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Bill Moyers & Michael Winship: In Washington, Revolving Doors are Bad for Your Health

Below is an article by Bill Moyers and JOURNAL senior writer Michael Winship. We welcome your comments below.

"In Washington, Revolving Doors are Bad for Your Health"
By Bill Moyers & Michael Winship

On Tuesday, October 13, the Senate Finance Committee finally is scheduled to vote on its version of health care insurance reform. And therein lies yet another story in the endless saga of money and politics.

In most polls, the majority of Americans favor a non-profit alternative -- like Medicare -- that would give the private health industry some competition. So if so many of us, including President Obama himself, want that public option, how come we're not getting one?

Because the medicine that could cure our healthcare nightmare has been poisoned from Day One – fatally adulterated, thanks to the infamous, Washington revolving door. Movers and shakers rotate between government and the private sector at a speed so dizzying they forget for whom they’re supposed to be working.

If you’ve been watching the Senate Finance Committee’s markup sessions, maybe you’ve noticed a woman sitting behind Committee Chairman Max Baucus. Her name is Liz Fowler.

Fowler used to work for WellPoint, the largest health insurer in the country. She was its vice president of public policy. Baucus’ office failed to mention this in the press release announcing her appointment as senior counsel in February 2008, even though it went on at length about her expertise in “health care policy.”

Now she’s working for the very committee with the most power to give her old company and the entire industry exactly what they want – higher profits – and no competition from alternative non-profit coverage that could lower costs and premiums.

A veteran of the revolving door, Fowler had a previous stint working for Senator Baucus – before her time at WellPoint. But wait, there’s more. The person who was Baucus top health advisor before he brought back Liz Fowler? Her name is Michelle Easton. And why did she leave the staff of the committee? To go to work – surprise – at a firm representing the same company for which Liz Fowler worked – WellPoint. As a lobbyist.

You can’t tell the players without a scorecard in the old Washington shell game. Lobbyist out, lobbyist in. It’s why they always win. They’ve been plowing this ground for years, but with the broad legislative agenda of the Obama White House – health care, energy, financial reform, the Employee Free Choice Act and more – the soil has never been so fertile.

The health care industry alone has six lobbyists for every member of Congress and more than 500 of them are former Congressional staff members, according to the Public Accountability Initiative’s LittleSis database.

Just to be certain Congress sticks with the program, the industry has been showering megabucks all over Capitol Hill. From the beginning, they wanted to make sure that whatever bill comes out of the Finance Committee puts for-profit insurance companies first -- by forcing the uninsured to buy medical policies from them. Money not only talks, it writes the prescriptions.

In just the last few months, the health care industry has spent $380 million on lobbying, advertising and campaign contributions. And -- don’t bother holding onto your socks -- a million and a half of it went to Finance Committee Chairman Baucus, the man who said he saw “a lot to like” in the two public option amendments proposed by Senators Rockefeller and Schumer, but voted no anyway.

The people in favor of a public alternative can’t scrape up the millions of dollars Baucus has received from the health sector during his political career. In fact, over the last two decades, the current members of the entire finance committee have collected nearly $50 million from the health sector, a long-term investment that’s now paying off like a busted slot machine.

Not that we should be surprised. A century ago, muckraking journalists reported that large corporations and other wealthy interests virtually owned the United States Senate – using bribery, fraud and sometimes blackmail to get their way. Jokes were made about “the Senator from Union Pacific” or “the Senator from Standard Oil.”

One reporter in particular was out to break their grip. His name was David Graham Phillips. One day in 1906, readers of Cosmopolitan Magazine opened its March issue to discover the first of nine articles by Phillips titled, “The Treason of the Senate.”

He wrote, “Treason is a strong word, but not too strong, rather too weak, to characterize the situation which the Senate is the eager, resourceful, indefatigable agent of interests as hostile to the American people as any invading army could be, and vastly more dangerous: interests that manipulate the prosperity produced by all, so that it heaps up riches for the few; interests whose growth and power can only mean the degradation of the people, of the educated into sycophants, of the masses toward serfdom.”

The public outrage provoked by Phillips and other muckrakers contributed to the ratification of the 17th amendment to the Constitution, providing for the direct popular election of senators, who until then were elected by easily bought-off state legislators.

Of course, like water seeking its own level, big money finds its way around every obstacle, and was soon up to its old tricks, filling the pockets of sympathetic and grateful politicians.

Today, none dare call it treason. So why not call it what it is – a friendly takeover of government, a leveraged buyout of democracy.

Outrageous? You bet. But don’t just get mad. Get busy.


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Comments

Challenges need to be mounted to the courses set by APPOINTED "fantastical thinkers".

For anyone still grounded in REALITY and who is looking for a "genome target" (using the phrase as it's never been used before - we can all get on the bandwagon of redefinition), visit NCI website and read the "Text of John E. Niederhuber, Director, National Cancer Institute, Address to the 100th Annual Meeting 2009 of the American Association for Cancer Research"...

Silicone valley pot smokers will never stop pushing their own agenda for "infomatics"....they found their target audience amongst the eugenicists - here comes "chosen ones" genocide - part deux - the corporate age....

From the speech - "We discussed how physical laws governing short-range and other forces, energy flows, gradients, mechanics, and thermodynamics affect cancer, and how the theories of Darwinian and somatic evolution can better help us understand and control cancer."

"Control cancer"...?! How about CAUSING cancer?!

Let's hope that SOMEBODY does slow down "health reform" by actually reading the "bill" OUT LOUD in the Senate...and following the $$$$ as it trickles back up to that "war" chest...

There's some real creepy sinister stuff in there - up to and including granting the APPOINTED Director of Health and Human Services the POWER to decide what kind of "treatment" is provided and who can get that "treatment"...

Meanwhile, no more "informatics" in play about filthy water, hunger, bacterial and viral "community" diseases...?

Focus on this:

No more Pay to Play.

Promote public funded elections.

Donations from any one individual to any candidate for federal office may not exceed $???? in a calendar year.

Donations to legislators, or any federal official either elected or appointed, from any source except a private individual acting on his/her own behalf, will constitute an assumed conflict of interest. graft or bribery. All gifts valued more than $200, of any kind, to government officials, must be recorded for public scrutiny.

* National Strike Day April 9, 2010.
* March on Washington April 10, 2010.

There it is folks. Start posting it to as many places as you can.
We are the green shoots rising. Grass Roots.

Potential Speakers: (in no particular order, just as they came into my head. I have not spoken to any of them personally, but I am trying)

President Jimmy Carter,
Noam Chomsky,
Michael Moore,
Amy Goodman,
David Goodman,
Simon Johnson,
Chris Martinson,
Martin D. Weiss,
Paul Krugman,
Karl Denninger,
Rep. Dennis Kucinich,
Rep. Raúl Grijalva,
Rep. Marcy Kaptur
Rep. Ron Paul,
Rep. Lynn C. Woolsey,
Rep. Alan Greyson
Sen. Russ Finegold,
Sen. Al Franken,
Ariana Huffington,
Ralph Nader,
Bill Moyers,
Bob Fitrakis,
Katrina vanden Heuvel.
Robert Reich,
Bill Maher,
Larry Flint,

I can't think of any Republican legislators who would want to put their name on this, but there probably are. Who are they?

And I'm sure you can think of others who would have something to say on this issue.

I am unable to put this together by myself. My hope is that a consortium of prominent bloggers will. I'm just one guy trying to change the world, one e-mail at a time. But my cause is just, and for the sake of my country and real democratic principals. We must remove corporate money from politics and try to neutralize the corporate oligarchy.

G. L. Monahan

John Anthony,

Once again, blaming the slave labor for being imported into the USA...

Mexico is a narco state now, just like California.

Canadians are starting to say "uh oh...white-not-hispanic refugees from USA, do we want them"?

Here's bit of California morning reading to get the day started.........

> From: falcon.2@comcast.net
> To: carlosjet@msn.com
> Subject: Fw: I'm Moving to Mexico
> Date: Sun, 18 Oct 2009 23:12:38 -0700
>
>
> ----- Original Message -----
> From: "Gary Shaw"
> To: "Gary Shaw"
> Sent: Sunday, October 18, 2009 22:07 PM
> Subject: I'm Moving to Mexico

> > Dear Mr. President:
> >
> > I'm planning to move to Mexico for my
> > health, and I would like to ask you to assist me. I'm planning to simply
> > walk across the border from the U.S. Into Mexico, and I will need your
> > help
> > to make a few arrangements. I plan to skip all the legal stuff like
> > visas,
> > passports, immigration quotas and laws.
> >
> > I'm sure they handle those things the same way you do here. So, would you
> > mind telling your buddy, President Calderon, that I'm on my way over?
> > Please let him know that I will be expecting the following:
> >
> > 1. Free medical care.
> >
> > 2. English-speaking government bureaucrats for all services I might need,
> > whether I use them or not.
> >
> > 3. Please print all Mexican government forms in English.
> >
> > 5. Tell their schools they need to include classes on American culture and
> > history.
> >
> > 6. I want to see the American flag on one of the flag poles at school.
> >
> > 7. Please plan to feed me at school for both breakfast and lunch.
> >
> > 8. I will need a local Mexican driver's license so I can get easy access
> > to
> > government services.
> >
> > 9. I do plan to get a car and drive in Mexico, but, I don't plan to
> > purchase
> > car insurance, and I probably won't make any special effort to learn local
> > traffic laws.
> >
> > 10. In case one of the Mexican police officers does not get the memo from
> > their president to leave me alone, please be sure that every patrol car
> > has
> > at least one English-speaking officer.
> >
> > 11. I plan to fly the U.S. Flag from my house top, put U S. Flag decals on
> > my car, and have a gigantic celebration on July 4th. I do not want any
> > complaints or negative comments from the locals
> >
> > 12. I would also like to have a nice job without paying any taxes, or have
> > any labor or tax laws enforced on any business I may start.
> >
> > 13. Please have the president tell all the Mexican people to be extremely
> > nice and never say a critical things about me, or the
> > strain we might place on their economy.
> >
> > 14. I want to receive free food stamps.
> >
> > 15. Naturally, I'll expect free rent subsidies.
> >
> > 16. I'll need Income tax credits so although I don't pay Mexican Taxes,
> > I'll receive money from the government.
> >
> > 17. Please arrange it so that the Mexican Gov't pays $ 4,500 to help me
> > buy a new car.
> >
> > 18. Oh yes, I almost forgot, please enroll me free into the Mexican
> > Social
> > Security program so that I'll get a monthly income in retirement. I know
> > this is an easy request because you already do all these things for all
> > his
> > people who come to the U.S. From Mexico. I am sure that President
> > Calderon
> > won't mind returning the favor if you ask him nicely.
> >
> > Thank you so much for your kind help. You're the man!!!
> >
> > Regards,
> >
> > Gary

It's gross (like kids say, "eeewwww yucky") to walk into a supermarket store, turn a corner, and - voila - there's a "flu shot" stand.

Seriously, that's pathetic. Keep it to Walgreens and CVS or at least back in the pharmacy section...

The way the shot was being "sold" was with strategic misrepresentation - bet you half of the people had no idea the vaccine was NOT for H1N1...

Health Care That Isn’t

It always amazes me that Americans mistake Health Care for Health Insurance. The two are poles apart. Health Care is the delivery of actual medical care. Health Insurance is nothing more than a lottery; you are not paying for the delivery of a service but instead purchasing the possibility that the insurance company (after taking a substantial profit, of course) might pay for some of your medical bills. One is a service, the other is a profit-taking corporation who certainly doesn’t have the interest of the patient as its bottom line. Seems pretty hard to confuse the two. Yet in his attempt to reform America’s Health Care system, that’s exactly what President Obama has done.
Obama has not only let the insurance corporations set the terms of the debate, he’s invited them to the table. And not unpredictably, the result is a Health Care Reform bill that does not serve the interests of the American people or their health. The bill that has currently escaped the Senate Finance Committee is worse than useless. It takes a discussion of America’s health care needs and turns it into a wrangle over corporate monopoly. It is a sop to the insurance companies and a burden to those it was meant to help. And without the “public” plan option, the Health Care Reform bill is meaningless, because it simply doesn’t address what’s actually broken in the American Health Care System: for decades, decisions about the health of Americans have been at the mercy of out of control profit-taking corporations.
What’s broken about the American Health Care System is that American does not have a not-for-profit system that delivers medical services to all its citizens, and that is responsible to those citizens, not to a board of investors whose sole motivation is corporate greed. What’s broken about the American Health Care System is that it doesn’t have one. What America has is a number of companies that prey on its citizens in their hour of desperate need, and Obama’s current Health Care Reform Bill doesn’t change that.
In the film, “The American President”, there is a telling exchange between two of the characters over a crime bill the Chief Executive has just sent to the floor:

President: “Government is choosing, government is prioritizing; I made no secret of the fact the Crime Bill was my top priority.”

Sydney: “Well then, congratulations! It’s only taken you three years to put together crime prevention legislation that has no hope of preventing crime!”

President: “Sid, please, I don’t wanna lose you over this.”

Sydney: “Mr. President, you got bigger problems than losing me. You just lost my vote.”

Congratulations, President Obama. You have just put together Health Care Reform legislation that has no hope of delivering Health Care to the American people. And, Mr. President, you’ve just lost my vote.

Eve L wrote, in part, "That’s because mental health parity is another great example of insurance companies playing at helping the consumer find cost savings and supporting health maintenance but not delivering."

Thanks for your post, Eve L.

Someone was being clever and found some video from the Ozzie and Harriet era of populism (judging from the black and white footage and the clothing styles) and it was taken at a vaccine center. There were about 20 nurses available and people were coming in and out very efficiently - no lines.

Maybe people would stop demanding that health insurance companies be burnt at the stake if people saw that the employees who were saying "nyet" all day long to people actually were competant enough at something like - oh let's see - marching across the street to the labs and getting enough vaccines manufactured to stave off a pandemic...

So BILLIONS of $$$ and millions of hours of "slave labor" and none of that is doing anything for anyone in the way of health.

Okay, maybe the employees aren't qualified to do something like put up their hair in a sterile cap and whip up some flu vaccine or qualify for administering it. After all, software skills like cut and paste and quick search engines for digging up secrets to use as rationalizations for the "nyet" are skills that don't translate well into actual hands-on health care.

But why not go out, en masse, to the supermarkets and do something that feeds the power-mad gene of the personlaity type who CAN say "nyet" all day long without valium, and do some preventative care like pulling the Twinkies out of fat people's grocery bags?

Life certainly is about choices. We can either have health insurance companies or we can have hands-on health care. We can't have both.

>
> Did You Know?
> A recent study by three University of Kansas professors found a $220 return on each lobbying dollar spent! For every dollar spent on lobbying, the American political power elite saw a reduction in proposed or existing taxes of $220. It like buying a stock at $1 a share and seeing it go up to $220 in the same year! “It’s a sign when a corporation’s most profitable enterprise is lobbying,” said Stephen Mazza, a law professor at the University of Kansas and coauthor of the study with colleagues Raquel Meyer Alexander and Susan Scholz.
As I wrote in a comment on Facebook:
"It's like the Corporations pay $1 to get the government whore in the car, but the government has to pay 220 bucks to get out of the shipping container they are locked in after being gang raped. The Republicans call for less government because they don't want to buy so many shipping containers."

Whenever people become delighted that we might finally legislate mental health parity (mental health care is treated as any other illness without a cap on dollars or number of visits per year) I find myself twitching just a little bit, and licking the bottom of the valium bottle.

That’s because mental health parity is another great example of insurance companies playing at helping the consumer find cost savings and supporting health maintenance but not delivering.

When I was negotiating health care benefits for my company the benefit directors in my town were invited to an annual lunch where we were to learn about what’s next in insurance. The event, sponsored by Blue Cross/Blue Shield in my state, was a day of coffee, conversation with others in our field and maybe to meet the “greats” of BCBS who cared about us so much they took the time to attend our little luncheon.

We would be treated to a series of lectures about why all our premiums were going to go through the roof at renewal, and why it was really all our employees fault.

Since the theme for the past few years had been our premiums were going up because our rotten staff was insisting on taking the medications their doctors prescribed, this year they were looking for a fresh approach. Since so many more people were already using generics and our costs still weren’t going down, it was time for a new group of employees to blame. And who better than the frazzled, exhausted and stressed-out to make the bad guys.

During the course of the day they spent a lot of time talking about how stress leads to more serious illnesses. This made sense to us because we in HR were the ones everyone was going to hate when we stood up and told the employees how much more they were going to pay for the same care. No one had to convince the “our lady of the peptic ulcers and HR” gracing the big round tables that stress was a killer.

They even had an actuary come up and give us a bunch of numbers on a spread sheet showing just how much stress related illnesses became more serious illnesses. it was very impressive. And those of us who were wrecks ourselves, but never had seen a shrink got to feel all righteous. Sort of like we were willing to loose our minds for the good of the company.

I asked the speaker after about an hour of this, why, if BCBS understands that mental health effects physical health, they don’t offer mental health parity in their plan.

The guys tells me, believing I’ll be pleased, that in fact the issue was in front of the NC state legislature right then. (Of course, he didn’t point out that they were lobbying against it). I then said that to my knowledge there was absolutely no law preventing them from offering parity without the legislature’s interference. He uncomfortably agreed.

So I asked again, “if you tell me that there are huge cost savings for you and your customers if we have access to mental health, if for no other reason than to reduce stress ,why doesn’t BCBS do cover it?” He was unable to answer me.

The truth is the sicker we get, the more they raise our premiums. BCBS of NC made 800 million in profits in Q1 of that year…and they are a not for profit company! But they still tried to raise our premiums 20% this year and we had a pretty uneventful year health wise.

They “blame the victims”. They tell us it’s our fault for taking medications that help us get better, while they lobby with big pharma for the legislature to extend the patents on drugs keeping them off the generic list for longer. They blame people for being fat, but they don’t cover gym memberships, let alone that stress is a big cause for obesity.

And while I believe in wellness programs because they are a good thing for a company to do for their employees, they don’t, as far as I have ever seen, come back to reduced premiums.

I worry too that many citizens have sipped at the “it’s people’s fault” fountain and are now becoming intolerant with each other, rather than understanding where the problem is.

The words “mental health parity” tend to be a trigger for me.

So why do I twitch? Well, after asking a series of what struck me as obvious questions through out the day, not only did they refuse to call on me when I raised my hand, I wasn’t invited back the following year. Instead they invited one of my junior staff from another office hoping I wouldn’t find out.

I don’t deal well with rejection. I wish I could afford a therapist, but I’ve hit my annual max!

Redefining Healthcare and Its Funding

I suggest we need to redefine the common notions associated with healthcare. Obviously, healthcare is not just being treated by a doctor. Good nutrition and physical exercise are forms of healthcare. National defense is also a form of healthcare. We need to protect our bodies from harmful bacteria, viruses, terrorists, and invading armies. If we, as a nation, are willing to fund national defense initiatives to protect American lives than we should also be willing to federally fund decent healthcare for all Americans to protect their lives.

As a nation, we are obviously willing to spend tremendous human and monetary resources to defend us from external forces. Just considering the ongoing wars in Iraq and Afghanistan -- we have lost many lives; many more have been physically and mentally injured; we have spent billions of dollars on waging the wars; and we have diverted precious human and physical resources away from more economically productive endeavors. In the Iraq war alone, over 4,000 soldiers have died and over 30,000 American soldiers have been injured. The military expenditure of human resources and monetary capital has been terribly expensive.

By a conservative estimate, the United States military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan have cost our nation well over $900 billion and the cost is steadily increasing. However, the actual cost is largely a secondary consideration mainly because our nation has been galvanized to defend ourselves from terrorist attacks. We are very motivated in our battle to save American lives from external forces. And because lives are at stake, our national defense has been performed without any notion of budget deficit neutrality.

National defense is a form of national healthcare. We are quite willing to spend whatever is needed to protect us from external threats. Unfortunately, as a nation, we’re unwilling to protect all of our citizens by providing healthcare for them. Each year many people in this country die because they don’t have healthcare coverage at all or because they don’t have adequate healthcare coverage. Two reputable studies report we currently have either 20,000 or 45,000 people in the US dying each year because of a lack of healthcare coverage (Institute of Medicine study – “Analysis on the Impact of Uninsurance on Mortality” at http://www.urban.org/UploadedPDF/411588_uninsured_dying.pdf and Harvard study - “Health Insurance and Mortality in U.S. Adults” at http://www.ncpa.org/pdfs/2009_harvard_health_study.pdf). If we average the total deaths per year from the 2 studies, that’s 32,500 people dying each year just because they don’t have healthcare coverage.

To many of us, the fact that 32,500 people needlessly die each year is a flat statistic. Please allow me to animate it. The number of people in the US dying each year for lack of healthcare coverage is approximately the same as the number of students enrolled at one of our large universities. If this degree of mortality occurred at universities over 8 years, it’s like all University of Iowa students died one year; all University of Utah students died the next year; all Boston University students died the next year; all University of Tennessee students died the next year; all George Mason University students died the next year; all Colorado State University students died the next year; all University of Kansas students died the next year; and all San Diego State University students died the next year. This represents more than 230,000 people dying in 8 years simply because they didn’t have healthcare coverage. This is a disaster and it is preventable!

President Obama and many other elected representatives have stated they want a healthcare reform bill that will not increase the federal deficit. Given the annual death toll from insufficient healthcare coverage, how can we ever begin to consider that this problem should only be solved in a manner that doesn’t increase government spending?!? Have we as a people and our democratically-elected representatives lost our minds? I’m outraged at this type of mean-spirited solution. We need to stop the needless suffering and dying in this country by supporting decent healthcare coverage for all – even if we have to spend some money to do it. It’s worth it.

What is it with oil and world domination? A hundred years ago it was Rockefeller using Aldrich and today it’s the Saudis using the Bush’s. Here’s another article by an unknown author from Phillips’ era:

May 28, 1903, The Logansport Pharos

HE IS OUR REAL RULER

Rockefeller Pulls the String, and We Must Dance.

PROTECTION FOR THE TRUSTS.

Reciprocity Hidden With Other Skeletons In the Republican Closet—No Redaction of the Tariff Tax Which Feeds the Trusts and Monopolies.

The real master and dictator of the Republican party is not Hanna or Roosevelt, but Rockefeller, the trust magnate. He rules by deputy, and his agent of legate is Senator Aldrich of Rhode Island. Rockefeller and Aldrich are bound together by business ties, and the son of one has married the daughter of the other. Rockefeller is a wise and prudent man. He does not appear to be interested in politics, preferring to keep in the background and pull the strings that make the Republican puppets dance to the trust tune. But Rockefeller is vastly interested in the tariff and Wall street, and through Aldrich, who is chairman of the finance committee of the senate, he is able to manipulate legislation for his selfish advantage.

Aldrich is a tariff expert and the most adroit manipulator of men in the senate, and that means in the United States. Rockefeller and Standard Oil gave him his start in life, and he is faithful to their interests. For them he has defeated reciprocity, the handmaid of protection, as one enthusiast called it, but really an illusion and fantasy which attempts the impossible—namely, to control the home market and the trade of the world at one and, the same time. Rockefeller and Aldrich were too wise to attempt that. They know that reciprocity is the opening wedge that would break down the protection wall and would if driven too far irretrievably injure some of their pet industries. So reciprocity was put out of sight in the senate closet that contains the many skeletons of Republican promises. The only protest made was by Senator Dolliver, who was honest in his Iowa Ideas, but the effort appears to have exhausted him, for he has been silent as a clam since then. Even the zealous and ardent president has subsided and. like a sheep in the hands of the shearers, is dumb on this subject, though his mouth is open enough on others that will not interfere with his political ambition. Rockefeller is the keeper of the Republican conscience as he is the almoner to those partisans and teachers of the doctrine of protection who would starve to death without his aid. He has issued his edict and Aldrich will see that it is carried out; that the tariff is sacred and must not be disturbed. It is the cow which furnishes the milk that feeds the industries which, though they have long ago attained their majority, are still out of courtesy styled infants. The tariff being settled as far as the nest congress is concerned. Rockefeller has his henchman, Aldrich, at work preparing a bill which will draw more millions from the treasury and prop up the tottering financial system that the Republican party is sponsor for and that is breaking down of its own weight. It is stated that President Roosevelt has promised to call congress in extraordinary session early in the fall as his contribution to the remarkable programme.

Elaine and McKinley, astute politicians that they were, advised and urged reciprocity as a means to overcome the protection incubus on trade. Their strong personalities might have brought it about for a season, but the scepter has fallen into weaker hands, and the protected trusts are omnipotent. The only exception is the long held up Cuban reciprocity, and as the sugar trust would gain under that arrangement it may be conceded. Audacity is a characteristic of Republican politicians, and could any political programme be more audacious than to continue to protect the trusts, the few at the expense of the many?

http://newspaperarchive.com/PdfViewerTags.aspx?img=83673596&firstvisit=true&src=search¤tResult=6¤tPage=0&fpo=False

I sadly believe that if the progressives and moderates in the United States government can't deliver on any of the changes Pres. Obama promised and are unable to wrestle power away from the anti-enterprise capitalist that disavows and paralyses democracy, a Coucescuan solution shall be put forth by the growing disenfranchised populations of America. If the top 1 or 2 % think they are sheltered from the reoccurrence of history they are blinded by their own arrogance and just as for Louis, Nicolas, Benito, Nikolai, (insert despots name here) in their times, the day of reckoning shall be brutal.

S. Baucus, who's legs are sexier--Liz or Michelle?

Don't you sexist feminist start 'cause ya'll noticed too.

Washington IS BROKEN & until control of power is removed from the few, that have SENIORITY, & the return on big money 'invested' in Congress is neutralized, NO REFORM in Wall Street, Washington, ETC. will have a chance!

If it is not Senator Baucus 'having' leggie ladies on his staff it will be some other politican selling out--BUT--I think 99&44\100% started out honest!

CHANGE the System!

Billy Bob, Florida

This is The Max Baucus Bribery Bill not Health Care Reform...

We have a system of legalized bribery due to corporate "personhood", which has corrupted and perverted our entire system, we're a bribeocracy, a democracy no longer...

I believe David Durham`s forthright article hit the nail on the head.Here in the US it is the power of the Pentagon with its clinging ghoul the Industrial/Military Complex that dominates our world. The press is a strong contender helping to keep alive FEAR and the fear of fear. We need, as you suggest to study more history.

Don Smith wrote: "...why don't you (Moyers) start a campaign to start a revolution for change so we can all follow you?"

--------------------------------------------------

Consumer strikes en masse could change many things. But the politicians have a way of forgetting and going back to old ways. As such, it would take continual strikes to keep the knuckleheads in DC going down the right path.

After all 70% of the economy is based on the consumer. But such strike would take a measure of self-sufficiency that 99.9% of the modern day people lack. They can't miss one paycheck or will be behind on their mortgage or If they are unable to go to market for a few days they will starve.

Back in the day, (prairie and homesteader era) some of our citizens were more of a self sufficient nature.

Some raised chicken or had dairy and made butter and cheese and swapped with those that grew grain or potatoes or made soap or maple syrup. And many of the homesteaders did it all. People had real life sustaining skills back then.

Sure people always bought stuff imported by the railroad. But the small population back then could make it with less dependency on being a cash in hand consumer.

The other day I saw 4 wild turkeys running down the road. How long would those 4 turkeys last if society we went back to hunting to get out dinner?

We got lots of deer here too. But they would be gone in short order if people were hungry and there were no laws on hunting restrictions. We live in an artificial world that is out of balance with what nature had intended.

Most of us have lost that skill of self sufficiency and we have shifted gears to be dependent on gov and a few other such as farmers or oil producers or China to take care of the whole pop of the US. The problem is, it is very hard to go back without causing a lot of pain. (Actually a lot of deaths)

Hell, the impotent people of modern day and age can't even make pancakes or peanut butter sandwiches and have to buy them ready made in the store...it's really scary.

For more information on LittleSis' health care research, visit http://littlesis.org/group/hciu

Thanks for the mention, Bill and Michael!

Thank you Bill. Thank you PBS.

This is THE story of our time and not one of the major networks are covering it. They regard this issue as "fringe" and focus on the soundbites of the day and sling epithets back and forth in a parody of empty debate.

Time to "get busy". But how? Take your money out of the big banks and put it into credit unions? Great. Buy gold and stick it under the mattress? Fine. But when the Fed expands its balance sheet by a trillion dollars and doesn't have an account of where the money went, my savings are but a molecule in drop of water in the bucket.

Control my spending to buy only that which I can pay for with cash? That might hurt the big institutions a teensy bit. I can take the discomfort of economic discipline but most Americans cannot. Time to buckle down, America. Use cash and buy what you can afford. Pay off your credit cards each and every month and in doing so become a credit card "freeloader". The banks hate this. But that's just a drop as well, especially when the major banks have us over a barrel with our homes, health and "retirement". What to do?

Get the lawyers to stop practicing medicine. They do this through influencing doctors and running HMO's. But how? Be pro-active, study my own health conditions, research things I can do myself and take responsibility and action for my body instead of being helpless. Oh, God that's a lot of work. I don't know if I can do that. What to do?

I write to my Congressional representatives but when I see that they are all bought and paid for by lobbyists I quickly see the futility. Support Ron Paul's Audit The Fed initiative. Fantastic! This is essential because the Fed is a private bank run by corporate entities feeding off the American public. But it has to get through Congress in order to be ratified and Congress has no intention of letting this have teeth.

What to do, Bill, what to do?

"Give me control of a nation's money supply and I care not of its politics". -Mayer Amschel Rothschild

Is this where we are at?

When the Titanic sank, it did so slowly, very slowly. Then it broke in half.

What to do?

Mr. Moyer it is great thing that you do to expose the real truth behind the special interests and lobbyists that control our election process with campaign dollars which control the legislation that our elected officals produce. It is nice that you tell us to get busy but since you have all the resources and experts at your disposal, why don't you start a campaign to start a revolution for change so we can all follow you? It's people like you that have the backing of the people. If you start the rovolution we will all follow. You need to tell us all to take to the streets on a certain day to protest how Wall Street, the Healthcare companies and others have destroyed this country and continue their greed to bankrupt us all.

Wow your reports and insights seem to always pinpoint such dialogue that this country should be talking about and doing something about. How is it that Rush Limbaugh gets his remarks for all his headlines talked about on almost every chanell? But when real reports and topics need to be raised like the treason questions of our elected. I find this unacceptable. What ever happened to President Obama's slogan I will go line by line and not listen to lobists? Will he really follow through? Is he in such a bubble now protected that the real issues that we all cared about and that he called for change? Get rid of Geitner and Summers. In a sport like volley ball it is called a DO OVER.
As far as health care just let the lobist go, if President Obama or the democrats or repbulicans count on their finaces for their campaigns lets rethink this too. Every single american could send 5.00 for the party of their choice based on ideals of this country there would be money for real issues and maybe the votes would really mean something. DO OVER to all lobist as your campaign slogan said!!!

Be courageous and live up to promices and give our young people the right to be involved in the USA and the Nobel Prize will be well earned here as well.

Nobel Peace Prize
Noble Piece Price?

The famous FDR line on meeting a suffering female citizen face to face and hearing about simple solutions to true need is, "Madam, I want to do the things you suggest, but YOU must make me."

Moyers and Winship admit that wealth flows around any regulatory legislative restraint in their editorial (printed above).

pamelawy rightly states that we find the tools of voting, citizen lobbying and demonstrating useless in an age where wealth buys media assent and astroturfing. "Getting busy" is foolish and stupid, whether it consists of trading links, collecting trading cards, or soliciting form responses from servers programmed by Congressional aides.

We have no means to make President Obama. (Votes in a synthetic election "made him" like an organized crime captain.) He works for someone else. The peace prize was no more than a confidence gesture by the global oligarchy.

Only "economic force" will have any effect under these circumstances. Consumer spending is the last tendril connecting the People to Power. If we can't strategically boycott, pattern our consumption and target all spending we are doomed to the serfdom and syncophancy described by David Graham Phillips (in a Cosmopolitan magazine not instructing women in 12 moves toward "Bad Girl Sex").

I cannot believe that the roster below this post believes there is such a thing as "campaign finance reform" and cannot see that we have arrived at a juncture where unlimited private property and collusion among its possessors is a luxury humanity can no longer afford.

Sometimes I conclude that correspondents must go a little crazy in order to glimpse real solutions. A grandfather in a Walgreens beamed at a Michael Jackson mask on sale for $7.50 (formerly $15.00, supposedly). "It's three weeks away," he said to his pre-teen grandson," and you might change your mind."
"No, Pawpaw, I won't! This is who I wanna be!"
So Grandpa threw it in the basket, with the Pepto-Bismol and the tri-color printer ink cartridge.

Before Halloween President Obedient should look at the ghoul he has become and ask if, "This is who I wanna be!" All of us are smothering under the masks our socialization and education have bestowed. Let's go a little crazy and rip them off this year.
"Trick or treat, Oligarchy!"
"Trick or treat, Federal Government!"

Ha, I thought the whole thing was a Ball of Confusion, but it's really like a whirling dervish square dance.

Think ya gotta have Twitter, a Black Berry, and smart phone? Nope. I can prove our healthcare system needs rebooting from the ground up with one NPR link. This may be my most productive post yet, since no one here has put up the link I'm about to post. Here's a short preface: when the money's appropriated for the public option we have another little project to embark on...someone's gotta persuade doctors to provide preventative vs too many procedures. Preventative of course means more employees trained and injected into the entire healthcare team...mo money. After all, AIG got 100 billion (and FDIC only has 10 right now). But I think we can get it. At the end of this link is an interview with a woman whose back was ruined by too many surgerys. Excess procedures mysteriously cropped up in certain locales, and the sleuthing discovered that lo and behold it was a matter of local predilections in training (local predilections in ways to amass money); nothing to do with particular local need. This isn't the issue of single payer true...this is the issue of what happens without single payer and the invisible hand is just doin its thing. Did you turn off your Walkman last Thursday PM cause you needed to text?

Scroll to "The Telltale Wombs of Lewiston, Maine" ATC Thur Oct 8
http://www.npr.org/templates/rundowns/rundown.php?prgId=2&prgDate=10-8-2009

As I feel the energy on this page an amazing thought occurs: This time it won't be the horror of war that'll bring the outrage. It'll be some heretofore unthought of Kafkaesque wormhole-to- poverty known in the US of A as...HMOs. Sounds crazy, but then in 68 I could not have imagined all those people marching either until I got to DC and saw'em. The suits is what got me. The ties. I remember the Boilermaker Union guys from I think it was Pittsburgh, some of whom looked like Arnold Schwarzenegger, not your standard notion of peace, love, & liberal types. So, all those cats placated by the Savages and the Becks...sooner or later they could indeed see the light. All the hate doesn't matter, cause we're right. And they'll see the light just like they eventually saw it regarding Vietnam.

The rest below here is not gonna earn me my merit for best post. But people need theory. Lakoff and Hartmann for me I can't deny somehow don't seem to have the complete lowdown on the psyches of tea partyers yet (maybe I am anticipating something too pat and revelatory and need to read even more of these guys). But it's something to chew on anyway. Took me a while to find the latest Lakoff (but I still haven't been to his site).
http://www.alternet.org/politics/142112/obama_and_the_dems_just_sound_too_wonky_on_health_care/

Liz Fowler is an attractive woman. I suspect she is sleeping with Senator Bauckus as part of his reward for going along with Wellpoint and its 9.5 million dollar CEO who just laid off 1500 workers and cut the health benefits of the rest of the workforce in spite of making obscene profits.

We have got to have campaign finance reform. Real change is impossible as long as politicians are dependent on the largesse of corporate/pharmaceutical America.

I hope this doesn't get labeled as a "progressive" issue simply because one of your guests is one. We all need to be aware of it.
As demonstrated by the house/senate ethics committees, I don't have much hope that these political bodies can effectively manage themselves or adopt practices that reduce the influence of campaign contributors. Easy money sways good intentions too often.

One day, something outrageous will trigger a public outpouring that may cause something to be done about the disproportionate influence that special interests have over government. I hope that I live to see it.

We have to get out there and show our support! Wednesday October 14, 2009 4:30 to 5:30 people will be gathering on the North Hampton's Bridge in Massachusetts. Join or support gathering!

October 14, 2009 there will be a Public Option Healthcare Support Gathering on the North Hampton Bridge in Massachusetts!

JENNETTE @4:37P.M. YOU HAVE GOT TO BE KIDDING ME.

A link to VERIZON?? Wow, just, wow. They are part of the problem, Dearie.

Let's take a glimpse at history, in this case Republican Rome. One of the factors that led to its downfall was the rise of the General as a cult figure. The cults were made up of members of the Roman army or armies. Marius was the first of such and he saved Rome from barbarian invaders through very competent leadership. But after his victories on the battlefield he found himself in command of a huge Roman army that was committed to him rather than Rome itself. Sulla and Caesar followed him in this manner as their armies embraced them rather than the Roman Senate or any real Republican sentiments. The Republic was thus destroyed. The CEO's of today's financial institutions remind me of these men of antiquity. Instead of soldiers they have dollars, but their power is wielded in a very similar way. Personal interest trumps the interests of the many. Caesar might have said, "My army is too big to fail." as he rolled the dice on the banks of the Rubicon. And it should be noted that all the while these men systematically destroyed the Roman Republic they claimed their goal was to uphold it.

"Don't just get Angry. Get busy."

Moyers' call to arms has revitalized a project I've been sitting on for some time.

I've put this idea out there before to garner interest, so I'll do it again.

I don't believe that the following project will change the order of things, but it will provide a worthwhile hobby, interesting research, and the potential for a unique way to be heard, certainly better than voting, apparently.


Does anyone remember the set of "Friendly Dictator Trading Cards: 36 of America's Most Embarrassing Allies," by Dennis Bernstein, Laura Sydell, and Bill Sienkiewicz created in 1990?

This is from the website affiliated with the "Friendly Dictator Trading Cards": "Friendly Dictators usually grow rich, while their countries' economies go down the drain. U.S. tax dollars and U.S. backed loans have made billionaires of some; others are international drug dealers who also collect CIA paychecks. Rarely are they called to account for their crimes."

Sound Familiar?

Well it's time to get busy again: "American Scumbag Trading Cards: 50 of the Most Unpatriotic Americans (Individuals and Institutions).


I work on the research for these cards when I get the chance, but I think the whole endeavor would be much more productive through collaboration of say 5 to 10 people.

Profit isn't the sole motivator here, though the potential for such is there. We can come up with a means for equitable remuneration. It could simply be that each collaborator comes away with the digital files to print/produce her own cards and do as she wishes with them. Think of the time spent as blogging activity that results in reproducible trading cards.


I would view "Cease and Desist" letters as victory. At least then you know your vote has been heard in some way. Victory would also be when others start ripping off the idea and we have over 100 different sets of "Scumbag Cards" floating around Etsy.com and Ebay. There could ensue competition for who has the best deck, and soon elementary school and high school kids could be collaborating on their own decks as class projects.

We can also eventually do a set of "Patriot Trading Cards: 50 of the Most Patriotic Americans." Both decks can morph into sets of regular playing cards. Maybe a game like "Fantasy Baseball" could ensue: "Hegemony vs. Democracy: The Showdown." I see board games in the future: edgy revisions of "Life" and "Monopoly," with up-datable playing cards as the heroic and scandalous subjects move in and out of the spotlight. The permutations are endless.

What else are you going to do, watch reruns of "Jon & Kate Plus 8"? Ditch cable and save the fifty bucks a month. See, the project is already making a profit.

If no one wishes to collaborate, please steal the idea.

Let's get busy.

Please, do call it treason. If they were from another country, they would be called terrorists.

Forty-four thousand Americans die each year, one every 12 minutes, because they lack health insurance [see Scientific American, News Blog 9/17/09, Lack of insurance. . . .].

Those who allow these deaths are certainly as much traitors as are the terrorists of the singular event of 9/11 who have been accurately labeled "terrorists."

At least the terrorists were sacrificing themselves for a cause, however misguided, which they believed in. Our American traitors cheapen our country by their betrayal of the ideals of this country by basing their sellout on dollars and cents. Certainly no higher cause here! Their advocacy is an insult to every American soldier who has given a life for our country, to every patriot who has served this country, and to every voter who has bothered to participate in the democratic process.

These traitors seek to put the industry whose system has caused 44,000 deaths annually to continue to be in charge of our health care delivery and mandate that all Americans support this industry. Private insurance will continue to delay and deny health delivery while outsourcing telephone banks for inquiries to other countries. Corporate financial profits will continue to take priority over human life. Lacking a public option, the proposed legislation of these traitors will reduce our choices to supporting the very system which is daily, moment by moment killing Americans.

If this is not traitorous, I don't know what is.


RE: "In Washington, Revolving Doors are Bad for Your Health"

Outrageous!

It IS outrageous, but I'm sure I'm not alone in feeling totally helpless. The system has gotten "too big to fail" and it seems there's nothing we measly serfs can do about it. It's a juggernaut that will continue to plow right over us. We vote, we march, we write letters. Nothing seems to have any effect. So, WHAT CAN WE DO???

Jennette, I can’t read the article from your link (I think it's because I don't have Verizon), and I notice the one from my link is incomplete (It doesn’t have “Treason is a strong word…”). Oh well, the search goes on.

Excellent program. So much to fix. I don't know where to go to fix it. It is so entrenched, so out of control, and who will listen? Seems to me the first step is public funding of elections. Period. Think of all the money we could save if our elected representatives were only beholden to the electorate. I advise all who saw this program to write and/or call their representatives and demand real change.

Jennette, here's a link where you don't have to login: http://www.starkman.com/hippo/history/aldrich/phillips.html

The full text of "The Treason of the Senate" can be found at http://www.verizon.net/central/appmanager/portal/vzcentral#Scene_1

The health insurance cartel
is beyond chutzpa, Obama
is recognized by the Nobel
committee, and the health insurance cartel promulgates
an extortionate ultimatum.
Please send a letter similar to the following to the
President and to your
congressional representatives:

Mr. President,

The health insurance cartel is now threatening to raise premiums if meaningful
health insurance reform is enacted. This is categorically unacceptable.
You should immediately declare a health-care-national-emergency and
pursuant to that declaration nationalize all health insurance companies,
arrest all of their officers and all of their agents in congress such as those
Wellpoint operatives who control the Baucus committee.

Health care costs are destroying this country. I bet there are plenty of people who "want to get busy" and cut out the cancer that is taking over.

Instead of simply saying "get busy" give we citizens guidlines and contacts to "get busy" with and we'll do so.

Your broadcast highlights the systemic illness of the legislative branch of our government. To quote Bob Brinker, "We have the best government that money can buy".

THE HEALTH CARE REFORM BILL AND THE GOVERNMENT'S OVERSEERS, OUR SENATE LEADERS, ARE LOBBIED BY MONEY BAGS, INSIDERS AND BAD POLITIC PRACTICES, AS USUAL,THE CITIZENS SHOULD PRACTICE, OUR PRESIDENT THOMAS JEFFERSON'S QUOTE, AS FOLLOWS: "Whenever any form of government becomes destructive of these ends [i.e., securing inherent and inalienable rights, with powers derived from the consent of the governed], it is the right of the people to alter or abolish it, and to institute new government, laying its foundation on such principles, and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their safety and happiness." --Thomas Jefferson: Declaration of Independence, 1776. ME 1:29, Papers 1:315 Peace be with you.

Audit the FED then END IT....

The FED IS THE BANKSTERS BANKER. Marcy had it right this is socialism for the banks...THE FED IS THE HEART OF THE BEAST.....Andrew Jackson had it right it is a Monster. Always has been....Look at any major crisis in American History and you will find the Government and the Banksters at the heart of it.....EASY MONEY, Fractional reserves....The Fed is just the cover for banks who wish to get something for nothing....No honest banker will loan out money he doesn't expect to get back....Calling RON PAUL who has been calling this right for 30 years.....

Thanks are due as always to you Bill and to your guests on the program tonight. I wish I felt optimistic about the outcomes on any real reform in either financial institutions, Health Care, or Campaign Finance and the elimination of lobbyist influence over the votes and decisions made in Congress. So much to do and so much at stake! Our younger generations have their work cut out for them if they are going to take back our Democracy and make it serve the people who elect these so called representatives we elect.

Thanks are due as always to you Bill and to your guests on the program tonight. I wish I felt optimistic about the outcomes on any real reform in either financial institutions, Health Care, or Campaign Finance and the elimination of lobbyist influence over the votes and decisions made in Congress. So much to do and so much at stake! Our younger generations have their work cut out for them if they are going to take back our Democracy and make it serve the people who elect these so called representatives we elect.

Another excellent show tonight--serious, a wake-up on two issues (financial regulation and health care reform) that we were just getting too tired to pay attention to any longer, and the thoughtful closing piece. That the hubris of the fat cats on Wall Street has only grown since we saved their *sses is appalling. We need serious regulation. I'm ready to agree that Geithner and Summers are not up to delivering it.

I hope some of those Tea Party and Town Hall Hellions were watching, and got some ideas about what they SHOULD be shouting to their reps about. I hope we hear and see much more of Rep. Kaptur. She came across tonight (and in the clips of her addresses in the House) as a shockingly honest and courageous representative. She should run for George Voinovich's Senate seat--she'd still be representing her beloved Toledo, but would be doing the rest of us in Ohio a favor, too.

As a bleeding heart liberal who just wanted to help everyone in US healthcare reform, I support a complete public option. I take umbrage at the dismissive way insiders diss the public option being pushed by health finance economists such as TR Reid. Now I realize that my input is not wanted by all the sharks and barricudas in the fish tank of Washington political hubris. Political realities aside I want to point out that the 'liberals' being labeled as socialists are really just moderates. The liberal position still being discussed by many, including by one of the physicians for Obama interviewed this past monday, is for a Canadian-style Single Payer healthcare plan. The people and the moderates in Congress demand a public option. Liberals like myself demand single payer, but
are willing to come to the center for real reform. I wish misguided insiders like Liz Fowler would keep it straight. Speaking for myself I didn't really care if Sen. Baucus and his fiscal conservative colleagues on the Senate Finance subcommittee killed the public option. If they do then in 5-15 years time we'll be right back here again talking about how the medicare frauds and the many 'senility profiteers' [i.e. For starters Wall Street, Pharma, and the AMA.] also at the Washington insider table have bankrupted the budgets of the many failed states like California. I believe that without the public option we will have a nice 'trigger' going anyway whether Sen. Olympia Snowe gets one or not. Like in Canada with the Saskatchewan Hospitalization Act, single payer will completely sweep the country state by state starting with California. So speaking for myself as a REAL liberal I hope that revanchist conservatives at the American Enterprise Institute and their colleagues practicing the McCarthyism on Fox News against the moderate position win this one, since time is really on my side. I had only one consolation in 2000, with the failure of my hopes that any Gore/Nader coalition would be taking the White House. It was knowing that Bushonomics would wreck the economy eventually anyway and cause multiple failures in the massive warmongering-to-come under Cheney and Rumsfeld. I concede the cronies and kleptocrats might be right about 60 Senate seats and about how bad politics is just bad politics concerning the public option. Bad economics is still bad economics, even in US healthcare finance and delivery! If they are really counting on a pool of out-of-work 19-25 year olds with a savings rate near 0% and no education saving their bacon on the risk pool at the state level then they can think again. With wages capped near poverty levels those kids can't even pay federal taxes or own houses, much less save medicare and social security. Ridiculous!

Great show. It's almost impossible not to get mad. What can we do to get busy. We feel so helpless.

Just watched tonight's program. Well done. Anyone know where I can access the full text of the "The Treason of the Senate" article from 1906 referred to on the program.

I think it is important to get the idea across to people that the Wall Street Banks are not ALL powerful unless we say they are. That is what this program left me with.

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