The Emperor has no clothes and must be exposed.
Jan 02 2012
Nov 13 2011
In a comment posted in response to the Open Salon version of my previous entry, Barzin Pakandam posted the following:
Hi Michael, I completely agree with your assessment. My post goes one step further:
Mr. Pakandam, with all due respect, I think you glossed over what I wrote about Obama. Yes, voters are fed up with far right, anti-labor, anti-woman, anti-civil-liberties, pro-war, anti-environment, pro-torture, pro-corporate Republican policies. But they’re also fed up with far right, anti-labor, anti-woman, anti-civil-liberties, pro-war, anti-environment, pro-torture, pro-corporate Democrat policies.
On the issue of health care, for example, Obama cynically bet that by ramming through what amounts to a corporate boondoggle, he could remove health care as a wedge issue going into 2012. And the best way he could do that was to pass something the Republicans had already passed at the state level.
Enter Romneycare, on which Obamacare was modeled and which bears many similarities to the Clinton plan Obama campaigned against in ’08. (And they all appear to have swiped the idea from Richard Nixon. Go figure.)
The thinking on this was painfully simple, and horrendously evil. There’s an institutional crisis in how Americans are able to gain access to decent health care. So Obama’s, Clinton’s, and Romney’s plan was to institutionalize the problem. If it’s a built-in part of the system, no more crisis in the system because it’s now a feature instead of a supposed aberration. Now we’re being forced to bail out the health insurance and pharmaceutical industries because they went too far in price gouging and were losing paying customers.
And, of course, Obamacare, as is Romneycare before it, is deliberately designed to fail. As Jon Walker and Scarecrow at FDL reported last year, the Massachusetts plan failed spectacularly the same week Obamacare became law. The state objected to proposed premium increases, which prompted insurers to back out of agreements to offer new coverage.
Why pass such a flawed plan if it’s very design guarantees failure? As I wrote above, there’s a cynical political ploy at the heart of the matter. But it runs much deeper than that. By passing a health care law at the national level that’s designed to fail, the far right-wing lackeys of Wall Street (which include Obama in their ranks) can pretend to justify their long-disproven claims that government health care or insurance doesn’t work. And also as I wrote above, they got to bail out two massive industries that had priced their goods so ridiculouly high that they were starting to worry that they’d not have enough customers.
It’s pretty insidious, but then what can be expected from a guy who, as a state senator in Illinois, and at the behest of his corporate bosses, actively and enthusiastically worked to gut a proposed bill that would have extended health insurance to impoverished children?
By the way, a year after the collapse of Romneycare in Massachusetts, it was still a miserable failure.
And that’s just on health care reform. Look at each and every one of Obama’s policies and you will find a continuation or expansion of Bush’s far right policies. He isn’t doing these things out of weakness or some misguided desire to be conciliatory. He’s doing them because he is a right-wing extremist and his policies are the same as those of the Republicans. THAT is what voters rejected in Ohio on Tuesday.
Nov 09 2011
Ohio voters last night voted overwhelmingly against both Republican and Democrat corporate-favoring policies in a referendum. Senate Bill 5, passed by the Republican-dominated legislature and signed into law by Republican governor John Kasich, was shot down by sixty-one percent, too large a margin for the GOP to rig the vote count in its favor.
By a reportedly larger margin than Issue 2, Obamacare, the law passed in spring of 2010 in a huge giveaway to the health insurance industry, was voted down at sixty-six percent of the vote, according to the Cleveland Plain Dealer. However, the constitutional amendment as written would make it extremely difficult to pass meaningful regulations on insurance companies, and pretty much rules out all hope of single-payer health insurance in the Buckeye State.
In Mississippi, voters shot down the anti-abortion amendment proposed by right-wing extremists. The bid to declare life as beginning at conception was defeated 58-42%.
The measure would have bestowed legal rights on fertilized eggs and cut off access to abortion by equating it with murder, making no exception for rape, incest or when a woman’s life is in danger. Medical groups warned it might have criminalized contraception and miscarriages while limiting access to treatments such as in-vitro fertilization.
The voters of Mississippi are smarter than the far right gives them credit for. Cheers to them!
What, however, does the defeat of Issue 2 and the passage of Issue 3 in Ohio mean? It is incredibly easy for Democrats and Republicans, and their spinmeisters in the corporate-owned media, to speculate as to what it means, and many are doing just that. But what it all boils down to is that voters are fed up with far right policies that benefit no one but large business interests. In Massachusetts, for example, according to Physicians for a National Health Program, Romneycare – the insurance giveaway on which Obamacare was modeled – nearly 400,000 people still find health insurance unaffordable, and those people are predominantly the working poor. Given this realization, it is no wonder voters would rather opt out.
On a broader scale, Americans are increasingly hostile to far right policies, be they industry bailouts, invasive laws designed to take away women’s reproductive rights, or attempts to restrict voting rights, We the People are starting to fight back against the wave of fascist power grabs. Only time, though, will tell if it’s not too little, too late.
Cross-posted from Progressive Independence.
Jan 06 2011
December 7, 1964 from a newspaper in the national archives
Says Medicare Bill Will Be Passed
Newark – Speaking at a meeting of the New Jersey Association of Health Underwriters at the Military Park Hotel here Friday, Joseph J. Sear, president and chairman of the board of the Progressive Life Insurance Company of Red Bank, said the outcome of the recent election makes it virtually certain that the 89th Congress, meeting in January, will pass a Medicare bill, and that it will be signed by the President.
“We, in the accident and health insurance business,” he said, “should have no fears that the passage of such a bill will hurt our business unless it becomes the opening wedge for a socialized medicine program such as in Great Britain, which includes everyone from cradle to the grave. The bill before Congress is generally restricted to providing medical aid for persons 65 years of age and older under the Social Security Program, and we are still insuring primarily persons below the age of 65.
“Since I last spoke to you 13 years ago, (note: 1951) the people cared for by hospital expense policies increased from $85 million to $145 million and the people cared for by medical expense policies increased from $28 million to $102 million, and the trend is still upward.”
Forty Six Years Later
March 23, 2010. Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA), aka Dole/Nixon/RomneyObamaCare, signed into law by “Democratic” President. 2009 Bill passed by Senate still lacks universal coverage and the option of purchasing government insurance, but contains universally loathed tax mandate and excise tax pushed by “Democratic” Senator from Massachusetts and WH “Economist” consultant from MIT. Bill not designed to add more Medicaid coverage until 2014. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/P…
September 17, 2010. Number of uninsured Americans now rises to 50.7 million, or 1 out of 6, or 16%. Workers now paying 47% more for family health insurance coverage than in 2005, while employers pay 20% more.
January 3, 2011 New Republican Majority leader Eric Cantor introduces bill to rules committee called “Repealing the Job Killing Health Care Law Act” “Effective as of the enactment of Public Law 111- 148, such act is repealed, and the provisions of law amended or repealed by such Act are restored or revived as if such act had not been enacted.”
pdf download text here: http://rules-republicans.house…
January 4, 2011 from Kaiser Health News-
House Republicans have scheduled a Jan. 12 vote to repeal the health care law. While the measure is expected to pass the House, Democrats in the Senate have pledged to stop the bill.
January 5, 2011 Shuffle the Deck Chairs on the Titanic
The Office of Consumer Information and Insurance Oversight, created just after the law passed, is about to be folded into the federal Medicare agency, signaling a major organizational shift just months after the office was created, administration officials said.
In addition, Michael Hash, who has been serving as a top White House health adviser, has taken the reins of the Office of Health Reform at the Department of Health and Human Services. Hash succeeds Jeanne Lambrew, who has been director of the office since May 2009 and has played a central role on the health law. Lambrew, a former aide to President Bill Clinton, will stay on at HHS as an adviser to Secretary Kathleen Sebelius.
The insurance oversight office was headed by Jay Angoff, who battled with insurance companies both as a Missouri official and a class-action litigator. He’ll become a senior adviser to Sebelius.
The office will become part of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, and will be managed by Marilyn Tavenner, deputy administrator of CMS.
January 5, 2011. Blue Shield of CA seeks rate increases of up to 59% for customers by March 1st. They blame costs of hospitals
Hospitals treat the un insured when their health descends into the most expensive crisis mode, and pass the markup, make it up prices along to the insured, while charging the uninsured the highest rates, so they can still have their debts “sold.”
And nothing has changed the basic dynamic of leaving a portion of the population uncovered to act as a price lever on the rest.
A million and a half people filed for bankruptcy last year. The leading cause is uncontrolled medical debt.
Blue Shield spent $16 million on federal lobbyists in 2010. The top recipient was “Democrat” There Will Be No Public Option Blanche, the former Sen. Lincoln of Arkansas. Eric Cantor got $22,500.
They have a PAC, too, for their executives to use.
There’s more – each of those executives will be making other, individual donations.
But in CA, the real action is at the state level. How they loved Schwarzenegger, the ex governator. And the Republicans. And the Democrats. Last year’s money bomb:
most complete list of donations in 2009 – 2010 election cycle:
Poor Jerry Brown only got $2,500 out of all of that ?
Jan 02 2011
This year, Christmas and New Years Days were days of intense reflection. Perchance, that is true every year and for every individual. I cannot know what is true for others. I am only certain that on each of these dates I was immersed in a rigorous course of study. My gifts or the curriculum came wrapped in a routine event.
The lessons covered were Empathy and Education, although perhaps these were presented in reverse order. Possibly, the truer program was entropy and encouragement. Each edifies. I wonder; on each of the two days these topics were intertwined. In my attempt to analyze and understand what I needed to learn or did, I invite your assessments. Please indulge me as I share the story.