Saturday, August 22, 2009


From FireDogLake:

Sixty-five members of the House drew a line in the sand: no public option, no health care bill.

Unfortunately, the "Blue Dogs" have drawn their own line in the sand: Blue Dog: Votes aren't there to go it alone on public option

You can sign this petition to progressive members to let them know you have their backs, and to remind them that they cannot vote for anything but a public option in both the House bill AND the conference bill. But you will also need to call - call every day - to urge Ron Kind and leaders in the house and senate.

Think we can afford to do nothing?

Without reform, health insurance rates to nearly double in 11 years

Thursday, August 20, 2009

"Democracy" and Health Care Reform

During the election of 2008, Ralph Nader was roundly excoriated for his election night comment, "To put it very simply, he is our first African American president, or he will be, and we wish him well. But his choice, basically, is whether he's going to be Uncle Sam for the people of this country, or Uncle Tom for the giant corporations."

With the latest health care/health insurance "reform" debacle, it's pretty clear that Obama has chosen Tom over Sam.

A recent column by Glenn Greenwald at makes the case:
"The Obama White House isn't sitting impotently by while Democratic Senators shove a bad bill down its throat. This is the bill because this is the bill which Democratic leaders are happy to have. It's the bill they believe in. As important, by giving the insurance and pharmaceutical industries most everything they want, it ensures that the GOP doesn't become the repository for the largesse of those industries (and, converesly, that the Democratic Party retains that status). This is how things always work. The industry interests which own and control our government always get their way. When is the last time they didn't? The "public option" was something that was designed to excite and placate progressives (who gave up from the start on a single-payer approach) -- and the vast, vast majority of progressives (all but the most loyal Obama supporters) who are invested in this issue have been emphatic about how central a public option is to their support for health care reform. But it seems clear that the White House and key Democrats were always planning on negotiating it away in exchange for industry support. Isn't that how it always works in Washington? No matter how many Democrats are elected, no matter which party controls the levers of government, the same set of narrow monied interests and right-wing values dictate outcomes, even if it means running roughshod over the interests of ordinary citizens (securing lower costs and expanding coverage) and/or what large majorities want."

So, this is what we canvassed and called and donated and worked for? I don't think so.

Supposedly, Obama is fond of quoting President Franklin Roosevelt, who urged supporters of legislation he favored to "make me do it." On the surface, this sounds like an invitation to participatory Democracy - get out there and fight for the policies you believe in. But, when the person urging you to fight, is found to be supporting and supplying the opposition, it turns into a cruel torture.

Take the Ron Kind [not] listening sessions scheduled for the hinterlands (but not La Crosse) this week. To make things more manageable, Kind will have attendees take numbers and speakers whose numbers are drawn will have two minutes to speak. Apparently, at the Richland Center session, with 500 people in attendance, 25 speakers (five per cent) were allowed to speak. With no guarantee, based on past experience, that anything any constituent says makes any difference whatsoever in Kind's actions or votes, this, too, looks less like a democratic forum and more like something a bully might dream up.

In Afghanistan, elections have just been held. More than fifty political parties were on the ballot. Here, two, or if you believe Nader, one.

Paul Krugman's recent post on, makes the case that Democrats are not evil, duopolist bullies, but rather, incredibly gullible political dimwits: "So far, at least, the Obama administration’s response to the outpouring of hate on the right has had a deer-in-the-headlights quality. It’s as if officials still can’t wrap their minds around the fact that things like this can happen to people who aren’t named Clinton, as if they keep expecting the nonsense to just go away."

Either way, we are screwed.