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The sages are divided

By Michael J. Smith on Wednesday March 24, 2010 01:03 PM

Owen and I obviously have a very different take on the "health reform" with which Obie & Co. have just presented us. Among his other reasons for seeing the glass half-full, Owen cites the likelihood that at least some people, under the new regime, will get some health care that they wouldn't have gotten otherwise.

Personally, I wonder if this is even true -- whether premiums and copays and caps won't go so high that the net effect on people's health will be negative. But let's say, arguendo, that Owen is right. I still hate it.

Now I don't like to think of myself as a hard-hearted person. But alarm bells go off in my head when I hear arguments like this -- we need to buy, mentally if in no other way, into some corporate-aggrandizement pile-o'-crap like the health "reform" because otherwise, People Will Die. And their deaths, in some obscure way, will be our fault.

It seems a lot like the lesser-evil argument, in fact. Vote for the Democrats -- and ratify their stampede toward war, immiseration, and the police state -- or Even More People Will Die under the other gang's rule.

I used to view this kind of thinking as taking short-term gain even if it means long-term loss. Now that's not an entirely unreasonable thing to do. After all, the loss is tomorrow and therefore conjectural, whereas the gain is today -- or at least, later this afternoon -- and at least somewhat more nearly certain. And who knows, maybe, by tomorrow, the horse will learn to talk. There's a case to be made -- as long as there's a real choice to be made.

But maybe this model -- choosing short-term versus long-term -- doesn't quite fit our case: those of us, I mean, who don't have any actual choices to make, except about what we think, and what we say.

Dennis Kucinich -- recently pilloried here for his cave-in on the "health" bill -- might be able to make this argument. His vote, presumably, made a difference. If he had voted No, and the bill had failed, and if those People Had Died -- if they could really be known to have died on account of his vote -- then maybe he could plausibly tell us that his conscience would be uneasy.

But for those of us in the peanut gallery, it's just empty grandiosity to think that our wonkish twitterings make any difference to the near-term outcome. They don't; and so I'd say we have not only the luxury but the duty to say, "the hell with the near term, if it means further aggrandizement for those thieves in the insurance companies." Nobody will die on account of us telling the truth; so don't we have a duty to tell it? And maybe, just maybe, something one of us says somewhere will open somebody else's eyes a little bit.

But we're certainly not serving enlightenment by spreading yet more gray-vampire "realism": more hopeless, resigned, take-what-crumbs-you-can-get defeatism. That just amounts to apologetics for the Dembo Judas goats who lead us every day a little farther into the abattoir. Its only effect is to drain away people's indignation and whatever impulse they might have to resist.

And that -- our steady progress deeper into the slaughterhouse -- brings me back to the short-term/long-term argument. It's too kind to the Kuciniches, even, I now think -- too kind even to the people who do have some responsibility for outcomes. They ought to be able to see where all this is going. They're not simply in the position of people who have to weigh a conjectural near-term good against a conjectural long-term harm, in a world characterized by stationary probabilistic processes. Rather, they are in the position of people who can see a blatantly obvious project being carried out before their eyes, step by step, and who must choose whether to facilitate it or monkeywrench it, to the best of their ability.

Dennis chose to facilitate it, as far as I can see. So if MInos drops me an email asking for advice about Dennis, I'll tell him, Send the little fuck straight to the hottest patch of burning brimstone you've got.

Comments (61)

And Dennis is congratulating himself on selling out --

...On Sunday, I voted for the same bill that I had previously disparaged.

I am pleased to have played a role in helping to make this historic moment possible.


Reading Hedges via Floyd yesterday I wondered why Kucinich didn't respond to Kos: "Subsidies by 2014? That's 45K corpses a year times 4 years. Get your buddies to pull that date closer by 3 or 4 years and I'll reconsider my opposition."

These elected guys have to generate an average of $n-thousand per week in campaign money every week for 2 or 6 years to remain competitive. They know what the intake rate is every week. They know when they must surrender. And they surrender...

I'm defunding Kucinich. Big deal. If Kos smiles on him thousands will fund him for the first time.

As someone mentioned in the previous thread, I think: the reform may keep people away from the care they would buy otherwise, by siphoning off their doctor-money into insurance premiums for policies that are protected from 'abuse' (abuse by Baron Munchausen types, supposedly) by stiff deductibles and co-pays.

A modest proposal: Outlaw health insurance and watch the costs of service deflate instantly.


have you been reading k-punk?


i'm not sure finding encouragement
in this bill's passage

-- of the ilk of
' one brutal tide may beturning at long last '-

leads on by lock step to this:

"some corporate-aggrandizement pile-o'-crap "

quite the contrary
at least as likely i think
it ought to sharpen the resolve
to push on to single payer
and wheter or not it's seen that way now
the final violent surges
of our present free range premium setting
ought to spur a huge revulsion

folks will get to see just who's the troll here
if the potus steps in and freezes premiums
thru an emergency move
-- i suspect this thought was toyed with when obummer suggested
after the wellpointp remium raising announcement
such powers exist
or at least could be granted
to the office he presently holds

the process is in motion
and i suspect a careful look at some similar
processes might suggest a final outcome we could live with a while
albeit ten years off out there in the future
thru zig zags no less and one step back two steps forward dancing

"their deaths, in some obscure way, will be our fault."
that is completely
the pov i'm coming from father
nor do i think the pov i am coming from
--false prophet--
implies walter mitty conciousness on my part
or noam's part

its a judgement on an eventual outcome
and a sense a future path is now open
that wasn't in ....1993

none of this will occur obviously without
and in this case big struggle
but it is doable
unlike say vickrey macro
it won't destroy the corporate system
in fact it is a necessity of that system

i saw the special interests blink here
believe it or not

and i see some big shits
expecting that they must push ahead now
on this
even if with all turtle like swiftitude
push ahead trim the "interests"
face the prospect some day
of the streets filling up
with ragged nasty and hungry lions


mr ward

do you ever ponder the reform process as it really unfolds

probably not

or this marginal site
with it's
the lesser evil party is the greater evil
wouldn't strike you as congenial

no one here
not even yer old sell out from bean town
owen vichy paine
fails to see this bill largely for what it is
nor i suspect are their silly gulled heads
fluttering around
inside the pwog house caucus

where many differ
is over what this bill's passage portends

is it yet another sell out to the profiteers
the first tangible evidence
of a growing crack in
what had been a pretty solid
corporate united front

the bill raises popular expectations
in fact --perhaps--
on its success or failure
hangs the electoral future
of the lesser evil party itself
i anticipate a current of events -not without eddies of course--
that will run from this bill to if not real
at least de facto single payer
ala switzerland

okay so events can't prove me wrong on that for a decade or so
but this is more immediate
the great premium wars
are right around the corner
the generality of corporate america will join the side of the tarnished angels on this
maybe by one bunch at a time
but like griffiths klan they will gather and ride to the rescue of that harlot

mandated universal health

Clio just plain old fuckin'
uses her human agencies
as she wants

--agencies that is like
the bottom line boys --

she doesn't first
fill them with good intentions
often quite the contrary

and as for us wage meat
we higgly piggly jobbled multitudes

we are a mass of conflicting
and conflicted souls
groping like blind beetles
for the promised land

who promised it qwen ..who promised it ??

we did


that is the uncle milty conclusion
and it's based on a fact
by geting uncle into the provision stream thru medicare and medicaid back in the 60's
the health sectors prices began outrunning the average price level
--ditto higher ed thanx to uncle getting into student loans --

but the road back is the road to what ???

private health accounts ??
i'm sure you're just trying to make a point
and its valid
but only fully socializing the provision of health care
solves the impasse
we are headed there no matter where else
we might think we're headed

and my guess we're headed there faster then others here suggest
the tide has turned
the interests are on the defensive they are
stopped before moscow
stalingrad is at most
but a few campaigns away


OP wrote:

a future path is now open, that wasn't in ....1993
I hope you're right, Owen. I just don't see any sign of it. From where I sit, it looks like doors are closing rather than opening. But I'd like to hear your reasons for thinking otherwise.

And of course I don't think you "condone" the health-reform pile-o-crap -- the only aspect of *your* argument that set me off was the humanitarian one.


i doubt our take on this bill is very diffrent at all really
on its intrinsic workings we probably line up shoulder to shoulder
and more importantl;y on what is to be done
we also prolly line up shoulder to shoulder
and i hasten to add both facing in the same direction

the difference is in what this bill
i see the road ahead openning up
is this maybe like
lbj's '57 civil rights bill
ike era type "progress" ??


i think so ..more or less

and recall much movement
lay ahead
out there in the real world eh ?
and blood too came yet
all that before the 64 break thru

but the swell is building
the populace is ion motion
of course they flows are chaotic and cross purposed now
that is what organizing solves
but the raw energy is there
the sense broadly felt
that something really big
must be done

yes the institutional resistence
is amazingly elastic
but ...if we push on
the snap is coming

the strain is obvious now
is it not
that is the message of dennis getting a very public plane ride with the potus

do we have a lloyd george
to lead the charge
no we have ...dennis and conyers

do e have a martin king
no not yet

so lets make one of each
they will emerge
as we takie the fight to the enemy
and not just the insurance companies
--though i agree with super Al
that makes a fine point of first application
of the class wedge..much like the banks
in the credit system --

but attack em all
the drug lords next
and then
the for profit
diagnostic clinics

let congress take the heat from their lobbies

i can hear em now

"save us "

"bail us "

"protect us "

till at long last

"for god's sake then
socialize us ...in all but name "


i repeat

health care
is a reform issue folks

it can and i submit will be won

you guys need to lighten up here
at long last the game is afoot
organizing the organizations to win
is step one

devise a line of march here
all the way to single payer

forget the dembos
i didn't notice the cio in the 30's
sncc in the 60's http://www.ibiblio.org/sncc/

waiting on the lyndons huberts
and mattress jacks


hey this isn't my movement of choice

mine's the employee liberation movement

yes often
--maybe most times more often-
one movement drains off resources
from another

but there are glorious moments short sharp intervals
when movements flow together
one struggle reinforces another
and ....


k-punk! *That's* where "grey [sic] vampire" comes from! I couldn't remember, and Google didn't come up with the right answer when I searched "gray vampire."

I can't claim to read k-punk regularly but the phrase "grey vampire" came up on an email list, and it seemed like a useful concept.


"the only aspect of *your* argument that set me off was the humanitarian one. "

it sets me off too
but as a loin cloth to cover my lack
of compassion

why not

suggests those who reject meliorative measures
might be showing contempt for the person by person
suffering and misery of our fellow hu-souls

i'm n ot so sure of that
and certainly don't feel it
contempt that is
or really anything at all
other then
i see the first rays of a new dawn

It seems a lot like the lesser-evil argument, in fact. Vote for the Democrats -- and ratify their stampede toward war, immiseration, and the police state -- or Even More People Will Die under the other gang's rule.

Let's not confuse "seems" and "is."

over at IOZistan, someone mentioned this recently:


I can't see a difference between op's take on this "reform," and the Cloward-Piven approach. They both leave a lot of Trojan Horse Feces in their wake.


a superbly bleak asessment indeed


out out brief rangle

demoro and demoro and demoro

.... And all our yesterdays have lighted fools


OP: what exactly are these "cracks" in the wall you see? In what way have any corporate interests been defeated here, or sent a message that their day of dominance is over? Which politicians have received the message that depending on corporate funding is no longer the safe path?

Which groups pushing for HCR are feeling their pulse quickening by this victory disguised as defeat?

Sure, a popular rebellion is coming (is already being mis-led by the Tea-baggers), but now a lot of time will be wasted in just un-doing the results of the current bill. Are you taking the "worse it gets the better for us" position?


"If, as the President and his supporters insist, the bill is just a start, let's hold them to that promise. Let's see the same resolve and mobilization from legislators and constituency groups who pushed through this bill to go farther, and achieve a permanent, lasting solution to our healthcare crisis with universal, guaranteed healthcare by expanding and improving Medicare to cover everyone. "

that right there amounts to a pull back of her horns

so why the prior ruckus ??
including this patch of
what to my mind sounds
like fairly hyperbolic

"this bill requires people -- in the midst of the mass unemployment and the worse economic downturn since the Great Depression -- to pay thousands of dollars out of pocket to big private companies for a product that may or may not provide health coverage in return."

at the very least
if so
the massive outrage
such an enormity
would provoke might be just
the goad folks need
to hit the bricks and ballot boxes
demanding " real reform"

btw i feel this same way
about the sotus
free speech for instituted limited liability
exploitation devices

the hubris of it the reach one step too far
will in each case
in time will
bring down the popular axe on em both


"at the very least
if so
the massive outrage
such an enormity
would provoke might be just
the goad folks need
to hit the bricks and ballot boxes
demanding " real reform""

well why don't we just bring back slavery then? I'm sure that will provoke some outrage, some demands for real reform.

It seems to me that you can just twist these grand historical narratives to support any position. Any defeat can be interpreted as a "pyrrhic" defeat.


IMO the most likely course of events is that the bill goads the good folks into repealing the bullshit reform, denouncing 'big government' and opposing any subsequent attempts at real reform.


also op, you chide Brooklynite Doug Henwood for having no clue about the working class because he advocated green energy in lieu of cash for clunkers, but here you are thinking that the mandates will somehow whet the appetite of the masses for more reform. It doesn't make much sense to me.


"what exactly are these "cracks" in the wall you see?'
the one noam noticed back a ways
several large industrial corporations with signifigant domestic operations
called for single payer

the crack is between the corporations in the health insurance business and the health care business on the one hand and the generality of corporations on the other

the corporations are ready to dump the cost of health insurance on uncle
and let uncle use that monopsony to control healthcare costs

that is the strategic crack

the next stage is to crack
the insurance companies alliance
and doctors alliance
with the health care corporations
ie hospitals nursing homes etc
the drug outfits
and the therapy and diagnostic labs
and clinics

the falling out will intensify as public outrage grows
these cracks
contradictions if you will
are stressed by inflationing costs system wide
the carrot part of this bill will
by means dialectic
force these cracks open faster

"In what way have any corporate interests been defeated here, or sent a message that their day of dominance is over?"

they already knew this
prolly in clintons time

the long goodbye to all this splendor
is a testement like the nuclear arms race
of yore
to the tenacity unearned profits
instill in their beneficiaries

"Which politicians have received the message that depending on corporate funding is no longer the safe path?"

that message will needs come from the ballot box
the scott brown upset
was a signal on a hill


viewing the scott brown biz
as simply tea bagger folly
misses the energy behind it
an energy the repugs may not have the monopoly on manipulating

if obummer played health officer in chief
and declared an emergency
he could turn the momentum of this to his advantage

will he ??
not a chance you say

well i wouldn't bet against you on that
not until we have a electoral "decision "
in the fall


obama needs to exert his "war powers " here
attack the premium explosion

by battling the interests
with an emergency roll back on premiums
say in august
get the cost control ball in play
prior to mandate time
move toward
an emancipation proclamation type moment
say in late 2011
where the insurance companies are put under perminent uncle premium controls

the repugs will call it politics but the people well spell it relief

is this black jack
ready to rumble like andy
can he goose himself up enough
to welcome the hatred of the interests ??

events can be swift mentors
so don't entirely count that possum-bility out
i take this guy on a personal level
as no kinda clinton

but betray his ownmerit class
ala fdr
his own rentier class
but we'll see



1. America's expensive military system will have to be reined in because America can no longer afford the expense.

2. America's expensive healthcare system will have to be reined in because America can no longer afford the expense.

Why is one argument good, and the other bad?


"the mandates will somehow whet the appetite of the masses for more reform. It doesn't make much sense to me."

the mandates are the goad of clio
they are horrifying in this context
worse then the drug dealers price gouge even

the dembo pols will quake

and if they want their universal coverage
to end up a happy story
they'll be forced to make it affordable
forced i say forced to make it affordable
or else
watch their party destroyed
as gingrich suggests

mandates are like forced busing
only i think the way to rewin the scrap is as i say above

freeze the premiums roll em back
pound the sector like its a vietcong tunnel system

err that didn't work out thoug did it

"next analogy please !!!!"


"1. America's expensive military system will have to be reined in because America can no longer afford the expense"
the nuclear force part was reined in bob

remember ???

the comparison is only to that wild pot latch
to sink the soviet economy

not the armada itself god knows that is a necessity

wheels within wheels

recall the late rumsfelt
waged a vast and not overly successful
waffen krieg
against the nearly useless
kold war machine
built to fight on the plains of germany

despite his astute sense of transforming


defeating entrenched interests takes much battering
runmmy alas
--as always ever since he opposed the draft in the late 60's
a visionary on sustainable imperial storm troopers--
was of course interested in selling uncle sam lots of neat new order of battle
type systems eh ??

like green profits in a brown age ready to change itself

new less lethal less bulky
less costly
weapons systems can be profitable too
if you're well posiotioned that is

much detail here bob
don't fall for the big picture
the horizon is by potemkin inc


"IMO the most likely course of events is that the bill goads the good folks into repealing the bullshit reform, denouncing 'big government' and opposing any subsequent attempts at real reform."

but bob

we still need a world class
socially affordable
health system here at the metropole
for the white plebs at least

uncle can rally here
after all its a REFORM

its about what preserves the system not
what sends it to the bottom or over the top
speaking of going to the bottom
maybe you think uncle's america
is like spain in the 17th century
or britain in the 20th

i don't not for a new york nano second

i suspect you might have some such eschaton in mind
like that lovely semi senile old man
chalmers johnson


"It seems to me that you can just twist these grand historical narratives to support any position."
no not really

bringing back slavery seems a poor parallel to the universal mandate
despite their shared forcibility nature
its like saying stalin was taking the russian peasants back to serfdom

" Any defeat can be interpreted as a "pyrrhic" defeat."
now that my friend is gospel truth

the universal interpenetration of opposites and all that

black shall be white and white black
victory leads to defeat and defeat to victory
one becomes two
two never becomes one
out of great disorder comes great order


long live mao tse tung thought


i feel like fast eddie felson today

"i own this table "
ah hubris like wrath
it fills a guys soul with trumpets


For about 40 years, insurance industry players have been saying Uncle Sam is taking the wind out of their sails.

Whom did Barry O'Barmy appoint as his czar on health care reform, op? Can you recall the person's identity?

How about her career record?

And you say the industry is afraid, and caving?

I laugh at your naivete posturing as pragmatism or optimism. I can only guess you have a mortal disease with a short end date, because this reform-triggered sea-change you're predicting, it's not going to happen in my lifetime by incrementalism. Incrementalism is naught but an excuse for doing nothing of meaning.

Full-circle to Chomsky. Go on, Dawson, lecture me again on the apostasy of my refusal to worship The Noam!


Agree with you about the corporate desire to shift health care onto Uncle; agree with you that the mandate is the poison pill swallowed by the Dems that will force them to do something about costs. Find your confidence that the Dems will see the logic of this, shed their ties to insurance and pharma, and do something positive for their erstwhile constituents charming, touching -- a testemant to Hope.


"And you say the industry is afraid, and caving?"
no i'm saying the will fold
and play more elsewhere
like they have in europe

fold to live and fight another day

never said they'd give up
no corporation does that
they all ned to have stakes driven in the heart
or bankrupted and as we saw
even then
you get zombies and your back looking
to apply the stake method


Hilarious. Hillary-us!


of course the inmates are running the prison
both party cores are corporate

the point is how to allow corporations deeply into the medi provisioning mediation racket
a decent papa doc like interval and exit reward

as to hope and touching hope at that

i say they'll do it out of a need to survive
against a wave of fury that otherwise could knock en flat for yet another generation


You're thinking of America, 1849 or so? Not America, 2010?

You see people revolting? I see people ignoring, in favor of American Idol, LOST, and panic-attacks over Sarah Palin and "the teabaggers."

Assuming citizen disgust turning to revolt of a meaningful sort contains a few flawed sub-assumptions, the largest of which is a citizenry-wide (revolting-segment-specific) understanding of the role of insurance, and the next-largest of which is a citizenry-wide understanding of human health and the role of technological "medicine" in that health or un-health.

People suddenly are going to understand how the human body works, and to what extent they're being fleeced by MDs, hospitals, etc?

They're going to both understand, and be willing to remove, the grease of capitalism -- insurance's lubricant of many transactions?

How's that going to happen, when they have TV?

Among other reasons we all ought to be yelping against this turd sandwich is the opinion polls.


Once again, the general public is far to the left of both wings of the Business Party.



"How's that going to happen, when they have TV?"

really now are you that orwellian ???

md's market totalitarianism
is a very cleverly self contractory notion

but tv totalitarianism ??

the point of entry into homer simpson nation's
life will be thru premium increases
if an uprising on that occurs it will be directed at the democrats
by the republicans
"your premiums are rising because the democrats are allowing these free loaders into the system without the proper charges
the medicaid is bankrupting doctor wellby
and st dope hospital
down the street there

the dembo response has to be
out demagogue the rrepugs
pre emotively strike at the insurance companies
err rhetorically of course
meanwhile find these very same outfits
a profitable way out now
here's your choice
go down in flames fighting it all the way
or turn this sector
into a shared monopsony-monopoly
thru the highly regulated exchange system like switzerland has
where u get utlity type returns
on basic coverage plans
and a chance to sell folks add on crap

look this isn't complicated
wee got the answers out there among the various other national systems
all of which work far better then ours

and every one of those nations has
a corporate power core
none of them have concocted systems that undermine that corporate hegemony

we have the system we have because we can afford it or could afford it
no longer of course

folks here want to assume the corporates
can't take another road
that their response will be
to cut real healthcare to the masses
not the cost of healthcare to the masses
and if not the masses in toto
then some specified fraction of bottom feeding

maybe even by creating an enlarged
citizen under class
with de facto " colored people roots "

shades of imperial rome no doubt
come to mind

but not so fast here

the job class despite oxeys scorn
may rumble and rise here
what exactly is it oxey
that distinguishes "1849 "--an odd cjhoice of year for america --
from 2010 anyway

besides tv and the internet

okay farmers and wage workers are now in extremely reversed ratios

but my personal hu cap
is the new analogous dream
a piece of well watered flat crop land
of my own ..no ?

our petty households
grow job hours to sell
not corn and pigs

and the cost of their health insurance
payroll deductions along with their other payroll deductions
is one big mother fuckin nasty bit of job week reality

take a look at median total compensation per hour
vs take home per hour some time
it has evolved in an amazingly transparent
way since the truman years

can this continue ???obviously not

how will it be discontinued

by a greater miserization as the last 40 years have seen
or a reversal of direction

as one of our best commenters here suggests

the agency of this is in the hands
of the job class itself
i say they will stand up

archie r will stand up too
like in the 30's
not just fred sanford
and maude
and the ray walston character in my favorite martian will stand up too of course



so now Dem vs Repub is a living thriving meaningful thing?

sorry, I just popped my abdominal wall laughing. off to uncovered ER treatment for me. hopefully they'll charge me only 10,000 USD for this life-saving visit, and hopefully when I tell my friends, they'll wait around for the GOP to tell them it's the DNC/DLC's fault, and they'll believe that.




md show those polls to oxey
they indicate tv can't prevent enlightenment

the point is indeed to agitate against this cat box of a bill

but do it now with renewed confidence
the tide has turned this turd infested sand box is itself both beacon and self indictment

the american people this time'
watched this
getting made
it didn't end in a puff of smoke like billarycare
we have something up and running that calls itself reform
and we can shooted it full of holes

i really believe so long as you don't say better the old way then this way
the attack can be carried forward full throttle


"so now Dem vs Repub is a living thriving meaningful thing?"
oxey now that's just sily point scoring here

don't you know what reform is ???
it's what happens when the states dominant institutions restructure themselves to better sustain their class system

"but its progressive paine
your forecast is progressive
so its unrealistic"

if you think like that
if something like that is your opinion
that every act of state must be regressive

if so read some more history

even the spanish bourbon state of the 18th century reformed itself...some

you are displaying a sort of menkenesque
contempt for the great majoritarian booboise
that ill becomes you by the way
unless you're a merit class snob after all
just a pink grumpy one


"i really believe so long as you don't say better the old way then this way
the attack can be carried forward full throttle"

That's what I'm worried about


"That's what I'm worried about"

not sure i follow you

The only snobbery of which I'm guilty: the snobbery of the truth triumphing over spin.

Yeah, I like Mencken! I don't even mind that he was accused of Anti-Semitism mainly because Baltimore has a thriving Jewish population (and did during his time) and the reason for the accusation was to destroy whatever support Henry Louis may have got writing for Charm City's native newspaper. It was Abe Foxman's intellectual grandfather working that angle against Mencken!

On the prediction of a groundswell of populist antipathy toward this clusterfuck of "reform," I continue to believe people will ignore it, much as they have ignored the fleecing of their $$$ to date as performed by the medical priesthood. They don't seem to mind the fleecing by Uncle Sam either, whether it's by regressive taxation, funding of profiteering-via-militarism, or "homeland security." Do people refuse to fly thanks to TSA's intrusions? Or do they grumble and get on with removing shoes, having bags searched, and being full-body-scanned?

Are people going to stop being Good Consumers simply because of the multidimensional chess strategy of Cloward-Piven? Are they suddenly going to see that they have the ability to control how much money is spent on health "care" by not going to the Priests for Communion? Or will they continue to be ooohing and aaaahing over the miraculous open-air MRIs that no longer cause them to be claustrophobic when being scanned for fat fee increase justification?

What evidence is there that people are sufficiently disconnected from the mass of distraction afoot via el televisor? None of my friends complains to me about how they are inundated with Rx advertisements for Big Pharma at 5 minute intervals while watching LOST. Nobody I know complains about the US Post Office asking stupidly useless questions regarding liquid or explosive devices within their parcels. People accept and move on. They go on, shouldering each new oppression worked by Uncle Sammy and his puppetmaster corporate owners.

What's the signal I'm missing that shows they're ready to throw off these chains?


sorry I meant this bit:

"better the old way"

unless the Dems pull off some sort of spectacular miraculous political maneuver, that's what the masses will be saying.

I get the feeling that Obama may just be playing Carter to the next Reagan Revolution, rather than Sun to some future Mao

It was before my time, but I'm guessing that many lefties were making the same arguments in the late 70s: "time for a renewal" "time for difficult reforms" etc. In the wake of Vietnam, who was predicting an extreme right-wing restoration?

I still have a hard time with the concept that the dems are now the masterful ruling party


"The most glorious vision of the intellectual life is still that which is loosely called humanist: the idea of a mind committed yet dispassionate, ready to stand alone, curious, eager, skeptical. The banner of critical independence, ragged and torn though it may be, is still the best we have."

irv howe in the ike-onic 50's talkin there

oxey's comment trend recently
makes me think of ole irv
errr upside down
having the change shaken from his pockets
by a gorilla

keep punchin' mr O


Nearly a decade ago I got some excellent ski coaching from a first-rate coach, former US Ski Team coach, et cetera. His two introductory statements to me, how he offered his help to me on a chairlift ride:

"You make only one turn. You do a fine job in that turn, but there are many other turns you can make."

"How much did you pay for those skis? Wouldn't you like to get your money's worth out of them?"

This fellow could be a Ski Instruction celebrity in America, if not globally. Instead he's a cattle rancher in SW Montana, who lends his incredible teaching skills to improving the lot of the paid and volunteer ski patrollers, and the head of the ski school, at the local tiny family ski hill.

He, and others like him, are who I relate to. I don't relate to The Noam. I don't relate to pointy-heads with manifold degrees from prestigious institutions. I don't relate to anyone who is lauded as a god of sorts walking among humans.

Multidimensional chess strategies as metaphors for social agitation, they're fine for occupying the likes of Chomsky and his little bootlicker George Lakoff, and the thousands of fucktards who hang on those fools' words as if they are gospel.

Most people are more inclined to follow a Mencken, or a Joe Bageant. The % of America that is persuaded by polysyllabic puffery masquerading as progressive analysis may seem large to those of us who like to poke holes in the likes of Denny the Wee Pretender's theatrics, but my experience is that most Americans are more visceral and not vulnerable to arcane theories of organizational politics.


"unless the Dems pull off some sort of spectacular miraculous political maneuver, that's what the masses will be saying"
now that my dear comrade is a certain fact
and the repubs will push it till
the statue of washington's horse
in boston's public garden
takes a shit

so what is the strength
of their survival instinct here
will they rip up their covenent
with the corporate devils
i'm not sure they have to

this issue indeed
may have become
their be all or end all
much as civil equality
became for em in the 60's and 70's

can we trust they'll carry this ball
as far as that ???

well if i'm right and serious reform of healthcare is a systemic necessity
my guess is they will

much as the republican opposition
to new deal reforms
hurt them for decades
this opposition to progressive reform of healthcare
may be turned against them
despite the present appearances
to the contrary

its been my conviction for some time now
the republicans are a trash can for nostalgic angry white plebs
the residue of reagan's army of gulls

the black reagan i find unsuitable
precisely because obummer is more
the black j fk

it will be interesting to see what this jack

does if he gets to live to win a second term


"What's the signal I'm missing that shows they're ready to throw off these chains?"

i guess you either see it
--like in md's HC poll results --
or you don't

might i suggest
you are likely to win most often
betting against the boobs rubes and hairless apes
but not always
and on occasion given devilishly incisive organized leadership
they go pretty damn far



".. most Americans are more visceral and not vulnerable to arcane theories of organizational politics"

how true oxy ...how true
thank you for reminding me of that

i don't dismiss you for writing it
even though i learned nothing
from it

beyond a covenant
there is a liturgy
scrolled inside
the ark
of most movements
and it never fails
to improve one
to hear a piece of it
muttered anew

noam if not a jeremiah
not a prophet
he is however
a very effective
rabbi filled with anti corporate wisdom


"I don't relate to pointy-heads with manifold degrees from prestigious institutions"
noam hardly plays that role
his political writings are plain of aspect and
straight from the hip
without any show biz to speak of

yes his audience might not be switching
channels so to speak
to him from say
ferdinand trumka

joe bageant is show man
and a fairly limited one at that
much like mencken or cockburn

btw who besides you ski coach
have you learned the lessons of empire from ??


"Multidimensional chess strategies "
u hide behind that as if know nothing ism
doesn't exist
as the scylla to that charybdis

I learned them by being an awake and aware human who used to help Cornelius VanderStarr and Hank Greenberg get people's money and keep it. I grew up in a Federal household, traveled to Key Biscayne and San Clemente with Tricky Dick, traveled to Vail with Gerry and Betty and Susan, read the Press Briefing Book in Al Haig's dept of State. Lived through it I guess you might say. Experience is a better coach in most instances, if you have the right perspective. Teachers who nudge, not lecture -- they teach me. Lecturers bore me. Appeals to authority turn my stomach. You can always go to my frogbook page (link at my con de blog) and from there travel via link to read my LinkedIn profile. Apparently I've led a very unique life with a very unique childhood, though it's the only one I know and I wouldn't know its uniqueness from that of a martian on earth.


i missed the cloward piven comment oxey

the problem with that was not the form of the campaign
but the target

medicare for all

and a social dividend
or guarenteed basic income or whatever
are completely on diffrent levels of feasibility

no state not even sweden
with any sort of corporate backing at all
will ever build a simple social dividend transfer system
anymore then a macro policy of hyper employment
or a comprehensive perminent colander lerner map system
or a 360 degree
ppp trade price correcting
tariff system

but medicare for all
shit they got that right across the border

the strategy that couldn't succeeed
with social dividend objectives
will succeed with medicare for all as an objective

the cloward piven interlude deserves a wider revival
then it gets thru a brief circle dance at ioz or here


i have a huge fondness for h l by the way oxy
rampant mania

on the otherhand
in the same way i love the movie

"bigger then life"

i love ...you

"One thing is clear: The law does nothing to stop insurers from charging higher rates for children with pre-existing illnesses until 2014 when insurers can no longer use health status in setting premiums."

Mandated offers of coverage, but no cap on the price of the policies offered, in other words.

Good catch, JC.

And a bit heartening to see the FDL folks almost universally pissed off...


"universally pissed off"

of course they are

this bill spells struggle with a capital S
for progressive forces

but it claims to be reform
that is the point

uncle's center aisle party
has given us a target
a new modified system
strutting about claiming to be progress
by the very nature
of its taunts
pleb rocks will be thrown at it
and of course
the INSco's
and the other health corporates
thru their mad dog party
will try rejectionism this fall
and behind the curtain
collude to bend the new system
into a shape they prefer

but i insist reform..cost reform
is a necessity not an option
the greater good of corporate amerika depends on relative cost reductions

the goal of universal basic coverage
at one co pay/premium price for all
is still miles up ahead
but at last the whole gig is in play

yes we could get
instead of price controls
rationing and exclusions
ie quantity controls
but i think exclusions
and multi pooling by pre condition
are gambits
the public has shown
it will not stand for
the mad dogs opportunistically
hit all these hot buttons
death squads
child pre condition exclusions
blah blah blah
why ??
because they know the public reactions to all this
they want the hill back

i will add
after the gross shape of this push me pull beast becomes publically clear
if the dembos try defending it
they will lose
they know it
and one by one will turn on it
piece by bad piece
and blame the corporate lobby

they are eagerly calling the whole of it
a work in progress
toward progress
but not yet of progress

they can attack each bad line of it
as long as they don't shout
"mission accomplished"
but rather
this was only the end of the beginning

i wish folks here could keep

talk about the dembo strategy
and the content of the struggle
as one topic

and righteous rants
about WHAT a sell out
and corporate crafted document
this bill is
for their own good
--maybe even our good --
the dems oughta start fixing it up some
as fast as possible


"Nobody will die on account of us telling the truth"

but who here isn't telling the truth

maybe we are only as you suggest mjs
explaianing why dennis K might vote in good conscience for the bill
as a life sparing measure
and vow to fight on till we have medicare for all
or its rough but workable equivalent

its not being
"too kind even to the people who do have some responsibility for outcomes."

this is untrue as stated

" They ought to be able to see where all this is going"
no they opught to see where all this is going unless reform ers drag it another way

the horse here doesn't need tobe taught english

the horse here needs to permit a rider

i contend the greater corporate co prosperity sphere
wants objectively a rideable horse
not a wild stallion

err the horse here being the health sector

not the congress

which is a slut of a broken horse
all can ride for the correct payment
but crucially not in two directions at once
and the grander party of corporates on this vomrades
want to ride in the near opposite direction that the narrower clique of interests
wish to ride

hey the outcome hangs in the balance here

the future is in this casde hardly foetold by the immediate past

we have past thru a phase change
take heart
reform is in motion for the first time since lbj


I would have thought that the old GM would have been a valuable member of the corporate co prosperity sphere desiring a "horse taught his manage" given their 'legacy costs' but they really weren't. Now who owns the stock? UAW? And being eager to dump it, will UAW desire this trained horse?

I really like this interesting opinions you all have shared here.

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