Right before I quit Facebook, I had a small run-in with Sam (I have linked to his blog here many times in the past). In that exchange, I saw that he was a “lesser of two evils” numbskull, still pushing “vote Dem”, even tho he would bitch left and right about what they were doing to ruin this country. But voting reTHUGlican would be even worse, so, go vote for the demoRAT, no matter how bad things are going, since it would be worse if the “other side” were to win.
You know, the same old story that keeps us in the bondage we find ourselves in. As a matter of fact, I have had this very same run-in and have been banned from various “Progressive” blogs when I point out the idiocy in that perspective and the fact that we are chumps when we play right into their damned game. I have said it here and elsewhere many times, I cannot vote R or D ever again because I am tired of being their chump and always getting the shitty end of the stick.
So, when I read Arthur’s latest, I knew I had to share, at least the last few sentences (and please go read the entire thing).
You can make whatever excuses you want, and you can offer shabby rationalizations like those put forth by Smith. The brute and brutal, murderous fact remains unchanged: If you vote for Obama, if you vote for any Democrat or Republican, you are supporting these horrors.
That means that you are a pigfucker, too.
Given developments of the last few years, I would now go further. If you participate in national elections at all, you are supporting these horrors…
I look back over my lifetime (nearing 50 years) and except for very early on in the late 60′s and early 70′s (I was much too young) weed was no big deal to the country boys in Alabama (my cousins that were a bit older). They knew it back then and told me that what was being said was lies. It was many years later that I really understood for myself when I was confronted by my Dad and his friends (the Chief of Police, in one occasion) about the stuff (they were drinking a scotch and water and smoking a cigar when they took me into the room for the “talking to”).
I even had an old man (Curly Aldridge) tell me, while barely able to stand because of all the moonshine he had drunk, that weed would kill me and how bad it was. From what I understand, the alcohol ate Curly up long ago. I can’t tell you how many drunks have told me how bad the stuff is.
I had countless teachers, advisers, police officers, employers, preachers, parents (mine and friends’), strangers (the vast majority having never even TRIED the stuff) tell me how bad and evil marijuana was, the whole time me using and knowing for myself that they were full of shit or simply had no idea what they were talking about and operated in fear and control from others. I shrugged it off because I knew it was a lie. I had personally disproved almost every lie they told about it.
But now the time is right for people to speak up. I have very close family members, one that recently died, that would have benefited from that miracle drug. In my mother-in-law’s case, it could have likely saved her life. I know so many people who’s lives would immediately become better by a measured, controlled medical use. It is absolutely the most insane thing that this country could have ever done by demonizing this substance.
Read this article from Sam Smith at Undernews. It was originally published in “the November 1970 edition of the DC Gazette, the former name of the Progressive Review” (Undernews is the online presence of Progressive review). Imagine how little has changed. Think about how much money spent and lives horribly wronged by such a crazy socially debilitating approach.
[The following story appeared in the November 1970 edition of the DC Gazette, the former name of the Progressive Review. What's amazing about this account is not only the rational handling of the matter and the striking testimony of the Surgeon General - but this occurred at a time when 84% of the public opposed legalization. Today only 50% do.]
DC Gazette, November 1970 - The Public Safety Committee of the DC City Council held two days of hearings this month to hear scientific and public testimony about marijuana. Most of what it heard was expectable: scientifically, marijuana is a mild conscious-altering drug; it is not addictive, nor does it lead to the use of addicting drugs; it has been known and used and studied for literally thousands of years, and no physiological damage whatsoever has been discovered; instances of adverse mental effects from its use are extremely rare.
Most significant to the council’s hearing — and to a good number of kids who are in prison on pot convictions — was the fact, reiterated by Surgeon General Jesse L. Steinfeld, that “in the case of marijuana, legal penalties were originally assigned with total disregard for medical and scientific evidence of the properties of the drug or its effects. I know of no clearer instance in which the punishment for infraction of the law is more harmful than the crime.” . . .
Activist Petey Greene “testified” on behalf of his grandmother, whose opinions on marijuana are based on practical experience. She once told her grandson to quit: “Petey, you gotta stop smoking those reefers because they make you too hungry, and I can’t buy all that extra food.” Later, on comparing its effects with those of alcohol, “She said she’d rather me smoke reefers and just sit and smile at people than drink that old wine and come in throwing chairs around. ” . . .
The testimony of representatives of the Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs was notable for its meekness. Although the narcs still refer to marijuana as a killer drug before high school audiences, and still try to imply that pot inevitably and immediately leads to heroin, and still pass out 1930′s posters of marijuana as the Grim Reaper — they backed off under Council questioning. The narc’s Dr. Milton Joffe even allowed that although “legalizing simply for hedonistic purposes” was not warranted, “I’m not against pleasure. . .”
Judge Charles Halleck recommended more realistic penalties, since present laws tend to cause the community “to lose faith in the entire system of justice.” James H. Heller of the National Capital Area Civil Liberties Union called for the legalization of pot. He said he saw no reason that it should be treated any different from alcohol. (He admitted to having tried grass once, “but it didn’t have any effect.” (“Maybe you just didn’t know how to smoke it,” Councilwoman Polly Shackleton consoled him) . . .
Terry Becker, a Quicksilver Times reporter, surprised everyone by calling for more stringent penalties and stricter enforcement. Becked wanted “everyone to turn on everyone to get busted;” it would hasten the revolution, he said . . .
Noting that Surgeon General Steinfeld had referred to the famous Alice B. Toklas marijuana or hash brownies but claimed the recipe was not to be found Alice’s cookbook, the Council’s Republican chairman Gilbert Hahn opened the second day of hearings by setting the record straight. “You will find the recipe on page 273 of Alice B. Toklas,” announced Hahn and, having fulfilled his public responsibility, he ordered the proceedings to proceed.
Pete at DrugWarRant shares a letter from Robert F. Hickey, published in the Vail Daily that shows the perspective (again from a medical opinion, it appears) after dealing with it since 1970 (the same year Sam’s article above was first presented). The same stinking lies told for decades:
First, from a professional perspective, let me say that in treating thousands of people who have become victims of their use of alcohol and other drugs since 1970, I have never treated a marijuana addict. I have never been called to an emergency room to treat an out-of-control or violent marijuana user. I have never completed a court-ordered evaluation for a defendant who was accused of domestic violence as a result of marijuana use. I have never heard of five or six law enforcement officers being needed to tackle, control or otherwise subdue a crazed marijuana user.
Marijuana is not a narcotic! That is a law enforcement characterization, not a medical, biological or chemical classification.
Contrary to quotes in Mr. Sims’ letter by Kevin Sabet, special adviser, Office of National Drug Control Policy, marijuana is not a dangerous drug which causes documented health and social problems.
Where is the documentation? The only documentation of social problems are those which arise from the prohibition of marijuana and the 750,000 subsequent arrests for possession of small amounts of the plant each year.
The social problems come as a result of the billions of dollars spent each year by law enforcement agencies across the country.
The social problems come from the inequities of law enforcement against minorities in the country. African-Americans are five to 10 times more likely to be arrested for marijuana possession than whites, yet on a per capita basis, whites use marijuana in greater numbers than all minorities. As Alice Huffman, president of the California NAACP said recently, “ … being caught up in the criminal justice system does more harm to young people than marijuana itself.”
And by what authority does Sabet dictate that marijuana “should not be subject to voter approval for its use”?
There is no doubt that Prop 19 is important. Not just for California, but for the rest of the country. I believe that the numbers Tuesday will show that most Californians see the idiocy in the current laws and Drug War and they will vote change. But there are some Big Money folks that are fighting this, you can bet. Big Prison has a shitload of money to lose. As I mentioned in this post, even small local law enforcement agencies have a big amount to lose when they can’t set up road blocks primarily to catch these non-violent, law-abiding (except for holding a small amount of a grass), peaceful and enlightened “thugs”.
But even if Prop 19 passes, I think that is only the beginning of the fight. State’s rights issues will immediately flare up when Holder carries out his promise. In defiance to a state’s right, he wrote a letter to a gathering of former heads of the US DEA who had voiced their concerns over losing such a cash cow and said that Prop 19 “will greatly complicate federal drug enforcement efforts to the detriment of our citizens“. “Accordingly, we will vigorously enforce the (Controlled Substances Act) against those individuals and organizations that possess, manufacture or distribute marijuana for recreational use, even if such activities are permitted under state law“.
Leaking the letter was a way to instill some fear into the population, but I don’t think it will change the Yes win. However, Californians would be foolish to think that the Feds WON’T do exactly what Holder says he will do. And there we will have the makings of a sure ’nuff piss off electorate. When their own vote doesn’t count and people are STILL being carried away by Big Gubment Thugs.
And looky here. I have gone many years at a time without touching the stuff. This is not so much a personal use issue with me. As a matter of fact, at the time I don’t use because I won’t spend money on anything except essentials. I will likely not use any for a long time and I am cool with that.
But when I think of my loved ones whose lives would be made so much better but never would even consider it because it is illegal, I realize the tragedy of the policy (even if they do not fully appreciate it). It is the craziest approach that could have ever been implemented and it is time to change it. It seems, however, that the canary in the coal mine (California) will have to fight Big Brother first.
Vote Yes on Prop 19 and bring it on, my California Brothers and Sisters.
At least we got Dogg on the up and up:
It is high time for the nut cuttin’.
Many people who visit here don’t really know how to take the place. Supposedly a redneck from the south who is anti-corporate, anti-Republican (and anti-Democrat, for that matter) and who cannot idly accept what the minions in government tell us, when it is obvious that their purpose is money and protecting those that give it to them.
I have had links (on the side over there ——->) for various places that are truly Progressive (“Progressive” Does NOT Equal Democratic party, btw) and also linked to some Conservative blogs (“Conservative” Does NOT equal Republican party).
I also have linked and appreciate as much or more than any others, blogs that are written by Black folk, Latinos, Europeans, Canadians, Afghanis, Iraqis, and even by an American in Seoul. The reason for this (other than appreciating their work) is that it is my opinion that these “fringe” groups (as some would describe) are being played against each other and against the white establishment (which the establishment wants me and other rednecks to think we are a part of).
Fat, rich white people against the rest of humanity, to a certain degree and they don’t care what color you are.
Any sane, thinking redneck must understand that we aren’t any part of that elitist group. It is simply the divide and conquer game that the richest of the rich use to control us: keeping us attacking, even killing each other over bullshit that means so little in perspective of the truth, that it astonishes me that we still fall for it.
My buddy (and contributer here), kelso’s nuts, says often that it will be the Black Power activists, the Socialist Parties, and the Southern Christian libertarians and Town Hallers that will make change happen. Rednecks, black folk and other minorities must be able to connect, make amends, and devise a way forward that will eliminate the Corporate Control of the majority of politicians. It is truly these few groups that recognize that American Exceptionalism is BS. It will be the people that are raising the most hell about Obama’s lies and deceit that will eventually hold him (them) accountable.
I like this that Kelso commented once:
There are but two sides: those who favor peace and freedom and those who don’t. The serious White Southern monetarists are very committed. The militant Black Power movement is really committed. The (real) socialist activist left is really committed. The world Green Parties are really committed.
It is this dance of the Republicrats and their blind hate and fear and perversion of Christianity and patriotism and the wealthy, indifferent, Big Government Liberals who are in lock-step to oppress.
It will NOT be those at the Huff Po, C&L, Daily Kos, etc. They are too invested in the system and Obama’s Ass (as in tonguing his ass). Too much clout, too much ability to rub elbows with power, and monetary gain from the very ones who perpetuate the shackling of us “peons”.
Nor will it be the Tea-baggers and the ravenous right-wing freaks whom only consider defeat of the “other party” as the goal. They are playing into and are likely a part of the mind games played on an American public who is scared to death about the future of this country and for their families.
I already know places that I want to highlight and you should get to know these folks, for truth is rampant at their blogs:
One of my newer Favs. 2truthy’s blog that addresses my favorite topics and is damned funny, as well. They, “are dedicated to drop-kicking truth and justice, laughers and screamers, strange and terribly real stories about living out the death of American civility and the hubris soaked perps who profit from it.”
Bruce Gagnon’s blog that addresses America’s Empire and organizing against it. Powerful stuff from a dedicated Patriot.
Jay is a young black man who has his shit all together regarding the financial crisis we are in. His knowledge is impressive. Also note that if you are a redneck (like me), this may be a good place to begin to learn about Hip Hop (whether you like it or not isn’t the point). Understanding a culture that you have been brainwashed to fear is paramount to making this work. As an example, Hip Hop sells more to white folk than black folk.
Powerful writer and radio host that focuses much time on the Empire and many other like-minded subjects.
Excellent assembly of writers (where I first read Kelso’s writing). The site is definitely NSFW (not suitable for work) and for some who have an aversion to porn, you may want to avoid it. However, the information presented here is well reported by quality, professional writers.
This man is a freaking genius. He posts about math (which goes over my head, at times), but posts even more about politics and the empire that reigns. Marijuana legalization is one of his key interests and is about to embark on a Sabbatical to help Marc emory’s case in Canada. One of my favorite sites on the entire web.
Torrance is absolutely brilliant. Depending on the particular post, he speaks in different voices (he can speak with a redneck, a politician, black folk or a king). He is one of the most insightful Professors, Authors, THINKERS that I have encountered. Well worth the visit.
Davis Fleetwood’s Social Networking Site for progressives. It is “in-your-face” and REAL.
Glen Ford, Margaret Kimberly and Bruce Dixon (among others, I believe) lay out the truth about African American politics, thought and action. A must read for any American.
One of the most impressive interviews I have seen lately was a Real News interview with Glen Ford:
I have featured Nick’s work here several times. Well worth the visit and RSS feed.
Manila Ryce’s blog of unadulterated gob-smacking of the idiocy we call American politics (not as active as usual, lately).
Arthur Silber’s Blog. One of the better writers I have encountered on the web. Whether or not you agree with his point of view (I do, by and large), his posts are extremely well prepared, organized and informative.
Tengrain’s blog who is slowly coming around to my way of thinking (wink). Funny, smart and a great writer.
Last, but not least featured today is a blog that has been very informative for me on a variety of topics, especially the financial mess. But all things “Imperialization” are addressed in a brilliant and well thought out manner. Great Blog!
This is just a small sampling of truly progressive sites that see the overall picture, much like I do (I link and visit many others, but they are not necessarily political in nature, so I haven’t featured them in this post… like one of my favorite women bloggers that addresses blogging in general, Roschelle at Inconsequential Logic). There are many others that you should visit, like, “After Downing Street; “A Tiny Revolution“; Sam Smith’s UnderNews (the blog for the Progressive Review); Glen Greenwald’s Blog (just a few among several you can click on over on the right panel). I have not formally set up Blog link exchanges with these, but they are a part of my daily read.
So here is what I am looking for. I want to expand on this by having you suggest similar sites, especially those that focus on the southern white portion that I have been discussing (I have a hard time finding them). I want to find sites that I can link to and share their ideas here that will help make this connection that is needed NOW, especially from that southern, white perspective.
It boils down to this: We MUST come together and fix this shit. We will never be whole until we take back the control. We will never be able to do that unless we work things out between us, without the diversions and horseshit divisional tactics that have worked for so very long.
And don’t be fooled by the name of a blog (like the “Pine Belt Progressive”, as an example). There is nothing “Progressive” about a site dedicated to ass-kissing the status quo and continuing the fake two-party divide.
And please don’t blow smoke up my ass. I can do that on my own:
h/t Vital Signs and their article called, “20 Scary Old School Surgical Tools“
I shared with Kelso this morning my pains and sorrow over losing a friend because of the healthcare issue. It amazes me how incredibly ignorant people can be and will fight tooth and nail over an ideology with bogus detail and no recognizable thought pattern. It truly is as if you are regurgitating talking points, but those from a party you disagree with.
If I didn’t see how insightful you were on many issues, I would be forced to believe that you work for an insurance company. But at $23K/year, I know you don’t work for insurance.
But at $23K/year, you don’t work for any profession, which tells me you are likely uneducated. But to go from the keen IT guy who can pick up on a conspiracy theory to being a party clown talking point vomiter has basically blown me away.
Whatever, dude. HR 3200 and HR 676 are NOT the same, dumbass. Stop using Dennis Kucinich to bolster your point about how you disagree with me and those who want Single Payer when Dennis is the co-author of the Single payer bill.
You see, this is how I know you are ignorant (btw: “ignorant” doesn’t mean “stupid”). It means that you are uneducated to a specific idea or issue.
OK, Mr Poor Southern White Male, your issue here was once that kelso couldn’t compare his country (Panama) with America because there are more people here (Duh!). Firstly, that is a fucking retarded thing to say or believe. You compare what we have to the REST OF THE WORLD, including Panama.
We’re Number 37
Are you happy with that, Mr America? I can hear your response right now: “Well, that liberal song writer should be shot”. I hear ya: better to kill the messenger than embrace the importance of the message.
How disconnected do you have to be to think that we are Number 1 in the world or that we have the “best healthcare in the world”? Nothing could be farther from the truth and you sound like a freaking nutcase suggesting it..
We need to trade this American Exceptionalness thingy for reality because this false sense of superiority is making us stupid as a box of rocks. The reality is found in this article by Stephen Green (h/t UnderNews):
Stephen Green, Counterpunch – The relative costs and performance outcomes of the many different healthcare delivery systems in over 200 countries and territories are known, tracked, carefully gathered, and published annually by the World Health Organization. . .
The United States as a government, according to the 2009 World Health Report, expends $3,076 US on healthcare per capita per year, which puts it third in the world behind Luxembourg ($4,992) and Denmark ($3,239) . . .
These, however, are only government healthcare expenditures, and all of the other countries listed here have essentially national, not free-market healthcare systems.
The report also tracks total national healthcare expenditure as a percentage of gross domestic product, public and private. Here then are those relative figures, for the top ten countries:
1. United States (15.8%) 2. France (11%) 3. Denmark (10.8%) 4. Switzerland (10.8%) 5. Germany (10.6%) 6. Austria (10.2%) 7. Canada (10.0%) 8. Sweden (9.2%) 9. Spain (8.4%) 10. Japan (8.1%)
The United States relative to its GDP expends, counting both government and private funds, 43% more on health care than does the next highest country, which is France.
Compared with Canada (aren’t we always comparing our HC system to Canada’s?) the US expends, in public and private funds together, 63% more on healthcare. . .
One standard measure of the effectiveness of our healthcare system might be life expectancy at birth, in years. According to WHO, the nation with the highest life expectancy is Japan, at 83 years, followed by Italy, Australia and Switzerland, at 82 years. You may expect to live to be 81 if you live in Canada, Israel, Netherlands, Norway, Singapore, France, Sweden, New Zealand and Andorra. People in Austria, Belgium and Cypress live to the age of 80, on average. Costa Ricans and people in Finland live on average to be 79. Citizens of the U.S., along with those of Chile, Denmark and Cuba die on average at age 78.
The infant mortality rate calculates the number of deaths at birth, per 1000 births, for both sexes. The U.S. is tied at six deaths per thousand with the countries of Thailand, Slovakia, Lithuania and Hungary. Among the countries with fewer than six deaths per 1000 live births are Slovenia, Singapore, San Marino, South Korea, Lithuania, Estonia, Cuba, Cyprus and Andorra.
Maternal mortality rates per 100,000 live births are also rated. The United States loses 11 mothers per 100,000 live births. Countries which lose fewer than that include Canada, Croatia, Czech Republic, Hungary, Israel, Kuwait, Latvia, Malta, Poland, Slovakia and Macedonia. In all, a total of 31 countries suffer fewer than 11 maternal deaths per 100,000 live births.
And don’t start dogging the WHO, since it is this very entity that is forcing the Swine Flu horseshit upon us. They can’t be your savior one minute, then the enemy and wrong the next. Did you catch the part (all you financial “conservatives” out there) about us paying 43% more than the next listed country? Can you honestly and with a straight face tell me that you believe that the care you get is worth 43% more (at the minimum), when the truth shows us that we die earlier and more die as infants than most of the 200 countries studied? I may be reconsidering my initial opinion that you have intelligence if you say, “yes”.
I wish we could act as if most of us had a thought sequence occurring in our noggins, but it sure as hell doesn’t appear to be the case. I suppose I could always put an ad on CraigList (h/t The Telegraph UK):
Disgruntled American Seeks Canadian For Political Asylum, Maybe More
Like so many in the USA, I’ve become increasingly fed up with my country. The last 8 years have been a nightmare of perpetual motion. The presidential election is almost a month away, but let’s face it. If Bush’s cronies were able to set him up for two terms, then McCain and Palin are practically a shoo-in. When that happens (and it will, just you watch) I would rather be somewhere else. Like The Great White North!
Are you a lonely, possibly desperate Canadian woman aged 18-50? Tired of trying to find a good man among your flannel clad, Labatt’s drinking, moose hunting country men? Willing to take in an American who is fed up with his country? Then I’m the guy for you! Maybe you’re a bit overweight or suffer from “Lifelong Ugly Duckling” syndrome. I don’t care.
What I’m All Aboot:
- 32, tall, a bit pudgy around the middle, starting to go bald, but other than that it’s all good.
- IT Professional, skilled with computers, can fix yours.
- Will get whatever job(s) available to help support us.
- From Washington State, appreciates nature.
- Willing to learn French.
- Polite, working on being more humble.
- Hates littering.
- Will pet your cat(s)/dog(s) and tell you how cute it is.
- Enjoys Rush.
- Can fake an interest in hockey.
- Knows the first line to the Canadian National Anthem.
- Will do whatever it takes to get the fuck out of here.
What You’re All Aboot:
- 18-50 year old female.
- Willing to marry me for citizenship.
So there you have it ladies! This is your chance to help your neighbors to the South. Get at it!
I call it the “sleight-of-hand” trickery that the government and complicit media are involved with when it comes to real dialogue about helath care reform. As usual, the loudest, most obnoxious voices are being given more time and illumination. The right-wing tea baggers and the like are apt to scream unintelligibles at folks and the debate ends up being about whether or not we are Russia, instead of the merits of the various plans. When it comes to single payer, which is what is desired by the majority of people, doctors and nurses, there isn’t a peep to be heard, except to minimize or monsterize it with fiction.
Bill Moyers had Kathleen Hall Jamieson and Drew Altman in for an interview that gets in to the details about the propaganda being slathered all over America’s airways, keeping us ignorant and fighting among ourselves, just as planned.
Kathleen Hall Jamieson is the Elizabeth Ware Packard Professor of Communication at the Annenberg School for Communication and Walter and Leonore Annenberg Director of the Annenberg Public Policy Center at the University of Pennsylvania. Dr. Jamieson is a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and a member of the American Philosophical Society. She is the author, co author or editor of 15 books including: UNSPUN: FINDING FACTS IN A WORLD OF DISINFORMATION, THE 2000 PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION AND THE FOUNDATIONS OF PARTY POLITICS, THE PRESS EFFECT and EVERYTHING YOU THINK YOU KNOW ABOUT POLITICS…AND WHY YOU’RE WRONG.
Drew E. Altman, Ph.D., is president and CEO of the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation, a non-profit, private operating foundation in Menlo Park, California, with major facilities in Washington, D.C. It develops and runs its own research and communications programs, often in partnership with outside organizations. Altman was a former commissioner of the Department of Human Services for the state of New Jersey and served in a senior position in the Health Care Financing Administration in the Carter administration. He served in senior positions at the Pew Charitable Trusts and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and earned his Ph.D. in political science from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Altman is a member of the Institute of Medicine and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.
So, you are being fed a line of shit. It always has been that way and always will. Don’t let Rush and the right-wing cronies fool you, a Medicare-for-all system is what the majority of Americans want. We see what health insurance greed has done and it is time for Americans to wake up and DEMAND what it is we want. Stop allowing the fuctards to take over TownHall meetings with their regurgitated bullshit. Speak up and fight, damn it.
Because the truth is always there for the seeking (from UnderNews):
Medicare Advocacy Center - Forty four years ago Medicare was enacted into law. All of today’s dire warnings about a public health option – socialism and government barring the doctor’s door – were made in opposition to Medicare. Despite such opposition from “conservative,” leaders, Medicare passed because of some courageous, principled law-makers.
Before Medicare, 50% of everyone 65 or older had no health insurance. Now, as a result of Medicare, almost all older people are insured. Medicare, which is national, government-run health insurance, succeeded in insuring older people where private insurance failed. Further, until the Bush Administration privatized Medicare with huge subsidies to private “Medicare Advantage” and Part D plans, Medicare was also remarkably cost-effective. It’s private Medicare, not the traditional, public program, that’s bleeding taxpayers of billions of dollars.
Medicare has been a success, fiscally and morally. It took on the job of insuring health coverage and care to people that private insurance had abandoned. Since 2003, on the other hand, private Medicare plans have cost us all tens of billions of dollars that went to support the private insurance industry, not to providing health care. In addition, private Medicare plans have too often engaged in marketing abuses and restrictive coverage practices. As numerous studies have shown, people with Medicare love it. They do not want government to fool around with the traditional program
Sen Bernie Sanders addresses “RealMan” about what he thinks he don’t want:
Senator Sanders Unfiltered: Lies, Fibs and Anti-Reformers
Get weekly Senator Sanders Unfiltered episodes delivered to you on Facebook, Twitter, or email. Sign up at: http://sandersunfiltered.com And, be part of Senator Sanders weekly show. Submit your video question via Twitvid with #Sanders. http://twitvid.com
I got news for you, RealMan, Ole BuelahMan, here, doesn’t want it because I have taken the time to understand what is in it. Unlike you, I haven’t fallen for the Glenn Beck, Hannity, O’Liely meme. I see what what is transpiring right before our eyes (a wonderfully enriching gift to the Insurance Companies and little true reform for anyone). I wish you would help me fight for the ultimate in health care… Single Payer, Not-For-Profit “Medicare-For-All”. Something like Canada’s system that has an 86% Approval Rating (via Undernews):
Andre Picard, Globe & Mail, CA – An overwhelming 86 per cent of Canadians favor “public solutions” for bolstering medicare, according to a new poll. . . “With more than eight in 10 Canadians supporting public solutions to make public health care stronger, there is compelling evidence that Canadians across all demographics would prefer a public over a for-profit health-care system,” said Nik Nanos, president of Nanos Research.
A recent report by Health Canada found that 85 per cent of Canadians were “very satisfied” or “somewhat satisfied” with health-care services overall. That level was unchanged from 2005, the last time the survey was conducted.
I am nowhere near that satisfied with my healthcare, are you, RealMan?
And what about you “Progressive” RealMen? You still backing the plan because Mr Obama has made more money in campaign donations than any other politician in history (again, Undernews)?
Timothy P. Carney, DC Examiner – Barack Obama last year received more campaign cash from health maintenance organizations than any politician before him ever did — and it’s not even close.
Obama raised more than $1.4 million in 2008 from the employees and executives of “Health Services/HMOs” as the Center for Responsive Politics labels them — or “villains” as House Speaker Nancy Pelosi calls them. That’s more than the combined haul of every Republican nominee since Ronald Reagan left office.
These numbers don’t prove that Obama is owned by the health insurers. But they deflate the liberal claim that Republicans and “reform” protesters are shills for the industry…
…On insurer campaign cash, the Democrats win hands down. First, there’s Obama, the all-time champion in raising money from HMOs. . . The second-highest recipient ever of HMO money is Hillary Clinton. . . The Nbr 2 GOP recipient last election (after presidential nominee John McCain) was former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, who created his own Obamacare in the Bay State.
So far this election, 65 percent of HMO money has gone to Democratic candidates, up from 60 percent last cycle.
The top recipient of HMO money this election is Harry Reid, the Senate majority leader, and the top House recipient is Rep. Henry Waxman, the “reform” author in the House.
Yep. Did you ever really believe them? Any of them?
I’d say its time to find a whole new slew that will ONLY support HR676 (From Dave Lindorff’s piece at AfterDowningStreet):
The so-called “reform” bill that is going to emerge from the current process is going to be the legislative equivalent of road kill, barely recognizeable either as health care or as a “reform.” It will be a Christmas present for the insurance industry, the hospital industry and the phramaceutical industry, all three of which struck secret deals behind closed doors with the White House.
It will set back health reform in America a generation, will require everyone to buy inadequate and overpriced insurance, overpriced drugs and to go to overpriced hospitals. And the cost of healthcare to individuals, businesses, and the nation as a whole (already the highest in the modern industrial world), will continue to soar.
This is not a case where the right thing to do is push for any bill, and then try to move on. This is a case where Obama and the Democrats have whored themselves out to the greedy industry that is causing all the problems, and are pushing a plan that is worse than nothing.
We should all be working to kill this whole thing and start over, with HR 676.
If Congress won’t do it, we need to start working for a new Congress in 2010 that will.
No Democrat running for House or Senate in 2010 who isn’t solidly for expanding Medicare to all should get a single vote.
You might notice that I link often to AfterDowningStreet and UNDERNEWS and want to give a shoutout for the excellent work that David Swanson and growing contributors) and a special howdy to Sam Smith at UNDERNEWS and the work he does. Read the QUESTIONS SHOULD YOU FIND YOURSELF AT A MICROPHONE AT A ‘TOWN MEETING’ for a great rundown on Single Payer issues and how to explain it in everyday terms.
That’s what I told Kelso this morning.
I am having a few conversations with some folks that are pushing for the “Public Option”, because they have given up on Single Payer. They are interested in our story, but in a review of the story, it was listed that BuelahLady and I agree that Single Payer is not feasible and that we agree to help get whatever “public option” is available passed.
I’m sorry, but I can’t do it. I cannot live with myself if I knew I had kowtowed to the meme they set forth… that I would agree with Obama ’09, no matter what Obama ’03 said.
Forgive me, but that is simply falling for the “Fix” (just like the Ass-Kissing Sycophants I highlight around here do with abandon). The Fix is that Mr Obama lied in ’03 and the real Obama is in charge now. Mr Obama, the reTHUGlican party and the majority of the DemoRat party (known in these parts collectively as the Demublican Party) have sold you, the gullible United Sheople of America (TM), on an “option” that only profits Big Insurance. It makes sure that their campaign funding continues, because they simply will not stand up to the Corporations that own them.
Rednecks, this is NOT rocket science to figure this out (I have linked to Max Baucus’s coffers before, so give it another read to figure out why this man and others like him would keep Single payer off the table). It is easy to type in your favorite owned congresscritter’s name to see where they get their money…, or, more aptly, how they vote.
Without your awakening, we are setting ourselves up for more of the same, but worse. Undernews covers it well (and it may be too late, proving, again, how gullible Americans are):
Progressive Review – Only 32% of voters nationwide favor a single-payer health care system where the federal government provides coverage for everyone. A Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that 57% are opposed to a single-payer plan.
Fifty-two percent believe such a system would lead to a lower quality of care while 13% believe care would improve. Twenty-seven percent think that the quality of care would remain about the same.
Forty-five percent also say a single-payer system would lead to higher health care costs while 24% think lower costs would result. Nineteen percent think prices would remain about the same.
There’s wide political disagreement over the single-payer issue. Sixty-two percent of Democrats favor a single-payer system, but 87% of Republicans are opposed to one. As for those not affiliated with either major party, 22% favor a single-payer approach while 63% are opposed.
As recently as March a CBS-New York Times poll found that 59% of Americans answer yes to the question: “Should the government in Washington provide national health insurance, or is this something that should be left only to private enterprise?” This paralleled a poll a year earlier that found that 64% said the federal government should guarantee health insurance for all Americans.
Since March there has been a concentrated effort by the Democratic extremist middle – led by Barack Obama – and the Republican right to undermine support for single payer as they met the demands of private insurers. It seems to have worked.
Cut their heads off… What? Too gruesome?
I am talking about the 1300 Health Insurance Companies that are “for profit”. I am talking about killing health insurance companies, disbanding their entire reason for being… to suck the life and every dollar possible out of you, Mr and Mrs America. I know that some of you rednecks are going to town halls to fight Socialized medicine, even though your grandparents are living because of “Socialized medicine”.
One thing I wish you would do as you scream from the top of your lungs how you want the government to keep its hands off your Medicare, can you please put the few remaining untainted brain cells together and decide what you really want and not what the TV Fools are telling you what you want. This is no “right vs left” or “Dem vs Rep” or “Liberal vs Conservative” argument, anymore. It is simply a bunch of rednecks who have been brainwashed into believing that what is good enough for your Senator (and the president and other government officials) is not good enough for you. That what is good enough for your sweet little old grandmother is actually Socialism. That the VA benefits that your cousin gets after serving in that shithole we created called Iraq (which was no shithole before our intervention) is not good enough for every American. Or that the fire department or police force is just more Socialism.
Give me a break. How many rednecks are actually this stupid?
Stop listening to their lies and understand that they have “plants” in with the Biggest media outlets that give them little to no reason to explain this rationally to you. Instead they use scare tactics that border on ludicrous and the so-called Progressives fall for it just like the so-called Conservatives do. Like good little Sheople following their own tainted Shepherd.
While a recent New York Times/CBS poll (6/20/09) has found yet again that the majority of Americans believe the government would both provide better coverage and keep costs lower than private insurance companies, a single-payer plan as an option for healthcare reform continues to be underrepresented in the media (Extra!, 6/09). A single-payer plan would allow the delivery of healthcare to remain private, but the government would pay for it out of a single federal health insurance fund. Like Medicare or Canada’s healthcare program, it would cut out the middleman by bypassing private health insurance companies. But such companies are well-represented on the boards of directors of media conglomerates—a factor that may help explain the blackout of such a popular possibility for reform.
When a director from one company sits on the board of directors of another company, that’s known as an interlocking directorate. For example, directors of the New York Times Co. also sit on the boards of several other large companies, including Chevron, Verizon and Ticketmaster. These directors are expected to act in the best interest of each company they direct; when one of the corporations in question is a media company, this can pose a conflict. Would someone who sits on a media company’s board object to coverage that damages another company that board member directs? Extra! has pointed out this conflict in the past (e.g., 9–10/01), noting that “even if these board members do not attempt to influence coverage of their businesses, their presence likely suffices to make media executives think twice about covering certain stories.”
A recent FAIR study of nine major media corporations and their major outlets, Disney (ABC), General Electric (NBC), CBS, Time Warner (CNN, Time), News Corporation (Fox), New York Times Co., Washington Post Co. (Newsweek), Tribune Co. (Chicago Tribune, L.A. Times) and Gannett (USA Today) found connections to six different insurance companies. Five out of the nine media corporations studied shared a director with an insurance company; two insurance companies—Chubb and Berkshire Hathaway—were represented by more than one media corporation director.
Let’s break it down as simply as possible. There is one major middle man (Health Insurance Companies) that needs to go and it is the same one that is causing the greatest issues in this debate. But it isn’t JUST the health insurance crooks that benefit immensely from your illness. There are the integrated News/Health Insurance agencies called the interlocking directorates discussed above. And there is Big meds. Just follow the money:
Unsilent Generation – One aspect of the health care reform battle which gets little attention is the cushy environment of the drug company executive. Fiercepharma blog, which tracks the industry not long ago ran a listing of all the dough these CEOs make.. . . Figures are for 2008.
1. Bill Weldon – Johnson & Johnson – $29.4M
2. Miles White – Abbott Laboratories – $28.3M
3. Bernard Poussot – Wyeth – $25M
4. Jim Cornelius – Bristol-Myers Squibb – $25M
5. Richard Clark – Merck – $19.9M
6. Robert Parkinson – Baxter International – $16M
7. David Vasella – Novartis – $15.1M
8. Jeffrey Kindler – Pfizer – $14.8M
9. Frank Baldino – Cephalon – $14.5M
10. John Lechleiter – Eli Lilly – $13M
The argument isn’t that we must simply get rid of the Health Insurance Monsters and their 10-25% profits or overhead. We must also begin to rethink the issues of healthcare being “for profit”. And, please, don’t argue that Doctors need to make a lot of money, I am not arguing that. I am talking about the “PROFIT” motive. Think about “profit” as suggested in this wiki article:
Accounting profit is the difference between price and the costs of bringing to market whatever it is that is accounted as an enterprise (whether by harvest, extraction, manufacture, or purchase) in terms of the component costs of delivered goods and/or services and any operating or other expenses.
The problem isn’t controlled salaries for Doctors, etc, (which is part of the “costs”), but is more related to the other egregious profits that are generated by Health Insurance companies and Medicine producers. To solve the problem, we need to work on various fronts, but Health Insurance is the quickest way to immediate savings. Single Payer is taking out that middle man and if you are going to argue from a “conservative” standpoint, you better add this term to your vocabulary. Truly, the most fiscally conservative solution is Single Payer, Not-for-profit healthcare. This is unarguable. AND, it is the most scoailly liberal stance (so all of you that are sufficed by the “Public Option” need to realize that you are simply feeding the beast).
President Obama and every Congressperson understands this, too. Their argument is that we need some hybrid as to not cause too much disruption, but let me explain that none of the “Public Option” plans will fix the problem. Why, because the problem is the “profit” motive. Of course, those people are getting their fair share of Health Insurance campaign donations, so they aren’t about to rock the boat (which is amazing since they get the same type of Tax payer paid coverage for themselves and their families… speaking of hypocritical). Let me add something that Russell at Single-Payer Action wrote that explains some of this quite well:
America’s Health Insurance Plans
and Fox News
have in common?
They are all freaked out by single payer.
They have all bought the corporate line:
The market has a central place in health insurance.
In contrast, the majority of doctors.
The majority of nurses.
And the majority of the American people are not freaked out by single payer.
To the contrary.
They favor single payer.
They all agree — the market has no place in health insurance.
Single payer would eliminate the 1,300 private payers (insurance companies).
And replace them with one public single payer.
As Dr. Marcia Angell, former editor of the New England Journal of Medicine puts it:
Single payer is not only the best option.
It’s the only option that will control costs and cover everyone.
There really is only one real answer:
A single-payer system will not ration health care or put the government in charge of your doctor. The real rationing of health care is happening now, where tens of millions do not have any access to health care at all. With a single-payer system you will not have to worry about being out of network or at a preferred provider or any of the other hoops that the insurance industry has fashioned.
President Obama said in a speech six years ago that the only reason single-payer proponents should tolerate delay is “because first we have to take back the White House, we have to take back the Senate, and we have to take back the House.” All that has happened, and nothing is happening. There are bills to bring a single-payer system in both the House and the Senate, but they get short shrift. Even though they would save money and cover everyone, there is no big-money constituency pushing for their passage. Instead, insurance industry lobbyists have thrown all they have at preventing real reform.
How can someone, or a family, be able to pursue life, liberty and happiness without health care? Can you imagine having a child and not having health coverage? Health care in this country should run similarly to how we pay for the fire department and police — there is no public option for these services with wealthy people having a private system that guarantees them better care. There is no reason for health care to be on a two-tier, separate-and-unequal regime.
A single-payer health care system is efficient and effective. Everybody in. Nobody out.
It’s time for real health care reform.
Coburn Dukehart, NPR – some of what I saw at the county fairgrounds in Wise, Va., last month left me wordless.
For two-and-a-half days, about 800 doctors, nurses, dentists and optometrists treated 2,700 uninsured and underinsured people, most from Appalachia. No one was asked for an insurance card. There were no co-pays. And there were no bills.
A Tennessee-based group called Remote Area Medical, or RAM, arranged the volunteer help, brought in donated equipment and supplies and paid for everything else. . .
What: Health care providers saw 2,715 patients and performed 2,671 medical exams, 1,088 eye tests and 1,850 dental exams. They extracted 3,857 teeth and put in 1,628 fillings.
Who: Patients came from 16 states; 30 percent were repeat patients.
Of the patients, 51 percent are uninsured, 40.3 percent are on Medicaid or Medicare, and just 7.3 percent have employer or private insurance. Fewer than 1 percent of patients have dental or vision insurance.
Twenty-six percent of the people are employed, 40.6 are unemployed, 4.7 percent are retired and 4.8 percent are children.
Cost: The organizers paid about $250,000 out of pocket to run the event, and they provided an estimated $1.5 million worth of care. . .
Close to 4,000 teeth ended up in buckets. Some 20-year-olds had every tooth pulled. A 4-year-old had every tooth filled. Out of the hundreds treated, only 11 had dental insurance.
I arrived home from Virginia with a badly infected finger. It was swollen, red and painful. So I drove to the doctor, presented my insurance card and wrote a check for $15 for the co-pay. My doctor took a scalpel to the infection and sent me to the pharmacy for antibiotics. All that took an hour. . .
I have never felt so privileged to have a good job and good insurance and easy access to care without long drives and long nights and a yearlong wait.
The next RAM free clinic begins Tuesday in the Forum, the former basketball arena outside Los Angeles. Doctors, dentists and optometrists will work 12 hours a day for eight days. Organizers expect to treat 10,000 people.
For those “Progressives” (read as “Ass Kissing Sycophants”) out there who are lovin’ the “Public Option”, let me be the first to call you America’s Biggest Patsies. What is a patsy, you ask? The ones that fall for the ‘Bait and Switch’:
Kip Sullivan, Physicians for a National Health Plan – The people who brought us the “public option” began their campaign promising one thing but now promote something entirely different. To make matters worse, they have not told the public they have backpedalled. The campaign for the “public option” resembles the classic bait-and-switch scam: tell your customers you’ve got one thing for sale when in fact you’re selling something very different.
When the “public option” campaign began, its leaders promoted a huge “Medicare-like” program that would enroll about 130 million people. Such a program would dwarf even Medicare, which, with its 45 million enrollees, is the nation’s largest health insurer, public or private. But today “public option” advocates sing the praises of tiny “public options” contained in congressional legislation sponsored by leading Democrats that bear no resemblance to the original model.
According to the Congressional Budget Office, the “public options” described in the Democrats’ legislation might enroll 10 million people and will have virtually no effect on health care costs, which means the “public options” cannot, by themselves, have any effect on the number of uninsured. But the leaders of the “public option” movement haven’t told the public they have abandoned their original vision. It’s high time they did.
“Public option” refers to a proposal, as Timothy Noah put it, “dreamed up” by Jacob Hacker when Hacker was still a graduate student working on a degree in political science. In two papers, one published in 2001 and the second in 2007, Hacker, now a professor of political science at Berkeley, proposed that Congress create an enormous “Medicare-like” program that would sell health insurance to the non-elderly in competition with the 1,000 to 1,500 health insurance companies that sell insurance today. . .
Hacker predicted that his proposed public program would so closely resemble Medicare that it would be able to set its premiums far below those of other insurance companies and enroll at least half the non-elderly population. These predictions were confirmed by the Lewin Group, a very mainstream consulting firm. In its report on Hacker’s 2001 paper, Lewin concluded Hacker’s “Medicare Plus” program would enroll 113 million people (46 percent of the non-elderly) and cut the number of uninsured to 5 million. In its report on Hacker’s 2007 paper, Lewin concluded Hacker’s “Health Care for America Plan” would enroll 129 million people (50 percent of the nonelderly population) and cut the uninsured to 2 million. . .
Here is what the CBO had to say about the HELP committee bill:
The new draft also includes provisions regarding a “public plan,” but those provisions did not have a substantial effect on the cost or enrollment projections, largely because the public plan would pay providers of health care at rates comparable to privately negotiated rates â€“ and thus was not projected to have premiums lower than those charged by private insurance plans. (page 3)
Obviously the “public option” in the Senate HELP committee bill (zero enrollees; 34 million people left uninsured) and the “public option” in the House bill (10 million enrollees (maybe!); 17 million people left uninsured) are a far cry from the “public option” originally proposed by Professor Hacker (129 million enrollees; 2 million people left uninsured).
And let me address those of you who think Single Payer is the best option, but find agreement with those who say, “We don’t have the votes”. You are a pussy, just like this chicken shit pussy:
And the sad fact is, you spineless chicken shit pussies, is that Single Payer actually WORKS, as opposed to the lies and propaganda you swallowed; just like the way you swallow that load of shit emanating from Barack Obama’s assmouth whenever he speaks:
A brief letter on the front page of the Banner-Herald’s Sunday opinions section decrying the possibility of a public health-insurance option in this country included the admonition, “To find out what government-run health care is all about, look at the U.K. and Canada … (Random Thoughts, ‘Don’t touch health care’).”
I say “right on,” but when you do look, make sure you’re looking at the facts and not the gross exaggerations, oversimplifications and downright propaganda about those systems that have been shoved down your throat by the U.S. health care industry and other vested interests for the past 40 years.
I grew up in Canada an insulin-dependent diabetic from the age of 8, and I had excellent care. My parents chose my specialist (still the norm there), I got the most up-to-date care available anywhere in the world (still true), and my parents didn’t pay a penny beyond the low quarterly premiums charged by Alberta’s provincial government. When I moved to North Georgia in 1986, my diabetes specialist in Atlanta marveled at how healthy I was, considering I already had been diabetic for 23 years by then.
My father had successful quintuple-bypass heart surgery in the late 1980s, and again, didn’t have to pay anything out-of-pocket. And we enjoyed a middle-class lifestyle that many of America’s uninsured millions of people would envy.
Of course there are problems in the Canadian health care system, including too-long waits for some elective procedures. But for every serious problem one may find in the Canadian system, I can point out 100 here in the United States, which actually has no “system” at all. A government-run, single-payer system can work, if we’re smart enough to do it right.
Neil R. Hughes
Originally published in the Athens Banner-Herald on Saturday, July 25, 2009
And for you blithering ReTHUGlican idiots who would rather suck off Howdy Doody than get the straight facts, read this (you bunch of ignoramuses):
To my American friends: I sincerely hope you’re not taken in by the GOP propaganda featuring Canadian Shona Holmes trashing our system of universal healthcare. The problem is both that Ms. Holmes and her Republican masters misrepresented her condition and that the tactic itself is reprehensible. The GOP can’t produce any logical argument against a system that is entrenched in every Western society except yours, so they resort to fear-mongering and lies, claiming that one Canadian’s skewed view trumps the experiences and beliefs of the rest of us.
There are almost 34 million Canadians and it’s true, not every one of them supports universal healthcare. It’s not a perfect system and we too debate its reform and worry about its cost. But it is also integral to our identity as Canadians. Ask what makes us a people and the majority will cite government-administered, publicly funded healthcare. Along with the French fact, it is also what differentiates us from you – though we wish, for your sake, that it didn’t.
Like our Conservative Party, your Republicans really do take the people for fools. The GOP expects you to believe that one woman denigrating Canadian healthcare speaks for all of us. Even if her story were factually accurate – and apparently it is not – opponents of healthcare reform have claimed that her experience is typical. It’s a surreal if sadly unsurprising experience to watch Republicans in Congress stand up and outright lie about my country, but that’s what’s happening. So if you have the sense that Canadians routinely rush to the U.S. for MRIs and that those who don’t are dropping dead on a daily basis, well, think again.
As former Liberal health minister Ujjal Dosanjh has pointed out on CNN, the Canadian system is not run by nameless, faceless bureaucrats who decide whether or not you are worthy enough to receive treatment. Actually, that sounds rather closer to a description of how your HMOs operate. In Canada, where healthcare is not private enterprise, medical decisions are made by doctors. Of course, when you or a loved one is sick, it’s a scary time, and everyone would prefer to be treated right away. And I know from personal experience that if your life is in danger, that’s exactly what happens.
Half a lifetime ago, my mother was diagnosed with breast cancer. Her doctor did not put her on a waiting list. She did not go south to receive more timely, better treatment in the U.S. Instead, she was diagnosed late one Monday afternoon then had a mastectomy the very next day. That’s the way it works in Canada: her condition was deemed so serious that she received immediate care – and of course her operation, stay in hospital, and subsequent treatment were paid for by the state. No one asked if my mother had insurance or ran a credit check to ensure she could afford to stay alive.
The Canadian healthcare system is not flawless. Particularly in rural areas, we have shortages of doctors. It can sometimes take a while to get an appointment if your condition isn’t acute. We don’t do a great job of promoting preventative medicine. But despite what you’ve heard from Shona Holmes, most Canadians believe that our system is one of the best in the world, and we’re rather horrified that millions of Americans are uninsured.
As a proud Canadian I’m sick and tired of the lies Republicans tell about our healthcare system to avoid reforming yours for ideological and partisan political reasons that we consider perverse. They did the same thing when the Clinton administration made its attempt, and alarmingly, the tactic seems to work: Bill and Hilary failed in ‘94 and now polls are indicating that Obama’s popularity is slipping, that his push for reform is stalling.
It wasn’t any easier for us to muster the political will needed to implement universal healthcare in Canada. In the 1960s both provincial and federal administrations faced determined opposition; in Saskatchewan there was even a doctor’s strike. But both the Saskatchewan government of Premier Tommy Douglas and, subsequently, the Canadian government of Prime Minister Lester Pearson persevered to the benefit of all Canadians. Now doctors are among the most vocal supporters of universal healthcare.
Don’t squander the opportunity to do what’s right because of Shona Holmes. Shona Holmes does not speak for Canadians. I’m sorry the woman was sick, but that doesn’t make her an expert on healthcare or give her the right to condemn our system. I don’t know Ms. Holmes personally so I can’t really comment on what motivates her, but rest assured, the other 33.7 million of us Canadians are not Shona Holmes. The Republicans paid that woman to lie to Americans about Canada, and both of us deserve better than that.
Manufacturing in the USA has been declining substantially for decades. Back in the 90′s, we saw how Japan got a foothold in some high tech areas like PC Board manufacturing (I saw countless businesses go out of business and it forced me to find other work). We saw NAFTA come in and destroy some jobs, as they were shipped off to lower paying and much lower skilled workforces in Mexico (I witnessed and participated in RCA’s move to Juarez which was devastating to many American jobs and quality suffered).
Yesterday, the Senate Subcommittee called the “Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs Subcommittee” which is chaired by Sherrod Brown, had three witnesses participate in a hearing called, “The US as a Global Competitor: What Are The Elements of a National Manufacturing Strategy” (click link to see the video, extremely informative). The hearing is started at the 24:30 mark and is fairly long at 107 minutes. Sam Smith at UnderNews posted an article in his “Crash Talk” series and included a link to Mike Lux’s article at OpenLeft that addressed some of this, in particular, Leo Hindery’s testimony.
One of the clear issues that I have been harping on for many years now is that we have intentionally allowed the Corporations to find ways to disallow Americans to manufacture their products and to save a few pennies and enrich the Corporation, by moving them elsewhere (as I have been a first hand witness to the demise of manufacturing, both by first pursuing lower wage areas in the southeast USA, in which I was able to make money, but those up north lost; and by the further movement of these jobs for even lower wages jobs overseas).
We were told that all of this was good for our economy because we were going to move from a manufacturing sector based economy to a “Consumer Spending/Wall Street Economy”.
One of the most important issues is the fact that we invited and encouraged China to join the WTO in 2001. We were promised that they would be fair in their monetary policy and would raise their Yuan value as their economy flourished. Until very recently they did not and even the amount they have raised it is about 5% (which still means its value is around 25% undervalued). This causes a huge deficit in trade and causes the rich corporation owners to send work there as opposed to making stuff here (their purpose is to make the company as much money as possible and they don’t give a rat’s ass about where it is made or if Americans benefit).
It isn’t ONLY the losses to China and other foreign countries, but the major recent losses are obvious because we all know about the automobile industry tanking and the housing crisis. It is obvious that these sectors will be extremely slow to improve and whatever strides are made will be low. Why? Because the bubble popped… the “Consumer Economy” cannot be supported without a manufacturing base and the “Wall Street” economy is and has been proved to be a huge rip off of the American’s money and way of life.
As we moved into this “Consumer Economy” of debt consumption from manufacturing, there has been a steady drop in the manufacturing sector in America. But in the last 13 months, we have seen it “turbo-charged” (as Scott Paul put it). That is why I find it sadly ironic that Mr Obama tells us in his pretty speeches that this stimulus policy will “add or save” 3.5 Million jobs, even though over 13 Million have been lost. Even The Messiah is disconnected or lying. (Take a hint, he is NOT disconnected).
The numbers are horrific if you take the time to evaluate and understand. When you hear the TV telling you that the unemployment rate is 9.5%, remember that there are factors that they are not taking into consideration. In other words, they are misleading you (purposeful or just stupidity, you determine). Officially, they tell us the unemployment rate is 9.5%, but when you consider every other factor, the “effective unemployment rate” is around 19 – 20%. Not only that, but the hours lost per week is growing and is now around the 33hrs/week mark. Think about that for a minute. 20% unemployment and on average, those people are only working 33 hours per week.
There are several things that we MUST do, if we are ever going to come out of this (and the more I consider and study this, I can only determine that we are “purposefully” set on a course to continue this downward spiral). Being able to get the corporately fed Congress and especially this administration who is in bed with Sachs and The Fed will be a long, tough road to travel. It is even conceivable that it is too late, but I hope not.
We must get rid of these trade imbalances and China’s unfair trade policy it lied to us about. We MUST begin “stimulating” High tech manufacturing (like solar, exotic materials, etc) and we MUST implement a “Buy American” plan that bolsters US manufacturing, but doesn’t alienate other countries that play fairly.
Our past shows us that our current path is leading to doom. Manufacturing simply CANNOT be replaced by a service sector economy. It is idiotic to even consider it, but we are in the middle of it for decades now.
Only 8.7% of our jobs are in manufacturing and only 11.7% of our GDP is from manufacturing. This cannot be sustained if we plan on coming out of this mess. We MUST grow our manufacturing base, but how?
We are never going to go back to hand assembly of little bullshit trinkets and garbage for the “consumer economy”. We must focus on high tech manufacturing like solar, wind energy, exotic materials and other leading edge technologies. But we will be playing catch up because as it is, China produces 80 – 90% of wind and solar products right now. Foreign automobile manufacturing has and is getting even more of a foothold in the USA (which, btw, they generally use their country’s integration firms and by passes American companies that could build their systems, which just grows their sector and takes away from ours).
This is not a “Protectionist Sentiment”. It is only fair because they don’t trade fairly. As Mr Hindery and others have put it when asked why we should implement such a Buy American mentality, “Everyone Else Does It!”.
It is reality. You can see from the screen shot I took that we are hugely imbalanced across the board.
It is obvious that allowing China into the WTO was a huge mistake for regular working Americans, but not for those that profit the most from sending the work there.
I was interested at the 96 minute mark where Mr Brown asked the question how we can attract more young people into manufacturing, especially the high dollar folks that go to Harvard. 1/2 of Harvard’s current Grads go into finance. Why is that and how do we change it?
In many ways, the answers are obvious. Education in this country sucks and pushes people either towards the richest college (if they have money) or into the “service sector” or lower wage jobs. It is the divide of the classes. But there also MUST be a job market for them (at 8.7%, there are lean pickings). It is also compensation, of course. When a Harvard Grad can make 400 times the wages of a factory worker or manufacturing head, it makes sense for them to go where the money is. This divide went from 20-25 times, to about 400 times.
In a nutshell, we have devolved, not evolved. We have seemingly systematically dismantled our manufacturing base, when it is apparent that this very strategy is causing our downfall.
For when it comes down to the bottom line, the countries that “Buy Wherever They Are From” are fed up with our debt, they will stop providing the consumer crap, but will also stop providing essential products we have allowed them to take over manufacturing for us. At the very least, the prices will go so high we can’t afford it anyway.
THOUGHTS ON SINGLE PAYER HEALTH INSURANCE
Richard Scheerer – Early in my work history, the manager of our personnel department came to me with a moral, ethical, and legal dilemma he was facing. Once a month, the president of the company directed this manager to provide him with a copy of the group medical claim report prepared by our plan administrator. From this report, the president could determine which employees or dependents had medical expenses and the severity of the condition involved. If the conditions had the potential of reoccurring costs, the president would indicate his dissatisfaction to the employee’s superior leading to the employee being terminated or better yet, being forced to resign without unemployment benefits. Even valued employees or company officers did not escape; they would be slowly stripped of responsibilities and would never again qualify for a raise or promotion. What makes this situation so reprehensible and eye opening is that this was an insurance company that sold personal health insurance policies.
This is no longer an isolated situation as employers today continue to eliminate employees for medical reasons to reduce health care costs. The “downsizing” craze of a few years ago was a way to get rid of older long term employees and the higher expenses associated with them – salaries, longer vacations, higher health care costs, higher pension contributions, etc.
I have spent most of my career as an officer of various insurance companies and finished my career as a reinsurance intermediary. My insurance colleagues may look disdainfully upon this writing, but I strongly believe that private health insurance can not, and will not, result in the greater good for our society. I have watched the health insurance industry completely change. At one time, probably 30% of all life insurance companies and a number of casualty companies sold medical insurance. Today we are down to a handful that sell individual medical plans; probably no more that five to ten in any one state including a few national marketers.
The employer group insurance choices are not much better. Although there are a limited number of insurance companies offering group health insurance plans, there are a number of insurance companies and non-insurance administrators that provide claim services for employer self-insurance plans. Self-insured plans have become the trend in recent years as another way to control costs. Even these plans need reinsurance for excess and catastrophic losses, but here again we are down to only a few reinsurers willing to offer such coverage. Have one or two large claims and lose a reinsurer, and your plan is in real trouble.
The real problem with our system of reliance on private insurance, whether individual, group or for that matter employer self-insurance plans, is that no plan wants to pay claims. The primary goal of any private company operating under our capitalistic system is to generate as much profit as possible; as a result, the structure of our private health insurance system operates against good public health policy. Care is not the goal; profit is. The welfare our society is not considered. Greatest profit occurs by charging high premium and eliminating or restricting claims. Underwriting, pre-existing condition clauses and terminations are used to eliminate potential claims by assuring only the healthiest receive coverage. With high deductibles, coinsurance percentages, pre-certification, coverage restricted to certain providers, most plans are designed to reduce claims costs to the insurer and transfer these costs directly to the insured. Additionally, it is becoming common for plans to limit one’s choice of providers and to limit treatment by requiring the provider have prior approval.
We spend 15% of our gross national product, basically twice that of most other developed countries, to insure 80-85% of our population. Are we getting twice the benefit? The answer appears to be no, as we have higher infant mortality, lower life expectancy, 50 million uninsured, and many more underinsured – the latter being the number one cause of bankruptcy. Since our system is not universal and public based, we are probably in the worst position of all developed countries to handle a epidemic or pandemic. Our employers are at a competitive disadvantage due to health care costs.
There are two insurance programs that are directly related to health care that also need discussion. First, almost all medical plans, group or individual, eliminate coverage for occupational accident and sickness. Employers are generally required to carry or furnish occupational sickness and accident coverage under mandatory worker’s compensation laws. The cost of mandated workers compensation alone exceeded the wages in many third world companies; a reason in itself for outsourcing.
The second insurance program not being discussed is medical payment coverage under automobile insurance policies. This should not be confused with liability coverage. Medical coverage is immediate and does not require the assessment of liability. This is duplication of costs, but not a duplication of benefits. Injuries can be collected on only one policy.
There is only one true reform that addresses all – universal single payer health. Anything other than universal single payer will simply be a costly government band-aid to continue a broken system that is destined to fail. A universal single payer system will cover everyone. It could eliminate the need and costs of medical coverage under worker’s compensation, and reduce auto insurance premiums by eliminating redundant medical coverage. Universal single payer health care is not a question of additional cost, but a reallocation of that which we already spend.
Richard Scheerer is President Intermediaries Plus
Article found in Excerpts From Reader Comments at UNDERNEWS
I understand that the reTHUGlicans are ’bout braindead, but its nice to see you demoRATS are finally catching up to the REAL America. Maybe the rest of the idiot Obama Maniacs will finally realize how he has lied them into their state of idiocy and will break ranks.
Too bad you are so slow witted that this didn’t occur to you last year, when it really could have made a difference.
Pew Research - Over the first four months of 2009, the Republican Party has continued to lose adherents. In total, the GOP has lost roughly a quarter of its base over the past five years.
But these Republican losses have not translated into substantial Democratic gains. So far in 2009, 35% of adults nationwide identify as Democrats, about the same as in 2008 (36%). While GOP identification has fallen seven points since 2004, the Democrats have gained only two points over that period. Instead, a growing number of Americans describe themselves as independents, 36% in 2009 compared with just 32% in 2008 and 30% in 2004.
Looking at the individual monthly surveys since December suggests that both political parties are facing declining membership in the wake of an engaging election cycle. In the Pew Research Center’s April 2009 survey, 33% identified as Democrats, down from 39% in December 2008. Over the same period, the share calling themselves Republicans has fallen from 26% to 22%. By contrast, the number of independents has risen from 30% in December to 39% now.