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Buyer’s Remorse

You gotta read this article by Chris Hedges:

Barack Obama is a brand. And the Obama brand is designed to make us feel good about our government while corporate overlords loot the Treasury, our elected officials continue to have their palms greased by armies of corporate lobbyists, our corporate media diverts us with gossip and trivia and our imperial wars expand in the Middle East. Brand Obama is about being happy consumers. We are entertained. We feel hopeful. We like our president. We believe he is like us. But like all branded products spun out from the manipulative world of corporate advertising, we are being duped into doing and supporting a lot of things that are not in our interest.


Brand Obama offers us an image that appears radically individualistic and new. It inoculates us from seeing that the old engines of corporate power and the vast military-industrial complex continue to plunder the country. Corporations, which control our politics, no longer produce products that are essentially different, but brands that are different. Brand Obama does not threaten the core of the corporate state any more than did Brand George W. Bush. The Bush brand collapsed. We became immune to its studied folksiness. We saw through its artifice. This is a common deflation in the world of advertising. So we have been given a new Obama brand with an exciting and faintly erotic appeal. Benetton and Calvin Klein were the precursors to the Obama brand, using ads to associate themselves with risqué art and progressive politics. It gave their products an edge. But the goal, as with all brands, was to make passive consumers mistake a brand with an experience.


Obama, who has become a global celebrity, was molded easily into a brand. He had almost no experience, other than two years in the Senate, lacked any moral core and could be painted as all things to all people. His brief Senate voting record was a miserable surrender to corporate interests. He was happy to promote nuclear power as “green” energy. He voted to continue the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. He reauthorized the Patriot Act. He would not back a bill designed to cap predatory credit card interest rates. He opposed a bill that would have reformed the notorious Mining Law of 1872. He refused to support the single-payer health care bill HR676, sponsored by Reps. Dennis Kucinich and John Conyers. He supported the death penalty. And he backed a class-action “reform” bill that was part of a large lobbying effort by financial firms. The law, known as the Class Action Fairness Act, would effectively shut down state courts as a venue to hear most class-action lawsuits and deny redress in many of the courts where these cases have a chance of defying powerful corporate challenges.

Too bad there’s no “Lemon Law” that covers Presidential elections.  I had to laugh at the defensiveness of one of the Obot trolls reacting to the post on this same topic over at Cannonfire.  It looks like 2012 will feature the most bizarre reelection slogan ever:

Do you think McCain could have done any better?

Single-Payer? What is it good for?

You might have seen the phrase “Single-Payer” tossed around by me and others talking about Health Care reform.  I often forget to stop and explain the term which frustrates readers and embarrasses me.

So (since I’m not going to stop talking about it) this post will serve as a handy shortcut to Single-Payer resources.  And life will be a little bit easier for all of us.

My favorite go-to site for single payer facts is the Physicians for a National Health Care Plan:

Physicians for a National Health Program is a single issue organization advocating a universal, comprehensive single-payer national health program. PNHP has more than 16,000 members and chapters across the United States.

Since 1987, we’ve advocated for reform in the U.S. health care system. We educate physicians and other health professionals about the benefits of a single-payer system–including fewer administrative costs and affording health insurance for the 46 million Americans who have none.

And they’ve got virtually REAMS of educational information! From their “New to Single-Payer” page they offer this description:

Single-Payer National Health Insurance

Single-payer national health insurance is a system in which a single public or quasi-public agency organizes health financing, but delivery of care remains largely private.

Currently, the U.S. health care system is outrageously expensive, yet inadequate. Despite spending more than twice as much as the rest of the industrialized nations ($7,129 per capita), the United States performs poorly in comparison on major health indicators such as life expectancy, infant mortality and immunization rates. Moreover, the other advanced nations provide comprehensive coverage to their entire populations, while the U.S. leaves 45.7 million completely uninsured and millions more inadequately covered.


Under a single-payer system, all Americans would be covered for all medically necessary services, including: doctor, hospital, preventive, long-term care, mental health, reproductive health care, dental, vision, prescription drug and medical supply costs. Patients would regain free choice of doctor and hospital, and doctors would regain autonomy over patient care.

Physicians would be paid fee-for-service according to a negotiated formulary or receive salary from a hospital or nonprofit HMO / group practice. Hospitals would receive a global budget for operating expenses. Health facilities and expensive equipment purchases would be managed by regional health planning boards. Continue reading

Feminist Writer Marilyn French Has Died.


Marilyn French, novelist, feminist historian, and champion of women’s rights died yesterday of heart failure. She had struggled for years with esophogheal cancer. Her feminist novel, The Women’s Room, provided a much-needed wake-up call for young women like me in 1970s. In those days, it wasn’t easy to find fiction that reflected my own experiences as a young woman growing into adulthood in a rapidly changing society.

From the New York Times:

With steely views about the treatment of woman and a gift for expressing them on the printed page, Ms. French transformed herself from an academic who quietly bristled at the expectations of married women in the post-World War II era to a leading, if controversial, opinionmaker on gender issues who decried the patriarchal society she saw around her. “My goal in life is to change the entire social and economic structure of Western civilization, to make it a feminist world,” she once declared.

Her first and best-known novel, “The Women’s Room,” released in 1977, traces a submissive housewife’s journey of self-discovery following her divorce in the 1950s, describing the lives of Mira Ward and her friends in graduate school at Harvard as they grow into independent women. The book was partly informed by her own experience of leaving an unhappy marriage and helping her daughter deal with the aftermath of being raped. Women all over the world seized on the book, which sold more than 20 million copies and was translated into 20 languages.

Gloria Steinem, a close friend, compared the impact of the book on the discussion surrounding women’s rights to the one that Ralph Ellison’s “Invisible Man” had had on racial equality 25 years earlier.

“It was about the lives of women who were supposed to live the lives of their husbands, supposed to marry an identity rather than become one themselves, to live secondary lives,” Ms. Steinem said in an interview Sunday. “It expressed the experience of a huge number of women and let them know that they were not alone and not crazy.”

Rest in peace, Marilyn French.

Violet has a series of quotes from French at Reclusive Leftist.

Thanks to Purplefinn for posting these links in comments.

Your Breakfast Read, Served By The Confluence

Morning Read

The other downside of “swine” flu
American Airlines passengers held for flu test

Passengers on an American Airlines flight from Los Angeles were detained for several hours in Tokyo after Japanese officials suspected one passenger of having swine flu, according to the airline.

Mexico to start China flu airlift

Robert Barro has an op-ed column about the economic toll the swine flu could take
Pandemics and Depressions

We’re all waiting with bated breath
Obama assures Hatch he’ll pick a pragmatist

Orrin Hatch: White House may announce Supreme Court nominee this week

G.O.P. Picks Conservative for Senate Judiciary Post

After Specter switch: buyer’s remorse?

GOP, Quo Vadis?
GOP Tries to Dig Out of Its Hole

Young Ross Douthat and David Brooks have some thoughts about how to save the GOP from a massive shrinkage
A Hole in the Center

The Long Voyage Home

The GOP leadership meanwhile is grasping at straws
For GOP, it’s Coleman or bust

With former Sen. Norm Coleman now standing between Democrats and their 60-seat supermajority, the GOP is prepared to back the Republican’s appeal to the federal level if even a shred of doubt emerges in the case currently before the Minnesota Supreme Court.

How do we fix the economy?
Nation Ready To Be Lied To About Economy Again (The Onion via Yves Smith)

Fed Stress Test Results May Show 10 U.S. Banks Need Capita

Matthew Richardson and Nouriel Roubini say we shouldn’t keep throwing money and banks
We Can’t Subsidize the Banks Forever

Wall Street and ZOMBIES

What financial crisis? A George W. Bush library. Quel oxymoron!
Bush Library Raises $100 Million in 100 Days

[T]he Bush center will not be used to “defend or promote something that he did in the past” but will offer a record to help future generations learn about what happened during a presidency, so they make better decisions.”


Obama proposes tax fix. Not everyone is happy

President’s Tax Proposal Riles Business

President Barack Obama’s plan to revamp international tax rules stirred opposition from many multinational businesses and questions among a few leading lawmakers. But even if the proposal doesn’t advance rapidly, policy makers said a broader corporate-tax overhaul is becoming increasingly likely over the next two years.

Corporations cry foul over tax fix

Silicon Valley voices concern over new rules

Tax Salvos

The Obama proposals oversimplify the challenge, both technically and politically.

The other headaches
In Preview of Surge, U.S. Calms Afghan Valley but Peace Is Fragile

U.S. military says Afghan bibles have been destroyed

Stay classy Newt, stay classy
Gingrich: ‘Obama endangering Israel’

Forty-four killed in attack on Turkish wedding

Watch out Blackberry
Companies Shed Initial Resistance to iPhone

Malcolm Gladwell penned a great piece in the New Yorker about David v. Goliath
How David Beats Goliath

Vive La France
Sleeping and eating – the French do it best

True to their reputation as leisure-loving gourmets, the French spend more time sleeping and eating than anyone else among the world’s wealthy nations, according to a study published Monday.

Why we love Europe
US shock-jock, Jewish extremist and Hamas MP on list of 16 banned from UK

The list includes Erich Gliebe, the leader of an American neo-Nazi group, Michael Savage (real name Michael Weiner), a radio presenter in America, Mike Guzovsky, a Jewish extremist, and Stephen “Don” Black, a former Grand Wizard in the Ku Klux Klan.
Also on the list is Fred Waldron Phelps Snr, an American Baptist pastor and his daughter, Shirley, who were barred last year for their homophobic views.

Girl finds condom in McDonald’s Happy Meal