22 March 2010

too true

[click image, via jo6pac]

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The Health Care Hindenburg Has Landed
By Chris Hedges

Rep. Dennis Kucinich’s decision to vote “yes” in Sunday’s House action on the health care bill, although he had sworn to oppose the legislation unless there was a public option, is a perfect example of why I would never be a politician. I respect Kucinich. As politicians go, he is about as good as they get, but he is still a politician. He has to run for office. He has to raise money. He has to placate the Democratic machine or risk retaliation and defeat. And so he signed on to a bill that will do nothing to ameliorate the suffering of many Americans, will force tens of millions of people to fork over a lot of money for a defective product and, in the end, will add to the ranks of our uninsured.

The claims made by the proponents of the bill are the usual deceptive corporate advertising. The bill will not expand coverage to 30 million uninsured, especially since government subsidies will not take effect until 2014. Families who cannot pay the high premiums, deductibles and co-payments, estimated to be between 15 and 18 percent of most family incomes, will have to default, increasing the number of uninsured. Insurance companies can unilaterally raise prices without ceilings or caps and monopolize local markets to shut out competitors. The $1.055 trillion spent over the next decade will add new layers of bureaucratic red tape to what is an unmanageable and ultimately unsustainable system.

The mendacity of the Democratic leadership in the face of this reality is staggering. Howard Dean, who is a doctor, said recently: “This is a vote about one thing: Are you for the insurance companies or are you for the American people?” Here is a man who once championed the public option and now has sold his soul. What is the point in supporting him or any of the other Democrats? How much more craven can they get?

Take a look at the health care debacle in Massachusetts, a model for what we will get nationwide. One in six people there who have the mandated insurance say they cannot afford care, and tens of thousands of people have been evicted from the state program because of budget cuts. The 45,000 Americans who die each year because they cannot afford coverage will not be saved under the federal legislation. Half of all personal bankruptcies will still be caused by an inability to pay astronomical medical bills. The only good news is that health care stocks and bonuses for the heads of these corporations are shooting upward. Chalk this up as yet another victory for our feudal overlords and a defeat for the serfs.

The U.S. spends twice as much as other industrialized nations on health care—$7,129 per capita—although 45.7 million Americans remain without health coverage and millions more are inadequately covered, meaning that if they get seriously ill they are not covered. Fourteen thousand Americans a day are now losing their health coverage. A report in the journal Health Affairs estimates that, if the system is left unchanged, one of every five dollars spent by Americans in 2017 will go to health coverage. Private insurance bureaucracy and paperwork consume 31 cents of every health care dollar. Streamlining payment through a single nonprofit payer would save more than $400 billion per year, enough, Physicians for a National Health Plan points out, to provide comprehensive, high-quality coverage for all Americans. Check out www.healthcare-now.org. It has some of the best analysis.

This bill is not about fiscal responsibility or the common good. The bill is about increasing corporate profit at taxpayer expense. It is the health care industry’s version of the Wall Street bailout. It lavishes hundreds of billions in government subsidies on insurance and drug companies. The some 3,000 health care lobbyists in Washington, whose dirty little hands are all over the bill, have once more betrayed the American people for money. The bill is another example of why change will never come from within the Democratic Party. The party is owned and managed by corporations. The five largest private health insurers and their trade group, America’s Health Insurance Plans, spent more than $6 million on lobbying in the first quarter of 2009. Pfizer, the world’s biggest drug maker, spent more than $9 million during the last quarter of 2008 and the first three months of 2009. The Washington Post reported that up to 30 members of Congress from both parties who hold key committee memberships have major investments in health care companies totaling between $11 million and $27 million. President Barack Obama’s director of health care policy, who will not discuss single payer as an option, has served on the boards of several health care corporations. And as salaries for most Americans have stagnated or declined during the past decade, health insurance profits have risen by 480 percent.

Obama and the congressional leadership have consciously shut out advocates of single payer from the debate. The press, including papers such as The New York Times, treats single payer as a fringe movement. The television networks rarely mention it. And yet between 45 and 60 percent of doctors favor single payer. Between 40 and 62 percent of the American people, including 80 percent of registered Democrats, want universal, single-payer not-for-profit health care for all Americans. The ability of the corporations to discredit and silence voices that represent at least half of the population is another sad testament to the power of our corporate state to frame all discussions.

Change will come only by building movements that stand in fierce and uncompromising opposition to the Democrats and the Republicans. If they can herd Kucinich and John Conyers, the sponsors of House Resolution 676, a bill that would create a publicly funded National Health Program by eliminating private health insurers, onto the House floor to vote for this corporate theft, what is the point in pretending there is any room left for us in the party? And why should we waste our time with gutless liberal groups such as Moveon.org, which felt the need to collect more than $1 million to pressure House Democrats who had voted “no” on the original bill to recant? What was this purportedly anti-war group doing anyway serving as an obsequious recruiting arm of the Obama election campaign? The longer we tie ourselves to the Democrats and these bankrupt liberal organizations the more ridiculous and impotent we appear.

“I’m ready to listen to the White House, if the White House is ready to listen to the concerns about putting a public option in this bill,” the old Kucinich said on the “Democracy Now!” radio and television program before he flipped. “I mean, they can do that. You know, they’re still cutting last-minute deals. Put the public option back in. Make it a robust public option. Give the people a chance to really negotiate rates with the insurance companies … from the standpoint of having a public option. But don’t just tell the people that you’re going to call this health care reform, when you’re giving insurance companies an even more powerful monopoly status in our economy.”

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17 comments:

  1. I'm cross posting my comment from Bradblog...

    RE: Healthcare "reform"

    As the President signs the 'Healthcare' bill...this item "It's About the Democracy and the Media, Stupid..." ...Is the perfect backdrop to the events of the last few months regarding ACORN and lying smear job that has brought it down.

    This travesty of a health "reform" act is what happens when all of America isn't represented. This bill which further enriches and empowers the very insurance companies that it's supposed to mitigate. This bill is an Orwellian piece of shit that masquerades as change...while keeping the status quo in place.

    The right wing lie machine hysterically bullied the PARTY IN POWER into this crap...the Party in power cowered and tapped dance to a minority of screaming idiots. That's what this country has come to...the Lying screamers, backed by corporate power has neutered democracy and due process. The will of the people (a public option) isn't even on the table...the criminality of $billions stolen in Iraq, the violation of our laws and constitution and stolen elections are totally ignored in our news media. While screaming dumbasses with no clue are broadcast continuously.

    Yes government is broken...because it was sabotaged by those who benefit from it's demise; the right wing corporate oligarchs who exploit ignorant racists into working against their own best interests.

    America isn't a democracy...it's an ignotocracy...only the ignorant have a right to speak, truth is unspeakable, or better yet unhearable.

    But fear not...the lie has completed it's trip around the world, but the truth now has it's shoes on and the internet is providing the transportation.

    fuck television
    fuck newspapers
    fuck magazines..

    They've sold out for filthy lucre...their demise is self inflicted.

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  2. Blue!, darling, the supposed "progressives" did this as surely as the those on the right. It was all theater. All of it. The Democrats are AS responsible for ACORN's problems as the Republicans. The courts have ruled that ACORN continue to get its funding. So I think they're getting it, but maybe not, temporarily, or until they get the SCOTUS to rule a bill of attainder constitutional... at which point, well, you know. But, no matter what, the Democrats AND the "progressives" hooting and howling and screaming about the little sleaze bag who made his stupid video, focussing all their ire on the NYT, are every bit as responsible for it as the Republicans and the ignorant people who are misled by them.

    You are using up all your energy boxing your own shadow, precisely as they expect you to do, instead of taking your energy away from their benefit. The demise of the MSM was a LONG time ago... and people are slow to realize that it has infected the internet almost as thoroughly as tv, magazines, newspapers, radio. All media are used for mindfucking and the internet may be the worst of them because they get to see in real time how effective they have been on the sheep.

    This whole "healthcare" thing has been an outrage the size of Jupiter, and theater from start to finish. The Republican Fascists want it a badly as the Democratic Fascists did. They were paid millions of dollars a DAY to do this to us. And a whole new ocean of culture warring politics has been born with it. The fat cats are very, very pleased. All is right with the world.

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  3. 99

    You say:
    "You are using up all your energy boxing your own shadow, precisely as they expect you to do, instead of taking your energy away from their benefit"

    No I'm not 99...I'm observing and venting; not boxing or debating. Frankly I haven't settled on a plan of action yet. I wholeheartedly understand the theater of it all. I do understand abut myself that lies make me crazy...lies from GOP and Dems.

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  4. Well, I think we're running into a semantic problem that gets me in trouble with many of my friends caught in this net. The "observing and venting" is the giving of energy which is giving them their power. I know it seems to us while we're doing it that we are standing up for decency, but that's the polemic they want our attention on: decency vs. indecency. The vast majority of those leaning to the right believe THEY stand for decency and WE stand for indecency. It's moot. It takes up all our time and energy.

    We NEED that energy to find our way out of this box... to find ways to impact the world positively... irrespective of the fascists in power.

    A big impediment is all the blogs trying to capitalize on the plutocrats' polemic. Most of these bloggers can never bring themselves to admit that they're just trying to make a buck off it... think they're actually engaged in right-livelihood... but they are ACTUALLY profiting from the very thing keeping us squashed under the thumbs of the 1%.

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  5. 99

    The box I want to stand in is called truth...When I see people moved by lies then it irks fuck out of me.

    There is a polemic 99...truth vs the lie.

    I get the broadway show that the lying politicians produced; that's what they do.

    But I can't find commonground with those that refuse; I repeat refuse to entertain the truth, those that find comfort in racism and lies like the tea partiers. I know what you're saying 99 about reaching out, but there needs to be a polemic between truth and un-truth.

    I'll stand in my corner with what I know to be true...I can't reach out to closed minds. Maybe it is what "they" want...but at least I'll respect myself in the morning. I've seen...witnessed...experienced the blinded tea baggers. They're not open to change or seeing another point of view. They're unconscious missiles used by cynical fascist corporatists...simply cannon fodder.

    99 the truth wins in the end...un-compromised truth.

    I'll wait for that...

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  6. I'm trying to tell you that BOTH sides are lying, that ACORN would be FINE if the Democrats did not decide to throw them under the bus BECAUSE THEY ARE A THREAT TO FASCISM. I'm trying to tell you that this whole gig about ACORN having to close up shop is about infuriating you enough to keep wasting your heart and brains on truth vs. lies. The SAME thing holds for truth vs. lies as with decency vs. indecency.

    The TRUTH is what actually comes down. That cui bono thing, if you will.

    Just as they rammed this fascist mandate down our throats as an "historic success for the people", they helped kill ACORN, despite ACORN not LEGALLY being dead.

    They're pulling the wool over your eyes, exploiting your humanity, just as thoroughly as they are doing it to the bubbas the fascists-in-denial go out and video to fire you up. THEY ARE NOT THE MAJORITY. I do not agree with most of the politics of the tea party people, and CERTAINLY not the racist shit that's trying to get a foothold in it, WITH THE HELP OF THE "PROGRESSIVES" WHO WANT TO CATAPULT THE PROPAGANDA FOR THE DEMOCRATIC FASCIST PARTY, but I know for certain that if we cannot join them, we truly DO have to take our negative reactions against them away from them.

    Beware the self-righteousness all around you.

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  7. I guess I should add that "the un-compromised truth" here is that the plutocrats have mandated we pay them whatever they want for healthcare or fuck off and die, and they have neutralized a big generator of pressure to impede them by making ACORN take a dive when IT DOESN'T HAVE TO, legally. THAT is the un-compromised truth that already HAS won.

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  8. This is a fascist country.

    The popular "progressives" are falling into line beautifully... lighting up your—OUR—agony, wittingly or not, and keeping us impotent through the blog posts they crank out.

    If you want to change actuality, you have to pull your head out of that.

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  9. 99

    I'm not arguing for the spineless, lying Dems...

    I'm trying to hold a space for truth and justice.

    Show me where I argued for anything but truth...it may seem self righteous...but I'm sure Gandhi and King came off as self-righteous fucks too

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  10. I'm NOT attacking you! I am not accusing you of self-righteousness! I am telling you that you are being whipped into this state by those kinds of inputs where you spend a lot of your time. I, too, am sure Gandhi and King were accused of that, too, but it was clear enough to the thoughtful, anyone paying UNBIASED close enough attention that such was NOT the case. Whereas, I believe, if you pay unbiased close enough attention to the "progressives" out there, you will begin to see what I mean.

    I think this because you always seem to be willing to open your mind past what others do/will. They just CALL themselves open-minded when they are very apparently snapped all the way SHUT.

    I'm not attacking you.

    Again. I'M NOT ATTACKING YOU. I'm trying to pull your attention off the shiny bauble being dangled in front of your eyes in the attempt to hypnotize you.

    I think you are WONDERFUL.

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  11. You gotta stop being so pissed off.

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  12. Or... you gotta stop letting the anger cloud you up....

    Nobody could NOT be pissed off.

    But we MUST take control of it, get our heads out of those clouds.

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  13. Each of us NEEDS that energy to be EFFECTIVE against the true enemies.

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  14. I have to go offline for a few hours now....

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  15. 99...

    I don't feel attacked...I do think you're mistaking what I'm saying...or I'm not expressing myself well.

    Am I pissed?...hell yes. Personally I believe healthy outlets for anger are a good thing.

    That's the major reason I cruise these spaces...to stay informed and vent when appropriate.

    Trust me 99...responsible venting is healthy.

    I don't feel clouded and surely don't think my head is in the clouds. I do have a sure sense of up and down.

    relax 99...I'm fine

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  16. Is my new healthcare coverage going to pay for my medical marijauna?

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  17. Blue! Using the venting energy on positive stuff is preferable, and I'm very glad to hear yer fine. xoxoxox

    Sam, I'm pretty sure they won't cover yer dope. I mean, what's the point of selling it to you if they then have to turn around and pay for it? :-P

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