|Progressive Calendar 12.17.09||<– Date –> <– Thread –>|
|From: David Shove (shove001tc.umn.edu)|
|Date: Thu, 17 Dec 2009 03:45:32 -0800 (PST)|
P R O G R E S S I V E C A L E N D A R 12.17.09 1. Save NRP/Mpls 12.17 9:45am 2. Eagan peace vigil 12.17 4:30pm 3. Northtown vigil 12.17 5pm 4. Alliance dinner 12.17 5pm 5. Vs Af escalation 12.17 5:30pm 6. Rethink Af/film 12.17 6pm 7. Rethink Af/film 12.17 7pm 8. Poets/writers 12.17 7pm 9. KFAI/Iraq/Sami 12.18 11am 10. Palestine vigil 12.18 4:15pm 11. LeslieParks/home 12.18 4:30pm 12. Pham Binh - Obama pleads, begs, and grovels before bankers 13. Mark Weisbrot - Top 10 to tell the side the US is on in Honduras coup 14. John Walsh - Obama is right: force is justified in fighting evil 15. Kip Sullivan - Informative polls show 2/3 support single-payer. 3/6 16. ed - Screw sharing (haiku) --------1 of 16-------- From: Peggy Katch <peggy.katch [at] gmail.com> From: City of Minneapolis <minneapolis [at] govdelivery.com> Subject: Save NRP/Mpls 12.17 9:45am The Minneapolis City Council Community Development and Ways & Means/Budget Committees have scheduled a special joint meeting to be held Thursday, December 17, 2009, at 9:45 a.m. in Room 317, City Hall. The purpose of the meeting is to receive information on the Neighborhood Revitalization Program 2010 Administrative Budget. The Community Development Committee and Ways & Means/Budget Committee will each separately convene a special meeting immediately following the special joint meeting if an action on the subject matter will be taken. The agendas can be found on the City's website (at a later time). --------2 of 16-------- From: Greg and Sue Skog <family4peace [at] msn.com> Subject: Eagan peace vigil 12.17 4:30pm PEACE VIGIL EVERY THURSDAY from 4:30-5:30pm on the Northwest corner of Pilot Knob Road and Yankee Doodle Road in Eagan. We have signs and candles. Say "NO to war!" The weekly vigil is sponsored by: Friends south of the river speaking out against war. --------3 of 16-------- From: EKalamboki [at] aol.com Subject: Northtown vigil 12.17 5pm NORTHTOWN Peace Vigil every Thursday 5-6pm, at the intersection of Co. Hwy 10 and University Ave NE (SE corner across from Denny's), in Blaine. Communities situated near the Northtown Mall include: Blaine, Mounds View, New Brighton, Roseville, Shoreview, Arden Hills, Spring Lake Park, Fridley, and Coon Rapids. We'll have extra signs. For more information people can contact Evangelos Kalambokidis by phone or email: (763)574-9615, ekalamboki [at] aol.com. --------4 of 16-------- From: Sean Gosiewski <sean [at] afors.org> Subject: Alliance dinner 12.17 5pm Alliance Holiday Celebration Dec 17 We hope you are enjoying this holiday season. We'd like to invite you to join us for our Holiday Celebration, Organic Dinner, Art Opening and Benefit from 5 to 7:30 pm, Thursday, December 17 at Living Waters Market & Café, 12201 Minnetonka Blvd., Minnetonka (just west of 169). You'll meet other wonderful members and enjoy complimentary hot organic cider, an Art Opening and Benefit Auction of Work by Ellen Schillace and Organic Dinner Buffet ($15 RSVP on line or in person). --------5 of 16-------- From: Women Against Military Madness <wamm [at] mtn.org> Subject: Vs Af escalation 12.17 5:30pm Protest the Escalation in Afghanistan: No War! NO WAR TAXES! Thursday, December 17, 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. Representative Betty McCollum's Office, 165 Western Avenue North, Suite 17, St. Paul. Representative McCollum supports President Obama's call to send an additional 30,000 troops to Afghanistan and in addition she has proposed a 1% tax increase to pay for this war. [Reason to NOT VOTE FOR HER in 2010. They don't care enough how many die, or how much it costs, but they do care about their precious seats. Make sure she never goes back. - ed] Join a picket to say NO to the war and to war taxes! The war has already cost American taxpayers $232 billion. The U.S. spends $100 million a day on military operations in Afghanistan, and every additional soldier will add $1 million a year. Representative McCollum has proposed that we pay for it - she is a co-sponsor of the "Share the Sacrifice Act of 2010," which would impose a 1% added income tax on all of us. She said, "Shared sacrifice means not only committing to fight a war but also committing to pay for it." Is this a sacrifice you want to share? [Hell no! Vote her out in 2010. -ed] Too many Afghans and Americans have already died in this conflict. So far this year, General McChrystal's strategy has made 2009 the deadliest year for U.S. troops in Afghanistan, with another soldier dying every 14 hours. At the same time, civilian casualties are at the worst levels since the aerial bombings at the start of the war. Expanding the military operations with 34,000 new troops will send these numbers through the roof. Stop the bloodshed and demand an end to the U.S. occupation of Afghanistan. If you can't come, call 651-224-9191, or fax 651-224-3056 her office to say NO to the war and to war taxes! Organized by: the Anti-War Committee. Endorsed by: WAMM. FFI: Visit www.antiwarcommitte.org or call 612-379-3899. --------6 of 16-------- From: Women Against Military Madness <wamm [at] mtn.org> Subject: Rethink Af/film 12.17 6pm Film Screening: Rethink Afghanistan Thursday, December 17, 6:00 to 8:00 p.m. Washburn Public Library, Meeting Room, 5244 Lyndale Avenue South, Minneapolis. Critically acclaimed by Thomas Hartman as "a brilliant masterpiece," the film discusses key issues surrounding the escalation of the war in Afghanistan, such as the impact on Pakistan, and the financial costs of the war. The film is free and open to the public. Sponsored by: WAMM. FFI: Call 612-827-5364 or email wamm [at] mtn.org. --------7 of 16-------- From: Women Against Military Madness <wamm [at] mtn.org> Subject: Rethink Af/film 12.17 7pm Film Screening: Rethink Afghanistan Thursday, December 17, 7:00 Mayday Books, 301 Cedar Avenue South, Minneapolis. Critically acclaimed by Thomas Hartman as "a brilliant masterpiece," the film discusses key issues surrounding the escalation of the war in Afghanistan, such as the impact on Pakistan, and the financial costs of the war. The film is free and open to the public. Sponsored by: Iraq Peace Action Coalition (IPAC) and Mayday Books. WAMM is a member of IPAC. FFI: Call 612-333-4719. --------8 of 16-------- From: Anya Achtenberg <aachtenberg [at] gmail.com> Subject: Poets/writers 12.17 7pm I will read from a novel-in-progress-- not my choice of topics!! but I will make jokes, dance salsa up to the podium, and leave quietly when the bell rings. Hope to see you, Anya From: Jules Nyquist <julesnyquist [at] yahoo.com> I've put together a reading with a fine group of my poetry friends and I hope you can join us! We are at the Hennepin History Museum. This is a gem of a mansion-converted-to-museum located just a block away from the Mpls Institute of Arts - you may have passed it several times without noticing. They have an intriguing exhibit - Icons of the Beraved - focusing on mourning customs of the late 19th Century which will take you back to that era with clothing, artifacts and photographs. We will be reading/performing poems of our own, and of our favorite poets relating to loss - but don't think this is a gloomy event, because in loss comes great hope for life. The Winter Solstice is also approaching. We will indulge you in food and wine and there is a cozy fire. This isn't exactly a 'fireside chat' as the website says - it's more of a performace (we'll be using the stage) and if I'm very ambitious I will have my latest chapbook fresh off the press. There is a suggested donation of $5 that goes directly to the Museum. This is optional, no one is turned away. Come early - around 6 or 6:30 pm if you want to view the exhibit before the reading. We'll start promptly at 7 pm - and will be reading for a little over an hour - so you still have time to chat with friends and enjoy the evening. Poetry Reading - Icons for the Bereaved At the Hennepin History Museum Thursday, December 17, 2009 7:00 pm reading Come early to see the exhibit Featuring: Anya Achtenberg Kari Fisher Cindra Halm Freya Manfred Loren Niemi Jules Nyquist Roslye Ultan and Cheryl Ulloyt (host) Hennepin History Museum 2303 Third Avenue South Minneapolis , MN 55404 tel 612-870-1329 (half block from the Mpls Institute of Arts) www.hennepinhistory.org --------9 of 16--------- From: Lydia Howell <lydiahowell [at] visi.com> Subject: KFAI/Iraq/Sami 12.18 11am Fri DEC 18, 11am on CATALYST: politics & culture, KFAI RADIO : SAMI RASOULI, Iraqi-American returns from Hajaf, Iraq to give eyewitness to the state of his country. For 17 years, rasouli lived in Minneapolis and owned the Sindbad restaurant. He sold his business and home and returned to Iraq in 2005 to help rebuild his homeland. He founded the MUSLIM PEACEMAKERS TEAM. --------10 of 16-------- From: Eric Angell <eric-angell [at] riseup.net> Subject: Palestine vigil 12.18 4:15pm The weekly vigil for the liberation of Palestine continues at the intersection of Snelling and Summit Aves in St. Paul. The Friday demo starts at 4:15 and ends around 5:30. There are usually extra signs available. --------11 of 16-------- From: Sue Ann <seasnun [at] gmail.com> Subject: Leslie Parks/home 12.18 4:30pm Help Keep Leslie Parks in her home Stop foreclosures and evictions Join us Friday, December 18 at 4:30 to hold banners and signs demanding that IndyMac /OneWest come to a just settlement that allows the Parks family to keep their home. We will be gathering at Leslie's home, located at 3749 Park Ave. in Mpls. This event is being organized by the Minnesota Coalition for a People's Bailout and the MN Poor People's Economic Human Rights Campaign. We need to keep up the pressure on IndyMac/OneWest --------12 of 16-------- Obama Pleads, Begs, and Grovels Before Bankers by Pham Binh December 15th, 2009 Dissident Voice Pathetic. That's the only word that can describe President Obama's meeting with "fat cat bankers on Wall Street" at the White House today where he called on them to open their wallets and start lending to small businesses to jump start the economy. He also urged them to stop lobbying against regulatory reform. So let me get this straight: The government comes to the rescue of Wall Street at the cost of trillions of dollars in free taxpayer money to save the finance industry from the Apocalypse they themselves created. The bankers take the money and run back to the casino, jack up interest rates for consumers, and reward themselves with fat bonuses for the amazing job they've done wrecking the economy and robbing taxpayers in the middle of the worst recession since the 1930s. And all the president can do is beg, plead, and grovel before these guys. If this kind of moral suasion is so effective, why not use it on the Taliban? Why not call Mullah Omar to the White House, call on him to lay down his arms, and urge him to please stop blowing up our troops? Of course this is absurd, but it is also illustrative. If the president was serious about taking on the fat cats on Wall Street, he wouldn't be asking them to be on their best behavior and play nice with the rest of kids in the Capitol Hill sandbox. If he was serious about taking them on, he'd fire his Wall Street cronies, Timothy Geithner, Larry Summers, and Ben Bernake and replace them with Paul Volcker, Elizabeth Warren, and Ralph Nader. If he was serious about anything he claims to stand for, he'd go to Capitol Hill himself and lobby Congress to pass a reform bill with teeth just as he has with his industry-friendly health care bill. If his actions were in line with his words, the Dow Jones would suffer and Wall Street would start plotting regime change at home just as they did FDR. That would be real change we can believe in. But that's not what Goldman Sachs and the rest of the Wall Street crowd paid for when they bankrolled Obama's presidential campaign. They invested in a slick-talking lawyer from Illinois with a thin resume who seemed to be everything to everyone and they are certainly getting their money's worth. Think of it: trillions in bailouts and being branded "too big to fail" by the government in exchange for hundreds of thousands in campaign contributions. That's the deal of a lifetime. When you look at it this way, no wonder Obama is so nice to these fat cats. They own him. Maybe someone should tell Mullah Omar to get out his checkbook. Pham Binh is an activist and recent graduate of Hunter College in NYC. His articles have been published at Znet, Asia Times Online, Dissident Voice, and Monthly Review Online. He can be reached at: anita_job [at] yahoo.com. Read other articles by Pham, or visit Pham's website. --------13 of 16-------- Top Ten Ways You Can Tell Which Side the United States Government Is on With Regard to the Military Coup in Honduras by Mark Weisbrot Wednesday, December 16, 2009 CommonDreams.org At dawn on June 28, the Honduran military abducted President Manuel Zelaya at gunpoint and flew him out of the country. Conflicting and ambiguous statements from the Obama administration left many confused about whether it opposed this coup or was really trying to help it succeed. Here are the top ten indicators (with apologies to David Letterman): 10.The White House statement on the day of the coup did not condemn it, merely calling on "all political and social actors in Honduras" to respect democracy. Since U.S. officials have acknowledged that they were talking to the Honduran military right up to the day of the coup - allegedly to try and prevent it - they had time to think about what their immediate response would be if it happened. 9.The Organization of American States (OAS), the United Nations General Assembly, and other international bodies responded by calling for the "immediate and unconditional" return of President Zelaya. In the ensuing five months, no U.S. official would use either of those two words. 8.At a press conference the day after the coup, Secretary of State Clinton was asked if "restoring the constitutional order" in Honduras meant returning Zelaya himself. She would not say yes. 7.On July 24th, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton denounced President Zelaya's attempt to return to his own country that week as "reckless," adding that "We have consistently urged all parties to avoid any provocative action that could lead to violence." 6.Most U.S. aid to Honduras comes from the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC), a U.S. government agency. The vast majority of this aid was never suspended. By contrast, on August 6, 2008, there was a military coup in Mauritania; MCC aid was suspended the next day. In Madagascar, the MCC announced the suspension of aid just three days after the military coup of March 17, 2009. 5.On September 28, State Department officials representing the United States blocked the OAS from adopting a resolution on Honduras that would have refused to recognize Honduran elections carried out under the dictatorship. 4.The United States government refused to officially determine that there was a "military coup," in Honduras - in contrast to the view of rest of the hemisphere and the world. 3.The Obama administration defied the rest of the hemisphere and the world by supporting undemocratic elections in Honduras. On October 30th, U.S. government representatives including Thomas Shannon, the top U.S. State Department official for Latin America, brokered an accord between President Zelaya and the coup regime. The agreement was seen throughout the region as providing for Zelaya's restitution, and . according to diplomats close to the negotiations - both Shannon and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton gave assurances that this was true. Yet just four days later, Mr. Shannon stated in a TV interview that the United States would recognize the November 29 elections, regardless of whether or not Zelaya were restored to the presidency. This put the United States against all of Latin America, which issued a 23-nation statement two days later saying that Zelaya's restitution was an "indispensable prerequisite" for recognizing the elections. The Obama administration has since been able to recruit the right-wing governments of Canada, Panama, and Colombia, and also Peru, to recognize the elections. But its support for these undemocratic elections - to which the OAS, European Union, and the Carter Center all refused to send observers - has left the Obama administration as isolated as its predecessor in the hemisphere. 2.President Zelaya visited Washington six times after he was overthrown. Yet President Obama has never once met with him. Is it possible that President Obama did not have even five minutes in all of those days just to shake his hand and say, "I'm trying to help?" 1.The Obama administration has never condemned the massive human rights violations committed by the coup regime. These have been denounced and documented by Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International, the OAS Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR), as well as Honduran, European, and other human rights organizations. There have been thousands of illegal arrests, beatings and torture by police and military, the closing down of independent radio and TV stations, and even some killings of peaceful demonstrators and opposition activists. These human rights violations have continued right through election day, according to Amnesty International and media reports, and beyond, including the killings of two activists opposed to the coup - Walter Trochez and Santos Corrales Garca - in recent days. The United States government's silence through more than five months of these human rights crimes has been the most damning and persistent evidence that it has always been more concerned about protecting the dictatorship, rather than restoring democracy in Honduras. The majority of American voters elected President Obama on a promise that our foreign policy would change. For this hemisphere, at least, that promise has been broken. The headline from the latest Time Magazine report on Honduras summed it up: "Obama's Latin America Policy Looks Like Bush's." Mark Weisbrot is co-director of the Center for Economic and Policy Research, in Washington, D.C. [Pledge now not to vote for Obama in 2012. Secede from Obama and Obamamania. It'a all up to us; count on him for nothing but grief. -ed] --------14 of 16-------- Obama's Oslo Speech Was Right: Force Is Justified in Fighting Evil by John Walsh Dissident Voice December 15th, 2009 I agree with Obama. Force is necessary at times to fight evil. But what is "necessary" or "just" or justifiable force? Obama raises this in his Oslo speech, and we would do well to consider it. Justifiable force, most of us can probably agree, is that used in self-defense or to stop an assault on ourselves and our loved ones. And such assault we can define as evil. By that definition Occupation is evil. And hence Obama the Occupier is evil. We can fight back with violence if necessary against evil, and often that is the only way to win. Hence the Iraqis and Afghanis are in the right to use force against the American Occupation. Just as the Palestinians now and the Black South Africans earlier were in the right when they used violence against their Occupiers and Apartheid. And the Chinese revolution was in the right when it used force against the Western and Japanese Occupiers and against the murderous landlord class, which were killing Chinese by the millions. And so too the Indigenous peoples were right to fight back against the Europeans who conquered their lands, and the slaves of America were right to rise in rebellion against their masters. The American colonists were justified when they violently threw off the arbitrary rule of King George and his army of Occupation, in the same way as are Iraqi and AfPak freedom fighters today. Our Declaration of Independence, which recognizes this right, is not a pacifist document, and the anti-Empire movement cannot be pacifist either. Nor is the average American a pacifist, simply because pacifism does not mesh with the common sense idea of self-defense. Let us add to that a rejection of the fiction that the US is in Central Asia to fight terrorism. The failure of liberals and the Democratic Party left, like Progressive Democrats of America, is that they accept this premise, a premise which figures prominently in Obama's speech and a premise which is clearly a lie. Iraq did not have WMD, and the perpetrators of the war on Iraq knew that very well. So why the war? Many strands contributed to the war - the ambitions of the puppet master of much U.S. foreign policy, Israel, to wreak as much destruction as possible on Muslim lands; the desire to control energy resources so as to deprive the Empire's economic competitors,1 principally China, of these energy supplies; and the desire to control Central Asia militarily and hence to encircle China and to a lesser extent Russia. In sum these wars are all about maintaining and extending the U.S. Empire's world domination as dictated by official, public U.S. policy to allow no nation to eclipse it as number one. The war on Iraq was never about terrorism; and it is not believable that the war on AfPak is about that either. Both are directed at the Empire's economic adversaries, especially China. So Obama is not fighting evil. Obama is the leader of an Evil that must be fought. Evil on a grand scale like war is not something built into men's brains but can emerge from great power which is given to certain men, notably the President of the U.S. at this point in history, by virtue of social and political arrangements. This view of things is that of the radical Left or that of a strict Jeffersonian. But it is also consistent with Libertarianism since Libertarianism views force justifiable against those who assault us or otherwise do us grievous or mortal harm.2 The U.S. Empire has set itself not just against the Muslim peoples but against many of the peoples of the world - including the people of the US itself. If all else fails in curbing this Empire, the peoples of the world are entirely justified in rising up against it. The "left" wing of the Democratic Party, Obama's disappointed supporters, has proved useless or worse in curbing Empire. The next step will surely be an independent anti-imperial electoral effort, and we shall see whether that works. If it does not, the Declaration of Independence tells us what is likely to follow. 1. Note that this is an economic not military competitor since there is no military power which can now compete with the US. [.] 2. This is not so surprising since the Marxist view of the state and the Libertarian view are very much the same, no matter how much the two diverge on economic matters. [.] John V. Walsh can be reached at john.endwar [at] gmail.com. --------15 of 16-------- Informative polls show two-thirds support for single-payer By Kip Sullivan, JD In Part 2 of this six-part series, I reported on the results of two "citizen jury" experiments in which advocates for single-payer, managed competition, and high-deductible policies spoke to, and were questioned by, "juries" that were representative of America. In the case of the 1993 "jury" sponsored by the Jefferson Center, 71 percent voted for single-payer. In the case of the 1996 "jury," 61 percent voted for single-payer when no specific information about its cost to individuals was presented, and 79 percent voted for a single-payer system that would have lowered premium and out-of-pocket costs by as much as taxes rose. Both juries rejected proposals relying on health insurance companies by huge majorities. Many polls that ask about support for Medicare-for-all produce results that confirm the citizen jury findings. But others don't. What explains that inconsistency? The more they know about single-payer, the more they like it In this paper (Part 3 in a six-part series) I will present data from polls that ask about single-payer, and then inquire why some polls show landslide majorities for single-payer and some do not. We will find a clear pattern: Polls that convey more information tend to report higher levels of support than polls that convey little information, and polls that convey accurate information tend to report more support than polls that convey inaccurate information. Table 1 lists 14 poll questions taken from 11 polls conducted over the last two decades which used the phrase "single payer" and/or referred to an existing single-payer system (Medicare, for example). All 14 questions found majority support for single-payer. Three of these polls (representing one question each) were limited to doctors. I have included these physician surveys to debunk the false impression (created primarily by the American Medical Association) that the average doctor is opposed to single-payer. The three polls shown in Table 1 indicate that support among doctors is about 60 percent. Table 1 indicates that public support for single-payer ranges from a low of 50 percent to a high of 69 percent. I have divided the polls of the general public into those that found support levels at 60 percent or higher (eight questions) and those that found levels in the 50-to-58 percent range (three questions). Table 1: Polls indicating majority support for single-payer ...........................................For SP...Vs SP General public: Polls in which support is 60 percent or higher Harvard University/Harris (1988)(a)........61%......not asked LA Times (1990)(b).........................66%......not asked Wall Street Journal-NBC (1991)(c)..........69%......20% Wash Post-ABC News (2003)(d)...............62%......not asked Civil Society Institute (2004)(e)..........67%......27% AP-Yahoo (2007)(f).........................65%......not asked Grove Insight (2009)(g)....................64%......28% Grove Insight (2009)(g)....................60%......27% General public: Polls in which support is below 60 percent AP-Yahoo (2007)(f).........................54%......44% Kaiser Family Foundation (2009)(h).........58%......38% Kaiser Family Foundation (2009)(h).........50%......44% Doctors New Eng J Med (medical school faculty and students) (1999) ...........................................57%......not asked Arch Int Med (doctors) (2004)..............64%......not asked Minnesota Med (doctors) (2007).............64%......not asked (a) The question asked by the Harvard University/Harris poll was described in the Health Affairs article reporting the results as follows: "The majority of Americans (61 percent) state they would prefer the Canadian system of national health insurance where the government pays most of the cost of health care for everyone out of taxes and the government sets all fees charged by hospitals and doctors...". An analogous question posed to Canadians found that only 3 percent of Canadians said they would prefer the American system. (b) The question asked by the Los Angeles Times poll was: "In the Canadian system of national health insurance, the government pays most of the cost of health care out of taxes and the government sets all fees charged by doctors and hospitals. Under the Canadian system - which costs the taxpayers less than the American system - people can choose their own doctors and hospitals. On balance, would you prefer the Canadian system or the system we have here in the United States?" Sixty-six percent chose the Canadian system and 25 percent chose the US system. (c) The question asked by the Wall Street Journal-NBC poll was: "Do you favor or oppose the US having a universal government-paid health care system like they have in Canada?" (d) The Washington Post-ABC News poll asked: "Which would you prefer - (the current health insurance system in the United States, in which most people get their health insurance from private employers, but some people have no insurance); or (a universal health insurance program, in which everyone is covered under a program like Medicare that's run by the government and financed by taxpayers?). Thirty-three percent preferred the current system while 62 percent preferred the "universal system". (e) The Civil Society poll asked: "Other major nations, such as Canada and England, guarantee their citizens health insurance on the job, through government programs, or via a nonprofit source. Would it be a good or bad idea for the United States to adopt the same approach to providing health care to everyone?" (f)The AP-Yahoo poll asked two questions. One asked respondents which of these two proposals they agreed with: (1) "The United States should adopt a universal health insurance program in which everyone is covered under a program like Medicare that is run by the government and financed by taxpayers. (65 percent chose this option); (2) "The United States should continue the current health insurance system in which most people get their health insurance from private employers, but some people have no insurance" (34 percent chose this option). The second question was: "Do you consider yourself a supporter of a single-payer health care system, that is a national health plan financed by taxpayers in which all Americans would get their insurance from a single government plan, or not?" (54 percent said they were supporters of single-payer and 44 percent said they were opposed). (g) The Grove Insight poll asked two questions. One asked: "Federal leaders are considering expanding Medicare to all Americans, so that people have another option besides private health insurance or an HMO. Do you favor or oppose the creation of this type of public health plan option?" (64 percent said they favor this proposal). A very similar question was asked which differed from the first by including information on the financing mechanism: "There is proposed federal legislation that gives any American, regardless of age, the option of joining the Medicare program. Americans who choose this option would share the cost of the coverage with their employer through increased Medicare payroll deductions, instead of paying private health insurance premiums. Do you favor or oppose this legislation?" (60 percent favored it and 27 percent opposed it). Both questions, especially the second one, imply private insurers will continue to exist alongside a Medicare program open to all. But the questions are so similar to questions that clearly ask about Medicare-for-all systems that I decided to include them here. (h) The Kaiser Family Foundation poll asked: "Now I'm going to read you some different ways to increase the number of Americans covered by health insurance. As I read each one, please tell me whether you would favor it or oppose it"?. This was followed by eight proposals which, with the exception of the question about the "public option," were asked in a random order (the "option" question was always asked at the end). Two of these questions asked about single-payer. The first read: "Having a national health plan in which all Americans would get their insurance through an expanded, universal form of Medicare-for all". Fifty-eight percent said they favored this proposal while 38 percent said they opposed. The second read: "Having a national health plan - or single-payer plan - in which all Americans would get their insurance from a single government plan". Only 50 percent favored this proposal while 44 percent opposed. For sources see Table 2 below. If we examine the questions posed by all the polls of the general public, one difference between the two sets of poll questions jumps out immediately: The questions that generated levels of support at 60 percent or higher mentioned one of three existing single-payer programs - the Canadian system, the British system, and the US Medicare program. (I have bolded the words referring to these systems in the poll questions, which are presented in the footnotes to Table 1.) In other words, those questions didn't just rely on the phrase "single payer," a phrase most people do not understand. On the other hand, the three questions that prompted support in the 50-to-58-percent range used the phrase "single-payer" but did not refer to an existing single-payer system or program. The second AP-Yahoo question, for example, merely asked respondents if they considered themselves to be "single-payer supporters". Fifty-four percent said yes to that question, which was substantially below the 65 percent who indicated in the same AP-Yahoo poll that they supported a system of universal coverage "like Medicare". These two AP-Yahoo questions taken together suggest that merely using the term "single-payer" and not comparing it to Medicare will cut roughly 10 percentage points off the support level for single-payer. It might be argued that the second AP-Yahoo question shown in Table 1 produced a relatively low single-payer support rate (54 percent) because it also mentioned the words "taxpayers" and "government". But that argument doesn't work. All but one of the other questions that produced support levels of 60-percent or higher also mentioned "government" and "taxes". The difference is they also mentioned an existing single-payer system or program. Apples-to-aardvarks comparisons also reduce support for single-payer The two questions in Table 1 posed by the 2009 Kaiser poll (see question 13, page 8), which showed 58 and 50 percent support for single-payer, reveal another factor that seems to influence poll results - a factor I'll call the "line-up effect". The Kaiser poll asked about single-payer as well as a half-dozen other proposals without indicating what effect each proposal would have on costs, the number of uninsured, and freedom to choose one's doctor, to name just a few of the variables most people would be interested in. By contrast, the polls listed in the 60-percent-or-higher category did not present single-payer in a line-up with other proposals; they simply asked whether respondents would support a single-payer system, or they contrasted single-payer with the current system. The "line-up effect" generated by the Kaiser polls would be minimized or eliminated in a citizen jury experiment because the jury would have plenty of time to inquire about the relative effectiveness of the competing proposals. Respondents to polls don't have that luxury. The 2009 Kaiser poll began with this announcement: Now I'm going to read you some different ways to increase the number of Americans covered by health insurance. As I read each one, please tell me whether you would favor it or oppose it. Notice the phrase, "different ways to increase the number of Americans covered by health insurance". It implies the "different ways" have all been shown by research to work, and perhaps to reach roughly similar results. This question was then followed by a description of eight proposals, including "expanding Medicare to people between the ages of 55 to 64," "offering tax credits to help people buy private health insurance," and "requiring all Americans to have health insurance". This "line up" method of asking about support for single-payer is by no means fatal, but it does appear to reduce the pro-single-payer response rate by somewhere in the range of 5 to 10 percentage points. The Kaiser question that produced 58 percent support asked about ".having a national health plan in which all Americans would get their insurance through an expanded, universal form of Medicare-for all". Because this question did not mention taxes and government, you might think more than 58 percent of Americans would have said they favored this proposal. After all, when other polls that do not put single-payer in a line-up but do compare single-payer to Medicare and do mention "government" and "taxes" (see the upper half of Table 1), more than 60 percent indicate their support. The fact that only 58 percent of Americans responded favorably to this question from Kaiser - a question that does mention Medicare but mentions neither "taxes" nor "government" - begs for an explanation. It is reasonable to hypothesize that the explanation is the "line up" context in which the question was asked. The second Kaiser question listed in Table 1, the one that produced only 50 percent support, contained a double whammy. Like the first Kaiser question, it used the line-up method; unlike the first question, it failed to compare single-payer with Medicare or another single-payer system. This suggests that the cumulative effect of the line-up method plus failure to compare single-payer to Medicare can diminish support for single-payer by about 15 percent. Perhaps an analogy will help. Imagine if you were asked to indicate whether you "favored or opposed" six "ways to lose weight," and the "ways" ("ways" is the noun Kaiser uses) ranged from the truly effective (for example, exercising for half an hour a day) to the barely effective (for example, weight loss pills or drinking more water). Imagine furthermore that the pollster gave you no information at all on the effectiveness of the various "ways" nor on their side effects. It seems likely that many respondents could be lulled into thinking all the "ways" are roughly equivalent in effectiveness and that respondents would, therefore, give less support to the effective methods of weight loss in response to this type of "line up" question than they would if they were simply asked, "Do you support exercise as a means of weight loss?" Let me offer one more example of the use of the line-up method in a poll about health care reform, this one the July 2009 poll by Time Magazine. Time posed questions about seven different proposals that began with the phrase, "Would you favor or oppose a health care bill that"?. The implication of the phrase "a health care bill" is that members of Congress and experts in general think all of the proposals the respondent is about to hear will ameliorate the health care crisis to some degree, perhaps to the same degree. The single-payer question read: Would you favor or oppose a health care bill that creates a national single-payer plan similar to Medicare for all, in which the government would provide health care insurance to all Americans? Forty-nine percent favored single-payer, 46 percent opposed it. Like all the poll questions shown in Table 1 that showed support for single-payer in the 60-to-70-percent range, the Time question mentioned Medicare and "government". (Oddly, unlike the high-scoring poll questions in Table 1, the Time question didn't mention "taxes".) You might think, then, that the Time poll would have produced a level of support for single-payer in the sixties. The fact that it produced only a 49 percent "favor" rating suggests, again, that something about the "line up" format reduces support for single-payer by about 10 percentage points. To sum up this section: Polls that ask reasonably informative questions about single-payer show that somewhere between 60 and 70 percent of Americans support single-payer. This level of support can be reduced into the 50-to-60 percent range by two methods: Asking about .single-payer. without comparing single-payer to Medicare or the systems of Canada or the UK; and inserting the question about single-payer in a list of a half-dozen other proposals without warning respondents that the non-single-payer proposals, especially incremental proposals like tax credits, will have effects that are quite different from the single-payer proposal. Two more examples of polls that convey too little information To explore further the hypothesis that vagueness in poll questions diminishes support for single-payer, consider polls that are even vaguer than the polls in Table 1 that use "single payer" but offer almost no details about it. Let's examine three polls that did not use the phrase "single payer" and offered no details about how the proposed "government" program would work. In Part 2 of this series, I described a CBS poll conducted in June and August 2009 which asked: Do you think the government would do a better or worse job than private insurance companies in providing medical coverage? This question has the ring of a single-payer question, but it leaves numerous important questions unanswered, including whether the program in question would provide coverage to everyone and whether "provide" means cover people directly or give them subsidies so they can buy coverage from insurance companies. We saw that when this question was asked in June 2009, 50 percent said "the government" would do a better job, but when this question was asked in late August 2009, only 36 percent said "the government" would do a better job. Does this CBS poll contradict the more precise polls listed in Table 1 that found two-thirds support for single-payer? The answer is no. The CBS poll conveys so little information about how "the government" would do the "job" of "providing medical coverage" that it isn't even clear if this question was meant to be about single-payer. In the context of the current debate, Americans are much more likely to think the question refers to the Democrats' 2009 "reform" bills, which require Americans to buy health insurance from insurance companies, than to single-payer legislation. The sharp drop in support for "the government" in the CBS poll between June and August is evidence that the highly publicized town hall meetings held in August to discuss the Democrats' bills influenced responses to the poll, which in turn indicates many respondents thought the question was about the Democrats' legislation, not HR 676 (the single-payer bill introduced in the House of Representatives) or S 703 (the Senate single-payer bill). We see a similar problem in the following question, contained in both a CBS/New York Times poll and a Harvard School of Public Health poll, conducted over several decades: Do you favor or oppose national health insurance, which would be financed by tax money, paying for most forms of health care? Like the phrase "government providing medical coverage" in the CBS poll, the phrase "national health insurance" in this poll could mean government financing of universal coverage through a single-payer system or through a multiple-payer system. If you look at Exhibit 1 on page 35 of this article from Health Affairs, you'll see that between 1980 and 2000 the percent of respondents saying they favor "national health insurance" ranged between 46 and 66 percent. The vagueness of the phrase was unquestionably a significant reason why support fluctuated so much. Another way to diminish support for single-payer: Convey inaccurate information In addition to conveying vague information about single-payer there is, of course, another time-tested method of diminishing support for it, and that is to convey inaccurate information about it. This can be done explicitly and implicitly. It can be done explicitly by, for example, asserting in the question that single-payer systems raise taxes but do not lower premium payments and out-of-pocket costs. We have already seen one example of how reducing support for single-payer with inaccurate information can be done implicitly - by inserting the single-payer question into the middle of several other proposals, including incremental proposals such as tax credits for small employers, without warning respondents that the proposals have very different benefits and side effects. Since 2001, the Gallup poll has been asking this explicitly misleading question (apparently each November): Which of the following approaches for providing health care in the United States would you prefer: replacing the current health care system with a new government-run health care system, or maintaining the current system based mostly on private health insurance? (emphasis added) "Government-run health care system" has garnered somewhere between 32 and 41 percent support since 2001 (while keeping the "current system" has attracted the support of 48 to 63 percent). But this poll is so biased it is irrelevant to the current debate. The problem here is the use of the phrase "health care" three times instead of "health insurance". The government does not "run health care" under single-payer systems (or any other system currently under debate in the US, for that matter). Under single-payer systems, clinics, hospitals, and makers of drugs and equipment that are privately owned today would remain in private hands. What the government will "run" in a Medicare-for-all system is health insurance, not health care. The latter phrasing conjures up nightmares of a gigantic government HMO in which the federal HMO owns all the clinics and hospitals and government bureaucrats decide whether you may have the surgery you and your doctor think you need or whether you must take Lipitor when your doctor prescribed Crestor. I will discuss another example of a poll that delivers explicit misinformation in Part 5 when I discuss the "research" Celinda Lake did for the "option" movement. The Bermuda Triangle Finally, there is the occasional outlier poll that produces very low favorability ratings for single-payer about which I can only offer a plausible hypothesis. The August 7-8, 2009 Rasmussen Poll (not shown in Table 1) is an example. The poll asked: Do you favor or oppose a single payer health care system where the federal government provides coverage for everyone? We would expect this poll to produce "favor" responses below the 60-percent level because it offers so little information about what a single-payer is (it doesn't mention Medicare or the Canadian or British systems, and offers no other details). But Rasmussen reported that only 32 percent supported single-payer while 57 percent opposed it. This question was not asked as part of a "line up," so the line-up explanation doesn't help us here. The two explanations that occur to me are sloppiness and deliberate manipulation of the process (for example, sampling a lot more conservatives than liberals). That possibility has occurred to others as well. Rasmussen's non-electoral polls seem to show more support for conservative positions than other polls. Summary We have now reviewed three categories of polls that correspond roughly to support levels of 60 to 70 percent, 50 to 60 percent, and below 50 percent. Polls that produce greater-than-60-percent levels of support for single payer not only use the phrase "single-payer" but compare the concept to an existing single-payer program, typically Medicare. Polls showing 50 to 60 percent support inquire about "single payer" without comparing the concept to Medicare or to the single-payer systems of other countries or they pose the question about single-payer in a line-up context. Polls that seem to ask about single-payer and which show less than 50 percent support use phrasing that is so vague respondents cannot know whether the program being asked about is a single-payer and, if so, how it would work. We saw in Part 2 of this series that two citizen juries conducted in the 1990s produced landslide votes for single-payer - votes equal to roughly 60 to 80 percent of all the participating "jurors". These lengthy "jury" experiments are far more reliable than any poll could possibly be. And yet some polls confirm the "jury" experiments and some don't. If we ask why, the answer is the polls that show support in at least the 60-to-70-percent range use the phrase "single payer" and give respondents concrete examples of single-payer programs. If we couple the "jury" experiments with the polling data reviewed in this part, we see a pattern: The more people know about single-payer, the more likely they are to support it. We see this pattern when we compare the "jury" results with poll results, and we see it when we compare polls that show high levels of support for single-payer with those that don't. Stay tuned for Part 4: .Jacob Hacker.s ambiguous polls. Table 2: Sources Harvard/Harris poll: Robert J. Blendon et al., .Views on health care: Public opinion in three nations,. Health Affairs, Spring 1989;8(1)149-157. Los Angeles Times poll: .Health Care in the United States,. Poll no. 212, Storrs, Conn.: Roper Center for Public Opinion Research, March 1990, cited in Robert J. Blendon et al., .Satisfaction with health systems in ten nations,. Health Affairs, Summer 1990;9(2): 185-192. Actual wording of the question is available at American Public Opinion Index, 1990, p. 649. Wall Street Journal-NBC poll: Michael McQueen, .Voters, sick of the current health .care systems, want federal government to prescribe remedy,. Wall Street Journal, June 28, 1991, A4 (question available here). New England Journal of Medicine poll: Steven R. Simon et al., .Views of managed care: A survey of students, residents, faculty, and deans of medical schools in the United States,. New England Journal of Medicine 1999; 340:928-936, 929. Washington Post-ABC News Poll: Health Care, October 20, 2003. Archives of Internal Medicine poll: Danny McCormick et al., .Single-payer national health insurance: Physicians. views,. Archives of Internal Medicine 2004;164:300-304. Civil Society Institute poll: Opinion Research Corporation, Americans and Health Care Reform: How Access and Affordability are Shaping Views, September 15, 2004. Minnesota Medicine poll: Joel Albers et al, .Single-payer, health savings accounts, or managed care? Minnesota physicians. perspectives,. Minnesota Medicine, February 2007:36-40. AP-Yahoo poll: Knowledge Networks, (page 15). Grove Insight poll: Grove Insight memo to Jamie Court, January 30, 2009. Kaiser Family Foundation poll, 2009. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site. One Response to .Two-thirds of Americans support Medicare-for-all (#3 of 6). murphyj87 December 10th, 2009 at 3:32 am As was noted, well over 90% of Canadians (varies from 92% to 97% depending on the poll) would never accept an American style insurance-run health care system. Any Canadian politician who would be stupid enough to even whisper that they wanted an American style health care system would not only be defeated, they would be obliterated to the point that their political career would be irretrievably over. The three main Canadian sports are hockey, curling, and griping about Canadian health care, but let anyone try to change the health care system from what we.ve had for 45 years and that person had better run in order to outrun the 30 million Canadians whom would try to kill them. That.s part of the point, with a government funded system like we have, the people can can get the government to improve it. Americans have no way of getting the US health care system improved it in any way because only profit and shareholders count to the insurance companies that run the American health care system. --------16 of 16-------- Screw sharing: 1. sex for three. 2. what the ruling class thinks of sharing. ------------------------------------------------------------------------------ - David Shove shove001 [at] tc.umn.edu rhymes with clove Progressive Calendar over 2225 subscribers as of 12.19.02 please send all messages in plain text no attachments vote third party for president for congress now and forever Socialism YES Capitalism NO To GO DIRECTLY to an item, eg --------8 of x-------- do a find on --8 Research almost any topic raised here at: CounterPunch http://counterpunch.org Dissident Voice http://dissidentvoice.org Common Dreams http://commondreams.org Once you're there, do a search on your topic, eg obama drones
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