|Progressive Calendar 12.18.09||<– Date –> <– Thread –>|
|From: David Shove (shove001tc.umn.edu)|
|Date: Fri, 18 Dec 2009 15:01:38 -0800 (PST)|
P R O G R E S S I V E C A L E N D A R 12.18.09 1. Climate vigil 12.18 5:30pm 2. Moyers/DC for sale 12.18 9pm 3. John Gibbons - Six reasons why earth won't cope for long 4. Ron Jacobs - From Panama to Afghanistan: selling a "just" war 5. Miohael Colby - Bernie the Quitter fools us again/health care charade 6. Barbara Koeppel - How banks bleed money from the poor & unemployed 7. Dave Lindorff - Insurance co dream/abort the Dem health care bill --------1 of 7-------- Date: Thu, 17 Dec 2009 15:32:32 -0600 From: Melissa <smilyus [at] msn.com> Subject: Climate vigil 12.18 5:30pm EMERGENCY PROTEST & VIGIL SOLIDARITY WITH ACTIVISTS IN COPENHAGEN * CLIMATE TALKS UNDEMOCRATIC & ON VERGE OF FAILURE * US/RICH COUNTRIES REFUSE SERIOUS REDUCTIONS & CLIMATE DEBT * MASSIVE POLICE REPRESSION AGAINST NONVIOLENT CIVIL SOCIETY WHEN: Friday December 18th, 5:30PM WHERE: In Front of WCCO on Nicollet Mall (at 11th St), Downtown Minneapolis (right before Holidazzle parade) Bring candles, signs and friends. "First they shut the public out of the climate negotiations, then they shut out 80% of NGOs who have been accredited to attend, and now they are jailing people who challenge the undemocratic nature of the climate negotiations, while the future of life on earth literally hangs in the balance." -Dorothy Guerro, Focus on the Global South, Climate Justice Now Network. WHY? * UN CLIMATE TALKS ON VERGE OF FAILURE: Because the US and other wealth climate polluting nations refuse to significantly reduce climate pollution and to pay our ecological debt to climate-impacted developing world and because of the lack of democracy in the UN climate talks. On Tuesday, US climate negotiator Todd Stern said he foresees no change in President Obama's offer to cut emissions by 17 percent of 2005 levels by2020. The proposal has been widely criticized because it amounts to just a four percent cut when adopting the 1990 emission standard used by the rest of the world. Scientists call for a 40% cut by 2020in order to prevent an environmental and humanitarian catastrophe. Meanwhile, developing countries including the US, UK and Denmark drafted and circulated a document to completely circumvent the UN from all further future negotiations. * CIVIL SOCIETY NGO'S BANNED FROM UN: Accredited civil society groups including Friends of the Earth, Avaaz, Tck Tck Tck, Via Campesina have been banned from the UN Climate Conference. "The surgical removal of non governmental organizations underscores the lack of democracy inherent in these negotiations. The only way to avoid catastrophic climate change is fully supporting and including peoples movements like the very ones illegitimately removed from this process.," said Professor Micheal Dorsey, a member of the Climate Justice Now! Network. * DENMARK VIOLATES DEMOCRATIC & HUMAN RIGHTS, ATTACKS NONVIOLENT ACTIVISTS Danish police have engaged in mass preemptive arrests, detentions, clubbed and pepper spayed nonviolent activists, raided organizing centers and suspended basic civil liberties and democratic rights. Dr. Tadzio Mueller of Berlin, an accredited NGO observer at the COP 15 and the spokesperson for Climate Justice Action, was arrested without provocation by plain clothed police shortly after a press conference announcing nonviolent demonstrations plans. He remains in jail awaiting trial. SING A PETITION TO THE DANISH GOVERNMENT HERE: <http://www.petitiononline.com/Tadzio/petition.html> http://www.petitiononline.com/Tadzio/petition.html --------2 of 7-------- From: t r u t h o u t <messenger [at] truthout.org> Subject: Moyers/DC for sale 12.18 9pm Bill Moyers Journal | Washington for Sale? Bill Moyers Journal: "Amid fading hopes for real reform on issues ranging from high finance to health care, economist Robert Kuttner and journalist Matt Taibbi join Bill Moyers to discuss Wall Street's power over the federal government." --------3 of 7-------- Six Reasons Why Earth Won't Cope for Long by John Gibbons Thursday, December 17, 2009 The Irish Times common Dreams As world leaders arrive in Copenhagen for the crunch phase of the climate conference, the focus turns to what kind of deal is likely to emerge. Pre-eminent climate scientist Prof James Hansen of the Nasa Goddard Institute has already given the entire process the kiss of death. Any political deal cobbled together is, he believes, likely to be so profoundly flawed as to lock humanity on to "a disaster track". Hansen voiced publicly what environmental scientists and campaigners have murmured all year. A political fudge that ducks science is the likeliest outcome at Copenhagen. Earlier this week, for instance, EU fisheries ministers agreed a deal that pleased our Government and our fishermen. However, it does little to arrest the progressive annihilation of a common resource that, like our atmosphere, is owned by no one - and so exploited by all. The world faces a dangerous convergence of environmental and resource crises, not all directly climate related. All, however, are increasingly difficult to resolve in a rapidly warming world. Taken together, they are not amenable to a business-as-usual political response. Here, in no particular order, are six: 1. Biodiversity: "The world is currently undergoing a very rapid loss of biodiversity comparable with the great mass extinction events that have previously occurred only five or six times in the Earth's history," says the World Wildlife Fund. It has tracked an astonishing 30 per cent decline in the Earth's biodiversity between 1970-2003. Hunting, habitat destruction, deforestation, pollution and the spread of agriculture are leading to as many as 1,000 entire species going extinct every week - that's a species every 10 minutes. The economic cost of destroying biodiversity is also immense. A 2008 EU study estimated the cost of forest loss alone is running at $2-$5 trillion (.1.3-.3.4 trillion) annually. 2. Ocean acidification: The evidence of the effects of increased CO2 levels on the world's oceans is unequivocal. Surface ocean acidity has increased by 30 per cent since 1800, with half this increase occurring in just the last three decades. The rate of change in oceanic pH levels is around 100 times faster than any observed natural rate. Increasing acidity is impeding the ability of plankton called foraminifera to produce shells. These creatures form the base of the entire marine food system. The world's vital reef systems are also in peril from acidification. 3. Population pressure: Broadcaster Sir David Attenborough has witnessed how the natural world is being crushed by humanity. "I've never seen a problem that wouldn't be easier to solve with fewer people, or harder - and ultimately impossible - with more," he says. The Earth must provide for around 80 million more people than this time last year. It took us almost 10,000 years to reach a billion people. We now add that many every 12 years. 4. Peak oil: This month, the International Energy Agency formally predicted global peak oil by 2020. Today, the world burns the equivalent of 82 million barrels of oil every day. Projected growth in energy demand will see this rise to almost 100 million barrels within a decade, but by then, output from the oilfields currently in production will have plummeted to barely a third of that. A massive energy gap is looming, and with discoveries having peaked in the mid-1960s, we are approaching the bottom of the cheap oil barrel. Non-conventional oil, renewables and nuclear will be nowhere near capable of bridging this energy gap in time. The oil shocks of the coming decade will be intense. 5. Peak food: the global food system is predicated on lashings of cheap oil, fresh water, soil and natural gas. All four are in decline. The food riots of 2008 were an early warning of a global system in crisis. In the US, it is estimated every calorie of food energy requires 10 calories of fossil fuel energy. More food production is now being channelled into fattening animals. Meat is a tasty but entirely inefficient way to use finite food resources. Meanwhile, the UN predicts the collapse of all global commercial marine fisheries by 2048, depriving up to two billion people of food. 6. Peak water: During the 20th century, human water usage increased nine-fold, with irrigation (for agriculture) alone using two-thirds of this total. With almost all major glaciers retreating, many river systems are at risk. Groundwater in aquifers is another key fresh water source. Over-extraction, mostly for agriculture, has caused their levels worldwide to plummet. Pollution, especially from fertiliser overuse, adds to the loss of fresh water. The Environmental Protection Agency yesterday reported only 17 per cent of Ireland's rivers are of "high ecological status". The 19th century naturalist John Muir famously wrote that "when one tugs at a single thing in nature, he finds it attached to the rest of the world". As the Copenhagen conference draws to a close, the words of a contemporary of Muir, politician and orator Robert Ingersoll, have never seemed more apt: "In nature there are neither rewards nor punishments; there are only consequences". 2009 irishtimes.com John Gibbons blogs at www.thinkorswim.ie --------4 of 7-------- >From Panama to Afghanistan Selling a "Just" War By RON JACOBS December 17, 2009 CounterPunch December 20, 1989. The US military attacked Panama. At the time I was living in Olympia, WA. I was a member of a group that worked to oppose the US wars in Central America and helped refugees find sanctuary called the Central American Action Committee. Once I heard about the invasion - which was called Operation Just Cause - I began calling members to organize some kind of protest. I was surprised to discover when my suggestion was met with a lukewarm response by at least half of the members. This had something to do with Panamanian leader Manuel Noriega's identity in the US media as a cocaine trafficker. In the world we inhabit many of the folks must have figured that opposing the murder of several thousand Panamanians was the same as supporting the cocaine trade. Of course, as several news stories since then have related (and just as consistently been denied by the US government), the US has its own history of complicity in the illegal drug trade. We did mount a protest of thirty in front of the Federal Building the next day. When compared to the protest by hundreds that included the closing down of the Federal Building a little more than a month before in protest of US actions in El Salvador, the action against the Panama attack was barely visible. This lackluster response was repeated around the United States as many forces against the US wars in Central America refused to protest the invasion of Panama. George Bush the Elder's ploy characterizing Panamanian leader Noriega as a drug trafficker and his government as corrupt seemed to have silenced a good portion of the antiwar movement. In addition, by playing up an attack on a US officer's wife by a member of the Panamanian security forces, the elder Bush was also able to play on US concerns about the treatment of women. This was, as Noam Chomsky pointed out in his work 1991 book Deterring Democracy, despite the fact that US nuns in El Salvador and Nicaragua had been killed by forces supported by Washington with no repercussions from Washington. Let's jump ahead twenty years. It's now December 2009. US forces forcibly occupy two nations - Iraq and Afghanistan. While the casualty figures in the former are minimal nowadays, it was only a year or two ago that US military men and women were dying at the rate of one hundred a month. Meanwhile, in Afghanistan, the casualty figures are double what they were a year ago and tens of thousands more US soldiers and Marines are getting ready to deploy there. They have been told by their commander-in-chief that their cause is just. Once again, the protest is muted. The government in Afghanistan is a creation of Washington and would not exist without the foreign military presence there. It is also one of the most corrupt governments in the world. Women in Afghanistan suffer some of the worst human rights abuses in the world. Many of those abuses derive from the male supremacist interpretation of the Muslim religion by forces on all sides of the conflict. Many more of the abuses are the result of the ongoing conflict in that country. From displacement and hunger to death and maiming caused by US and resistance forces, the military conflict is probably the greatest violator of women's rights. Yet, the people of the United States have been told over and over again that one of the reasons for the US military presence in Afghanistan is to free the Afghan women. So, why is there so little protest? Is it because many liberals and progressives who opposed the war in Iraq somehow see this misadventure in Afghanistan as righteous? Or do they believe that Barack Obama really does have a plan that will guarantee peace through the waging of war? If the latter is true, than these folks have truly succumbed to the wiles of imperial thought. There is no promise to end the war in any particular year, much less a specific date. If history tells us anything, the only way to stop a war is to make it difficult for the government waging it to continue to do so. This scenario will not occur within the walls of Congress. Nor will it take place inside the White House or the Pentagon. It can only occur in the streets of the United States. As long as the US government is convinced it has at least tacit support for its adventures overseas, it will continue them. As the recent escalation proves, it will not only continue them but will expand them. Now, there are many folks who say they oppose the war but will argue that there is no point in mounting any protest against it. Their arguments will include the caveat that protests make no difference or that they will never reach the so-called regular people. I disagree. It seems to me that if the connection between the increasing failure of the government to fund essential services like schools, health care, infrastructure and even job creation can be connected to the ridiculously high cost of the wars and occupations, then the antiwar movement can reach the American people. Currently, it seems that there is a disconnect in most people's minds between the cutting of services and the ongoing wars and occupations. That disconnect must be terminated and the connections between the expanding price of imperial war and the decreasing quality of our services must be made. In addition, the profits of war must be exposed for what they are - theft of taxpayer's money by a small number of citizens. It is a theft on a scale so huge very few can even imagine it. It is also a theft that does not benefit the majority of the American people and certainly not most of the people of Iraq or Afghanistan in any meaningful way. Although they claim to be protecting us, the only thing these corporations and their uniformed cohorts are protecting is their bank accounts. That does not have to continue. In fact, there is already an effort being organized by the National Assembly to End the Wars and Occupations to hold a massive antiwar protest on March 20, 2010 in Washington, DC and San Francisco. It is their intention (no, our intention) to make the connection between the self-serving and pointless costs of the wars and the continuing failure of the United States' economy to employ all those who desire employments and to take care of its people. In order to draw the largest number of people into the movement, the demand is simple: No Escalation - End the Wars - Bring Our Troops Home. It is time to take a stand. Ron Jacobs is author of The Way the Wind Blew: a history of the Weather Underground, which is just republished by Verso. Jacobs' essay on Big Bill Broonzy is featured in CounterPunch's collection on music, art and sex, Serpents in the Garden. His first novel, Short Order Frame Up, is published by Mainstay Press. He can be reached at: rjacobs3625 [at] charter.net --------5 of 7-------- Bernie the Quitter Fools Us Again The Health Care Charade By MICHAEL COLBY CounterPunch December 18-20, 2009 Vermont's Senator Bernie Sanders spoke for months about his "historic" efforts to get a vote on a single-payer health care bill in the Senate. While we all knew the outcome was going to be a rather miserable failure, it was a tiny crumb being flicked to those of us who still believe in both real solutions to the health care crisis AND the possibilities of democracy. Bernie was correct to intuit that this kind of vote is essential to keep a movement alive, offer some hope, and simply record the moment in history. The entire effort is about seeing where we stand, knowing how far we have to go, and putting both the general public and the electoral elite on notice that we know where we're going. Historically, similar "failed" measures were introduced to end slavery, to give women the right to vote, to provide equal rights to minorities and - yes - to end wrong-headed wars. An effective movement must know which side everyone is on, and such votes - albeit failures - provide that organizational and motivational insight. Bernie had all of this in mind while he talked the talk in the months preceding the historic single-payer health care vote. Because Bernie knows his history, and he also knows - like the rest of us who utilize common sense know - that a single-payer health care system provides the only path to justice. "The upcoming vote on my single-payer health care bill will be an historic moment in the halls of Congress," Bernie declared recently on a national radio talk show. "While I know it will fail, it is essential to bring it forward, have the debate, and record the vote so that we can continue to build the movement and move toward single-payer as our ultimate goal". Well, Bernie had his moment earlier this week. And, as we all know now, he quit on us. Specifically, Bernie pulled his single-payer initiative from consideration after the Republicans went grade school on us by demanding that the 700-page amendment be read in its entirety. It was estimated that the reading would take about 12 hours of the Senate's time. After about three hours, Bernie came to the floor of the Senate and announced that he was withdrawing his single-payer initiative and, thus, killing the "historic" vote. Why? Because, as Bernie explained, he didn't want to hold up the business of the Senate. And what, exactly, was the next item on the Senate's agenda? Yet another Defense Department appropriations bill. Hmm, sounds like a good reason to stall to me. But the real reason, of coarse, is that Bernie was getting his arm twisted by the spineless Democratic leadership, a group of sheep who seem only interested in perfecting the not-so-fine art of losing. When Bernie took the floor to announce his decision to pull his amendment he was "outraged," and then spilled forth with some fine rhetoric about all the ills of our political system, the obstructive nature of the Republicans, and then some more outrage piled upon the outrage. But it was Bernie's - and only Bernie's - decision to kill his initiative and, as a result, the "historic" moment that he had been promoting. So, sorry, if there was outrage to be had, it should have been spread evenly amongst the childish Republicans and Bernie-the-quitter. Sadly, the whole affair could be chalked up to yet another example of the Democratic Party's (yes, Bernie caucuses with the Dems) willingness to lead its followers to political slaughter. Obama's done it with the Wall Street bailouts, his refusal to close Gitmo, his foot-dragging on Iraq, his surge in Afghanistan and his near-complete failure of leadership on the health care issue (to name a few). And the Democratically-controlled Congress has followed suit with its own bait and switch nonsense like the one perpetrated by Bernie: "Come, my followers, let's make history. Oh, nevermind". [So let's not hear any more BS about how we all have vote for the expletive-deleted Dems to save the country. Only the learning-challenged will say that any more. Neither major party will do a damn thing for us; both are entirely owned by the mafia of billionaires. Stop with the comforting fairy tales! No more BS! We need independent movements, people in the streets madder than hell, a conscious class war to cut the money and power out from under the feet of the super-rich. -ed] They don't want a movement. They want a nice, pliable butch of donors willing to get giddy during campaign season long enough to "hope" and vote for change. And if you dare to call their bluff, they'll scream "Nader!" and/or "Palin!" until their own failures get lost in the rhetorical haze. Shame on Bernie for so perfectly joining the quitters (once again). Because a real "independent" wouldn't have so blatantly betrayed the moment of history he dangled in front of the single-payer movement. All for - what!? - saving a few hours of the Senate's time? So they could rush to throw more money at the Pentagon? Good grief. With apologies to "The Who," we were, indeed, fooled again. Damn. Michael Colby works with draft horses in Vermont and is the editor of Broadsides.org. He welcomes your comments at mcolby [at] broadsides.org. --------6 of 7-------- Bleeding Money From the Poor How Banks Prey on the Unemployed By BARBARA KOEPPEL December 17, 2009 CounterPunch While posting breathtaking profits in the last two quarters - Wells Fargo's $32 billion, Citigroup's $3 billion and Chase's $2.7 billion - U.S. banks have figured out a way to squeeze some extra dollars from those who can least afford it, the unemployed. Here's how it works. In the past two years, states have been overwhelmed with unemployment claims. Always eager to serve, America's banks offered a deal the states couldn't refuse. Sign a contract - which won't cost you a dime - and send us your weekly unemployment funds, the banks said. In return, we'll issue our VISA or MasterCard debit cards to your laid-off workers, on which we'll post their benefits electronically. Thirty states signed on with the usual suspects - Citi, Wells Fargo, JPMorgan Chase, Bank of America - and some smaller ones, too. More states are lining up. In a stroke, states dropped all their costs for printing and mailing checks. Andrew James, with North Carolina's Employment Security Commission, told me that in the past year, his state saved a whopping $10 million. During the same time, Nevada saved $800,000, Maryland $400,000 and West Virginia $340,000. But if the system is good for the states, it's great for the banks. A February 2009 Associated Press article noted that Missouri's Central Bank, which won that state's contract, could reap $6.3 million this year alone. The banks profit from interest earned on the funds the states deposit with them until the money is posted onto the debit cards. Then there's the money the banks get from retailers where the unemployed shop with their cards - from 2 percent to 3 percent per transaction. But such sums are not large enough, it seems. So the banks have figured how to extract more money from the millions of unemployed now using the debit cards. The devil's in the fees. Nickel and Diming The cards can be beneficial to some of the unemployed, like those who otherwise would pay whopping fees to cash checks because they don't have bank accounts. And, at first glance, many of the terms seem reasonable enough: Free cash withdrawals from tellers at banks that honor VISA or MasterCard (over 90 percent in the United States) and from ATMs owned by the banks with the contracts (plus one or two others in their networks). However, in practice, the various fees add up. For example, withdrawals are free - but only to a point. In Maryland, Citicorp gets $1.50 a pop after four free ATM withdrawals a month; in Nevada, Wells Fargo gets $1.25 after two free ones; in Texas, Chase gets $1.50 after only one free withdrawal a week and Missouri's Central Bank, which offers no free ATM withdrawals, rakes in $1.75 each and every time. If the bank offering the debit card doesn't have an ATM in a neighborhood or small town, it's even worse: Card-holders must use out-of-network ATMs, which spell double trouble. A first fee goes to the bank with the contract - Chase charges $2.75 in West Virginia and Wells Fargo gets $1.25 in Nevada. A second fee - from $2 to $4 - goes to the out-of-network bank that owns the ATM, if the recipient doesn't have an account there. Thus, one withdrawal can cost over $5. These expenses can mushroom, since recipients use ATMs six to 10 times a month, according to the AP article. Penalties for transactions denied due to insufficient funds, whether at ATMs or stores, are another costly affront: $1.50 in West Virginia and Michigan, and $1 in Texas - though the banks, which use electronic systems - needn't process anything. Only a few plans, as in Kansas, charge nothing. To avoid penalties, the jobless must find out how much money is on their cards. But here's another catch: In Nevada, they get one free ATM balance inquiry a month. After that, the price tag is 50 cents a throw. In Michigan, it;s $1 for every one after the first (per week). In Texas, inquiries are free at Chase ATMs, but 50 cents at all others. So it's a costly Catch-22. To avoid fees for declined transactions, the jobless must pay to know what's on the card, to ensure that a purchase or other transaction won't exceed the total. Lost Cards If a card is lost, tack on more. A few banks give the first one gratis, but the next cost $5 each (in Kansas and Maryland) or $7.50 (in Michigan). In North Carolina, Comerica gets $5, period - no freebies allowed. Most banks charge nothing for cash withdrawn inside, from tellers, but some levy fees after the first visit in a week or month: $5 in Texas and $4 in Michigan. The promise that retailers will give free cash-backs to debit-card users often is another myth. In Berkeley Springs, West Virginia, the one hardware store in town doesn't give cash back. Nor do the two gas stations. The 7-11 turns over $10 tops. Food Lion allows up to $100 per purchase - but as the customer service rep told me, "Only if we have the cash". And, most stores (even in big cities) don't in the early morning or at night. Could the debit-card terms change and the plans still work - for the banks, states and unemployed? Judi Conti, at the National Employment Law Project, says the states could easily negotiate better deals to reduce the fees. Also, recipients should be able to decide if they want their payments in checks, direct deposits to their bank accounts - which carry no fees at all - or debit cards. "The banks," she contends, "could do this and still make an honest profit". At present, a few states offer direct deposits - but most don't. The Workforce West Virginia spokesman told me his state was going to start this "sometime soon". When? It's not yet decided. For now, those without jobs who are trying to stretch every dollar from unemployment insurance are finding the banks eager to nibble away at even those modest sums. Barbara Koeppel is a free-lance investigative reporter based in Washington DC. This story was originally published by ConsortiumNews. [We love the banks and the banksters and the kindly capitalism for which they stand. We would love to love them even more, but can't afford it. -ed] --------7 of 7-------- An Insurance Company's Dream Abort the Democratic Health Care Bill By DAVE LINDORFF December 17, 2009 CounterPunch Give credit to Howard Dean. This still practicing physician, former governor of Vermont, former chair of the Democratic Party and former Democratic presidential candidate has called for progressive members of Congress in both houses to join their Republican colleagues in killing what he rightly says has become "an insurance company's dream." Those namby-pamby, self-described "progressives" in the Democratic Party who claim that the health bill can still be saved with the inclusion of a fake, carefully circumscribed and thoroughly emasculated "public option" government insurance plan that at best would only be able to offer lousy coverage at high rates to a small number of self-employed poor people are wrong. This supposed attempt at reforming the US health care system--the costliest and least effective in the developed world--is simply past saving. The only appropriate place for the bill at this point is a dumpster. What could have been a transformational moment in American politics--an end to decades of corporate health care and the creation of a system in which all Americans were guaranteed affordable, quality care as a basic right of citizenship, the way people are in Canada, in all the countries of Europe, in Japan, in Taiwan, in Cuba and much of the rest of the world, has been squandered. It has been squandered by President Obama, who was too gutless to take a leadership role, and left matters to Congress, and who then slithered up to the major players in the medical-industrial complex and cut secret deals with all of them--doctors, insurance companies, pharmaceutical companies and the hospital industry--in return for their "support." It has been squandered by many leading members of Congress in both houses, especially those who call themselves the Blue Dogs, but also by many who call themselves "liberals," who accepted the tainted coin of those industries (and their lobbyists have been flooding Congress over the past year with contributions in unprecedented amounts), and who have transformed the legislation into a huge gift for those industries, producing a bill that will leave employers as the main agency for providing health coverage (though not for paying for it--that will be the employees' responsibility), require those without coverage to buy it themselves, guaranteeing a vast new market of mostly healthy young people for the insurance industry, and that will do almost nothing to control costs. Doctors will get richer under this "reform." Insurance companies will get vastly richer under this "reform". Pharmaceutical companies will get richer under this "reform". But there will still be millions of people left with no access to health care. There will still be tens of millions of people who will get substandard or even pathetically trashy health care. And the cost of medical care, both for individuals and for society as a whole, already the highest in the world, will continue to soar. To make matters worse, taxes will also go up dramatically, by at least $100 billion a year. For extra laughs, while these costs would start hitting the public right away, the "benefits" of the bill wouldn't go into effect until 2013, meaning that a likely resurgent Republican Party, ousting Obama from the White House, and the Democrats from the majority in Congress in 2012, would simply undo the whole thing anyhow. Dr. Dean is right. This is indeed a bad bill. But it's not just a bad bill. It is a morally outrageous, politically disgusting and economically dangerous bill. It moves the country in exactly the wrong direction--not towards the socialism that the right has been decrying, but towards an increasingly costly corporatist system that will be even harder to reform down the road. There is only one hope, and that is that enough liberal members of House and Senate will recognize that nothing is better than something in this case, and that for the sake of their constituents they will refuse to support this legislative monstrosity. The Health Insurance Enrichment Act of 2009 must be killed in the congressional womb before it can emerge to become the monster it has become. The only positive thing I can see in this debacle is that perhaps if President Obama is slapped down by his own most ardent backers on what he has claimed is his number one legislative goal, he and his too-clever-by-half advisers will realize that they need to do a U-turn and rethink how they are trying to govern. More likely, however, this defeat will be the beginning of the end of the Obama administration, which has now been revealed as devoid of principle, incapable of leadership, and in thrall to the most cynical and greedy corporate interests. Dave Lindorff is a Philadelphia-based journalist and columnist. His latest book is .The Case for Impeachment. (St. Martin.s Press, 2006 and now available in paperback). He can be reached at dlindorff [at] mindspring.com ---------------------------------------------------------------------------- - 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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