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      No, central banks aren’t screwing the economy up with their purchases: Veolia (Paris:VIE) has issued a 500 million 3-year EUR bond (maturity November 2020) with a negative yield of -0.026 %, which is a first for a BBB issuer. To be clear, central banks didn’t buy those bond, investors did. But central bank purchases of […]
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Why is single payer not being served at President Obama’s table?

Study_Obama_deals_with_the_abstract

Why is single payer not at the President’s table?

76% of Americans want single payer health care. President Obama, judged by his actions, is staunchly against giving this 76% what they want. He did not invite one advocate of single payer to his advisory panel. The majority of the U.S.’s elected representatives are also staunchly against representing the taxation wishes of the majority of their constituents. When elected representatives refuse to allocate tax dollars based on the wishes of the majority of their constituents, then the elected representatives are practicing a type of taxation without representation. Why are the POTUS, the Democrats, and the Republicans so strongly in favor of taxation without representation on the issue of health care? What would it take to make single payer healthcare a reality in the U.S.?

Rather than repeat or add to the mass of research that suggests U.S. citizens are systematically denied the fruits of their constitution and their nation by the corrupt relationship that exists between the Presidency, the Senate, Congress, and numerous powerful blocks of lobbyists, I will take a different tack. (This is not to say that the corruption is not a significant part of the problem or even the most significant part of the problem, however, it is merely to point towards another piece of the “why not single payer” healthcare puzzle.)

I suggest that one reason the majority of America’s elected representatives refuse to represent the wishes of their constituents on the issue of healthcare is because the U.S. does not have a left wing, it only has a right wing and a center. The Republicans are the right. The Democrats are the center. The left lacks a serious representative party.

Quibblers will rightfully point out that the left end of the center is America’s left, but that misses the point, which is to say that single payer healthcare was a policy of the European and Canadian left. It only became adopted by the center because single payer healthcare was so rational, moral, and desirable to the electorate, that going against the policy, or not going for the policy, caused the center and the right to lose electoral support to the left, and in some cases, so much that the left formed the government. The first province that got single payer healthcare in Canada did so by electing a socialist government.

President Obama did not invite one advocate of single payer healthcare to his advisory group, even though 76% of U.S. citizens want it, because neither he, nor the anti-single payer Democrats, are afraid of citizen backlash. They are not afraid of citizen backlash because, without a perceived viable party on the left, citizens do not have an effective way to punish them at the ballot box. The point to take here is that the only thing that either party respects about the citizens is the ability of the citizens to hurt them at the ballot box.

Given the history of the U.S., it’s unlikely that a viable left will materialize anytime soon, so does this mean getting single payer is dead?

Not necessarily, but it will be difficult and take hard work. Because 76% of Americans favor single payer, its wide base of support, necessarily including Republicans, makes it a potential wedge issue, which means that anti-single payer candidates can be targeted at the ballot box. This seems possible, when one considers it’s high level of support, despite the flood of anti-single payer propaganda and the willful attempts at distortion using  a “public option.” The power of single payer as a wedge issue is further enhanced by President Obama’s confidence-based betrayal of the progressive movement, which should turn them towards the Nader/Green left or independent status and make Democrats more susceptible to the wishes of their constituents.

Nothwithstanding, single payer healthcare can only become a wedge issue, if single payer supporters act as single payer advocates by letting the Republican and Democrat candidates in their area know that being anti-single payer makes them a non-starter. Many people writing two letters or making two phone calls can trump bagfulls of lobbyist donations.  Doing so is a potential good step in the direction of “A Republic, if you can keep it” and The price of freedom is eternal vigilance.” After all, and as noted in “The Adventures of Baron Munchhausen“, sometimes the enemy is inside the gates.

There is no shortage of stories about politicians receiving policy revelation when their political futures are in jeopardy. Barack Obama(h/t to John at LR), for example, converted from single payer to anti-single payer when faced with losing access to the funding from the healthcare lobby. If citizens who support single payer can find a meaningful way to punish their elected representatives at the ballot box for not supporting single payer, then it might be possible to create a circumstance where President Obama will roll out the video from 2003 and read from his teleprompter, “I’ve always supported single payer healthcare.”

This is an open thread.  Have a great Friday night!

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Dana Milbank says Hillary should drink “Mad Bitch” beer

Seriously.  From Peter Daou / ConsiderThisNews:

Just like last year.  Now all we need is the Failbots:

Sexism, what sexism?  Hillary IS as mad bitch!

and

But what about the racism? Bill Clinton said “fairy tale!”

I’ll betcha Milbank doesn’t get fired for this, but I bet he would be unemployed if he suggested Obama should drink (racially offensive term) beer.

Why is sexism more acceptable than racism?


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The mob rules!

angry-mob


This could get really interesting.  From Politico:

Screaming constituents, protesters dragged out by the cops, congressmen fearful for their safety — welcome to the new town-hall-style meeting, the once-staid forum that is rapidly turning into a house of horrors for members of Congress.

On the eve of the August recess, members are reporting meetings that have gone terribly awry, marked by angry, sign-carrying mobs and disruptive behavior. In at least one case, a congressman has stopped holding town hall events because the situation has spiraled so far out of control.

[…]

The targets in most cases are House Democrats, who over the past few months have tackled controversial legislation including a $787 billion economic stimulus package, a landmark energy proposal and an overhaul of the nation’s health care system.

Democrats, acknowledging the increasing unruliness of the town-hall-style events, say the hot-button issues they are taking on have a lot to do with it.

“I think it’s just the fact that we are dealing with some of the most important public policy issues in a generation,” said Rep. Bruce Braley (D-Iowa), who was confronted by a protester angry about his position on health care reform at a town hall event several weeks ago.

The voters got fed up with the Republicans and in the last two elections gave the Democrats the White House and super-majorities in Congress.  Now “hope and change” has turned out to be “more of same” and they aren’t happy.

Maybe Obama should buy them all a beer.


We told you so


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Friday Morning News You can Use

3310794539_1b20fae5b4

Good Morning, Conflucians. Today I really mean it when I say TGIF! Let me tell you, teaching two classes every single day for two hours each is wiping me out. I am really going to veg out this weekend, and I can’t wait to get started. So this will be a brief, slightly ecclectic, and disorganized collection of news links. Hope you enjoy them.

Health Care “Reform”

Be still my heart!

Liberal Democrats Protest Health Care Deal, Threaten to Fight It

Fifty-three lawmakers from the Congressional Black Caucus, the Progressive Black Caucus and the Congressional Hispanic Caucus have sent a letter to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and key committee chairmen formally opposing the deal that House leaders struck with a group of fiscally conservative Democrats known as Blue Dogs.

The letter, written to express their “opposition” to the negotiated deal, called the agreement “fundamentally unacceptable” and a “large step backwards.”

“We’re going to fight this with every effort that we have,” CBC Chairwoman Barbara Lee, D-Calif., told reporters Thursday.

Liberal Democrats threaten to reject House healthcare deal

“We have compromised and we can compromise no more,” an angry Rep. Lynn Woolsey (D-Petaluma) said at a raucous news conference outside the Capitol.

Meanwhile in the Senate, a growing number of Democrats and Republicans were taking aim at an effort led by finance committee chairman Max Baucus (D-Mont.) to develop centrist healthcare legislation that could attract GOP support — in part by eliminating a government plan entirely.

The rising tide of liberal anger sent the White House scrambling, with Obama calling at least one left-leaning lawmaker to offer reassurance before Congress leaves town for its August break.

Will they really fight for actual health care reform? I don’t want to get my hopes up. Will these reps be able to stand up to the nasty threats that will be coming their way from Rahm Emanuel? Somehow I doubt it, but hope springs eternal…

Economy

The Real Unemployment Rate Hits a 68-Year High

PhD Economist: Fed has Caused Soaring Unemployment, Millions of Foreclosures, Millions Losing Life Savings and More than $6 Trillion in Lost Output

Don’t Be Fooled

Cash for Clunkers Program Suspended after Only Four Days

‘Cash for Clunkers’ Runs Out of Gas.

Cash for Clunkers is Said to Run Out

Cash for Clunkers Going Broke

Karl Rove and U.S. Attorney Firings

[David] Iglesias: ‘Long Suspected Rove’s Fingerprints Were All Over’ Attorney Firings

E-Mails Show Larger White House Role in Prosecutor Firings

Iran

BBC: Iran police clash with mourners (with video)

State TV said police used teargas to disperse crowds from the grave of Neda Agha Soltan, whose death became a symbol of post-election unrest.

Opposition leader Mir Hossein Mousavi tried to join the mourners but police forced him to leave, witnesses said.

Further confrontations were reported at a second gathering in central Tehran.

Several hundred people defied a heavy police presence to gather at the Grand Mossala prayer area, witnesses said.

NYT: Clashes as Iranians Gather to Mourn

Thousands of people gathered in Tehran on Thursday to commemorate those killed in Iran’s post-election crackdown, but a vast deployment of police officers used tear gas and wooden batons to disperse them, in some of the largest and most violent street clashes in weeks.

The mourners gathered at the freshly dug graves of protesters, including Neda Agha-Soltan, a young woman whose bloodied image has become an icon of the opposition movement. As the opposition leader Mir Hussein Moussavi arrived at the Behesht-e-Zahra cemetery, the police barred him from entering, and angry mourners chanted, “Neda lives! Ahmadinejad is dead!” referring to Iran’s president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, witnesses said.

Comic Relief

‘Birthers are Just Plain Nuts’

Baby biting Al Franken

Baby biting Al Franken

Franken attacked by biting baby

One of the job requirements of any elected representative is holding babies. Yes, it’s trivial and annoying, but new parents couldn’t be more thrilled to have someone semi-famous holding their little bundle of joy. Besides the crying, smelly diapers and potential for spit-up, these poor people have another hazard in their hands: babies who attack.

More Franken photos with biting baby

Man believed pizza slice was left behind to harrass others

On Monday evening, police were called to the 1300 block of Desoto Street about a “suspicious piece of pizza.”

The 43-year-old man demanded that police write out a police report about the slice of pizza, claiming it was left near a fence with the intent to harass. Police described the pizza slice to the Pioneer Press: “The man had found a piece of pizza that was three-quarters eaten, with bite marks in it.”

When the Punch Lines Hit Home: Judd Apatow’s Latest Film Examines the Tears of a Clown

Please post links to additional stories that interested you!


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Obama’s Poll Ratings In Free Fall

Free Falling

Free Falling

Obama has only been in the White House for about seven months, yet it is no longer accurate to call him a popular President. His poll ratings are dropping fast. According to the Pew Research Center,

Barack Obama’s approval ratings have suffered major declines. The president’s overall job approval number fell from 61% in mid-June to 54% currently. His approval ratings for handling the economy and the federal budget deficit have also fallen sharply, tumbling to 38% and 32%, respectively. Majorities now say they disapprove of the way the president is handling these two issues. The new poll also finds significant declines over the last few months in the percentage of Americans giving Obama high marks for dealing with health care, foreign policy and tax policy.

Furthermore, Obama has lost ground in nearly every demographic category, including big losses among Democrats. Although 74% say they still like Obama personally, they are unhappy with most of his policies and with the way things are going in the country overall.

For the first time since Obama took office, as many say the government is on the wrong track (48%) as on the right track (46%) in handling the nation’s economic problems. In May, 53% said the government was on the right track on the economy, while 39% said it was on the wrong track.

Today’s Rasmussen presidential tracking poll has Obama’s Presidential Approval Index at -12, his lowest score yet. Only 28% of respondents strongly approve of Obama’s performance while 40% strongly disapprove. In addition,

Forty-nine percent (49%) now say that America’s best days have come and gone. Just 38% believe they are still to come. Thirty-four percent (34%) say the country is heading in the right direction. Seventy-five percent (75%) want the Federal Reserve to be audited.

Comments, reactions? This is an open thread.

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Vacation, Day 1: My love-hate relationship with travelling

Oh how I wish the “Beam me up Scotty” technology of Star Trek was a reality.  I really do love going on vacation, but the “getting there” and “getting home” stuff can be quite annoying.  Our trip into San Francisco today was no exception.

The first leg of our trip, in the wee hours of the morning, was on the smallest plane ever.  I think it must double as the touring plane for the Keebler Elves.  I’m pretty short, yet I have a few lumps from bumping my head; and my size  0 daughter was complaining about claustrophobia.  My hubby, who is 6’4″ was none-too-happy either…and the air conditioning didn’t work.  To top it off, someone near our seats had the worst case of flatulence — so bad that I actually almost lost my coffee at one point.  Oh dear heavens.  Thank goodness it was a short flight.

The connecting flight was actually much better, comfort-wise, but it was five and a half hours long.  Yoinks! That’s a long time to be on a plane!  But we arrived safe and sound at San Fran Int’l Airport and so did our baggage.  (thank the gods for that small favor!).  The rental car ritual was uneventful and we were soon on our way…or were we?  Did I mention my husband has the worst case of road rage ever?  Not the shoot-em up kind, just the cursing, complaining, grunting, groaning, stressed-out, drive me to insanity kind – but only when we’re in new territory.  As a Capricorn, he does not do well with “new.”  He went around and around the airport about seven times, unable to figure out how to get on the highway, like in a scene from Groundhog day.  I finally convinced him to pull over and let me drive to the hotel.

With me at the wheel, we arrived at our hotel in a jiffy.  Ahhhh…no worries.  Now the relaxing part!  We were staying at a beautiful, historic (read: old) hotel with lovely ambiance and comfy rooms.  We checked in and piled into the elevator and pushed the button to our floor.  It began to move, up, up, up, up, … and then it stopped.  We waited for the doors to open, but they didn’t.  “Push the ‘open door’ button” we all said in unison.  Nothing.  Looking at each other, fearing the worst, we stood there in silence.  We were all thinking the same thing.  The unthinkable.  We were stuck, shoved like sardines, luggage in tow, in an *old* elevator, between floors.  Did I mention I have claustrophobia?  “Push the ‘open door’ button again” we all said again in unison.  Nothing…except the rising temperature in the elevator.  Trying not to soil my claustrophobic shorts, I said to my daughter who was nearest the buttons… (Ok, more like screamed) “Push the alarm!!!”  —- brrrrrrrrreeeeeaaat, went the alarm.  “Push it again!!! and hold it in!!”  brrrrrrrrreeeeeeeaaaaaatttttttttttt.”  Nothing.  “brrrrrrrrreeeeeaaat”…”brrrrrrrrreeeeeaaat”…”brrrrrrrrreeeeeaaat”…”brrrrrrrrreeeeeaaat”  Nothing.

Ok, so we didn’t die in the elevator because I’m writing this post.  Several minutes later the elevator began to move – back down to the lobby. The bellhop was waiting when the door opened chuckling, and asked us if we were having problems.  Uhhh, yeah.  See that puddle on the floor?

We unloaded and took the stairs.

It’s now 7pm and we’re heading for dinner at the number one vegan restaurant in the country.  What excitement awaits?  I can hardly guess.

Tomorrow – Yosemite!  I will hopefully have pics to post.

Got any vacation horror stories?

Failure is a feature, not a bug

Obamacare


Ask someone why Obamacare is going down in flames and you’ll likely hear one of these answers:

It’s the Republican’s fault!

It’s the Blue Dog’s fault!

It’s the media’s fault!

I’ll tell you why Barack Obama’s health care reform “failed” – it was never supposed to succeed in the first place.  Let me clarify that:

BARACK OBAMA AND THE DEMOCRATIC LEADERSHIP IN CONGRESS NEVER INTENDED TO ENACT REAL HEALTH CARE REFORM!!!

I’ve never been optimistic about health care reform. This whole thing has been Kabuki since the DNC/RBC meeting on 5/31/08 – the day democracy and the Democratic party went their separate ways.  Hillary’s proposal wasn’t a whole lot better than Obama’s but she really intended to get it passed.

The Obamacare plan has always been to enact something they can call “reform” without actually reforming shit.  If anything, Obamacare will make things worse and ensure that health insurance organizations continue to make outrageous profits for at least another decade.

If they really intended to reform health care then these numbers from The Daily Howler would be well-known to every American with a television:

Total health expenditures per capita, 2003

United States $5711

Australia $2886

Austria $2958

Belgium $3044

Canada $2998

Denmark $2743

Finland $2104

France $3048

Germany $2983

Iceland $3159

Ireland $2466

Italy $2314

Japan $2249

Luxembourg $4611

Netherlands $2909

Norway $3769

Sweden $2745

Switzerland $3847

United Kingdom $2317

That’s right, the United States spends approximately twice as much per capita as other industrialized nations for health care and doesn’t even cover everyone. Every American who lives in the real world knows our health care system is fucked up but that’s a vague analysis. When you put the numbers up like that you can really see how fucked up the system is.

So why haven’t the Democrats done that?

{{crickets}}

Perhaps we should ask what did the Democrats do instead? The first thing they did was take single-payer “off the table.” Single-payer is the closest thing to true “socialized medicine” that we’re likely to see in this country. It’s Medicare for everyone. Koresh knows we can’t allow that!

Now we are reduced to watching Congress argue for a clusterfuck plan that they call “public option” that isn’t public option. Do you know what is in that plan? Will you be better or worse off?

The plan doesn’t kick in until 2013, after the 2012 elections so Obama can claim a policy victory when he runs for reelection. By the time people figure out they have been screwed and tattooed it will be too late.

And somewhere down the road the Democrats will be trying to retake the White House running on a campaign to reform health care.


Don’t blame the Republicans or the Blue Dogs – put the blame where it belongs – on Barack Obama and the Democratic leadership.


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