First, progressives got suckered into believing that the wafty "public option" was:
1. An apt substitute for real health-care reform (i.e., single-payer or socialized medicine)
2. Such an exciting promise that they should ignore Obama's, Daschle's, and Baucus's outright lies about an open and transparent process that considered all options.
And now the punch line:
Even while President Obama was saying that he thought a public option was a good idea and encouraging supporters to believe his healthcare plan would include one, he had promised for-profit hospital lobbyists that there would be no public option in the final bill.
And they said irony was dead!
All the people insisting "support the bill, we'll fix it later" will switch to slothful triumphalism the moment any sort of healthcare "reform" bill is passed (if it happens).
It's all about scoring points, not about solving our healthcare problems. If it were about the latter, single-payer wouldn't have been censored at every turn.
The series name, "American Extremists" is ironic. Today's rightwing is quite extreme. The left? Not so much.
Barack Obama, we're told, is "deeply progressive."
Career liberals sell us a bill of goods called "public option," a "plan" with no fixed meaning whatsoever.
Most of us just can't get enough of repeating these fictions as if they were keys to a progressive future.
Maybe Pete Townshend could update his song for us: "Will Get Fooled Again. And Again. And Again. And Again."
It's a marketing catch-all, with no fixed meaning.
Every reference to "the public option" is hogwash.
What are the terms of "the public option"?
How many people will it cover? Last time Obama claimed to support it, he said it would be for less than 5% of Americans. You can stick "strong" or "robust" in front of "public option" all you want, but if you don't address how many people can get it, and under what circumstances and terms, you have no idea of whether it represents any real change at all.
You don't know how it will be hobbled to protect the interests of Big Insurance who are the obvious beneficiaries of ObamaCare and the president's misguided focus on (potentially, sort of) slowing the rate of cost increases, instead of cutting them by half or more, as other countries have with single-payer or socialized medicine.
So, why are most of you treating "public option" as the Holy Grail?
So, why are so few of you pushing for real reform, like single-payer Medicare for All?
Oh yeah, because we don't want the decent to be the enemy of the meaningless.
Because we don't want to admit that people we trust (big bloggers, the MoveOns, Howard Dean) were fooled or are selling us out.
The powers that be have us coming and going. With progressives fixated on an empty marketing pledge, they can ignore us or give us the empty policy we're all begging for.
Heads they win, tails we lose. Unless we get smarter about what we ask for.
My Obama is opposed to a surge in Afghanistan
My Obama is opposed to expanded military missions in Pakistan
My Obama is opposed to saber-rattling at Iran
My Obama is opposed to US-authorized assassinations
My Obama is opposed to warrantless wiretapping
My Obama is opposed to detention without charges or trials
My Obama is opposed to renditions to Bagram
My Obama is opposed to whitewashing torture and corporate malfeasance
My Obama is opposed to handouts to Wall Street
My Obama is opposed to untimely tax cuts, spending freezes, and "entitlement reform"
My Obama is opposed to faith-based initiatives
My Obama is opposed to nuclear power and "clean coal"
My Obama never praises Ronald Reagan
My Obama never bashes liberals
My Obama supports gay marriage
My Obama supports real health-care reform and doesn't make secret deals with Big Pharma
I believe in this Obama because my tribe demands it. And my tribe is more important to me than either reality or good policy.
1. How many people will have access to, and are expected to be covered by, "the public option"?
2. Will access to and use of it be enough, and under terms attractive-enough, that it will (hard to type this with a straight face) "keep the insurance companies honest"
Citing Jacob Hacker's original paper doesn't cut it, since the plans in Congress are drastically limited... yet are routinely given the credibility in progressive circles as if they weren't.
"Public option" has been promulgated at the expense of momentum for single-payer or nationalized healthcare -- and of any accountability for the White House and Congress's un-transparent process.
This is citizen action!
Dr. Margaret Flowers and Dr. Carol Paris are showing how it's done, getting arrested again to put real healthcare reform on the table.
Single-payer healthcare is what we need to save lives and money. Not a plan that mandates citizens to buy overpriced junk insurance, or some meaningless "public option" distraction (which President Obama promised would be used by less than 5% of Americans, if enacted at all).
Go watch, and be there or be square -- 1:00PM ET today at http://www.correntewire.com
Please K&R to help get the word out!
Seven years ago today, Colin Powell gave his "compelling" Iraq War pitch to the UN.
Please K&R if you think it's important to remember and learn from this monstrous act.
The Day of Shame blog commemorates this tragic day each year. Perhaps we all should, until our country holds itself to account for all that is symbolized by that fateful day.
I've recently begun selling political T-shirts, and I was chagrined to find that the first batch of shirts was made in Haiti by a company with a questionable record for working conditions.
I'm working with my vendor to ensure that future orders are union-made. Even before the first shirts I'd ordered arrived from the printer, some potential customers had suggested I go that route, and that they'd happily pay a little extra to support decent working conditions.
Since I can't unmake the first batch, and I didn't specify the company/country of manufacture (live and learn!), I'm planning to donate a portion of the proceeds from these goods to a charity that provides targeted relief to the sort of folks who get screwed by sweatshop labor conditions.
Personally, I've donated to Doctors Without Borders, to aid in Haitian relief, but I'm wondering if there's a more appropriate charity for this?
I understand that the theme of the shirts (which can be seen in my sig) will not sit well with all DUers -- I'm a liberal more than I'm a party-line Democrat, though I've been a Democrat my whole life. But perhaps you'll agree that this is a teachable moment about paying attention to the sourcing of what we buy, and to help me and others identify worthy charities.
Chris Bowers at Open Left:
For the first time since I began monitoring the national House ballot since October, Democrats have fallen behind. Further, they have no clar path back into the lead, as five separate polling organizations now show them facing a deficit.
Here's a clear path: think liberally, act liberally, talk liberally, write legislation liberally, and vote liberally.
In 2006 and 2008 Americans voted for change. The Dems have demonstrated virtually no interest in giving it to them.
As Chris Floyd put it brilliantly:
And what is Barack Obama's agenda? What is his political program? It breaks down into three main elements: unwinnable wars, unconscionable bailouts, and unworkable, unwanted health care "reform" that forces people to further enrich some of the most despised conglomerates in the land. It is, in every way, a recipe for moral, economic and political disaster. It is a gigantic anchor tied around the neck of the Democratic Party, and it will drag the whole lumbering wreck back to the bottom in short order.
It also provides a fertile breeding ground for the willful, belligerent ignorance of the Right to thrive. With such an egregiously stupid and destructive agenda at work in the White House, opponents need only say that they are against it, and they are guaranteed a wide following. Who would not be against unwinnable war, unconscionable bailouts and unworkable boondoggles serving rapacious elites? The actual positions held by these opponents – the actual policies they will pursue once in power – are given little scrutiny in such circumstances. The opponent represents change from a hated status quo – and that's enough. Later, when their odious positions come to light, it is too late.
Where have we seen this dynamic at work before? Oh yes, it was way back in November 2008. Barack Obama represented change from the hated status quo, from the agenda of the ruling Republican party. And what was that agenda? Why, unwinnable wars, unconscionable bailouts and the assiduous service of rapacious elites. The actual positions held by Obama – the actual policies that he would pursue once in power – were given little scrutiny. Except by a precious few – such as Arthur Silber, who long ago warned that Obama's election would be ruinous for genuine progressive change, that he would merely put a new gloss on the old corruption while disarming dissent from 'progressives,' who would feel bound to support the president against his rightwing enemies – even if it meant "holding their noses" and supporting bad policies like the health care reform bill or the Afghan surge.
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