Three Quotes


“Washington, DC – [AHIP] today proposed guaranteed coverage for people with pre-existing medical conditions in conjunction with an enforceable individual coverage mandate. Under the new proposal, health plans participating in the individual health insurance market would be required to offer coverage to all applicants as part of a universal participation plan in which all individuals were required to maintain health insurance.” AHIP Press Release, November 19, 2008

“Maintaining…market reforms…is essential to avoiding significant cost increases and loss of choice for consumers and employers.” AHIP Victory Statement, June 28, 2012

“President Obama must be defeated in the coming election. He has spent trillions of dollars to rescue the moneyed interests and left workers and homeowners to their own devices. Unless he is defeated, there cannot be a contest for the re-orientation of the Democratic Party as the vehicle of a progressive alternative in the country.” Roberto Mangabeira Unger

14 Replies to “Three Quotes”

  1. I am furious. While the SDOTUS (supreme douchebags of the US) decision can be passed as marginal victory for progressive politics, which should make me happy, it doesn’t because ultimately we are still stuck with irrational and inefficient model for providing health insurance reliant on “market mechanisms”. The current law is such a stinking mess because it probably does does the most it can, it does not amount to much without attacking the problem at the core – the insistence on having a “market” for health insurance – something which is basically impossible as proven by both economic theory and practice.

    John Roberts will go down in history as one of the most cunning azzholes: he probably switched his vote out of concern for preserving the legitimacy of the court, rather than concern with the constitution and actual justice. Upholding the law probably made it harder, not easier to progress towards single payer or any other non-market mechanisms.

    Well, all that aside, I’m still happy to see the republicans scream and moan.

  2. Love the cartoon… only thing missing, presumably because it was made for “family” newspapers, would be to sexualize it so the taxpayer is getting… *ahem*… screwed, from both sides.

  3. I wish I could still enjoy Republican whining. Alas, I am of the opinion that there is no meaningful difference left. Indeed, as this individual mandate law shows, it takes the Democrats to pass many of the overclass’s most cherished wishes. Remember Clinton’s “welfare refrom,” and his party’s erasure of the Independent Counsel statute?

    “Health care reform” has always been “private medicine bailout,” ever since the Clintons convened their pals up in Jackson Hole. It’s a testament to the Orwellian nature of the society and commercial media system that the Heritage Foundation’s idea has been so successfully sold to supposed liberals.

    And dig the usual chutzpah of AHIP. They fully support universal coverage, provided it takes the form of the “individual mandate,” i.e., provided it’s phony.

    As for the future, I’m not entirely pessimistic. This railroad job (given the history, we should switch that term to “highway job”) did establish a public memory of “public option” and “Medicare for all.” It would be simple as pie to adopt those as movement demands/campaign promises. Now, we just need people to stop watching “American Idol” and activists to stop holding non-conventions.

  4. Yeah, you are right… There is no reason whatsoever to gloat. The republican / democratic distinction in politics is meaningful only as a way to tell apart the two broad factions of the same elite (e.g. northern industrial, high tech, media) vs. southern (extractive, agriculture, military), who merely try to sway the peons one way or another.

    In terms of political action, the only viable option i see is constitutional amendment to ban private funding of elections. If that doesn’t happen – serfdom. I don’t believe that a broad movement can emerge at this point. People are too brainwashed: 80% of the population are already beaten into submission, the other 20% are semi-educated status seekers. I can’t believe the crap that sometimes comes out of purportedly educated people’s mouths…

    (comfortable and smug soccer moms – doesn’t matter if liberal or conservative – are especially high on my hate list).

  5. When an ‘issue’ becomes entirely politicized, it’s amazing to see how the vast majority of people are unable to even understand the issue in question. Hence, liberals and progressives tend to equate the passage of ObamaRomneyCare with ‘progressive healthcare reform’ (which it certainly is not), while conservatives and others on the right of the political spectrum equate the passage of ObamaRomneyCare with creeping socialism (which it certainly is not).

    It’s all so deeply depressing.

  6. Marla, I’m certainly not one to deny the depth of indoctrination in this society, but I think Chomsky has a major point when he says “look at opinion polls.” The general public is seriously to the left of the two wings of the Business Party. Chomsky gives a systematic review of that in Failed States. And this point is especially true of the bottom half of the population, who tend not to pay attention or vote, for the excellent reason that doing so is pointless.

    Movement building is also dicey, given the media’s strangehold on people’s time and mental agendas. But Occupy, despite its deep confusion, is nothing to sneeze at. If reality takes a turn for the worse — not unlikely — via economic crisis or war on Iran, I expect a big leap forward there, if they can free themselves from their attraction to kiddie-anarchist self-defeat.

  7. Yeah, nerc, it is rather amusing to watch the Republicans search for something to say, now that Zerobama has laid their own egg. As Marla says, it is kinda funny.

    They swear it’s socialism, but now propose to make “individually mandated” insurance tax deductible!

  8. Michael, what do you think about Slavoi Zizek?

    His general diagnosis of the current problems is straightforward enough, but he kind of loses me once he starts rambling about the revolutionary moment and invoking Lenin, and even “redemptive violence”. I can’t say if i agree or disagree, simply because i can’t tell if he’s talking about some actual political program or muddles reality with some sort of symbolic/cultural/structuralist gibberish and intellectual handwaving?

  9. Marla, I think you have Zizek pegged. Personally, I’ve never been able to finish one of his books — not even close.

    I think he’s prolific and comes up with some very clever witticisms, but is generally an unserious thinker, despite his pretentions and his sympathies with the left. Movies and science fiction seem to be 8/10s of his raw material. Some people I like find him absorbing. I have never really gotten it.

    There is no such thing as redemptive violence, of course.

    By the way, I saw him talk live once, and he sweated the whole time like he was playing basketball at full speed. Subject of the talk, such as it was, seemed to be that movies and fiction suggest we could organize another New Left. Very strange all around. I do think his training in stillborn pomo jive-talk is the key to his failings. But it’s also the key to his wide appeal among pose-oriented lefties.

  10. Zizek really represents the kind of sociology education I myself received back in the day: very philosophized, very influenced by both by post-modernism and by the hodge-podge of modernization theories (essentially a bunch of folks trying to prove Marx wrong). I think European intellectuals overall really dropped the ball on being a responsible, progressive, force in society. The Western Europeans I think were just far too comfortable and their “welfare states” which were groomed well enough under the wing of the dragon, so it was easy for them to ignore the implications of roaring capitalism and focus on innocuous ruminations about liberty, modernity, post-modernity, and arguing against historicism etc… (No wonder everybody loved Foucault back in the day – easy way to be a radical, without offending any actual authority…)

    The Eastern Europeans on the other hand, fresh from under totalitarian communist regimes were quite eager to also embrace the neoliberal, safely abstract, though ultimately incomplete ideas of Popper and the other neo-liberals and focus on similarly broad ruminations on the nature of freedom etc. While understandable in their/our circumstances – since paradoxically the rightist movements in former Eastern Europe can be and often are the more progressive part of the spectrum (since there is so much residual power carried over by the old bureaucracy and security apparatus), ultimately that’s still fighting the wrong fight…

    Anyhow, I suspect that Zizek got so popular because he is one of the few who openly tries to resurrect Marx, but ultimately he is playing it safe just as much as they do…

  11. I mean, anybody who instigates an honest discussion of marx is doing civil society a favor, but if Zizek keeps going like that, he’ll just do more harm than good – the posterboy for the unwashed hippie marxist spouting crazy stuff…

  12. Zizek has close to zero to say about the ruling institutions and the overclass. Yet he tosses “Marx” around. I vastly prefer Chomsky, who does what Marx did, but never mentions Marx. Zizek is a bauble.

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