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Demonizing Dean Won’t Absolve This Health Care Sham

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Posted on Dec 23, 2009
AP / Charles Dharapak

By Robert Scheer

How dare a progressive suggest a vote against the Senate health bill? When Howard Dean did just that last week he was roundly condemned for casting aspersions on what even many of its more ardent supporters admit is an obviously flawed bill. Instead of focusing their wrath on the few obstructionists in the Senate who blackmailed the majority into dropping a much-needed public option in order to avoid a filibuster, they made Dean the villain for daring to suggest that passage of this deeply compromised legislation might make the nation’s health care system worse.

Dean deserves much better, and his concerns as a physician and a progressive politician are worthy of serious attention. As the former governor noted in a Washington Post Op-Ed article last week: “I have worked for health-care reform all my political life. In my home state of Vermont, we have accomplished universal health care for children younger than 18 and real insurance reform—which not only bans discrimination against preexisting conditions but also prevents insurers from charging outrageous sums for policies as a way of keeping out high-risk people. I know health reform when I see it, and there isn’t much left in the Senate bill. I reluctantly conclude that, as it stands, this bill would do more harm than good to the future of America.”

The devil is in the details, and the devil’s scribe here is Joe Lieberman—and, by extension, the insurance companies he so faithfully represents. Lieberman was responsible for striking a public option and Medicare buy-in from the Senate legislation that now includes no effective restraints on the power of the big insurers that have created our health care monstrosity. The insurance companies know they have won big, as reflected in the dramatic increase in their stock valuations in recent weeks as the Senate bill came to exclude all forms of the public option.

The likelihood that even the anemic public option will not appear in the final bill was made clear Tuesday when President Barack Obama dismissed the option provision, which the House bill still includes, as nothing more than “a source of ideological contention between the left and right,” adding in an interview with The Washington Post, “I didn’t campaign on the public option.” True, but he did campaign against Hillary Clinton’s plan to mandate insurance coverage as the Senate bill does. As Obama put it in Wisconsin in February 2008: “I believe the reason people don’t have health care isn’t because no one’s forced them to buy it. It’s because no one’s made it affordable.”

The biggest problem is that the legislation passed by the Senate forces Americans, under penalty of law, to make a decision about an expenditure of their own funds that they may not feel is in their interest. The carrot of a publicly financed option has been eliminated, and thus tens of millions of Americans are left with the stick of an expensive insurance obligation that they may not be able to afford. In criticizing the Massachusetts law, which is close to the Senate bill in conception, Obama said on a campaign stop in Cleveland in February 2008, “We still don’t know how Sen. Clinton intends to enforce a mandate, and if we don’t know the level of subsidies that she’s going to provide, then you can have a situation, which we are seeing right now in the state of Massachusetts, where people are being fined for not having purchased health care but choose to accept the fine because they still can’t afford it [insurance], even with subsidies.”

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That’s what concerns Dean about the Senate bill: “The bill was supposed to give Americans choices about what kind of system they wanted to enroll in,” he said. “Instead, it fines Americans if they do not sign up with an insurance company, which may take up to 30 percent of your premium dollars and spend it on CEO salaries.”

Hopefully, if the bill is passed, Dean will be proved wrong and I respect the man enough to expect that he would welcome a positive outcome. But I fear that the opposite will occur, with the cause of health reform given a bum rap as costs increase, the public feels ripped off and Obama is held responsible for the health care mess he insists he can correct without getting to the heart of the problem: providing a publicly accountable alternative to the proven greed of medical industry corporations.

Click here to check out Robert Scheer’s book,
“The Great American Stickup: How Reagan Republicans and Clinton Democrats Enriched Wall Street While Mugging Main Street.”


Keep up with Robert Scheer’s latest columns, interviews, tour dates and more at www.truthdig.com/robert_scheer.



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Anarcissie's avatar

By Anarcissie, January 2, 2010 at 8:51 pm Link to this comment

johncp—I seldom read the mainstream media, so I am not aware of continuing interest in her “health care” adventure while working for her husband.  I don’t think of the Clintons as different from other politicians, quite the opposite: I think they are the same as other politicians.  That is why I think their first concern was to get along with the ruling class and do its bidding, because that is where the power and money are.  That being the case, I construe Mrs. Clinton’s efforts as theater—self-immolation in the interests of her husband’s career.  A payoff may have been agreed upon, as Mrs. Clinton is evidently quite ambitious in her own right, and just might not have thought the virtue of her sacrifice was its own reward.

I don’t really care about the Clintons very much one way or the other, and I am not particularly on their case, but I thought you might like a clarification of my views.

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DieDaily's avatar

By DieDaily, January 2, 2010 at 9:27 am Link to this comment

Yeah, you’re right about the preemptive bullet. But how many CONSECUTIVE presidents could they really get away with shooting? I’d still bite the bullet. Screw ‘em. But it’s not even that simple. If I did not tip my hand to them first, and instead went straight to a major, live press conference or live “state of the union” address or whatever and declared to the people that:

“If this is the last thing I do, I WILL see every one of you enrolled in a single-payer, comprehensive health care system and drive out every last insurance company from all core medical services! But I need your help because they will fight tooth and nail, they will probably even try to kill me.”

then if they martyred me right after, they’d be absolutely toast! Can you imagine? But what I’m suggesting is that no bullet would have been required on the Clintons. There was so incredibly much dirt on them that they were firmly constrained from the get-go and well knew it. A lot of people have the wrong idea about the Clintons. They were/are deep, deep, deep into all sorts of crime and very deeply, very intimately connected to the Bush family and the other usual lists of suspects. Nobody clean since McGovern has even made the semi-finals for presidential nominee. Think about it. There are dozens of interests that can ONLY rely on someone dirty to be a team player. That’s how America is, especially since they did Kennedy.

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By johncp, January 2, 2010 at 7:33 am Link to this comment

DIEDAILY
You should have followed my post more carefully.  Actually the bullet itself might have prevented your efforts.  It merely needed to be fired before you had a chance to bring about the changes you sought.  Congress played a decisive role here.  Hillary’s hands were tied, seeking support with those bodies.  There was the additional problem that, aside from the feelings one way or another concerning health care, the republicans were going out of their way to prevent Bill Clinton from any legislative successes that weren’t absolutely unavoidable.  In what way does it certainly follow logically that having considerable public support for a bill, leads to its inevitable passage?  There’s no logical connection here, since we all know that numerous hurdles can stand in the way, and usually do.  How can the notion that having failed to pass a bill, with or without public support, it necessairly follows that there was a nefarious motive operating here, in this case, the need to be re-elected rather than, say,  compassion acting as a first and inviolable principle, etc.  No such inference can be drawn.  You say nothing “would” stop you.  But we require that nothing “could” stop you.  Yet, there are any number of things that “could” stop you in this business.  It wouldn’t matter whether my agreement or disagreement with your argments was due to my being or not being an “honorable” fellow, if your logic is airtight, would it?

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By DieDaily, January 2, 2010 at 3:51 am Link to this comment

Oh, and johncp:
P.S. I hate the Republican party.
P.P.S. Mind you, I hate the so-called Domocratic one too!

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DieDaily's avatar

By DieDaily, January 2, 2010 at 3:47 am Link to this comment

Well, I’ve had more than a few symbolic logic classes, and I don’t see even the slightest ambiguity or difficulty in what I said, even for a 5th grader, but since self-objectivity is an oxymoron, let’s assume I’ve created a highly difficult syllogism capable of boggling a professional logician for a month, as you suggest. My problem then would be how to make it any simpler! But let me try…

Let me pose the same thing as a question:

If you were the president (or Mrs. president) and you wanted single payer health care, and 75% of those you served adamantly wanted it too (especially among your traditional opponents, no less!) what then would stop you from making it happen, short of a bullet, given that at least hundreds of thousands of lives would be saved annually if you succeeded?

I think you must agree, providing you are an honorable fellow, that the answer is obvious: nothing. Nothing, as they used to say, in Heaven or on Earth, or in the infernal nether regions, whilst you lived and breathed. I do know nothing would stop me. I would have started up a PR s**t-storm that would have made the insurance companies wish they’d never filed their name-searches. I would have had a referendum. I would have signed one of those Presidential Orders that every president since Wilson has fired off right, left and center to create massive changes even without voter consent. Sure I would never have been re-elected, my lobby money would be GONE. But so what? (But what if they had all kinds of dirt on me? Hmmmmmmm….indeed.)

I’m really amazed you have trouble following the logic they way I had it though. Any other commenters out there think a PhD would have needed a month to figure it out? (I know the schools are bad these days, but I hope not!) If you must persist, then I guess I dare you to find one fallacy, one non-sequitur, or one contradiction, and set it out in formal terms. I ran this one by my nephew, he’s 10. He said to tell you that “dude, if you can’t even get that then maybe you oughta just ‘peace the scene’”, lol.

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By johncp, January 2, 2010 at 2:53 am Link to this comment

DIEDAILY
No need to set things straight here. I can’t imagine a subject better suited than the Health Care debate going on in this country, to create anger and frustration in people.

But I feel compelled to say that if there’s a classic example of a non-sequitur: “If the president can’t convert 70% public support (a huge and unprecedented degree of support and non-war time unity) then they are/must be beholden to the special interest group’s lobbyists, and the desire for reelction is/must be held dearer than our lives,” this must be such an example.  It would take a logician a month to make his way through the tangle of ambiguities and fallacies in that argument.  Suffice it to say that, whether they had anything directly or indirectly to do with his demise, the reluctance of the worst elements of the power elite in this country, to repeat the JFK assassination catastrophe, must be extreme.  What that tells me, is that if there’s any conceivable way of preventing such an extreme event from unfolding again, seeing to it that presidential hopefuls are examined scrupulously, will be an essential part of it.  Perhaps Obama represents just such a case of a president not having the ability “... to significantly affect anything at all,” except as it pleases his corporate bosses and campaign contributors.  Unless you think that substantivley less likely with a dem than with a repub (i.e. Bush).

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By DieDaily, January 2, 2010 at 1:04 am Link to this comment

Sorry, johncp, that was way too strongly worded. It is possible that no president can have a significant effect on anything at all. Still, I would like to believe I’d take a bullet for the cause long before I’d let hundreds of thousands die for politically pragmatic reasons.

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By DieDaily, January 2, 2010 at 1:01 am Link to this comment

johncp, what part of:

“Regarding willfulness vs. futility, I would say this: if the president can’t convert 70% public support (a huge and unprecedented degree of non war-time unity) then they are (must be!) beholden to the special interest group’s lobbyists and the desire for reelection is (must be!) held dearer than our lives.”

is beyond your reading comprehension level?

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By johncp, January 2, 2010 at 12:51 am Link to this comment

DIEDaily
Apparently, I’m being told for the second time, that the level of public support, at somewhere between 70 & 85% for progress in Health Care, was “proof” that Hillary was faking in her attempts at health care reform.  But, for the second time, I view it differently.  I think the Medical and Insurance empires knew in advance, that they could simply ignore public opinion. That, in spite of polling numbers, the public, being what it is in this country, would ultimately put up with whatever miserable health care system was being shoved down their throats.  On the other hand, and the very argument you’re presenting here is further evidence, that it was possible to leave the public with the impression that it was Hillary’s fault that her efforts on behalf of health care reform had failed.  How was this possible?  I believe that media, essentially, are in cahoots with corporate forces, and the best way to defend these corporations against public relations failures, is to create the impression that corporations are able and willing to change their ways, and it’s the persuasive and intellectual powers of their political opposition that determines what happens.  A sufficient number of citizens, is sadly, willing to accept the notion that Hillary was to blame, because she wasn’t able to persuade corporate forces in her direction, with the strength of her ideas.  But, as I said earlier, they had every reason to remain steadfast.  Obama’s handlers were clever enough to instruct Obama to pretend not to have as strong a postion on various health care disputes, especially on the issue of a public option.  If he didn’t appear to care as much about a public option, he couldn’t be blamed, insofar as the general public is concerned, for failing to bring one about.

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DieDaily's avatar

By DieDaily, December 31, 2009 at 1:20 am Link to this comment

johncp,

from the NY Times (at the time)

http://www.nytimes.com/1993/09/22/us/clinton-s-health-plan-poll-changes-health-care-finds-support-amid-skepticism.html?sec=health

You can read the numbers as 73% or 81%, as you see fit. On no accounting did less than 70% of the public in support of a “fundamental change or rebuilding”.

As you know, I don’t believe in the fake DEM/REP divide. It’s all a lie. The numbers prove it, even back then:

“When asked to name “the most important problem facing the country today,” the public now rates health care second only to the economy. Forty-two percent said the nation needs to “completely rebuild” the health care system, with another 48 percent calling for “fundamental change.” This sense of urgency runs across party lines—85 percent of the Republicans said they supported fundamental change or complete rebuilding—and helps explain the bipartisan support on Capitol Hill for restructuring the system.”

As you can see, the republicans were way out ahead of the democrats in their embrace of a total revamping. The democrat numbers drew the total down by 4% to 8%, depending on how you like to slice it.

I regard any engagement in the DEM/REP left/right fantasy as counter productive. We are now in the process of uniting across all “party lines”, having realized that these lines do not exist. As Nader’s comment sardonically lays bare, by the the Dems had already become the fiscally responsible war mongers, although Obama has reversed the fiscally responsible part and vastly ramped up the war mongering. You may not realize just how in love the neocons are with Obama. They LOVE him. His policies makes the PNAC neocon think-tank report look tame and liberal.

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By johncp, December 30, 2009 at 10:34 pm Link to this comment

DIEDAILY
Yes, if the Clintons thought they couldn’t win, I’m certainly willing to give them the benefit of the doubt, rather than conclude that it was all along, a cynical wish to please the ruling classes.  I suspect they were in a better position to see, what they perceived as, the hopelessness of the situation, than you or I can be.  I don’t know about the claim for 70% support for improvements in health care favoring the public, during the Clinton tenure, but I look at the present situation we’re in.  It seems to me, that present day voters are much more inclined to vote with the liberals (contrast that with what happened with Gore/Bush).  What do we have to show for in the Health Care bill that just passed?  Don’t we have immense support for a public option, etc.?
What happened?  How is it that Hillary continues to get shot down because she “failed” to win over the Health Care and Insurance big shots, whereas the anger expressed aagainst Obama for the pathetically regressive piece of trash of a Bill, forced on us by the dems, is moderate compared with that directed at Hillary?  Isn’t there anyone that would rather suspect that it’s the iron-clad intransigence of these corporate bastards operating here, and not Hillary’s or Obama’s efforts?  Could it be that the mere fact that Hillary continues to be punished for her Health Care defeat, is simply more proof, that media, always there in support of corporate treachery, successfully made it seem that it was Hillary that “failed” in her effort, and I give Hillary the benefit of the doubt in this case as well, that she, plausibly, overestimated her chances, not realizing those chances stood at zero; that the war was lost to begin with?

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By johncp, December 30, 2009 at 9:59 pm Link to this comment

Anarcissie
And on and on it goes.  In what way are the Clintons different from other politicians, especially those seeking high office, when they sought to please “the ruling classes?”  You seem to willing to forgo common sense, when you’d rather believe the Clintons capable of not caring whether the people of this country see Health Care improve, rather than give up on the idea that the Clintons are unfairly singled out in a media culture intent on destroy them.

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DieDaily's avatar

By DieDaily, December 30, 2009 at 8:32 pm Link to this comment

johncp, points well taken. Your position in cogent and well substantiated. I do disagree on a couple of things, namely that the Nader comment was made specifically with regard to Clintons lowering of taxes and balancing the budget (ideally a Republican promise) when republicans had run up taxes and the debt to obscene levels. Regarding willfulness vs. futility, I would say this: if the president can’t convert 70% public support (a huge and unprecedented degree of non war-time unity) then they are (must be!) beholden to the special interest group’s lobbyists and the desire for reelection is (must be!) held dearer than our lives. I think these are incontrovertible facts. I’m not a Dem or Rep, by any stretch of even the most deranged imagination and you cannot brush away my facts and opinions by characterizing or psychoanalyzing what you think my motivation might be. I respect your cogent position too, but believe me when I say that mine is very well researched and non-partisan. I believe in facts and don’t much care about the motives if the facts check out. I believe mine very much do. Neither of us will ever have the complete inside baseball on this, but to me it’s very obvious that saying the Clinton’s “couldn’t” have won is at best impossible to prove and at worst an argument resulting from the highest degree of deception.

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Anarcissie's avatar

By Anarcissie, December 30, 2009 at 7:27 pm Link to this comment

johncp, December 30 at 12:01 am:
’... What I’m hearing some on this list saying, is that Bill and Hillary Clinton didn’t want to see a more humane health care system adopted in this country; a proposterous idea. ...’

I can’t read the Clintons’ minds, but it certainly does not seem preposterous to guess that these very ambitious people were more interested in getting along with the corporate ruling class than they were in serving either the interests or the desires of the general population.

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By johncp, December 29, 2009 at 8:01 pm Link to this comment

DieDaily
You’re doing precisely what I’m talking about here.  All through your post, Hillary is “blamed” for not winning an impossible war.  I simply meant to debunk this nonsense, that the results of Hillary’s efforts were, in some mysterious ways, subject to a higher standard for success.  If you start out disliking the Clintons, it’s not a giant step to make out what appear to be their “failures,” as greater than the failures of others.  It’s hard for me to accept the proposition that Hillary would make any effort to attack a problem as immense as health care, then “intentionally” fail at it, or am I misreading what you’re saying? Hillary lost her battle, but the war continued.  What I’m hearing some on this list saying, is that Bill and Hillary Clinton didn’t want to see a more humane health care system adopted in this country; a proposterous idea.  But this is the outcome of media clearly intent on destroying the Clintons by any possible method.  The hatred for this couple, expressed primarily in media, by and large, a wing of the republican party, is so profound, that it reveals the simple-minded efforts of many so-called leftists and other Clinton haters, including Nader, to characterize Bill Clinton as one of the “best republican presidents we’ve ever had,” as the assinine bullshit that it is.  I remember hearing Nader say some such crap, in media, and was laughing my head off, when, the following day, I heard Jerry Fallwell say, that Clinton was the “...most liberal politician in this country.”  Posters on this list make plain, that, starting with Roosevelt, every president since, has failed to revamp the Health Care and medical Insurance industries, but, curiously, Hillary, working at the direction of her husband, is the most excoriated for not bringing about “change,” something we were promised under the buffoon presently in the presidency, who has set “back” health care, farther than anyone imagined.  I still believe that Hillary “cared” the most and fought the hardest to make progress with health care.  But your remark about her being told that “70% of the public” were in favor of seeing progress made, but somehow that didn’t seem to be enough to bring progrss about, is somehow “proof” that Hillary deliberately scuttled progress in health care. When has the mere “popularity” of a bill insured that it would succeed in Washington, and why is only Hillary held to such an impossible standard?  No one since Roosevelt, was able to make any headway with this problem, for any number of reasons, including a plain lack of concern, yet the person most associated with taking on the Health care giants, is said, here and elsewhere to have been a fraud.  This gives new meaning to the expression, “you can’t win.”

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By DieDaily, December 29, 2009 at 5:30 pm Link to this comment

One common myth about the Clinton plan–in fact, one that Moore’s Sicko repeats–was that the administration came up with an otherwise excellent proposal, but big business blocked it from being enacted. The reality is that the Clintons never intended to propose anything that would cut into Corporate America’s profits–even if that meant killing the goal of universal health care.

Hillary Clinton’s health care task force put on a show of meeting with activists like Dr. Quentin Young of Physicians for a National Health Program (PNHP) and others in early 1993, but the administration had no intention of considering proposals for a Canadian-style single-payer plan covering all Americans.

Dr. David Himmelstein, a colleague of Young in PNHP and supporter of a single-payer system, gave an account of a meeting with Hillary Clinton that appeared in a September 1993 Washington Monthly article.

“Himmelstein’s studies, published in The New England Journal of Medicine since 1986, show that the U.S. could save as much as $67 billion in administrative costs alone by cutting out the 1,500 private insurers and going to a single government insurer in each state–easily enough to pay to cover every uninsured American,” read the article.

“Hillary Clinton had heard it all before. How, she asked Himmelstein, do you defeat the multibillion-dollar insurance industry? ‘With presidential leadership and polls showing that 70 percent of Americans favor [the features of] a single-payer system,’ Himmelstein recalls telling Mrs. Clinton.

“The First Lady replied: ‘Tell me something interesting, David.’”

Single-payer didn’t stand a chance. Instead, the Clinton administration focused on a corporate-friendly “universal” health care plan.

[...]

If the Clinton administration is mistakenly remembered today for confronting the health care bosses, the industry knows better. Hillary Clinton’s Senate campaign war chests have brimmed with health care money. She was ranked the number-two recipient of donations from the industry, trailing only former Sen. Rick Santorum (R-Pa.), according to the Center for Responsive Politics’ analysis of 2005-6 campaign finance.

Today, while the U.S. spends more on health care than any other Western country, and 47 million people still live without health insurance, we should be drawing very different lessons from the Clinton years.

“Hillary Clinton did learn a lesson from her 1994 fiasco on health care reform,” Rose Ann DeMoro, executive director of the California Nurses Association/National Nurses Organizing Committee, wrote this month. “Unfortunately for most of us who don’t have an Inc. after our name or a private jet to cart us around, it was the wrong lesson…

“She might have decided to cut them out of the business of profiting off pain, suffering and medical debt, and proposed a very different solution, such as expanding Medicare, Medicaid, or the State Children’s Health Program to cover everyone.

“Accommodating the insurance behemoths, and effectively offering them massive public subsidies–using the considerable power of government to force everyone to become paying customers of the private insurers–is not the kind of leadership on health care we need.”

The above is from: http://dissidentvoice.org/2007/09/hillary-clintons-first-health-care-non-reform/

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By johncp, December 29, 2009 at 3:49 pm Link to this comment

JOHN ELLIS
Clinton did the Health Care debate “more harm,” because of a lack of concern over the issue?  Do I understand you to mean that Bill Clinton revealed his lack of interest, by turning the debate over to Hillary, who then fought tooth and nail with the most powerful corporate giants, the Pharma. and Medical Insurance behomoths?  What the hell are you people talking about.  I understand that a few of you have been brainwashed by corporate and republican media, to hate the Clinton’s, but making the Clintons out to be failures at transforming health care is just plain stupid.  The Health Care disaster in this country, is an ongoing war, fought at all levels, between the haves and the have-nots.  The Haves, with few exceptions, want it all, and make every effort to steal what they haven’t already hoarded, from the have-nots.  Hillary made an impressive effort to slow this Health Care/Insurance nightmare as much as she could.  No one “wins” or “loses” at this game.  The fight is ever present.  You either go forward or you go backward.  Hillary advanced the cause, a miniscule amount; Obama went backwards, a large amount.  You call Hillary’s efforts, a “failure,” because she didn’t get everything she hoped for, from the people that run this country.  Obama calls his “efforts,” a victory, because he passed a bill that puts more power and money into the pockets of the corporate forces that put him in office.  You, and a few others on this list, must be “Optimists” of the kind Ambrose Bierce talks about in the Devil’s Dictionary: “Proponents of the doctrine that Black is White.”

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drbhelthi's avatar

By drbhelthi, December 29, 2009 at 7:18 am Link to this comment

Lets view the real demon(s) who are removing freedoms from Americans, while awarding them to foreigners - - .  A mister Hussein Obama has just granted immunity from criminal prosecution to Interpol agents operating in the USA.  Immunity from criminal prosecution in the USA is needed only by agents engaged in criminal activities.  Add Interpol agents to the list of invaders of America, who are violating US criminal law. And, with the support of the 2009 occupant of the US presidency ???

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By ardee, December 28, 2009 at 4:38 am Link to this comment

John Ellis, December 27 at 5:25 pm #

I am sure you mean well, Mr. Ellis. but both the judgment of history and the real facts of the matter oppose your idealism.

I notice that your posts are one note condemnations without offering an alternative path. You may continue to rail against both the character and the results of our Founders efforts, but until you offer another path I must end this one way conversation. One way because only one of us has his ears uncovered. I have this nice visual of you posting with hands firmly over your ears…Amusing, perhaps, sad , certainly.

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DieDaily's avatar

By DieDaily, December 28, 2009 at 4:21 am Link to this comment

This is a not bad article, but the fundamental premise is misleading. It says that Dean was “roundly condemned” for his stance. But is this really true? Not at all. Not unless you are counting up paid mouthpieces and partisan stooges. Public opinion polls suggest that Dean was in fact ROUNDLY ENDORSED for his stance.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2009/12/18/poll-health-care-reform-w_n_396990.html

as a typical example suggest this.

‘This vote is not about Democrats versus Republicans and conservatives and liberals and all that stuff,’ Dean said, his voice growing louder and his cadence faster. ‘This is about whether you’re going to vote for the people who donated to your campaigns—the health insurance industry—or you’re going to vote for the people who pay your salary. And we’re going to be watching, because there are going to be 535 people casting that vote.’

quoth

http://www.washingtonexaminer.com/opinion/blogs/beltway-confidential/Morning-Must-Reads——Heath-Care-on-a-Left-Wing-and-a-Prayer—53798147.html

Roundly condemned? Oh really? By who, CNN experts and entrenched politicians on the take? Fake neolib think tankers? Insurance company lobbyists and their countless co-whores?

Naw, we are all waking up to the fact that there is little or nothing to choose between the right and left rings of this corrupt, corporate-controlled circus we used to mistakenly refer to as “the two party system”. Dean rocks.

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By johncp, December 28, 2009 at 3:32 am Link to this comment

We’ve gotten more and more into the habit of confusing so called democrats with the democratic party.  Part of the problem is that it’s very difficult to put in words precisely what it means to be a democrat.  But too much is made of this problem.  It should suffice that, to the extent that they identify with any party, progressives always identify with the dem party.  But that there is such a considerable difference between party philosophy and the huge gap we see between that party and the behavior of those pretending to adhere to its principles, is simply the outcome of that deceit of which human nature is capable.  When we remark that the “democrats are no better than the republicans,” we fall into this abusurd trap.  We all understand this problem, yet we allow ourselves to be hoodwinked by poseurs such as Obama, because we imagine that politicians of principle can be found by simply listening to their campaign promises and statements.  It’s this naivte that creates this departure from the integrity we so desperately yearn for, in our political leadership.  We, not the politicians themselves, are responsible for the rascals politicians so often are.  It makes absolutely no sense, then, to seek more parties, when we haven’t first dealt with this weakness in our natures.  If we continue to fall for the lies and manipulations of politicians when they campaign for office, the politicians that campaign for “third” parties will eventually deceive us as well.  That’s how Nader continues to make the messes he creates for the dem party.  Instead of working to produce a better democratic president, or running as a democrat himself, he pretends that it’s the overwhelming control that the two existing dominant parties exert over the political system, that betrays us.  Nonsense.  It’s our own naivte, our credulity that betrays us.  If we worked half as hard vetting candidates, checking their political records, their known and not so well known associates, we’d make vastly fewer mistakes allowing these gangsters into office, and all this silly talk about alternative parties (assuming we need parties at all) would all but cease.

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By drbhelthi, December 28, 2009 at 3:14 am Link to this comment

One basic smell test identifies propaganda pimps.
Throughout Truthdig and similar commentaries, they redundantly attempt to scapegoat.  Persons who provide accurate information, ideas that conflict with the propaganda of NewWorldOrder propagandists, are consistently critiqued with attempted scapegoating.

Altruistics of Jewish lineage have carefully described the process in their writings. Such altruistic folk are bombarded by their own lineage with scapegoating. The MO of such propagandists is unmistakable, as they scapegoat altruists !

They have no freedom to comment.  They are puppets of their string-pullers (and they know it).

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By Samson, December 27, 2009 at 8:22 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Dean is a scam.

Here’s the deal.  The Democrats know that progressives rightly view this bill as
an awful bill that mainly just promotes and protects corporate profits.  All
reform is blocked and delayed for four years, and it mandates that people do
business with the companies they hate.  So, the Democrats are doing what
they usually do.  They create a fake opposition.

Dean is a desperate attempt to con progressives into continuing to support
Democrats.  When what this bill should teach everyone is that the Democrats
are not the alternative.  The Democrats screw the citizens as badly as the
Republicans do. They just use a different style and different pickup lines.

Dean is not real opposition.  The man helped create the Democratic party that
wrote this awful bill.  He’s as much of the problem as anyone else.  Notice
how he stayed quiet during the key parts when his voice might have made a
difference.  And notice how he still never mentions single-payer as an
alternative.  Dean’s a sham.

The goal of Dean’s con is to keep the progressives who know they’ve been
shafted from bolting the party.  Which of course is the real answer.

Want real health care reform?  Start defeating incumbents.  And especially the
Democrats.  The Democrats win by lying during elections and promising
‘reform’ and ‘change’, but then they pass laws that only benefit there rich
backers.  Want to end that?  Start defeating the Democrats that do that.  Want
to get a politician’s attention?  Threaten his job.

Dean won’t do that.  Dean is fake opposition.  More nice sounding words from
Democrats that won’t do a dang thing to change anything.  And as long as
voters keep falling for these same old tricks, nothing will ever change.

For all their sellouts, the Democrats didn’t get a single Republican vote.  So,
why was the bill constantly changed to make the Republicans happy?  Because
this bill is really what the Democrats wanted all along.  Everything about
needing to appease the Republicans was just smoke screen.

We know voting Democrat was not the answer.

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By lichen, December 27, 2009 at 5:51 pm Link to this comment

The Gay Species, I agree with what you say; the senate we have right now is not democratic, not only because it is a millionaire’s club that buy their way into office with corporate money, but because of it’s structure is fundamentally out.  I think these reforms I mentioned, including a constitutional convention, are a really good step forward.  Furthermore, the statement “All men are created equal” could be changed to; “All Humans deserve the same rights and protections regardless of age, sex, sexual orientation, race, or other impediment.”  Sadly, as we know, us GLBT people do not have anything close to full equality under the law, or full social equality right now, and that is criminal.

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By The Gay Species, December 27, 2009 at 12:57 pm Link to this comment

“all men are created equal” does not mean what John Ellis takes it to mean. It means all citizens have equal protection under the law.

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By ardee, December 27, 2009 at 12:37 pm Link to this comment

John Ellis, December 27 at 1:40 pm

One reads and comprehends based upon ones own prejudices. Thomas Jefferson tried, while a Virginia Legislator, to free his slaves. That Legislature actually passed a law requiring those who would do such to provide a years income for each freed slave, thus putting Jefferson’s desire out of his financial reach.
Jefferson did, however propose and get passed a bill forbidding the importation of slaves into Virginia.

Noone fails to understand that the colonies were a slave owning culture as was the newly created Untied States, until the Civil War, and that bigotry exists until this day and , sadly, beyond. But the over the top comments you make regarding what our Founders created fails abysmally the smell test and the understanding that, as our Constitution is a living,breathing document, amended, I believe, twenty seven times already, are simply an egregious and unhelpful diatribe offering no solutions only a seeming bitterness.

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By Inherit The Wind, December 27, 2009 at 12:25 pm Link to this comment

My turn?
John Ellis get over yourself.  You’ve simply argued for a childish version of socialism and nothing more.  Socialism: a mid-19th century idealist solution to the problems of Capitalism, a 16th century solution to feudalism. Socialism not only failed in every nation it was tried it, it created EXACTLY the dictatorship you decrie.

Like I said: get over yourself.

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By Inherit The Wind, December 27, 2009 at 9:16 am Link to this comment

Look, the current health care bill sucks.  One can only hope that during the reconciliation phase that the House will INSIST that most of the Senate crap be removed that was put there SOLELY to get Nelson and Loserman to come along.  Who Cares if they don’t vote for the final bill? Let the Dems use the power to FORCE the vote and get it done!

But, more importantly, NOT getting it done will give the Re-Thuglicans more impetus going into 2010 and cause similar damage as they did from 1994 to 2006.  They cannot be allowed to “win”.  Period.

But instead of attempting to “bribe” Nelson and Loserman, Reid and his fellows should get rid of the carrot and start swinging the stick—the BIG STICK!  Enough ball-less spineless acquiescence!

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By Anarcissie, December 27, 2009 at 8:20 am Link to this comment

It seems to me that given the present political structure, the only way progs could affect the government at Federal and state levels would be to make Democratic Party politicians afraid they were going to lose elections.  Hence the spoiler role of a non-mainstream party could be effective.  So could some sort of party-independent movement that supported mainstream candidates regardless of party if they fit into its concerns.  One can make progress while losing if one loses in the right way.

However, I don’t see anything like that happening among progs at present.  Mr. O has been giving you the back of his hand ever since he got the nomination sewed up.  The disappointments about imperialism, war, medical insurance, bailouts, police surveillance, the Drug War, and so forth have been severe, but as yet I don’t see any activism outside of people wailing on the Internet.  If progs wanted to affect the 2010 Congressional elections they would be out organizing now, not crying on web sites.

At this point it’s plain that Mr. O and company feel that it’s all right to treat progs with overt contempt.  As long as they feel this way it’s obvious that they will continue to move to the Right—it’s cost-free.

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By The Gay Species, December 27, 2009 at 7:53 am Link to this comment

lichen writes, “we need to start with a fundamental overhaul of our democracy.” I think this understatement needs to be underscored.

First, we must recall the beginning words of the Constitution, “we the people,” which does not mean, “we the corporations, lobbyists, and plutocrats.” As long as corporations are legally regarded as “persons,” their undue influence over our political process is corruption.

Second, the Senate is by no means “democratic.” NE’s two senators represent 1.8M people, which CA’s two senators represent 38.8M people. These odds of 1.8:38.8 can hardly be called “democratic,” much less “one-person, one-vote.” Unfortunately, the Senate can be abolished only by two means, the only viable means a constitutional convention.

Third, “we the people” have to stop tolerating being taken to the cleaners. Like many other readers, I relied on the rhetoric of candidate Obama, only to find the Pastor of Pragmatism really has no fire in his belly, only a desire for self-aggrandisement. His repeated failures this past year have left me dumbfounded, surpassed only by a sycophant press who won’t call him on his two-faced bogus positions.

Lastly, in addition to abolition of the senate, the “one-person, one-vote” principle of democracy must also abolish the Electoral College, and changed life-tenure for the judiciary to specified terms (e.g., 10-15 years). It also means we the people cannot become sycophants of our own institutions to the detriment of our founding principles: Equality, Life, Liberty, and Human Flourishing.

The U.S. is nominally a constitutional democratic republic, but increasingly less constitutional and democratic.

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By ardee, December 27, 2009 at 3:38 am Link to this comment

They like most everyone are a menace to themselves and a menace to society, as you feel that they:

Deserve to live.
Deserve respect.
Deserve basic human rights
Deserve what they earn.
Deserve a promotion.
Deserve to earn more if they become more qualified or productive.

*******************************

Well, if taking the position that people deserve what are really basic constitutional rights makes me a “menace to society” then I accept such a sobriquet. As long as you understand that,along with said rights, comes obligations that are far to easily ignored.

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By KDelphi, December 26, 2009 at 5:36 pm Link to this comment

Quinty—If what you say is true, then, the US will continue down its self destructive path..I am certainly not going to support Dems in doing that. “not part of the solution, you are part of the problem..”..its like “enabling” they will give you only as much power and change as you demand.

This country hasnt had a single human rights issue that is has made any progress on in 50 yrs..if anything, we are getting worse.

I think that Obama may have made enough progressives angry that we may see other parties actually gain alot of members..if not, I am not going down rearranging the deck chairs on theTitanic, as they say.

Hope you can find something worth watching on tv…i always end up turning it off indusgust or putting in a dvd..

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By Quinty, December 26, 2009 at 5:13 pm Link to this comment

KDelphi -

If I understood you correctly you propose a third party. A genuine progressive
party unconstrained by run of the mill politics. All that we currently see in
Washington.

Fine.

Is a proposition of third party politics truly practical? Unless a new party can
demolish one of the existing parties then there may not be much of a point.
When was the last that happened? When the Republicans rose up in 1856?

You or I could write a book on this subject. But the fundamental axiom which
holds for today is that third parties are spoilers. They split the left (Greens, etc.)
or the right (Libertarians, take your choice.) The Palinistas and Limboughistas
may be over the top dunces and charlatans, but they know one thing. Acute self
interest and politics. They know that if they want to succeed they will have to
take over the Republican Party. And they are fighting to do so. And have been
quite successful.

Whatever happened to so-called “liberal Republicans?” Gone with the dodo and
buffalo herds in Kansas.

If we are to work our way up into a more progressive political environment then
perhaps we should try to encourage Democrats to be both more aggressive and
progressive. But that takes votes. That takes education. And it takes time.

Does this attitude make me a “sell out?” Gee, I’m just trying to improve things. For us all.

Anyway, I’ve gone on long enough for one evening. Time to watch some TV and
deaden my mind. I wonder if there any good movies.

Have a good night…....

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By Sallyport, December 26, 2009 at 5:11 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I don’t always agree with Howard Dean, by any means, but in this I think he’s right
on the money!
  The reconciliation bill should, at the very least, contain a robust public option
and the mandate should be dropped altogether.  The Democrats in the Senate will
have to bite the bullet and scrap the filibuster, restoring majority rule, or they can
expect to pay the price at the polls.  Otherwise they might just as well all go out
and join the Republican party.  Then we can organize a truly democratic party &
call it the People’s Party.  It will be fun recruiting for that!

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By Quinty, December 26, 2009 at 4:53 pm Link to this comment

Mr. Ellis -

Oy vey.

You can’t recognize a simple irony? Never mind. I’ll spare you and myself the
humiliation of making the effort to explain.

Dictatorship, huh?

I’ll offer, though, a small hint. I would truly like to see the situation change.
And, frankly, hate the culture of the corporation, of money and power as the
sine quo non (did I get that right?) defining American culture and society. Even
the meaning of freedom, according to some on the libertarian right.

Yes, I am embarrassed and ashamed of my country for lagging so far behind in
issues such as healthcare because, apparently, we put corporate interests above
human interests in this country. And speaking of fights…..

Why, the one on the environment has just begun…... Speak of corporate
interests!

Frankly, I’m quite embarrassed by entering into this, and attempting to
apologize for myself, which probably has little interest for most followers of this
blog. But I didn’t want your comments to simply just skip by. You’ve got me
wrong. And, yes, that may be a reflection of yourself. Whatever that is.

Have a good evening….

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By lichen, December 26, 2009 at 4:47 pm Link to this comment

John Ellis, my view for some time is that we need to start with a fundamental overhaul of our democracy, including serious electoral reform to bring actual democracy to the u.s. through: proportional representation in congress, full public funding of elections with no advertising allowed, a requirement for the big media outlets to give all candidates equal time consideration and respect, elections and primaries being short and held on a national holiday, every citizen being automatically registered to vote (including ex-cons), instant runoff voting, paper ballots only, and most of all, more direct democracy at all levels—with the power trickling up.  I think this is very possible, and people at all political places (except the entrenched elite) will surely support having a real say, and this could bring in the 50%+ that didn’t vote in 2008, and reform much of the 50% who did, to the extent that we could end up with a very different country. 

Quinty, I hold the rich and powerfull 100% responsible for their actions; there is no excusing analysis that can pardon these people—the democrats—for their war crimes and for ensuring the consistent spread of poverty and a low quality of life throughout this country.  I hold them responsible for this bill, in the same way that they’ve told me there is no public money for higher education and that the high interest, private student loans I was coralled into can never be forgiven through bankruptcy; just like they tell me I can either pay a fine or buy an expensive, crappy health insurance plan (with money I don’t have) that still won’t enable me to go see a damn dentist or naturopath when I need to do without wiping out my pockets and then some.  Just like they send people away to for-profit prisons for having a joint.  Indeed, they make this a very calvinist, hatefull puritan “it’s your fault” society, but we are supposed to be so forgiving to them, listen to the elite consultants on CNN forgiving them for everything and nod along.

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By Blackspeare, December 26, 2009 at 4:16 pm Link to this comment

The USA is becoming a more discernible class society and when that divide grows to a certain point then trouble starts.  2014 may be a trigger point when 30 million folks will have to purchase health insurance.  It is estimated that a family of fours will pay $9000/year for basic coverage.  Currently, that same coverage would cost about $24,000.  However, right now they’re probably paying nothing and are on Medicaid or free state sponsored children coverage.  2014 should be an interesting year.

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By ardee, December 26, 2009 at 4:04 pm Link to this comment

Yes, Mr. Ellis, FACTS:

If the Voting Eligible Population was 212,720,027 and there were 131,256,905 valid ballots counted (finally tally), then 61.7% of eligible voters voted in the 2008 Election.

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By KDelphi, December 26, 2009 at 2:05 pm Link to this comment

Those calling for incremental “change” really want no change at all…they are comfortable and can deflect themselves with things like the horribly Capitalized Christmas Celebration…

The effects of ‘no change’ , have, so far, been pretty incremental…I guess if we really want a different life , a diferrent planet, it will take more revolutionary effects on the middle class—they just dont seem to want to budge from their gadgets for the planet, gawd or humanity.

Quinty—so, if we were told that a majority of Dems would make hopey changey and, it doesnt do much of anything, why is the solution to back more Dems?

Why do so many accept that its either a Dem world or a GOP world? (RepubliDems)the rest of the world certainly doesnt operate that way, nor would they ever call it a “democracy”.

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By Jim Yell, December 26, 2009 at 1:11 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Well we all know how trustworthy and responsible the banking and investment sector has been with the government handouts. We are now being told, oh support and pass this horrid bill that is only healthcare in title and it will be fixed after the fact? Now we know that the insurance industry is even crookeder than the banking industry and that neither will do the right thing unless forced to do so. To be forced to do so must involve identifying the crimes and punsihing them and confiscating their ill gotten gains. Anything less is going to lead to complete collapse. Obama should be ashamed of himself.

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By Quinty, December 26, 2009 at 11:36 am Link to this comment

“....if a majority would organize against such capitalist inequality we could
establish a true and permanent democracy.”

Do we have “the best democracy money can buy?”

We certainly do.

But does that absolve the responsibility from the voters?

That James Inhofe and Tom Coburn represent Oklahoma was not determined by
the corporations. Voters voted for them. The voters could have voted for
someone else.

So round and round we go…...

Erratum - In my previous post I said not one Republican voted for healthcare reform in the Congress. One House member, representing New Orleans, I believe, did.

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By glider, December 26, 2009 at 11:33 am Link to this comment

Contact your House Representative to insist they keep their word to not vote for a bill without a public option.  See the list of representatives here:

http://fdlaction.firedoglake.com/2009/08/16/sorry-cant-pass-health-care-bill-without-a-public-option/

If they can be persuaded to keep their word we can kill Pass-The-Trash and force the Senate “leadership” to take Healthcare to reconciliation for more responsible legislative action.

Isn’t it interesting how the media is playing up how the House has to submit to the Senate instead of playing up this earlier agreement that prevents the House from doing so.  Who’s side are they on anyway? grin haha!

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By Quinty, December 26, 2009 at 9:47 am Link to this comment

Lichen and John Ellis -

No, that’s simply not true.

Dean backed the public option. So did a majority of Democrats.

This truth may not make a good ideological fit, at least not if the political
establishment is the enemy. And skepticism becomes deep cynicism. A belief
that all politicians are corrupt and in the pockets of corporate America. Which
leaves what?

Let’s assume that’s true. Then the only salvation from this state of affairs exists
in a phantom belief in revolutionary activism. But if among 535 elected
representatives none or very few are even well meaning what hope is there,
even in a revolution? For what does that say for human nature? What would
keep the revolution from being corrupt? Absolutely nothing.

I can’t go that far. I watched some of the mark ups in conference and the
debates on the House and Senate floors on C-SPAN and know many reps
wanted a strong public option.

Votes. That’s the simple truth, what it all finally came down to. Votes. In the
House there more than 40 Democrats who are “pro life.” In the Senate there
weren’t enough votes to break a filibuster. They finally went with what they
could get.

Maybe the bill should have been shot down. But starting again wouldn’t
accomplish anything. In fact, after the 2010 election there may even be fewer
Democrats in the Senate and House.

Perhaps progressives saw this as their one chance. For they know that another
opportunity for “reform” may not come again for many, many years.

It is unfortunate that not one Republican in the Congress could support this
attempt. If there had been some “liberal” Republicans, who don’t see
“government as the enemy,” the public option may have been included. But
there weren’t. Like it or not, this is the best, under current conditions, the
Democrats could get.

I believe, by the way, in Medicare for all. Single payer. Good luck getting that in
a country where at least a large minority believes “government is the problem.”

Politics are local? They certainly are. The Blue Dogs squeaked in and many will
probably be gone after the next cycle. They won’t be replaced, however, by
progressive Democrats. No way.

Is this a tragedy for the American people? It certainly is.

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By the worm, December 26, 2009 at 7:29 am Link to this comment

When voters find out they must pay $100 for $80 of health care, they will turn
against those who made that the law. There are lots of fanatical crazies blaming
Jews, immigrants, blacks, Mormons, socialists, and a variety of conspirators. But
facts have a way of persuading. The vast majority of voters reject all the crazies,
and they will reject this law and those who supported it, based on a single
significant actual fact: We will have to pay $100 for 80 of health care.

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By lichen, December 25, 2009 at 8:18 pm Link to this comment

Yes, John Ellis; Dean has been against single-payer all along, and goes along with the party line on everything.  He and his progressive doormats of america fail to deliver.

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By TAO Walker, December 25, 2009 at 2:22 pm Link to this comment

The socio-economic/psycho-emotional tsunami generated by the collapse of the “global” privateering pyramid scheme is certainly a compelling spectacle.  Like a train wreck in-progress, it’s hard not to watch….accounting evidently for the ongoing capacity of The Media to deliver profit-centered “audience share” to its owner/underwriters.

On the other hand, the vantage-point homo domesticus “enjoys” en masse is from “On The Beach,” where they will be inevitably swept-up to become part of the detritus surging-over and scouring-away the toxic residue of their disintegrating virtual world-o’-hurt.  As difficult as it is to break free of the hypnotic effects of this massive natural ‘sea-change,’ those who are able will have open the option of seeking higher Ground.

They might, rather, walk together away from the soon-to-be mass-graved burial shrouds of their induced “individual”-ity, and reach the safety of the Organic Integrity inherent in the Natural Form and Function of Humanity within the Living Arrangement of our Mother Earth within the Song ‘n’ Dance of Life Herownself.  With this viable alternative actually available, even the excuse of “helplessness” vanishes, and the fate of homo domesticus cannot be laid at the feet of any “powers” that wannabe….or “circumstances beyond CONtrol.”

So this old free wild Indian urges our tame Sisters and Brothers to turn-off the “global” distraction device, to be wholly present and accounted-for right where they live-and-breathe every Day, to get together in Genuine Living Human Communities, and to weather, together, the shit-storm unleashed by their adored “civilization” itself upon all our heads.  Even if they wanted to, the Howard Deans of the world cannot save you, and it is damned folly to keep looking beyond your own immediate ‘habitat’ for something or some “ONE” that might.

That’s LIFE!

Hokahey!

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By Quinty, December 25, 2009 at 11:15 am Link to this comment

Another thing, Glider, the Democrats need Lieberman as much as he needs them.
If the Democrats wish to “punish” Lieberman he could join the Republican caucus,
if worst came to worst. 60 votes. To get anything through the Senate nowadays -
besides honoring international mother’s day - 60 votes are required. Lieberman still comes in handy in that regard.

The Democrats still need him.

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By Inherit The Wind, December 25, 2009 at 10:36 am Link to this comment

Anarcissie:

I suggest you read up on the “Commerce Clause” and its Constitutional history before you make any such claims.

As the Supreme Court has interpreted the Commerce Clause, Congress has the right to control nearly every single human activity, no matter how small it seeems.

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By Quinty, December 25, 2009 at 9:12 am Link to this comment

Thanks McTN for that helpful breakdown.

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By Quinty, December 25, 2009 at 9:08 am Link to this comment

Glider -

Not being the proverbial fly on the wall in the Oval Office who can overhear
Obama’s conversations I can only speculate.

Perhaps Obama is as corrupt as McKinneyites and Naderites insistently profess. I
don’t know. But I do see a plausible reason why Obama made a deal with Big
Pharma (enemy of us all as are all profit driven health related industries.) If you
recall, the special interests have crushed every effort in history at any major reform. Grasping the size of the fight which was approaching he may have simply
wanted to neutralize Big Pharma in the coming war. That, frankly, is the only
excuse I can see for not backing the Dorgan McCain amendment: a tragedy.

While Rahm and the pres have a great deal of power I think that you may, on the other hand, underestimate the power of one rogue senator when a tight 60 vote super majority is required. Lieberman didn’t even back Obama in the last election. He cares nothing for this administration, at least not that I can see. And, further speculating, enjoys his unique power.

Christmas day! Well, for some of us it doesn’t matter. And for some times may
be quite bad. Nor, in that regard, should this day be more special than any other
day when medicine and food and other necessities are required.

Peace, brothers and sisters. We can use that every day.

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By Anarcissie, December 25, 2009 at 8:10 am Link to this comment

Xntrk, December 24 at 9:46 pm:
‘All this angst, and the best suggestion people can come up with is to sign on to yet another saviors campaign! Get a clue guys. Reform is not enough. Without changing the program - whether thru a viable third party or a violent Revolution, everything stays the same. ...’

I guess the progs are pretty depressed, or we’d be hearing more about some kind of electoral reprisal in very practical terms.  That’s what monarchism will do to you.

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By glider, December 25, 2009 at 2:44 am Link to this comment

Quinty,
>>Mogulesco leave’s out of his narrative is the role of the filibuster<<

I think that Rahm and Obama have more power to exert pressure to get what they want than you acknowledge.  There are a lot of reports showing that the behind the scenes measures Obama’s team took were to further sellout the bill to special interests.  I tend to believe they were thankful for Lieberman’s effect on the bill as it provided good cover for shafting the public.  Additionally every Pass the Trash advocate leaves out the option of forcing the bill into reconciliation as being the more responsible course of action to take in the event of frustrations caused by the 60 vote problem.

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By McTN, December 24, 2009 at 8:59 pm Link to this comment

According to Moveon.org these are the poisonous parts of the Senate bill

Five Critical Flaws in the Senate Health Care Bill

The Senate bill would:

#1—Deny Americans the choice of a public option. In contrast, the House bill contains a national public option, the key to real competition, greater choice, and lower costs.1

#2—Leave insurance unaffordable for some lower income and working people. Both bills require virtually all Americans to buy insurance. But even with the subsidies provided, some families could have to pay up to 20% of their income on health care expenses.2

#3—Impose dangerous restrictions on women’s reproductive health care. Unfortunately, both bills do this and the House provision is worse. Both versions would be a dangerous step and neither should be in the final bill.3

#4—Tax American workers’ health coverage to pay for reform. The Senate would pay for part of reform by taxing the hard-won benefits packages of some working Americans. The House, on the other hand, pays for reform with a small surcharge on only the wealthiest Americans—a far better approach.

#5—Allow insurance companies to remain exempt from anti-trust laws. Under current law, insurance companies are actually exempt from laws designed to prevent monopolies and price-gouging. The House bill would fix this, but the Senate bill leaves it in place.

Of course, these aren’t the only problems with the bill. Most glaringly, both the Senate and House bill would leave millions uninsured,6 a far cry from the vision of universal coverage so many of us have fought for. That remains a long-term goal.

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By KDelphi, December 24, 2009 at 5:58 pm Link to this comment

Quinty—I meant, so wtf happened? People that dont hold the Democrats accountable for their actions doom the US to being a backward country, as far as human rights, forever…I’m not buying it, and, the fact that you do probably shows that you dont know anyone who will be in deep shit over this bill.

The GOP will tell you—they dont care…the Dems lie and scam and only drag out progressive ideas when they need to get an empty suit elected. The results are no different…the Dems will lose their majority, which is what they really want anyway, because they cant handle the responsibility of leadership.

So, why doesnt Obaam do what he said he would do if he got majorities? can you answer that? It was a highly publicized political speech in Chicago…why is it ok with you if Dems lie? Cause, see, youre saying that its ok for ALL OF US and millions of people without adequate coverage dont think that it is. I guess it depends on whether you are more concerned about the welfare of American peopel or the legacy of Obama—it seems that he, and many others, are only concerned about the latter—I dont give a damn about any of these peoples’ political careers—if they arent going to work for the common good, they shouod go into another field. If you think the Dems polls are dropping now, wait until most of this gets implemented..then we’ll be stuck with fricking neo-cons for another decade because the Dems were too cowardly to face a historic opportunity..shame on them.

Its hard to have a Merry Xmas when your entire family spends all their money on medical bills—but Obama will have a good one in Hawaii—nothing ever seem to bother him

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By Xntrk, December 24, 2009 at 5:46 pm Link to this comment

All this angst, and the best suggestion people can come up with is to sign on to yet another saviors campaign! Get a clue guys. Reform is not enough. Without changing the program - whether thru a viable third party or a violent Revolution, everything stays the same.

Remember, the definition of insanity is to repeat the same action over and over expecting [or hoping] for a different result - or ‘Change’ maybe?

Waiting around for a white knight to lead us to the promised land is a lot like waiting for the 2nd coming. I suppose it might happen, but I ain’t holdin’ my breath.

The way things are going, half our cities will be under water, and the other half dying of thirst, before Health Care is reformed, Endless Wars end, or our Government is actively preserving our liberties and protecting our health and safety. Or maybe it will just be a cold day in Hell…

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By lichen, December 24, 2009 at 5:38 pm Link to this comment

Kdelphi is right; the democrats are 100% responsible for this bill; it is their fault, and they should have done better, and there need to be consequences for this disgusting sham.

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By lichen, December 24, 2009 at 5:34 pm Link to this comment

Yes, Ardee; I saw Dean on democracy now, where he said that single payer should have been used as a bargaining chip for getting a public option, but nothing more; he is not for single-payer, but wants to keep private, murderous insurance corporations in business; and yes, he goes out of his way to attack single-payer advocates, content to let the insurance corporate criminals make millions more.  And he bows to free market fundamentalists with language about “consumer choice,” which he is willing to sacrifice all social justice for; the fact is, single-payer not for profit healthcare would be better than any private plan in this country.

And no, the public option is not the same thing as single payer; and yes, there is a purely single payer bill, which is HR676 that people like him have rejected and swept under the table. And of course the “public option” is a misnomer as it can either be a large public pool including 150 million+ people, or it can be what it became in the house; little to nothing.  There are differences, and thankfully, single-payer advocates have not gotten themselves confused with mainstream right wing democrats who were willing to settle for anything as long it was called a “public option.”

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By Quinty, December 24, 2009 at 5:15 pm Link to this comment

KDelphi -

“In 2003, Obama said that what we needed to get single payer health care, was
“a Democratic Senate, House and presidency”—it is on YouTube if youd like me
to post a link. So…. “

Sure it is. On YouTube. So?

It still all circles around the filibuster. The Demos, the Democratic wing of the
Demos, still have a majority. But not a super majority. Of course a hopeful for
high office will ask for more of his own kind to be elected. It would be nice if
many of the Blue Dogs in the House were voted out by progressives. What will
probably happen in 2010 is they will be voted out by “conservatives.” Perhaps
even the Sarah Palin wing of the Republican Party.

It’s too bad the Democrats weren’t able to get rid of Joe Liberman in
Connecticut. He out foxed them. And now he is one of the most powerful men
in Washington. Let’s hope he’s gotten rid of the next time around.

Most Democrats, more than fifty, favor progressive change. But, alas,
Nebraskans, Arkansans, Pennsylvanians, Indianans, and many others who vote
do not see it that way. And that is why there are at least five or six Democrats
who can thwart the will of the majority, one exceeding fifty, with Byden’s vote in
waiting just in case.

Have a merry holiday and a happy new year…...

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By Anarcissie, December 24, 2009 at 3:47 pm Link to this comment

ITW—The constitutionality of drivers’ licenses and of the mandated insurance payments aren’t in the same category.  In effect, states “own” their roads and can place any restrictions on access to them they like, especially in the case of persons using motor vehicles.  The mandated payments to insurance companies have nothing to do with access to highways or interstate or in fact any other commerce.  The nearest thing to them is the greatly expanded power of eminent domain, but again this has to do with the constitution of the state where it takes place, not the Federal government.  There is nothing in the Constitution which remotely empowers the Federal government to command private parties to make payments to other private parties simply because the first set appear to be breathing.

Of course, that is if you read it with reason and common sense.  However, the Supreme Court will read it through a filter of politics and as in 2000 I would expect it to do whatever advantages the established order.  That could go either way: on the one hand, their masters want the money, yet on the other the mandated payments will be a political disaster worse than Vietnam for the Democrats and it might be seem worthwhile to forego a few trillion to ensure that the Democrats become a minority party for the next fifty years.

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By KDelphi, December 24, 2009 at 3:03 pm Link to this comment

Quinty—come on…the Dems have majorities in all three..I know about the fillibuster, but Sanders, etc, NOBODY had to vote for this…and Obama wouldve had to sign anything they came up with..he doesnt know a damn thing abou the health care system anywa, as seen by his advocating cuts to poor children’s ER care when he was a Senator in Chicago…(when Michelle was onthe Bd of Directors at Univ of Chicago Hospital)

In 2003, Obama said that what we needed to get single payer health care, was “a Democratic Senate, House and presidency”—it is on YouTube if youd like me to post a link. So….

What necessarily follows, is, if with majoprities in all, they still cant do anything, why vote for them? They had a chance to expand Medicare but dumped it for Lieberman (yeah, sure theyll “bring it up again”—one has to be incredibly nsaive to believe that)...most people would be better off if they did nothing—like the credit card (help the bankers even more)reform—if you are going to be so lame about it, just leaved it slone!

Once again, poor and working classes will pay the price.
I can never vote Democrat again…they vote against my interests all of the time.

Anybody know how much insurance industry stocks have been up since the Senate announced the bill?

“The Senate passed its health care bill “by standing up to the special interests who prevented reform for decades and who are furiously lobbying against it now”—Barack Obama, December 21, 2009.

____________

“‘Healthcare shares rose on Monday as a bill to reform healthcare passed the first critical test in the Senate . . . Shares of Cigna rose 5.3 percent to $37.69. Shares of Aetna Inc rose 5.84 percent to $34.41. Humana Inc rose 3.79 percent to $45.17 and United Health Group Inc rose 5 percent to $33.14. Shares of Wellpoint Inc rose 3.8 percent to $60.51”—Reuters, yesterday, with this ironic headline:  “Healthcare shares rise as reform bill progresses”.

____________

“Investors are seeing the Senate’s version of health care reform as a massive public subsidy for insurance companies—and as a result, are sending the sector’s stock prices shooting up, up, up. . . . Stripped of a government-run insurance plan, the bill would give tens of millions of Americans no option but to start paying hefty premiums to private companies”

Glen Greenwald, Salon, also reported by Physicians for Natl Health Plan, the Wall St Journal and other sources.

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By The Gay Species, December 24, 2009 at 2:51 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

It’s one thing to mandate we all participate in a “public” insurance scheme, which is operated by representatives accountable to the electorate; it’s “unAmerican” to coerce folks—under the penalty of law—to participate in a private insurance scam. It is difficult to see how this mandate—to buy unaffordable insurance or else—can pass constitutional muster. The commerce clause may allow regulation, but it sure cannot support mandated private action.

Perhaps the most important, least recognized, damage comes not from the Senate, but from Speaker Pelosi, who eliminated on her own the Kucinich amendment, which would have continued to allow federalism of individual states, like VT and CA, from creating their own single-payer programs. CA’s program, in its infancy, has worked wonders. Now, under the Fabian Speaker’s power grab, not even States will be able to compete by providing their own innovative single-payer system.

What is the Speaker afraid of? Universal coverage, or loss of her power, or both?

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By KDelphi, December 24, 2009 at 2:50 pm Link to this comment

The “bill” does NOT “provide access” (what a strange term) for 30 million…it throws 15 million more people onto Medicaid, without funding it! (unless you live in Nebraska)

You already have “access”, if you have MONEY—the problem is not getting to see a dr if you can pay cash..the problem is the COST.

Perhaps the most ironic, moronic, idiotic part of the bill is the “opt out”—if you are “too poor” to afford to buy the over-priced terrible private coverage (which will go up in cost for those already purchasing private plans), you can say you are too poor and NOT HAVE TO BUY IT!! For those over 50 and with pre-existing conditions, they have to cover you , IF you can afford to buy it!!They always would have….

Wow!! Talk about expanding coverage to those who need it most! F*ck Democrats.

There is NOTHING in here about keeping costs down or reducing insurance industry profits, which are the main problem. It does not reduce the payments to drs who go into certain specialities for profit, and, it does nothing to reduce the loan amounts required to go to medical school, which might encourage drs to go into family practice. It does nothing to increase non profit hospitals and doesnt dicourage dr and insurance industry investment in hospitals, medical devices or Pharma.

There is NOTHING there that will benefit the average working class or poor person, as Medicaid is already terrible, and, most states do not have the money to expand it…so they will further cut benefits—this is on the backs or poor, elderly, disabled and those with pre-existing conditions. It shores up a lousy for profit system that is immoral and that no one would choose to purchase if they had another choice.Think of it as the insurance industry /Medical industrial complex bailout.

Has anyone even noticed how much insurance industry stocks are up??

From Glenn Greenwald, Salon

The Senate passed its health care bill “by standing up to the special interests who prevented reform for decades and who are furiously lobbying against it now”—Barack Obama, December 21, 2009.

____________

“‘Healthcare shares rose on Monday as a bill to reform healthcare passed the first critical test in the Senate . . . Shares of Cigna rose 5.3 percent to $37.69. Shares of Aetna Inc rose 5.84 percent to $34.41. Humana Inc rose 3.79 percent to $45.17 and United Health Group Inc rose 5 percent to $33.14. Shares of Wellpoint Inc rose 3.8 percent to $60.51”—Reuters, yesterday, with this ironic headline:  “Healthcare shares rise as reform bill progresses”.

____________

“Investors are seeing the Senate’s version of health care reform as a massive public subsidy for insurance companies—and as a result, are sending the sector’s stock prices shooting up, up, up. . . . Stripped of a government-run insurance plan, the bill would give tens of millions of Americans no option but to start paying hefty premiums to private companies”
http://www.salon.com/news/opinion/glenn_greenwald/2009/12/22/health_care/print.html

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By Quinty, December 24, 2009 at 2:17 pm Link to this comment

Glider -

I don’t disagree with Mogulescu’s characterization of the bill. Which can be
described as a kind of Medicare Part E - a gift to the private sector. Like Parts C
and D. Though the bill, if I’m not mistaken, eliminates “surplus charges.”
Which, by the way, the Republicans on the floor of the Senate constantly
mischaracterized, by claiming the Democrats were “cutting Medicare.” But
that’s another story.

What Mogulesco leave’s out of his narrative is the role of the filibuster. Without
requiring that 60 vote super majority the Democrats would have had enough
votes for a strong public option or for expanding Medicare. There are more
than fifty Democrats in the Senate who would have voted for it.

This is a political reality Mogulesco, perhaps for ideological reasons, ignores.
The filibuster. 60 votes. That’s what killed the progressive edge of this bill. And
that is what will constrain the passage of much needed legislation in other
areas. Each individual senator in the Democratic caucus now enjoys an enormous amount of power. And a conservative Democrat can derail the entire show.

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By nikto, December 24, 2009 at 2:01 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

How can the Democratic Party strut so naively
into their own destruction?

Because they have lost Liberal Values.

They lie and fool themselves with their own New-Millenium deception—That Liberal policies are not actually essential to “Reform”.  They are.
They are by definition.

You can’t just pass any piece of crap and call it reform. The Democrats of the 40s/50s/60s would never have made this suicidal blunder—Their Liberal values would have precluded it.


Relatively soon, we will see the spectacle
of numerous Democrats (the ones smiling today) BACKING AWAY from the bill, as GOP attacks intensify, aided and abetted by Korporate premium hikes and consumer-milking tactics intended to piss off the citizenry via price-gouging and BURY the Democrats.
That’s why NO GOPers voted for it. They know
“The Plan”.

Obama will probably lose in 2012, The Gop will return and finish the trashing of America until 2016, when an actual LIBERAL candidate may have much of the country’s ear, for the first time in decades.

People will indeed turn to Liberalism, as they have done in the past, but ONLY in an emergency.

Liberalism is like the fire-axe mounted in the glass case that is never used until the direst of circumstances make folks desperate.

Then the non-wealthy smash the glass, go, “Oh well”, and finally give Liberalism a try.

Surprise surprise!! They find—IT WORKS!

Liberalism—It’s not for wealthy elites.

It’s for YOU, ya’ dummy!!

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By scotttpot, December 24, 2009 at 1:35 pm Link to this comment

An important health care reform has slipped under the radar.
President Obama directed the Justice Department to stop arresting people in
states with medical marijuana laws. Marijuana is a wonderful medicine.I heard the
decision was made in a pot smoke filled room. Yes ,We Cannabis.

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By Mary Ann McNeely, December 24, 2009 at 11:32 am Link to this comment

In the end it all comes down to this: The Democrats and the Republicans will continue to cut nearly every citizen of this country into little pieces because they know there in no possibility of their being replaced by a third party, as there is no possibility of a general strike or revolution in the streets.  This duopoly is as immoral, sociopathic and violent as any criminal gang anywhere in the world.  They have nothing to worry about except which of the gang’s two factions will nominally and temporarily be the rulers and get their rocks off exercising power.

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By starfish, December 24, 2009 at 11:08 am Link to this comment

(Excerpt from http://tinyurl.com/yjjpn5e)

The health reform bills now coming through Congress are not focused on how to make health care cheaper or more effective, how to eliminate waste and fraud or how to cut out expensive middlemen. As originally envisioned, the public option would have pursued those goals. But the public option has been dropped from the Senate bill and radically watered down in the House bill. Rather than focusing on making health care affordable, the bills focus on how to force people either to buy health insurance if they don’t have it, or to pay more for it if they do. If you don’t have insurance and don’t purchase it, you will be subject to a hefty fine. And if you do purchase it, premiums, co-pays, co-insurance payments and deductibles are liable to keep health care cripplingly expensive. Most of the people who don’t have health care can’t afford to pay the deductibles, so they will never use the plans they are forced to buy.

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By starfish, December 24, 2009 at 11:01 am Link to this comment

But one doesn’t have to own or drive a car in America—it’s a choice to do so. (When I lived in NYC, I neither owned nor drove a car.)

This health-care legislation creates a universal mandate: If you’re alive, you must buy PRIVATE insurance no matter the cost.

Big difference.

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By Inherit The Wind, December 24, 2009 at 10:33 am Link to this comment

SoTexGuy, December 23 at 9:51 am #

Dean was right in his opposition to the legislation as it now appears to be poised for passage. I respected him for his honesty. Why he would mollify his remarks on air with Maddow is something only he knows?

The idea that the government can make a law requiring citizens to give their money to private corporations or face penalty (and not at least offer a public alternative) is something outside the Constitution I’m sure. I’m unsure if that’s Socialism, or Communism as the chattering and sneering mob would claim.. but it’s abominable. Call it ‘Corporatism’.

That’s how I feel about that.
********************************************

Really? It’s nothing new. Most states won’t let you license a motor vehicle unless you can “provide proof of insurance”.  New York and New Jersey will revoke your driver’s license for a year and CAN even toss you in jail for the misdemeanor of “driving without insurance”.

That’s right—you cannot get your car licensed unless you PAY MONEY to a big private insurance company—by LAW.

Your own state of Texas requires proof of 25/50/25 financial responsibility for the same.  Pretty much the only way you can get it is to…buy insurance.

http://www.tdi.state.tx.us/auto/frvp_consumer.html

People toss around “socialism” without having the foggiest f***in’ clue what Socialism is.  At least FolkTruther actually KNOWS what Socialism is.

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By doublestandards/glasshouses, December 24, 2009 at 10:18 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

The bill throws older people under the bridge.  If you
are 55 or older you are going to pay as much as 300%
more in insurance premiums than younger people and if
you are 65 or older you are going to see massive cuts
in medicare meaning much higher out of pocket expenses
for health care and drugs.  This was a pay-off for all
the campaign cash the insurance companies have given
the democrats.

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By the worm, December 24, 2009 at 10:18 am Link to this comment

Im sorry , but, when the public starts getting the bills from this pseudo-reform, 
the only ones who are going to look ‘clean’ will be the Republicans, 100% of
whom can say ‘we voted against it’.  The Democrats are going to boil in their own
broth, if they let this pass. I hope they’re enough really good jobs with the health
insurance industry to supply them all with employment. But, when the industry
only has to spend, $80 of your $100 premium on health care, they’ve got plenty
left to take care of the Democratic politicians who lose next time.

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By garth, December 24, 2009 at 10:11 am Link to this comment

This health care bill is a sham and a rip-off.  The fix was in since Obama took office.  Rahm Emmanuel has negotiated this and has worked it through the Senate with the gieveaways to the Health Insurance companies and to PHRMA.

It was orchestrated from the start.  From the bait and switch of Single Payer to a public option to nothing at all except a mandate that we all have to fork over larger sums of either hard-earned money or the companies can go to the public trough.

Next came the Tea Bag Salute with their clamor for more freedom.  They obfuscated the cause with Death Panels, abortion, and illegal aliens.  Those reasonable people who just want what every other industial country has were shouted down.

Then came the deal making and Landrieu, Lieberman, Nelson, Baucus and Reid stepped up and added more cover for this rip-off.
Look at the 39 votes and the cover it gives them when Americans start getting hit with these co-pays, deductibles and higher premiums.  When those who work and have health insurance through their employers start to pay upwards of 20,000 dollars and then see their taxes go up to cover the mandate, what do they think is going to happen?
I say take your premium payment slips and place them in a drawer at home.  Then after you’ve worked for 30 or 40 years and you’ve got nothing to show for it, open that drawer and add up your payments.  That is what you got for it.
If the political tide turns, we’ll be left with those 39 Senators plus a few more like-minded Republicans.  The MSM will play their election as a statement that the voters no longer want Medicare, Social Security, Government hand-outs or entitlements and the new right-wing will continue the job of dismantling the New Deal.
This is not really a Republican nor a Democratic issue, though The American people are being robbed by Wall Street, Health Insurance, PHRMA, and who can say how long it will take before oil prices go on the rise again?  When will the shit hit the fan?

Shares for the big Health companies went up about 20 per-cent in the last few days.  The Dow Jones Ave went up 2 per-cent.  Business Week reported this would happen last August.  They knew then.

They’ll win and they’ll keep winning, until there is nothing more to take.  Then they’ll keep coming for anything they can think of.

I suggest that they take the Tea Baggers and use them as filler for the Dog Chow and Cat Food industries.  I can see it all now, Fancy Feast East Kentuckiana, Juicy-Wuicy Grilled Lousiana Sloppy Joe.

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By starfish, December 24, 2009 at 8:51 am Link to this comment

Sorry, I neglected to provide the link to the site where you can see Obama campaigning about healthcare.

Here’s the link: http://tinyurl.com/ylcyez7

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By starfish, December 24, 2009 at 8:48 am Link to this comment

Be sure to watch all three video clips of Obama (during the campaign) telling what he would do about healthcare.

He proposes a PUBLIC OPTION.

He excoriates John McCain for saying he (McCain) would make cuts to Medicare—and, of course, we now know Obama is okay with cutting ONE TRILLION DOLLARS from Medicare for the first FULL ten years the healthcare legislation is in effect.

Yes, Obama even talks about “mandates.”

Watch the videos and then try to tell me Obama is not a hustler, a con-man and a liar.

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Anarcissie's avatar

By Anarcissie, December 24, 2009 at 8:30 am Link to this comment

godean, December 23 at 10:57 pm:
’... Dean 2012, Dean 2012. ....’

The next relevant election is in 2010.  That means you have to start doing things now, because it takes several months to form parties and movements, find candidates, gather money, and run a campaign.  You can say “Dean 2012” or “Nader 2012” all the way from now until then, and nothing will happen.  Nothing will happen in 2012 for which a foundation was not laid in 2010.

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By the worm, December 24, 2009 at 7:59 am Link to this comment

The Senate bill guarantees private for-profit health insurers can provide less than
$80 of health care for every $100 you pay.

“And all insurance companies would be required to spend at least 80 cents of
every dollar they collect in premiums on delivering care to their customers.”
Washington Post Saturday Dec 19

If that is not a sham, then what is it?

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By jamiedbruce, December 24, 2009 at 7:22 am Link to this comment

This bill is NOT a sham. There are a lot of good things in this Bill and I
congratulate Obama for being able to pass it. If it went the way Progressives
wanted it, it would have been derailed and KILLED a long time ago. Now that it will
pass, it is the time to slowly reform the bill over time to improve it. The fact that
insurance companies cannot reject people with pre conditions, the fact that 30
million uninsured will have access, the fact that a worker can change jobs without
losing their plan are all reasons to rejoice. The Progressives like the Neo Cons live
on the negatives - this is their life line.

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By jamiedbruce, December 24, 2009 at 7:21 am Link to this comment

This bill is NOT a sham. There are a lot of good things in this Bill and I
congratulate Obama for being able to pass it. If it went the way Progressives
wanted it, it would have been derailed nd KILLED a long time ago. Now that it will
pass, it is the time to slowly reform the bill over time to improve it. The fact that
insurance companies cannot reject people with pre conditions, the fact that 30
million uninsured will have access, the fact that a worker can change jobs without
losing their plan are all reasons to rejoice. The Progressives like the Neo Cons live
on the negatives - this is their life line.

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By johncp, December 24, 2009 at 5:28 am Link to this comment

P.T.
I know, P.T., that you’ll be able to tell me straight out, what you mean by “triangulation,” a term you and some others constantly use “against” the Clintons.  That way I’ll know that triangulation is a political manuever used only by the Clintons, and not by every other politician on earth.  Because, it sure as hell would seem weird if you pretended that the Clintons were the only politicians to use triangulation, whatever the hell it is, when you knew damn well, that all or nearly all other politicians were doing the same thing.

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By glider, December 24, 2009 at 5:00 am Link to this comment

Regarding this foolishness about whether Obama “campaigned” upon the public option.  Any question of this point describes how much the left refuses to assign accountability to Obama.  I personally learned about the “public option” after Obama urged me in a campaign speech to go and read his detailed platform on his website as a response to opponents who were claiming he had no plan.  Silly me for thinking these BarackObama.com website published plans might be confused with something he would be campaigning upon.  I should of looked up what the meaning of is is, and then consulted my Ouiji board for further clarification.  That might have saved me a little cash lost in campaign contributions.  Of course it is the stupid voters fault for this erroneous perception.  All I got to say America is; how do you like your Democracy today?  Are you excited about how the citizens can appoint a just government that is responsive to your needs?  I know how excited I am.  But heck, I think he is going to come to his senses any time now.  Hahahaha!, at least we can witness and revel in the power of hope-a-dope.  Imagine, Obama is so awesome that he got Bernie Sanders to vote for legally mandated purchases of profit laden private health insurance by poor uninsured Americans.  You have to admit that is an incredible accomplishment, and you have to give Obama credit for being a political genuis.  I hope you are as proud as I am!

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By ardee, December 24, 2009 at 4:07 am Link to this comment

Yo,lichen

You take the position that Dean is a foe of single payer, yet I find him advocating such and speaking to the mistake Obama made in not including single payer advocates at the table initially:

http://www.blueoregon.com/2009/06/dean-wyden-the-public-option-single-payer-and-the-rest-of-the-kitchen-sink.html

Howard Dean, Ron Wyden, the public option, single payer and the kitchen sink.
Carla Axtman

Earlier this week, I had the opportunity to interview the always interesting Governor (Dr, Chairman) Howard Dean, who visited Portland last Friday to pump health care reform and specifically the public option.

I asked the Governor about single-payer, and the heavy advocacy it’s receiving at town halls and other places from Oregonians. Governor Dean noted that some single-payer advocates aren’t interested in dialogue and disrupt events, which is counterproductive. But he said he believes that Obama made a crucial error at the outset of the conversation. “The Administration made a mistake by not bringing them (single-payer advocates) to the table. That’s the best way to have real dialogue”.

Dean also said that single-payer is pretty tough to differentiate from the public option. “Public option is like single payer. It gives consumers the choice. There’s no such thing as a pure single-payer plan anywhere.” Dean went on to say that there’s absolutely no reason for a wedge between single payer advocates and those who support the public option. In fact, Dean said he believes that it’s a recipe for disaster. “It’s a mistake to drive that wedge. It’s how reform has been killed in the past.”, Dean said.

This united advocacy is crucial, Dean said, because without the public option, it’s “fake reform”

..................edit…................

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By glider, December 24, 2009 at 1:17 am Link to this comment

Hey Robert Scheer,
One way to avoid the Democrat Corporatist Health Tax on the middle and lower class is to join the Armed Forces and get involved in America’s Perpetual War Machine.  Sorry for getting a bit off topic but I just watched a disgusting spectacle on the BBC with Obama’s American marines being energized by their battlefront Pastor to go forth with the full force and glory of God behind them that day to punish the enemy.  I am not making this shit up.  Check it out yourself!  This country is f***ing toast!  Democracy is dead, Journalism is dead, Informed Activism is dead (but hey we got Fox Teabaggers, whooppee!), and mind numbing Christian Militarism and the Best Banksters are the defining par excellence of this country.  We are descending into the f***ing pit of Corporatism unquestioned by a uneducated propagandized public.

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By lichen, December 23, 2009 at 9:39 pm Link to this comment

I hate this healthcare bill, and it should be destroyed, absolutely.  But I don’t absolve Dean himself—he came out strongly against single-payer not for profit healthcare, and that is not the only part of his politics that plays strongly to the right.  Obama is proving himself to be such a disgusting scumbag, along with the rest of the democrats. 

But this shows, how a strong, unified movement for Single Payer Medicare (+plus dental, mental health, naturopath benefits) For All HR676 should have come out a long time ago instead of people picking up the party line early on and letting the corporate downsizing of the bill begin.

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By untilOfficiallyDenied, December 23, 2009 at 8:35 pm Link to this comment

Mr. Scheer says “in an interview with The Washington Post, ‘I didn’t campaign on the public option.’ True”

Mr. Scheer is wrong. Obama did campaign mentioning Public option

– In the 2008 Obama-Biden health care plan on the campaign’s website, candidate Obama promised that “any American will have the opportunity to enroll in [a] new public plan.” [2008]

this link has more quotes from campaign. http://thinkprogress.org/2009/12/22/obama-repeatedly-touted-public/

Also, “Hopefully, if the bill is passed, Dean will be proved wrong”, you seem to have lot of strength to be Hopeful. I don’t.

Here’s a quick breakdown of major health insurance company stock performance from Oct. 27 to Friday’s market close:
  * Coventry Health Care, Inc. is up 31.6 percent;
  * CIGNA Corp. is up 29.1 percent;
  * Aetna Inc. is up 27.1 percent;
  * WellPoint, Inc. is up 26.6 percent;
  * UnitedHealth Group Inc. is up 20.5 percent;
  * And Humana Inc. is up 13.6 percent”
By comparsion, the Dow Jones Industrial Average is only up 2.3 percent during that time; the NASDAQ Composite is up a (relatively) paltry 1.4 percent.

Glenn Greenwald has more on this at http://www.salon.com/news/opinion/glenn_greenwald/2009/12/22/health_care/index.html

This is enough to guess who and for whom this bill is written.

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By glider, December 23, 2009 at 7:51 pm Link to this comment

For those still confused about where Obama is driving this country I recommend the following read:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/miles-mogulescu/the-democrats-authoritari_b_402146.html#postComment

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By Mack TN, December 23, 2009 at 7:29 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

THANK YOU, STARFISH!

I have preserved that bit of campaign debris to ensure that any of my comments on this awful bill can be supported by Obama’s own words.

I’m not even going to intellectualize my distaste for this bill.  It’s a load of crap. For the second time now, Obama has forced we the people/we the product to give our money to private corporations in exchange for…NOTHING. First, taxpayer money to bail out banks. Now taxpayer money to buy insurance from private corporations. Forced to…under penalty of law!  What happened to coming down on the insurance companies.

I’m totally disgusted.

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By Big Jess, December 23, 2009 at 7:05 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I’m tired of talk from Dean, Sanders, Woolsley, etc.

What I want, what I’ll believe in, is someone who organizes mass demonstrations—of the type we had during the anti-Vietnam war days—in D.C. and other major cities to coerce and terrify Congress into fixing this POS.

Anything else is just sound and fury, signifying nothing.

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By godean, December 23, 2009 at 6:57 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Dean 2012, Dean 2012.

The coordinated, trumped up, hatchet job the media did on Dean’s “scream” only proves what pussbrain, mouthpieces for the master class, fake journalistic scum Goebbel’s newsreaders are. 

(On top of that, the mike used in the tape played over and over on all the networks (gosh, who coordinated that) was a directional mike that cut out the roar of the crowd.  The claim was a fraud but it worked.  Their master in hell, Goebbels (who killed his five children before he and his wife committed suicide) would be proud.)

Forget Obama, just a fraudulent mouthpiece for his economic betters.

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Anarcissie's avatar

By Anarcissie, December 23, 2009 at 6:39 pm Link to this comment

The only thing that will change the minds of politicians, generally, is the sight of voters, contributors and campaign workers dropping out or moving to other candidates.  Thus far, nothing seems to be too much for progs to swallow.  That being the case, there is no reason for the Democratic Party and Mr. O not to continue moving to the right and sucking up to corporate and neo-con power.  There is no down side.

Of course it’s up to you—but I don’t see the point of crying on Truthdig and then doing nothing about what you’re crying about.

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By starfish, December 23, 2009 at 6:18 pm Link to this comment

Robert Scheer is WRONG about one thing here—when he says it is “true” that Obama did not campaign on the public option.

Obama to The Washington Post: “I didn’t campaign on the public option.”

That is a lie.

He did

Here’s the quote from Obama’s own web page . . .
- - - - - - - - - - - -
Do you have a plan to make health care more accessible to Americans? If so, how would you do it?

Every American has the right to affordable, comprehensive and portable health coverage. MY PLAN will ensure that all Americans have health care coverage through their employers, private health plans, the federal government, or the states. MY PLAN builds on and improves our current insurance system, which most Americans continue to rely upon, and CREATES a new PUBLIC health PLAN for those currently without coverage. Under MY PLAN, Americans will be able to choose to maintain their current coverage if they choose to. For those without health insurance I WILL ESTABLISH a new PUBLIC insurance program, and provide subsides to afford care for those who need them. MY PLAN includes a mandate that all children have health care coverage and I will expand eligibility for the Medicaid and SCHIP programs to help ensure we cover all kids. MY PLAN requires all employers to contribute towards health coverage for their employees or towards the cost of the PUBLIC PLAN.

http://tinyurl.com/3n9q7c
- - - - - - - - - - - -

Obama lied when he said he “didn’t campaign on the public option.”

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By ofersince72, December 23, 2009 at 6:13 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

its all been said, agree with PROLE

Dean is right , it should be scrapped, but

here is what i demonize Dean for.

I sure knew what Oh!-Bama   was about

before the elections,  knew his health care

was a   ins,  co.  bill,  so was   Hilery’s.


So   why   did Dean torpedo Kucinach every

chance   that   he   got ??????Ir i knew Oh!-Bama

was   a   fraud two years before the elections

others   with   more   access sure   should have!!

and   they did know,  but Oh!-Bama vote

was never   anything   more   than   a “feelgood”

vote.  Relieved peoples   conscience.

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By TravelerDiogenes, December 23, 2009 at 5:32 pm Link to this comment

Imttd (and anyone else who might be interested) -

You may find this intentionally non-published book by Bob Altemeyer, a psychologist friend of John Dean - to be interesting: http://members.shaw.ca/jeanaltemeyer/drbob/TheAuthoritarians.pdf

I am finding at an extremely educational read on the mentality of authoritarian types (which includes especially those who suck up to “great leaders”).  In Germany they had a belief in the “Führerprinzip,” which is kind of self-explanatory.  Many here believe in that, too.

He has a good easy conversational writing style.  Check it out.

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By Quinty, December 23, 2009 at 4:58 pm Link to this comment

KDelphi -

I didn’t say the bill expands Medicare.

What I said is the that the Congress can come back in the future and add an
expansion. As unlikely as that would be. And unlikely to pass.

Let’s not beat up too much on the Democrats. More than fifty, after all -
enough to pass progressive legislation - would support a public option or the
expansion of Medicare which was briefly proposed. That is a large majority.

The Democrats, as we all know, are a coalition. That more than fifty - perhaps?
- are progressive speaks well of them as a whole. And politics, as the old saw
goes, is local. When I lived in Berkeley I was a great fan of Barbara Lee. And still
am. While if I lived in Oklahoma I would never vote for Inhofe or Coburn.
Barbara Lee couldn’t be elected dog catcher in most of Oklahoma.

What sank the public option? The filibuster. The need for sixty votes, which
progressives (even if they have a majority) didn’t have.

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By TAO Walker, December 23, 2009 at 4:58 pm Link to this comment

As usual themericanpeople, in their sanctified self-absorption, just didn’t “get” the MEMO.  Not one iota of all this psycho-dramatic blowing-of-smoke and glam-scammed flashing-of-mirrors has anything whatsoever to do with actual HEALTH care.  Even the already carefully-metered delivery of ever more prohibitively expensive “medical services” (which is just one more lucrative commodity for speculators to bet-on anyhow) is only another “hook” to hang the wretchedly-dressed carcasses of “....your huddled masses” on. 

This is a “capitalist” system, tame Sisters and Brothers, as your tormentors never tire of telling you, and you domesticated “individuals” are yourownselfs nothing but raw material to be extracted ruthlessly from the Living Ground of your Natural Being, processed into profit-making industrial waste-products, and then tossed casually onto The-Gypper’s “ash-heap of history.”  It’s all about those who are able to “pay-to-play.”  Those who can’t are “redundant,” as the Brits like to put it, and it’d be a failure of legally-mandated fiduciary duties to use “shareholder equity” to “subsidize” these surplus CONsumers’ CONtinued existence.

So, bottom-linewise, that just ain’t gonna happen.  Better get used to it, like you’ve gotten so slap-happily used BY it.  After-all, chasing your own idiotic self-glorifying tales may be the one thing you americans are actually pretty good at.  Nevermind that it’s getting you all into places even worse than merely “nowhere” these Days….and at a pace equal to a significant fraction of the speed of Light, too.

Or….you could return to The Tiyoshpaye Way, and let the damned CONtraption collapse from the weight of its own internal CONtradictions and CONceits.  Is that really such a difficult choice to make?

HokaHey!

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By trf, December 23, 2009 at 4:17 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

You want universal health care?  Every citizen should donate $1 into a fund.  With over $300 million in the kitty, we should be able to “donate” our way through Congress and get what we want.  It’s the only language the douche bags understand.  Or maybe a guillotine in front of the Capitol?

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By P. T., December 23, 2009 at 4:09 pm Link to this comment

By triangulation as the path to success, I was thinking more in political terms.  I think Obama and Clinton see powerful elite interests as easily switching sides from being friendly to you to being enemies who are friendly with the political opposition.

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By Thong-girl, December 23, 2009 at 3:52 pm Link to this comment

You’re right PT and it’s the way things will be for a long time.  Agendas for these guys are very narrow, carefully, singling out issues they can count as enough wins to leverage another term, and cover their asses.  The fact that Rubin and Clinton almost in lock step made $100 million + each almost immediately out of office is the plan, not the needs of the country or the reasons they were elected.  They simply need to chalk up some useless legislation and not tip the scales of free money and they get to go home rich in a few years.  Who can blaim them?

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By rjf7r, December 23, 2009 at 3:49 pm Link to this comment

While I do recognize the very real immediate benefits that would be available if this bill as-is were enacted, I also recognize that the very nature of this bill, and its legislative history, is a profound statement of policy that the “American way of health care” is, remains, and will always be non-competitive for-profit insurance-based.  Since I regard the non-competitive for-profit insurance system as the cause of all those deaths, misery, and bankruptcies over the years, I cannot in good conscience support a bill that ratifies that system, even if this bill makes temporary fixes to that wretched system. (Make no mistake about the temporary nature of these fixes—the for-profit companies will find ways to maintain or expand their profitability, and those ways will come directly our of Americans’ pockets and health and even lives.)  This bill proclaims to the world and history that “first, make a profit” is the Hippocratic oath of the American health care system.  Permanent benefit comes only with a change in the nature of the system.

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By P. T., December 23, 2009 at 3:47 pm Link to this comment

Obama sees the Clinton model of triangulation as the path to success.  That view holds that one does not get crossways with powerful elite interests.

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By gerard, December 23, 2009 at 3:43 pm Link to this comment

If I had the chance I’d ask Mr. Sheer this question:

Where were the many powerful medical organizations?  Were they even in on the formative steps of the bill? Did any of them follow it through, lobbying Congress, running ads, being active in elite political circles etc. etc?  Or did they sit it out?  Or were all of them opposed and “don’t do politics,”  or what?

I find it impossible to believe that those tens of thousands of voices pledged to “do no harm” did not react to the harm suffered by thousands with little or no health care or money for insurance.  They surely know about these people; some see them every day.  Did they ever get a chance to weight in? Does their silence indicate—what?  Nurses?  Technicians? Medical attorneys? Family clinic people?  Where were they all?

So far I found one quite limited organization that worked for single payer, Calif. Physicians Alliance, which lists an adjunct of some ten or 15 faintly allied labor organizations -o- not professionals, asking for contributions, etc. etc.  Nothing that appears like a major contingency for such an important national issue.  Where were Physicians for Social Responsibility?  Where were nurses assoications?  Does anyone know of a summary of this situation online? Seems like the bill had too ew friendly voices from the start—and inadequate promotion == a half-baked effort at best?

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