Jul
27

Nine More Go to Jail for Single-Payer Healthcare

Tag: Health Care

By David Swanson

Following a pattern of civil resistance in Washington D.C. and around the country, citizens in Des Moines Iowa on Monday risked arrest to press for the creation of single-payer healthcare, the establishment of healthcare as a human right, and an end to the deadly practices of Iowa's largest health insurance company, Wellmark Blue Cross Blue Shield.

Jul
27

Why Backing Single-Payer from the Start Would Have Helped, Still Could

Tag: Health Care

Here's a blog from Digby acknowledging the reduction of the public option from where it started to next-to-nothing. It's not clear whether Digby thinks it would have been smarter to start with single-payer, in order to end up with a better compromise than what you get by initially proposing the weakest plan you'll settle for. But Digby argues that proposing single-payer from the start would not have given single-payer itself any chance of succeeding, and this is proven -- Digby says -- from the fact that the public option is having such a hard time succeeding. I can't prove this is wrong. Everything Digby writes is smart and to the point. But this does omit an important factor or two. Namely: single-payer turns an obscure wonkish policy mush into a clear and comprehensible civil rights issue. Even with it blacked out and shunned by the White House and astroturfing activist groups, single-payer still has people sacrificing and going to jail for it. Nobody goes to jail for a public option. Nobody even knows what it is. Making healthcare a right rather than a legislative policy energizes people, and that potential has hardly been tapped and should not be written out of consideration.

Update: John Nichols gets it.

Update: Video: Glen Ford from Black Agenda Report gets it.

Update: Joe Szakos of Virginia Organizing Project went to jail this week for a public option, but nobody he'd organized went with him.

Jul
26

Holder Joins Conyers in Demanding Action

Tag: Impeachment

By David Swanson

House Judiciary Committee Chairman John Conyers has called on Attorney General Eric Holder to open a criminal investigation into the misdeeds of former president George W. Bush and former vice president Richard B. Cheney.

Holder, in turn, has now called on Conyers to open impeachment proceedings against former head of the Office of Legal Council Jay Bybee, now a judge in the Ninth Circuit.

Conyers, in response, has demanded that Holder open a complete investigation of 14 different areas of criminal enterprise and appoint an independent counsel, offering a list of eight possible candidates.

Jul
24

US Troops Hiding in Iraqi Homes

Tag: Peace and War

By David Swanson

A few words from U.S. troops in Iraq, all quoted in Chapter 1 of Dahr Jamail's brilliant new book "The Will to Resist: Soldiers Who refuse to Fight in Iraq and Afghanistan":

"Oh yeah, we did search and avoid missions all the time. We would go to the end of our patrol route and set up camp on the top of a bridge and use it as an over-watch position. It was a common tactic. We would just sit there and observe rather than sweep. We would call in radio checks every hour and report that we were doing sweeps." -- Eli Wright

"Unit members would go and play soccer with Iraqi kids instead of going on patrol. I knew soldiers who learned to simulate vehicular movement on the computer screen, to create the impression of being on patrol." -- Josh Simpson

Counterspin
Jul
24

CounterSpin Radio: David Swanson on healthcare reform, Harold Meyerson on California’s budget crisis

Tag: Health Care, Media

Source. Listen: [mp3] [RealAudio]

This week on CounterSpin: "Obama May Have To Wait for Health Reform" explained one July 22 headline. Leave it to corporate media to take a life-and-death issue for millions of Americans and reduce it to an item on a president's wish list. But if they're going to mainly cover healthcare policy as inside the Beltway politicking, how good a job are they doing even of that? We'll hear from activist and author David Swanson about the current state of play in healthcare reform efforts and what the media may have to do with it.

Also on the show: California’s budget crisis may be coming to a close and that may be good for governor Arnold Schwarzenegger and state politicians, but what about the potential crises to come, caused by a budget that severely cuts programs serving the elderly and the young, especially in the areas of health and education? And what are the prospects of any permanent solution for the wealthiest state in the union which seems perpetually broke? We’ll talk to Washington Post columnist and editor at large for the American Prospect Harold Meyerson.

Links: — If Media Were Any Good, by David Swanson (AfterDowningStreet.org, 7/21/09) — California: A Dream Decimated, by Harold Meyerson (Washington Post, 7/1/09)

     
Jul
24

The Risks of a Partial Prosecution

Tag: Peace and War

By David Swanson

If Attorney General Eric Holder creates a special prosecutor for torture but forbids him or her to prosecute the lawyers who facilitated torture or the top officials who ordered it, proposing to go after only torturers who exceeded the limitations outlined in the lawyers' memos, what are the risks?

Jul
23

Healthcare and Free Press: Two Human Rights We Lack

Tag: Health Care

By David Swanson

President Obama said on Tuesday night:

"Now, the truth is that, unless you have a -- what's called a single-payer system, in which everybody is automatically covered, then you're probably not going to reach every single individual because there's always going to be somebody out there who thinks they're indestructible and doesn't want to get health care, doesn't bother getting health care, and then, unfortunately, when they get hit by a bus, end up in the emergency room and the rest of us have to pay for it."

Another name for "what's called a single-payer system" would be: healthcare as a human right, not a commodity to be purchased. Many humans have this right. They just aren't Americans.

Jul
22

How the Washington Post Spreads Democracy

Tag: Health Care, Media

From WaPo article purportedly debunking health insurance lies:

"Private insurers have effectively engaged in rationing, so they're doing the dirty work for everybody else," said Jeff D. Emerson, a former health plan chief executive. "It's a thankless job . . . but somebody has to do it or health care will be even more expensive than it is now."

Private insurers might be better situated than the government to do the unpopular work of saying no, said Paul B. Ginsburg, president of the Center for Studying Health System Change, because they are less susceptible to political pressure.

There you have it. For-profit companies best serve the public interest precisely because they are not subject to public control. Why? Because the public wants what is worst for the public. And how does the Washington Post know this? It has dinner with all the right people, and charges them for the privilege.

Jul
22

Single-Payer Healthcare Gets a Vote

Tag: Health Care

By David Swanson

Congressman Anthony Weiner (D., N.Y.) has introduced an amendment in the House Energy and Commerce Committee that would replace the convoluted please-the-public-and-the-insurance-companies-at-the-same-time healthcare bill with the single-payer plan found in HR 676 and backed by 86 members of Congress. The vote has been delayed beyond Wednesday, support for the measure is growing, people are phoning in constantly, and a whip count is being kept online.

Jul
21

Hoyer Has Persuaded Me to Oppose PAYGO

Tag: Peace and War

By David Swanson

This fact sheet from Steny Hoyer promoting PAYGO has persuaded me to oppose it. Here's a key excerpt:

"Q. Why doesn’t PAYGO apply to funding for the war[s]?

World Beyond War

RootsAction.org

War Is A Crime

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Peace is the way.

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