Sunday, May 31, 2009

On the Single-payer Universal Healthcare Crisis

Moyers' Preface to the Second Part of His 22 May 2009 Broadcast in Essay Form:

In 2003, a young Illinois state senator named Barack Obama told an AFL-CIO meeting, "I am a proponent of a single-payer universal healthcare program."

Single payer. Universal. That's health coverage, like Medicare, but for everyone who wants it. Single payer eliminates insurance companies as pricey middlemen. The government pays care providers directly. It's a system that polls consistently have shown the American people favoring by as much as 2-to-1.

There was only one thing standing in the way, Obama said six years ago: "All of you know we might not get there immediately because first we have to take back the White House, we have to take back the Senate and we have to take back the House."

Fast-forward six years. President Obama has everything he said was needed -- Democrats in control of the executive branch and both chambers of Congress. So what's happened to single payer?

A woman at his town hall meeting in New Mexico last week asked him exactly that. "If I were starting a system from scratch, then I think that the idea of moving towards a single-payer system could very well make sense," the president replied. "That's the kind of system that you have in most industrialized countries around the world.

"The only problem is that we're not starting from scratch. We have historically a tradition of employer-based healthcare. And although there are a lot of people who are not satisfied with their healthcare, the truth is, is that the vast majority of people currently get healthcare from their employers and you've got this system that's already in place. We don't want a huge disruption as we go into healthcare reform where suddenly we're trying to completely reinvent one-sixth of the economy."

So the banks were too big to fail and now, apparently, healthcare is too big to fix, at least the way a majority of people indicate they would like it to be fixed, with a single-payer option. President Obama favors a public health plan competing with the medical cartel that he hopes will create a real market that would bring down costs. But single payer has vanished from his radar.


Moyers Talks to Donna Smith [Video and Transcript]

BILL MOYERS: What is it you would like those folks to know, those regular citizens to know about this issue, about single-payer and why it's important to them?

DONNA SMITH: I tell people, I always ask them to tell me if they understand single-payer and what it's all about. It's a great idea from the left, which is public financing, combined with a great idea from the right, which is private delivery. And you put it together in one system that takes out the waste and the abuse that's really happening, which is where all the money goes into the health insurance. Up to 30 percent of the costs have nothing to do with health care at all and everything to do with fueling the health insurance needs.


BILL MOYERS: When we did a report on the Journal 12 or 15 months ago on the California nurses and the fight out there for single-payer, we were inundated with mail saying they're socialists and you're a fellow traveler. What do you say to people like that, who read into what you're doing a call for state government-run socialistic medical care?

DONNA SMITH: I laugh a little bit in light of the last six months on how much money we've thrown into Wall Street and how much money we've thrown in keeping financial markets stable in this country. In three days, we were able to come up with three quarters of a trillion dollars to throw into Wall Street. So the argument about socializing things and making things government-run seems a little bit yesterday to me, just intellectually.

But I tell people, you know, look, don't fear this. This is not - you're not turning into a Communist red nation. Please don't be afraid. Even in polling data where the words "socialized medicine" is used, even in that polling data, almost 50 percent of the American public say, "Okay. Do it." And data where we just ask about a national health insurance system, and that's through "The New York Times" and CNN and Yahoo! and a number of polls, 60 percent of the American public say we've got to have a national health program. We just have to do it. It's the only way we fix this mess. It's spun out of control. It's going to bury us financially. It's going to mortgage our children, and it kills people. It just is not working.


Moyers Talks to David Himmelstein & Sidney Wolfe [Video and Transcript]

BILL MOYERS: Dr. Wolfe, I am puzzled as a journalist as to why this subject of single-payer, whether one is for it or against it, seems totally out of the debate in Washington. It's just not on the table. And it's not in the- on the radar screen of the press. Why do you think that is?

DR. SIDNEY WOLFE: I think the reason is, unfortunately, simple and frightening. Which is the power of the health insurance industry.


DR. DAVID HIMMELSTEIN: That's the big problem here is people want to find a solution that they can get through without a big fight with the insurance industry. Unfortunately it's economically and medically nonsensical - you can't actually have a health care program that works, if you keep the insurance industry alive.

BILL MOYERS: Well, then how do you account for the fact that so many people in other polls say, "We're satisfied with what we have for health care, and we don't want it taken away from us"?

DR. DAVID HIMMELSTEIN: Well, people are satisfied many times with their doctor and with the hospitals they go to. And most Americans aren't sick and don't actually have experience of their health insurance. But when you get sick, and actually have to use your insurance, that's when people find out the dark side of the policies they have. Huge co-payments, huge deductibles.

We did a survey of people filing for bankruptcy in courts around the country. Half of the bankruptcies are medical bankruptcies in this country. And of those medical bankruptcies, three quarters of those people had insurance, at least when they first got sick. But people have insurance that goes away after they actually need it.

BILL MOYERS: But why in the dozen or so hearings that I've tracked in Washington recently on health care reform have there been so few advocates of the single-payer?

DR. SIDNEY WOLFE: The seats at the table, or the witnesses at the hearing are, in a sense, controlled by the health insurance industry. They don't want someone essentially saying, "We don't need a health insurance industry. We can do what most other countries in the world have done. Have the government collect the money and pay the bills and get rid of all these people who are wasting $400 billion a year on excessive administrative costs."

So, we have got a fragmented health insurance industry. And it thrives on being fragmented. The drug countries make much more money with the fragmentation, because there's no price control. The insurance companies make much more money, 'cause they can push away people who aren't going to be profitable. The only people that suffer are the patients.

It's- 1968, I was one of a group of physicians that disrupted the American Medical Association's convention, because they were saying then, and in, for all practical purposes it's still true, "Health care is not a right. It's a privilege." And we said, quietly, as we took over the microphone, "That's wrong." We're now 41 years later, and it's still a privilege. And too many people in this country don't have that privilege. It's resulting in huge numbers of people being ill, sick, and almost 20 thousand people dying a year because they don't have health insurance.


BILL MOYERS: I've heard you say that several times. I've read you're saying it. We can do away with the health industry. I mean, them's fightin' words, a very powerful part of the economy, and they're a powerful part of the political statute, as David said.

DR. SIDNEY WOLFE: It absolutely is. And in Canada, back in 1970 or so, they were spending the same percentage of their gross national product as we were on health. They had huge numbers of uninsured people. They had the same insurance companies. Blue Cross Blue Shield. They decided to just get rid of the health insurance industry. That it was the only way to go. They had experimented with it in Saskatchewan ten years earlier. It worked so well, they couldn't wait to do it nationally. So, where there's a will, there's a way. There is no way we are ever going to get to having good health insurance for everyone, as long as there's a health insurance industry, in the way, obstructing care.

BILL MOYERS: What do you say to the argument, though, of people who've gone to Canada, and looked at that system. "Well, there are long waiting lines. You can't choose your doctor." In fact, conservative critics say that this will lead to what they dread which is socialized medicine. Would single-payer in fact mean I could not choose my doctor?

DR. DAVID HIMMELSTEIN: Well, in Canada, actually, you can go to any doctor, any hospital in the country.

DR. SIDNEY WOLFE: Much more choice than here.

DR. DAVID HIMMELSTEIN: Yeah, Canadians have better choice than we do. They spend half as much per person on health care as we do. And if you're going to cut our budget by 50 percent, we'd have to have some waiting lines. But if we're willing to keep spending at our current levels, we could cover everybody with first dollar coverage with terrific access to care.

BILL MOYERS: What do you mean first dollar coverage?

DR. DAVID HIMMELSTEIN: No co-payment, no deductible. You go to the doctor. The whole bill is paid. Any doctor, any hospital in the country. That's the model. And that's not just me who says that. The Congressional Budget Office has said that in the past. The Government Accountability Office says we're spending enough to do that. And we're really talking about social insurance, like Medicare is social insurance. But doctors and hospitals remaining privately owned.


BILL MOYERS: Am I correct in thinking on the basis of what I've read that with single-payer, the benefits would be publicly financed, as you just said, but that the health care providers would, for the most part, remain private?

DR. DAVID HIMMELSTEIN: They certainly would. As would the hospitals.

BILL MOYERS: They wouldn't work for the state.


BILL MOYERS: They wouldn't get their salaries some...

DR. DAVID HIMMELSTEIN: In fact, private practice is more common in Canada than it is here in the U.S. And in the U.S., we're seeing more practices being taken over by big corporations. And people, basically, doctors becoming employees of large bureaucracies. In Canada, private practices remain the norm. And that's what we're saying ought to continue in the U.S.

DR. SIDNEY WOLFE: I mean, essentially it's socializing the financing. So, I mean, when people use this scare word "socialized medicine" I don't know what they mean. We have socialized libraries. We collect taxes, and we have libraries, we have socialized police. The financing is socialized. In those cases, they are working for a city. In this case, the doctors are in private practice. The hospitals are operating privately. And any patient- it's interesting the system is called Medicare, and so, everyone in the country has a Medicare card and that allows them to go wherever they want. They don't have this limited number of providers, which is getting more and more limited, as everyone who has health insurance in this country knows.


BILL MOYERS: You are both doctors, but are there many doctors like you in support of single-payer? Is there any evidence of their numbers?

DR. DAVID HIMMELSTEIN: Well, we actually started our group, Physicians for a National Health Program with just a few of us. But we now have 16 thousand members. So, there are a lot of doctors who are activists on this issue. But more than that, surveys are showing that most doctors support national health insurance-


DR. DAVID HIMMELSTEIN: this point. Because our lives every day taking care of patients drive us to it. The paperwork, the bureaucracy, the game of mother may I we play with the insurance companies. All of those are not what we went into medicine for. We went into medicine, most of us, 'cause we wanted to take care of people. This system doesn't let us do that. And even my conservative colleagues, our organization has Republicans in it. There, at this point, single-payer supporters, 'cause they say "Let me practice medicine."

BILL MOYERS: I want to get your thoughts on President Obama's plan. As I read it, it's very difficult, at this moment, to know the details of it.

DR. SIDNEY WOLFE: 'Cause there aren't any details.

BILL MOYERS: There aren't any details. But he seems to be advocating a public option that would compete with the private insurance-driven sector, as a way of lowering the cost. What do you think about it? Is that- am I reading his plan correctly?

DR. DAVID HIMMELSTEIN: Well, most of the cost savings he's talking about are really illusory, I think. And my research group has done most of the research work on administrative costs in health care. And the administrative costs he's talking about saving are a tiny fraction of the potential savings under single-payer. 'Cause hospitals have to keep their bureaucracy, if you're dealing with hundreds of different plans. And doctors have to keep the bureaucracy in our office. You don't actually get the streamlining that you get from having one payer that has one set of rules and can pay lump sum budgets to hospitals. But more than that, we're worried that the public plan actually becomes a dumping ground for the unprofitable patients. As it's happening in Medicare.


BILL MOYERS: So, what would you like to see in Obama's plan?

DR. SIDNEY WOLFE: Well, we'd like to see Obama remember where he came from. And not only say, "If we were starting now from scratch, we would have a single-payer, but it's too disruptive." Instead of saying, "We are starting out from scratch, because we need to start out from scratch. There are too many people dying, being sick, ill, because they don't have insurance." And so, we would like Obama to espouse a single-payer program. The majority of people in the Congress would vote for it, if there were some leadership. Instead of saying, "It's politically impossible." It's politically impossible if everyone agrees that it's not possible, it won't happen.

If instead they say, "It's not only politically possible, politically feasible, and it's the only practical way it would happen." Anything short of that is essentially throwing billions of dollars at the insurance industry. And if you're afraid of the insurance industry, then you're afraid of doing the right thing.


Obama for Single-Payer Before He Was Against It.

...let me just echo Ta-Neishi Coates who recently wrote that "while a good politician accomplishes what is possible, a great one expands the realm of possibility - he doesn't simply accept the lines of argument as they're drawn and hew to the side with the most soldiers, he tries to redraw those lines to benefit his ideals."

The whole idea that single payer is the best option but politically "impossible" is simply unacceptable. Last I checked, electing an African American president was politically "impossible"...until Barack Obama went ahead and got himself elected president. The entire notion of "politically possible" and "politically impossible" is a canard that justifies the status quo. So while it's certainly terrific that Obama is fighting for some sort of universal health care system, and one with a public option (which could ultimately become a single-payer system), let's just remember: Nothing has been politically "possible" until it actually happened - and so if that's the major argument against single payer, it's not just a poor argument, it's a fraud.


Obama: Health Care Reform This Year -- Or Never
(two sites for the comments)

President Barack Obama warned on Thursday that if health care reform didn't take place this year, it won't be completed during his presidency.


*Special Note* Do see the Moyers video segments if at all possible. They are golden.


Obama hasn't floated a plan of his own and despite his previous support for a single-payer plan he has refused to allow any such plan to be discussed at recent healthcare reform negotiations. His claimed deadline may reflect the political realities of congressional elections in 2010, but it is also defeatist and melodramatic. Where was the forewarning on this? Now everyone is supposed to immediately jump in support of whatever Obama decides his plan will be even though he has refused to state just what in the hell it is? And the single-payer option is off the table? And it's now or never? By 1 August 2009?

He doesn't seem very hopeful, does he?

Obama is carefully orchestrating all of the reasons why any healthcare reform will prove impossible. And despite whatever Obama or any other Democrat may say of it in the future - they are intentionally dropping the ball on this reform issue because they lack both the leadership and the courage to do the right thing. Cowards all!

Let me float some ideas of my own with you...

Access to healthcare when you need it is a right and not a privilege. No one should be bankrupted by the vagaries of fate or accidental misfortunes concerning their health.

There is no reason to include the health insurance industry in any negotiations about healthcare reform. Why not? Because the health insurance industry is the problem and the source of waste that needs to be corrected.

Any plan that mandates that citizens must buy insurance from private insurers is a giveaway just like mandatory auto liability insurance. And the waste and enormous expense of healthcare will continue to escalate under such a reworked version of the status quo.

Our political representatives aren't going to do what's right because they fear the health insurance industry more than they fear you, the electorate. You are going to have to make them fear your displeasure more instead.

Obama hasn't really succeeded at anything so far. If he screws up healthcare reform as well, I know I am not voting for him a second time. And I won't be wasting my votes on other Democrats any longer either. I am tired of pretending to myself that Democrats represent any kind of meaningful alternative to the Republicans that will also not get my votes. If we don't pass single-payer during Obama's presidency I am never voting for either party again. Not ever.

Now is the time to contact your political representatives and make them understand what is at stake. I hope that you will make them understand that their political survival hangs on this issue.

People are dying while our representatives kowtow to the health insurance industry instead of us, their rightful masters.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Bitterness as mental illness?,0,4544029.story

The disorder is modeled after post-traumatic stress disorder because it too is a response to a trauma that endures. People with PTSD are left fearful and anxious. Embittered people are left seething for revenge.

"They feel the world has treated them unfairly. It's one step more complex than anger. They're angry plus helpless," says Dr. Michael Linden, a German psychiatrist who named the behavior.

Embittered people are typically good people who have worked hard at something important, such as a job, relationship or activity, Linden says. When something unexpectedly awful happens -- they don't get the promotion, their spouse files for divorce or they fail to make the Olympic team -- a profound sense of injustice overtakes them. Instead of dealing with the loss with the help of family and friends, they cannot let go of the feeling of being victimized. Almost immediately after the traumatic event, they become angry, pessimistic, aggressive, hopeless haters.



Yet again we discover another reason to be deeply suspicious of the pseudo-science called Psychiatry. Another bullshit diagnosis for things that aren't actually beyond the "norm" of human behavior or experience. These guys until very recently classified homosexuals and BDSM practitioners as aberrant sexual deviants suffering of "paraphilias."

And yet we all know homosexuals and more than a few otherwise "normal" people would seem to enjoy the look and feel of rough sex play. How many people have to engage in certain behaviors for the behavior to be accepted as part of the broad range of actions that are possible and normal for human beings?

How does the opinion from a psychiatrist differ from the opinion of the average judgemental asshole? Subjectivity has nothing to do with it?

I have an explanation for bitterness. Reality.

Social injustice is rampant. We are not living in anything like a meritocracy. Who you know - perhaps more importantly, how much your family owns - is the yellow brick road to success in modern western terms. We are living in the era in which average taxpayers are being asked to foot the bill for bank bailouts while their own homes are foreclosed on. We are constantly at war with someone or other all over the planet. We fight over resources because our governments don't make the correct policy choices when it comes to energy. Some of us still don't have single-payer healthcare.

It all leads to suffering. Suffering may cause bitterness when it is so obvious that with but a few political tweaks no one need suffer at all.

Stop the overweening greed of the very few and you shall have your cure.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

My New Goal in Life

"Someday I want to be rich. Some people get so rich they lose all respect for humanity. That's how rich I want to be." - Rita Rudner


If you can't beat 'em, join 'em...

Obama Botches It All

Universal Single-payer healthcare? Nothing like it has even been proposed.

Election reform? eh?

Anti-war position? Continual warfare in every theater. Thanks,

Economic recovery? Only if you are a bankster, Wall Street huckster or a foreign investor. Main Street americans can go fuck themselves.

Prosecution of Bush et al war crimes? LOL! Not in this lifetime...

Isn't that known as 0 for 5?


Universal Healthcare = Mandatory Liability Insurance According to Obama

Another fail, Obama.

We need top to bottom healthcare reform, Obama - not another fucking bill to pay to private interests.

Brilliant move, BTW - you failed to even propose single-payer as a starting point for negotiations. What's left to concede? You gave it all away in your first move.

Gasoline Markets Should Be Controlled

Are Wall Street speculators driving up gasoline prices?

Oil and gasoline prices are rising fast as Memorial Day weekend approaches, but not because supplies are tight or demand is high.

U.S. crude-oil inventories are at their highest levels in almost two decades, and demand has fallen to a 10-year low, but crude oil prices have climbed more than 70 percent since mid-January to a six-month high of $62.04 on Wednesday.

Meanwhile, although refiners are operating at less than 85 percent of capacity, which leaves them plenty of room to churn out more gasoline if demand rises during the summer driving season, the price of gasoline at the pump has climbed 28 cents a gallon from a month earlier to $2.33.

This time, Wall Street speculators — some of them recipients of billions of dollars in taxpayers' bailout money — may be to blame.


Gasoline is too important to the economy and national security to allow its availability and price point to fluctuate according to the vagaries of an easily manipulated market in which foreign players hold sway.

The Credit Card Reform Bill is Crap!

All smoke and mirrors, folks. Sound and fury signifying almost nothing. Yeah, they scored some incremental points but interests rates basically went unchecked.

Credit card companies can and will continue to hammer people with usurious interest rates. And as they have blithely skipped past the most corrupt aspect of the credit card industry, I give the federal government a "fail" on this one.

Good word to look up sometime: usury.

The Two Faces of Obama on Civil Liberties

Obama's civil liberties speech

The speech was fairly representative of what Obama typically does: effectively defend some important ideals in a uniquely persuasive way and advocating some policies that promote those ideals (closing Guantanamo, banning torture tactics, limiting the state secrets privilege) while committing to many which plainly violate them (indefinite preventive detention schemes, military commissions, denial of habeas rights to Bagram abductees, concealing torture evidence, blocking judicial review on secrecy grounds). Like all political officials, Obama should be judged based on his actions and decisions, not his words and alleged intentions and motives. Those actions in the civil liberties realm, with some exceptions, have been profoundly at odds with his claimed principles, and this speech hasn't changed that. Only actions will.


Obama is not impressing me very much of late. I am still thrilled to have him over McCain, but it's getting to a point where that isn't saying very much.

You know, it being Mouseland and all...

Given a choice between being duped by one candidate or being duped by the other, I chose to be duped by the candidate whose policy claims where closest to my own political ideals.

And ultimately, that's turning out to mean almost nothing. That "almost" there is really just a hold out for hope without any real meaning.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Copyright and Patent Reform - The Nexus of All Things


So what do Microsoft, the RIAA, the MPAA, and Monsanto all have in common? They want to keep you from accessing the things that culturally belong to everyone. They want you to embrace their monocultures of corporate control.

We are gearing up for famine. It will be televised by those that control your electronic devices and the right to the media. Live or die, your fate will be decided by corporations.

The judgment of fictitious person upon natural persons is upon us.

Maybe it's time to give power back to the commons.

"There's a crack in everything, that's how the light gets in" - Leonard Cohen

Torture Roundup

The 13 people who made torture possible

01. Dick Cheney
02. David Addington
03. Alberto Gonzales
04. James Mitchell
05. George Tenet
06. Condoleezza Rice
07. John Yoo
08. Jay Bybee
09. William "Jim" Haynes
10. Donald Rumsfeld
11. John Rizzo
12. Steven Bradbury
13. George W. Bush


These people are an embarrassment to the rest of us in the United States. Right now, Obama is choosing to do exactly the wrong thing about it - which is nothing. He claims he doesn't want to look at the past but rather toward the future. The problem is that he is tasked as President of the U.S. to prosecute exactly these sorts of crimes. Obama is the chief law enforcement officer on matters of national policy with this much gravity. So choosing to do nothing sends the message that there are people that are above the law; or alternatively, beneath the notice of the current Prez.

I would suggest the following two options:
1. Prosecute every one of these assholes to the fullest extent of the law and then hopefully throw them in jail once they've had their day in court.
2. Pardon them for their various crimes by first enumerating each and every one of said crimes and then explaining why the grant of a pardon is somehow in keeping with the national policies or security interests of this nation.

Personally, I'd like to see a real prison time price paid for these types of crimes. Torture is an ugly crime and a blot upon our national pride. A simple political spanking will not do in my opinion.

But doing nothing is completely unacceptable, Mr. Prez.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Why Obama Sucks Cock in Hell

Obama Nominates Superfund Polluter Lawyer To Run DOJ Environment Division

Obama picks RIAA's favorite lawyer for a top Justice post

Obama adds yet another RIAA attorney to Justice Department roster (now there are 5)

That Didn't Take Long: Insurance Industry Breaks Promise To President Obama

Obama's top 10 stocks

The fund's Top 10 holdings, according to the Vanguard site are:
01. JP Morgan Chase (JPM, Fortune 500)
02. Apple (AAPL, Fortune 500)
03. Google (GOOG, Fortune 500)
04. Intel (INTC, Fortune 500)
05. Qualcomm (QCOM, Fortune 500)
06. McDonald's (MCD, Fortune 500)
07. Bank of America (BAC, Fortune 500)
08. Amgen (AMGN, Fortune 500)
09. CVS Caremark (CVS, Fortune 500)
10. Gilead (GILD, Fortune 500)

The Federal Reserve Cannot Account For $9 Trillion In Off-Balance Sheet Transactions

AP Sources: Obama wants Fed to be finance supercop


And this is really just the tip of the iceberg.

The continuing bailout of the banks and financial institutions is just a handout via Wall Street butt-boy Geithner. There's no real oversight. What corruption exists in the process is known about and desired by this administration. Main street can go fuck itself - the only way people will get help with their mortgages is if the banks can get another handout along the way. Credit card reforms? Don't hold your breath...

Obama never preached a single-payer healthcare plan. He always wanted to court the healthcare industry as it is today. In other words, Obama means to enshrine the current corrupt and comepletely broken healthcare system.

We're not really leaving Iraq. We are entering into Afghanistan. So Obama is another military-industrial complex styled warmonger. Natch! So much for hope for peace...

Obama is not progressive in any sense of the word. The people he picks are not at all progressive. The plans he wants to implement are not progressive. FWIW, he didn't run as a progressive either.

So we got exactly what was promised: a corporate cocksucker wholly sold out to the biggest multinationals. He pretends much and accomplishes little. It's reverse Robin Hood all the way: grandma is taxed to pay for bankster bonuses.

But this is not a failure of liberal or progressive policy. Progressives must distance themselves from Obama and admit that all they really did was vote against McCain.

The right rhetoric spills from Obama's lips for the most part. But he does not do the right things. His interests are perfectly aligned to those of his corporate masters.

We are in Mouseland:

Voting for centrists will get you nowhere.

Monday, May 11, 2009

GOP on Healthcare: Revenge!

With no public support and with health insurers actually at the negotiating table, the GOP has decided to stick to its obstructionist ways and sought the advice of Frank Luntz to stop healthcare reform. Luntz is a spin-doctor that comes up with rhetorical devices used to shift public opinion in specific ways. Luntz has drafted a memo for the GOP on the subject of healthcare reform and that memo has been leaked here:

It's pretty good reading. And yes, the whole point does seem to be to obstruct the inevitable. By dragging down healthcare reform the GOP once again positions itself as the party of irrelevance.

We're going to have to put the GOP down at some point. It can't be saved and it's kicking and screaming all the way to its own slow demise. A very poor showing, all in all. I hoped for some dignity from the party exhibiting so much bravado over the decades.

The GOP now shows its truest self: the whiny, colicky baby.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Klein/Maddow on Bailout

Calling the bailout the "greatest heist in monetary history," Klein goes on to state that "the crisis on Wall Street created by deregulated capitalism is not actually being solved, it's being moved. A private sector crisis is being turned into a public sector crisis."


The countdown to bank nationalization continues.

Obama and congress cannot have it all ways and they cannot please everyone. The evidence shows that they will please their financial and corporate masters first.

You and yours can get fucked.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Food is Culture

Country Watch: France

Here’s what students in one Paris school district ate for lunch last Tuesday: cucumbers with garlic and fine herbs; Basque chicken thigh with herbs, red and green bell peppers and olive oil; couscous; organic yogurt and an apple. For snack, they had organic bread, butter, hot chocolate and fruit.


Wow. I know some Americans that had not tried some of the constituent items in that menu until well into their thirties. I have known Americans that would only eat junk food like potato chips. I have known Americans that ate only meat. What I rarely perceived was any sense of variety or true culture in what they were eating. They ate what they liked and that to which they had grown accustomed.

In all reality, I wish that I ate like that more regularly. I hate to admit that despite my own excellent palate I often eat far below my self-imposed standards.