Thursday, December 17, 2009

Team Sports

Of all the posts I wrote this year, the one that produced the most vociferous email backlash -- easily -- was this one from August, which examined substantial evidence showing that, contrary to Obama's occasional public statements in support of a public option, the White House clearly intended from the start that the final health care reform bill would contain no such provision and was actively and privately participating in efforts to shape a final bill without it. From the start, assuaging the health insurance and pharmaceutical industries was a central preoccupation of the White House -- hence the deal negotiated in strict secrecy with Pharma to ban bulk price negotiations and drug reimportation, a blatant violation of both Obama's campaign positions on those issues and his promise to conduct all negotiations out in the open (on C-SPAN). Indeed, Democrats led the way yesterday in killing drug re-importation, which they endlessly claimed to support back when they couldn't pass it. The administration wants not only to prevent industry money from funding an anti-health-care-reform campaign, but also wants to ensure that the Democratic Party -- rather than the GOP -- will continue to be the prime recipient of industry largesse.


The administration is getting the bill which they, more or less, wanted from the start -- the one that is a huge boon to the health insurance and pharmaceutical industry. And kudos to Russ Feingold for saying so.

  Glenn Greenwald

And, that is the name of the game. The game’s goal is to get and retain the majority and the presidency. Politics in America is a team sport, beginning to end.

....but hey, do what you will anyway.


  1. Disgusted. Too disgusted for words.

  2. yes. when i was living in seattle, i had a neighbor who moved to the states from ireland after he won the irish sweepstakes. he told me that the irish are amused at our insistence on pretending that our politicians are ever anything but corrupt, and acting shocked when we (always, eventually) find out they are. even tho i know they are corrupt, i still expect them to not be and get disgusted with them when they act exactly like what they are...politicians.

  3. m,
    why you dirty rotten just kidding.Had I read it I'd probably have conceded it was likely but hoped for better.

    There's a saying, expect the worst and you'll never be disappointed.
    Maybe we get what we deserve.
    For example,people always question what one person can do.When the buildup to the Iraq war had begun in earnest there were numerous demonstrations here in SF.I generally show, yell and carry a sign,lie down in the street then ride the BART home and go back to my life.Two hours out of my life,10.00 for a round trip BART ticket.
    No big deal,I can picture an Iraqi say "I lost my entire family in Fallujah,but you missed a Raider game-I am very impressed".

    My point is,I got to thinking-all the people who'd spent that same Saturday doing lameass crap like mowing their lawns/shopping/watching TV-they could just have easily been at a demonstration.Instead of 10,000 in the street,if we had millions at each location it would have gotten the politicians attention and there might not have been a war. If everyone acted-if everyone took responsibility-we could have sane foreign policy and health care, and it wouldn't really take an effort.Vote and write and demonstrate.
    Ain't gonna happen though. It just sucks man.

  4. well, i am in total agreement. however, all i did was one march before the invasion and one street corner protest (holding signs). any time i ever wrote to a congressman, i always got back a form letter explaining their already explained stand on the issue. that march i was in went to a reps office, and he wouldn't let us in. instead, he sent an office aide out to the parking lot with a sheet of paper we could sign. why didn't we storm the office? even the marches and protests have been turned into something ineffective these days. free speech zones?! i'm jaded. i think it's too far gone to turn the tide of what passes for american democracy. it may well come around again one day when people are really hurting in their wallets. but not sooner. until then - it sucks. there's more to life than just what appears to our eyes, though. that's where i try to focus my little remaining energy.

    thanks again for giving me another chance to think about these things.

    many blessings,

  5. m,
    I've read several books by Kevin Phillips and Paul Kennedy.A recurring theme of their is how Western Empires cycle thru growth with manufacturing and trade and a middle class develops.The empire booms,then financialization sets in and people invest overseas and insurance/leding supplants the real economy. The Spanish saw it happen to them and some called for a return to manufacturing/trade.

    As the Dutch declined some used Spain as an example but they collapsed anyway. Same with the British, same with us.

    Both of the above authors,when questioned as to whether things can be turned around,have said that lobbyists are too deeply entrenched.So no, it will continue to happen here and all we can do is hope we go down gracefully.

    I get back form letters from my congress/senate critters from my letters blasting their policy, generally thanking me for my interest.

    They could be honest and say something like :
    Dear idiot,
    just keep voting Democrat and maybe someday you'll win the lottery and then we can talk.

  6. i absolutely believe in cycles. to me, that's the pattern of our universe, and there's no getting around it. we are condemned to go round and round and round.

    a few years ago, i was saying that it's our turn to cycle down, and the chinese would be the next world's superpower. i haven't seen anything since to make me change my mind.

    i'm with you on those form letters. i have to agree that your suggestion would be better received. but that would be real and honest. we can't go there.

    politics is a blood sport. not very pretty. less and less subtle by the decade.

    we won't get beyond it, however, until humankind makes a great evolutionary leap. i draw small comfort from the idea that evolution isn't a constant progression - and that once in a great while it makes a giant leap.


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