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11.16 Scotland was first Industrialized Country to Run wholly on Wind in October

11.16 How pesticide bans can prevent tens of thousands of suicides a year [how many thousands more die early from eating pesticide-laced food?]

11.15  The long read:  The plastic backlash: what's behind our sudden rage – and will it make a difference? [the world wants to throw-up...]

11.15 Claws out: crab fishermen sue 30 oil firms over climate change [workers are waking-up...]

11.15 Trump administration to cut air pollution from heavy-duty trucks

11.14 Backed by Ocasio-Cortez, Youth Climate Activists Arrested in Pelosi's Office Demanding Democrats Embrace 'Green New Deal'

11.13 What would a smog-free city look like?

11.13 Global report highlights Australia’s renewables potential amid mixed signals for coal

11.13 Interior department whistleblower: Ryan Zinke hollowed out the agency

11.12  This Land is Your Land:  The Zinke effect: how the US interior department became a tool of industry [behaving ignorantly again...]

11.12 Planned Parenthood's new president warns of 'state of emergency' for women's health

11.11 Trump responds to worst fires in California’s history by threatening to withhold federal aid [behaving ignorantly again...]

11.11 Interior department sued for ‘secretive process’ in at-risk species assessment [behaving ignorantly again...]

11.11 Keystone XL pipeline: judge rules government 'jumped the gun' and orders halt [behaving ignorantly again...]

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Daily: FAIR Blog
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US Politics, Policy & 'Culture'

11.17 As Energy for Medicare for All Explodes, Steny Hoyer's Plan Includes Waiting for Trump to Help Make Obamacare Better [Another who is unfit to be Democrat leader]

11.17 'A Staggeringly Bad Idea': Outrage as Pelosi Pushes Tax Rule That Would 'Kneecap the Progressive Agenda' [Unfit to be Democrat leader]

11.17 Trump Is Starting to Panic

11.16 As 'Green New Deal' Demand Grows, Democrats Have Choice: Confront and Defeat Fossil Fuel Industry or Take Credit for 'Doomed' Planet [Two choices: Save life-on-Earth or help Republicans let it die?]

11.16 Trump’s latest interview shows a president who’s in way over his head

11.16 Why the political fight in Georgia is far from over

11.16 Florida judge sides with Democrats, giving thousands a second chance to fix their ballots

11.15 Democrats Won Big. Can They Go Bold, Too? [it's about suppressing the influence and leadership by Republican-like Democrats who counsel 'íncremental' (no) change, such as Nancy Pelosi, Steny Hoyer, Hillary Clinton, Chuck Shumer and Joe Biden]

11.15 Pentagon Officials Forced to Make Fewer Public Appearances to Avoid Provoking Trump [...by revealing Trump's huuuge ignorance]

11.15 REPUBLICANS USED A BILL ABOUT WOLVES TO AVOID A VOTE ON YEMEN WAR [if there are 'defense industry' profits to be made—including congress-critter insider-trading—and political 'donations' to be had, we mustn't stop killing innocent civilians!]

11.15 Big Oil v the planet is the fight of our lives. Democrats must choose a side

Justice Matters
High Crimes?

11.14 The Guardian view on Yemen’s misery: the west is complicit [WAR CRIMES]

Economics, Crony Capitalism

11.16 Amazon’s HQ2 Will Get a Tax Break Designed to Help the Poor [a Republican program that directly helps participating wealthy companies—but only helps workers if and when 'trickle-down' occurs.]

11.16 Trump doesn’t want to punish Saudi Arabia over Khashoggi. His new sanctions prove it. [George W. Bush made a similar immoral decision for the same oily reasons after 9-11, protecting Saudi defense contracts while facilitating the slaughter of poorer Arab "terrorists" in the region.]

11.15 The Earth is in a death spiral. It will take radical action to save us [fossil fuel burning, un-recyclable plastic production/use and methane gas release must cease ASAP.]

International & Futurism

11.17 Saudi crown prince's 'fit' delays UN resolution on war in Yemen

11.17 Thousands gather to block London bridges in climate rebellion [We're losing WWIII because the enemy is invisible while we're like frogs slowly cooking. We aren't informed enough to be alarmed, but must get organized and motivated to fight back. We need a War Plan to ruthlessly pursue the fight of our lives!]

11.17 Policies of China, Russia and Canada threaten 5C climate change, study finds [Climate catastrophe is increasingly likely without worldwide organization, funding and commitment to winning THE WAR AGAINST GLOBAL WARMING.]

11.17 CIA finds Saudi crown prince ordered Jamal Khashoggi killing – report

11.15 Cuba to pull doctors out of Brazil after President-elect Bolsonaro comments [terms must be negotiated for fairness to Cuba's health professionals without disruption of healthcare for Brazil's poor]

11.14 'Appalling' Khashoggi audio shocked Saudi intelligence – Erdogan [Exposing a psychopath?]

11.14 Israel and Hamas launch hundreds of attacks in Gaza clash

11.14 Mueller seeking more details on Nigel Farage, key Russia inquiry target says

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  The Democrats: Really, You Just Gotta Laugh
Newspaper logo

COMMENTARY:

The Democrats: Really, You Just Gotta Laugh

by Dave Lindorff
Originally published in This Can't Be Happening yesterday, 12 October 2009

What makes it all so pathetic is that America already has an excellent model for delivering quality health care: a single-payer system called Medicare.

The Democrats in Congress, and their main man Barack Obama in the White House, have taken tens of millions in legal bribes from the health insurance industry over the past year, and have obligingly been hammering out in Congress a health “reform” bill that, instead of helping people, has been designed to help the insurance industry.

They started out by immediately blackballing any discussion of real health reform in the form of an expansion of Medicare to cover everyone of every age, which of course would have ended the problem of the uninsured, while cutting the nation’s overall health bill by at least a third, but in the process shutting down the private health insurance business.

Then they chipped away and are at this point on the verge of eliminating any so-called “public option” or government-run health insurance plan to even compete with the private insurance sector.

Finally, in a move as breathtakingly accommodating of the insurance industry as was the multi-trillion-dollar bailout financial bailout of Wall Street’s biggest banks, they proposed to require (on pain of a $3800 fine by the IRS) to require everyone in America to buy a health insurance plan from the private sector—a gift to the industry of some 40-50 million new captive customers.

But a combination of public outrage at this forced program of compulsory insurance and recognition that the inevitable government subsidy of low-income insurance buyers would be humongous has led Congress to backtrack, and start backing away from the mandatory aspect of this plan.

And now the private insurance industry, not satisfied that it has managed to practically dictate the terms of the health reform legislation so far, and angry that it might not get those 40-50 million new forced customers, is reportedly threatening to turn around and knife the president and the Democratic Congress in the back,

They’re threatening to (gasp!) start running attack ads on the “reform” legislation.

Remember the old “Harry and Louise” ads the industry ran attacking Hillary and Bill Clinton’s health reform proposal back in the early 1990s? Well, this time, it’ll be Harry and Louise attacking ObamaCare.

I can see it now. America’s Health Insurance Plans, the lobby for the insurance industry vultures, will set up some nice-sounding front group with a name like People for a Healthier America, and they’ll fund a new ad campaign like this:

Harry will be sitting at the breakfast table, reading the local paper. He’ll look up from his coffee as Louise is puttering around by the sink.

“This ObamaCare looks like it’s gonna drive up our insurance premiums, hon.”

“What do you mean Harry?”

“Well it says here that they’re not going to force the poor folks to buy insurance, so most of ‘em will probably wait until they get sick and then buy it.”

“Well what’s wrong with that, dear?”

“Nothin’ ‘cept that the law would also prohibit the insurance companies from charging those sick folks higher premiums when they do finally come in to buy insurance.”

“Well, wouldn’t it be unfair to charge them more, when they need it?”

“It might seem that way Louise, but if the insurance company has to take a loss on them, they’re going to make it up by charging us good folks who have insurance more.”

“Oh my god, Harry! We’re already paying $6,000 a year for our insurance. What will our premiums go up to?

“Says here they could go up by another $1000 a year!”

Announcer: Don’t let Congress make you pay for the uninsured. Call your Senators and Representatives and the White House, and tell them to demand that every American be required to buy insurance immediately! This announcement is brought to you by People for a Healthier America.

It’s funny really, to see Sen. Max Baucus (D-Montana), the biggest recipient in Congress of insurance industry money, who has spent the last few months working hand-in-glove with the insurance industry lobbyists to craft a bill to their liking, suddenly accusing his erstwhile financiers of doing a “hatchet job” on his bill. Actually, his bill has been a hatchet job itself on the whole concept of health care reform.

All of this, of course, was entirely predictable. Like HillaryCare before it, ObamaCare has been doomed from the start by its unwillingness to address the basic issue behind America’s twin crisis of health care: lack of access for those with lower incomes, and absurdly high cost for everyone.

What makes it all so pathetic is that America already has an excellent model for delivering quality health care: a single-payer system called Medicare. Everyone in America gets this program, just like in Canada, Germany, France, Taiwan, Japan and elsewhere. The only difference is that in those other countries, people get it from the day they’re born. In America, you have to wait until you are permanently disabled, or until you reach the age of 65.

Far from having to “start from scratch,” as Obama duplicitously claimed in his last address to Congress in explaining why he was not proposing a single-payer solution despite its obvious success in other countries, solving America’s health crisis by adopting a single-payer system would be a simply matter of taking a well proven system that works and is popular, and expanding it to cover everybody.

But of course that would have made the insurance industry furious. They’d have to go back to just selling life insurance and homeowners insurance and car insurance.

And so we can expect a new round of “Harry and Louise,” and ObamaCare will go down in flames.

You have to laugh at these Democrats. Even when they brazenly try to sell out, they get screwed.


Dave Lindorff in Washington

About the author: Philadelphia journalist Dave Lindorff is a 34-year veteran, an award-winning journalist, a former New York Times contributor, a graduate of the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism, a two-time Journalism Fulbright Scholar, and the co-author, with Barbara Olshansky, of a well-regarded book on impeachment, The Case for Impeachment. His work is available at www.thiscantbehappening.net.



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This story was published on October 13, 2009.
 

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