The [Wednesday] Papers
By Steve Rhodes
"Mayor Daley today accused unidentified media naysayers of trying to sandbag Chicago's 2016 Olympic bid by reporting testimony from people at neighborhood hearings who don't want the Olympics," the Fran Spielman reports in theSun-Times.
So the media shouldn't report testimony from people at neighborhood hearings? Aren't the hearings being held to, um, hear from the people?
"You're against it. You were against Millennium Park. You were against 911. You were against Soldiers Field. You were against Meigs Field. What else were you against? You're against a lot. But, that's freedom of speech," Daley said.
Well, let's see.
Against Millennium Park, check.
Against 911, which I assume he means the shiny new 911 Center, sure.
Against Soldier Field, check.
Against Meigs Field, check.
And can anyone say the critics weren't right in every case?
"Some people don't want this ... That's part of American democracy. They can stand up and say anything they want."
Just don't report it!
"But, in the next five years, six years, tell me one [other] thing that can bring jobs and economic opportunities and, besides that, guarantee an investment by the federal government [of] billions of dollars in infrastructure. If you have something better, I'd love to see it."
"Newspaper editorials have been overwhelmingly supportive of the city's bid to host the 2016 Summer Olympic Games," Spielman notes. "Some of the television coverage has been so gung-ho, reporters sounded like cheerleaders."
Now, I have to admit that Spielman has toughened up her prose in the last few months. Maybe somebody got to her.
"Why is Tokyo for it?" Daley continued. "Why is Rio de Janeiro for it? Why is Madrid? They're all in recession. Why are they seeking it? Every other city prior to the announcement by the U.S. Olympic Committee that we were winners - everybody else wanted it."
Other cities have elites that wanna have fun, too. That doesn't mean hosting the Games is an economically sound venture for the rest of us. History, in fact, shows it's an economic nightmare.
"Besides that, it will help your industry tremendously," Daley added. "It'll help tremendously in your [media] industry as well."
It's the only way he knows how to think.
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HEALTH CARE COMMENT
Very much appreciate your observations on the health care debate, though I part from you somewhat in my belief that only a single-payer or French-style system makes any sense whatsoever, practically OR politically, for reasons I won't get into here.
Anyway, here's my thought on why we're not going to end up with much of anything health-carewise: The Democrats have never been the least bit serious about delivering. Rather, what we're seeing is elaborate kabuki designed to dial down expectations because (here's the kicker) the lousy, cruel and costly system we have is about the best we can expect, given the permanently crappifying state of our economy. And here I'm not talking about the recession but rather ongoing globalization, which is a kind of reverse colonialism in which advanced economies (or at least our economy) are deliberately dismantled.
In this scenario, the key to any society-wide service is to preserve and even enhance what is available to the winners (the narrow class that thrives on globalization) while cramming down the benefits available to everyone else. This would include such things as "welfare reform" and new bankruptcy laws that make it much tougher for ordinary citizens to file.
But pre-eminently the cramdown includes health care. The one advantage of our current system is that it rations care by ability to pay without being too bloody obvious about it. That's why, I suspect, even in the unlikely event we do get some kind of public option, it will be so damned hard for ordinary Americans to get access to it that most of us will still be stuck with the private bloodsuckers whose main profit point is DEPRIVING people of care.
You might counter by noting that this is the richest nation on Earth and, surely, we can afford to cover everyone. But not necessarily. Per-capita GDP looks pretty good. But far too much of that wealth is concentrated way up at the tippy-top of the pyramid, the section with the floating eyeball. For most of us nearer the base, our incomes are unlikely to support anything other than a heavily rationed system that, while it might well make sense on a broad public-health scale, would be transparently unjust (especially by comparison with what the globalization winners would get) and therefore intolerable.
The fragmented and opaquely unjust system we have, therefore, is something that both Republicans and Democrats devoutly wish to preserve, especially if they can render it even more fragmented and opaque. Hence all the mixed signals and the Democrats' utterly mystifying emphasis on cost savings rather than security or justice.
But hey, that's just me, a feverish conspiracy theorist.
The Beachwood Tip Line: Conspire.
Posted on July 22, 2009
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