March 29, 2010 archive

A Huge Progressive Victory

Tribal Loyalty and the Corporatist Agenda: It’s Not Just For Republicans Any More

By: Jane Hamsher Monday March 29, 2010 8:40 am

Ezra then went on to write (with no small amount of irony) that poor David Frum had been purged from AEI for his failure to walk in lockstep with the GOP on health care, after Frum pointed out that the foundations of the bill really were conservative.  He castigates the party for its unfettered tribalism in shutting down a truthteller like Frum, who he applauds for merely pointing out the obvious conservative intellectual inconsistency. You could give yourself whiplash trying to count all the reversals wrapped up in that one, starting with Ezra’s long-held insistence that the health care bill represents a huge progressive victory (though he has been trying to square the two, as if progressive “goals” hadn’t been used as bait to neutralize liberal opposition and achieve a drastic corporate agenda).

It’s probably unfair to single out Ezra for this rather glaring inconsistency, since he was just one of many who were quick to excoriate “purists” on the left who didn’t support the bill and then subsequently leaped to Frum’s defense.   But if the lesson of the David Frum firing is that it’s really bad for a political movement to stigmatize dissent and deviation from the party line, what does it say about those steely-eyed “pragmatists” who castigated pro-choice dissent within their own party when abortion rights were deemed an acceptable sacrifice?

There is no consistent, coherent moral position being expressed here.  Rather, a woman’s right to choose has value primarily when it can be demagogued to exclude those who don’t pass its litmus test of tribal loyalty. Abortion is a core element of the liberal canon that cannot be broached at any cost when it comes to shutting down potential trans-partisan alliances around civil liberties or ending the war that have nothing whatsoever to do with choice.  But when it comes to a law that actually seriously impacts a woman’s right to choose,  abortion rights can be sacrificed for some “greater good,” with some feminist cover quickly assembled to affirm that an appropriate standard has been met.  And anyone who doesn’t arrive at that conclusion at the same time is operating in bad faith and should not be taken seriously.

The abortion issue is emblematic of the way in which appeals to tribal loyalty were used to stigmatize and delegitimize progressive opposition to a radically corporatist health care bill. George Bush couldn’t privatize Social Security because of liberal opposition, but liberal resistance to a health care bill authored by the insurance companies was effectively neutralized by a call to Democratic party loyalty.  Anyone making a consistent values argument, who didn’t immediately fall in line and support the passage of a neoliberal health care bill, was “helping the Republicans” – as if Republican opposition to the bill wasn’t the very thing that gave progressives negotiating power in the first place.

In What’s the Matter with Kansas, Thomas Frank poignantly describes how white working class Americans are tricked by corporate elites into acting against their self-interest through naked appeals to irrational tribalism.

Glad that only happens to Republicans.

The Week in Editorial Cartoons – With Malice Towards All

Crossposted at Daily Kos


This weekly diary takes a look at the past week’s important news stories from the perspective of our leading editorial cartoonists (including a few foreign ones) with analysis and commentary added in by me.

When evaluating a cartoon, ask yourself these questions:

1. Does a cartoon add to my existing knowledge base and help crystallize my thinking about the issue depicted?

2. Does the cartoonist have any obvious biases that distort reality?

3. Is the cartoonist reflecting prevailing public opinion or trying to shape it?

The answers will help determine the effectiveness of the cartoonist’s message.

:: ::

David Fitzsimmons, Arizona Daily Star, Buy this cartoon

Open Water


The Party of “No!” in the Age of Yes


The Republicans have re-branded themselves after their embarrassing defeat to the second “black” president in 2008 as The Party of NO!. Their mantra is No. Their philosophy is No. And their tactical approach is to block, obstruct and hinder, or in the words of the great Republican anti-drug crusader and fashion maven, Nancy Reagan, “Just Say No!”

How ironic in this new age where wars rage and poverty ravages and disease devastates and all could be made right by saying Yes, that the Party of the Culture of Life condemns so many to death by just saying no.

Greens: Now it’s time to work for real health reform – Medicare For All

Now it’s time to work for real health care reform — Medicare For All, say Greens

• The Democratic “insurance company enrichment” bill burdens millions of Americans and imposes mandates that enrich insurance companies

WASHINGTON, DC — Green candidates and party leaders said today that the passage of the Democratic health care bill, with its increased financial burdens on millions of Americans, should not slow the movement for Medicare For All (single-payer national health care).

The Democratic bill “falls short on many levels, and hurts many people more than it helps,” as Jane Hamsher writes in “Fact Sheet: The Truth About the Health Care Bill” (

Physicians for a National Health Program said in a statement on Monday, “Instead of eliminating the root of the problem — the profit-driven, private health insurance industry — this costly new legislation will enrich and further entrench these firms. The bill would require millions of Americans to buy private insurers’ defective products, and turn over to them vast amounts of public money.” (

• Dennis Spisak, Green candidate for Governor of Ohio ( “Now that this bill has passed, those of us who support real universal health care must keep up the demand for Medicare For All. Every American deserves the same high-quality guaranteed health coverage that Congress members enjoy. We will challenge those who insist that further health care reform is no longer on the table. The Democratic bill was mainly written to give the appearance of reform. It forces people to buy insurance or face a tax penalty. It works like a regressive tax, in which in the uninsured — in the midst of a recession — must pay for insurance they can’t use due to the likely high co-pays and deductibles. Especially vicious is the amendment prohibiting states from enacting their own single-payer programs.”

• Jill Stein, physician and Green candidate for Governor of Massachusetts ( “”The position of most Democrats and Republicans on health care is that Americans have no right to medical treatment, but private insurance companies have every right to enrich themselves on our need for health care and to send hundreds of thousands of Americans financial ruin over medical costs. According to Physicians for a National Health Program’s critique of the bill, about 23 milion Americans will remain uninsured after nine years, resulting in ‘an estimated 23,000 unnecessary deaths annually and an incalculable toll of suffering’. In the media coverage of health care reform, the angle was whether President Obama could prevail against the GOP and uncooperative Democrats. It was all about personalities and a horse-race competition. Whether the Democratic legislation — or obstruction of reform by Republicans — actually helps people became a
side issue.”

• Rich Whitney, Green candidate for Governor of Illinois (
: “The real story of health care reform over the past year is how the insurance and other health lobbies sent millions of dollars in campaign checks to both Democrats and Republicans to make sure their interests came first. We’ll get real health care reform when Americans get angry enough to stop voting for Democratic and Republican candidates who are addicted to corporate contributions, and elect Greens, who call health care a basic human right.” (Visit the web site of the Center for Responsive Politics to learn how much these corporations donate to each Congress member:

• Nancy Allen, farmer and long-time Green organizer from Maine: “Some of the Tea Partiers showed their true colors this past weekend, when crowds hurled racist and homophobic epithets at Rep. John Lewis, Rep. Barney Frank, and other Congress members. How much did Republican politicians, insurance companies, and other industries encourage such behavior? How did these corporations successfully convince so many Americans that their own medical care is less important than corporate profits and power?”

• Rodger Jennings, Green candidate for US Congress in Illinois, District 12 ( “The winners are the largest for-profit health insurance companies. Both Democrats and Republicans made the bottom lines of the insurance cartel the top priority, rather than every American’s need for quality medical care. Private insurance adds cost to health care but provides no value — physicians, nurses, and other professionals do the actual medical work. The administrative overhead, including CEO bonuses and salaries, of private insurance raises health care costs by up to 31%. The administrative overhead for Medicare is under 3%. By eliminating the corporate insurance middle-man, we’d reduce health care spending from over 15% to about 9% and cut the price of coverage and care dramatically, and every American would enjoy guaranteed, quality health care.”


Green Party of the United States

• Green Party Speakers Bureau: Greens available to speak on health care reform:

• Green candidate database and campaign information:

Single-Payer Now! Green Party page on health care reform

Physicians for a National Health Program
PNHP’s Frequently Asked Questions page


Single Payer Action

“The Sober Reality of Health Care Reform”
By Jane Hamsher, FireDogLake, March 22, 2010

“Deaths Rising for Lack of Insurance, Study Finds”
By Michelle Andrews, The New York Times (blog), February 26, 2010

“NY Times Reporter Confirms Obama Made Deal to Kill Public Option”
By Miles Mogulescu, Huffington Post, March 15, 2010

Reposted from Green Party Watch

‘Tea Party’ Now Owns the Hutaree Militia Group, “you betcha’ ” {UpDated}

And apparently claiming rights to any and all militia groups in the U.S., as it hadn’t been reported at first which group the Authorities were searching for the members of.

Yesterday morning, as word started coming out about the FBI and Homeland Security raids in lower Michigan, Indiana and Ohio as to Militia Groups in that area, now understood it’s some end of time christian? militia, this site link was top of the list in a google search for more news on the raids. The ‘Tea Party Patriots’ website on a chat page. They took ownership of the why the FBI raids, the militia groups members being sought!!

Tea Party Madness: Old School Prejudice’s Last Stand

At the outset of the Tea Party demonstrations, comparisons were made to The Civil War by myself and other people. In retrospect, this was far too generous a comparison to make. I hardly wish to grant such people so high a compliment, even one rendered ignobly. In much more eloquent terms than I, people have recently dissected the motives and behavior of the mob, and fortunately its crackpot ideology is not as widespread as was the secessionist sentiment in the South in 1860. Those times were the apex of more than two decade’s worth of upheaval and violence, the likes of which we have yet to see since, and which I hope to never see again. It takes more than just one unpopular bill to give people cause to most citizens to arm themselves en masse in open rebellion. Many may not support health care reform, but they feel no compulsion to vandalize offices, spit on legislators, and hurl epithets. These are merely the actions of a few reactionary imbeciles.

The behavior of the Republican Party towards the Teabaggers, by contrast, is what I find most reprehensible. Never was a mutually parasitic relationship more shockingly transparent. The GOP sees the Tea Party as its meal ticket back to power and will never condemn its tactics outright since doing so risks losing its endorsement. However, it is a slippery slope that Republicans are scaling here, and making a Faustian bargain has proven to be the eventual undoing of many. Fear of change and fear of the unknown is the energy source of this movement, but it goes much deeper than this, too.

Docudharma Times Monday March 29

Monday’s Headlines:

Analysis: Next Obama test is Afghanistan

Jeff Jarvis: Google is defending citizens of the net


Ships in U.S., Canadian waters to face stricter pollution controls

In Berkeley, Yoo feels at home as a stranger in a strange land


Moscow metro blasts: timeline of attacks in Russia

Merkel visits Turkey in effort to settle growing differences

Middle East

Iraq election results in doubt as winners face disqualification

The plague of darkness has struck modern Israelites


Rio Tinto executive sentenced to 12 years in China

Sunken section of South Korean naval vessel found

Latin America

FARC rebels release a Colombian soldier, promise another soon

Coke Pepsi

The false paradigm of the two party system is adding new twists.  Claims of violence against democrats and counterclaims stating these claims were staged.

Thou shall hear of wars and rumors of wars.

Common deal though, from a McCain rally is the rejection of dissent.  The Tiananmen Square of Amerika.  Can a Kent State incident be far behind.

Here is ejection of 2 dissenters based upon their not drinking the proper brand of KoolAide.


A “heckler”, a person to be “removed”.

BA strikers: “It is time to stop this rush to the bottom”

BA strikers: “It is time to stop this rush to the bottom”  via World Socialist Web Site.

This will be short. One of the cabin attendants has put the whole situation for all of us in a succinct a manner that everybody can understand. This is not just an issue for the BA strikers, it’s an issue for all workers:

“It is time we stopped this rush to the bottom. It’s a recession, and we are all struggling. I agree with you that worker’s shouldn’t pay for this. It came out in the company report this week that our top seven managers between them got £4 million in share options. Now apparently this strike is all over £10 million. That is rubbish. I think they want to smash the unions and get us all on Easyjet wages, and once that is done to merge with Iberian Airlines.

The sad thing here in the US is that this is true for the right as well. Until they understand that their livelihoods are threatened by the bosses, they will play the patsies for the bosses. The bosses don’t care a whit about the right as workers, only as cannon fodder for union busting. Until there is a concerted effort to make this the overriding point about our economic conditions, the right will never understand.

Muse in the Morning

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Late Night Karaoke

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