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The Spectacle Blog

Ben Stein Is So Wrong About Health Care It’s Hard To Know Where To Begin — Part 1

Ben Stein VIDA Statement Clutch Winged Angel by VIDA 1iAnKrZ
on “Your World with Neil Cavuto” Wednesday to discuss late-night talk show host Jimmy Kimmel’s touching VIDA Statement Bag Dance by VIDA 2jAyc5ugA
that included ill-informed statements about health care. Instead of trying to correct Kimmel’s assertions, though, Stein just added to the confusion.

Regarding the future of our health care system, Stein said, “At the end of the day … it’s going to be single-payer. And the taxpayers are going to have to pick up the tab, and we might as well face that fact as soon as possible. I don’t like it … but Jimmy is totally right. We cannot let Americans be denied health care because of preexisting conditions.”

If that doesn’t sound enough like a left-wing talking point, Stein then uttered this nonsense:

It is a basic American right to have decent health care. That is a basic right. We live in a very rich country … and the idea that any parent who sees his child born with a serious defect will think, ‘My God, I might not be able to afford to keep my child alive.’ is abhorrent to everything it means to be an American.

I’ll address the spurious notion that health care is a right in my next post. For now, let’s unpack Stein’s first statement.

Stein paints single-payer health care as inevitable. Well, nothing is inevitable until it happens and single-payer seems particularly unlikely. The last time our government tried a big expansion into health care it gave rise to big protests at town hall meetings, spawned a movement known as the Tea Party, and caused lots of members of Congress to lose their jobs. It also resulted in millions of people losing their insurance and the mess that is the Obamacare exchanges. If you believe that most Americans are going to be eager for the full government takeover of health care that is single-payer after the Obamacare debacle, well, I’ve got a bridge in Brooklyn to sell you.

Stein also suggests that single-payer will prevent Americans from being denied health care because of preexisting conditions. Mavis Skeet and Diane Gorsuch might have had something to say about that. Unfortunately, they died awaiting care. VIDA Leather Statement Clutch hearts butterflies white by VIDA k6MVb
had her cancer operation canceled four times under Britain’s single-payer system while Ms. Gorsuch had her bypass surgery canceled twice under Canada’s.

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My journey to better understand the cult led to me speaking gibberish to a wall for 40minutes

W , the latest Netflix documentary sensation to hit Americans’ TV screens, opens with an eerie shot of a rural village in Oregon. It’s the 1980s, and we learn that the town has a population of 50 — that is, until a cult arrives and buys a 60,000-acre ranch they grow into a bustling metropolis of followers.

When Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh, the cult’s Indian guru, arrives in a Rolls-Royce and steps onto a red carpet in the middle of the dust, he has a long God-like beard and holds his hands in prayer. Then the scene cuts to later footage showing him in the same reverent pose, but this time in handcuffs.

“What happened was far scarier than anything anyone could have imagined,” the town’s former mayor says to the camera with a smirk.

I was instantly hooked. I spent the rest of my weekend binge-watching the six-part series, which documents the Bhagwan’s rise, how he gains his followers and his attempt to build a completely self-sustaining utopian town named Rajneeshpuram. Without giving away too much, the story starts with an idyllic vision of a community based on values of nonviolence, creative pursuits and personal growth, but quickly turns as tensions mount between the Rajneeshees and the longtime conservative residents.

The strangest part of watching the show: even though it really ugly, with arsenals of automatic weapons, bioterrorism and attempted murders, at the beginning I couldn’t help but think, How do I join?

I mean that question slightly flippantly, of course. How it ends is nothing I would ever want to be a part of, but the early days of their community seemed legitimately magical. An ecologically sound farm. Women in leadership positions and driving forklifts. Naked sunbathing. Spending days pondering one’s existence and spinning pottery wheels. Watching from 2018 America, I couldn’t help but feel a certain nostalgia for a cell-phone-free world in which people were free of constant news updates of our country’s infighting and instead danced around the farm.

As any good Netflix documentary does, sparked a spiral down the Google black hole. But this search illuminated the reason that I had never heard of the Bhagwan before: after being ejected from the United States, he had renamed — or rebranded — himself as Osho. And I knew of Osho. Not well, but he was on my bookshelf, right in between Eckhart Tolle and Thich Nhat Hanh. His book’s (not) radical title:

His words and beliefs had been sitting in my house all along.

I revisited the book. “Nobody loves anything more than freedom. Even love is secondary to freedom; freedom is the highest value. Love can be sacrificed for freedom, but freedom cannot be sacrificed for love,” it says. Nothing scary or menacing about that. That’s the thing: the original sin of the Rajneeshees wasn’t any of their teachings. None were too different from those potentially heard in a talk at Spirit Rock or Esalen.

The problem was that the Rajneeshes approached life in a completely opposite way than the Christian retirees in the community in which they settled. What ended in violence really began as a culture war between the two. Early in the film, a disgruntled townsperson quotes Edmund Burke: “All that’s necessary for evil is for good men to do nothing” referring to the need to standup to the cult. However, the evil she seemed most concerned about was their habit of having lots of sex and practicing — gasp — open marriage. Footage of the Rajneeshees meditating also didn’t help them gain sympathizers. It was not silent and still. It was active — very active. Footage showed people losing complete control en masse, kicking the air, dancing wildly, screaming, flailing and weeping.

And it was this active meditation they showed in the documentary, I realized, that might be my best shot at a real-life experience of at least a bit of the allure of Osho. I was sure someone must still practice a form of it somewhere in Northern California. I turned back to Google.

Turns out, Osho died in 1990, but his Novica Recycled soda poptop handbag Multicolor Dramatic Style hslhO2Dba4
still exists. Their VIDA Tote Bag raspberry delight by VIDA Ek0w37
has 2.4 million followers, and the website contains book endorsements from Madonna and Lady Gaga. And while they run a meditation center in India that you can visit for a fee, grassroots donation-based groups all over the world offer Osho meditations. Norway. Mozambique. And, of course, Berkeley.

And so a couple of weeks ago, on a Friday night, I found myself in a meditation room at the end of a Buddha-lined hallway in the Rudramandir building, a catch-all spiritual center just off I-580 that’s filled with healers and groups of all sorts of orientations.

Friendly people greeted me with samosas and tortilla chips. When I told them that the documentary had brought me, they looked at me wide-eyed. “Usually, people have the opposite reaction,” one woman said to me.

They explained that the meditation for the evening was called VIDA Tote Bag LEMONADE XVIII by VIDA kFhks4PNG
. The structure was 40 minutes of speaking gibberish—yep, gibberish—followed by 40 minutes of a seated, silent guided meditation. Minutes later, I was facing a wall, my eyes closed, listening to Osho’s long-dead voice coming from a Bluetooth speaker on the floor: “Put the conscious off, and let the unconscious speak.”

I got into it more quickly than I would have expected. I spoke my own made-up language, inspired by the languages of Scandinavia. My throat was hacking “h” sounds, my mouth widening to produce exaggerated diphthongs, and my words fell into a staccato rhythm that I could imagine myself saying as I walked around a fjord. Around me, four strangers were partaking in the their own creations. I heard maniacal laughing, intense sobbing, squeaks and lips fluttering. Once or twice, I started screaming so loudly that I drowned them all out.

When it was all done, I felt spent in a good way. During the silence that followed, thoughts — somewhat to my dismay — came rushing back. I realized that I now better understood the appeal of Osho or the Bhagwan: out of my comfort zone, in the throes of speaking a language that did not exist, I had managed something I had never accomplished in the quiet hall of the San Francisco Zen Center — I had actually emptied my mind.

No-Mind was one of over one hundred Osho meditations, many of them active. For Osho, the VIDA Leather Statement Clutch infinite green change by VIDA Tvbhuk
for modern man. Instead he noted that “chaotic methods” were helpful at quieting the brain.

The goal of his meditations are the same as any other, but the route was different. It was like yoga versus CrossFit — both practices aim for fitness; both work; and some are more suited for one over the other. (BTW, I hate yoga, but I love CrossFit.)

And while the whole experience had been strange, awkward and, to be honest, a bit terrifying, it was also completely freeing. And fun. I had flailed around like a crazy person for 40 minutes in the company of others and survived. It made me think about how much self-consciousness I carry with me and how good it would feel to leave some (but not all) aside.

Before I left, the facilitator coaxed us to do one last dance. As we danced free-form to folk music, the facilitators jumped up at random intervals. “Osho!” they shouted.

“Osho! Osho!” I joined in. It was fun. Not serious. Not reverent. But like children playing. There was nothing nefarious here. No one was trying to indoctrinate me. It was “take what you want and leave the rest,” and I felt like I was leaving with something.

Driving back over the bridge to San Francisco, I thought about what it had been like to be stripped of my most common habit — language — the thing that orders my world and experience. And then I thought about how doggedly both sides, the Oregonian residents and the Rajneeshees, had clung to their own habits, and how it wasn’t evil but the difference between them that had pushed things over the edge.

The whole thing seemed unfortunately like a message a bit too apt for 2018.

I Binged “

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