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‘Socialism’ and Sham in the Senate

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Posted on Oct 1, 2009

By Joe Conason

Listening closely to the politicians with the most clout in the debate over health care, it is startling to discover how little they actually seem to know about the subject.

Ignorance rules, even among the bipartisan group of senators known as the “Gang of Six,” who supposedly have immersed themselves in the details of this life-and-death issue for many months. If they understood even the most basic facts about how the United States and other advanced countries provide and finance medical care, they simply could not utter the stupid comments that regularly emanate from their lips.

Every catalog of mindless remarks about health care must include at least one rant by Charles Grassley, the Iowa Republican who has wasted the country’s time by pretending to seek a bipartisan solution when he simply wants to stall or kill President Barack Obama’s proposed reforms.

Not so long ago, Grassley alleged he had been told that “government-run” systems in other countries would have denied treatment to Sen. Edward Kennedy for his ultimately fatal brain tumor because he was 77 years old. That statement drew outraged attention from British doctors, who believed that the Iowa senator was talking about their practices. “Jaw-droppingly untruthful,” protested the chairman of the British Medical Association, who said he found such attacks astonishing.

Sen. Mike Enzi, the Wyoming Republican who has connived in the Gang of Six farce, has made similar ominous comments about the medical rationing and reductions in care that would ensue from a “government-run option.” He often says something like this while making speeches in which he also claims to be defending Medicare for seniors—which indicates that he doesn’t understand that Medicare is, in fact, a “government-run” program.

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It is hard to believe that any United States senator could truly be so obtuse about our own government-run system, having voted on Medicare finances and regulations annually for years. Yet these same geniuses don’t seem to realize that they have also authorized and financed one of the most thoroughly socialized medical systems in the world—the highly successful, respected and innovative Veterans Health Administration.

Yes, the VA system is even more “socialist” than Medicare, because the VA runs the hospitals and hires the doctors directly (like the British system), while Medicare simply pays fees to hospitals and doctors (as does the Canadian or French system). Which brings us to the topic of health care regimes in other countries, and yet another amazing display of ignorance by a member of the Gang of Six.

Just the other day, Sen. Kent Conrad tried to explain his fervent opposition to a “public option” by mentioning the way they do things abroad. The Democrat from North Dakota wanted to tell his “progressive friends” that we can achieve universal coverage, reduce costs—like all of the industrial nations that pay far less than we do—and get better results. Referring to systems in France, Germany, Belgium, Switzerland and Japan, he said, “All of them contain costs, have universal coverage, have very high-quality care and yet are not government-run systems.”

It is true that the countries named by Conrad achieve all those benchmarks, but it is false that none of them have government-run health care.

France, which probably has the best system in the world, is essentially a single-payer plan that operates under the French social security system. Germany prohibits insurance companies from making any profit on basic coverage.

Japan provides insurance at a very low cost to families and individuals, with private coverage used for only a narrow range of services. Switzerland runs insurance plans that are so highly regulated, with prices of services and drugs set by the government, that they would be denounced as communist if anyone tried to impose them here.

Conrad, like his colleagues from Iowa and Wyoming, travels abroad on tax dollars, receives excellent briefings and reports from the Congressional Research Service and employs lots of staff members to help him.

Can they really be that dumb? Or do they just assume that we are?

Joe Conason writes for The New York Observer.

© 2009 Creators.com


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MarthaA's avatar

By MarthaA, October 19, 2009 at 11:23 am Link to this comment

Section 12, October 19 at 6:06am,

Here’s praying Progressive Democrat Bob Krause will become Iowa’s new Senator and send Conservative Republican Sen. Chuck Grassley out of D.C. forever.

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By Section 12, October 19, 2009 at 3:06 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

There is a solution to Senator Grassley!  Bob Krause is running against him.  Check out the web site at http://www.krauseforiowa.com.

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MarthaA's avatar

By MarthaA, October 14, 2009 at 6:44 am Link to this comment

ardee, October 13 at 6:37am,

I am certain that what you are telling me is what your parents told you when you were a child, and it is normal for an abused child to grow up to be the abuser; I don’t hold this against you, but I do suggest that you get therapy.

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Anarcissie's avatar

By Anarcissie, October 14, 2009 at 5:03 am Link to this comment

ardee—There is usually no point in attempting to engage those who post abusive messages, any more than there is in arguing with a drunk in the gutter.  They’re not playing your game.  Exceptions can be made for those who are unusually funny.

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By ardee, October 14, 2009 at 3:20 am Link to this comment

bogi666, October 13 at 8:27 am

Speaking of childish…....this last effort of yours qualifies.

By the by we two are not even the same sex much less the same person. We do share, I think, a finely tuned bullshit detector, which goes off increasingly with each successive post of yours.

If you will recall your first efforts were greeted with honesty and consideration, though disagreement was included.Only after your posts began to descend into Rod Serling world did the responses become acerbic. You generally get the responses you deserve.

KDelphi, October 13 at 12:48 pm #

ardee-PLEASE! I am MORE sorry that you wil ever know!

You gotta pay for your mistakes…OK you’ve paid.

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By KDelphi, October 13, 2009 at 9:48 am Link to this comment

ardee-PLEASE! I am MORE sorry that you wil ever know!

(sob, sob) Please forgive me! wwwaaa…j/k

Gawd, make it stop! I see myself in every rant! (so I dont read ‘em..lol)

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By bogi666, October 13, 2009 at 5:27 am Link to this comment

Ardee to Anarcissee nah, nah, nah, nah nah…...... still in the 4th grade. They are each others alter ego or the same person reciting the dialogue they hear in their own head[s] and then answering the voices they hear and don’t exist.

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By ardee, October 13, 2009 at 4:50 am Link to this comment

Yeah, Anarcissie, whats the matter with you girl? Time you read your bible, that will certainly solve all our problems, you betcha!

I gotta say that you were more perceptive than I in spotting the warts on this increasingly odd fellow

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By bogi666, October 13, 2009 at 4:50 am Link to this comment

Anarcissee, FYI, bogi is an Sanskrit word. Your insanely ignorant comment doesn’t make any sense which is not the first time for your deranged comments.

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By bogi666, October 13, 2009 at 4:42 am Link to this comment

Anarchissee, your level of ignorance, due to your being of inferior knowledge and are of the “Conspiracies of the Inferior” which you said of yourself, is so obviously telling it’s absurd. You’re a typical neocon, attacking the messengers because you are unable to comprehend the message. FYI, 666 is not the Beast it signifies the 6th Trump, 6th Plague, 6th Seal which signifies the coming of the Anti Christ. The Beast is the One World System, New World Order, Global Capitalism. You need to brush up on your Biblical literacy and you can start by first run, don’t walk, to your local Headstart so that you can Comprehend the Bible someday instead of repeating the false doctrine drivel of the televangelists.

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By ardee, October 13, 2009 at 3:37 am Link to this comment

MarthaA, October 12 at 9:20 pm

I know you fail utterly to see yourself as others see you ( Robert Burns noted this a rare quality), and that is a real shame. You act as if I am the only one to whom you hurl your ridiculous and sadly eccentric ( or worse) accusations of sophistry ( I still harbor resentment at KD for teaching you that now severely overworked phrase wink).

But the truth of this is that you call everyone who doesnt buy into your odd little political world as such, or as some GOP propagandist, but what can one expect from someone who fails the test of honesty so very badly. I still remember your asking why it is so bad to post as two people. Sad little creature you are.

I see no merit in continuing this snipe fest, have the last words, or volumes or whatever. I will continue to comment upon your silliness whenever you post such but dialoguing with you is a waste of my time. As you are a waste of space.

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By MarthaA, October 12, 2009 at 6:20 pm Link to this comment

ardee, October 12 at 6:27pm,

Respect from a Right-Wing Conservative EXTREMIST sophist propagandist means what?——Nothing at all.

Respect from a Right-Wing Conservative EXTREMIST sociopath like you is not something I seek or place value in.

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By ardee, October 12, 2009 at 3:27 pm Link to this comment

Of course you dont poor thing. Just as you dont understand that such inferences diminish any respect you might otherwise earn. If everyone who disagreed with your mishmash of political gibberish and your incredibly inedible loyalty to the Democrats were residing in a “boiler room” there would be one on every street corner.

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By MarthaA, October 12, 2009 at 7:45 am Link to this comment

ardee,

ardee said:  “Do you understand that disagreement with you, in whatever guise you assume, does not automatically infer the status of spy, or propagandist upon the disagreeing poster?”

MarthaA’s answer: What you are saying is like Nixon saying, “I am not a crook”; for Nixon his declaration rang hollow, and so does your equivalent protestation.

Why don’t you just admit that you’re working in a Right-Wing Conservative EXTREMIST Boiler Room and get it off your chest? ——that would be a great stress reducer for you.

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By ardee, October 12, 2009 at 3:07 am Link to this comment

MarthaA, October 11 at 10:20 pm

Do you understand that disagreement with you, in whatever guise you assume, does not automatically infer the status of spy, or propagandist upon the disagreeing poster?

Of course you dont poor thing. Just as you dont understand that such inferences diminish any respect you might otherwise earn. If everyone who disagreed with your mishmash of political gibberish and your incredibly inedible loyalty to the Democrats were residing in a “boiler room” there would be one on every street corner.

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By ThomasG, October 11, 2009 at 7:29 pm Link to this comment

firefly, October 11 at 3:53pm,

Thank you for your support.

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By MarthaA, October 11, 2009 at 7:20 pm Link to this comment

ardee, October 11 at 7:32pm,

MarthaA is not firefly and MarthaA agrees with both firefly and ThomasG.

Seldom do I ever agree with you, ardee.  How are you doing in that Right-Wing Conservative EXTREMIST Boiler Room?  Does it pay well?

Being in that Right-Wing Conservative EXTREMIST Boiler Room causes you to be extremely suspicious of Liberals, doesn’t it?  You are to accuse, condemn and denounce all Liberals, and you do your best to get the job done, don’t you?

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By MarthaA, October 11, 2009 at 7:04 pm Link to this comment

ThomasG, October 10 at 4:05pm,

I agree with you ThomasG.

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By MarthaA, October 11, 2009 at 7:02 pm Link to this comment

firefly, October 11 at 3:53pm,

I agree with you firefly and ThomasG.

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By ardee, October 11, 2009 at 4:32 pm Link to this comment

firefly, October 11 at 3:53 pm

Are you Martha too?

So what depth of meaning do you find in “Bah”?

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By firefly, October 11, 2009 at 12:53 pm Link to this comment

ThomasG, I agree with everything you say.

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By ardee, October 11, 2009 at 8:35 am Link to this comment

Anarcissie, October 11 at 11:22 am

You are correct, funny I didnt make the connection. I think some of the sobriquets folks choose are more revealing than they believe or desire.

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By Anarcissie, October 11, 2009 at 8:22 am Link to this comment

ardee, October 10 at 11:26 am #

errr, God in Russian is ???...Four grandparents from that nation…...

Bog in Roman transliteration.  Truthdig’s dumb comment processor can’t handle Unicode and so the Cyrillic characters come out represented by question marks.  So “bogi666” is bog (God) i (and) 666 (the number of the Beast).  He must have quite an idea of himself!

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By ThomasG, October 10, 2009 at 1:05 pm Link to this comment

Socialism for the Wealthy is a Reality.  If you people, Right-Wing Conservative EXTREMISTS on this blog, want to talk about socialism, talk about the tens of trillions of dollars that has been spent from 2008 to the present as socialism for the wealthy, for the top 1% of the population of the United States, at the expense of 90% of the population of the United States, corporate socialism, socialism for the wealthy, IS socialist resources of the many used in pursuit of privatized profit for the few.

The Left, Liberals, are always left with the cyclical mess of Right-Wing Conservative EXTREMISM to clean up and pay for.  It is time for a change; it is time for the Right-Wing Conservative EXTREMISTS to clean up and pay for their own mess.

The current 2008-2009 mess that the Right-Wing Conservative EXTREMISTS have created resulted from the Right-Wing Conservative EXTREMIST Movement’s politics from Goldwater through Reagan, Bush I and Bush II, and is the cumulative effect of Right-Wing Conservative EXTREMIST deindustrialization of the United States, and Right-Wing Conservative EXTREMIST creation of a mercantile financialized economy in pursuit of cheap labor and obscene short-term profit that created the biggest financial bubble the World has ever known with toxic securities and credit default derivitives that broke in 2008 and brought down both the economy of the United States and the World; from 2008 to 2009 to the present this economic mess created intentionally for the benefit of obscene short-term profit by Right-Wing Conservative EXTREMISTS has required TENS of TRILLIONS of DOLLARS of socialized resources and dominated the greater part of the Left and Liberals time and resources to clean up and stabilize the obscene mess of the U.S. Economy that the Right-Wing Conservative EXTREMISTS intentionally created in pursuit of cheap labor and short term profit.

The Left and Liberals have prevented the U.S. Economy from spiraling into the worse World Wide Depression the world has ever known.

The Right-Wing Conservative EXTREMISTS need to answer for and pay for clean up of the obscene mess they made of the U.S. Economy in pursuit of cheap labor and short-term profits.

The Right-Wing Conservative EXTREMISTS are unrepentant for the damage they have done to the U.S. Economy, the United States as a Nation, and the long-suffering people of the United States that have been subjected to their Right-Wing Conservative EXTREMIST Agenda in pursuit of cheap labor and short term profit; the Right-Wing Conservative EXTREMISTS of the Movement and of the leadership of the movement must be brought to justice and made to pay for their destructive behavior as a deterrent to future bad behavior.

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By ardee, October 10, 2009 at 8:26 am Link to this comment

errr, God in Russian is ???...Four grandparents from that nation…...

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By ardee, October 10, 2009 at 8:22 am Link to this comment

Anarcissie, October 10 at 10:08 am

Alas, just as I’d hoped my erudite (?) renditions including so many of the Bard’s suggestions might have an effect, he reappears unrepentant,unchastised, unclear and muttering further silly critiques.

I find those concerned with who is inferior to whom is usually overly concerned about their own possible inferiority. Perhaps the high school shower room took its toll early on.

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By Anarcissie, October 10, 2009 at 7:08 am Link to this comment

ardee:
‘Anarcissie, October 9 at 1:49 pm

Yeah, kidding. Blasphemy is in the eye of the beholder after all.

I think we frightened Bogi away…or bored him to death.’

No, he, she, it or they will be with us for a little while.  Given that ‘bogi666’ combines the Russian word for God and the Number of the Beast you can tell he etc. has pretty elaborate ideas about himself, and the just arraignment of blasphemy among the lower orders is no doubt one of the duties he takes upon himself.

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By bogi666, October 10, 2009 at 6:47 am Link to this comment

Arnarchissee, thanks for proving Mencken right about the inferiors, you’re a prime example. Bush up on your semantics, I didn’t say the betters, more educated, are superior. Obviously, Einstein is superior to you in physics. Bored, no just finding out whom you inferiors are, you abound and boast about it.

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By ardee, October 10, 2009 at 5:38 am Link to this comment

Anarcissie, October 9 at 1:49 pm

Yeah, kidding. Blasphemy is in the eye of the beholder after all.

I think we frightened Bogi away…or bored him to death.

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By Anarcissie, October 9, 2009 at 10:49 am Link to this comment

ardee:
‘Anarcissie, October 8 at 8:11 pm

Go, dear lady, and blaspheme no more.

You’ve got to be kidding.  Blasphemy is one of my favorite hobbies.

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By ardee, October 9, 2009 at 2:54 am Link to this comment

Anarcissie, October 8 at 8:11 pm

Go, dear lady, and blaspheme no more.

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By Anarcissie, October 8, 2009 at 5:11 pm Link to this comment

bogi666:
‘ardee, Anarcissee vociferously complained about an H.L. Mencken quote entitled “Conspiracies of the Inferior” likely because the shoe fit. ...’

No, dear, I didn’t complain, I said I thought Mencken was wrong about something.  I had no idea I was committing some sort of blasphemy; if I had, I would have made better use of the opportunity.

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By ardee, October 8, 2009 at 2:51 pm Link to this comment

bogi666, October 8 at 3:34 pm

I understand a fury in your words,
But not the words.
 
  William Shakespeare, “Othello”, Act 4 scene 2

You know not what can of worms you have opened with the incorrect citing of that most marvelous of all scribblers, William Shakespeare.

The lady doth protest too much, methinks.
 
  William Shakespeare, “Hamlet”, Act 3 scene 2

As to your animosity for Anarcissie, well:

“And since you know you cannot see yourself,
so well as by reflection, I, your glass,
will modestly discover to yourself,
that of yourself which you yet know not of.”

It is not a crime to hold an opinion that differs from ones own, and the poster in question certainly holds opinions that widely differ from mine own, and yours as well apparently. Yet I ask you to put the responses of this worthy against those of the nutjobs, bigots and clowns who infest this arena and at least respect the person for a worthy adversary if nothing more.
 
” Assume a virtue, if you have it not.”

I am guilty of calling some here by rather impolitic phrases, but I do respect a person whose posts reflect thought and intelligence, your adversary again fills that bill I think.

“I am not bound to please thee with my answers”

Noone here is bound to please, only to attempt sincerity and truth as it is seen to be by them. Alas, so many fail even that simple test.

“It is not enough to help the feeble up, but to support him after”

If you think Anarcissie so wrong or wrong headed, by all means instruct away. I think you will be made better for the dialogue.

Lastly I would cite two of my favorites but first I apologize for the length of my response as well as for its tedious renderings of my obvious worship of the Bard of Avon. our language has debased itself since his time I fear, and we are all the poorer for it.

The quality of mercy is not strain’d,
It droppeth as the gentle rain from heaven
Upon the place beneath. It is twice blest:
It blesseth him that gives and him that takes.
‘T is mightiest in the mightiest: it becomes
The throned monarch better than his crown;
His sceptre shows the force of temporal power,
The attribute to awe and majesty,
Wherein doth sit the dread and fear of kings;
But mercy is above this sceptred sway,
It is enthroned in the hearts of kings,
It is an attribute to God himself;
And earthly power doth then show likest God’s,
When mercy seasons justice. Therefore, Jew,
Though justice be thy plea, consider this,
That in the course of justice none of us
Should see salvation: we do pray for mercy;
And that same prayer doth teach us all to render
The deeds of mercy.
 
  William Shakespeare, “The Merchant of Venice”, Act 4 scene

Our revels now are ended. These our actors,
As I foretold you, were all spirits, and
Are melted into air, into thin air:
And, like the baseless fabric of this vision,
The cloud-capp’d towers, the gorgeous palaces,
The solemn temples, the great globe itself,
Yea, all which it inherit, shall dissolve,
And, like this insubstantial pageant faded,
Leave not a rack behind. We are such stuff
As dreams are made on; and our little life
Is rounded with a sleep.
 
  William Shakespeare, “The Tempest”, Act 4 scene 1

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By bogi666, October 8, 2009 at 12:34 pm Link to this comment

ardee, Anarcissee vociferously complained about an H.L. Mencken quote entitled “Conspiracies of the Inferior” likely because the shoe fit. Whenever someone complains I take a Shakespeare quote, into consideration, “me thinks thou hast protest too much” and another from an unknown “those who yell the loudest have the most too hide”, and Anarcissee was protesting about the “inferiors” referred to in the Mencken quote, that the inferiors conspire against his betters, “those who know more than he does”. It was Anarcissee who made his own bed in this matter. The fact is that I reside among the inferiors and know it. This is not pride or boastful but it is far better to recognize fools for whom they are. An example being;  I live next to an Klansman who has a “obey the 10 commandment” sign then listing the commandments outside his residence, for public consumption. He’s an inferior and his fellow Klansmen conspire against their betters.

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By ardee, October 7, 2009 at 2:59 am Link to this comment

Anarcissie, October 6 at 11:07 pm

Thanks for the belly laugh…..

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By Anarcissie, October 6, 2009 at 8:07 pm Link to this comment

ardee:
’... I have had my disagreements with the opinions Anarcissie expresses but I have never, ever concluded them to be the product of an inferior mind…Care to share you own reasoning?’

Oh, no.  Spare us.

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By ardee, October 6, 2009 at 4:08 pm Link to this comment

bogi666, October 6 at 8:39 am #

ThomasG, Anarcisse attacks the messenger routinely because Anarcisse can’t respond to the message with coherent intelligence. He is of the “Conspiracy of the Inferior” characterized by H.L. Mencken as the conspiracies of the inferior against his betters and he, Anarcisse, is of the inferior who continuously rail against his betters. It’s all a smoke screen by him to cover up his inferior intellect, an old neocon tactic of attacking the messengers of messages that are accurate.

While I am sorely tempted to use the words of ThomasG/ MarthaA in response to your diatribe about Anarcissie I do not think a simple “bah” covers it.

You are free to think what you will but the efforts of that poster are hardly conducive to the opinion that they are not intellectual. Far from it.

I have had my disagreements with the opinions Anarcissie expresses but I have never, ever concluded them to be the product of an inferior mind…Care to share you own reasoning?

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By Hulk2008, October 6, 2009 at 2:34 pm Link to this comment

I agree almost totally with TheHandyman.  Having worked in health care software for over 41 years I have seen first-hand the crazy shenanigans that insurers do to pad their bottom lines. 
  Congress is nearly devoid of anyone interested in actually “reform"ing health care - with the possible exception of Sen. Weiden.  I have watched many hours of debate on C-Span and am willing to lump the rest into 3 basic groups: the business-oriented-dont-give-a-craps, the let’s-do-something-and-I-don’t-understand-health-cares, and the I’ll-say-anything-to-block-the-other-guys.  Their lack of knowledge about insurance and actual health is mind boggling.  They are totally bound up in pushing numbers around for their own benefit. 
  I disagree with TheHandyman in that neither Mr. Nader nor Mr. Obama nor any President could ever change the “minds” in Congress - they cannot even be shamed into doing the right thing. 
  Maybe declare martial law and turn all health care over to the VA ... ??

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By ThomasG, October 6, 2009 at 7:55 am Link to this comment

Anarcissie, October 5 at 9:32 pm,

Blah.

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By ThomasG, October 6, 2009 at 7:54 am Link to this comment

ardee, October 6 at 6:23 am,

Blah.

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By bogi666, October 6, 2009 at 5:39 am Link to this comment

ThomasG, Anarcisse attacks the messenger routinely because Anarcisse can’t respond to the message with coherent intelligence. He is of the “Conspiracy of the Inferior” characterized by H.L. Mencken as the conspiracies of the inferior against his betters and he, Anarcisse, is of the inferior who continuously rail against his betters. It’s all a smoke screen by him to cover up his inferior intellect, an old neocon tactic of attacking the messengers of messages that are accurate.

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By ardee, October 6, 2009 at 3:23 am Link to this comment

ThomasG, October 5 at 5:07 pm

Your penchant for lumping all who disagree with you into the same bucket only shows your lack of utility in arriving at any reasonable conclusions. Further, denigrating all conservatives and associating them with the new breed of neoconservative wastes the chance of alliances necessary to proceed effectively.

of course these conclusions of mine are wasted on one ( actually Two) like you who thinks concentration camps an ideal solution to disagreement.

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By archeon of thrace, October 5, 2009 at 9:43 pm Link to this comment

Rollzone are you on drugs?  What are you talking
about?

The only socialism I see in the USA is corporate
socialism that protects profits at the expense of the
citizens.

There is no socialism in the USA there is only Fascism.

The USA is an evil empire that uses military power to
subdue opponents.

The USA middle class of the 40s, 50s, and 60s was
built on a tax system that taxed wealth, and rewarded
hard work by middle income workers.  Now those that
need tax relief least get the greatest break.

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By Anarcissie, October 5, 2009 at 6:32 pm Link to this comment

ThomasG:
’... I have lived through this conundrum with Goldwater, Reagan, Bush I and Bush II; if these people had been confronted with their so called wisdom being foolishness in the beginning, there is a good chance that the United States would not be in the condition that it is today. ...’

You’re saying nobody opposed or criticized Goldwater, Reagan, or the Bushes?  What planet are you from?  Not one of the closer ones, surely.

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By ThomasG, October 5, 2009 at 5:40 pm Link to this comment

Anarcissie, October 5 at 6:30 pm,

Overestimating a fool is a sign of foolishness.  If you treat a fool and the fool’s foolishness as wisdom , the fool will act as if foolishness is wisdom.

I have lived through this conundrum with Goldwater, Reagan, Bush I and Bush II; if these people had been confronted with their so called wisdom being foolishness in the beginning, there is a good chance that the United States would not be in the condition that it is today. 

I have no intention of trying to appease those playing the part of fools and not treating their foolishness as foolishness; I have seen what not doing so results in, and it is time for a change.

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By Anarcissie, October 5, 2009 at 3:30 pm Link to this comment

ThomasG:
’... How is calling Conservatives knuckle dragging neanderthals who think the public is made up of idiots unfair, when it is true?’

It is unwise to underestimate your opponents, however gratifying it may be.

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By ThomasG, October 5, 2009 at 2:07 pm Link to this comment

ardee, October 3 at 8:09 am,

ardee said:  “Conservatives are knuckle dragging neanderthals who think the public is made up of idiots.”

“An unfair and inaccurate conflating of the politics of conservatism with those who profess to be such but are not at all…..”

ThomasG’s answer:  How is calling Conservatives knuckle dragging neanderthals who think the public is made up of idiots unfair, when it is true?

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By ThomasG, October 5, 2009 at 1:51 pm Link to this comment

bogi666, October 2 at 10:26 am,

bogi666 said: “ThomasG,The current beneficiaries, Congress and Business, of socialized private capitalism, THE CORPORATE WELFARE KINGS, know a good thing and want to restrict socialism for themselves.These same beneficiaries are quite happy with their lot and with the Federal deficit financed by Treasury bonds with the proceeds DOLED OUT TO THE CORPORATE WELFARE KINGS and the interest and principle paid by individual taxpayers. It was Reagoon who ushered in the huge Federal deficits explicitly for this purpose while simultaneously cutting and/or eliminating corporate taxes.

ThomasG’s answer:  Good post.

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By Sabagio, October 5, 2009 at 1:01 pm Link to this comment

Ignorance rules in Congress?  Sure, why not?  This is the same bunch whether in Committee, in Chambers or on the Floor, give credence to the Commentariat members like of Lumbaugh, Beck and Hannity, et.al., through citation or reference. When was the last time Bill Moyers was recognized for his insights. It explains a whole lot of why honest debate about Health Care Reform and why it’s needed ASAP gets marginalized , replaced by one-note rhetoric of “faceless citizens for the public good” are quoted over and over and over again by anti-Obama anything spokespersons and media types trying to keep their jobs.

Last week Joe wrote about Russ and Glenn as racists. Are our legislative leaders (Dems and Reps)still listening to them? It seems they do.  Mass Media Commentarians say that President Obama has to talk about racism still around in 21st Century USA. Why should he since it never left Congress, that greatest of debating societies.

US “racism” is all about making a lot of money and acquiring and keeping economic and political power. It’s about marginalizing one person or group by another for economic advantage and control. It’s “racism institutionalized” when an organization with an invisible leadership(GE,FOX,ABC..) use systemic policies and practices meant to place non-white/non socially acceptable racial and ethnic and income groups at a disadvantage in relation to the institution’s members. Extend this to poor, uninsured, and aged. Putting out the institution’s point of view through controlled media is unrelenting. As Sundance said to Butch: “Who are those guys? It’s time to move to Bolivia.” 

Sabagio Mauraeno flooded out in Decatur, Georgia.

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By Anarcissie, October 5, 2009 at 8:49 am Link to this comment

ardee:
’... I refuse to succumb to the belief that govt is doomed to support only the wealthiest among us,as do you apparently. That it currently does exactly that is moot, that it doesnt have to be that way is my truth. In fact, without government I think that only the wealthiest would thrive, quickly becoming another form of elite. ...’

Logically, if power or wealth are centralized, than the people most interested in power and wealth will compete to get control of them, and those who are most competent at seizing them will win.  Government is, of course, a way of centralizing power and of protecting the centralizations of wealth.  The stronger the government, the more power and wealth are concentrated.

Outside of personal material possessions, all the forms of wealth we observe depend on state power to exist—that is, they are protected by the government and surrounded by a network of institutions created or maintained by the government, that is, by force.

However, it is correct to observe that, given the present condition of our culture and of our non-state institutions and relations, which except for familial relations are few and weak, the sudden abolition of the state would simply be followed by another and probably worse state.  There is no simple, quick, easy solution to the problem posed by the state.  This doesn’t mean we should overlook its many serious and inevitable defects.

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By firefly, October 5, 2009 at 7:12 am Link to this comment

The fact is, America is a plutocracy, run by corporate powers. The government is lobbied, financed and controlled by these powers (mostly, the Military Industrial Complex, the Oil companies and the Insurance companies). The US government is not afraid of the people, it is afraid of the Corporate bosses…......... who pull ALL the strings.

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By Ouroborus, October 4, 2009 at 6:22 pm Link to this comment

In Europe and especially France; the government is
afraid of the people. In the U.S. the people are now
afraid of their government; until and unless that
dynamic changes, we will be treated like controlled
beings we are.

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By peasant, October 4, 2009 at 5:24 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Yeah, i think it would be great to see what would happen with instant runnoff voting. It seems the only way to get some alternative to our douopoly. But as with many things, how do we get there when the people who could enact this are the ones who benefit most from the status quo. You think either of our group of corporate lackies wants a challenge to their position? I guess like with civil rights we’ll need to take it to the streets to get anywhere. Which makes it all the more disheartening that so many are still blabbering about “socialism” even as we grab our ankles for Wall St., big insurance, pharma, etc.

I agree Anarcissie, the power of government will always be tilted toward working for the ruling class. But it’s a matter of having some balance, where middle and lower class working people also have some protection. I think we’d all hate to live in a world where there was absolutely no balance to the Exxons and Haliburtons of the world, though we seem to be getting closer. I don’t believe that the impetus for the powerful to dominate others originates from the idea of the state.

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By ardee, October 4, 2009 at 4:06 pm Link to this comment

diamond, October 4 at 4:38 pm

Your criticism does not have to be the reality here. There is, currently, no party that represents the progressive agenda in our halls of Congress or in the White House. A viable third party would make that representation possible.

I see no way to influence either major party to move leftward thus what other way to include progressives in the government?

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By TheHandyman, October 4, 2009 at 2:16 pm Link to this comment

Surely by now the enlightened and engaged People realize that this whole attempt at “health care reform” and the debate over the “public option” is nothing but a sham. Anyone who has even a rudementary understanding of the problems with the present “health care system” we have understands that the only solution for the People is a Universal Single Payer system. Even the President has on more than one occasion has stated as much. And yet he stands before the nation and tells us lies about why single payer isn’t possible and then tells us two lies that are even worse. The first lie was that the health insurance industry provided a valuable service which is only true if you think that the industry does something efficently and that it does so in a cost effective manner which is belied by everything that we know! The second lie was that the health insurance industry is entitled to their profit. Yes, that is obviously true if you believe that People’s lives and their health is a commodity and if you believe that a system that defrauds and murders people in order to make profits so huge that CEOs can make the kind of money that allows them to buy $78 million lakeside homes.

Obama and most of Congress do not see the insurance industry as the vampires that they are. We know that they need to be killed off. Most of the business world realizes that the only way they are going to get rid of the costs of health care is to either promote single payer or hope that Congress does what it is doing now, come up with a plan whereby People would be forced to buy health insurance and business’ will then dump their employees into that mandated pool.

The People have been distracted by the arguing over which party is doing the most or the least when in fact neither party is pursuing a solution to the problem. This whole play is about misdirection and pretense.

In order for there to be any meaningful reform a number of positions by the People has to see a major shift in their point of view. First, they need to see this as a Life or Death issue. Secondly, they have to come to believe, as have the people in the single payer countries, that they have a right to the best health care possible. Third, They need to speak out and refuse to elect people that believe that their constituent’s lives are a commodity. Fourth, they need to stop believing that their lives and health are a commdity which only results in the insurance companies defrauding them and then murdering them for the sake of profit. And fourth, they need to quit believing that any one who runs for office from a third party can’t win! To continue to vacilate between the Republiwon’ts and the Democan’ts has gotten us into the very situation we are in.

I voted for Ralph Nader the last two times. Ralph told us how he would have handled this issue. He would have used the office of President to bombard the nation with all the horror stories of People dieing and being denied the treatment they paid their insurance companies for. He himself would have appeared and kept these stories in front of everyone all the while promoting a universal single payer plan that would include dental, mental, eyecare and full health services. After a number of months he would have dared anyone in Congress to vote against such a plan. Ralph would have forced Congress to do something they do not want to do because to kill the health insurance industry would eliminate a large chunk of the bribery money that Congress gets so they can run and lie to us once again.

But a large part of the blame for the present situation is the failure of the People to know what is really happening in Congress and for the fact they continually elect the twits again and again! Americans are oft times like someone sitting in the electric chair who get rooked into throwing their own switch!

SINGLE PAYER UNIVERSAL HEALTH CARE FOR EVERYONE! EVERYBODY IN, NOBODY OUT!

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By diamond, October 4, 2009 at 1:38 pm Link to this comment

GrannyBgood do you know what you get when you divide political power up amongst a lot of parties instead of only two? You get Italy: you’ve been warned. Italian politics is infamous for its corruption and dysfunction in spite of having lots of competing parties. The political process is like taking a sausage and forcing it through lots of channels but it doesn’t matter how many channels you have, if the sausage is rotten to begin with it will still be rotten. You need to stop using a rotten sausage. Get rid of the lobbyists and come down on corruption hard. Maybe then the mainstream media in America will have other stories to cover apart from the vapid mindlessness of their coverage of the disappearance of blond white girls and the criminality of black men. Grassley was paid to tell those lies.

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By ardee, October 4, 2009 at 11:52 am Link to this comment

Anarcissie, October 4 at 10:52 am #

If I remember my history correctly several of the founders, principally Hamilton,Madison and Jefferson, wanted a much stronger central govt. but, in order to appease the colonies, especially New York , the wealthiest and principal port , wrote up a govt in which states rights were emphasized.

I refuse to succumb to the belief that govt is doomed to support only the wealthiest among us,as do you apparently. That it currently does exactly that is moot, that it doesnt have to be that way is my truth. In fact, without government I think that only the wealthiest would thrive, quickly becoming another form of elite.

I think the principle purpose of govt is, or damn well should be, the care of the elements in our society most in need of care, and the protection of most of us from the few of us.

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By ohiolibgal, October 4, 2009 at 11:43 am Link to this comment

It’s some combination of dumb and lying because of
getting huge piles of cash from lobbyists - or both.

I vote dumb. corrupt, and stuck in 1954 for Grassley.

We need a terminology reset, instead of the sanitized
word, lobbying, we need to call it what it actually is,
bribery.

We are squarely up against it because Washington and
the MSM are bought and paid for.

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By Jon, October 4, 2009 at 9:38 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

We’re seeing what I call ‘lawyers at work’ in the Congress—-people making statements based on nothing other than obstructionism or the desire to give the best deal to the ‘client’ which in this case is the insurance industry.  It’s the typical ‘this is not an apple’ argument of basic law in the courtroom.  You argue that the apple you’re holding is not an apple, and there will be some who will take your side.  We’re not seeing intelligent debate, but lawyering for the sake of the insurance industry.  Sure, the man murdered your best friend, BUT, he’s a ‘good man at heart.’  QED

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By Anarcissie, October 4, 2009 at 7:52 am Link to this comment

Ardee—The people who wrote the Constitution were mostly classical liberals, in other words, had about the same political philosophy as modern libertarians: the government exists primarily to protect property, yet its powers must be carefully circumscribed so the property-owners themselves are not in danger from it.  The ideas of the Constitution, and of modern libertarians, are only distantly related to anarchism.

I am quite pessimistic about the prospect of humans getting along, but I don’t think the state solves the problem, it simply concentrates the evils in fewer places (maybe).  I don’t see any indication in history that technical jiggering of the forms of liberal political institutions is going to do any substantial good.

Regardless of what one thinks the best polity is, it won’t do to forget essential facts, like the violence at the core of the idea of the state, and its essential purpose, which always has been and always must be the furtherance of the interests and desires of its ruling class.

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By GrannyBgood, October 4, 2009 at 7:08 am Link to this comment

It’s not our Social programs that are disfunctional, it’s our DEMOCRACY!

I know, I know…Americans have been taught since grade school that Capitalism equals Democracy and Socialism/communism equals Dictatorship. This is apples and oranges, and does NOT compute! If anything, Capitalism only pollutes our Democracy, more likely leading to Fascism (what we have now!)  and as an egalitarian, humanitarian concept, Socialism is much more compatible with Democracy.

If we are to fix our Democracy, we need to tweak the basic system to allow more than two parties to flourish. The way to do that is make Instant Runoff Voting (IRV) the law of the land.
If every voter has not just one choice at the ballot box, but an all-important SECOND choice to be factored in, it would eliminate the “Spoiler effect” that defaults your third-party vote to the one you wanted least, and keeps third parties from having a viable chance at election.
If you had wanted to vote, say, Green party, you could mark that as your first choice, and THEN mark a second choice for, say, the Democrat, so even if your first choice doesn’t make it, your second choice will still get your vote instead of your last choice.(Not to mention, there will be far more people willing to go out on a limb if they can have this “Insurance”.  Counting votes would merely involve giving two points to your first choice and one to your second, and the one with the most points wins. so, your second-choice candidate might still win, but there will be many votes registered for your first choice, and this will have to be recognized by the winner and in the mandate. You, and your first-choice candidate and platform will get far better representation, and need much less of that filthy campaign money to do it, because of the element of UNPREDICTABILITY that really puts more power in the voters’ hands.
We should be demanding this new voting system in every state of the union…and not on those damnable machines, either!

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By ardee, October 4, 2009 at 5:57 am Link to this comment

We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.

I believe this was the intent, and I believe it still possible. My problem with Libertarians is the basic pessimism they adhere to, along with the baseless optimism that people will get along without government. I always think them guilty of the baby and the bath water analogy…..

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By Anarcissie, October 3, 2009 at 7:57 pm Link to this comment

ardee:
‘Anarcissie, October 3 at 6:24 pm #

We have, I believe, a fundamental difference in our opinion of the workings and the necessity for a govt. I believe such an institution is necessary to the functioning of a nation and that our present form is fundamentally sound. That it has been usurped by greedy and fascist corporate entities doesnt obviate its demise, only its reformation.’

Greedy and fascist corporate entities are a logical outgrowth of the principles on which states are founded, primarily the principle that some should rule others.  Hence their appearance in community after community, once the idea of the state is accepted.

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By ThomasG, October 3, 2009 at 5:32 pm Link to this comment

rollzone, October 3 at 4:26 pm,

YOU are supporting tens of trillions of dollars of socialized/communized resources being taken out of the pockets of the entire population of the United States in the form of TAXES for the benefit of maintaining the value of assets that provide a revenue stream, capital, for the top 10% of the wealthiest people in the United States, socialism/communism for the few at the expense of the many.  If you are indeed on Medicare, why is it that YOU support socialism/communism for the few at the expense of the many, and decry socialism for the many that requires the few to pay their own way like everyone else, rather than to be on Corporate Welfare for tens of trillions of dollars as is the present case at the present time?

Your post sounds like you are parroting Right-Wing Conservative dogma without a clue as to what you are talking about.

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By ardee, October 3, 2009 at 4:17 pm Link to this comment

Anarcissie, October 3 at 6:24 pm #

We have, I believe, a fundamental difference in our opinion of the workings and the necessity for a govt. I believe such an institution is necessary to the functioning of a nation and that our present form is fundamentally sound. That it has been usurped by greedy and fascist corporate entities doesnt obviate its demise, only its reformation.

rollzone, October 3 at 4:26 pm #

hello. socialism in America. United Soviet Socialist Republic gave us work quotas, then long bread lines, then rampant alcoholism. it scattered alike roaches in the light, many settling to the west.

hello, what you describe is true, that it is or was socialism is false. But I think you know this.

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By Anarcissie, October 3, 2009 at 3:24 pm Link to this comment

Ardee— Voting or war (the former is an image of the latter) indeed are the only ways we have to change the state, but a large part of human life is still outside the state.  If it is possible for human beings to live noncoercively, then they should be able to construct or discover this noncoercive society outside the purview and control of the state.  If it is not possible for humans to live without coercive institutions, then they are probably doomed.

KDelphi— Establishing oneself as a religious institution is already pretty tricky, and if it became a popular way to avoid taxes it would become a lot trickier.  Still, it’s certainly a possibility.  I prefer invisibility, myself, but whatever works.  The important thing is to withdraw from the system and make it possible for others to do so—a kind of slow-moving permanent general strike, or “building the new world within the shell of the old,” as the Wobbly slogan goes.

It’s not just taxes one has to avoid.  Production and consumption within the state also keep it going.

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By felicity, October 3, 2009 at 3:00 pm Link to this comment

I’ll say one thing - the more the opponents of health-care system reform defend their stand, the more irrational they sound - in other words, they’re being outed, almost daily and it’s not a pleasant sight.

Thinking that we weren’t ‘getting’ that our health-care system,to be viable, should be run by insurance companies, some fool recently declared that the best system was actually one run by the “free market.” So I guess we would pay our premiums to the free market?

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By msgmi, October 3, 2009 at 2:46 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

The health industry oligarchs control the Capitol Hill stooges who are more concerned about their own coffers than the people they represent. The far right media has done its job, keeping ignorance alive.

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By konnie, October 3, 2009 at 1:44 pm Link to this comment

hey ChaoticGood, don’t limit them to just the insurance companies.  any money from anywhere,
any business.  they should have to wear sponsor logos like nascar.  this is the first time in history that they have been thoroughly exposed for the whore/clowns they are.  its just too little/too late.

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By rollzone, October 3, 2009 at 1:26 pm Link to this comment

hello. socialism in America. United Soviet Socialist Republic gave us work quotas, then long bread lines, then rampant alcoholism. it scattered alike roaches in the light, many settling to the west. Europe has had enough, and is sending it packing. it migrated further westward to the United States, and now has a foothold; but soon we will boot it out as well- to continue its cowardly backdoor entrance into China: where it may flourish for awhile. socialism in America has destroyed the middle class. we are arguing over meaningless votes, more taxes to grow the government, corporate socialism running socialist politics, and how to more better anaesthetise ourselves. third party politics are as always impotent ... or, hmmm. i disagree to state the VA is socialist, it is a supplemental institutional benefit provided in and by a democratic republic. medicare is not great- i am so disabled, i can not walk: but i am on a 2 year waiting list for Medicare -under today’s conditions. it takes an hour on the telephone, to get to talk to anyone. every unsick abuser is already overwhelming the system. insurance profits, tort reform, interstate competition, grotesque medical industry profits, all the things our country used to enforce against are doublespoke by a dual political singularity of greed. socialist tendencies are acceptable for compromise, but socialism is unacceptable. the government is too large, the regulations on small business are too great, and God needs to be replaced in schools and government. voter fraud may be untouchable because it is run by the socialist mafia, but there was a time when sit-ins were popular forms of social peaceful civil disobedience. organised sit-ins around legislators, disabling them from appearing at their phony Senate jobs: would halt socialist legislation. organised sit-ins effectively shut down all forms of bad government; although at many bureaucracies it is difficult to differentiate, between the protesters and the government employees. peaceful disruption of socialist incursion into an uninvited environment. together we will be able to push the socialists out into the Pacific, to continue their westward migration, and we can regain a middle class, in the democratic republic we believe in. socialist lawyers have robbed the republic, socialism has infected our entire government, and corporate socialists unionization lobbyists circle the beltway. a third party may have a real chance. socialists may think their foothold will live to conquer another day, but that is only the American way of tolence and sympathy. i would not want to be a socialist. there is no quota for my freedom.

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By herewegoagain, October 3, 2009 at 12:43 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

ardee writes: “The Canadian Health Care System guarantees that, should their own resources be insufficient to resolve a serious medical problem, they will pay to have the patient seen by US health professionals…”

I don’t know if that’s even limited just to the US, but regardless, it’s still an example of more comprehensive coverage than we have here - I think few, if any insurance companies in the US offer such coverage. Interestingly, the VA does.

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By Brian, October 3, 2009 at 12:29 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I appreciate Joe Conason’s article, however he asserts way way to much credit to the gang of six, in that he ponders whether or not they are dumb, or if they just think we are.  Joe, please please just get to the point of what is so painfully true.  They know exactly what they are doing, which is to spin half-truths, obfuscate, and lie, in the service of the Healthcare Industrial Complex.  I’m so tired of the mealy mouthed non-partisan centrist political correctness.  Bias for truth is a good thing, period.

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By Jon, October 3, 2009 at 12:04 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Well, Americans appear to have become 95% accustomed to the idea that anything for the common good of citizens is socialism, but tax breaks, incentives for off shoring, and corporate bailouts to the tune of over 20 trillion dollars from the Treasury are all just fine.  Americans also must believe that health care for all is against our Calvinist tradition, even though we grant tax breaks for all corporations and give corporations the same rights as individuals get.

What we see and hear in the Congress is nothing but ‘lawyering,’ where a lawyer holds up an apple and says ‘this is not an apple.’  And Americans believe it. Same as when a lawyer defends a murderer and says ‘but he is truly a nice guy’ and the jury buys it, despite all the bloody photos of the victim. 

It might take a generation or more to break this indoctrination, if ever. We’re headed for a very tumultuous time ahead—-some citizens WILL revolt, eventually.  The brick wall has yet to fall on most folks.

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By ardee, October 3, 2009 at 11:35 am Link to this comment

Anarcissie

If we say that voting doesn’t change anything important, as many in this discussion do, then all that any vote does is legitimate the existing system.  It’s not a matter of “Republicans” and “Democrats” because we have decided they are essentially the same (voting doesn’t change anything important).

Discounting taking to the streets with weapons, voting seems the only sane option open to those who seek change, at least in my own limited ken. The key is to cease voting for the same non-choices and casting ones ballot for that candidate that actually expresses ones own belief system.

It is unimportant and irrelevant that the particular choice will not win, the fact that millions cast ballots outside the realm of the Duopoly is the key to expressing not only dissatisfaction, but determination to change things, peacefully and through the ballot box.

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By Dave, October 3, 2009 at 10:54 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Is it possible to sue Congress?

taxation without representation?

we have corporations and individuals with money who want certain laws passed.  They give money to think tanks to generate talking points and arguments and they give money to congresspeople.  they hire lobbyists to deliver the talking points and arguments created by the think tanks to the politicians and they also create advertising to persuade the public to its way of thinking.
The Congresspeople do get to hear more than just one set of talking points but they choose not to pay attention to opposing viewpoints.

Advertising is a problem.  the money loop from corporation to poliician and back to corporation is BIG problem.

If they dont represent us, why cant we just sue them?

we cant rely on voting becasue the advertisers have a lot of people fooled.  when i say ‘advertisers’ I mean the people who publicly diseminate the think tank arguments to the public (whether it be on TV or the net or radio or wherever)

the only thing I know to do right now is to try and insert truth everywhere I can.  at least I can hopefuly make people think.  people arent being informed by our media.  many media outlets seem to be intentionally misinforming the public. 
I really dont know what to do.

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By KDelphi, October 3, 2009 at 10:38 am Link to this comment

The other article here on truth dig, just today, really applies. (The “talk” between Michael
More and Bernie Sanders, posted at “Hi Ho, American Capitalism”. I posted it yesterday, I guess at a different thread….

Anarcissie—Yes, who was it that said, that if voting changed anything, it would be illegal…

“If voting changed anything, they’d make it illegal.”
Emma Goldman quotes

One other way to get out of paying taxes is to register oneself as a religion that includes a belief system that precludes paying taxes—which are just about all of them! (and now, $50 million more for abstinence only education!! Thanks, BaucASS, Lincoln, etc! Look for more young girls on Medicaiad roles!) Quakers, who are pacifists would seem to have a legitimate beef, but, moat of it, as I see it, is an unbelievable scam (as has been shown in the courts, over and over again and my opinion has certainly not been cchanged by a googling of the topic! Gawd, theyre so blatent about it!) I wonder how much revenue could be raised for the “charitable causes” that churches claim to espouse, if we simply taxed churches like the business that they are….

Here is a website I found to “help people achieve 501c(3) status be “becoming a church or minister”, actually—what a scam! I am just surprised that it is so blatant, but, why shouldtnt it be, I guess.
http://hushmoney.org/  Anbd the site is actually called “hush money”...

“Tax-Free Land: Exemptions from property taxes represent an even larger benefit to churches — there may be as much as $100 billion dollars in untaxed church property in the United States. This creates a problem, according to some, because the tax exemption amounts to a gift of money to the churches at the expense of tax payers. For every dollar which the government cannot collect on church property, it must make up for by collecting it from citizens; thus all citizens are forced to indirectly support churches, even those they do not belong to and may even oppose.” It is hard to quantify though, as it is not reported.

TAO—Yes, poeple talking past each other is becoming quite the norm, advanced by thet use of cell phones. I’ve been in the mkt so many times and, smiled and answered a question, only to find the person pointing to a Bluetooth and, chatting inanely about, things like “Well, Im here at the store….yeah, grocery shopping…” WTF?? lol

Tropic Girl—good differentiation!

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By whyzowl1, October 3, 2009 at 10:31 am Link to this comment

Do they sell bumper stickers that say, “Embarrassed To Be An American?”

I mean, the inmates so clearly are in charge of this asylum, it’s mortifying—not to mention, life-threatening—to be an American.

Sorry, Joe, but I don’t think guys like Grassley, Enzi and Conrad are some kind of backwoods sharpies who are trying to snooker the rest of us by playing dumb. I’m convinced they’re just as stupid as they seem. And just as venal.

Welcome to America.

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By Anarcissie, October 3, 2009 at 8:11 am Link to this comment

ardee:
’...
“Stop voting and stop paying taxes.”

One takes back the vote by not voting? What one accomplishes by not voting is to allow a fewer number of people to decide the outcome of elections. Republicans always favor smaller turnouts, are you such a one?’

If we say that voting doesn’t change anything important, as many in this discussion do, then all that any vote does is legitimate the existing system.  It’s not a matter of “Republicans” and “Democrats” because we have decided they are essentially the same (voting doesn’t change anything important).

The second part of the program is more problematical.  If you stop paying taxes, the government will simply take the money out of your bank account, and may put you in jail.  In order to stop paying taxes effectively, you have to drop off the grid, and avoid (visible) income and outgoes.  This is not at all easy for people used to the American way of life and standard of living, but one can move in that direction.  Many people are working on it.

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By konnie, October 3, 2009 at 7:49 am Link to this comment

yeah,yeah, blah,blah,blah.  we already know your argument, and agree with most of the comments…

the point is what do we do about it? If we can’t get publicly funded elections,
and by extension - corporate money out of those said elections - and theoretically have the option to vote for the smartest, most ethical, populist on the ballot - because the corporate money has already rigged the process - short of an armed insurrection,
that won’t happen because we are too busy keeping what we have left, what’s your solution Mr. Catch 22.

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By GrannyBgood, October 3, 2009 at 7:30 am Link to this comment

Let the PEOPLE Decide!

This entire debate about Health Care Reform has made it painfully obvious how corrupt MOST of our Congressionals are; one only has to look at the bribes they accept from the Insurance and Big Pharma lobbies, starting with Baucus and Snowe, on down the line of influence.
It’s time to hand this decision to the PEOPLE!


We should all be clamoring for a NATIONAL REFERENDUM on the health care issue, with a choice for Single-payer clearly on the poll. The PEOPLE should be deciding this, not a compromised and bribed Congress!
There should be no reason this can’t be organized in time for this November’s voting season, or 2010 at the LATEST.

The choices might be;


1. Do Nothing and let the Insurance companies continue to have their way with US.
In fact, mandate that people buy their insurance, so they can further enrich themselves!

2. Stricter regulations for the Insurance companies, and hope they comply, but also include a Public Option like Medicare for ANYONE who wants to buy into it.

3. Single-payer Public Health Insurance, where everyone pays in and everyone is served.

And this should be done IRV-style, where voters can rank their choices. That way it will be as clear and informative a vote as we can get on what People REALLY WANT.
Oh yeah, and make it BINDING, of course!

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By 9circlesofhell, October 3, 2009 at 6:58 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

We the people can’t vote them out ... that, in itself is the fundamental problem ... representative democracy.

The people voted in are quite happy to hear we the people respond to their indulgences and indiffernce by stating, “we’ll vote them out next time.”

The fact of the matter is, whoever we vote for next time -once the campaign promises and platitudes have faded- will willingly line up behind the heap of the discarded and soon be indulged and become indifferent to the very constituents who “voted them in.”

Congress is paid by our taxes ... so, it seems reasonable to me that if we the people refuse to pay taxes Congress is out of a job.  Not heady, esoteric stuff here ... no need for debate ... .

It’s simple, without tax dollars, Congress can’t operate. End of story ... and beginning of the next story ... we the people get our voice back.

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By ardee, October 3, 2009 at 5:09 am Link to this comment

Conservatives are knuckle dragging neanderthals who think the public is made up of idiots.

An unfair and inaccurate conflating of the politics of conservatism with those who profess to be such but are not at all…..

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By ChaoticGood, October 2, 2009 at 11:15 pm Link to this comment

The truth is that they are bought and paid-for whores of the insurance companies.

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By Sean01, October 2, 2009 at 8:31 pm Link to this comment

Do they cry out against the socialist golf courses on which they chase their weekly scratch dreams?

Do they cry out against the dreaded socialist libraries where their children may happen to read Where The Wild Things Are?

Do they cry out against the evil socialist highways upon which they drive their SUVs?

The sad fact is that they have little understanding of - well - anything.  The GOP party fails when it comes to understanding the big issues, which actually quite benefits its leaders.

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By peasant, October 2, 2009 at 5:40 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

They probably are that dumb, but more relevant is their job of preserving the profits of their corporate owners. Could anything be more ironic that we don’t hear a blip in the MSM about how health care runs in other countries, yet how many times have we heard “death panels” and other nonsense?

ardee, you have a point about repubs favoring small turnout in elections. But no matter what, don’t we already have a small number of elite people deciding who is eligible to get elected, and what policy will be enacted no matter who wins the show? I guess if everyone went out and voted third party it would make a difference, but that’s not going to happen.

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By Bill Haywood, October 2, 2009 at 4:10 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

“Can they really be that dumb? Or do they just assume that we are?”

What makes you think the above conditions are mutually exclusive.

Conservatives are knuckle dragging neanderthals who think the public is made up of idiots.

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By TAO Walker, October 2, 2009 at 3:31 pm Link to this comment

Domesticated people are all drunk on one thing or another.  “....religion and sex and TV,” was John Lennon’s terse diagnosis.  The tormentors have to keep them in that impaired CONdition to keep them in the CONfinement regimes necessary to their CONtinuing ruthless exploitation.

There is a kind of need in some to believe that officials (private and public) like those taken-to-task here must just be cynical manipulators, well-aware of their own duplicity, but simply not giving a shit if it shows anymore.  Look closely, though, and it is obvious they’re all intoxicated….on “power” or prestige or pain medication or whatever floats their boat.  It’s no easier getting anything sensible out of these gaggles of political and papered-professional-expert celebrities than it is from most sports-stars, for example.  They’re like juke-boxes.  Punch in a number and get the designated pre-recorded play-back….or like Google, enter a ‘Key-word’ and get the pre-programmed reference-set.

The same sad phenomenon is everywhere rampant, here in these latter days….from dinner tables to lecture halls to check-out lines.  Domesticated people are all a bunch of drunks just yammering through, past, and over each other.  It’s no wonder, either, as “Closing Time” is “....just a shot away.”

Sober-up, tame Sisters and Brothers.

HokaHey!

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By ardee, October 2, 2009 at 3:24 pm Link to this comment

9circlesofhell, October 2 at 3:14 pm #

Congress is irrelevant.

It’s time for American citizens to take their vote back ... the Congress no longer speaks for individuals, families, and the collective good;  Congress simply speaks -unapologetically- for itself.

So how does the country take back its vote and gain back its voice?  Quite simple actually, and its actually based in our nation’s heritage ... it’s called civil disobedience, and it only takes two, yes two direct actions.

Stop voting and stop paying taxes.

One takes back the vote by not voting? What one accomplishes by not voting is to allow a fewer number of people to decide the outcome of elections. Republicans always favor smaller turnouts, are you such a one?

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By ardee, October 2, 2009 at 3:21 pm Link to this comment

herewegoagain, October 2 at 1:10 pm #
(Unregistered commenter)

I watching the Senate Finance Committee debate, and I was dismayed by the ease with which some of them made statements easily disproven, or at least unfounded. For example, Senator John Ensign claimed that one out of three Canadian doctors refer their patients to the US

The Canadian Health Care System guarantees that, should their own resources be insufficient to resolve a serious medical problem, they will pay to have the patient seen by US health professionals….

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tropicgirl's avatar

By tropicgirl, October 2, 2009 at 2:29 pm Link to this comment

It is important to understand how the word socialism is being applied here.
In my understanding it goes like this:

1.  The neo-cons who try to co-opt the tea parties (Rush, Beck, et al) talk about
“socialized medicine”  or liberal socialism when referring to Obama and his
buds. So does the GOP. But this is a red herring or “straw man”.

2.  Obama is very, very far from socialism (unfortunately).

3.  However, there is a real fear of “corporate socialism” in which trillions of
taxpayer dollars are transferred to private corporations. THIS is really what the
tea parties object to, and so do many independents and liberals. But I would
suggest that Rush and Beck may be selectively in favor of this, putting them at
odds somewhat with the teabaggers.

4. The danger with corporate socialism is that there is no control or
accountability with regard to the money, as we have seen with the bailouts,
since it is pretty much illegal to dictate to corporations how to spend their (our)
money. It can also be used for favors, like the banks and such, and personal
payback.

5.  It is also objectionable because assets never return to the taxpayer. In the
case of NIH (Nat Institute of Health) who uses taxpayer money for research but
gives the resulting patents to themselves. When the (anti-)Acorn legislation
comes out you can see the long list of entities that could also be affected, who
receive huge amounts of taxpayer dollars that never return.

6.  Lastly, corporate socialism, by its connection to the government, has at its
disposal the means to enforce its actions and enforce cooperation, from the
taxpayer, even if it is something the general public does not want to adhere to,
such as taking vaccines or even, as suggested in the healthcare bill, forced
mandates to buy insurance from private companies or risk massive fines (they
increase incrementally with lack of payment) or imprisonment.

That is what independents, Nader liberals and Ron Paul conservatives object to
strongly. Rush and the neo-cons like to blur these definitions constantly.

This is a very important distinction to cut through the semantics and lobby-
talk.

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By ocjim, October 2, 2009 at 1:24 pm Link to this comment

Joe, your comments are gold, but the wrong people read them. I wonder if the constituents of the Grassleys and Conrads would even care that their senators are blowhard ignorant people.

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By Dave Schwab, October 2, 2009 at 1:02 pm Link to this comment

Medicare For All, also known as single-payer health insurance, is favored by a majority of Americans.

How can we convince our Members of Congress to enact what the people want?

Let them know that unless they support Medicare For All, you won’t support them.

Take the Medicare For All Voter Pledge today:

http://bit.ly/medicareforallpledge

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By frank1569, October 2, 2009 at 12:57 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Answer to JC’s final question:

Part I - no. Senators are paid by Big Health Insurance to play dumb. It’s easy to argue facts; it’s impossible to argue with an idiot who spouts contradictory nonsense consistently. Seriously - for a couple million bucks, most of us would proudly proclaim that a government-run health care system would trigger the complete collapse of the known universe within minutes of implementation.

Part II: yes. Look around - the banksters made off with 10s of trillions and ‘we’ rewarded them with 10s of trillion more.

How do you define ‘that f@#king dumb’cl?

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By 9circlesofhell, October 2, 2009 at 12:14 pm Link to this comment

Congress is irrelevant.

It’s time for American citizens to take their vote back ... the Congress no longer speaks for individuals, families, and the collective good;  Congress simply speaks -unapologetically- for itself.

So how does the country take back its vote and gain back its voice?  Quite simple actually, and its actually based in our nation’s heritage ... it’s called civil disobedience, and it only takes two, yes two direct actions.

Stop voting and stop paying taxes.

One of two responses will result: congress will be out of work or they will come to the table and re-negotiate their contract with the American people.

It really is quite simple.

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Blackspeare's avatar

By Blackspeare, October 2, 2009 at 11:57 am Link to this comment

Democratic socialism is the antidote to predatory capitalism.  The capitalist’s conservative wing used the bogeyman of communism/socialism as a red herring and quite effectively at that.  A change is coming, but the time table is still a bit blurry.

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By KDelphi, October 2, 2009 at 11:13 am Link to this comment

They are not so much “dumb” as they are held above the fray by their exhorbitant salairies and taxpayer supported benefits. I discovered yeaesterday taht most are not even really sure who funds Medicaid, (whether it is privitized—in most states, it is), dont know what Title 19 is, and have never had to PURCHASE nor CHOOSE in their lives.

Wexler—I agree, but, the problem with Grassley is BaucASS—he just gives WAY too much deferrance to him and they treated Cantwell and Stabinow like shit!! How offensive! And the $50 million for “abstinence education”?? COME ONE DUOPOLY AND SHEEPLES! DEFEAT THIS BILL! It wil make things worse and only the medical industrial complex will benefit.

montanawildhack—a 60” tv?? (how bourgeoisie!!)And you whack off drinking gin? Bleeaugh!! Try pot, it wont make you barf that horrible gin up in your mouth when you come…

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Anarcissie's avatar

By Anarcissie, October 2, 2009 at 10:55 am Link to this comment

Conason can usually be counted upon to supply the obvious Democratic Party talking points.  In this case the deficiencies of Congressional work on medical care and insurance programs are attributed solely to the pretended ignorance or dishonesty of the minority party.  The fact is, however, that in a legislature the majority party is the responsible party.  If nothing, or worse, is accomplished, then it is the majority party which the voters will (correctly) hold to account, in spite of propaganda like this.

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By oblivius, October 2, 2009 at 10:43 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

OK.. It is obvious that we know that the umbilical cord is the campaign
funding via profitable corporations. What’s the solution? Do we elect different
people whom will A: not win unless they have all that money to run? Or B:
Reform campaign fincance laws for which none of the “reps” will likely vote?
Looking for any logical answers here will be a challenge worth taking..
DC

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By Spiritgirl, October 2, 2009 at 10:40 am Link to this comment

“Can they really be that dumb? Or do they just assume that we are?”

They really are that dumb, and they believe that with enough repetition the dumbed down American people will buy it.  Hey, it’s working among the “Tea Party” crowd!  Besides, prostitutes never beat down their pimps - which is exactly what the “gang of 6” and their allies obstructing real reform represent! 

Their “talking points” memos are furnished by the very BIG: HEALTH, PHrMA, players that stand to loose those millions that they are paying their CEO’s whose “death panels” are condemning thousands to death every year!  Montanans, and Idahoans, North Dakotans - all must be extremely proud of their “Representatives” - even as those polls show that most of the people in those states want a “PUBLIC OPTION”!  Can you people in those states start connecting the dots, following the money and vote those bastards out next time around!

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By Jon, October 2, 2009 at 10:27 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Congress legislates and favors socialism for corporate power and banking power—-just look at the 22 trillion dollars handed to the banks and to Wall Street in the last few months.  American workers go broke and live on the streets, while the Congress, bankers, and Wall Street get nice pay raises, all paid for by unemployed American workers.

Workers get ‘market forces,’ while corporations and banks get socialized welfare from Congress and the White House.  What will it take to reform Congress AND this White House?  So far, we see that Congress is more worried by lobbyists than by Americans—-time to change this.  Congress needs to be very afraid of the American voter, not the lobbyist community on K Street.

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