Saturday, June 27, 2009


Democratic Underground member and all around smart guy "and_justice_for_all" offers an opening post entitled "A Global Perspective of Universal Health Care Systems."

As prologue, he writes:

I think we all know what drives this country into a wall, the same thing over and over again... Profits. American greed is prevalent in many, if not most, sectors of our industries and this includes health care. Which, to me, is one of several sectors that should in fact not be for profit.

I would like to say "why do we learn the hard way?", but the fact of the matter is, that WE did not decide how our health care system was to be run. Instead of learning from those countries that made universal health care a priority and a not for profit system, our fearless leaders chose to do the complete opposite. If some one is doing something that clearly works and works well, it is a good idea to follow suit and lose the macho bullshit.
After listing 10 countries with highly efficient, functional and successful single-payer systems in place now, he ends with this spot-on comment:
For any Senator, especially for the Cons, to tell us that Universal Health Care is a "no" is complete and utter bullshit. It is sad and appalling that this country is run by corporations and not its citizenry. For Reps to deny us all Health Care for the sake of profits, when it is very much obtainable, is equivalent to murder.
Yup... the only one among the World Health Organization's list of 19 "wealthy, industrialized countries " where lack of medical insurance is a capital crime.


We're Number 37!! We're Number 37!! We're Number 37!!

Just keep repeating it and maybe eventually it'll lose its sting. But not its effects on the great American death machine.

Meanwhile, here's a few stats that describe the intrinsic wonderfulness of the US medical insurance scam:

Overall quality, fairness of access to and effectiveness of medical system -- 37th -- just ahead of that medical nirvana, Slovenia and behind Costa Rica, where there may not be an ATM in every little wide spot in the road, but there's nearly always a medical clinic, open to all, regardless of ability to pay -- UN/World Health Organization summary of a 2000 study comparing the medical systems of 190 countries.

Annual per capita cost of funding medical system -- 1st (around $6,400 then; approaching $8,200 today; inevitably more next year). Nobody's even close. All this great news comes from a 2005 study comparing health expenditures per capita among 31 countries tracked by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development.

Preventable deaths per year due solely to lack of medical insurance -- 22,000 -- last -- Urban Institute (2007).

As this guy says, "Not surprisingly, the United States ranks last in preventable deaths compared to 14 Western European nations." Larry Weiss, public health researcher (retired).

Christopher Murray, M.D., Ph.D., Director of WHO's Global Programme on Evidence for Health Policy, offers a more global analysis. "The position of the United States is one of the major surprises of the new rating system," Murray says. "Basically, you die earlier and spend more time disabled if you're an American rather than a member of most other advanced countries."

It's only a surprise if you don't live here, Dr. Murray. If you do, it's just another facet of routine, systemic corporate abuse the US peasantry has apparently been willing to live with for well over a century, even as the noose tightens and the predatory practices become so obvious even our tens of millions of dysfunctional TEE VEE-trained bliss ninnies occasionally catch on.

Happily, some are making out like the successful criminals they are. Warms the heart, doesn't it?

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What the hell's so great about being a "leader?"

AllentownJake has been a Democratic Underground member for about 15 months now and has already managed to crank out 12,503 posts. (By comparison, I've been with DU since 2001 and I'm barely closing in on 3,750 posts.)

Must be that Bush Economic Miracle(tm) keeping everybody fully and gainfully employed. Anyhow, Jake says America v2.0 -- particularly now during the first few months of the post-Bushean era -- needs a little respect and love from the rest of the world again. And our new president, charismatic adoration magnet Barack Obama, is just the guy to bring some home with him.

As Jake puts it:

"If all we get out of this Presidency is our restored standing as a leader and good in the eyes of the rest of the world. That will be a miracle in (and) of itself.

I'll be happy. Everything after that is gravy."

Ummmmmm..... Graaaaaaaaaavyyyyyyy... Quick! Somebody draw a Homer Simpson icon with plenty of saliva drooling from the corners of his mouth. But on the real side...

How about trying to follow the civilized countries of the world for a change -- the western European social democracies come to mind, along with the former Brit colonies Canada and Australia.

New Zealand's doing well, at least until some snooping petro-geologist discovers OUR OIL in a sub-oceanic puddle 20 miles off the North Island's western coast. Then they're fucked, along with the "rag heads" and "sand Ni**ers" of the middle east.

Africa's next, with Somalia, Ethiopia and Kenya about to join Nigeria in wearing that giant Standard-Mobil-Shell-BP-Conoco-Exxon-Unocal bullseye the rest of the world has come to know and loathe. Leadership...

Who the hell needs this country's leadership? Who ever has besides those land speculating bastards and mass-scale property thieves who invented the "white man's burden" and "Manifest Destiny?"

Why not discuss the white man's idea of leadership with the ghosts of the 15 million original Americans who were wiped out by "guns, germs and steel," in the words of the great, great cultural geographer and anthropologist Jared Diamond.

Read Howard Zinn's "Peoples' History..." and learn what attempted leadership gets you. It ought to be a capital crime; here, it's woven into the fabric of our wretchedly phony creation myth. We have to be the world's leader because everybody else is just too... a) lazy; b) incompetent; c) anti-capitalist; or d) all of the above.

A little well-earned humility would go a long way these days, it seems to me.

But, as always, your mileage may differ. In fact, it may require wiping out all New Zealand fisheries just to keep that ol' tank topped off.

The GOP: Victimized by Human Partial Brain Syndrome

Shireen of Democratic Underground asks on 6/26/09: WTF is wrong with Republicans? Where is their humanity? How could they be so devoid of empathy and compassion, and their duty to do what's right for the health of this country.

I'm sick to my stomach. Each of those rats needs to be kicked out during the next election. The most important qualification for holding public office is that they should be HUMAN BEINGS.

A very fair criterion, you'd think. But it's tough to be human when they're only given a sigmoid colon and a few other adjacent parts at birth, told to assemble them like pieces from some viscous erector set, then go out into the world and make the best of things.

Thing is, though, they started to self-identify as assholes around the Robber Baron days of the 1880s and the world's been a much lousier place because of it ever since.

For more than a century, the GOP has been proud to be the planet's largest hatchery for world-class assholes. And they've got plenty of company. They're very appealing to the tens of millions of natural born assholes who infest this country like nowhere else I've ever been.

You know that jerkoff down the road with the mullet and the truck and the Confederate battle flags? He's an asshole and he loves it when the GOPiggies screw the dems again and again. But only before he's had his daily 12-pack of Bud lite; he's a little too out of it to appreciate political infighting after a gallon or two of that undrinkable swill.

That prissy little fundie twerp who likes to fire up the leaf blower around 7:30 every Saturday morning? He's an asshole, too, and it makes him feel all chesty and tough and maaaaaaaanly when the GOP fucks the idiot dems over for the three millionth time this month. Same with the leaf blower; if he had the courage of the Cowardly Lion, he'd flip those hippies off now and then. But he's another in a long line of chicken hawks, so his best shot is pulling that starter rope and letting that two-stroke speak for him.

The bake sale queen who's half church lady and half mid-afternoon gin-swilling souse? She's an asshole of the first magnitude and she gets goosebumps whenever her GOP heroes nail those goddamn liberals and commie rat bastards and their free sex and abortions and they don't support our troops and damn that lefty bitch Pelosi and her liberal gay San Fran agenda that's going to ruin everything George W has done for this country.

So there's a few of them out there. Most aren't so obvious, but that's the genius of the true asshole. A smile, a welcoming hand, a couple of rounds at the lizard lounge, a generous and fun-loving all around great guy or gal. Right up til somebody mentions how the US medical system screwed them over and how single-payer is the way to go, and...

Oooops! That's all it took so send him screaming back to the AEI playbook.

How to minimize the influence these assholes have on our lives? We can't, unless we also eliminate the bribocracy that's been created to smooth and accelerate the process of turning this country from a democratic republic into a gigantic feudal manor. Just have a look at for the awful, depressing truth.

And how to get things turned around? Public financing of campaigns. It all begins there.

Until we forcibly jerk their fat, bloated piggy snouts from the corporate trough and put them on a severe fiscal diet, they'll continue to represent their real employers in the corporate-run bribocracy and only pretend to represent you and me for a few months every election cycle. So there's a little work to be done. Fortunately, there are also identifiable milestones that turned this country into the shithole travesty it's become. Attacking them through those specific milestones is the way to go, imo.

First, get the 1886 Scotus ruling overturned -- the one that gave corporations "personhood," meaning all the rights and none of the responsibilities that accrue to actual human American citizens. Here's a nice synopsis:

An 1886 Supreme Court clerk's headnotes misreading (Santa Clara County vs. Southern Pacific Railroad) applied the 14th Amendment to corporations, extending to them all the rights, but none of the responsibilities, of human persons. The result has been the steady erosion of our democracy since then, and the consequent rise of the corporate state, which is primarily responsible for the military-corporate-media-academic complex, the expansion of the often brutal U.S. global empire (including the IMF, WTO, and World Bank) with its protecting militarism, and the destruction of our only planet's environment, all in the service of corporate capital's endless lust for power and profits. Corporate personhood is at the core of all of our problems. Ending it is the start of the way back to humane civilization.


90 years later, the Burger court couldn't resist stepping up the pace at which the rich are destroying this country. So in 1976, ruling on a case called Buckley v. Valeo, they declared (in a split decision that included a famous dissent by Burger himself) that money equals free speech.

The court essentially said that, because these corporate persons don't have mouths or vocal chords and, therefore, lack the ability to talk in the standard sense, they needed a way to express their political opinions. Gawd only knows why, but that's what the court said.

And since corporations only speak the language of money, contributing to political candidates is their version of a soapbox and megaphone in the public square.

Here's a fairly good look at the case, the times that produced it, the court composition and, most importantly, the results over time. That ruling has to go, too.

Then, there's the so-called corporate death penalty, which involves revoking their corporate charters and essentially forcing them out of business. That's a huge subject and far too long for this already essay-like post, but there's lots of data on it and links to more info in this old post.

Meanwhile, you've got corporate mass media yammering at you 24/7 about the intrinsic wonderfulness of the greatest country ever in the history of the universe. This would be the same country in which well over 100 million people have to self-medicate each day just to handle all that rich American wonderfulness.

But they're members of the more perceptive group. The Pox Nous/CNN crowd -- the dummies and imbeciles who are spoon-fed an hour of utter corporate garbage each day and then dutifully swear they know everything of significance that occurred over the past 24 hours -- should be self-medicating rather than buying into this inane American creation myth belief system that tells them:

Taxes on the rich are killing our competitiveness. They hate us for our freedoms. This is the land of equal opportunity for all. Free trade is an economic godsend. Guns don't kill people. The US is a Christian country, founded on biblical principles.

The criminal justice system protects the powerless from the powerful. Elections aren't stolen in America. TV news tells the truth. America always acts internationally out of benign motives. The surge is working. Gay marriage is destroying the family. The war on terror is making us safer. The bible is the literal word of god. 9/11 was an OBL/Al Qaeda production and happened exactly as the official conspiracy theory says it did. Saddam helped finance OBL and 9/11.

The policeman is our friend. The liberal media is poisoning this country with secular humanist lies. Brown people are disposable. Global climate change is a leftist fantasy. Evolution is just another creation myth. Socialized medicine is evil. Capitalism lifts all boats. The rich are rich because they're morally and intellectually superior.

Just so...

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