an end to tort as we know it. Absent mal-practice reform, the govt will not find doctors to go bat for it. Doctors will also need to lower their compensation, and their expectations for making money in a govt healthcare system. None of these inevitable facts have been spelt out clearly.

  37. alex adams Says:

    Just to add something before goin ahead with the night ‘lessons’..

    Satyam is being the gracious ‘biggie’ here who steps back intermittently to let the ‘kids play’
    but comes up once in a while with a loooong dong oops cumment to show everyone their place
    Satyam–keep it up
    ace cumment above—the looong one–others are not qualified to assess its ‘depth’
    gud nite

  38. Alex adams Says:

    Btw folks-just to report that oldgold had a ‘sprain’ from a fall yesterday.
    But she’s still working :-)
    How r u now og…
    We r concerned

  39. I dont know how many have heard about it yet but probably the defining moment of this presidential election season just took place today when one of the top Romney spokesman made a surprising gaffe on CNN. When asked if he was painting himslef into a corner by adopting positions too far to the right to overcome Santorum, something that can come back to bite them in the fall campaign against Obema this staffer blithely said that fall capmpaign is a new game and Romney is like Etch-a-sketch and they can shake it up and come up with new positions on issues! Nobody has ever doubted Romney’s tendency to shift positions to suit the moment but this admission by a spokesmnan on national telivision will be VERY,VERY damaging.

    • LOL! Romney has an encyclopedia of gaffes at this point! His biggest problem is that he just isn’t a natural politician. He’s at Gore level which in my book is a bit worse than Kerry. But leaving this aside he’s not a candidate and simply an managerial idea. If the economy is bad elect me and I’ll fix it. That’s it. It’s a very empty campaign and candidate otherwise. Obviously if things are bad this kind of thing sells. Romney can win in an environment where things are bad and practically anyone can win. In the general election barring this criticism of Obama he’ll be Obama-lite on everything else. Leaving aside the newest chapter in his flip-flopping this is never enough to beat an incumbent. It’s true that Romney doesn’t scare anyone because no one believes he’s anything but an East Coast moderate Republican (an almost extinct species). But this also depresses the base. so even in a bad case scenario or one where there’s a close election it cuts both ways. The ‘centrist’ guy doesn’t scare anyone but doesn’t excite the base either. The more authentic candidate runs the risk of scaring the middle (whether left or right) but also mobilizes the base.

      I would be surprised however if this were a close election. All the pundits think otherwise but there isn’t necessarily a contradiction here. Obama won some states by a sliver. He won big in the electoral college but the margin of victory was 6-7 pts in the popular vote. So if you just win a number of battleground states narrowly the electoral college result flatters to deceive.

      Republican insiders and even many voters have for the most part given up on this race. which is another way of saying unless something very bad (if not catastrophic) happens on some front Obama can’t be beaten. Which was of course the calculation made by many heavyweights last year who chose not to run when Obama was having a far rougher time in every sense.

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