Saturday, February 11, 2012

SNAKE OIL POLITICS

Chinese laborers who help to build the transcontinental railroad in the 19th century introduced Americans to a pain relieving salve made from snake oil.

Imitators popped up all across the western states, traveling peddlers who hawked all kinds of phony concoctions which supposedly contained snake oil and were good for whatever ailment you had.

Snake oil salesmen were shameless frauds who made preposterous claims, often invented on the spur of the moment. They usually had a shill in the audience who would loudly affirm every miraculous cure the hustler described.

And so the phrase “snake oil salesman” became a staple in American culture.

He was a regular character in all the cowboy shoot-out movies.

Perhaps the most celebrated arch type of the snake oil salesman was Professor Harold Hill in the musical comedy, “Music Man.” A likable scalawag, Hill managed to bamboozle the whole town of River City with fast talk, big promises and superficial charm.

Move over, Robert Preston. You have just been replaced by Barack Obama.

Yesterday, the American people were treated to the most brazen snake oil pitch ever delivered from the back of a chuck wagon or from the oval office.

Faced with a nationwide uprising of Catholics over his insistence that all employers provide health insurance which includes birth control pills, the President went on national television and announced that his administration had come up with a compromise solution.

With a perfectly straight face and a confident air of benign authority, Mr. Obama told us that objecting employers would no longer be required to pay for birth control.

No sir, the employers will not be required to pay for something their religious conviction forbids.

The insurance companies will.

Duh?

Catholic employers were complaining because they were being required to carry insurance that covered birth control. They were never going to pay for the pills directly. The insurance companies were always going to be the ones to write the check.

Before Obama opened his mouth yesterday, employers were complaining about what their mandated health care insurance was going to pay for.

The snake oil President came up with a wonderful “compromise” solution.

He tells Archbishop Dolan, “You don’t have to pay for it.” Of course, you still have to carry insurance. And the insurance company still has to pay for birth control pills.

Exactly where, Mr. President, is the insurance company going to get the money to pay for the birth control pills?

Insurance companies get their money by charging premiums to their customers. They figure out how much to charge by keeping track of how much they have to pay out in benefits.

So now the actuaries and the accountants who work for the insurance companies can’t have a line item called “birth control benefits.” Birth control pills are a freebee. So put it under “miscellaneous.”

Or whatever. But the cost of birth control pills isn’t going to come out of insurance company profits. Even the President of the United States can’t make that happen.

No sir. The Catholic hospitals are still going to pay the premiums, and the premiums are still going to cover birth control pills.

America has heard the White House snake oil pitch.

Now it’s time for all the loyal shills in the audience to start cheering.

9 comments:

  1. “While there may be an openness to respond to some of our concerns, we reserve judgment on the details until we have them,” said Cardinal-designate Timothy Dolan the president of the group, adding that the past three weeks "have witnessed a remarkable unity of Americans from all religions or none at all worried about the erosion of religious freedom and governmental intrusion into issues of faith and morals."
    But Dolan called the Obama administration's decision "a first step in the right direction."

    “We hope to work with the administration to guarantee that Americans’ consciences and our religious freedom are not harmed by these regulations,” he said.

    The majority of Catholics do use birth control. What do you suggest? The good old reliable Rythem Method?

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  2. The majority of Catholics, like the majority of people of all religions, are sinners. Human beings constantly struggle with the difference between what we ought to do and what we want to do.

    The role of religion is to establish and promote a standard of human conduct, called morality, which is essentially aspirational.

    It is not the business of government to decide whether the standard of morality espoused by any particular religion is or is not worthy of the protection of the First Amendment.

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    Replies
    1. With all due respect Justice Brennan. We are all sinners, not a mere majority. Thank you.

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    2. Do you actually believe that no one should use contraceptives? Great. Than families can have as many children as possible and end up on welfare which you do not support. Of course we can execute the many who will commit capital crimes. Can't have abortions but no problem killing them when they are alive.

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    3. You're neglecting the inevitability of sin, anon2.

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  3. I would add that it was upon a rock that Christ built His Church, not upon sands that shift with every change in the direction of the wind. The Church shouldn't change it's teachings to suit those who find them to be inconvenient.

    Various forms of contraception have been available for thousands of years and the practice would hve been well-known to ealry Christian leaders. The Roman Catholic Church made an informed and well thought-out decision to teach that contraception is sinful and it is not the place of the government to force the Church to modify that belief.

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  4. What's next?

    Restaurants to give away free meals.

    Tire stores to give away free tires?

    Airlines to give away free flights?

    Country clubs to give away free memberships?

    The President has no authority to order any business entity to give away anything. He also has no authority to order Americans to purchase health insurance. Furthermore, he's a fool if he believes that every American (including drug dealers, drug users, prostitutes, and Obama voters) is going to purchase insurance or pay a fine.

    November 2012 can't come soon enough.

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    Replies
    1. Where did you get your GED???

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  5. If it was not for the snake oil salesman the U.S. Auto industry would be gone. Thanks to Obama GM is now the leading auto manufacturer in the world. Millions of jobs have been saved. Romney wanted to let them die which is what he caused so many companies to do. The only reason we are talking about the cultural war again is the the economy despite the republicans best efforts is on the upswing and will be under 8% by the end of the summer. The best thing that could happen for the Democrats is for Santorum to get the nomination. The independent vote will than go to Obama. What you don't seem to get is that Obama is a centrist Democrat not a left wing socialist muslim, etc. etc. while Santorum is a right wing fanatic. We don't need fanatic Dem or Repub for our President.

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