The Irony of ACA Healthcare Demise and the Public Option

It seems likely to me that the Supreme Court Inc. will break out 5 to 4 to scuttle as much of the President Obama’s health care program as possible, perhaps all of it.  This is a pyrrhic victory for the opponents of Obama, but may not be all that bad a thing for those courtesy wiki commonsof us who think that health care reform based on private insurance and fee for service profitability has always been a poor choice.  The anemic public option that might have kept a foot in the door for the better single payer (Medicare for Everyone) option was dropped by the even more anemic Democratic Party when they were pressed by the Republicans.

Robert Scheer hits the mark in my estimation with his article:  Five Hypocrites and One Bad Plan that ran at Truth Dig.   I think that the five justices in question are simply adhering the hypocritic oath and performing true to form.

Paul Krugman came out today with his view that the 5 right justices would seize on any argument that would allow them to strike down progressive legislation, and if that is true, then maybe it would not have mattered if health care reform had included a public option.

What do you think?  Are the Supremes going to strike it down?  Cast your votes and predict the score.  I am going with the easy prediction:  5 to 4 to strike the law down.

I am looking for a second political party

I know there is a lot of talk about how hard it is to start a third political party and there is no doubt that the talk is true.  Large political swings that realign the political parties in the US are rare, but the political history of the US is about the swings. Whigs and Tories, Bull Moose and Know Nothing parties.  These things come and go and right now we have the appearance of a two party system: the dems on the left and the repubs on the right, but the truth is that we have dems in center/right and the repubs in right to hard right.  Courtesy Gerolsteiner91 at Wiki Commons

There is no significant left party in the US, only the 25 to 30% of us who identify as left/progressives/liberals/social democrats etc. and we are left to rail at the dem party to move left and lead the country with good public policy that works for all of us, and the party leaders provide lip service, then do the bidding of the large political contributors – the deciders, the haves and have-mores who control the political agenda of the dem and repub party.  Don’t kid yourself about that.  Just look at the need to provide Medicare for Everyone, a national health insurance policy that could/would have left the insurance industry scrambling to compete for Medigap insurance coverage, but instead we could not even get a public option, we got Health Insurance for Everyone – The Pay Up health care system doubled down on us.

So when will a political realignment occur that will put a left political party on the scene?  Who knows?  These changes are like the Arab Spring, the Occupy movement and more.  The political shift will occur when the time is right.  There is work to be done having the options available when the body politic wakes up and says, that’s it, I have had it with the Dems and Repubs.

Here are some options that are already established and waiting, or developing:

The Green Party    –    Another U.S. is Possible, Another Party is Necessary (a political party that is established and global)

Americans Elect  –  Pick a President, Not a Party   (doesn’t look like a political party in the making?)

Justice Party   – Economic, Environmental, Social and Civic Justice for All  (Rocky Anderson’s party platform is the basis at this point)

Are there others that are forming or on the scene?

Juan Cole on Oil and Politics in Iraq

James Stafford with Oilprice.com suggested that their interview with Juan Cole would be of interest.  With gas prices surging over $4 per gallon, oil news is probably of interest.  Eternal Fire of Baba Gurgur courtesy Chad.r.hill

I agree, therefore:

Oil & Politics – The Real Situation in Iraq

A delegation from the International Energy Agency spent two days in Baghdad speaking with high-ranking officials in preparation for an end-of-year report on the country’s oil sector. By some estimates, Iraq could hold some of the largest oil reserves in the world and an international auction for oil and natural gas blocks is planned for May. Without a hydrocarbon law, and considering the fractured political system, the IEA’s report may be more about political obstacles than oil potential, however.

Baghdad announced triumphantly this week that oil production increased to more than 3 million barrels per day for the first time in more than 30 years. Exports, the government said, should increase substantially once a new floating oil terminal starts operations later this week. The IEA in December said crude oil production in Iraq could reach an average of 4.36 million bpd by 2016, about half of what Riyadh produces. The agency warned, however, that Iraq’s fractured political system might be as much of an obstacle as anything.

Iraq’s post-invasion political system has never been stable. Tensions in Baghdad flared up when Shiite Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki accused his Sunni Vice President Tariq al-Hashemi of terrorism almost as soon as the last American troop left the country in December. Juan Cole, the man behind the influential blog Informed Comment, said the action by Maliki “was part of an effort to marginalize and humiliate his Sunni enemies, and a sign of unwillingness to seek a grand national bargain.”

Iraq may be a democratic country in theory but it certainly isn’t quick on the political front, especially when it comes to passing a long-delayed hydrocarbon law. Cole, a professor of history at the University of Michigan, described Iraqi politics as anything but stable.

“I wouldn’t hold my breath on getting anything accomplished on the oil law,” he said.

Maliki may be able to use his hard-ball tactics in an effort to get his way on things like the federal budget, but that doesn’t necessarily equate to widespread political influence across the rest of the country, said Cole.

Kurdish leaders objected profusely when it looked like Exxon Mobil would be left out of Iraq’s upcoming fourth international auction because of its contracts with the semiautonomous Kurdish government. Deputy Prime Minister Rowsch Nuri Shaways, a lawmaker from the Kurdistan Democratic Party, complained, in a statement, that Baghdad was somehow opposed to “economic openness” and the “promotion of trade.” Baghdad protests that any unilateral deals with the Kurdish government are illegal, though Cole said there isn’t much that the central government can do about it.

“The Iraqi government faces two big problems on petroleum development. It is still too weak to provide security reliably for the Western corporations and their employees,” he said. “And, it is still economically depressed enough to be afraid of being taken advantage of by a bidding process that favors the corporations — causing it to drive so hard a bargain that it has spooked potential investors.”

Iraq could be able to take advantage of its strategic position in the Middle East. Its Turkish neighbors to the north are keen to become an influential energy hub by playing host to some of the most ambitious oil and natural gas pipelines in the world. To Iraq’s south, the Strait of Hormuz transports about 20 percent of the oil traded globally.

“Politically, however, Iraq is landlocked,” said Cole.

Getting a federal budget passed this year might’ve been a temporary political victory for Maliki. Long term, however, it’s unlikely he’ll be able to make any claims to a political mandate in a country that relies so heavily on oil for its federal revenue. Baghdad has tilted at times toward Iran and higher oil prices may embolden the Shiite prime minister’s position. But Iraq might find itself in a geopolitical tug-of-war given Washington’s regional interests.

“Iraq is extremely vulnerable right now,” Cole warned.

The IEA is expected to release its report on Iraq in October as a prelude to its full energy outlook for 2012. While expressing optimism about the prospects for the oil sector in post-war Iraq, IEA Executive Director Maria van der Hoeven said politics are getting in the way of broader developments. When asked what he would title the October report from the IEA, Cole just chuckled and said “slow progress.”

Source: http://oilprice.com/Energy/Energy-General/Iraq-Oil-Outlook-Overly-Ambitious.html

By. Daniel J. Graeber of Oilprice.com

Quotes for A Snowy Thursday

Yep, it’s snowing again in Western Washington.  Very pretty, just an inch or so here in Chehalis.  I expect it will be gone soon, but as daylight appeared, the neighborhood was especially appealing to the eye.

I collect quotes.  They are useful in so many ways.  Sometimes the author captures something large in very few words.  That’s a good feat.  Sometimes, the quote reminds us that our current problems may be the same one that we have faced for generations. That doesn’t necessarily mean that the problems aren’t real or worthy of our attention, it may just remind us to be patient, to consider challenges in larger time frames.

I am thinking about unfettered capitalism, the dominant current cultural love affair with free market economics  and thinking that Dresden James’ quote below is on the mark.  To question capitalism is preposterous and the questioner appears to be a raving lunatic.  I am raving these days.

I am also thinking about socialism: medicare – universal health care – public services from garbage pickup/recycling to higher education and thinking that Tallyrand is right about new names.  How would we propose economics and public governance as if people mattered without getting isolated as socialists or communists.  How did these terms become so odious?

Commune, a couple of definitions:

1. To be in a state of intimate, heightened sensitivity and receptivity, as with one’s surroundings: hikers communing with nature.

2. To receive the Eucharist.


 “An important art of politicians is to find new names for institutions which under old names have become odious to the public.”      —     Talleyrand,      Charles Maurice de Talleyrand-Périgord (1754-1838)   1st Prince de Bénévent, French diplomat

“Since when have we Americans been expected to bow submissively to authority and speak with awe and reverence to those who represent us?”
— William O. Douglas (1898-1980), U. S. Supreme Court Justice

“When a well-packaged web of lies has been sold gradually to the masses over generations, the truth will seem utterly preposterous and its speaker a raving lunatic.”
— Dresden James

“It is the growing custom to narrow control, concentrate power, disregard and disfranchise the public;
and assuming that certain powers by divine right of money-raising or by sheer assumption, have the power to do as they think best without consulting the wisdom of mankind.”
— W. E. B. Du Bois
(1868-1963) Professor, Civil Rights Activist, NAACP Founding Member

“We are not liberated until we liberate others. So long as we need to control other people, however benign our motives, we are captive to that need. In giving them freedom, we free ourselves.”
— Marilyn Ferguson  1938- ) American author, Source: The Aquarian Conspiracy

Get out there and do great things today.

Mike

Is Diversity Evidence of Equality?

My email buddy Austin Kelly gathers and distributes some really amazing stuff.  Here’s something that I got from him today under Gender and Liberation:

Critique of Liberal Anti-Racism: A Way Forward or Regression on Race?
2009 DECEMBER 7

The following essay by Walter Benn Michaels appeared in the London Review of Books.

Here are some excerpts:

“My point is not that anti-racism and anti-sexism are not good things. It is rather that they currently have nothing to do with left-wing politics, and that, insofar as they function as a substitute for it, can be a bad thing. American universities are exemplary here: they are less racist and sexist than they were 40 years ago and at the same time more elitist. The one serves as an alibi for the other: when you ask them for more equality, what they give you is more diversity. The neoliberal heart leaps up at the sound of glass ceilings shattering and at the sight of doctors, lawyers and professors of colour taking their place in the upper middle class. Whence the many corporations which pursue diversity almost as enthusiastically as they pursue profits, and proclaim over and over again not only that the two are compatible but that they have a causal connection – that diversity is good for business. But a diversified elite is not made any the less elite by its diversity and, as a response to the demand for equality, far from being left-wing politics, it is right-wing politics.”

and

“Thus the primacy of anti-discrimination not only performs the economic function of making markets more efficient, it also performs the therapeutic function of making those of us who have benefited from those markets sleep better at night. And, perhaps more important, it has, ‘for a long time’, as Wendy Bottero says in her contribution to the recent Runnymede Trust collection Who Cares about the White Working Class?, also performed the intellectual function of focusing social analysis on what she calls ‘questions of racial or sexual identity’ and on ‘cultural differences’ instead of on ‘the way in which capitalist economies create large numbers of low-wage, low-skill jobs with poor job security’. The message of Who Cares about the White Working Class?, however, is that class has re-emerged: ‘What we learn here’, according to the collection’s editor, Kjartan Páll Sveinsson, is that ‘life chances for today’s children are overwhelmingly linked to parental income, occupations and educational qualifications – in other words, class.’”

Read the essay over at the London Review of Books.

**

Sex, Race and Class – Selma James

 

The left itself is largely responsible for narrowly defining working class politics. Historically, some seriously problematic marxist forces have limited the definition of working class politics to issues concerning white, male, industrial workers.

On the contemporary left scene we find many forces (even, or especially, self-labeled marxists and communists) who seek to right the wrongs of previous generations. While these efforts may be honest and genuine, they often fall far short of actually re-aligning theoretical paradigms of “class” and “struggle” in a positive direction. Often times, race & gender become atomized and separated from class in efforts to develop an intersectional approach.

Selma James’ classic piece “Sex, Race and Class” represents a serious analysis of the organic intersections of the often-mentioned triad of oppression. One need only read the first paragraph to sense it contains important insights into the contemporary struggle to develop a mixed gender, multiracial working class revolutionary theory and struggle.

” . . . if sex and race are pulled away from class, virtually all that remains is the truncated, provincial, sectarian politics of the white male metropolitan Left.“

Capitalism and the Left have mystified the real relationships between these categories, and it’s an important task for revolutionaries, particularly in the US, to understand the poverty of our current theory in order to begin pulling ourselves out of the self-imposed silos our theories have us incarcerated in.

Continues at: http://advancethestruggle.wordpress.com/2009/07/12/sex-race-and-class-selma-james/