Washington Babylon — March 22, 2010, 9:20 am

Health Care, Waterboarding and Conspiracies

On balance, and for reasons not necessarily related to its contents, I suppose it’s better that the health care bill passed than not. But the Democrats, advocates, and (worst of all) bloggers who are hailing the bill as a stunning piece of social legislation that will radically transform the country’s health care system sound precisely as loopy as the Tea Party-ers who are shouting that America is now a socialist country.

During a comedy show Saturday night at the Left Forum, John Fugelsang, said (roughly), “This bill is so watered down, Dick Cheney could use it to pour over Khalid Sheikh Mohammed’s face.” Which about sums it up.

Speaking of the Left Forum, I appeared at a panel there with The Yes Men about undercover reporting. There were a lot of interesting panels and participants, but the number of conspiracy-minded people attending these events is always astonishingly high. The 9/11 types are the absolute worst, bringing to mind what Maureen Dowd once wrote about JFK conspiracists: “There are no ends, only new beginnings.”

Remember that Afghanistan pipeline, which conspiracists on the left and right used to say was the real reason for the American invasion of Afghanistan? (Never mind the attacks on the World Trade Center and Pentagon, which were, depending on who had you trapped in the corner at a bad party, either faked or allowed to happen by the Bush administration so it could invade Afghanistan and Iraq.) We’re going on 10 years since 9/11 and there’s still no pipeline, but if one ever gets built, rest assured, the conspiracists will have their proof.

Share
Single Page

More from Ken Silverstein:

From the November 2013 issue

Dirty South

The foul legacy of Louisiana oil

Perspective October 23, 2013, 8:00 am

On Brining and Dining

How pro-oil Louisiana politicians have shaped American environmental policy

Postcard October 16, 2013, 8:00 am

The Most Cajun Place on Earth

A trip to one of the properties at issue in Louisiana’s oil-pollution lawsuits 

Get access to 164 years of
Harper’s for only $39.99

United States Canada

CATEGORIES

THE CURRENT ISSUE

January 2015

Come With Us if You Want to Live

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

The Body Politic

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

The Problem of Pain Management

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

Game On

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

Love Crimes

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

view Table Content

FEATURED ON HARPERS.ORG

Article
The Body Politic·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

“‘He wrote all these love poems, but he was a son of a bitch,’ said a reporter from a wire service.”
Illustration by Steven Dana
Article
Love Crimes·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

“If a man rapes a woman, she might be forced to marry him, because in Afghanistan sex before marriage is dishonorable.”
Photographs © Andrew Quilty/Oculi/Agence VU
Article
Game On·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

“The end of the Cold War and the collapse of the Soviet Union had posed a truly existential threat.”
Illustration by Taylor Callery
Article
Come With Us if You Want to Live·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

“I was startled that all these negative ideologies could be condensed so easily into a positive worldview.”
Illustration by Darrel Rees
Article
Christmas in Prison·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

“Just so you motherfuckers know, I’ll be spending Christmas with my family, eating a good meal, and you’ll all be here, right where you belong.”
Photographer unknown. Artwork courtesy Alyse Emdur

Acres of hemp grown by “patriotic‚” U.S. farmers in 1942 at the behest of the U.S. government:

36,000

A study suggested that the health effects of exposure to nuclear radiation at Chernobyl were no worse than ill health resulting from smoking and normal urban air pollution.

Greenpeace apologized after activists accidentally defaced the site of Peru’s 2,000-year-old Nazca Lines when they unfurled cloth letters reading “time for change” near the ancient sand drawings. “We fully understand,” the group wrote in a statement, “that this looks bad.”

Subscribe to the Weekly Review newsletter. Don’t worry, we won’t sell your email address!

HARPER’S FINEST

In Praise of Idleness

By

I hope that after reading the following pages the leaders of the Y. M. C. A. will start a campaign to induce good young men to do nothing. If so, I shall not have lived in vain.

Subscribe Today