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Activism – Protests – Boycotts
"But remember, this power of the people on top depends on the obedience of the people below. When people stop obeying, they have no power." -- Howard Zinn
Despite its flaws, I’d have ‘held my nose’ to pass reform, renowned intellectual tells Raw Story
He’s a hero of many progressives, but his enthusiasm for the passage of health care reform legislation this weekend was fairly muted.
In an interview with Raw Story, world-renowned scholar and political critic Noam Chomsky reluctantly called the bill a mildly positive step, but cautioned that it wouldn’t fix the fundamental problems with the nation’s troubled system.
“The United States’ health care system is so dysfunctional it has about twice the costs of comparable countries and some of the worst outcomes,” Chomsky told Raw Story. “This bill continues with that.”
The decades-long critic of corporate power alleged that premiums won’t stop rising as the package is designed in no small part to funnel money into the pockets of the health care industry. “The bill gives away a lot to insurance companies and big pharmaceutical corporations,” he said.
Greg Palast conducted this interview with health insurance industry executive-turned-crusader Wendell Potter in the fall. The bill voted into law last night is the Senate bill Potter critiques. Potter, in the end, decided that the law is better than nothing. But listen up and get an earful of the real story: the insurance industry is secretly licking its chops over the new Health Care law.
Instead of cheering or jeering the House passage of the Health – I mean, the lobbyist-corporate – Insurance Reform bill, let’s assess winners and losers. Others have depicted the relative, rather delayed strengths (wider coverage, no life-time limits, added users) and weaknesses (no cost control, no public option, thus no competition, four long years for insurance lawyers to get around onerous aspects, no incentives to expand medical worker/doctor services).
1) Obama and his right-leaning, centrist White House. Specific provisions aside, the bill shows the party in power can execute – political symbolism always precedes real-world changes, with surer electoral impact. Honor is due: this is the first big political win for the first pro-government, big-city, northern president since Jack Kennedy, that is, in living memory. Note, I didn’t say “liberal” or “progressive” president, for that’s now less likely. Whatever Rahm Emanuel lost in reputation by pushing a fragmented approach (enemy to the public option) gets offset by corralling House Blue Dogs, reinforcing his Congressional clout and cementing his job. The status quo is unshaken; Rahm rules still.
The effort to win over Afghans on former Taliban turf in Marja has put American and NATO commanders in the unusual position of arguing against opium eradication, pitting them against some Afghan officials who are pushing to destroy the harvest.
See, this is “unusual” because the U.S. had until this summer made eradication the principle means by which they ostensibly combated the drug problem. This had been U.S. policy despite the fact that pretty much every expert in the field (such as from the UNODC and World Bank) agrees that eradication is useless at best and counterproductive at worst, with the general consensus being that it is actually harmful since it targets the farmers who simply grow poppies in an attempt to alleviate poverty instead of targeting the drug lords responsible for the actual trade, and because it can (and is) actually used as a means by which to eliminate competition and thus help the major drug lords even further corner the market.
Rep. Dennis Kucinich’s decision to vote “yes” in Sunday’s House action on the health care bill, although he had sworn to oppose the legislation unless there was a public option, is a perfect example of why I would never be a politician. I respect Kucinich. As politicians go, he is about as good as they get, but he is still a politician. He has to run for office. He has to raise money. He has to placate the Democratic machine or risk retaliation and defeat. And so he signed on to a bill that will do nothing to ameliorate the suffering of many Americans, force tens of millions of people to fork over a lot of money for a defective product and, in the end, add to the ranks of our uninsured.
00:00John Pilger returns to discuss his recent article:
Welcome To The World’s First Murdochracy …Murdoch’s most unabashed, if entertaining retainer is Greg Sheridan, foreign editor of The Australian. On one his adoring trips to the United States, home of Murdoch HQ, Sheridan wrote, “The US is the greatest possible argument for media deregulation. Every morning, I flick between Fox, CNN and MSNBC as I eat my cereal … why did it take so long for pay TV to get to Australia? …” He was referring, as if instinctively, to his master’s pay TV company, Foxtel. As for terrorism, Sheridan blames “Pilgerist Chomskyism” for “ideologically fuelling the followers of Osama bin Lenin, sorry Laden.”