Health Care on the Road to Neo-Feudalism

I believe that if the Senate health care bill passes as Joe Lieberman has demanded it–with no Medicare buy-in or public option–it will be a significant step further on our road to neo-feudalism. As such, I find it far too dangerous to our democracy to pass–even if it gives millions (perhaps unaffordable) subsidies for health care.

20% of your labor belongs to Aetna

Consider, first of all, this fact. The bill, if it became law, would legally require a portion of Americans to pay more than 20% of the fruits of their labor to a private corporation in exchange for 70% of their health care costs.

Consider a family of 4 making $66,150–a family at 300% of the poverty level and therefore, hypothetically, at least, “subsidized.” That family would be expected to pay $6482.70 (in today’s dollars) for premiums–or $540 a month. But that family could be required to pay $7973 out of pocket for copays and so on. So if that family had a significant–but not catastrophic–medical event, it would be asked to pay its insurer almost 22% of its income to cover health care. Several months ago, I showed why this was a recipe for continued medical bankruptcy (though the numbers have changed somewhat). But here’s another way to think about it. Senate Democrats are requiring middle class families to give the proceeds of over a month of their work to a private corporation–one allowed to make 15% or maybe even 25% profit on the proceeds of their labor.

It’s one thing to require a citizen to pay taxes–to pay into the commons. It’s another thing to require taxpayers to pay a private corporation, and to have up to 25% of that go to paying for luxuries like private jets and gyms for the company CEOs.

It’s the same kind of deal peasants made under feudalism: some proportion of their labor in exchange for protection (in this case, from bankruptcy from health problems, though the bill doesn’t actually require the private corporations to deliver that much protection).In this case, the federal government becomes an appendage to do collections for the corporations.

Mind you, not only will citizens be required to pay private corporations. But middle class citizens may be required to pay more to these private corporations than they pay in federal and state taxes. Using these numbers, this middle class family of four will pay roughly 15% in federal, state, and social security taxes. This family will pay around $10,015 for their share of the commons–paying for defense, roads, some policing, and their social safety net share. That’s 15% of their income. They will, at a minimum, be asked to pay 9.8% of their income to the insurance company. And if they have a significant medical event, they’ll pay 22%–far, far more than they’ll pay into the commons. So it’s bad enough that this bill would require citizens to pay a tithe to a corporation. It’s far worse when you consider that some citizens would pay more in their corporate tithe than they would to the commons.

And, finally, while the Senate bill does not accord these corporate CEOs a droit de seigneur–the right to a woman’s virginity the night of her marriage–if Ben Nelson (and Bart Stupak) get their way, it would make a distinction in this entire compact for how the property of a woman’s womb shall be treated.

Single payer for the benefit of corporations

And for those who promise we’ll go back and fix this later, once we achieve universal health care, understand what will have happened in the meantime. The idea, of course, is to establish some means to get people single payer coverage (before Lieberman, this would have been through a public option or Medicare buy-in) and, over time, expand it.

In fact, this bill will move toward single payer, too–though not the kind we want. For the large number of people who live in a place where there is limited competition, this bill will require them to get health care through the oligopoly or monopoly provider. It’ll work great for the provider: they will be able to dictate rates. But the Senate bill allows these blossoming single payer providers to keep up to 25% of the benefit in profits and marketing costs, and pass little of that benefit onto citizens. If we make private corporations our single payer, how are we going to convince them to cede control when we ask them to let the government be the single payer?

The reason this matters, though, is the power it gives the health care corporations. We can’t ditch Halliburton or Blackwater because they have become the sole primary contractor providing precisely the services they do. And so, like it or not, we’re dependent on them. And if we were to try to exercise oversight over them, we’d ultimately face the reality that we have no leverage over them, so we’d have to accept whatever they chose to provide. This bill gives the health care industry the leverage we’ve already given Halliburton and Blackwater.

The feudal health care filibuster-proof majority

It’s the 9.8% tithe that bothers me the most. But for those who think we can fix it, consider this, too. If the Senate bill passes, in its current form, it will mean that the health care industry was able to dictate–through their Senators Joe Lieberman and Ben Nelson–what they wanted the US Congress to do. They will have succeeded in dictating the precise terms of legislation.

Now, that’s not the first time that has happened. It certainly happened on telecom immunity. It certainly has happened, repeatedly, on Defense contracting (see also Randy Cunningham). But none of these egregious instances of corporations dictating legislation included a tithe–the requirement that citizens pay corporations to provide their service, rather than allowing the government to contract the service.

This is a fundamentally different relationship we’re talking about–one that gives corporations vast new powers. And the fact that–with one temper tantrum from Joe Lieberman–the corporations were able to dictate the terms of this new relationship deeply troubles me.

When this passes, it will become clear that Congress is no longer the sovereign of this nation. Rather, the corporations dictating the laws will be.

I understand the temptation to offer 30 million people health care. What I don’t understand is the nonchalance with which we’re about to fundamentally shift the relationships of governance in doing so.

We’ve seen our Constitution and means of government under attack in the last 8 years. This does so in a different–but every bit as significant way. We don’t mandate tithing corporations in this country–at least not yet. And it troubles me that so many Democrats are rushing to do so, without considering the logical consequences.

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230 replies
  1. PJEvans says:

    I’d like to know what they were promised in return for their votes, before I get out my pitchfork.

    I hope it was worth it to them. May the pleasure they receive from this bill be very short-lived.

    • cbl2 says:

      I’d like to know what they were promised in return for their votes, before I get out my pitchfork

      believe the price was no PhRma money in 2010 GOP coffers – yeah, that’s gonna happen

  2. phred says:

    Great post EW, thanks for this.

    Given what happened with the Dorgan amendment and all the “good progressives” being given their marching orders to go forth and sell the bill, I am deeply deeply worried that we will have no more success killing this than we had at stopping the MCA, PAA or FAA or any of the rest of the horrifying legislation that Congress has gotten into the habit of passing.

  3. qweryous says:

    “We’ve seen our Constitution and means of government under attack in the last 8 years. This does so in a different–but every bit as significant way. We don’t mandate tithing corporations in this country–at least not yet. And it troubles me that so many Democrats are rushing to do so, without considering the logical consequences.”

    A most disturbing analysis.

    I can dispute not a single fact or point.

    It troubles me greatly that anyone can take an oath of office and then participate in something like this.

    Inability to understand the legislation proposed, or venality, are the only explanations possible.

    Neither are excusable in any way.

    • tbsa says:

      They want to pass something, anything, because they have seen the writing on the wall. They know 30% of dems are not going to come out to re-elect them. IMO it has nothing to do with Healthcare reform it’s just the straw that broke the camels back. They don’t give a damn that they are dooming untold thousands to a life of debt bondage and bankruptcy.

  4. behindthefall says:

    The push towards neo-feudalism is so consistent right across the board that I have to wonder if it is intentional. (“Once is happenstance, twice is coincidence, three times is enemy action …”) Why would anyone actually desire a two-class society (Haves and Have-Nots) ruled by an Absolute Elective Monarchy, …

    • polarbear says:

      I’ve been wondering, too. Perhaps the WH crew forgot to tell us they fervently believe in Milton Friedman? It’s one way of making sense of the appointments and policies. I so hope not, though. I’m so mad today.

  5. jm51 says:

    Emptywheel: If the mandate that you describe becomes law, are you going to pay the “tithe”?

    My view is that this mandatory payment will not be paid by millions of folks and thus will make them all lawbreakers. When that many folks are “breaking the law” it will not be enforceable.

    I agree this is a seminal change in the relationship between the populace and the “market”; one that is being forced upon the citizenry. At some point the people will realize that the value provided by “the village’ is far outweighed by the cost. Money flows to Washington and is divided up among the denizins of the village and their accomplices in the military/industrial/oil/insurance complex.

  6. earlofhuntingdon says:

    Or a kind of Neo-Fascism is metastasizing:

    [The] liberty of a democracy is not safe if the people tolerate the growth of private power to a point where it becomes stronger than their democratic state itself. That, in its essence, is fascism — ownership of government by an individual, by a group, or by any other controlling private power.

    Franklin Delano Roosevelt

    Fascist movements…can only gain political power with the help of that [ruling] class and with funding from big business. And, once in power, fascists serve the interests of their benefactors (not necessarily the interests of capitalism in general, but the interests of those specific capitalists who put them in power):

    “The historic function of fascism is to smash the working class, destroy its organizations, and stifle political liberties when the capitalists find themselves unable to govern and dominate with the help of democratic machinery.”

    Leon Trotsky

    Another sample of descriptions from here:

    “Fascism is not defined by the number of its victims, but by the way it kills them.” – Jean-Paul Sartre

    Such as by callously letting them die uninsured or devoid of health care owing to an unregulated market in which corporations are free to choose between their profits and your health.

    “Fascism is capitalism plus murder.” – Upton Sinclair

    If not murder, then large numbers of deaths that flow from political will made flaccid by corporate might.

    “We enter parliament in order to supply ourselves, in the arsenal of democracy, with its own weapons. If democracy is so stupid as to give us free tickets and salaries for this bear’s work, that is its affair. We do not come as friends, nor even as neutrals. We come as enemies. As the wolf bursts into the flock, so we come.” – Paul Joseph Goebbels

    “I have often thought that if a rational Fascist dictatorship were to exist, then it would choose the American system.” – Noam Chomsky

    • Ralph says:

      Your quote from FDR is entirely apposite. I’ll repeat it here:

      “[The] liberty of a democracy is not safe if the people tolerate the growth of private power to a point where it becomes stronger than their democratic state itself.”

      That’s exactly what I’ve been arguing: a few large companies can now almost effortlessly band together and assemble an opposition machine that is more powerful than any president and/or congressional majority. The significance of this realization is staggering. It means that the U.S. has essentially lost its sovereignty, its status as an independent, self-governing country. We now apparently live under the power of what Marcy is calling “neo-feudalist” corporate entities. And at this point it appears there is absolutely nothing we can do about it.

      Of course, if a group of powerful business interests had wanted to make this happen, they would have encouraged the election of politicians who would intentionally reduce government revenues by means of massive tax cuts and absurdly lax financial regulations, disrupt government functioning, encourage massive corruption to make the functioning of government even more difficult, and generally try to gum up the works as much as possible. Keep that up for thirty to forty years and presto! Private companies and banks are suddenly significantly more powerful than the government.

      • earlofhuntingdon says:

        How logical, then, that it was during FDR’s administration that a group of American capitalists approached Marine Major General Smedley Butler to ask him to cooperate in executing a coup. The double Medal of Honor winner declined to offer his help, and wrote a book about it. He was not rewarded by a thankful government for either act, but derided as a fantasist.

  7. earlofhuntingdon says:

    Senators, have lost their reason: But Holy Joe is an honorable man, Rahm Emanuel is an honorable man, Barack Obama is an honorable man; so are they all, all honorable men.
    (h/t WS/JC)

  8. kisfiu says:

    It is a bit unfair to say the bill should not pass and then as your first reason opposing the bill give an example of a family that would presumably benefit under the bill!! Nate Silver has a great post on this. Sure your hypothetical family will pay too much under the Senate bill – but under the status quo they pay even more! Or if they dont have health insurance and have a ‘catastrophic health care event’ then they go completely bankrupt and/or die. So Im guessing from this family’s perspective they would happily trade the status quo for the Senate health care bill.

    Anyways, I agree with the rest of your post. But I still think the bill is much better than nothing.

    • emptywheel says:

      Your argument is that some bankruptcies are worse than others.

      Are you sure? And if so, is bankruptcy after paying a 10% tithe designed to prevent it worse than bankruptcy that lets you keep your money until bankruptcy?

      • earlofhuntingdon says:

        A tithe to pay for health insurance issued by an unregulated monopolist is worse than not having insurance. You have gone through the pain, sacrifice and angst to pay the premiums. But since the insurer is unregulated and a monopolist, you get no security in exchange. You don’t know whether the insurance will pay off, how much, or how quickly. And you will have nothing left to pay the the shortfall, since it all went to premiums.

        As you say, this is a recipe for fiefdom by fiat. The insurer swears a nominal, breakable oath of loyalty to his overlord. Meanwhile, in the provinces, the insurer deals with the public serfs however the hell it pleases.

        What’s the risk, that a cow will be catapulted over the parapet? Or that the king’s sheriff will visit during the harvest and demand more grain or else the king will tell Congress to pass progressive legislation? That consequence, a de facto trigger that will never be pulled, is as likely as Joe Lieberman voting to switch funds from aiding Israel to subsidizing premiums.

          • earlofhuntingdon says:

            Apples and oranges. Only one of those is important – to Joe. Like many of his painted peers, all he really cares about his ego and his pocketbook.

            I think the analogy I suggested yesterday holds: Barack Obama is Dorian Gray. Joe Lieberman is his portrait in the attic. Rahm Emanuel carries the canvas and paint box, and hides the results, the better to control Dorian’s fate.

          • Gitcheegumee says:

            I posted this excerpt yesterday on another thread:

            Lieberman supports national health care, in other countries
            December 14, 2009

            Phoenix Acting Examiner

            Tony Vicich

            Now onto the problem with Joe Lieberman. Lieberman is one of the US Senates strongest voices for Israel, and Israel has for all intents and purposes a socialized national health care system. Joe Lieberman was, and is one of the Senates strongest proponents on the Iraq War and our occupation of that country. In their 2005 constitution, which we wrote, health care is guaranteed!

            Two countries with socialized medicine. Two countries that without US support would not exist. Two countries that Joe Lieberman supports. You can only come to one conclusion. Lieberman cares more about the citizens of Iraq and Israel than he does you and me

            Linky to follow.

          • earlofhuntingdon says:

            You mean that middle class youth will now be held hostage, as the poor are already hostage to military recruiters, who hold out one of the few jobs available? “I know your student loan was yanked, but look here: We will pay for college if you just sign ryetchere.”

      • earlofhuntingdon says:

        As for relying on Nate Silver’s analysis [Why Progressives Are Batshit Crazy to Oppose the Senate Bill], I suggest this is better: Why Progressives Would Be “Batshit Crazy” To Listen to Nate Silver on Health Reform:

        Silver’s heart may be in the right place, and his math is right, but many of his assumptions are flat-out wrong. More importantly, he fails to place his work in the proper human and political context….

        Progressives would be insane to do as Silver suggests….

        Darcy Burner is absolutely right when she writes “affordable coverage for everyone: FAIL.” Silver is absolutely wrong when he says that “we can debate whether $9,000 is ‘affordable’ for a family of four earning $54,000” – we can? Really? – or when he says the individual mandate penalty is “not very harsh.” I’m astonished that anyone grounded in the real world could believe that these numbers (and those for higher middle-class earners) are not “harsh,” unaffordable, and even potentially devastating for middle-class people trying to get by in this economy. That’s craziness of the flying-rodent-feces variety.

      • kisfiu says:

        You have a good point, but presumably health care also does other things. In fact I think it can easily be argued that cheap preventative care (which is what all the basic plans should cover) can do a lot and is one of the most important aspects (of health reform as it stands). How much does it cost to see the doctor now if you dont have insurance? (Obviously it -one visit- costs less than 10% of one’s income if one is making a lower middle class wage.) But is it affordable in the sense of ‘I dont have insurance or much spare money but I have this (small) problem that could turn into a major one if not treated’? I think this happens all the time.

        The main point for me is that for most people health insurance will be cheaper under the senate bill than under the status quo. And by most people I mean all the people who matter for the debate: those who have trouble affording it.

        Throw in the fact that there will be more government oversight / less crapiness from insurance companies I think we have a good bill.

        Finally, exactly which senators will vote against this bill? Im guessing not the progressives. Obviously the republicans. Maybe Joe and a few other blue dogs. This is telling for me. Of course opposition from brain dead republicans isnt enough to signify the bill is good. But if all of the registered democrat senators support it (plus Sanders minus a few blue dogs) I dont think its gonna be a bad bill. (Though feel free to correct me here.)

        Those are my criteria for a bill I can be happy about: insurance that is more affordable for normal people + support of progressive senators.

        • kisfiu says:

          If its not obvious I should add that in a perfect world we wouldnt be having this discussion because there would be a robust public option.

          • ubetchaiam says:

            Even in an imperfect world there should be single payer. As towards affordability, even using the understated (by a sizeable amount) 15.4 M people as the number of unemployed, where do those people get the money to pay such ‘premiums’? And such won’t go into effect until years from now.

            BTW, do you realize you have to get fingerprinted and have a background check to get food stamps?(at least here in CA) Imagine what hoops one will have to go thru to get the supposed ‘premium subsidy’?

            It’s a bullshit bill and the sooner you realize that the better off you’ll be.

            • solerso says:

              or at least the “better off” the rest of us will be. if these folks like and can afford private insurance by all means they should buy it, dont harm the rest of us though, please.

        • solerso says:

          where did you get the notion that there will be “less crappiness” from insurance companies???? really!?? they are throwing currnetly insured peopl of thier rolls right now to force them to buy the coming new crappy. these are people who have PAID UP FRONT. and the only “more government oversight” appears to be the IRS overseeing your mandatory payments to private industries. where do you get this shit??

          • earlofhuntingdon says:

            I agree. The idea that this bill enhances applicable regulations or effective oversight is a fantasy. The details that would make it so have not yet been worked out. The work is unfinished, but the trend is poor.

            The sausage-making isn’t over: the meat’s been ground, but it hasn’t been shoved into the casing or twisted round to make portions yet. That’s when we’ll know what we’re being asked to swallow. The trend suggests that the corporate spices yet to be added will be very hot, making the resulting sausage hard to swallow and likely to burn both going and coming.

          • kisfiu says:

            First the fact that parts of the bill do not go into effect immediately is not a good reason to kill the bill and thus stall any reform.

            Second: how will insurance companies be less ‘crappy’? OK so I wasnt very eloquent or specific. How about 1) They cannot reject applicants because of pre-existing conditions. 2) They cannot kick people off the plan because they feel like it.

            Unless you’re an insurance company you shouldnt have a problem with that. As your post suggests, insurance companies are crappy!!! So why ruin an attempt to rein them in, even if only a little??!

            Do people really think that if this bill fails that something better will just pop up and Ben Nelson and Joe will just say: oh you want single payer? well, we’ve always wanted to give you single payer!

  9. earlofhuntingdon says:

    This bill as presently drafted is far worse than nothing.

    It is not simply a loss for progressives, itself an insufficient reason to oppose it. It is a declaration that the health insurance industry’s interests trump all those in conflict with them. Having vanquished its opponents and those Congresscritters who supported them, their power will grow unchecked. This bill would amount to a corporatist victory over the legislative process itself, not simply over health care reform.

    And no family would “gladly pay” this tithe for a poorly constructed, excuse-laden insurance product that may or may not pay when promised. A choice between death or misery by government-mandated poverty versus death or misery by remaining uninsured is no choice at all.

    • kisfiu says:

      I guess your position is that a family of four making 50-60 thousand per year is better off without health insurance. Even if that health insurance is subject to some minor regulations (as is the case in the senate bill) protecting consumers. I found this hard to believe. But if that is your position we can agree to disagree.

      • fatster says:

        A family of four making 50 – 60 thousand per year is better off with health CARE. Screw the insurance companies (they’ve done it to us for many decades now, so perhaps it’s time for a little turnabout).

  10. plunger says:

    Joe Lieberman (I – Isreal/Insurance)

    Who framed this debate around insurance rather than care? Americans don’t need insurance – they need care.

    The entire conversation is built upon a false assumption, that we all require insurance. Insurance never healed anyone, only care does that. The entire insurance layer needs to be abolished. That will never happen. Welcome to fascism. Call it what it is.

    • klynn says:

      You are spot on. This should be about health care, not health insurance. That is quite simple to make anyone understand.

      This IS suppose to be about care.

      • selise says:

        This should be about health care, not health insurance. That is quite simple to make anyone understand.

        This IS suppose to be about care.

        klynn, if you haven’t already read it, i highly highly recommend this paper to you (and anyone else who may be interested): The Logic of the Health Care Debate.

        i haven’t been a big fan of lakoff (but then i haven’t read enough to fairly judge), but this paper i think is very important and it is all about your comment and more. there is an extended bit (about 3-4 paragraphs) i’d like to quote, but out of respect for marcy’s thread (don’t want to hijack it) i’ll wait until there are new threads and the majority of the conversation has moved on.

        • selise says:

          here’s a bit from The Logic of the Health Care Debate, oct 2007 (my bolds):

          In neoliberal thought there is the belief that markets can be effectively regulated to serve those interests, which leads to recommendations for technocratic changes to existing markets as one means to achieve progressive ends. Under the domestic version of neoliberal economics, many progressive moral goals can be achieved through private enterprise as an efficient means to moral ends. Though conservatism sees the market itself as defining moral ends, neoliberalism shares with conservatism the idea that the market can be efficient and serve moral ends. This is why neoliberal thought has no problem with health care solutions that involve profit-maximizing private insurance companies.

          The neoliberal emphasis on “systems” often causes a loss of focus upon the progressive morality that lies beneath their political and policy solutions. Specific references to progressive values disappear from their messages. So do references to the government functions of protection and empowerment. Neoliberals may begin with the morality of empathy and responsibility for oneself and others, but their faith and focus soon shifts to the abstract, to complicated systems and intricate public/private solutions. Empathy, the moral force that holds together our democracy and the engine of community, is reduced to sentimentality and shunted aside.

          Neoliberal thinking can lead to a dangerous trap. We call it the Surrender-in-Advance Trap. With an exaggerated emphasis on system-based solutions, neoliberal thought may lead one to surrender in advance the moral view that drives an initiative in the first place. Those who pragmatically focus on appeasing what they assume will be unavoidable political opposition to their proposals also run the risk of moral surrender. For instance, assuming strong, possibly insurmountable, conservative resistance to government-based health care solutions, they will embrace profit-maximizing insurance solutions because they believe that 1) political opposition can be muted; and 2) the “free” market, properly regulated, can serve moral purposes, such as providing health care for all Americans. Proponents of these neoliberal solutions often overlook the fact that the very source of the health care crisis is the structure of insurance: the less care they authorize the more profit they make, and profits come first and are maximized.

          But people using a neoliberal mode of thought do not view a market-driven, profit-maximizing approach as a surrender of any kind. They deeply believe that progressive moral principles can be served through neoliberal methods and forms of argument. We want to stress, however, that the consequence is dire whatever the motivation. The failure to articulate a clear progressive morality in favor of more technocratic solutions to profit-maximizing markets puts the progressive cause at a disadvantage on health care and other policy issues as well. It doesn’t matter whether one is simply trying to avoid conservative and insurance company opposition or whether one truly believes in one’s heart that the market will cure us. The progressive moral basis for providing health care for all—empathy and responsibility, protection and empowerment—is not stated. As a result, Americans don’t get to hear the progressive moral basis for extending health care to all Americans, and they don’t get to decide whether they agree with that moral premise. Americans only hear the conservative moral view. That moves them in a conservative direction, not only on this issue, but on all issues.

          There is an additional danger. As a strategy, surrender-in-advance puts advocates in the weak position of starting negotiations by going half way or more toward what the other sides want. No one would think of taking that approach when bargaining in the marketplace.

        • klynn says:

          Thank you for the link. I hope others go look at it. “Care” should never be a value that is boiled down to a “progressive” value.

          What I cannot understand is the lack of moral grounding also regarding the benefit of national security as a result of a Public Option.

          Health care keeps a greater portion of the society healthy. Which means better able to work or even do the work of protecting the nation. Additionally, a national PO would hold health care costs down, keeping the middle class financially “safe” and able to contribute to a stronger economy. Holding costs down would also protect US businesses which would have the potential benefit of more profits for industry/corp growth in sectors outside the financial and health care insurance sectors and result in jobs creation.

          I can only conclude this is all about Joe Lieberman ushering in the demise of our nation.

          • selise says:

            if i understand you, i agree that care is more than a progressive value. but i do think it is that as well.

            and not to confuse matters, but i actually don’t think the po-in-a-multi-payer-system with mandates makes any sense whatsoever as policy (or politics for that matter). imo it is a perfect example of a neoliberal non-solution. but that’s just my opinion and i didn’t meant to side track from the ideas about health care vs insurance care or health insurance.

            • klynn says:

              I agree. And you do understand me correctly, that care should transcend political values. And yes, it is a progressive value as well.

          • Gitcheegumee says:

            Lack of “moral grounding”?

            Big PHarma’s Mission from God……

            How’s this for a “Come to Jesus ” moment as a reason to shill for Pharma?

            Forthwith an excerpt re: Billy Tauzin:

            Posted 12/15/2004 9:04 PM

            Tauzin switches sides from drug industry overseer to lobbyist

            By William M. Welch, USA TODAY

            WASHINGTON — Retiring Rep. Billy Tauzin, R-La., who stepped down earlier this year as chairman of the House committee that regulates the pharmaceutical industry, will become the new president and CEO of the drug industry’s top lobbying group.

            Tauzin will begin work Jan. 3 heading the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America, a powerful trade group that marshaled an army of lobbyists Tauzin, in an interview Wednesday following the group’s announcement, acknowledged that the U.S. drug manufacturers have suffered a “black eye” in public perceptions because of high prices and profits, safety concerns focusing on the recall of big-selling drugs, and other issues.

            “Not only do I agree with that, the industry agrees with that,” he said. “I think the industry finally gets it. They’ve lost the connection with the American public, and they’ve got to rebuild the trust with the American public.”

            Tauzin, 61, was diagnosed with intestinal cancer in March. He attributes his recovery to cancer-fighting drugs and said the experience led him to accept the job with PhRMA, as the group is commonly known, over other offers.

            “I was treated with a miracle drug, just like Lance Armstrong,” he said. “The question is what I wanted to do with the new life God has given me. This is the mission I want to take on.”

              • Gitcheegumee says:

                I was trying to illustrate the hypocrisy of Tauzin’s position that God gave him a new lease on life through Big Pharma…and what he has chosen to do with it.

                The rest of us will have Pharma slumlords and dead peasant policies to look forward to.

                • klynn says:

                  I was trying to illustrate the hypocrisy of Tauzin’s position that God gave him a new lease on life through Big Pharma…and what he has chosen to do with it.

                  I caught that. Regrets if I inferred otherwise.

  11. powwow says:

    A very important post that illustrates a profound truth, emptywheel.

    This is a fundamentally different relationship we’re talking about–one that gives corporations vast new powers. And the fact that–with one temper tantrum from Joe Lieberman–the corporations were able to dictate the terms of this new relationship deeply troubles me.

    Though the precise mechanism is intentionally concealed from public view, I don’t think it can really be disputed anymore that the dictating here was done via the President and the Democratic Party leadership in Congress, with Joe Lieberman simply playing the part of a convenient vessel and excuse to enact the Party/President’s real, corporate-dictated agenda. Or, as phred put it well in another comment, Joe Lieberman is playing the part of the distracting circus clown; it’s the out-of-public-view machinations of the ringleaders we need to focus on, even as the spotlight is highlighting Joe.

    Joe’s role as circus clown seems to serve a useful purpose for the ringleaders in distracting even other Members of Congress, such as Bernie Sanders, who too often seem either willfully blind (in the name of Party loyalty or subservience) or naively oblivious to the ongoing backroom machinations of the Party powerful, aimed at removing the ground from beneath their feet even as they plod on their unsuspecting way toward an unmapped “precipice” of democratic process-thwarting power abuse that has no place in our federal legislature.

    • Leen says:

      This makes sense. But still Liarman and Nelson are going along with the corporate agenda. And Liarman goes way over the top with his spin (lies) No conscience, no real empathy for those without health care.

      How come we seldom see the names of the fat cats on the top of these private insurance company ladders names printed?

      Wondering what Wendell Porter is saying about this latest turn of events?

    • Nell says:

      Thanks for expressing my thoughts exactly, powwow.

      This is the bill Obama’s satisfied with. It complies with all the deals made in advance. Lieberman and the rejectionist front in the Senate are handy props for the ‘helpless White House’ pose.

      @Marcy: This is a very important point about coerced payments to an unaccountable, too-lightly-regulated private financial behemoths. Please keep making the analogy with our situation wrt Blackwater/Xe and Halliburton (Scahill was on Fresh Air today, reinforcing the feudalism angle).

      I’m putting it down to shock that so many commenters here seem just now to be grasping that care was never going to be the framework of this “reform”, only a re-arrangement of insurance provision.

      Josh Marshall is a skillful tool. I’m particularly irritated by posts like the one yesterday where he points out that the public option actually on offer was designed never going to be big enough to provide real competition or price pressure for the insurers, “so if you’re concerned about mandates now you should have been concerned about them then, too.”

      We were, guy, and your giant megaphone was either silent or putting out the ‘long way to go, no telling how it will end up’ line to avoid seriously engaging any of the criticisms. It was obvious to anyone clear-eyed that the final outcome was never going to be better than the House bill, and that sucked in June when it was fresh. It’s of course much, much worse now (and not just because of the Stupak-Hyde restrictions on what private insurance can fund, another corporatist-feudal regression).

      I predicted in September 2008 and again this spring and summer. I’m very sorry to be proved fvcking right so far, but this is all a rigged game (as the Levin charade demonstrates). Fighters who had the remotest sense of how this will play out politically would be taping the ads now about the rejectionists and selling a reconciliation bill that would really do something. But Howard Dean’s on the outside now. (And hasn’t that Tim Kaine been brilliant and helpful? What a political mastermind.)

      Marshall argues (by assertion) that bailing on the cretinous ‘centrists’ holding the bill hostage until it’s a completely poison pill (rather than the 80% poison pill it is now) and going with reconciliation would be a political disaster. It needn’t be; it’s just that the WH is unwilling to hang the Nelsons & Co. out to dry. If the White House and any kind of critical mass among the Dems really wanted a bill that would have appeal to voters, they’d have planned for reconciliation and be on it as soon as something like Lieberman’s 55-64 Medicare reversal exposed the hopelessness of “negotiating” with the rejectionists.

      Those of us urging a no vote on the current Senate bill aren’t choosing nothing in place of some needed crumbs; we’re advocating going with reconciliation so that those who most need the help get some actual slices and the overall fiscal hit is contained. Instead, even genuinely liberal Dems are collapsing around a project, and demanding that we buy in, that is political suicide and crap on policy and substance.

      • selise says:

        We were, guy, and your giant megaphone was either silent or putting out the ‘long way to go, no telling how it will end up’ line to avoid seriously engaging any of the criticisms. It was obvious to anyone clear-eyed that the final outcome was never going to be better than the House bill, and that sucked in June when it was fresh.

        standing on my chair and cheering.

        very well said. thank you.

  12. Leen says:

    “When this passes, it will become clear that Congress is no longer the sovereign of this nation. Rather, the corporations dictating the laws will be.’

    I think this fits the definition of fascism? Is that right?

    Fuck the Mandates.
    How do people making far less than the family you described get on the bus?
    What is the plan for people who have been uninsured for years (know shit loads of them). Who have worked as carpenters, independent electricians, independent real estate brokers, part timen P.E. teachers at private schools (me), waiters, waitresses, active landlords (me, cleaning gutters, fixing pipes, painting, insulating, etc etc) independent painters, small organic farmers, crafts people, writers, artist,etc… making 20,000-35,ooo get on the health care bus with this plan?

    I seriously know piles of people like this. Folks who have not ever gotten a dime from the state, pay their taxes, but have lived without health care for decades decades. There is no way in hell they can afford these percentages, there is no way they can afford 400.00- 600.oo a month that is exactly the reason they have and continue to go without health coverage.

    How do these folks get on the bus? Fuck the mandates. I know people who will go to jail before they will do this.

    I thought one of the big differences during the campaign between Hillary and Obama’s health care plans was mandates. That Obama said “no no no” to mandates. How quickly things have changed.

    Is he so damn concerned about passing this before the holiday break that he will sacrifice everything that he said he stood for?

  13. powwow says:

    And then, of course, there are others, like Carl Levin, too clever by half, who sneak unspoken statements into the record in the midst of the debate yesterday on the Dorgan amendment [as did Senators Roberts and Enzi (against) and Leahy (for), with statements lengthier than Levin’s paragraph], like this:

    Mr. LEVIN. Mr. President, it has become apparent that passage of this Dorgan amendment relative to importation of prescription drugs, an amendment which I have long supported, could threaten passage of broader health care reform. If so, the perfect would become the enemy of the good. For that reason, I will vote “no” on the Dorgan amendment on this bill.

    Bad substance is “good” because a bill containing it will (allegedly) pass, or, in the alternative, “perfect” substance is an “enemy” because a bill containing it will (allegedly) fail, in Levin’s Party-serving, public-damning spin. And let’s make sure we never put those claims to the test, now, Senator Levin, by trying to pass the “perfect” before, if necessary, falling back to the purportedly “good” in the event of actual failure. That would be just too gosh-darn much accountability and hard labor for the decadent backroom dwellers of D.C.

    • bmaz says:

      That is something i have consistently been baffled by – The ease of support and fealty of the bad in order to pass a bill as juxtaposed to the reticence speed of flight from the good. Always willing to accept defeat, never willing to fight for victory. It is craven.

  14. klynn says:

    We’ve seen our Constitution and means of government under attack in the last 8 years. This does so in a different–but every bit as significant way. We don’t mandate tithing corporations in this country–at least not yet. And it troubles me that so many Democrats are rushing to do so, without considering the logical consequences.

    Thank you Marcy. Clear and profound.

    This bill means it is harvest season for the health care investment banker.

    Did you by chance visit that link I posted yesterday irt Goldman Sachs & health care investment banking? It made the point that this branch of investment banking was the most solid and reaped record $$$ which has been keeping the financial sector afloat through the financial crisis.

    I think this is still the health care + financial industry corporations pushing this through. Both industries laugh all the way to their record profits and gains all the while crunching the numbers and figuring the % and cycle of middle class financial ruin and betting on our ruin too while winning through CDS’s. This is the ultimate negative sum game played against the People in our history.

  15. klynn says:

    Marcy,

    I have had people asking me what will happen to their plans which are through their churches? Some denominations have set up non-profit benevolence health care plans through the church. Will mandates affect such plans? These are plans not tied to any of the big insurance providers out there.

    • klynn says:

      Marcy,

      After poking around a bit, it appears this legislation will start a whole new round of ligation regarding religious beliefs and medical care due to mandates in particular.

      However, I may be misunderstanding everything.

  16. perris says:

    It’s one thing to require a citizen to pay taxes–to pay into the commons. It’s another thing to require taxpayers to pay a private corporation

    bingo, that is the ball hit right out of the park

  17. perris says:

    obama seems to think passing any bill at all is the key to earning his second term

    I believe it was rove who said, “defeat obama on health care and we defeat obama”

    that was of course a rediculous claim but obama fell for it and he’s going all in on a bill even liberals can not stand

    when we wanted health care we wanted health care not corporate care

    not the right man for the job, and it was so easy to be that guy because anything looked like up compared to the previous

    • Leen says:

      I hate to admit it I think Rove is right. With the escalation in Afghanistan, little to no accountability for Iraq, torture, billions to Wall Street. And now the changing health care reform maze.

      • ackack says:

        “With the escalation in Afghanistan, little to no accountability for Iraq, torture, billions to Wall Street. And now the changing health care reform maze.”

        But then your assumption is that President Obama DIDN’T WANT any of these issues to develop the way they have. I believe the fundamental argument many of us have been making is that Obama is satisfied with the way things are going. Just look at his recent auto-grading of his performance thus far at ‘B+’.

        Thanks to Marcy for voicing what many of us are thinking, but don’t have the forum or are suffering from outrage fatigue. I thought the fatigue was bad when Bush was in office. Who could have known how wrong that would prove?

        • Leen says:

          I agree with what you have said. But a pied of the equation that I always insert is once someone is elected or selected President once you get in there it seems like a whole lot of inside dynamics that one may have not fully understood from the outside looking in may hit you like a ton of bricks (like what the Press etc hears that we don’t hear about National Security issues etc etc)

          So in my naive peasant sort of way I actually believe that Obama believes in single payer (o,k, I am obviously not as bright as all of you) That he has met with forces that he can not just smash or toss aside. But according to many folks here he has been in support of this type of bill that has been spit out in the last few days all along… without single payer without a public option, without a medicare buy in. That this was the plan all the time.

          I just don’t buy it. But hey I believe in the potential of Peace on EArth and that we were all made in the “image and likeness of god” too.

          What I did get is how we could make it from a public option/medicare buy in to single payer or something like single payer eventually.

          But now how can you get from an “Insurance Protection and Profit Enhancement Act” to anything else?

          One thing for sure that I remember Obama saying is “no mandates” NO MANDATES

          Where is Bill Clinton hanging out lately? He sure does not seem to have much to say about all of this whirling health care reform

          • Gitcheegumee says:

            A good start is the destruction of corporate personhood AND enforcement of RICO AND the return of Glass Steagal..

            You see,Leen,I believe in dreams,too…..

            • solerso says:

              well, i think i see one thing clearly now dreams or no. I have bought into this whole political branding thing as much as anyone else. but thats complete fraud. red team and blue team, its like coke or pepsi, cowboys or redskins, yankees or red sox, its theater and more than that, it keep us divided and impotent. there are real issues but the whole context of the arguments themselves in the way they are served up prevents us from really deciding them in the way it should be in a democracy. what it the difference between harry reid and john mcain? does it matter which one is senate majority leader? apparently not.

      • perris says:

        he didn’t have to be right

        all obama had to do was get a real health care bill for a vote, if the repukes and the blue dogs killed the bill he would still be good to go and could blame the repukes

        now evertyone blames him and only him

  18. wavpeac says:

    When is Obama going to get it and act like he believes in something bigger than himself? Nelson is continuing to “hold out”. That means there is a very real possibility that he will not support this bill no matter what? hello?? Doesn’t that say something very important. Neither Nelson or Liarman wanted a bill of any kind…there only “job” was to block reform. And they accomplished it.

    Why not reconciliation…give the people what they want no matter how long it takes. I really think, even the lengthy process, the fight would HELP dems, not hurt them. Way too many Americans are in the boat of having lost a job in a dual earner home, or are fearing the loss of a job. This is too close to home that a family would end up paying for terrible insurance, plus bills and losing everything in the process. To top it off, when this bill does not provide relief but suffering, the republicans would have a chance to win. The ads are pretty scary and convincing…full of lies, but some folks can be swayed especially if they perceive Obama ad to be the “cause”.

    What happens if the republicans get the majority sometime in the near future, with this bill on the books. We are MORE than screwed.

    We have to fight for the principles…principles before personalities!!

  19. bmaz says:

    The American public is so wrapped up in their chat rooms they may never pay attention to Stupak and Nelson mandating chattel wombs.

  20. orionATL says:

    ew,

    a fine essay; very nicely said.

    the president’s and the senate democrats’ health care “reform” legislation has exposed for all to see just how ineffective and conniving these public leaders can be.

    our nation needs universal health care; 12 months of discussion, negotiation, and debate have occurred.

    the result?

    we still don’t have universal health care.

    we are not going to get universal health care.

    the principle “health” interests which the president’s and the senate’s legislation ended up serving

    are healthy corporate profits.

    and the press, including those the white house buys off – e.g., josh marshall (white house press pass), write to inform us that the emperor’s cloths are stunning.

  21. Sara says:

    I agree with EW in part as to the state of play we will be in should this pass in the next week — but for reasons I will outline, I will not be all that disturbed if this passes and Obama signs it. I simply don’t think it is the last word on Health Care, and I would never expect the US Congress to reform something this big and this intrenched in one big gulp. I also believe the advocates for reform were not well organized on this, show many instances of not understanding the bidding process in legislative efforts, and thus were at a disadvantage.

    But I favor passage because it is a significant bite into the apple, and the next bite can perhaps be better organized and targeted.

    My model (because I was deeply involved in it) is the legislative effort to win full Civil Rights Legislation. It took a number of bills, and ten years to get most of it done, and I will roughly outline this below:

    1957 – First Civil Rights Bill in nearly 75 years. We started out with a comprehensive draft — employment, public accomodations, voting rights, housing, and much else, and it also included creation of a Civil Rights Commission designed to report to Congress, and created the Civil Rights Division in DoJ to enforce.

    What we got was the Civil Rights Commission, the DoJ office with few powers to enforce anything, and state jury trials for any and all violations of a citizen’s right to vote. (Oh those Southern Juries were so hot to find state officials guilty of voting rights violations!!)

    In 57 the advocacy organizations were weak and they were not at all networked. Senators found it easy to promise one group something, and turn around and promise the opposite to another. No one had really run for office with Civil Rights as a significant issue, except the Southerners who were against the whole thing. What we really got was simple, we broke a Southern Filibuster, and passed a very weak bill.

    So in 1959-60 we came back again. Eisenhower had appointed Father Hesburgh of Notre Dame to head the Civil Rights Commission — he did massive hearings, came back with recommendations on the specifics, and in the end we got a few more reforms. DoJ’s Civil Rights Division got a few more powers, (and more money for investigators), we got those voting rights jury trials put under Federal Court Jurisdiction, and we got Public Housing and Military Housing integrated. (in theory). We got Interstate transportation integrated, a seemingly minor matter that was exploited a year later by the Freedom Riders. And the Civil Rights Commission got more Jurisdiction and quite a good deal more resources. In 59-60 the advocacy groups were somewhat better organized, and they had learned how to both lobby and put the issue into election campaigns. Didn’t hurt that the Students who eventually became SNCC first organized as final passage of the bill was underway, and sitting in at Lunch Counters was a fairly common occupation. (The bill didn’t really cover Lunch Counters or Public Accomodations.)

    So between 60 and mid 1963 while Civil Rights Bills were proposed, and there was lots of talk about the need for legislation, no one really mounted a campaign for it immediately, because everyone recognized the need to build a movement that could not be denied. And that we did — from the Freedom Rides and the local lunch counter sit-in’s, we built the kind of leadership teams and mass movements that could not be that easily compromised. We were in every congressional district — we had both Republican and Democratic leadership — we lined up the institutions behind both the movement and eventual legislation. And then in 1964 when we thought we had the votes we needed, we put forward a comprehensive bill, birddogged every congresscritter daily, had a disciplined and organized leadership team for lobby work, had a huge citizen’s lobby that met with every member in their district whenever they were home — and yea, we had to break a 67 vote filibuster in 1964, but we got our comprehensive bill. The only thing we did not include was voting rights, but then once we had employment, public accomodations, public services, affirmative Action, and much else out of the way — in 1965 we did Voting Rights as an independent piece of Legislation, after one more round of movement demonstrations at Selma.

    In 1967 we did the last piece, Fair Housing in non-publicly owned housing.

    I think Health Care Reform will be much like this — it will take several rounds of legislative effort, and if people want “real” reform they are going to have to become much better advocates. I think it will become somewhat easier the next go-round because the current Senate bill does repair some major flaws in the current system, and thus they will be more or less off the table. The next round, should advocates get themselves much better organized, can perhaps be much more focused.

    • bmaz says:

      Healthcare is NOT the moral or legal imperative to the citizenry of the United States the civil rights movement was. There is no Constitutional theory mandating provision of healthcare as there was civil rights. There is, similarly, no moral argument either (in spite of the fact there may well should be). Equating these two issues is a fallacy. With the craptastic bill being put up, the odds are very good that the next “bite of the [healthcare] apple” will be serious attempts to repeal and roll back even this. That is because it is framed and constructed so poorly, and slanted so much in favor of the corporate and political powers that be, that the greater public is going to be disaffected and disgusted with it.

      The bill as we currently understand it is a springboard for Democrats into an empty pool of concrete. Head first. And they will deserve the impact they have coming, especially the disingenuous Obama and Reid.

      • Sara says:

        Well, when it came down to it, Civil Rights was not really all that much a moral issue. On the street it was of course, in the slogans it was, but in the end it was about ripping out of Federal and State Laws everything that made legitimate various forms of segregation and discrimination, and in many cases replacing that language and provisions with a tilt toward the goal, but each one incorporated many compromises.

        To do Affirmative Action, for instance, an advocate needed a true grounding in labor law, (federal and state), you needed to know the case law, the entire library of social and economic studies that had been done over the years — but in the end it came down to what George Meany would accept. Labor controlled about 135 votes in the House, and they didn’t really listen to the more progressive Walter Reuther, because they knew the real labor boss was Meany. So you had to structure around what he wanted because we needed the votes he controlled.

        I agree that this Health Care effort is totally slanted toward preserving the profit base of all the corporate players that are involved. No question, that is what is happening. Do you think it will make Insurance Companies really Popular? Are people going to fall in love with Aetna? Hell no. And this is where you begin to assemble a movement that can get more in the near future. You have a narrower target.

        • bmaz says:

          It may not have been a moral issue to lawmakers, but, as you acknowledge, it became one in the street. That, over time, gave space to lawmakers and that played a role in the eventual victory. I do not see anything more than a nascent argument for healthcare being a moral right, and it certainly is nowhere near taking hold in the populous. As to assembling a “movement that can get more in the near future”, what I see leads me to believe it is assembling an even more entrenched and powerful health carrier industry, even more politically interdependent with their bought and paid for Congressmen and executive politicians; all of which are more likely to lead to the destruction of the Democratic party power advantages and popularity and repeal and removal by Republicans and allies of the few gains we are getting. I do not tsee the ground you do for positive progression and fine tuning.

          • GulfCoastPirate says:

            I agree with what you write except for one thing, hasn’t the Democratic Party essentially self destructed with the likes of Rahm and Obama in control? No one forced them to feed at the corporate trough. They did it willingly after having planned exactly how to do it.

            • georgewalton says:

              …hasn’t the Democratic Party essentially self destructed with the likes of Rahm and Obama in control? No one forced them to feed at the corporate trough. They did it willingly after having planned exactly how to do it

              Exactly!!! Just connect the dots that comprise America’s ruling class.

              Time magazine names Bernanke person of the year. Bernancke is a member of the Bilderberg Group. So is: paul gigot henry kissinger henry kravis hank paulson richard perle condolezza rice mark sanford paul wolfowitz alan greenspan douglas feith dan quayle donald rumsfeld im eithner larry summers bill clinton hillary clinton bill kristol etc etc etc

              And the following corporations attend Bilderberg events:

              chase manhattan bank goldman sachs aig washington post company xerox ford motor exxon mobil shell bp fox news corporation merck archer daniels midland monsanto ibm etc etc etc

              David Rockefeller at a Bilderberg conclave:

              “We are grateful to the Washington Post, The New York Times, Time Magazine and other great publications whose directors have attended our meetings and respected their promises of discretion for almost forty years. It would have been impossible for us to develop our plan for the world if we had been subjected to the lights of publicity during those years. But, the world is now more sophisticated and prepared to march towards a world government. The supranational sovereignty of an intellectual elite and world bankers is surely preferable to the national auto-determination practiced in past centuries.”

              george:

              We can only chip away at this enormous aggregation of wealth and power by trying to elect Democrats less like them.

              Sadly, everything else is a pipe dream.

        • Nell says:

          It’s the same target as now, and will be just as fiercely protected by the same phalanx of WH-leadership-“centrists”-rejectionist right. Anything that actually focuses on that target is going nowhere until after the 2010 elections (when the dealmakers get their $). Good luck next summer and fall, selling your strategy on behalf of Dem. members of Congress and Senators against the right’s “ham-handed government mandates by elitist liberals” assault. Particularly in combination with the Dems’ being in bed with the banksters.

      • selise says:

        mostly agree (leaving aside issues of the moral arguments and human rights about which i disagree).

        as a practical matter, imo a good intermediate step has to pass at least 2 tests (i’m making the assumption that the goal is comprehensive universal healthcare):

        1) help more people than they hurt. do no harm would be better.
        2) widely seen as a good thing once implemented and so build public support for further steps.

        i’m not so sure about #1 (haven’t seen a bill, but it doesn’t look good). and #2 looks like a big FAIL (which would make #1 a FAIL at some point too).

        objecting to this intermediate step is not the same thing as being against intermediate steps in general.

    • ChePasa says:

      Your’s is a really, really important comment on the issue of how to get something Big through Congress. You have to write the Bill. They won’t write it for you. And then you push and you push and you push relentlessly for the provisions in that Bill. You don’t compromise on principle, though you might compromise on mechanics or detail. And you organize and rally public support and advocacy — which might include demonstrations and strikes and so on. And you keep it up. Relentlessly.

      And on something Big like this, you have to be able to chop it into pieces that can be passed one by one.

      Progressives have not done that. They’re still all over the map wrt what sort of Health Care Reform they want or is acceptable; their congressional caucus is badly fractured and disunited; they don’t have successful lobbyists who can write the necessary Bills and conduct the necessary advocacy; they do not have a coherent message in the mainstream or alternative media (still arguing about what’s “best!”), and they’ve failed in their efforts to tag on various amendments to the Bills that the other interests have been relentless in pushing.

      Those interests will — more than likely — get the bill they want because they’ve done the work and played the game effectively.

      • Gitcheegumee says:

        From what I have read,in many cases, its the lobbyists themselves who write many of the bills.

        Or at the very least, provide the desired verbiage to be inserted into the bill.

    • profreedom says:

      The problem is that this “byte” of the apple forces Americans to pay money to a private company whether they think the so-called insurance is worth the price. I would rather go to jail.

  22. brendanx says:

    I prefer “neo-feudal” to “fascist”, if only for the reason that the latter echoes the malicious crap from the mouths and placards of teabaggers I had the pleasure of encountering this summer. That said, it’s depressing and disturbing some wingers’ questioning of the legitimacy — and legality — of mandates is pretty valid.

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      It is a dilemma, finding that the phraseology slung by the right applies, but to others and for fact-based reasons, not propaganda.

      Feudalism and fascism are overused and bastardized by propaganda. They cease to be useful to a history-challenged public without a supplied context. That’s why I supplied the quotes, which describe some of what we face today.

      Feudalism, in theory, required reciprocal obligations, almost exclusively at the top, and only so long they could be enforced. Fascism, as I used it, applied to a governmental system of private wealth joined to public power, to the brutal detriment of the public that government was meant to serve.

      • brendanx says:

        Not a dilemma; an easy choice, one that doesn’t even require resuscitating dusty terms like tithe and even droit de seigneur (what’s the equivalent here of the corvee?). “Feudal” is the right term for am America, the Southernification of whose political culture is near complete (emptywheel earlier illuminated the particular role of plantation-overseer Southern Senators in her auto industry posts).

      • Gitcheegumee says:

        Private wealth joined to public power,like…

        FDL News Desk » Goldman Sachs’ Disclosures Reveal Massive Exposure …Nov 16, 2009 … The report last week written by Goldman Sachs analysts for the health insurance industry, discussing the different reform bills and …
        news.firedoglake.com/…/goldman-sachs-disclosures-reveal-massive-exposure-in-the-health-care-market/ – Cached

      • earlofhuntingdon says:

        Feudalism and Fascism are both apt. Neither concerned itself with with the needs or well-being of 90% of the population. Serfs were chattel, the labor that in a non-cash economy produced the castles, clothes, cudgels and culinary delights for the castle-dwellers. They were as bound to the lord as the soil they worked. To Fascists, the hoi poloi were to be harnessed and manipulated, to provide fodder for the mills, the factories and the cannons. They were to be marched to the tune of private wealth joined to public power.

        American representative democracy aspired to something else: a government that utilized public resources to enhance the common welfare as well as the common defense. A government staffed – by election or by appointment – by the elites, but elites whose lawful powers were circumscribed and limited. What we have now – in health insurance and banking industry – is a Senate that has discarded limits on the selfishness with which it succors themselves and their corporate patrons, and makes the public pay for it.

        • bobschacht says:

          Feudalism and Fascism are both apt.

          To me, they are very different. Under feudalism, there was no middle class to speak of, and society was primarily agricultural. Business and commerce were negligible. Relations are personal, rather than institutional.

          Under Fascism, business and commerce become enmeshed with government. Business is big, and controls the economy. Faceless institutional businesses are in control, and personalities matter little, except for rulers at the top like Hitler and Mussolini.

          I go with Naomi Wolf’s End of America. She writes about fascism for good reason.

          Bob in AZ

          • earlofhuntingdon says:

            Both apt, but both analogies applied in different ways. As EW argued, increasing corporate control of Congress – something they have long influenced, but now dominate – is increasingly making us serf-like in our choices, though even work is now being withheld as it is easier to send offshore.

            I used the comparison with Fascism for precisely the points you make about private corporate dominance over public power and lawmaking. A tailor-made example is Obama using the coercive power of the criminal law to force us to buy fraudulent products from poorly regulated insuresters.

            I think that’s a better comparison. It’s a comparison fraught with problems because of the neocons’ intentional abuse of language generally, and specifically because of such intellectual vomit as the book “Liberal Fascism”. That propaganda is succeeding, in that accurately describing some of today’s trends and government measures as Fascistic no longer evokes outrage or action.

      • AitchD says:

        The US House of Representatives displays fasces on the walls behind the Speaker’s chair, one of them next to the flag. I think they’re intended to represent something about strength in numbers.

        • earlofhuntingdon says:

          The bunched sticks imagery of Fasces, like other symbols, can be twisted any number of ways. Their display in the Capitol Building may convey the same literal sense as their use by a former Italian dictator. They originally had different connotations.

  23. Gitcheegumee says:

    Lieberman supports national health care, in other countries‎ – 1 day ago
    Two countries with socialized medicine. Two countries that without US support would not exist. Two countries that Joe Lieberman supports. …Examiner.com – 3 related articles »

  24. Gitcheegumee says:

    @56

    “I know your student loan was yanked, but look here: We will pay for college if you just sign ryetchere….

    And in the fine print, there is a provision that Goldman Sachs is the beneficiary of dead peasant policy factored into the student loan.

  25. klynn says:

    And I invite a look at this from September to back my concerns at 64.

    It is a noted item in Eliot Cohen’s opinion piece for the WSJ in the last paragraph which perks my interest on the possible relationship between Joe’s stand on healthcare and US Israeli/Iran policy:

    It is, therefore, in the American interest to break with past policy and actively seek the overthrow of the Islamic Republic. Not by invasion, which this administration would not contemplate and could not execute, but through every instrument of U.S. power, soft more than hard. And if, as is most likely, President Obama presides over the emergence of a nuclear Iran, he had best prepare for storms that will make the squawks of protest against his health-care plans look like the merest showers on a sunny day.

    So this is all about AIPAC power?

    And another round of Iran sanctions goes through today?

  26. fuckno says:

    I want from my Senator the same level of Health Security he gets from us. This is the only clearly comprehensible line in the sand.

    Fuck their sausage, sign us up onto yours and call it a day!

  27. Gitcheegumee says:

    National Security
    Pentagon Study Proposes Overhaul of Defense Base Act to Cover Care for Injured Contractors
    by T. Christian Miller, ProPublica – September 15, 2009 6:52 pm EST

    WASHINGTON, D.C. – Congress could save as much as $250 million a year through a sweeping overhaul of the controversial U.S. system to care for civilian contractors injured in war zones, according to a new Pentagon study.

    In the most extensive review ever of the taxpayer-financed system, the Pentagon suggested that the government could issue its own insurance to cover the skyrocketing costs of medical care and disability pay for injured civilians.

    Currently, the U.S. pays more than $400 million annually to AIG and a handful of other carriers to purchase special workers’ compensation insurance policies required for overseas civilian contractors by a law known as the Defense Base Act, the study found.

    By cutting out insurance company profits as high as 35 percent, the government could self-insure the contractors for less money, according to a copy of the study obtained by ProPublica [1].

    Excerpt,ProPublica

    With the burgeoning number of civilian contractors, the costs of health care to this segment has not received much play,but it is enormous-and expanding daily.

    The entire article is worth a read. The insurers mentioned ACE and AIG have a common link-the Greenberg family.

    Hank was head of AIG,and his son,is currently head of ACE.

    Truly a superior piece,imho,especially the links to earlier pieces on this subject.

  28. solerso says:

    yes in america the fed gov preforms the role the church did in medieval europe, providing “moral” and legal universality and legal framework and brutal enforcement of course .

  29. KarenM says:

    droit de seigneur

    Nice touch, Marcy… connecting that dot, too!

    It’s bad enough for men and children; for women, this bill is a complete and utter disaster!

  30. fuckno says:

    This bill needs to be killed for a most important reason. Having given the Obama administration exactly what they were aiming for, they will become inebriated and emboldened to proceede with the implementation of ‘NeoFeudalism”. This thing must die.

    [Edited by Moderator: No more advocacy of violence will be tolerated on this site.]

    • solerso says:

      for now i’ll be content if the bill is killed. watching shaheen (scumbag NH) as much as i could take, talking about “not throwing the baby out with the bathwater” and all that shit. this bill HAS to be bumped off, or at leat the mandate. get the mandate out will effectively kill the bill as it stands.

      • fuckno says:

        yes I know, but it’s hard to ralley around something that noone knows exactly what it is other than that it is not good for the public.

        By pointing out that the people deserve to have at minimum what the Senators have or better, is a direct call out of their level of integrity cutting across both parties! It’s an inequity that all can rally around!

        • solerso says:

          oh i agree. i dont write well so maybe i confused you, i am working to see this bill die, or at least to have the mandate removed. we can see now from everything the coporate servants in the senate are saying now that the mandate is what they want like crack fiends want crack. its the whole of reform to them, it always was, and its where they were going from the beggining, starting with the white house. it has to be defeated. too much is at stake.

  31. knowbuddhau says:

    Excellent synthesis, I love it.

    In the hearts and minds of the corporatists, society is either god’s own (as Christian Imperialists believe) or no one’s own (say the Scientific Imperialists) fully-automatic justice-dispensing cash machine. Getting rich is the goal and the criterion: if you’re rich, we say, “you must be doing something right.”

    Trading away 20% of our labor for bogus promises of protection from our self-appointed overlords–yep, sure sounds like feudalism to me.

    Feudalism–
    term that emerged in the 17th century and has been used to describe European economic, legal, political, and social relationships that existed in the Middle Ages. Derived from the Latin word feudum (fief) but unknown to people of the Middle Ages, the term feudalism has been used most broadly to refer to medieval society as a whole and most narrowly to describe relations between lords and vassals. It also has been applied, often inappropriately, to non-Western societies where institutions similar to those of medieval Europe are thought to have existed. The many ways feudalism has been used have drained it of specific meaning, however, and caused some scholars to reject it as a useful concept for understanding medieval society.

    Feudalism in its broadest sense has been understood as the entire interwoven fabric of medieval society. As described by Karl Marx and subsequent Marxist scholars, it is the stage in history that preceded capitalism and, as such, involved the entire social and economic structure of medieval Europe. Also known as manorialism or seignorialism, feudalism in this sense is a mode of agricultural production based on the relation between lords and the peasants who worked their own land and that of the lord. The peasants owed labour service to the lords, who provided military protection and also had extensive police, judicial, and other rights over the peasants. In this view, feudalism came to encompass all aspects of social organization and was characterized as a system that was both oppressive and hierarchical.

    According to a narrower and more technical definition that is, nonetheless, more widely used, feudalism involves the exchange of allegiance for a grant of land (fief) between two people, usually men, of noble status. Although its roots have been traced to practices that existed in the Roman Empire and during the age of Charlemagne (742–814), feudalism thus defined may be said to have emerged in the 11th century. At that time, public authority broke down, traditional institutions were unable to maintain order, and private castles were built. During this so-called feudal anarchy, private relationships were established among the nobility in which weaker nobles attached themselves to stronger ones. To forge an alliance or settle a dispute, a fief was granted to the lesser noble in exchange for a vow of homage and service, often military. Feudalism was therefore a means to restore social order or at least limit the excesses that resulted from the collapse of public authority.

    [Source: “Feudalism.” Encyclopedia Britannica, Standard Edition. Chicago: 2008.]

    “And other rights”–namely, droite de seigneur, as you point out. Now why wouldn’t ‘the Eeb’ mention that bit of relevant history?

    • knowbuddhau says:

      Speaking of medieval ideas returning with a vengeance, Scott Horton mentions the Holder DoJ’s resemblance to the twelfth-century principle of “arcan imperii:”

      Although the underlying litigation in California is a civil suit, multiple criminal investigations are now looking into the working of the extraordinary renditions system. Ask Robert Seldon Lady, the CIA station chief in Milan, who was convicted of kidnapping and assault by an Italian court and sentenced to 8 years in prison for his role in an extraordinary renditions operation. It may seem ironic, but the Italian judge followed the recommendations made by U.S. Justice Department prosecutors at the end of World War II as to an appropriate punishment. Or ask the 22 other American civil servants (diplomats, military, CIA agents) also tried and convicted in the Milan court. Incidentally, the defense in that case offered up the same arguments Mr. Letter is making now, and the Italian court knew exactly how to deal with them. Claims of state secrecy could not, it concluded, be used to cover-up a particularly heinous and grave crime like “disappearing,” especially when it was combined with well-documented torture of the victim. That is the way a court in a modern democracy deals with “state secrecy” claims when serious criminality is involved. What the Justice Department demands of the Ninth Circuit is instead the jurisprudence of the twelfth century: it seeks to revive the doctrine of arcana imperii, or “mysteries of the state,” under which the emperor could stop any court proceeding in its tracks by saying that state secrets were involved.

      • Gitcheegumee says:

        Is this cosmic convergence,or what?

        First ,we had the MediEVIL Inquistionary practice of waterboarding making a return appearance, we’ve got Prince(?) and Blackwater on a “Crusade” in the nether regions of the world, we got the Pope dictating (or trying to) legislation for the US Congress on reproductive rights…but NO Noblesse Oblige to be found!

        Oh, mon bon Docteur Guillot, ou est vous?

        • earlofhuntingdon says:

          Skating on the thin edge of a blade there. Dr. Guillotin is long dead. Mercifully, the last official use of his invention in France was in 1977.

          • Gitcheegumee says:

            heh,heh, heh, milord.

            That was a rhetorical remark..

            I remember learning he died long ago,although I am NOT old enough to remember having met Doctor Guillot in person. *G*

  32. Bluetoe2 says:

    As said earlier, Americans will make ideal serfs, ignorant of the world around them, suspicious of education, superstitious, fearful of the unknown, the need to feel “protected” and the ability to tolerate suffering and deprivation as the natural order.

    • solerso says:

      oh and according to polls ive seen “80%” believe in “god” another piece of the feudalism pie. when someone else owns your body in this world, you have to belive you’ll be allowed to escape in some other world.

  33. ubetchaiam says:

    And then we have Nate Silver giving kudos to the bill. “Why Progressives Are Batshit Crazy to Oppose the Senate Bill”

    He ought to stick to polling. He gives a ‘caution’ that his analysis reflects before the public option (which one Nate?) was removed from the bill but then chastises Darcy Burner for using a family of 4 making $54,000 a year as an example of a ‘low income’ family.

    Given that both median and mean averages for a family of four is $54,000, how can such be considered ‘low income’? AND such numbers are ‘estimates’ by those who count such things.

  34. globalcitizen says:

    Sounds like some people will no longer need to become ill to go bankrupt or lose their houses. All they need to do is obey the law. A lot of people are close to the line on their mortgage payments and may well be skipping health insurance as a means of keeping the house. Now they will feel like they are criminals every time they opt to keep the roof over their head. They may end up with a health care policy delivered to the cardboard box they are living in.

  35. mhswanson says:

    It’s time to tell these aristocrats in the Senate that they are not the “State” and that if they don’t pass comprehensive low cost, cost-containing health care reform, we’ll shove their snuffboxes up their collective asses!

    Time to ask the President and his staff why they are groveling to the insurance companies? Time to ask Harry Reid why he won’t ditch the filibuster for the sake of majority rules. Republicans will never dare touch Social Security and Medicare because these programs are too popular so there is no reason to follow some hypothetical fear of the future by maintaining the myth of the filibuster.

    Time to target Lieberman, Nelson, Lincoln, Landrieu, Collins and Snowe for political destruction. All progressives must pour their resources against the next one up for re-election. The Republicans have committed suicide. Pale Sarah and Hucklebee will never be elected to the Presidency.

    Time for the grassroots to rise!

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      It would if his conclusions were not so removed from reality. A pre- or post-tax cost of $9000 for the legally mandatory purchase of insurance for a family living on $54,000 before tax is a whopping expense, not matter how you cut it. That’s not reasonably debatable, so I must assume Mr. Silver makes rather more and that he already has employer-paid coverage.

    • ubetchaiam says:

      Somewhere on the FDL ship I rebutted Silver re these questions of his (and did so effectively AFAIK since I used his numbers):
      18. Was the public option ever an attainable near-term political goal? Yes.
      14. How certain is it that a plan passed through reconciliation would in fact receive 51 votes (when some Democrats would might have objections to the use of the process)? Very certain,again using the numbers from a previous post of his.
      13. What is the likely extent of political fallout that might result from an attempt to use the reconciliation process? –worked for the Repubs when passing tax cuts for the wealthy under Bush with Cheney casting the deciding vote; didn’t seem to hurt them.
      10. Where is the evidence that the public option is particularly important to base voters and/or swing voters (rather than activists), as compared with other aspects of health care reform? ; if you beleive in polls, then it’s right in front of you Nate.

      Enuf of this crap; he’s sucking up to ObamaRahma’s perspective and it’s wrong.

      • solerso says:

        silver is one of those people who continue to see the re-election of obama and a (smaller) majority oif dems in 2010 as sacrosanct. they dont seem to get it through their skulls that we here NEVER considered either of those things the most important consideration during the whole shoving of this bill down our throats process. half of nates arguments are based on some – “oh the republicans would be really mad if we do that” kind of logic that seems not only insignifigant in a big picture way, but perverse to the point of showing up their french-monarchy-in-1789 level of arrogance combined with a matching, complete misreading of the political and social temperature. THIS BILL SUCKS SO BAD, that if it does pass, they will do even more damage to thier precious careers (to start with) than if they had used thier so precious “political capital” to buy a good bill. fools fools fools. i almost hope that the bill does pass and they get to climb the scaffold with peasants cheering and throwing dung at them. the looks of staggered astonishment alone would be worth it(as, im sure, they were then). But i dont wish that and i dont want the bill cut down, not to save them from anything thats for sure.

          • Sufilizard says:

            Oh I think this bill passing will make them happier. Either way they get a landslide victory in 2010, but if the bill passes, their landslide will be bigger.

          • solerso says:

            i dont honestly, truly, care what makes republicans happy. republicans will be happy if a killer virus dosent wipe out 3/4 of the planet, and so will i. the fact that republicans dont want the bill dosent mean it should be passed. i dont care WHY they dont want it, its just a bad, harmful bill and it shouldnt be passed. also, you demonstrate my point very well.

  36. orionATL says:

    sara @53

    thanks for a fine synopsis of federal civil rights legislation aborning.

    that decade-long process might be an appropriate model for what could happen with health care.

    but i wonder what would have been the outcome for the current health legislation if the president had decided not to make a deal with the drug companies but rather to lead a public discussion of the need – on economic and moral grounds – for a more complete system of health insurance coverage.

    the civil rights legislation also had to wait for martin luther king’s troops to soften southern will to resist, by making explicit on television, what southern “equality” (aka segregation) was really all about, and what a police state the south had become in the thrall of this peculiar version of equality.

    health insurance reform does not have a similar monolithic cultural obstacle facing it.

    i agree that the pro reform forces seem not to have marshaled sufficient political power to do the necessary intimidation of congressmen (e.g., didn’t “…birddogged every congresscritter daily, had a disciplined and organized leadership team for lobby work, had a huge citizen’s lobby that met with every member in their district whenever they were home…”).

    i am interested in the concept of “the legislative bidding process” you mention. i can guess at it’s meaning, but i had not heard that term before.

    my bottom line on the health insurance reform effort though is:

    why was the president not an active rhetorical leader when he was needed to lead

    and

    why wasn’t there a great deal more of sensible populist rhetoric in the public discourse (including advertising) about insurance reform from proponents of that reform.

    • Sara says:

      “i agree that the pro reform forces seem not to have marshaled sufficient political power to do the necessary intimidation of congressmen (e.g., didn’t “…birddogged every congresscritter daily, had a disciplined and organized leadership team for lobby work, had a huge citizen’s lobby that met with every member in their district whenever they were home…”).

      i am interested in the concept of “the legislative bidding process” you mention. i can guess at it’s meaning, but i had not heard that term before.

      my bottom line on the health insurance reform effort though is:

      why was the president not an active rhetorical leader when he was needed to lead

      and

      why wasn’t there a great deal more of sensible populist rhetoric in the public discourse (including advertising) about insurance reform from proponents of that reform.”

      I suspect Obama was very very deeply involved with this at all stages.

      Look — as of Election Day in 2008, the players were all identified. Whatever a President does has to involve mastering the state of play among the designated players. It doesn’t matter what kind of speeches he makes to his supporters really — the players are the congresscritters, and the presidential political skill is how you arrange the chairs on a ship you hope will not sink or tip over as the players dance.

      Mistakes I think (?) Obama may have made…not handing off his lists last spring to an advocacy group that might have upstaged the teabaggers last summer with a more staid and rational massive public demo in numbers. In the future there needs to be a much more clear public message with clear public leaders pushing that message. That’s not Obama’s role really — but he certainly should have made sure someone could execute it.

      During Civil Rights — we used a broad range of existing institutions for this. Leadership Conference on Civil Rights had about 225 Institutional Members, everything from AFL-CIO to YMCA/YWCA and religious denominations, AAUP, AAUW, NAACP and CORE obviously, League of Women Voters, — about 225 such national institutions. To participate in 1964, organizations had to agree to a set of overall principles, goals, and then promise not to lobby against the interests of any other group in the Leadership Conference, and share on a daily basis, any intelligence they got regarding the intentions of any member of Congress with whom they had contact. (No backroom deals in which Leadership Conference participated without the knowledge of the whole membership.) No member of congress wanted 225 institutions to start talking about how that member screwed them on a committee vote.

      On Health Care I have not seen anything similar. There are tons of organizations that took positions — but no agreed upon common leadership brought them together to act in a unified manner. Perhaps most important, no one went to the trouble to really organize a “consumer’s Lobby.” We have tons of stories of medical horror stories, but they are just individual horrors, not turned from the horrors into agreement on specific reforms that are on demand. I would have loved to have seen a national organization of working class folk who had gone bankrupt over medical bills that had a leader who knew how to make noise, but also coordinate with others. What we got instead was one brave soul trying to stand up at a Tea Party Rally, with no support, no back-up. No — you show up with a hundred folk in wheel chairs who have gone bankrupt, and you don’t take no for an answer.

      Legislative bidding — it is a fascinating way of conceptualizing what really takes place in congress. Another way of saying, I’ll scratch your back if you’ll scratch mine. You find out what kind of water project some critical member wants, and then you figure a way for someone to perhaps move that if the guy who wants the water project agrees on this or that amendment. Another way of putting it is, “make it worth my while.” That is how the place really works, idealism and moral arguments won’t change it, so you have to learn how to make it work for your ends.

      • TalkingStick says:

        I agree with most you say. In particular how fragmented and politically inept the liberal/progressives are. However I am heartened that there are any left at all; after 30 years and more of Corporate and Religious fundamentalist assaults. And the almost coup de’ grace’ by the Clinton era , Rham Emanual in the past 15 yr give or take. We have been belittled, demoinzed and yet we do endure, disorganized as we are.

        You mention the Civil Rights movement. I was in the south during that time and there were a lot of beatings and too many killings before the nation’s attention was attracted. You recall that Martin King pointed out in his funeral oration for Jim Reeb that it took killing a white preacher to get the attention of the powerful liberal elites.

        A number of us expected Obama to do the hard work for us. We have learned a lot through this health insurance legislation fiasco. It’s going to take all of us and all we can recruit.

        You have good suggestions for how to go forward. I hope there are enough of us to take your advice.

      • Nell says:

        Health Care for America Now could have been that organizations, except that it was apparently mostly a CAP/CAF vehicle for leading the single-payer-favoring lib and progressive sheep to the shearing: promising that a public option would be a route to single payer and thereby shutting down a strong sp lobbying effort that could have made the half-loaf the end result rather than the starting point for compromise.

        The whole AFL-CIO was in HCAN, as were USAction and MoveOn. But it was a pre-capitulated coalition that was unwilling to call out the WH deals. The leadership failure is in the White House, where the deals made with the insurers and with PhRMA paralyzed the organizations that could and should have been the drivers of grassroots energy.

        • Sara says:

          “Health Care for America Now could have been that organizations, except that it was apparently mostly a CAP/CAF vehicle for leading the single-payer-favoring lib and progressive sheep to the shearing: promising that a public option would be a route to single payer and thereby shutting down a strong sp lobbying effort that could have made the half-loaf the end result rather than the starting point for compromise.

          The whole AFL-CIO was in HCAN, as were USAction and MoveOn. But it was a pre-capitulated coalition that was unwilling to call out the WH deals. The leadership failure is in the White House, where the deals made with the insurers and with PhRMA paralyzed the organizations that could and should have been the drivers of grassroots energy.”

          You know, when you put together an Umbrella Organization, you never base it on what might be called, “Specific Cures” for the problems you intend to address. You work with principles simply because that allows you to be more inclusive. On Health Care the principles of maximum coverage of citizens at reasonable costs ought to have headed the list — if you see that as single payer, fine — but you can see it other ways too. The point is to draw under your advocacy Umbrella as many groups as possible, and then use some degree of internal discipline to keep them there for the duration of the effort.

          What really surprises me is that Obama was not apparently thinking like a community organizer in approaching Health Care Reform. This is just basic stuff that anyone who has studied reform movements that have to convert broad general agreement on principles into legislative specifics ought to know and plan to execute.

          And you really can’t have semi-hidden agendas in this sort of thing. No one should enter this arena with a position, for instance, that the point of it all is to give credit to Obama…or never criticize his WH. That is actually irrelevant to the reformist’s goal of coverage at reasonable cost. No problem with making it clear you support him, like him, mean him no harm — but you have to understand him as a player with power, and see him as no more or less than that. The fault is with not having understood that at the early stages, and worked it out.

          • Nell says:

            What really surprises me is that Obama was not apparently thinking like a community organizer in approaching Health Care Reform.

            Then you’re in for a lot of surprises. He’s not a community organizer, he’s a politician.

            And the push for health insurance reform (which is all most of the people and organizations involved ever understood it to be) isn’t remotely analogous to the civil rights movement in any respect.

            HCAN’s agenda wasn’t hidden, it was right out in the open. They were explicitly formed, in mid-2008, to ensure that the eventual bill contained a public option. The organizations involved, several of which had publicly supported single-payer in the past, also explicitly accepted that the coming reform would be insurer-based and insurer-blessed, and argued that getting a public option would make that acceptable because it would be a path to full single-payer in the future. They urged people and organizations who’d been active on single-payer in the past to join their campaign, not to continue to push for sp.

            The centrality of CAP/CAF to the coalition, and the behavior of previous incarnations of the coaltion, made it inevitable that they would go no further than the White House was willing to go. The leaders knew about the White House deals with the insurers and PhRMA. I suspected early on that some of the players would be willing to cave on their major explicit goal of a public option, their real goal being to buy off sp advocacy. Others may have sincerely believed that they could win the p.o. (it’s still theoretically possible in the conference committee), but it was always pretty unlikely it would be one large enough to provide either a check on private insurers or a path to single payers.

            There was very little hidden about this, it’s just that very few of the commentators would talk about it, being either part of the project themselves, or equally unwilling to hold the WH accountable.

            These kinds of coalitions have electoral goals; they are not about the actual substance of the reform. That’s what makes their willingness to accept the current debacle so unforgiveable: the actual effects of this “reform” are not just substantively crappy, they’re political poison. All the benefits, such as they are, are in the future. There’s literally nothing to inspire gratitude or confidence in 2010 voters. The Republicans can paint the coming changes as terrifying and coercive, and Dems will have nothing with which to respond.

  37. stevepatriquin says:

    The constitution does not allow the federal government to mandate to the people that they have to buy anything.THESE POWERS ARE NOT GIVEN TO THE GOVT.THIS BILL HAS BEEN DEAD IN THE WATER FROM THE BEGINNING.IT IS A SLIPPERY SLOPE.WHAT ELSE ARE THEY GONNA TELL US WE HAVE TO BUY.

  38. gamd521 says:

    Maybe if there was a greater focus placed on actions to resolve the present mess we are in then we might improve our present lot.

    There is a troubling undertone of endless hashing and rehashing of how the government is progressively worse at every turn. Yes we all agree that to be the case, let’s not beat a dead horse into oblivion.

    Let’s instead also make an attempt at finding solutions through means other than petitioning the government. We just all agreed that the government at the highest level is irretrievably broken. It’s time to abandon government as an option.

    We must take other collective measures, much like strikers who are getting nowhere with management. We should look at options like collective refusal to pay premiums among those that are able to do so, or to transfer funds out of large firms into smalller banks, or to act on intiatives to recall elected officials.

    We need to change our focus from two pointless exercises. One, endless rehashing of the faulty laws the government produces, and two, the unwillingness to abandon government and turn to public collective action as the way to proceed.

    No one denies the value of being kept abreast of what we are faced with from the government. But we must realize that all good things are not derived from efforts to influence government. We should look at collective public measures we can take which bypass government, as the course over which we have direct control and should take.

    It is this public collective effort that has not been adequately explored

    • TalkingStick says:

      It is this public collective effort that has not been adequately explored

      I agree more activism that cannot be ignored is called for in the coming years.

      However I do think if this legislation passes in the form it is now I believe as each of the egregious unfair burdens are exposed there will be changes. I seriously, and hopefully, doubt it will ever be implemented to any extent.

      The simple fact that the Insurance/Pharma corporations and the Elites in Washington fail to recognize is that it is the people who are out of money. The parasitic blood suckers are close to having killed their only source of vitality.

      • gamd521 says:

        let me clarify the reasons I believe a different strategy is needed.

        The government as it functions now is incapable of acting in the common good. No more proof of that is needed. This is not really due to particularly unprincipled people being in congress, as a whole they are probably no better or worse than the rest of society.

        The reason is the manner in which it functions. It relies on monied interests and those interests always prevail. Therefore changing the cast of characters in congress is not going to matter.

        I believe we should abandom a reliance on Congress or the White House as vehicles of governance. We should basically take matters into our own hands through collective action.

        Actions such as refusal to pay premiums if carried out for one month alone would send the insurance system into a halt, and so would even the threat of such action. Defunding major banks would have the same effect. These types of strategies need to be considered and the will must be found among the public to use its power.

        What is holding these type of actions back is the fundamentally meek nature of the American people. They are for the most part a tamed and and self satisfied population simply afraid to act.

        Given that lack of spirit no amount of placing the facts of their abuse before them will lead to change. It is as if you gave a lesson on Advanced Cardiac Life Support to a clas that was heavily sedated. They just can not muster up the strength to budge.

        • TalkingStick says:

          What is holding these type of actions back is the fundamentally meek nature of the American people. They are for the most part a tamed and and self satisfied population simply afraid to act.

          Given that lack of spirit no amount of placing the facts of their abuse before them will lead to change. It is as if you gave a lesson on Advanced Cardiac Life Support to a clas that was heavily sedated. They just can not muster up the strength to budg

          True.

          I also think there is lots of helplessness being sold out there, particularly in regard to economics. How does one empower the people? Or perhaps I should say put them in touch with the power they hold. History certainly tells us that not even the most autocratic czar or king can prevail once the people become sufficiently aroused.

          • Gitcheegumee says:

            Gentlemen and ladies:

            WHY has there been such an emphasis on erasing history and civics in the last quarter century?

            WHY is there such a fear and propagandization in the last 30 years against unions?

            Because the powers that be live in fear of the moment the 100th monkey awakens ,when the populace comprehends that WE are the government,and wrests and asserts the power that rightfully endows us with this sacred inheritance.

  39. sporkovat says:

    welcome, (D) captured Progressives, to the Desert of the Real.

    your faithful steed, the Donkey Party, has dropped you off here, and it is long past time to look for some new transportation.

    too bad it had to kick you for 18 years or so until you realized it was not Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s People’s Donkey anymore.

    Consider, first of all, this fact. The bill, if it became law, would legally require a portion of Americans to pay more than 20% of the fruits of their labor to a private corporation in exchange for 70% of their health care costs.

    so now mandates are a problem, eh?

    Obamacare primarily will force people to tithe to the health insurance cartel – the mandate – with or without the paltry figleaf of a ‘public option’ that the cartel will dump all of their unprofitable, sickest patients towards.

    privatize profits, socialize losses, just like the massive bi-partisan bailout of wall street.

    better late than never, I suppose.

  40. Gitcheegumee says:

    Blackstone, Goldman Sachs, Credit Suisse and ING Launch Independent Insurance Group

    Posted by Alex Finkelstein 07/07/09

    (NEW YORK, NY) — Already among the behemoths of the real estate capital industry, The Blackstone Group, Goldman Sachs, ING and Credit Suisse are branching out into a new field – insurance.

    The companies today jointly announced the formation of Insphere Insurance Solutions, Philip J. Hildebrand, a nationally known health industry executive, is CEO of the new group.

    Philip J. Hildebrand
    Hildebrand says… There are over 30 million middle-income households who are faced with significant financial challenges, including rising unemployment, growing concerns about healthcare inflation, loss of insurance benefits at their workplace, and uncertainty around future of Medicare and Social Security.

    Hildebrand says a study by the Life Insurance and Market Research Association (LIMRA) found 44% of the middle market considered themselves under-insured on life insurance. Insuring this group would add $9.5 trillion in insurance and $17 billion in premiums, according to the report.

    We are currently in discussions with a number of leading life, health, long-term care and retirement carriers about our capabilities in reaching small business and the middle market,” says Hildebrand

    NOTE: Can you smell “viaticals”?

    • Gitcheegumee says:

      Blackstone, Goldman Sachs, Credit Suisse and ING Launch …Jul 7, 2009 … The company expects to begin marketing ING insurance policies on a pilot … A report by the national association of America’s Health Insurance Plans found … advisory and executive positions in the insurance industry. …
      http://www.realestatechannel.com › US Markets › Commercial Real Estate – Cached

      • Gitcheegumee says:

        Goldman’s Bet Against Health Reform:

        (Excerpt)

        The fine folks at Goldman — those wonderful people who through their greed and carelessness nearly destroyed the US economy and then kept their jobs and outsized bonuses thanks to the largesse of the US taxpayer —

        The “best” (Goldman memo)scenario for the Street is the one where no reform at all is passed and insurance stocks rise by 59% over the next 10 years. If stock prices for insurers rise by nearly 6% per year for ten years, you can be sure that will be directly correlated to a similar increase in premiums for you and me. That is if you are lucky enough to have insurance and no pre existing conditions.

        • Gitcheegumee says:

          Goldman’s Bet Against Healthcare Reform | Benzinga.comDec 2, 2009 … here’s some iron clad proof that Wall Street wants reform to fail. The largest investment bank in the world, Goldman Sachs, recently published a private report to stockholders. … 4) The “bear” scenario: a health care reform bill similar to the …. Bernanke Wants Your Social Security Money …
          http://www.benzinga.com/…/goldman-s-bet-against-healthcare-reform – Cached

  41. Mason says:

    I don’t believe that I’m being an alarmist when I say our government and the corporations it serves is systematically destroying our way of life, including killing many of us by denying us jobs and health care to establish a neo-feudal empire. I prefer death to living in the hell into which our government daily plots to entomb us.

    We don’t have a functioning democracy anymore so I think electoral tactics are a waste of time. I’ll try non-violent revolution, but I doubt it will work because of all the tactics the military and the police have worked out to control and disperse crowds. Minneapolis and Copenhagen have proven that. By overwhelming the police with numbers, we might succeed, but we’d need at least one million people in the streets completely shutting down a large metropolitan city.

    The only other alternative is violent and bloody revolution.

  42. georgewalton says:

    I have now consolidated my offical reaction to health care “reform” from other FDL posts. Here is how I now see it:

    Papa Obama has a talk with his daughter Malia about health care.
    Malia:

    Daddy, I’ve been reading about health care on the web. How do we get ours?

    Papa:

    Well, Honey, the government taxes the people. And because Daddy works for the government we get our health care paid for by them.

    Malia:

    Does it work for everyone like that?

    Papa:

    Well, uh, we’re working on it.

    Malia:

    And I read in school how, in America, over eight million kids like me don’t even have health care insurance. How come?

    Papa:

    Oh, that’s because of the evil Republicans and Howard Dean, Honey. Remember when we invited Mr. Lieberman for dinner the other night and he explained all about them? But we are going to change that…

    Malia:

    When?

    Papa:

    Well, someday for sure.

    And please note:

    Here are now 11 Senators who have received over one million dollars from the insurance industry:

    McCain, John (R-AZ) $2,919,753
    Obama, Barack (D) $2,492,352
    Dodd, Chris (D-CT) $2,292,096
    Clinton, Hillary (D-NY) $1,894,715
    Kerry, John (D-MA) $1,396,617
    Santorum, Rick (R-PA) $1,267,850
    Nelson, Ben (D-NE) $1,258,299
    Baucus, Max (D-MT) $1,191,163
    Schumer, Charles E (D-NY) $1,130,500
    Specter, Arlen (D-PA) $1,066,755
    Lieberman, Joe (I-CT) $1,037,652

    Please note for the record:

    Only two of them are currently Republicans. Or three if you count Lieberman

    Finally, remember this?

    “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. That to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed. That whenever any form of government becomes destructive to these ends, it is the right of the people to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their safety and happiness”

    george:

    Well, that has now been changed to:

    “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all wealthy, white, anglo-saxon and mostly Protestant men are created equal, that they are endowed by the Fed with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty, the pursuit of happiness and exclusive access to the bankers on Wall Street. That to secure these rights, governments are instituted among said men, deriving their, uh, just powers from the consent of the Bilderberg Group. That whenever any other form of government [like democracy] becomes destructive to these ends, it is the right of said men to alter or to abolish it, and to institute a new crony capitalist government, laying its foundation on such principles as the accummulation of wealth and power and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their own exclusive understanding of what constitutes justice and happiness for…them.”

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      Yea, they do. In the digital age, the ability to cross-reference your interfaces with the government gives it lots of ways to make life awkward or impossible for those not complying with the mandate to buy private insurance. That’s why any mandate must be coupled with better regulations, a regulatory framework more likely to impose and oversee their compliance, and an alternative to purchasing insurance from monopolists.

    • bmaz says:

      What is with the capital letters; especially on a subject you are incorrect on? I don’t like this bill either, but your repeated capitalized comment is uninformed and misleading.

    • Gitcheegumee says:

      alan, don’t THEY constitute MANY of the policy holders of dead peasant policies used by corporations as tax write offs?

      Unbeknownest most of the time to the peasant himself-even after they have left that employer who is the policy’s beneficiary?

  43. PopeRatzo says:

    This bill has to be stopped. Wouldn’t it be ironic if the one who stopped it was my sad-sack senator Roland Burris?

    He probably owes B-Plus Barack too many favors to actually have enough decency to vote no on cloture, though.

  44. slobilly says:

    Time for the grassroots to rise!

    Yup. THis is about healthcare, NOT insurance….We need an orchestrated movement to STOP paying into it….A month, or forever….
    BUT just stop…and bank yer dough…and pay the doc when you need to.
    You are going to be denied care in a devestating situation, so fuck em-bank yer dough….simple…

  45. alan1tx says:

    Let’s go back to the good old days of wanting Health Care Reform, rather than Health Insurance Reform. This seems to be turning out badly.

  46. stevepatriquin says:

    we should have the same system the businesses have.i should be able to buy my insurance over state lines.In Florida MY CHOICES ARE LIMITED.I should be able to buy any plan I want.In any state I choose.It should be my insurance plan so that i never lose it unless I choose to.Let me shop around for the best deal I choose for my self.The only thing in this country we can not buy over state lines is health ins.I can buy life ins.I CAN BUY A FRICKIN GUN OVER STATE LINES IF I CHOOSE.who stops me? The govt.I DO NOT DEMONIZE THE INSURANCE COMPANIES CUZ MILLIONS OF PEOPLE WORK FOR THEM.I BLAME THE GOVT. FOR TAKING AWAY MY CHOICES.1200 PLUS INS.COMPANIES AND MY CHIUCE IS LIMITED TOO FIVE OF THEM.THAT IS THE REASON THEY CAN MANIPULATE THE SYSTEM.

  47. wavpeac says:

    what if they just got rid of the mandate…?? It would be a lack luster bill and costs would continue to soar…but that wasn’t going to change anyway. I could deal with this bill IF it did not have a mandate.

  48. brendanx says:

    kos just now on this subject:

    Republicans have gotten much mileage by railing against the insurance mandate, and it’s a key point of contention with the teabagging Right. But the dirty little secret is that Republican senators really don’t want it to go away — it is, after all, an epic giveaway to the health insurance industry.

    So Republicans are salivating at this win-win opportunity — keep their corporate lobbyist friends happy, while also having a potent campaign issue with which to beat the crap out of Democrats

  49. stevepatriquin says:

    The two things in the constitution re. commerce are the stats must share their products at fair market value.The other gives the fed. govt the power to make sure this happens.

  50. henrythefifth says:

    Is that $66,150 Adjusted Gross Income? Because if it is, then it’s the wrong # to be using in my view. Net income, the money you actually bring home, is the only # that counts in my book.

    Someone grosing $66,000 is probably netting much less.

    So, if it’s AGI you’re using, the net numbers only make this situation look worse (people are actuall paying a higher percentage of their money toward healthcare).

    If anyone could clear that up, would be great.

  51. cregan says:

    EW, you are right. This has become the worst mess I have ever seen. A total, confusing mess. It is just so by the seat of the pants and ad hoc. They DO need a fresh start, a clean slate. Begin with the major points, then align the rest with that. Bring the public on board. No more behind the scenes writing. Really, do as Obama said; put it all on C-Span. The business of coming up with something as a done deal and then running it up the flag post is crazy. Especially here at the end.

    A good bill can be done. It doesn’t have to be a bill that ends up pleasing no one.

  52. georgewalton says:

    All I can do is keep connecting the pertinent dots:

    Ben Bernancke is a member of the Bilderberg Group. So are the folowing:

    paul gigot henry kissinger henry kravis hank paulson richard perle condolezza rice mark sanford paul wolfowitz alan greenspan douglas feith dan quayle donald rumsfeld im eithner larry summers bill clinton hillary clinton bill kristol etc etc etc

    Corporations that attend Bilderberg events:

    chase manhattan bank goldman sachs aig washington post company xerox ford motor exxon mobil shell bp fox news corporation merck archer daniels midland monsanto ibm etc etc etc

    David Rockefeller at a Bilderberg event:

    “We are grateful to the Washington Post, The New York Times, Time Magazine and other great publications whose directors have attended our meetings and respected their promises of discretion for almost forty years. It would have been impossible for us to develop our plan for the world if we had been subjected to the lights of publicity during those years. But, the world is now more sophisticated and prepared to march towards a world government. The supranational sovereignty of an intellectual elite and world bankers is surely preferable to the national auto-determination practiced in past centuries.”

    george:

    So, did any of that come up in the Time article?

  53. arimdan says:

    If all we do is blog our displeasure, do you all seriously think that the powers-that -be will listen ? The teabaggers are out there in the streets visibly protesting,while we sit shaking out fists at our computers.The timid Dems. will never have the back-bone to get anything done.All the Republicans,including Lieberman,has to do is say “Boo”,and the Dems piss their pants,bend over and grab their ankles.Wake-up people.We need a health care march on Washington now.

  54. arion says:

    Has anyone ever articulated any rational reason for not having universal medicare? Even the proponents of the status quo can only come up ‘protecting the insurance industry’, as if that horse and buggy boondoggle were somehow useful. Does keeping it somehow protect ‘American values’? The ‘American Way of Life’? Save me. I am going insane. Kill the bill. I like ‘neofeudalism’.

  55. stevepatriquin says:

    comments are not wrong.The constitution does not give the fed.govt.the power to make you buy anything.I am also talking about the original document.Have you read it lately.It is only 4 pages long.

  56. chitowner says:

    Good analysis of the practical effect, thanks. But I’m pissed on principle. With a public option I could view the coverage mandate as a social contract, where I know I’m getting covered through a reasonable pool at actual benefit cost + very low administration exp. With a private insurance provider the same assumptions aren’t possible. Anyway, the idea of government forcing me to pay a private corporation for health care insurance or else pay the IRS a fine makes me mad. It feels fascist to me, especially since polling shows a majority of people favor public option, but less than a majority favor reform at all if it’s left out. The pols’ refusal to include it, but force a private insurance mandate anyway is galling.

  57. skippydoodle says:

    Well stated and a very accurate portrayal of the financial impact on “regular” families.

    Please note that this shouldn’t be about getting health insurance for everyone. I have learned the hard way that health insurance is so artfully crafted as to leave you hanging when you get sick. And the type of coverage you have is chosen by your employer who logically chooses the cheapest plans.

    Also, you have mentioned a “serious health event” as though it was something that hits once, catastrophically then goes away, perhaps leaving massive bills in its wake.

    For many people, like me “the event” lasts years or a lifetime, especially as we age. And if we don’t get good health care even small problems become chronic and often disabling. It is often not just dealing with a heart attack or something that comes, gets treated and with good nutrition and exercises is put on ice.

    I am one of “those” people who have suffered under our current system. I have always had “good, comprehensive health insurance,” but the years of increased co-pays, deductibles and “exemptions from coverage” have crippled us. Also, because our only options were the health insurance I had from my job and then from my husband’s employer we had our plans change on us annually. With each change there were new exemptions, interruptions in treatment and more denials. It is not only a constant financial devastation, but a demoralizing one as well.

    I used to be a successful professional who paid tens of thousands in taxes a year and annually paid enough to top out the Social Security cap at the top of my career. But due to several medical problems, the increase in out of pocket expenses and the inability to get the care I need I have had to sell my house, I filed for bankruptcy, lost everything I have and I am now disabled and qualify for Medicaid (with an $860 monthly co-pay — if I had that much money for anything I would no longer qualify so I can’t even get treatment now that I am right at the poverty level).

    My point is that getting everyone insured isn’t the answer. Private insurance sucks. I know. In the past 10 years I have had BCBS of Missouri, Highpoint HCBS, United Healthcare (3 times), Aetna and CIGNA. With each change, the deductibles and co-pays got higher and the exemptions were more numerous and our resources and ability to pay was diminished. Now, my husband recently lost his job and we have nothing.

    I am not writing my sob story to get sympathy, rather to point out the vicious downward spiral right into poverty that happens when anyone gets sick in our country EVEN if they have insurance. Insurance is great for those annual visits or even if you have a sudden catastrophic common “health event” like a heart attack, but if you aren’t lucky enough to remain healthy or have a common health emergency you are left to die.

    I am just one person, but there are thousands like me who would rather be working and paying taxes than sitting at home waiting to die — and worse, there are children suffering and dying. I urge everyone who reads this to DO SOMETHING. Joe Lieberman and Ben Nelson’s phone lines should be ringing of the hook with people complaining. And not just them. All of the progressives in Congress need to be told to fight harder and not to allow this awful situation to get worse.

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      Thanks for sharing your story. You are not alone in your views or your experience. But to Holy Joe, your past is irrelevant. To him and his patrons, you are now a non-paying tenant, who should be evicted and put on the kerb along with your broken furniture. I’m sure he eats his morning egg white omelette telling himself that you can’t make them – or adequately empower the wealthy – without breaking a few egg shell heads.

      • Leen says:

        Unless you are an illegal west bank settler then he would probably want to make sure you had affordable or even free health care

  58. readerOfTeaLeaves says:

    Now, that’s not the first time that has happened.< It certainly happened on telecom immunity.It certainly has happened, repeatedly, on Defense contracting (see also Randy Cunningham). But none of these egregious instances of corporations dictating legislation included a tithe–the requirement that citizens pay corporations to provide their service, rather than allowing the government to contract the service.

    This is a fundamentally different relationship we’re talking about–one that gives corporations vast new powers. And the fact that–with one temper tantrum from Joe Lieberman–the corporations were able to dictate the terms of this new relationship deeply troubles me.

    When this passes, it will become clear that Congress is no longer the sovereign of this nation. Rather, the corporations dictating the laws will be.

    Joe Lieberman represents 1.5% of the US population.
    Nebraska’s Ben Nelson represents less than 1% of the US population.

    The United Corporatocracy of Incs.

  59. runfastandwin says:

    Maybe this is what it will take to get people to finally wake up to how bad our government screws us on a daily basis. I thought that Bush had finally done that, but I was wrong. A lot of people will have to suffer, but this is such a broadside on the middle class that we cannot help but to notice. Maybe.

  60. stevepatriquin says:

    Roosevelt froze wages in the thirties.Businesses then decided to offer ins.as a way to compete for workers.You could buy ins.over state lines until 1943.Now that the businesses and the govt. are in it we suffer.

    • Sara says:

      “Roosevelt froze wages in the thirties.Businesses then decided to offer ins.as a way to compete for workers.You could buy ins.over state lines until 1943.Now that the businesses and the govt. are in it we suffer.”

      FDR did not freeze wages in the Thirties. He did everything he could to increase or inflate wages in the bottom half of the working class during the first two terms. Ever hear of Wages and Hours Laws, of the Wagner Labor Act???

      He Froze wages during World War II so as to eliminate or minimize inflation caused by both shortages of labor and material. It was wartime, he rationed, He pulled about 16 million young men out of the labor force, put them into uniform, turned them into Marines and Soldiers and Sailors, and he paid them 22 dollars a month plus food and board, with allowances for wives and children. He did not want to vastly enlarge the economic differiental of those in uniform versus those who were not. And yes, he allowed employers to enhance benefits so long as they did not have an immediate cash advantage, thus Health Insurance and Company paid Pensions came to be. And remember, in addition to rationing, we also had price controls during WWII. The point was no serious inflation, Relatively small black market, (very unpopular and unpatriotic to use it) and the spirit of shared sacrifice.

  61. runfastandwin says:

    And by the way I don’t agree that the Republicans will have anything to cheer about in 2010. I think they lose Florida, Missouri, and Ohio in the Senate, maybe even New Hampshire, and the Democrats hold on to all of theirs except maybe Nevada. As to the House, I don’t see a swing of more than 5-10 seats and it could go either way.

  62. Gitcheegumee says:

    Well , just maybe the insurance industries are in hock to the ILLEGAL(as opposed to LEGAL PHarma) dope dealers that bailed out the “too big to fail” institutions?

    Remember the UN report froma few days ago stating that money from illicit drug sales actually kept the economy afloat?

    Well , just maybe the insurance industries are in hock to the ILLEGAL(as opposed to LEGAL PHarma) dope dealers that bailed out the “too big to fail” institutions?

    Jus’ sayin”…/snark

  63. Sufilizard says:

    Just FYI, for the people who think we need to pass anything with health reform in the title and then “fix it later.”

    That was the idea behind Medicare. It would start out only covering the elderly, and congress would continue to improve it by slowly expanding coverage.

    How has that worked out so far?

  64. Bluetoe2 says:

    What’s the latest back room deal the Great Pretender orchestrated to fuck the working and middle class in the last 2 hours?

  65. readerOfTeaLeaves says:

    Have not had time to do the homework, but does anyone know — if JayRock’s amendment limiting healthCos — requiring them to spend 90% of their revenues directly on health care, and have ONLY 10% in ‘corporate spending’ — does that not bring the corporations to heel?

    (No time to do all the homework right now…)

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      It would make it harder to so blatantly deny health coverage in order to maximize profits. Alone, unaccompanied by other regulations and routine, effective oversight – and withdrawal of their anti-trust exemption – it would simply allow them to engage in Hollywood accounting to “demonstrate” they’d met their target.

  66. stevepatriquin says:

    Crist was way ahead of Rubio and they are now tied.The tea party is backing Rubio and both of them are double digits over the dem.Reid and Dodd are behind.Four dems have already dropped out of house races.It doesnt really matter cuz once they get to Washington they turn out the same.The only difference is who they lobby for.

  67. ThomAsspain says:

    I say that if or when they shove this piece of shit down our throats, it’s time for defiance.

    Open defiance!

    We must collectively refuse to obey this law.

    These pedophile korporate whores have sold us out for the last time.

    Defiance! I call on every patriot to refuse to obey this miserable royalist degree!

    What will they do if 45 million of us Just Say No?

  68. Gitcheegumee says:

    Just an observation, but the Constitution has been used as TP, the Geneva Conventions have been,and probably continue to be flouted, no malefacteurs from the previous administration has or likely will be held accountable…someone please tell me how the insurance companies would be held accountable?

    Where is the will?

    Who’s gonna show us the way?

    /rant

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      It dates from the Enlightenment, without irony, in that it was a more efficient, less painful way to execute the king’s justice than was true of a headsman with a blunt ax or bad aim. Mary Queen of Scots lost her dignity, as well as her hairpiece, as multiple blows were required to take off her head. Since capital punishment, an intentional pun, was and, here, still is legal, the question remains, as Ohio is discovering, how to do it.

      Dr. Guillotine was not responsible for the way French political revolutionaries used his efficient blade (though it descended during the Nazi’s control of Europe more often than it did during the French Reign of Terror).

  69. MsAnnaNOLA says:

    Thank you for this post.

    This is what I was afraid they were up to.

    So people living hand to mouth are going to be unable to get health insurance because they can’t afford it and they will pay a penalty to the USG for the privlidge of not paying for health insurance.

    This is officially the stupidest bill ever.

    What do you think will happen to the price with govt subsidies?
    It will go through the roof.
    What happened to housing with govt subsidies? Skyrocketed.
    What happended to the cost of a college education? Skyrocketed.

    Seriously we don’t need subsidies we need affordable care, period.

    The Obama administration is out of touch with reality if they are willing to accept this. They deserve to lose seats and they deserve to lose the presidence. This is sheer lunacy.

  70. orionATL says:

    sara @179

    thanks, sara. i’m better informed, as usual.

    i found this analysis particularly interesting:

    […On Health Care I have not seen anything similar. There are tons of organizations that took positions — but no agreed upon common leadership brought them together to act in a unified manner. Perhaps most important, no one went to the trouble to really organize a “consumer’s Lobby.” We have tons of stories of medical horror stories, but they are just individual horrors, not turned from the horrors into agreement on specific reforms that are on demand. I would have loved to have seen a national organization of working class folk who had gone bankrupt over medical bills that had a leader who knew how to make noise, but also coordinate with others. What we got instead was one brave soul trying to stand up at a Tea Party Rally, with no support, no back-up. No — you show up with a hundred folk in wheel chairs who have gone bankrupt, and you don’t take no for an answer… ].

    it seems that items on a liberal agenda are “atomized”, e.g., supported individual-by-individual,

    while the right-wing interests are (usually) supported en masse and good at getting media attention.

  71. stevepatriquin says:

    you are correct that the constitution has been t.p. Not so much with the Geneva Convention though.The terrorists are not covered by it as that document covers soldiers in uniform.If you are caught on the battlefield not in a soldiers uniform of your country you are to be shot.Or you could be shot

    • bmaz says:

      You know, this is more absolute bunk. There are very informed people here, and for those that are not, they should not be polluted by wrongheaded simpleton bunk, even if it is well intentioned.

      Just to be clear, even the United States Supreme Court has made the applicability of Geneva Common Article III to what you inelegantly refer to as “terrorists” crystal clear in the case of Hamdan v. Rumsfeld 548 U.S. 557 (2006). It does not require “uniforms”, and it does not allow unmitigated “shooting”; there is, arguably, such a construct in relation to state sponsored spies, but even that is much more constrained that you let on even under those incredibly rare circumstances.

  72. MarkC says:

    When this passes, it will become clear that Congress is no longer the sovereign of this nation. Rather, the corporations dictating the laws will be.

    I understand the temptation to offer 30 million people health care. What I don’t understand is the nonchalance with which we’re about to fundamentally shift the relationships of governance in doing so.

    The only thing I disagree with in this piece is your use of the future tense: “we’re about to fundamentally shift”. It’s shifted.

  73. earlofhuntingdon says:

    I knew him personally, and thought his taste in wine was pedestrian. Pulitzer winner Stanley Karnow has a great tale about M. le Docteur and the last M. le Guillotine – the national headsman, as he was called – who operated his machine in the 1950’s, in his memoir, Paris in the Fifties, reviewed in the NYT here.

  74. kumari says:

    Dependence begets subservience and venality, suffocates the germ of virtue, and prepares fit tools for the designs of ambition.
    Thomas Jefferson

    A democracy is nothing more than mob rule, where fifty-one percent of the people may take away the rights of the other forty-nine.
    Thomas Jefferson

    A wise and frugal government, which shall leave men free to regulate their own pursuits of industry and improvement, and shall not take from the mouth of labor the bread it has earned – this is the sum of good government.
    Thomas Jefferson

    Do not separate text from historical background. If you do, you will have perverted and subverted the Constitution, which can only end in a distorted, bastardized form of illegitimate government.
    James Madison

    It will be of little avail to the people that the laws are made by men of their own choice if the laws be so voluminous that they cannot be read, or so incoherent that they cannot be understood.
    James Madison

  75. conniptionfit says:

    Sen Harkin was on Rachel last night earnestly explaining how it was necessary to get our foot in the door with this bill, that it wasn’t perfect (and we shouldn’t let perfect be the enemy of the good), but hat once we get this bill passed congress will be able to go back later and fix it. When Rachel asked why we shouldn’t kill this bill, he then turned around in practically the same breath and asserted that congress had waaayy too much stuff to do next year, and we needed to get this finished and on to the next job. So, apparently congress is too busy to start over and do the thing right, but they’re not too busy to go thru the same fights all over again in order to fix this crappy bill. What are the odds that the Dems will pass this POS, and walk away patting themselves on the back? And then they’ll be surprised and offended that their Dem base (and many others, besides) have deserted them at the polls.

  76. deniseb says:

    I’ve been on the fence until right now about whether this was better than nothing. Thank you for clarifying my thoughts. It is not.

  77. tegrat says:

    The thing is, CBO might score 20 million more people with “coverage”, but at what cost? They can’t really score, by their own admission, what the insurers will do in response to the “take all comers” demand. But certainly without a) premium caps and b) actuarial value requirements (that is, some limits on cost shifting), “coverage” is nothing more than a meaningless term. The pain and suffering of the population, as a whole, WILL NOT DIMINISH.

  78. TheShadowKnows says:

    There can no longer be any question that Barack Obama is a Trojan Horse. He was taken in by Progressives, Liberals, and much of the non-white voting public as a Man of the People.

    But functionally, intellectually, Barack Obama is part of the Harvard trained, corporatist Rich White Man’s Club. Much as Ronald Reagan seemed like a warm, friendly Uncle of the People, while he was redistributing the people’s wealth of government to his corporatist benefactors now, Barack Obama, who to all appearances would SEEM to be Friend of the Working Man, is trying to BOTH transfer nearly 30% of the average American’s salary to the medical industry cartel, WHILE he wants to be lionized for rubbing the working family’s face into this new feudal system … one Ronald Reagan could only dream of.

  79. SadButTrue says:

    “We can’t ditch Halliburton or Blackwater because they have become the sole primary contractor providing precisely the services they do.”

    I have to take exception to that statement. The US could quite easily eliminate Halliburton and Blackwater (now Xe) overnight if they wished, in a number of ways. The one I would prefer would be to stop allowing the wishes of such entities to wag the dog of foreign policy. Iraq, for instance, seems to have been entered into for no better reason than to enrich such as these, with their connections to the odious Darth Cheney.

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