[The Rude Guy Podcast #61 August 15, 2009]
Healthcare or die: people vs.corporations
This is Rich Zubaty and I cannot believe I’m going to talk about Health care reform again. But actually I’m not gonna waste any more hot air on health care, because this debate is no longer about health care. It’s about who controls America. The corporations, or the people.
The corporate ass-kissing Republicans are right. If they smoke Obama on health care, the rest of his administration will be a lame duck. Nothing of importance will happen. Yeah, we’ll get some goofy ass social legislation saying left-handed people should receive equal rights in the workplace, or some such drivel. But the corporate boot will be pressed down on our necks, unless we get public health care.
And if we don’t, I’m voting for Nancy Pelosi for President next time. She’s the only one showing any vision or leadership at this point. Obama has been fence sitting, triangulating, as usual. Saying he favors a public option but doing nothing to browbeat and shame the conservative democrats into getting behind it. He’s making intellectual arguments, not cracking his political whip. Eight years ago, when Congress was cutting taxes on the rich, while escalating spending for war, no one was worried about what John Conyers and Dennis Kucinich and the other progressives had to say about it. So now, when the shoe’s on the other foot, why should we give a fuck what the conservatives want? It makes no sense at all. It’s OUR turn.
With virtually all Americans wanting health care reform, and a full 72% wanting a public option, to compete with insurance companies, we should be charging ahead, and threatening any legislator who stands in the way of passing this bill, that they will be toast in the next election, if they don’t get in line right now. Exactly how the Republicans intimidated wishy washy Democrats into supporting the invasion of Iraq, is exactly how the Democrats should be intimidating the conservatives who’re threatening to torpedo genuine health care reform.
45 Senators are thwarting the will of over 200 million Americans, by blocking national public health care. I HATE the Senate. Two Senators from Wyoming have the same voting power as two Senators from New York. All some Delaware corporation has to do is pay off cheap Senators from rural states like Wyoming and Alabama and Idaho, and they can control the entire goddam country. How can we call this a democracy, or a republic, or anything besides a corporate dictatorship? Corporate feudalism.
Corrupt iguanas, like Senator Max Baucus, will stroke their chins on TV claiming this debate is all about principles, assuirng us he’s not swayed by the over one million dollars in donations, he’s gotten from insurance companies. But if that’s so, if he’s not swayed, if conservatives are not swayed by the medical industry money they get, then where is the legislator who is getting lots of insurance company money, and supporting the public option. Where? He doesn’t exist. She doesn’t exist. These guys are so full of shit it’s squirting out their ears. They’re bought and paid for. Like cheap whores.
Why are we leftists always playing defense, deflecting right wing talking points, even when we have an overwhelming mandate to steer government to the left? By the time we deflect one talking point, the right wing radio pin heads have already moved on to the next one. All they’re doing is shitting on our brains. It’s a cynical ploy. Just keep us busy answering their stupid talking points so the real issues don’t get talked about.
And where are the left wing talking points? Why aren’t we saying that any one who doesn’t support full medical coverage for all Americans is un-American, and unpatriotic and greedy and selfish and should be ashamed of themselves. And should move to Mexico and try living under the lawless, Libertarian, strong-man-takes-all, political wonderland, they’ve got down there. Why aren’t we announcing on TV that any legislator, who doesn’t support the public option, is a corporate lackey, a corporate water boy, a sell-out to Big Money, and should be sent back home to grow tomatoes by voters in the next election?
Why aren’t we saying we would rather have government standing between us and our doctor, than have some huge insurance company standing between us and our doctor? Who in his right mind could possibly trust for-profit insurance companies, more than they trust government?
One retiring Insurance company executive just got a compensation package worth $600 million dollars! $600 million dollars! That means that 60,000 people who paid his company for medical coverage, were each denied $10,000 worth of care, in order to pay this pig his retirement package. These paying customers did not get the tests and procedures they needed, so that this vulture could feather his nest with $600 million dollars.
My gastroenterologist is tired of arguing with insurance companies, to get them to pay for the medications she has ordered, for me and other patients. She’s sick of insurance companies standing between her and her patients. She also said that right now she’s making the exact same amount of money as she pays her nurses. She rents because she can’t afford to buy a house at these inflated values, and, if Medicare reimbursements for doctors are lowered any further, she’ll have to close her office and leave the island. Unless she agrees to see nine patients an hour, that is, one every six and a half minutes, in which case she can go work for an HMO. And if she doesn’t like that, a military hospital has already offered her twice the money, to see half the patients. All she has to do is move her family to another island. But, ironically, as a Harvard graduate and veteran war protester, she considers it preposterous, that the only place she can get sufficiently remunerated work, as a doctor, is in the military.
And so do I. As she said, if we cut our military budget in half, we could pay for all the health care we could ever want. And she’d vastly prefer to have Single Payer health care so she could stop arguing with insurance companies, and concentrate on curing people.
If the Democrats cave in to right wing insurance company pressure, and accept so-called health care reform without a public option, we might as well all become Filipinos. Sugar cane workers hacking away with machetes in the hot sun and buggy rain…plantation slaves on the corporate farm.
This health care debate is about people versus corporations, and don’t you forget it.
And if we don’t want to be devoured by corporations what must we do? We have to get out there. I have to get out there …You have to get out there …we ALL have to get out there…and tell everyone we know, we would rather have the government standing between us and our doctor, than having an insurance company standing between us and our doctor. Because we trust government more than we trust insurance companies. Period. Next question.
We have to hammer that point over and over again. And you need to let your Congressmen and women know this. And tell ‘em flat out, if they vote against a public option, you will vote against THEM in the next election. 72% of Americans want it. And if, for some reason, it doesn’t work, we’ll simply go back to this wonderful private system we have, that no other country in the world wants to have. None. Not one. No German or Canadian or Frenchman is asking why they don’t have a private health care system like America. Not one!
The conservatives already won the first round in this fight. We SHOULD be debating whether or not to have FULL Socialized medicine, or a public option. The Single Payer system, like every other civilized country on earth, or, a public option offered amidst various private insurance company options. Instead, the sell-out politicians like Obama, who supported Single Payer in 2003, have abandoned Single Payer. And now we are only debating whether we will have a public option…or not. That really sucks. This isn’t even the right health care debate. Insurance companies don’t ever want a free market; they want to control the market. They don’t want to compete with a system like Medicare, that only requires 3% of premiums to administer the program, instead of the 30% insurance companies skim off the top, so they can pay huge executive salaries and dump money into hedge funds and securitized mortgages. And lose it. Greedy bastards.
This health care debate is where Obama has shown his utter lack of political skills. Yeah he knows how to use the internet to win votes in an election. But he doesn’t know how to strong-arm other politicians in battles over bills. Like Lyndon Johnson. Like Franklin Roosevelt. We, the American people, are paying a high price for Obama’s cautious tip-toeing inexperience. We should be arguing over single payer versus public option, not public option versus nothing.
We have just endured 28 straight years of conservative governance, which brought on four recessions, and mind boggling monetary hog troughs of war, and corporate welfare, that have destroyed our nation. We have been brutalized and traumatized and we DESERVE massive alternatives to conservative mismanagement of government. The ideological pendulum swung so far to the right under George W Bush, that it has rocketed back to the left. And instead of rocketing back with it, instead of even understanding what has happened, Obama is playing ideological footsie with the fucking conservatives. In other words he has squandered an historic, tectonic shift, back to the left, in order to foster bipartisanship. Fuck bipartisanship. Didn’t he ever read Marx or Hegel? Doesn’t he know anything about Dialectical materialism? He should. What the fuck do they teach at Harvard?
Dialectical materialism works like this: Thesis, anti-thesis, syn-thesis.
Thesis: in 1926 Herbert Hoover and his Conservatives cut the top tax rate on rich people from 74% to 25%. As a result, by 1929 the top one tenth of one percent of American families, had a total income equal to that of the bottom 42 percent. With so much money to spend, and nothing they actually needed to buy, rich people invested in the stock market and created a speculative bubble that crashed the entire economy in 1929. It’s worth pausing here to note that every time government has given tax cuts to the rich, we have ended up with a bubble, and then a recession. Every single time. Every time rich people’s top tax rates have gone below 60%, they drove up the prices of stocks and real estate, and created economic bubbles, that broke the back of our economy. But, when rich people’s taxes were held above sixty per cent, the economy grew slowly and steadily, and there were no bubbles and NO recessions. Tax the rich, to prevent bubbles and recessions. That’s reality. That’s how it works. That’s a Democratic talking point.
And what are we debating about now? Whether to raise rich peoples’ taxes from 32% to 45% to pay for health care. That’s a no brainer. Raise the taxes right now! Raise ‘em more.
This should be a Democratic talking point for fuck sakes. Raise taxes on the rich, and the economy stabilizes. Cut taxes on the rich, and we have a recession. It happens every time. Like it did in The 1920s, AND like it did under Ronald Reagan, AND under George W. Bush.
Cut taxes on the rich and we create a recession. Raise taxes on the rich and we create economic stability. But do we ignorant Americans know this? Do we hear about it on TV? Do we Know the history of this? NO we don’t. We are never taught the facts of history. Never.
Instead we march around with a right wing LIE planted in our heads that rich people create jobs, so we shouldn’t tax them. That’s bullshit. Where the hell are the Democratic talking points? Where the hell are the people who should be producing them? And why don’t those cheap asshole Dems pay ME to produce them?
There have been five recessions since World War Two and ALL of them happened under Republican administrations: Eisenhower, Reagan, Bush One, and two recessions under Bush Two. That should be a Democratic talking point. Elect Republicans and have a recession. Fools.
The Democrats have a system of governance that actually works. Republican governance always fails…always. For the first few months a bunch of rich people get richer, and then the economy collapses. That’s Republicanism. And then the Democrats come along and reduce the earnings gap between rich and poor, and things level out for awhile, until the Republicans come roaring back into office on some bullshit social issue like abortion or gay marriage, and wreck the economy again. Over and over again this is what happens.
The Democratic method of governance works. The method pioneered by Franklin Delano Roosevelt works. We don’t have to apologize to anyone about that. Ever.
Which brings me back to the dialectic: Thesis, Anti-thesis, synthesis
Thesis: Republicans lowered taxes on the rich and crashed the economy in 1929
Anti-thesis: In 1932, Franklin Delano Roosevelt took a strong governmental grip on the tiller of the economy, and tried many different ways to put people back to work, and get the economy moving again.
Synthesis: Some of these things worked, and some didn’t. The good ones, like Social Security and rural electrification, were kept. The bad ones fell by the wayside. That’s the synthesis. That’s how history progresses. That’s how history ALWAYS progresses. One thing clashes with another thing and produces a synthesis of the two. History.
And here’s the upshot. Here’s what history was trying to teach us: by raising taxes on the rich, and regulating the stock market, Roosevelt ushered in an era of stability and prosperity, that lasted pretty much until President Ronald Reagan cut taxes on the rich, and instantly created a deep recession. Then he spent money like a drunken sailor, and ran the national debt through the roof, trying to back pedal out of his homegrown disaster.
Then, for two decades after the Reagan Revolution, deregulated cowboy capitalism, we bungled along on a downward arc, as unions were undermined and real wages fell, until free marketeer/BUSINESS-Democrat Bill Clinton, deregulated the securities markets and thereby rolled out the red carpet for the Enron and Worldcom meltdowns, which came home to roost as George W. Bush’s first recession. Business democrats. They’re like skinny fat people. Or friendly alligators.
Then, since they operate on ideology, not facts or history, after the Enron collapse, George W. Bush and the Republicans did nothing beyond making Big Talk and Big Promises about regulating Wall Street. They did nothing. Worse, they cut the budgets of the regulatory agencies, which could have kept an eye on things. Even more insanely, they cut taxes on the rich again. And then our economy fell into the toilet, and the big hand of history came along and flushed.
Thesis, anithesis, synthesis. And back to thesis, with the conservatives – who never learn anything. Back to zero.
Republicans cut taxes on the rich and ruin the economy, every time. FDR style Democrats raise taxes on the rich and rescue the economy, every time. But when we put conservative Democrats like Bill Clinton into the White House, and blue dog Democrats in House and Senate seats, they destroy the economy just as effectively as Republicans.
So say it loud and say it proud. We need higher taxes on the rich, we need a highly regulated stock market, we need socialized medicine, and we need government leadership in infrastructure investment, to get us out of this economic mess.
Arriba FDR. Up with Franklin Delano Roosevelt. Down with conservatives.
And where’s Obama on all this? Who knows? He’s pissing off lots of leftists who are not going to vote for him next time, that much I do know. And he’s sucking up to lots of conservatives, who will never vote for him anyway. This is political suicide. Get rid of Rahm Emmanuel right now!
Obama’s base wants national health care. We want him to show that he can beat back the corporations. On this issue and on other, even bigger issues. Like war.
Obama is in a position to cut the military budget in half and spend that money on health care, and on rebuilding the crumbling bridges and infrastructure of this nation, and on lowering the deficit…but what’s he doing? Raising it. Raising the Pentagon budget. That is not gonna fly. So many leftists will simply not show up at the polls next time that his whole presidency is gonna have the historical weight of a butterfly. And who wants that? Only Republicans.
I have to say something about Dick Cheney’s private assassination squads. Don’t tell me the program wasn’t implemented. I heard from first hand sources that Navy Seals began assassinations in Muslim countries right after 9/11. It happened. No doubt about it. And Cheney knew. And the last time news of these kinds of covert operations leaked out, in the 1970s under Nixon, and the 80s during Reagan’s Iran/Contra fuck up, we found out the spooks had assassinated the wrong guys and killed innocent bystanders! In YOUR name, Mr. America. In YOUR name. Which is why laws were passed in the 70s and again in 1991 mandating congressional oversight, so these crazed patriotic fanatics wouldn’t assassinate the wrong guys again. But leave it to Dick Cheney to ignore U.S. law and set loose the covert, dogs of war again. Put Cheney on trial. Humiliate the bastard.
Within a few days last month we learned about Cheney’s private torture squads, and we saw a Youtube video of one of our young soldiers who’s been captured in Afghanistan. And THAT, dear listeners, is why we don’t torture. Because if the Taliban held us to our own low standards, they would have tortured our soldier. Some confused kid from Idaho. But they won’t. They won’t torture him because they’re smarter than we are. Smarter than Rumsfeld and Cheney and Wolfowitz and all the chicken hawks. They won’t torture because they don’t want to be tortured back. That’s the deal assholes. You don’t torture us and we don’t torture you. So just to get even for Abu Graib and Guantanamo, let’s torture Dick Cheney. That’s right. Torture Dick-head Cheney. I bet he’ll confess to all kinds of things we don’t yet know about.
And let’s get something else absolutely clear. Iraqis were not tortured so that they would reveal important military information. They were tortured so they would LIE to stop the torture, and would tell the torturers whatever they wanted to hear. Namely, that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction somewhere, and he intended to use them against us. People lie to stop being tortured. They’ll say anything to stop the torture. That’s why torture is so useless in real investigations. But, listen up. That’s just what Cheney and Rumsfeld WANTED. And What George W Bush wanted. Listen up. They wanted captured Iraqis to lie under torture and claim that Saddam really did have weapons of mass destruction, so they could thereby justify the lies they told to Congress and the United Nations…the lies used to justify the invasion of Iraq.
We know this for certain, and it has become an outrage within the community of legitimate clinical psychologists, because the psychologists employed to interrogate captured Iraqis, were hired directly out of a Pentagon program designed to put our own military pilots, through a simulated capture and interrogation scenario, intended to get THEM to lie. Get them to say: North Korea is paradise on earth, or the Taliban oppose opium production. These same psychologists, skilled in making prisoners lie, were hired to get captured Iraqis to say…Saddam Hussein has nerve gas hidden in a well somewhere. Bush and Cheney were so desperate to find evidence of weapons of mass destruction, after the invasion, that they wanted anyone, even tortured liars, to furnish testimony, that they could exploit. What cruel bastards.
Dick Cheney should be tortured for all the harm he did to this country, in the name of protecting it. He HAS to be publicly humiliated, or else this will just happen again.
[RG] Trow da bum in jail.
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