Democrats & Liberals Archives

The Key Line in Understanding the Fight Over CHIP (Children's Health Insurance Program)

“White House officials say Mr. Bush wants to lay the groundwork for a greater private-sector role in covering the uninsured. In his view, CHIP and Medicaid are fine for children below 200% of the poverty line, which is about $40,000 a year for a family of four, but people above that income level should be helped through tax changes to buy their own, private insurance.”

The above quote is from: Disconnect Over Children's Health - Wall Street Journal

Bush does not mind a big government give away program for the poor. After all, that is a boondoggle for his corporation people friends like big pharm, big for profit hospitals, and so on. His friends the private for profit insurance corporation people can't make any money off those poor folks anyway.

(Aside): The issue of corporate personhood is complex and nuanced. Since I mention it in this article, I will give a brief synopsis of the way that I see it. The corporation should be a beast of burden. It should have the right to form contracts, own property on behalf of the people who form it, and participate in lawsuits. However,
I do not believe that corporations should have equal rights and equal protections with real people. Corporations can sort of take on a "life" of their own. They can maintain themselves (homeostasis). They can grow. They can reproduce. They have memory and are aware of their surroundings (consciousness). They are aware of themselves (self-consciousness). They have super-human powers. They have sub-human souls.

The people who comprise them may be moral,ethical, and decent, but the corporation itself is sociopathic and exists only to meet its own greedy self interest. Good decent people who comprise corporations will make decisions and take actions on behalf of the corporation that they would never do on their own behalf. Stockholders can deny personal responsibility for the sociopathy of the corporation because they are not involved in its day to day operations. People who are involved in day to day operations, can deny personal responsibility because they are just following orders and acting on behalf of the stockholders. They are like "good Germans" during WWII who just followed orders. Psychological studies have shown that most us would do the same thing under the same circumstances.

Can a corporation person go to heaven when it dies? What happens to its "soul"? Any answers Republican Christians - because the party that you support is willing subordinate the needs of children to the needs of corporation people? Both liberals and conservatives have played roles in over-empowering corporations, but clearly Republicans are more on board with that than Democrats.

For example: 3 of the 4 dissenting justices in First National Bank of Boston v. Bellotti in 1977 were liberals. At least 3 of the other five justices were conservative. One was liberal. Another was socially liberal but conservative in regards to business law. Lewis F. Powell Jr. wrote the famous Powel Memo which called for corporations to be "more aggressive in molding politics and law in the U.S." Three years after that activist 1977 ruling Ronald Reagan was elected to the presidency and began dismantling the American middle class - coincidence you say?

See:Wikipedia: Lewis Franklin Powell, Jr
See:Timeline of Personhood Rights and Powers
See:Corporate Personhood
See:(#13) Corporate Personhood Challenged
See:Juristic person
See:How can a corporation be legally considered a person?
See:SANTA CLARA COUNTY v. SOUTHERN PAC. R. CO.,
See: 118 U.S. 394 (1886)

Anyhow, back to the point... So, Bush does not mind creating a boondoggle at public expense. What he minds is creating / expanding a program that threatens to kill the cash cow of his corporate person crony friends.

A rational system of National Health care would be similar to the one proposed by the Physicians for a National Health Program. As pointed out more eloquently on their site, national care has been blocked by opponents in this country for over 70 years. For 70 years opponents of national health care have had their way. They have touted private sector solutions with promises of greater efficiency and cost control. How has that worked? The intent of my question is sarcastic. Obviously it has not worked. Private for profit health care insurance has been socialistically sucking from the teets of big government bureaucracy for decades.

They use intrusive big government power to chip away, undermine, sabotage, and prevent universal coverage so that their industry can maintain a monopolistic strangle hold over whether your child lives ($$$) or dies. It is time to change direction and pursue national health care, but we must be careful about how we change direction. Our conservative rivals will try to sabotage our success and they will probably succeed,. They will saddle us with a health care system filled with "for profit" boondoggles for their corporate masters that is intentionally doomed to "break the bank" just like the Bush regime's Medicare prescription drug program. That is why the following four guiding principals of the Physicians for a National Health Program are absolutely vital to any program we adopt.

According to the Physicians for a National Health Program the first principal should be:

Access to comprehensive health care is a human right. It is the responsibility of society, through its government, to assure this right. Coverage should not be tied to employment. Private insurance firms’ past record disqualifies them from a central role in managing health care.
This principal is already established. We provide (and pay for) health care for the uninsured already. If you get run over by a Mack truck we are gonna scrape you up off the pavement whether you have insurance or not. Hospital emergency rooms are used like primary care physicians by the uninsured and we pay to treat terminal metastatic cancer where the simple removal of a small polyp would have sufficed.

Second:

The right to choose and change one’s physician is fundamental to patient autonomy. Patients should be free to seek care from any licensed health care professional.
The need for this principal is obvious given the life and death nature of health care.

Third and I think most importantly:

Pursuit of corporate profit and personal fortune have no place in caregiving and they create enormous waste. The U.S. already spends enough to provide comprehensive health care to all Americans with no increase in total costs. However, the vast health care resources now squandered on bureaucracy (mostly due to efforts to divert costs to other payers or onto patients themselves), profits, marketing, and useless or even harmful medical interventions must be shifted to needed care.
My personal faith is nihilistic atheism and I believe it to be the highest moral path a human being can take yet I have great respect for the morality of Christians, even including fundamentalist Christians. I am puzzled by what kind of denial it takes for good Christian folk to support turning life and death decisions over to the bureaucracy of a soulless sociopathic superhuman corporate entity / person. One may as well make a pact with Beelzebub. I am a nihilistic atheist and can see the demonic nature of these things. Is it preternaturally cold in here or has someone turned the "air" on too high... Soulless superhuman entities with life and death power over our health care... Sends shivers up my spine...

Fourth:

In a democracy, the public should set overall health policies. Personal medical decisions must be made by patients with their caregivers, not by corporate or government bureaucrats.
People don't want the government on their backs. Our conservative rivals have done a good job of selling this idea. Most our interactions with government are unpleasant to be sure. The cop gives us a ticket. The township raises our taxes. We are not allowed to shoot that 12 point buck the day before deer season. Even Dick Cheney suffers from government oppression.

Did you know that there are only certain times of the year when you are allowed to get drunk and shoot old men in the face? We should free ourselves of government oppression. The government is bad and the less of it we have the better - right? Going to the tap and drawing a nice cold glass of clean clear water has nothing to do the government does it? Oh wait, the government provides that to millions of people don't they? It is socialized water. We don't thank them for it. Private industry could provide drinking water. Toyota has lots of waste industrial gray water that they would like to sell you.

Have you thanked your government today for organizing the flow of traffic so that you could drive safely to work. Are you one those people who think that they have a human right to have the fire department come and rescue their child from a burning house. When your child is trapped in a burning house do you want the fire department to come and say; please fill out these forms in triplicate and present your fire department insurance card so that we can see if this kind of a fire is covered and if our fire department accepts your insurance. I am sorry, but you were supposed to get pre-approval for this fire. Don't worry. You can always go the other fire department down the road and fill out a few more forms. They are little backed up, but they'll get here when they can...

Congressman John Conyers has introduced a bill that is consistent the Physicians for National Health care. To see the details of it see:
Physicians for a National Health Program.
JAMA Article
H.R. 676
H.R. 676 Activism

The health care plans proposed by Clinton and Edwards represent sellouts to the health insurance Industry and stand as a stark reminder of how much power the moneyed elite have and will continue to have until we get campaign finance reform. None the less both plans are better than anything that the Reubs would give us.
See Hillary Clinton Sold out to the Health Insurance Industry
See: John Edwards Sold out to the Health Insurance Industry

I am going on vacation and may or may not be able to answer the commentary thread of this article in a timely fashion but all comments will be read.

Posted by Ray Guest at October 6, 2007 3:35 PM
Comments
Comment #235495

I failed to add that a feature of Edwards and to some extent Clinton’s plan would allow Medicare to compete with private insurance companies possibly putting them out of business. Still, one should not strike a bargain Beelzebub. The Physicians for a National Health Program have it right.

Posted by: Ray Guest at October 6, 2007 11:39 PM
Comment #235497

Ray,
The fly in your ointment is that by substituting government for corporate interest you have merely substituted one soulless super-organism for another, but in the process you have removed even one more set of controls, that of a marketplace where a person has the capability to stop spending money with one soulless organism and start spending it with another.

As a conservative I am deeply suspicious of all large organizations. Stock corporations are everything you claim them to be, but, thanks to market forces, when they fail to behave in ways the public at large likes we can kill them flat out dead, a la Pan Am, Woolworths, FedMart, and any of a thousand other once-invincible behemoths of the marketplace.

You can’t say that about the government. As a nihilist atheist you have convinced yourself you have no concern for what an afterlife might hold.
Wonderful.
But when I look at big government I see something (It is, in fact literally another form of “corporation”) perfectly capable of emulating hell in THIS life with more than sufficient fidelity.

You speak to the joys of an activist court. I see a court that followed its conscience and not the written word of the law. Well, that’s a wonderful idea as long as there are a minimum of five people on the Supreme Court with a conscience, unlike the “good Germans” you were so willing to admit could be like us.
What makes the people on the Supreme Court immune to being “like us” too? Does your nihilist/atheist non-deity deliver to you an assurance that people on the Supreme Court are all super-moral people? Besides, were not the German people doing what they thought was right? Were not the people who surrounded me in the Deep South as I grew up in the 1960s not also doing what they thought was “right” as well?
I can report to you with absolute certainty that they were. Well, Three cheers for morality!
But you would give to a mere nine human beings, who, in a split could come to the foibles and moral failings of a single one, the power to overrule the carefully crafted words set down by the hard fight of people chosen as representatives of the public, and thus set all the soulless power of the federal government, an entity that it is, by definition, a crime for us to kill, moving in ways “we the people” never had a chance to set into or out of words.

When I think of what the benevolent hand of unlimited government can do for its people, either alone or in concert with other corporations, the words that come to me are things like “Chernobyl”, the “Aral Sea” and “Lake Karachai”. Well, at least they are “warm” thoughts.

What in God’s name (oh, sorry, in ‘s name) makes you think that government delivering medical care is in any way preferable to having health care deliverd by a corporation?

Posted by: Lee Jamison at October 7, 2007 12:04 AM
Comment #235508

Where would you prefer to send your kids? Public or private school. Would you rather shop at a grocery store or would you prefer free, government-rations?
Private corporations know how to deliver products people want. They have to, to survive. They adjust on a day-to-day basis. The government cannot. It has to wait for new legislation, maybe a veto override, or wait until Congress is back in session.
The big, scary corporations are public companies that anyone can look into. Just look in the Business section of your newspaper.
Canada has free health care. People stand in lines for long periods of time. They come to the US and pay for better health care. Canadians come to the US to be treated by advanced equipment, that is not available in Canada, that is provided by corporations.
Is CHIP going to be free? To some people. But others will pay more than they are paying now, to subsidize the free.
What about the corporations? Is the government just going to dissolve them and replace them with a govt program? Will it have to buy those companies out? You or I, might have our retirement invested in one of these companies.
Will a healthy 20 year old have to pay in to the new plan? Will I, if I have money in the bank and can pay cash, have to pay in?
Will this money come out of my paycheck along with disability and social security? Oh yeah, do we need another govt account where the govt uses it to pay for other things, such as poopy paintings?
Anyone ever heard of Welfare or Medicare? I thought we already had health care covered.
Great timing, by the way Mrs. Clinton.
Send more money to the govt? No thanks Big Bro, I can take care of myself.

Posted by: JoeRWC at October 7, 2007 9:48 AM
Comment #235511

JoeRWC,

So… you don’t think public school, or roads, or our military, or social security, are good ideas either? Which is more humane, excellent healthcare for a few, or good healthcare for everyone? Hope you don’t become sick, you might find that being taxed through your paycheck would have been a lot less expensive.

Posted by: Max at October 7, 2007 11:12 AM
Comment #235519

Max
The thing is choise. I’d rather send my kids to private school, if they still lived at home. In my little area of this country of ours our public schools are always running out of money and wanting more and more in taxes. The roads and military well the military as long as we keep funding them they will be fine as long as some dumb ass politician dosen’t throw a monkey wrench into the works. Are roads are a different story.
Medical as long as the government keeps their grubby paws out of it,it will be fine. They need address the high cost of medical care and insurance coverage and figure out ways to make medical care affordable to everyone. I pay $136. a month for coverage through my work place making less than $30,000 per year while others pay up to $1,000. per month. Something is deffinitly amiss here and congress need to address this issue.

Posted by: KAP at October 7, 2007 1:53 PM
Comment #235522

KAP

Have you or anyone in your family had a major illness that has sucked you/them dry? I assume you have not lost everything, your home included, because of your inability to pay the bills that insurance does not cover.

Lee

If market forces have so much control then why have we been unable to fight the monster-our current health care system. It seems to me the monster is winning and more people are uninsured, and more babies are dying. It has been reported that our infant mortality is one of the worst of any of the industrialized nations. How is that? In general we, the American public, pay more when someone goes to the emergency room than we would if people were able to participate in preventive medicine and be seen at a doctor’s office.

The bottom line is that insurance companies and pharmaceutical companies are there to make money for their stock holders. They will do that anyway they can included in that is denying services to people and charging whatever they can for medicines.

Posted by: Carolina at October 7, 2007 2:32 PM
Comment #235523

Carolina
No. I have not or anyone in my family has not had a major illness. But what has that got to do with skyrocketing medical cost that both parties seem to not want to address except for maybe talking bullshit to the people. I have the old 80/20 health coverage that most people have. I DO NOT WANT THE GOVERNMENT f+)*&ing up the system by controling it. You think the tax system is complicated let the government run the health care system.

Posted by: KAP at October 7, 2007 2:46 PM
Comment #235525

Carolina
Do you really think the government will cover any illness that the insurance companys won’t cover? FAT CHANCE

Posted by: KAP at October 7, 2007 4:03 PM
Comment #235526


Corporations have found it far more profitable to keep increasing the cost of health care coverage, Keeping it prohibitively high for many Americans and charging the government for the cost of service to those that can’t afford the coverage.

Those who can afford to take care of themselves and their families needs should not be taxed to provide for those who can’t. We have chosen capitalism and we should get out of it’s way and let it do it’s thing.

Posted by: jlw at October 7, 2007 4:27 PM
Comment #235527

Sorry to interrupt in this thread, but thought those who know him would like to see why we haven’t seen anything of AP for a while:

Heart Attack-ack-ack
Monday, 1 October 2007 3:40 P GMT-08
Well, I haven’t posted much since early last month becase I had a heart attack. I got lucky and went down while out with my family near a hotel that was hosting a cardiologists convention. So, now I’m back. Sort of. I’ll continue posting, but it won’t be as often for a while. Later!

Here is his blogsite add. if anyone wants to wish him well….
http://americanpundit.blog-city.com/

Posted by: Sandra Davidson at October 7, 2007 5:15 PM
Comment #235532

KAP

I understand that you were trying to make a point about skyrocketing health care and I agree that medical expenses are skyrocketing. You talk about politican’s keeping their hands out of it but then say “they” need to do something about the skyrocketing costs. Who is the “they” you are referring to? Surely not the insurance companies who benefit from these skyrocketing costs. I am glad that no one in your family has lost everything because of a major medical crisis but if you are like me one major medical crisis could cost me everything. Do I think government will cover more than what insurance companies cover? I don’t know but I do think there is a better chance the government would cover more. Too many people who have insurance find out too late that their insurance company is more concerned with the bottom line (making a profit) and will do everything in their power to not pay out benefits. People have died because insurance companies have needed to keep up their profit margin and have found ways to refuse to pay for treatment, medicines, and needed tests.

Posted by: Carolina at October 7, 2007 6:14 PM
Comment #235537

Carolina
Just like the insurance companies won’t pay for certain medical treatments neither will the government. The only thing I’d like to see congress do, instead of complicating getting coverage, i’d like congress to find out why in one part of the country, like me paying $136. a month for coverage, while elsewhere people pay up to $1000. per month for the same coverage I get. I watched some of Pelosi’s interview this morning when she was asked why should the government cover a person making $60,000, per year. In the typical poliyician way she skerted the question.
The only way possible for the government to control health care is to put all the medical industry on government payroll.

Posted by: KAP at October 7, 2007 7:56 PM
Comment #235539

Sandra,
Very appropriate to the situation. AP was certainly fortunate, and he probably has insights to this issue.

The situation in medical care shows specifically how government can, by seeing an opportunity to muddy the waters, make the situation in the private sector worse.

There are good example of this at work in other industries. I have recently been re-reading Ben Rich’s book on Lockheed’s “Skunk Works” special projects outfit. This is the high technology shop that created the U-2 spy plane, the SR-71 Blackbird, and the stealth fighter. While they were able to keep focused on what they did well and keep government out of their hair they were able to deliver planes that did stuff in the early 1960s that still has not been matched in aviation. They also often tried ideas that didn’t work out and they paid the government back!
As military oversight of development programs increased, however, the pace of development dramatically slowed and costs skyrocketed. As of his writing in the early ’90s Rich reported that an engine for a military transport plane, identical to a commercial version cost 20% more than the commercial engine. Why? Because on the military version the plant had to deal with more than 325 “inspectors” and their associated paperwork.
Want to guess why it will take fifteen years to develop the technology to go back to the moon when hardware (originally developed by people working on paper with slide rules in nine years) capable of doing the job lies moldering on the grounds of the Johnson Space Center in Houston?

In medical care the “inspectors” are officers of the court, lawyers.

I also recently heard an interesting discussion on one of our area conservative radio stations of the positive role played in society by the tort system in law. This permits a reasonableness test of the actions of people in areas where the law has not had reason to develop specific oversight funtions. We neither can, nor should, imagine every possible way people can do unreasonable things or take unreasonable risks and set into law enforcement mechanisms to deal with all those things. Tort law allows a lot of freedom as it stands in that gap.

But in the medical industry we CAN KNOW an awful lot of the things that can and do go wrong. It is, however, extremely profitable for a small group of people to prevent, or make ineffective, a more rational set of oversights and controls on the medical industry that could be instituted at much less cost than medicine pays (with our health care dollars) for litigation, paperwork and staffing, defenses, payouts, and insurance.

Whether you’re talking about medical care, the military, welfare, Social Security, hurricane relief (in ANY major storm over the last fifteen years) or any of a thousand other things, government is good at making things NOT TOTALLY FAIL, but it is not good at making them necessarily succeed. In an honest-to-God crisis Government can throw a lot of resources at a problem but it cannot assure that they will be used either efficiently or efficaciously. If you asked government to design a snake you’d get Jabba the Hutt from the process.

The ideal thing as I see it is a semi-adversarial, but symbiotic relationship like that enjoyed in the 1940s, ’50s, and ’60s between the military and the afore-mentioned “Skunk Works”. In that situation private industry provided great ideas and efficiencies, and government provided some realism and necessary resources. The results of that collaboration were astonishing even to this day. Even in the far less well run space program of the ’60s government kept oversight less than overbearing (except with the re-build of the Apollo capsule after the fire of January ‘67) and America did what appears in our much more advanced present to be, impossible.

Medicine can be made much better in the U.S., but not by handing it over to the government.

Posted by: Lee Jamison at October 7, 2007 8:03 PM
Comment #235543

Here are some solutions to the issue of “who’s going to pay for health insurance for the uninsured.”

1. Tort reform. Prevent parasitic trial lawyers from feeding off of doctors. When doctors no longer have to practice defensive medicine, costs will go down.

2. Allow insurance companies to sell policies nationally. Offering the same policy to a national audience will standardize coverage, make it portable, and if companies can underwrite on a national basis, premiums will become more affordable.

3. Give the public a choice of private insurers to pick from just like congress has. Competition makes the price of coverage more affordable.

4. Provide Medicare/Medicaid to the un-insurable and poor.

A single-payer, government-financed health insurance systems does not work. It hasn’t worked anywhere it’s been tried. In those systems health care isn’t “good” it’s inadequate, costly, and substandard.

Why would we give up the best health care in the world for a socialist system that has been proven not to work?

Posted by: Snardius at October 7, 2007 8:47 PM
Comment #235555

JoeRWC says
“Private corporations know how to deliver products people want. They have to, to survive. They adjust on a day-to-day basis. The government cannot. It has to wait for new legislation, maybe a veto override, or wait until Congress is back in session.”
Joe if we were discussing TV sets and such I would agree that government has no place in the discussion. However I dont view health care as a product. At this stage of the game I also dont see the need for emergency sessions of Congress to legislate day to day changes in health care procedures, fortunately for us though our elected reps have proven they can react with late night sessions when medical issues are at stake if the Schavio emergency is any indication.


Lee, Although your elequent defense of the corporations of this world is well thought out I feel the need to remind you of a few differences between the government and corporations.
1. Although the election process has been severely screwed up by corporate money and influence that past 30 years, we still elect our leaders and representatives.
2. Our government has 3 branches and of the 3 branches 2 branches are populated by those that are elected by we the people. We at least have a say in who is running this souless entity.
3. The government’s power is limited by the constitution and bill of rights. Although excesses do occur we have a remarkable record as a country of correcting these excesses.
Corporations IMHO are much more souless as they exist for 1 reason which of course is profit at any cost. Corporations have had their shot at health as a market and have failed to contain costs despite the free market and it self proclaimed ability to correct the problems.

Lee states”As of his writing in the early ’90s Rich reported that an engine for a military transport plane, identical to a commercial version cost 20% more than the commercial engine. Why? Because on the military version the plant had to deal with more than 325 “inspectors” and their associated paperwork.”
Lee, did you ever stop and ask yourself why it was the government needed all those extra inspectors? It was and is because the Contractors and Corporations at one time or another skirted the requirements of the specifications they were building to. Dishonesty on the part of the businesses the government contracts with is what causes these problems that we then blame government for.

Posted by: j2t2 at October 7, 2007 10:55 PM
Comment #235567

Snardius

Substantiate your point that socialized medicine has been proven not to work. Is this like how our system has been proven not to work? I have relatives that live in England. Socialized medicine is not perfect anymore than our system is but they are receiving good, quality health care. We need to quit making socialized medicine this big boogey man. Many countries in Europe have socialized medicine and it is working for them.

With that said I am not necessarily on the socialized medicine band wagon but I don’t see why we can’t look at other countries and how they provide health care and maybe incorporate the parts of their systems that work well. We do not have a corner on the best way to do things.

Posted by: Carolina at October 8, 2007 8:53 AM
Comment #235575

j2t2,
1. As to the vote we only get to vote for our representatives at election time. In the market we cast a vote every time we choose, or reject, a provider, or buy a product or choose its competitor. We are not permitted to “reject” the government, so they can use the distractions of irrelevent issues to get reelected nineteen out of twenty times and then shove their inefficiencies and inefficacies down our throats.

2. Ray’s article gives the lie to the issue of the election of two of three branches of the government. If the one branch we do not elect and that serves lifetime appointments is permitted the power to materially change the supposed meaning of the written word of the Constitution they can negate the will of the people expressed in elections. An excellect example of this at work is seen in the property-rights decision from a couple of years ago.

3. The same thing is at work in the “limitation” by the Constitution. A court with the power to materially change the meaning of the Constitution can, and has, effectively negated its limitations. Only the Supreme Court, for example has the latitude do decide what is has the power to do.
Nothing in the Constitution gives the federal government the power to regulate education, or provide welfare payments, or regulate personal property in the various states, but a court intent on finding such powers may essentially decree that they exist! This is, in fact, one reason why Madison and others lost the argument against the institution of the Bill of Rights. None the less the protections on which they insisted have been steadily eroded by courts who wished to conjure powers inconveniently absent from the Constitution’s wording.

Finally, were what you say about contractors to the federal government true one could easily detect the failures and dishonesty in the identical products sold and serviced under warranty to private comanies. In the given example you simply can’t point out such a situation. Government over-controls because human beings desire control and government provides an environment in which there is no countervailing force to limit that impulse. if more control costs government more money they simply hold a gun to the taxpayers head and get more money.

Private industry gets, in this example, jet engines that don’t fail every bit as well as government does, but government feels better about itself because it got to ride herd on the manufacturers in the process.

Government DIDN’T NEED all those inspectors.

Posted by: Lee Jamison at October 8, 2007 11:00 AM
Comment #235581

Lee, of course your replies to 1,2 and 3 are somewhat accurate. The difference is with government you can say this without retribution. Were you saying the same about the corporation you work for you could be fired without recourse.Corporations have no bill of rights to follow nor constitution to adhere to. Nor do they have judges you can state your case to. Corporations are in essence dictatorships. The fallacy of the “In the market we cast a vote every time we choose, or reject, a provider, or buy a product or choose its competitor” arguement is for the most part grossly overstated. We as consumers have very little recourse against the major corporations and even less say in health care costs. Case in point, I have no say in my insurance provider unless I take another job.The choice is made at the corporate level and is based on cost not what I would like. And Im one of the fortunate ones that have health insurance paid as part of my benefit package.
Now I will give you the market works to a good degree in most cases however in the area of medicine and healthcare it has proven to be a failure in cost containment. It is time to change our approach, it is time to put ideology aside for the good of the country. Insurance companies and for profit medical centers are not in the best interest of the people of this country. Rays fine article is correct, we should listen and implement the plans of the PNHP.

As to your comment “were what you say about contractors to the federal government true one could easily detect the failures and dishonesty in the identical products sold and serviced under warranty to private comanies. In the given example you simply can’t point out such a situation.” As to the exact case I do not know the particulars so you are right I cannot point to specific ‘s in this situation, however when my point is applied across the entire spectrum of government contracting with business I could point until my pointer was worn out at the fraud and abuse by contractors. I find it a little hard to believe that the same 100 percent exact engines used for commercial planes are used in the military planes, as the commmercial aircraft usually do need to withstand the demands of battle, but if you say so…

Posted by: j2t2 at October 8, 2007 11:51 AM
Comment #235587

Carolina,

Re: “Substantiate your point that socialized medicine has been proven not to work.”

I live near the Canadian border. Canadians come across the border constantly to get, and pay for, medical procedures they have long waits for in Canada. If free government health care were so good, why do Canadians choose to pay for it here?

Single-payer, government run health care leads to a two-tiered system - those who can afford better care pay for it in the private sector unless the government makes it illegal to pay privately for health care (which was in Hillary’s first plan and must be in her “new” plan or else there will be a tiered system in the US after she implements her plan).

Hillary’s plan will not work. To get where she wants us to go would require the government to make illegal ANY form of private care as well as criminalize those physicians who would provide such care for a fee outside the system.

Isn’t it interesting that, in order for those who design a socialized healthcare plan to invision success for their plan, they have to make any private healthcare illegal?


We have the most advanced health care system in the world. People from all over the world come here when they want the best care they can get.

Why would we want to give that up for a socialist system that guarantees inferior care?

Posted by: Snardius at October 8, 2007 1:22 PM
Comment #235588

J2t2,
As a matter of fact my statement that engines are identical is drawn from the book I was citing, but there is a caveat. I know this not to be the case in every particular because the ceiling for military operations is substantially higher than for commercial aviation, meaning there are some differences to account for the differences in conditions at those higher altitudes. None the less the government could choose to lean on the same systems of warranty and regulation that serve commercial aviation so well. They prefer costly, unnecessary control instead. So it will be with medical care, too.

To ignore, as those who are proponents of this remedy do, that the government posesses all the failings of any other “corporation”, and would be in no way more accountable than the insurance companies that must at least re-sell themselves to your employer periodically, is to appeal to faith and fairy dust. Government expresses its greed and avarice in different ways but it is still made of people. People are not a better animal in a government corporation protected from market forces than they are in a commercial corporation driven by hunger for profit.

At least if your corporate provided health insurance is so awful that the employees are constantly up in arms over it the management has incentive and some means to improve the situation by changing vendors or pursuing litigation. If government provided medical care is awful, though, will you be able to change it even by changing jobs? Will you be able to opt out? Will you be able to choose less expensive options? When the government tells you how to live your life, or how many kids to have, or what sort of foods you may eat what recourse will you have?

This is pie-in-the-sky because, though we can hold government contol over the head of private industry, once we have chosen government control there is no going back. We can no longer hold anything over their heads. Give a field to the ultimate corporation and there is no getting it back. And the bureaucracy that runs it will never be beholden to you- ever.

Posted by: Lee Jamison at October 8, 2007 1:25 PM
Comment #235589

j2t2,

“We as consumers have very little recourse against the major corporations and even less say in health care costs. Case in point, I have no say in my insurance provider unless I take another job.”

With a socialized government healthcare plan you’d have no choice as to the cost, what was covered or the provider from whom you got your care.

At least with private insurance companies you could change jobs or convince your HR department to change companies.

A reform of the system should include individual policies sold on a national level which put the decisions about what coverage you want to pay for, what company, and the cost of the policy under the individual’s control.

What you advocate surrenders limited choice for no choice.

Posted by: Snardius at October 8, 2007 1:35 PM
Comment #235591

I am in the private insurance industry as an agent for numerous companies. I write a lot of long-term care insurance. The Long-Term Care Security Act of 2000 authorized group LTCi offered by the government to current and retired Federal employees and administrated by the two companies who won the bid; John Hancock and Met Life. Logic and common sense would seem to indicate that such a huge group could enjoy lower premiums than those charged by private insurance. Not True. I regularly compete against the Federal Program and can substantially beat their premiums with better benefits with “A” rated companies. The Federal Program is great for those who have significant health problems as their underwriting is much more lienient. That’s great for them, but for the more healty applicants…not so good. They pay more in premium to subsidize the less healthy. Many reading this will say that is a good thing, take from those that have more and give to those who have less. What they fail to understand is that most of those with poorer health at one time could have purchased LTCi from a private insurer when their health was good. They didn’t because they couldn’t bear to part with some of their money. Now, they want all the healthy in the group to subsidize their reluctance to protect themselves at affordable premiums when they had the chance. I find many similarities between this Federal program and socialized health care. Many who are not currently insured made the choice not to spend their own money. Then, when they need health care they expect government to bail them out of the consequences of their poor decision. Secondly, as is the case with LTCi, our private insurance companies are very capable of providing superior products at lower premiums. They have been doing it for years and still manage to make a profit to keep their stockholders happy. While there are always going to be companies who abuse those who they are supposed to serve, trashing all corporations is juvenile. There are many problems in our health care system making it expensive to own. Blaming insurance companies as the culprit while leaving out shitty government regulations and greedy lawyers is naive.

Posted by: Jim at October 8, 2007 1:44 PM
Comment #235594

Jim,
OK, I have to fall on the side of the government lovers on your post.

Some of us who have been priced into government programs or out of private insurance were victims of insurers taking advantage of their ability to simply eliminate classes of contracts, as State Farm did years ago when they eliminated the coverage my wife and I had with them, or to catastrophically raise the price fo a class of coverage, as World Insurance has more recently.

Once you’ve been forced out of a coverage the pre-existing conditions you have accrued over the years expose you to exclusions that make further coverage economically impossible.

I believe in private coverage, but the conditions in the marketplace today are intolerable and will eventually either precipitate a government takeover or be answered by the market accepting that there are people who will be expensive to deal with and must be covered anyway.

Posted by: Lee Jamison at October 8, 2007 2:05 PM
Comment #235596

Lee,
While I sympathize with your uninsurability that alone is not a reason to force socialized medicine on all of us just to cover those who can’t get coverage for those pre-existing conditions. Your situation could be remedied by letting the government be the “last insurer of choice” for those who are uninsured or the poor.

Another solution is to allow insurance companies to sell policies nationally which significantly reduces the regulatory pressure and streamlines their underwriting. That alone would allow them to spread the risk over larger classes of applicants and possibly include classes that they previously couldn’t insure.

Posted by: Snardius at October 8, 2007 2:40 PM
Comment #235597

Snardius

I did really consider not responding back but couldn’t resist. You still have not provided data to support your post that socialized medicine does not work. How many Canadians? Is it 5%, 10%, 90% come across the border for services here. All you have proven is that some people aren’t happy with what they are getting there and that socialized medicine is not perfect just as our system is not perfect. It does not support the contention that socialized medicine is a failure. Along that line of thought then it means that if Americans get meds from Canada because they don’t like the prices here or go to another country for a cancer treatment that they can’t get here, or have to wait weeks to get needed tests, then more weeks to get needed surgery that our system has also been proven not to work.

Posted by: Carolina at October 8, 2007 3:00 PM
Comment #235599

Yeah Snardius, lets trade in our system, which is not perfect, for a govt controlled system, which is not perfect and proven not to work.
Whats so hard to understand about that? The only thing you have to lose is your freedom of choice.

Posted by: kctim at October 8, 2007 3:18 PM
Comment #235611

kctim,
I didn’t advocate for a govt. controlled system. I am against socialized healthcare. I do think that the poor and the uninsurable should have coverage through the Medicare/Medicaid programs.

Posted by: Snardius at October 8, 2007 5:48 PM
Comment #235615

Carolina,

“How many Canadians? Is it 5%, 10%, 90% come across the border for services here.”

What percentage will you accept as the percentage that proves the Canadian system is a failure?

People are rejecting “free socialized healthcare” in favor of paying to get private healthcare and you want to quibble over how many? Why would anyone travel great distances to pay for something they could stay home and get for free unless they thought what they were paying for was better than what was offered for free?

“…it means that if Americans get meds from Canada because they don’t like the prices here”

How do you think Canadians feel about subsidizing American’s drug bills?

“…go to another country for a cancer treatment that they can’t get here…”

People go to other countries for treatments not available in the US because our FDA (the government) hasn’t approved the drug or treatment. Welcome to socialized government-run healthcare.

Do you think that these treatments will suddenly become available in the US if we have Hillary Healthcare?

Do you think that there will be more or fewer life-saving drugs in the next 30 years under socialized healthcare?

Posted by: Snardius at October 8, 2007 6:08 PM
Comment #235637

So Snardius no doubt you heard on some talk radio station that a caller knew someone who thought they saw someone that heard from somebody that their friend knew a guy from Canada who came here for treatment, therefore the whole Canadian system is a socialist mess and everyone over there hates it and we should continue with the same mess we have now. Maybe, just maybe, the guy is an insurance company mouthpiece and the whole arguement is irrelevent and doesnt really have much bearing on the system Ray’s article is favoring by the PNHP.

Posted by: j2t2 at October 8, 2007 11:21 PM
Comment #235646


If we end up with government run health care, the capitalist health care providers and insurers will know who to blame.

Posted by: jlw at October 9, 2007 12:22 AM
Comment #235958

Lee Jamison, You wrote:

What in God’s name (oh, sorry, in ‘s name) makes you think that government delivering medical care is in any way preferable to having health care deliverd by a corporation?

I have not yet read your other comments nor other peoples response to this one yet, but I thought this was an excellent critic of my article. I will not answer it completely here / yet, because I rather suspect others already have. But… A government is a soulless entity like a corporation… In a democracy, (at least one with campaign finance reform), that soulless entity is a beast of burden for us, enslaved to us, killed by us, every 2 to 4 years. In a corporation, we become enslaved to it, and it lives as long as its superhuman powers can control and manipulate us, in many cases, by using the government as a tool for that purpose… Its power to control the government as a tool to control us must be limited (campaign finance reform), so that we can truly take control of our own government, as mentioned above and in the way that Abraham Lincoln articulated: “government of the people, by the people, for the people.” For profit corporations are not founded with any of those safeguards nor with any those positive intentions.

P.S.: I am nihilistic atheist that prays to God, listens to God through meditation, surrenders my will and my life to care of God. My relationship with God is real for me. It is a placebo. It is not real in any cosmic sense… God is real for me because of my experiential relationship with the illusion that gives meaning and comfort, but that does not mean that God has any cosmic reality. It means only that we have evolved brains that are wonderful instruments that assign meaning, those self conscious instruments observe themselves, observing themselves, observing themselves and assign meaning to self and life where none actually exists. So, we have evolved to be “spiritual beings” and the experience of spiritual self conscious existential existence is real for us and we honor that by treating it as if it is real, i.e. we have a spiritual relationship that works for us.


Posted by: Ray Guest at October 12, 2007 12:36 PM
Comment #235960

In other words: Meaning exists, but we are the makers of meaning.

Posted by: Ray Guest at October 12, 2007 12:38 PM
Comment #235961

Oops. I see my blockquote got in the wrong place and my response to your quote became blockquoted - weird…

Posted by: Ray Guest at October 12, 2007 12:40 PM
Comment #235966

I have skimmed through the comments but don’t have time to respond fully as I am leaving town again for the weekend. But I must say this before I leave: Waiting lines in Canada - not for life threatening emergencies, and much more importantly, what about the waiting lines in the U.S… uninsured people who never get treated for life threatening emergencies until they die. You don’t see them in line, but they are there waiting - dying in line - never treated - don’t count as part of the discussion - not in your amoral minds anyway… Don’t you dare even talk to me about waiting lines!!!

Posted by: Ray Guest at October 12, 2007 1:17 PM
Comment #235968

Jim,

Three, the problems with your comment is that it is still 2 private companies providing the coverage and we need one national risk group. Even if you are going to private insurance they should have to make insurance available to anyone at exactly the same cost. The only difference should be in what level of coverage people want to by because it will unfairly disadvantage individuals and any older established company with older - higher risk workers - and older workers ability to get hired.

Posted by: Ray Guest at October 12, 2007 1:35 PM
Comment #236003

JoeRWC,

All of the questions that you ask are answered in the link to Physicians for Health Care above.

Posted by: Ray Guest at October 12, 2007 5:53 PM
Comment #236011

Ray Guest. I appreciate your comments and here is where our political philosophy differs. You wish to rely on government and I wish to rely on private enterprise. What you have described above; equal cost for everyone no longer describes insurance, but rather, describes a one-size fits all government program. Please don’t refer to this as insurance just as one should not refer to social security as an investment/retirement strategy. When all the decision making is done not by the insured or investor, but a government entity, it no longer qualifies as insurance or investment but rather a scheme, program, entitlement, or whatever other label you wish to use.
I respect your wish to rely upon government and hope you can get a program just for you and those who think like you. However, please don’t foist your beliefs upon me and those who think like me. I won’t ask you to pay for my program and please don’t ask me to pay for yours. Is that fair? Thanks for the private post. Jim

Posted by: Jim at October 12, 2007 7:15 PM
Comment #236024

Ray,
I just got back to take a look and have not had time, since this week I’ve been having scare up the resources to feed your friend,the soulless bureaucratic beast we don’t kill either every two or every four years, to spend thinking how to respond to your last comments. Now that the maw of your bud, the beast, is off my jugular I’ll sleep on it and get back with you.

Posted by: Lee Jamison at October 12, 2007 10:42 PM
Comment #236031

Jim, Lee,

I have some limited internet access where I am at this weekend.

Thanks for comments.

Lee,
I am glad that you have the government beast off of your jugular for the time being. Of course, the government beast was not under the control of the corporation beasts campaign contributions resulting in one boondoggle after the next, (Haliburton, Blackwater, Bridges to no where, Medicare Prescription programs where the government cannot even use the free market mechanism of negotiating for a better price, Ethanol subsidies, ect. ect. ect. ect. ect. ect. ect. ect.), they would not need nearly so much of your blood. The corporation beasts are the problem.

Jim,

Ihave problem with you wrote. You wrote:

I respect your wish to rely upon government and hope you can get a program just for you and those who think like you. However, please don’t foist your beliefs upon me and those who think like me. I won’t ask you to pay for my program and please don’t ask me to pay for yours. Is that fair? Thanks for the private post. Jim
You are trying to foist what I consider to your extremist neo con beliefs of me just as much I am foisting my liberal beliefs on you. So I respectfully enforce my rights to express my opinions here even as you express yours. It is pretty much semantics whether you call single payor health care insurance or a government program and I don’t care what you choose to call it. The real issue is whether it is a good idea or not. To say it is not insurance is incorrect. Insurance is distributing the risk among a large group of people. Government is insurance. On the other hand, single payor national health care is a government program. What is wrong with that? Clean drinking water, fire departments, and national defense are also government programs.


Posted by: Ray Guest at October 13, 2007 12:20 AM
Comment #236044

Ray,
I can see from your musings on theological issues that you have done some thinking on the human condition. Find a copy of the Federalist Papers and read it with the human condition in mind.

Step by tortured step these brilliant men were trying to put in place a government in which every separable power was answerable to one or more of the other powers. The legislature is broken up into parts answerable in different ways to the people in order to alter their constituencies and protect the rights, at least, of the politically interested. Their work product must pass through the Executive branch and be approved or have a super-majority to become law. It must also be able to pass the test of constitutionality in the courts. Each of the other branches has similar limitations.

In the discussion of the “Papers” you will often see worries dealt with as to the dangers of a standing army, but it never occurs to these men to consider the burden of something similar, a standing bureaucracy. For one thing it is preposterous to men of the 18th century to imagine a government amounting to more than a third of the economy of the nation. Hamilton (whose admiration for monarchy is fantastically overblown in the telling of others) in Federalist 85 spends some time telling how the proposed government will provide a savings in comparison to the burden imposed by the old Confederation. Little could he have known the ratchet of taxation powers and the temptation the elected government would feel to use bureaucrats as a means of insulating themselves from the people’s frustrations.

I have talked of people not being better in government than in private corporations. The perfect example is to be seen in the typical automotinve industry employee in the ’50s, ’60s, and ’70s as compared to the typical government employee in any bureaucracy. During that period labor contracts stressed seniority, job security, and such amenities as pensions and health care. Government workers, while frequently claiming to be paid less than similar positions in the private sector, have better than average health care and pensions, and are unarguably far less susceptible to dismissal even for cause. Just ask yourself whether you get better customer service at a governmental or quasi-governmental organization like the Post Office, or at a private business like a Kinkos.

In the 220 years since the Constitution was established we have lost track, largely because of the intelligentsia’s facination with newer, more fashionable, notions like Marxism with the essential genius behind our government. That genius is the division of powers. When we forget that essential framework of good government as the present intellectial elite have we open ourselves to tyrrany. The British East India Company showed us how a company can be a power unto tyrrany if unchecked. We have virtually no limit of governmental examples of the same thing. Pitted against each other the commercial entity and the governmental entity can provide both with proper checks- but to do so we must be able to see government in a new light.

Government happens because we need it to limit the capacity of people to do us harm. But there is nothing whatever to prevent government from becoming a criminal enterprise itself if we do not place other powerful checks before it.

Government does heavy-handed things like protection reasonably well. Given the Mafia-like roots of virtually all western government (see the second link above) this should make considerable sense. What government does quite poorly is service. For the same reasons this, too, should make considerable sense.

By granting the supercorporation inordinate economic power we risk removing a critical impediment to tyrrany. We MUST not hand over pieces of the real productive economy to people whose principle talent is punishment.

Posted by: Lee Jamison at October 13, 2007 12:13 PM
Comment #236063

Lee,

Gee, Lee, I sort of agree with much of what you say but none of your conclusions. And I don’t time for a full answer or to fully study your links. Thanks for writing. I would argue that government is very good at providing services. I listed examples of such in the article and commentary thread. In the area of health care Medicare (minus the prescription drug boondoggle) and Veterans Health care are the most efficiently run and Veterans has been shown to also provide the best care. The recent highly public problems were of course with private for profit corporate subcontractors. If you want to talk inefficiency, try being a health care provider and having to maintain a billing department / bureaucracy to bill hundreds of different insurance companies with tens of thousands of different exceptions, exclusions, inclusions, regulations and requirements. That it inefficiency - at least 30% of our health care dollar wasted. The health care plan streamlines all of that - study it please - thanks. that I advocate for I will try to take the time and try to read your links later, watch for a new article criticizing them as well as your excellent thoughtful critic here. I would invite you to watch Michael Moore’s movie Sicko in the mean time.

Posted by: Ray Guest at October 13, 2007 5:52 PM
Comment #236072

The problems with the current health care system have rendered it untrustworthy. When you think that less and less people are being offered health care insurance by their employer and are forced to accept high deductible lower benefits/costs or lower deductible higher benefit/cost for their families by for profit insurance companies you can see where the problem begins for the families in this country.
Either way once a person changes jobs or loses a job perhaps due to medical problems the coverage stops. When you need it the most its not there for you. You could pay your premiums for decades yet once you are unable to pay insurance is not there for you.

A single payer plan would serve the people of this country much better than the current system. All the BS about long lines in Canada, Socialism, Nanny state, etc. just serves to show the weakness of the illogical ideology that would leave someone to beleive the “free market” system of for profit health care is working in the best interest of the people .

Posted by: j2t2 at October 13, 2007 10:46 PM
Comment #236073

There has never been an example of pure socialism working for the benefit of a whole country. There have been numerous examples of Socialism enslaving a whole people.

There will always be people who don’t mind being slaves, and dragging everyone else into slavery with them, for the promise, however empty, that all their problems will be solved. So, at first, Socialists are aggrandized used car salesmen. Only later, once the people who didn’t want to be slaves are dealt with, do the Socialist become monsters.

Posted by: Lee Jamison at October 13, 2007 11:27 PM
Comment #236076

Lee, I suppose there is a bit of truth in your statement about socialism, however other than misinformed repub talking points I dont see what that BS has to do with our screwed up health care system. There are examples of national health care systems working as good or better than the “free market” health care system of this Country. I of course refer to Canada France and..well most all industrialized nations. Im suprised that instead of logical arguements on the virtues of the free market health care system as it currently exists you must resort to “There will always be people who don’t mind being slaves, and dragging everyone else into slavery with them, for the promise, however empty, that all their problems will be solved”. Surely you have a better reason than that gibberish to be against single payer health care. The failed ideology of the far right is showing through in your comments. How sad.

Posted by: j2t2 at October 14, 2007 12:52 AM
Comment #236080

j2t2, Lee I suspect has no choice but to trot out the ‘socialist’ scare word to argue against a single payer health care with the government (people) as the payer. The best GOP defense is a quick and tried offense.

The way you put the GOP on the defensive is to ask how they propose to handle or not handle the poorest in our nation who can neither afford health care profit laden premiums or out of pocket medical treatments. The answer is of course, inescapable, let them get ill enough to go to the emergency room and pray they haven’t waited too long as one 10 or 12 year old who died this year from an infected tooth which the parents couldn’t afford to take to a dentist. The infection became septicemia and his high temperature justified Emergency Room treatment, but, of course, the infection was then systemic and the boy died.

That is the GOP’s answer to promote investor wealth and let the poor avoid bankruptcy by avoiding treatment until they have no choice but to call 911.

Republican leaning folks don’t like it when you point out that our military, veteran’s care, Interstate Highway system loved by American manufacturers, foreign aid, foreign policy, diplomatic corps, Dept. of Homeland Suffering, and many other programs are socialist programs. If left to conservative Republicans and Libertarians on purist ideology, we would not have an interstate hwy system, minimal education standards, or FAA controlling national and international aviation. We would charge our soldiers for their bullets or deduct them from their pay, because the idea of asking everyone in America to pay for Iraq when so many oppose it is socialist.

That is there argument after all, that a majority choice to force every one to pay taxes to be spent on programs only some would want or need to benefit from is socialist. The hypocrisy however is the GOP’s created rise of Blackwater and CICI, and many other privatized military organizations at 100 to 1000 times the cost of our socialized regular military. The Bush and Rumsfeld Administration touted a small, lean military machine, which of course required enormous private sector supplement and support when it came time to do war. As grotesque an example of penny wise, pound foolish, as history has ever wrote.

Posted by: David R. Remer at October 14, 2007 6:42 AM
Comment #236088

David, j2t2,

Thanks for your response to Lee and others here. The conservatives have won the argument on socialism, government programs, and national defense. Between Osama and socialism they have 2 all purpose bogeymen that they can trot out for all occasions. It is often difficult to determine whether they are simply using that tired rhetoric to manipulate and win a debate or whether they actually believe it, or both. Certainly in this thread, the socialized medicine argument has been thrown out repeatedly without ever challenging any the examples that have been given of effective and efficient socialized programs. I especially liked David’s reference to the Iraq war. I had not thought of it in that light before. While we may disagree with the war, the socialized military is certainly far more efficient and accountable than the privatised military.

Posted by: Ray Guest at October 14, 2007 3:27 PM
Comment #236100

Ray Guest eloquently said: “While we may disagree with the war, the socialized military is certainly far more efficient and accountable than the privatised military.”

That is an irrefutable statement of fact supported by mounds of documentation and evidence.

Posted by: David R. Remer at October 14, 2007 7:53 PM
Comment #236103

Ray, Its I who should thank you. The Reclaim Democracy site as well as the others you linked to in your article is excellent. Keep up the good work.

Posted by: j2t2 at October 14, 2007 9:11 PM
Comment #236126

Ray, j2t2, David, etc:

At the intersection of Texas highway 19 and Hwy. 190 in Huntsville, TX. there is a handmade wooden cross. I’ll get over there today and take a picture of it for an article later. Anyone from the eastern side of Walker County must use this intersection to get from 19 to Huntsville High School, which means that some of the most inexperienced drivers in the area must pass this extremely busy intersection when the traffic is at its worst. On a mapping progran like Google Earth look up 30 degrees 43 minutes 12 seconds north by 95 degrees 31 minutes 33 seconds west and you will see this intersection has a LEFT HAND ENTRANCE. It is LITERALLY designed to kill people, especially inexperienced drivers. It HAS KILLED ALREADY and it is only a matter of time before it kills again.

There you are. Your benevolent government at work, ironically doing one of the things it does its very best- building infrastructure.

The State of Texas kills people in Huntsville, not just the ones for which we are most famous, the ones who have every advantage of access to the courts, automatic appeals, and the bright lights of controversy, but also the ones who fall prey to budgetary inconvenience and the legal invulnerability of a system that need only fear us when we can pile up an irritating mountain of evidence of senseless carnage. This is a system that has no competition and need not fear us.

When I wrote my last message I had just returned from seeing “The Lives of Others” a recently released German movie on the conditions inside the GDR prior to the fall of the Berlin Wall. You should all see it because it is not an abstraction, a theoretical view of Socialism. It is what Socialism really was once unchecked.
Our left-hand entrance on 190 is a microcosm of the same thing at work- a system that may, unfeelingly and with impunity, expose the innocent to outrages.

This is the sort of entity to which you would entrust the health of your children and grandchildren. It is a system in which budgetary callousness already consigns the innocent and the quiet to mutilation and death. That’s the thing, you see. When we give things to the government they don’t care for us any more than corporations. Arguably they care less, in fact. But at least we don’t hear as much about the people who die, or worse, are ground up not quite enough to die.

And as long as we don’t hear about it we FEEL better. And THAT’S the best part of Socialism.

Posted by: Lee Jamison at October 15, 2007 9:35 AM
Comment #236148

Lee, in typical Republican fashion you confuse Socialism with USSR type communism. It’s like confusing Cuban democratic elections with American democratic elections. Not even remotely the same.

As for Huntsville, sounds like the folks at Huntsville have an obligation to move their government to take action on the intersection. I know its tough, Texas is run by Republicans. It’s like trying to move Bush to change strategy in Iraq. But, its up to the people. Government is always up to the people in a democratic form of it.

Posted by: David R. Remer at October 15, 2007 3:20 PM
Comment #236157

Socialism is exactly the same animal everywhere the species is found. By arduous effort it can be trained to eat people only when its keepers are not looking. That is the best we can hope for.

The problem in Huntsville is nearly forty years old. I’m working on it and hopefully a trucker by the name of Darrell “Mugsy” Catoe (1965- 2007) will be the last person to have died of the way it is.

Posted by: Lee Jamison at October 15, 2007 5:18 PM
Comment #236171

Lee, David, j2t2,

Thanks for all your comments. Lee, we had an intersection like that here in Flint, and we had a section of freeway like that. We got both fixed - of course we are a democratic state. There are others that need to be fixed and will be fixed. No system is perfect and a few examples of bad roads does not negate the fact that our socialized highway system is, overall, excellent, safe and efficient especially when compared to KBR in Iraq.

The notion that socialism is the same animal everywhere is simply ridiculous. The USSR wasn’t even Marxist. Marxism is democratic. What was the USSR? A communist dictatorship in form perhaps. The line between communism and socialism is thin. While the USSR may have been a communist dictatorship in form - in function it was certainly an industrial capitalist ultra-conservative proto-fascist dictatorship with the communist party effectively controlling all of the capital. Thirty years ago I was a member of the U.S Labor Party under the leadership of the brilliant but paranoid Lyndon LeRouche which was a Marxist Socialist group listed by the corrupt FBI as violence prone. All we did was defend ourselves from attack by FBI and Michigan State Police red squad goons and dupes in the form of the Communist Party USA and the Socialist Workers Party. Anyhow we made a smooth and easy transition from Marxist Socialist into ultra-conservative American Industrial Capitalist which proves the maxim that if you go far enough left you will come back right. I have been all the way around the circle and the Soviets were almost all the around. We were pro-American democratic but they were functionally proto-fascist dictators. To suggest anything as complex as a worldwide variety of socialist systems is one monolithic species is as absurd as saying that every conservative is a fascist. Some conservatives are fascist. Some conservatives are unwittingly proto-fascist. Some conservatives are just conservative fighting to preserve the essential aspects of an enlightened way of life.

Posted by: Ray Guest at October 15, 2007 7:37 PM
Comment #236203

Wow Lee, good job, in typical con fashion the conversation went from single payer health care to socialism to a bad intersection in texas. As if they were connected. Perhaps the veterans health care system would be more appropriate then a highway in Texas when discussing the merits of the “free market” health care system versus the single payer system unless of course you are just trying to muddle the issue due to ideological reasons because the facts dont seem to support your arguement. You would think the whole country is sinking into a communist dictatorship because a single payer health care system works better than the current “free market” system.

Posted by: j2t2 at October 16, 2007 1:23 AM
Comment #236217

Ray, et. al.,

The statement that all Socialism is the “same animal” is a recognition that, in practice, Socialism is driven by socialogical forces human beings can’t control individually. It was in recognition of this that the founders put the controls suggested by Montesquieu into effect for government. These controls, when we let them work, pit the nest-building and power-hogging instincts people take into all their activities against each other in a manner intended to mitigate the damage they will do if uncontrolled.

The same thing is true by different methods in capitalism, where the countervailing protective impulses of customer and provider balance each other as long as markets are kept honest and government can be kept from siding with the provider (a la facism or most examples of functioning Socialism).

When government winds up providing or siding with the provider the socialogical features of humankind prevail and the result is injustice.

Posted by: Lee Jamison at October 16, 2007 11:02 AM
Comment #236232

To expand a little on the above, when I have discussed checks and balances of capitalist enterprises and government I have always recognized that the enterprises themselves develop a personality. They have a culture that behaves in the same self-serving ways individuals have.

Some organizations, most of them governments, once granted certain functions can’t be checked by a competitive entity because they have a monopoly on deciding who gets to compete with them.

That is why it is best to place production and distribution functions in the hands of private enterprises, which can be easily supplanted by competitors when they become inefficient, using government to provide a non-predatory regulatory function.

Where we have failed is in having permitted government to establish a predatory regulatory function, a legal system that actively profits from predation in the medical market place. Furthermore we have allowed repeated government interventions (HMOs, Preferred Provider networks, etc., etc.) that clouded market structures to the point it is almost impossible to make rational choices in the medical markets anymore, not just for us, but for physicians as well.

The socialist sociology (to get the spelling right) inherent in government structures is also at work in private enterprise. It lies at the heart of the failures of the American auto industry. But when GM goes bad Toyota can come in to take its place. Governments, on the other hand, have the capacity to resist necessary changes, as European governments did through much of he 19th and early 20th centuries, until the whole fabric of society collapses from their predations to maintain their prerogatives.

Government will continue to feather its nest (add fuctions and powers) until the the social tree holding it up collapses, or the people rise up and put their rulers in their place.

Posted by: Lee Jamison at October 16, 2007 2:41 PM
Comment #236247

j2t2, Lee,

Thanks for comments as usual. Lee, your comment is minimally persuasive perhaps because it needs to be expanded on. Yes politicians will add prerogatives unless checked… We have checked them fairly well in this country for most of the last 225 odd years or so. It was called American democracy. It is corrupted now - corrupted by the vary species that you rise to defend. It was your party that has undermined the checkes and balances. One way that you have done it is by complaining about the justice system as you just did. FYI, the framers the Judicial system as a as a co-equal branch. When Gramma sues an insurance company for refusing life sustaining medicine after accepting her premiums for 50 years - you call that predatory. When an insurance company accepts Grammy’s premiums for 50 years with no real intention of covering her when she really needs it - you call that free market economics. Bully for you…

It is your party that most emphatically refused to exercise the oversight responsibilities of congress. It was your party that appointed activist justices that gave corporations equal protections. It was your party which started signing statements that have become a blatant attempt to draw legislative powers into the executive and it was your party’s “unitary” executive concept that attempts draws both legislative and judicial powers into the executive. Point being: Talking about the corruptibility of government may not be the best tack from a partisan perspective.

Finally, your earlier reference to the movie: The Lives of Others is also unproductive from a partisan perspective. The movie is set in East Germany, but it is about the U.S. today. Today, we engage in widespread warrantless spying on Americans thanks to the Bush Regime. You will probably want to point out that the Democrats rolled over, played dead and granted the Bush this authority to undermine and subvert the Constitution of the U.S. True - all true. I strongly suspect that your boy Bush used warrantless wiretaps to spy on, blackmail, and subvert both Republican and Democratic members of Congress. That is probably what happened to Larry Craig. He is probably the one good guy up there that did not roll over. Hillary is probably a closeted bi-sexual hermaphrodite and Obama is probably secretly white. In a system where warrantless spying is the norm, whatever any member of Congress has to hide becomes a blackmail opportunity for the Executive Branch and also for the Dick Cheney Branch of government. Your party is behind spying and subverting the Constitution. Your party is behind torture, sleep deprivation, and rendering. Your party is behind intimidation. If you oppose them, they will out your CIA wife. That film was about your party.


Posted by: Ray Guest at October 16, 2007 4:48 PM
Comment #236298

Ray,
I don’t care whose hands are on the levers of governmental power, the sociology at work is the same. When the Clinton administration took the FBI files of 700 citizens up to the White House illegally, when they fired the entire slate of federal prosecutors for purely political reasons, when House Ethics Committee member Jim McDermott acting as a government official takes possession of illegally obtained recordings of telephone conversations and disseminates them to the media and then is protected by federal court rulings, we are all supposed to get a warm feeling because the good party is in charge of these benign acts of governmental grace and oversight.

Sorry Ray. You want a government that can enslave and kill us at a whim and you’ll be perfectly happy handing them that power as long as you think it is your bad dog choosing whom to maul.

Your party is made of the exact same animal as mine. It is made of exactly the same animal as for-profit corporations. It is made of exactly the same animal as the Communist Parties of the Eastern Bloc. It is made of exactly the same animal as the Nazi Party. The only significant difference between Republicans and Democrats is that the Republican grass-roots fear the politicians of their own party more than the grass-roots Democrats fear their politicians.

That, Ray, is why I am a Republican.

Posted by: Lee Jamison at October 17, 2007 9:54 AM
Comment #236474

Lee - All Newly elected Presidents can an do make

all the changes they want, they are however, very

suspect when the President has these people fired,

when these prosecutors refuse to commit a possible

crime, or at best, firing them for not pursuing

some deceptive stratagem against the Democrats.

( A poor attempt at Subterfuge )

Posted by: -DAVID- at October 19, 2007 5:36 AM
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