Mar 062010
 
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ON THIS VIDEO SEGMENT of Moyers’ Journal we have included Dr. Marcia Angell’s interview with the host. Dr. Angell is a prominent supporter of the single payer plan concept, or “Medicare for all”, and opposes the current Obama proposals as worse than nothing, if not a betrayal of the implicit promises made to “change” the system. WE also feature a few original comments to enrich the presentation.

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••••3.5.10

Is the President’s Health Bill Worth Supporting?

(Photos by Robin Holland)

In January, when Republican Scott Brown won the special election for the Massachusetts Senate seat formerly held by Ted Kennedy, Democrats lost their filibuster-proof majority and the fate of their health reform legislation plunged into uncertainty.

After weeks of strategizing and negotiation, President Obama made headlines Wednesday by encouraging Democratic members of Congress to pass the Senate’s version of the health bill through the controversial tactic known as reconciliation. Originally intended for budget bills rather than more complicated legislation, reconciliation would bypass potential filibusters in the Senate and require only a simple majority of votes in both chambers for passage. Democratic leaders are now working to amass enough support among Democratic Senators and Congressmen, many of whom disagree with aspects of the legislation, to pass the bill despite polls suggesting that a plurality of the public opposes it.

In this week’s JOURNAL, Bill Moyers spoke with two prominent advocates of health reform with very different perspectives on the President’s health bill.

Wendell Potter, a former health insurance executive who has become an outspoken critic of the industry, said that the legislation is flawed but good enough that it should become law:

wendellpotter

 

“We need to look at this as a win for consumers as well. Yes, it’ll be a win for the insurance companies, but I don’t think we’re gonna wind up with the insurance companies walking away [and] winning the whole ball game. If we don’t do anything right now, that’s what will happen. They’ll win everything… I was distraught when I saw what happened, what I saw the Senate voting on. But then I realized – you know, I studied a lot of these efforts over the past many years to get reform – [that] often we’ve come short because we’ve tried to get the perfect, and we’ve never been able to get anything as a consequence… We need to have a foundation, and this may seem to be not an adequate foundation for a lot of people, but there are more than 50 million people in this country who don’t have insurance… Wouldn’t you rather, and I think wouldn’t most Americans rather, that we have something to start from rather than starting from scratch the next time? It’s very hard to build up to doing this in the first place… I’m frankly pretty amazed that we’re getting this close to passing something.”

 

 

Dr. Marcia Angell, a Harvard medical lecturer and former editor-in-chief of the NEW ENGLAND JOURNAL OF MEDICINE, has advocated for single-payer reform, in which the federal government would provide a national health insurance program for everyone. Angell argued that the current bill would make a bad situation worse and sour the public on further reforms, so Democrats should regroup and push for better legislation in the future:

 

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“What this bill does is not only permit the commercial insurance industry to remain in place, but it actually expands and cements their position as the linchpin of health care reform… Not only does it keep them in place, but it pours about $500 billion of public money into these companies over 10 years… and it mandates that people buy these companies’ products for whatever they charge. Now that’s a recipe for the growth in health care costs not only to continue but to skyrocket, to grow even faster… The President’s absolutely right that the status quo is awful. If we do nothing, costs will continue to go up. People will continue to lose their coverage… Things will get very bad. The issue is, will this bill make them better or worse? I believe it will make them worse… Let’s say [the bill] is passed. It will begin to unravel almost immediately, and then what will people do? Well, they’ll say ‘We tried health reform, and it didn’t work. Better not try that anymore’… Whereas if the bill dies now, people can say ‘This bill died because it was a bad bill,’ and the problem is still on the front burner.”

 

BIO NOTE ON DR. MARCIA ANGELL (WiKi)

Critic of U.S. healthcare system

Although a high-ranking insider of the American medical establishment, Marcia Angell has long spoken frankly of its unhealthy shortcomings. The American healthcare system is in serious crisis, she acknowledged in a PBS special: “If we had set out to design the worst system that we could imagine, we couldn’t have imagined one as bad as we have.”[5] In the PBS interview, she urges the nation to scrap its failing healthcare system and start over:

Our health care system is based on the premise that health care is a commodity like VCRs or computers and that it should be distributed according to the ability to pay in the same way that consumer goods are. That’s not what health care should be. Health care is a need; it’s not a commodity, and it should be distributed according to need. If you’re very sick, you should have a lot of it. If you’re not sick, you shouldn’t have a lot of it. But this should be seen as a personal, individual need, not as a commodity to be distributed like other marketplace commodities. That is a fundamental mistake in the way this country, and only this country, looks at health care. And that market ideology is what has made the health care system so dreadful, so bad at what it does.

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Critic of the pharmaceutical industry

Angell is a critic of the pharmaceutical industry. With Arnold S. Relman, she argues, “The few drugs that are truly innovative have usually been based on taxpayer-supported research done in nonprofit academic medical centers or at the National Institutes of Health. In fact, many drugs now sold by drug companies were licensed to them by academic medical centers or small biotechnology companies.” The pharmaceutical industry estimates that each new drug costs them $800 million to develop and bring to market, but Angell and Relman estimate the cost to them is actually closer to $100 million. Examples are imatinib (Gleevec), zidovudine (AZT) and erythropoietin (Epogen). An unpublished internal NIH study in February 2000 of the 5 top-selling drugs in 1995 (ZantacZoviraxCapotenVasotec, and Prozac) found that 16 of the 17 key scientific papers leading to the discovery and development came from outside industry [6]. In 2004, she published The Truth About the Drug Companies: How They Deceive Us and What to Do About It.[7]

Angell’s position has been challenged by Benjamin Zycher, senior fellow at the pharmaceutical industry-funded Manhattan Institute, who argues that government research can create new drugs, but private industry is needed to produce practical products, by developing mass production methods (for erythropoietin) and versions without limiting adverse effects (for antidepressive drugs). [8]

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Critic of alternative medicine

Marcia Angell is also a critic of the growing acceptance of alternative medicine. In a 1998 NEJM editorial she wrote with Jerome Kassirer, they argued:

It is time for the scientific community to stop giving alternative medicine a free ride… There cannot be two kinds of medicine — conventional and alternative. There is only medicine that has been adequately tested and medicine that has not, medicine that works and medicine that may or may not work. Once a treatment has been tested rigorously, it no longer matters whether it was considered alternative at the outset. If it is found to be reasonably safe and effective, it will be accepted.[9]

 

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marcia_Angell

What do you think?

Do you think the President’s health bill is worth supporting? Why or why not?

What do you think should be the goals of health reform, and how are you working to get there?


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COMMENTS

Thank you for a very informative program. Prior to seeing it, my thinking was much like Mr. Potter’s – the very compromised bills in progress in Congress were better than nothing at all. However, Dr. Angell’s position on this was very enlightening: I know am starting to think that maybe it is better to let the current “reform” go and work toward something better. The downside of that is that it may not happen in our lifetimes, given the way Congress works (or doesn’t) in light of the money and interests involved. In the interim, many people will suffer in terms of their health or at least their financial well-being. The only way things are likely to be truly reformed – in God’s lifetime (to cite another poster) – are if things get so bad for so many that the monied interests are no longer able to carry the day.

Posted by: Tom Himmel | March 6, 2010 4:20 PM

Thanks Bill– We appreciate your description of the on-going catastrophe in the stormy sea of healthcare as seen from your high ground. While our citizens struggle in the frothy waters with the current flotsam and jetsum of insurance options thrown to us from the Corporate Cruiseship, our Congressional Coastguard is
wrangling about which end of the lifeboat is front while wearing life preservers thrown to them from the Corporate crew. In the meantime, we are given the options of drowning or being eaten by the sharks — or holding our breath. Our Captain of the Ship of State, Captain Horatio Hornblower is yelling into the wind — ‘do something!’
while the muddled bureaucracy is trying to unsnarl the ropes & lines tying our country to the rocky coast.
(btw — I want the public option.)

Posted by: Jim Graham | March 6, 2010 4:16 PM

Mr. Moyers; Thankyou for this wonderful forum for average Americans to voice their opinions and concerns. I’ve just read through most of the comments and it is clear to me that Most folks: 1.don’t like the choices being debated. 2. They want some form of single payer. They want to pay their fair share of the costs to insure all Americans. 3. The want to make it illegal for insurance companies to deny coverage based on pre-existing conditions. 4. They want to make it illegal for insurance companies to rescind coverage when a person becomes ill. 5. They want to make it illegal for insurance companies to raise rates anymore than the rise in inflation. 6. They don’t want what’s politically expedient for the Congress and Senate to enact; they want health care for all Americans. 7. A little math can go a long way to sheding some sanity on the costs issue. Consider the following: We could add the 50 million uninsured Americans to an extension of Medicare. These 50 milllion folks each pay $100 per month for this insurance. That’s $1200 per year times 50 million, or $60 billion a year in new premiums. That should be enough additional money to cover their healthcare. To summerize: Real solutions could be worked out. Political expediency has no place in this most important issue for the American people. The Health Insurance Industry is not too big to fail. The Healthcare Provider Industry needs fair compensation for their important work; but they do not need to raise rates on the backs of the American people. If our elected officials can’t work together to solve America’s challenges, then they need to go. I’m so tired of Republicans and Democrats attacking each other. America deserves better.

Posted by: Mark Jaffee | March 6, 2010 4:15 PM

I do not believe that the so called health care reform bill as it is now structured should be passed. I am against the requirment for all to purchase for profit private health insurance which has proved a dismal failure in providing health insurance coverage to Americans. I am not necessarily in favor of Medicare for all but I am in favor of Medicare available to all who need coverage. Let those who wish to continue with private for pofit coverage do so. Let those who want or need Medicare be allowed to enroll.

Posted by: Richard | March 6, 2010 4:10 PM

Arguing about whether the proposed Health Care bill is to be, or not to be, to pass the Senate through reconciliation, or to die–that’s the question on everyone’s mind, and the two speakers took opposite views on what should happen. But no matter what happens, pass or fail, Dr Angell’s views or Wendell Potter’s—the health care system will unravel, as Dr. Angell suggested. And then a third option will emerge as the solution–state by state, we’ll get single payer after all. Either California or Pennsylvania will get the ball rolling. It will probably be California. And it will happen very quickly, in fact has already started to happen.

Posted by: Ed Schilling | March 6, 2010 4:08 PM

I just finished watching the Journal from March 05,2010. Dr. Marcia Angell has inspired me to write for the first time. I am a Registered Nurse in California. I am in favor of single-payor health care for all–Medicare for all. For those members of congress opposed, I say…if we would eliminate YOUR health care insurance, maybe then you would see how it would be to be without. Why is it that GREED has to drive those in power…money is NOT everything. I work in a large urban hospital and have for 25 years. What has happened to our government? President Obama, please do the right thing. Throw this bill out and do what is right. Thank you.

Posted by: Joan McCusker | March 6, 2010 4:06 PM

Arguing about whether the proposed Health Care bill is to be, or not to be, to pass the Senate through reconciliation, or to die–that’s the question on everyone’s mind, and the two speakers took opposite views on what should happen. But no matter what happens, pass or fail, Dr Angell’s views or Wendell Potter’s—the health care system will unravel, as Dr. Angell suggested. And then a third option will emerge as the solution–state by state, we’ll get single payer after all. Either California or Pennsylvania will get the ball rolling. It will probably be California. And it will happen very quickly, in fact has already started to happen.


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 Posted by at 5:55 pm
Mar 062010
 
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Dateline: March 1, 2010  [print_link]

Deepening inequality, unravelling democracy and wars without end: welcome to the best of all possible worlds

By Ralph Nader

 

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Goldman Sachs' CEO Lloyd Blankfein. Emblematic of the power behind the throne.

THE TWIN SWELLING HEADS of Empire and Oligarchy are driving our country into an ever-deepening corporate state, wholly incompatible with democracy and the rule of law.

Once again the New York Times offers its readers the evidence. In its February 25, 2010 issue, two page-one stories confirm this relentless deterioration at the expense of so many innocent people.

The lead story illustrates that the type of massive speculation—casino capitalism, Business Week once called it—in complex derivatives is still going strong and exploiting the weak and powerless who pay the ultimate bill.

Titled “Banks Bet Greece Defaults on Debt They Helped Hide,” the article shocks even readers hardened to tales of greed and abuse of power. Here are the opening paragraphs: “Bets by some of the same banks that helped Greece shroud its mounting debts may actually now be pushing the nation closer to the brink of financial ruin.”

“Echoing the kind of trades that nearly toppled the American Insurance International Group /AIG/, the increasingly popular insurance against the risk of a Greek default is making it harder for Athens to raise the money it needs to pay its bills, according to traders and money managers.”

“These contracts, known as credit-default swaps, effectively let banks and hedge funds wager on the financial equivalent of a four-alarm fire: a default by a company, or in the case of Greece, an entire country. If Greece reneges on its debts, traders who own these swaps stand to profit.”

“It’s like buying fire insurance on your neighbor’s house–you create an incentive to burn down the house,” said Philip Gisdakis, head of credit strategy at UniCredit in Munich.

These credit-default swaps increase the dreaded “systemic risk” that proliferates until it lands on the backs of taxpayers, workers and savers who pay the price. And if Greece goes, Spain or Portugal or Italy may be next and globalization will eventually bring the rapacious effects of mindless speculation to our shores.

Greece got into financial trouble for a variety of reasons, but it was widely reported that Goldman Sachs and other big banks showed them, for generous fees, how to hide the country’s true financial condition. Avarice at work.

Note two points. These derivatives are contracts involving hundreds of billions of dollars and are essentially unregulated. These transactions are also essentially untaxed, unlike Europe’s value added tax on manufacturing, wholesale and retail purchases. The absence of government restraints produces unlimited predation.

Both Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama believe they have unbridled discretion to engage in almost any overt or covert acts. That is a definition of Empire that flouts international law and more than one treaty which the United States helped shape and sign. ..Equipped with remote and deadly technologies like drones flying over Pakistan and Afghanistan by operators in Nevada, many civilians have been slain, including those in wedding parties and homes. Still, it is taking 15,000 soldiers (U.S. and Afghan) with the most modern armaments to deal with three hundred Taliban fighters in Marja who with many other Afghans, for various motivations, want us out of their country. Former Marine Combat Captain Matthew Hoh described these reasons in his detailed resignation letter last fall.

As astute investors in the real economy have said, when money for speculation replaces money for investment, the real economy suffers and so do real people. Remember the Wall Street collapse of 2008 and who is paying for the huge Washington bailout.

The other story shows that the Presidency has become a self-driven Empire outside the law and unaccountable to its citizens. The Times reports “how far the C.I.A. has extended its extraordinary secret war beyond the mountainous tribal belt and deep into Pakistan’s sprawling cities.” Working with Pakistan’s counterpart agency, the C.I.A. has had some cover to do what it wants in carrying out “dozens of raids throughout Pakistan over the past year,” according to the Times.

“Secret War” has been a phrase applied numerous times throughout the C.I.A’s history, even though the agency was initially created by Congress right after World War II to gather intelligence, not engage in lethal operations worldwide.

Unrestrained by either Congress or the federal courts, Presidents say they can and do order their subordinates to go anywhere in the world, penetrate into any country, if they alone say it is necessary to seize and destroy for what they believe is the national security. American citizens abroad are not excluded. Above the law and beyond the law spells the kind of lawlessness that the framers of our constitution abhorred in King George and limited in our country’s separation of powers.

Because our founders would not tolerate the President being prosecutor, judge, jury and executioner, they placed the war-declaration and appropriations authorities in the Congress.

Both Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama believe they have unbridled discretion to engage in almost any overt or covert acts. That is a definition of Empire that flouts international law and more than one treaty which the United States helped shape and sign.

Equipped with remote and deadly technologies like drones flying over Pakistan and Afghanistan by operators in Nevada, many civilians have been slain, including those in wedding parties and homes. Still, it is taking 15,000 soldiers (U.S. and Afghan) with the most modern armaments to deal with three hundred Taliban fighters in Marja who with many other Afghans, for various motivations, want us out of their country. Former Marine Combat Captain Matthew Hoh described these reasons in his detailed resignation letter last fall.

Mr. Obama’s national security advisor, Ret. General James Jones estimated that there are about 100 Al Qaeda in Afghanistan with the rest migrating to other countries. And one might add, those whose migrate are increasing their numbers because they cast themselves as fighting to expel the foreign invaders.

So many capable observers have made this point: occupation by our military fuels insurgencies and creates the conditions for more recruits and more mayhem. Even Bush’s military and national security people have made this point.

The American people must realize that their reckless government and corporate contractors are banking lots of revenge among the occupied regions that may come back to haunt. We have much more to lose by flouting international law than the suicidal terrorists reacting to what they believe is the West’s state terrorism against their people and the West’s historical backing of dictatorships which oppress their own population.

America was not designed for Kings and their runaway military pursuits. How tragic that we have now come to this entrenched imperium so loathed by the founding fathers and so forewarned by George Washington’s enduring farewell address.

Where are “We the People”?

RALPH NADER is a consumer advocate, lawyer, and author. His most recent book – and first novel -  is, Only The Super Wealthy Can Save Us. His most recent work of non-fiction is The Seventeen Traditions

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 Posted by at 2:12 pm
Mar 062010
 
Naderspeak

It’s time for a radically different type of politics.*

By Chris Hedges

Naderspeak

Viciously slandered Nader. His stubborn denunciation of corporate power and sellout politicians is often criticized as an exercise in "ego".

WE OWE RALPH NADER and Cynthia McKinney an apology. They were right about Barack Obama. They were right about the corporate state. They had the courage of their convictions and they stood fast despite wholesale defections and ridicule by liberals and progressives. [print_link]

Obama lies as cravenly, if not as crudely, as George W. Bush. He promised us that the transfer of $12.8 trillion in taxpayer money to Wall Street would open up credit and lending to the average consumer. The Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. (FDIC), however, admitted last week that banks have reduced lending at the sharpest pace since 1942. As a senator, Obama promised he would filibuster amendments to the FISA Reform Act that retroactively made legal the wiretapping and monitoring of millions of American citizens without warrant; instead he supported passage of the loathsome legislation. He told us he would withdraw American troops from Iraq, close the detention facility at Guantánamo, end torture, restore civil liberties such as habeas corpus and create new jobs. None of this has happened.

He is shoving a health care bill down our throats that would give hundreds of billions of taxpayer dollars to the private health insurance industry in the form of subsidies, and force millions of uninsured Americans to buy insurers’ defective products. These policies would come with ever-rising co-pays, deductibles and premiums and see most of the seriously ill left bankrupt and unable to afford medical care. Obama did nothing to halt the collapse of the Copenhagen climate conference, after promising meaningful environmental reform, and has left us at the mercy of corporations such as ExxonMobil. He empowers Israel’s brutal apartheid state. He has expanded the war in Afghanistan and Pakistan, where hundreds of civilians, including entire families, have been slaughtered by sophisticated weapons systems such as the Hellfire missile, which sucks the air out of victims’ lungs. And he is delivering war and death to Yemen, Somalia and perhaps Iran.

The illegal wars and occupations, the largest transference of wealth upward in American history and the egregious assault on civil liberties, all begun under George W. Bush, raise only a flicker of tepid protest from liberals when propagated by the Democrats. Liberals, unlike the right wing, are emotionally disabled. They appear not to feel. The tea party protesters, the myopic supporters of Sarah Palin, the veterans signing up for Oath Keepers and the myriad of armed patriot groups have swept into their ranks legions of disenfranchised workers, angry libertarians, John Birchers and many who, until now, were never politically active. They articulate a legitimate rage. Yet liberals continue to speak in the bloodless language of issues and policies, and leave emotion and anger to the protofascists. Take a look at the 3,000-word suicide note left by Joe Stack, who flew his Piper Cherokee last month into an IRS office in Austin, Texas, murdering an IRS worker and injuring dozens. He was not alone in his rage.

“Why is it that a handful of thugs and plunderers can commit unthinkable atrocities (and in the case of the GM executives, for scores of years) and when it’s time for their gravy train to crash under the weight of their gluttony and overwhelming stupidity, the force of the full federal government has no difficulty coming to their aid within days if not hours?” Stack wrote. “Yet at the same time, the joke we call the American medical system, including the drug and insurance companies, are murdering tens of thousands of people a year and stealing from the corpses and victims they cripple, and this country’s leaders don’t see this as important as bailing out a few of their vile, rich cronies. Yet, the political ‘representatives’ (thieves, liars, and self-serving scumbags is far more accurate) have endless time to sit around for year after year and debate the state of the ‘terrible health care problem’. It’s clear they see no crisis as long as the dead people don’t get in the way of their corporate profits rolling in.”

The timidity of the left exposes its cowardice, lack of a moral compass and mounting political impotence. The [mainstream] left stands for nothing. The damage Obama and the Democrats have done is immense. But the damage liberals do the longer they beg Obama and the Democrats for a few scraps is worse. It is time to walk out on the Democrats. It is time to back alternative third-party candidates and grass-roots movements, no matter how marginal such support may be. If we do not take a stand soon we must prepare for the rise of a frightening protofascist movement, one that is already gaining huge ground among the permanently unemployed, a frightened middle class and frustrated low-wage workers. We are, even more than Glenn Beck or tea party protesters, responsible for the gusts fanning the flames of right-wing revolt because we have failed to articulate a credible alternative.

A shift to the Green Party, McKinney and Nader, along with genuine grass-roots movements, will not be a quick fix. It will require years in the wilderness. We will again be told by the Democrats that the least-worse candidate they select for office is better than the Republican troll trotted out as an alternative. We will be bombarded with slick commercials about hope and change and spoken to in a cloying feel-your-pain language. We will be made afraid. But if we again acquiesce we will be reduced to sad and pathetic footnotes in our accelerating transformation from a democracy to a totalitarian corporate state. Isolation and ridicule-ask Nader or McKinney-is the cost of defying power, speaking truth and building movements. Anger at injustice, as Martin Luther King wrote, is the political expression of love. And it is vital that this anger become our own. We have historical precedents to fall back upon.

“Here in the United States, at the beginning of the twentieth century, before there was a Soviet Union to spoil it, you see, socialism had a good name,” the late historian and activist Howard Zinn said in a lecture a year ago at Binghamton University. “Millions of people in the United States read socialist newspapers. They elected socialist members of Congress and socialist members of state legislatures. You know, there were like fourteen socialist chapters in Oklahoma. Really. I mean, you know, socialism-who stood for socialism? Eugene Debs, Helen Keller, Emma Goldman, Clarence Darrow, Jack London, Upton Sinclair. Yeah, socialism had a good name. It needs to be restored.”

Social change does not come through voting. It is delivered through activism, organizing and mobilization that empower groups to confront the hegemony of the corporate state and the power elite. The longer socialism is identified with the corporatist policies of the Democratic Party, the longer we allow the right wing to tag Obama as a socialist, the more absurd and ineffectual we become. The right-wing mantra of “Obama the socialist,” repeated a few days ago to a room full of Georgia Republicans, by Newt Gingrich, the former U.S. speaker of the House, is discrediting socialism itself. Gingrich, who looks set to run for president, called Obama the “most radical president” the country had seen in decades. “By any standard of government control of the economy, he is a socialist,” Gingrich said. If only the critique was true.

The hypocrisy and ineptitude of the Democrats become, in the eyes of the wider public, the hypocrisy and ineptitude of the liberal class. We can continue to tie our own hands and bind our own feet or we can break free, endure the inevitable opprobrium, and fight back. This means refusing to support the Democrats. It means undertaking the laborious work of building a viable socialist movement. It is the only alternative left to save our embattled open society. We can begin by sending a message to the Green Party, McKinney and Nader. Let them know they are no longer alone.
(c) 2010 Chris Hedges, the former Middle East bureau chief for The New York Times, spent seven years in the Middle East. He was part of the paper’s team of reporters who won the 2002 Pulitzer Prize for coverage of global terrorism. He is the author of War Is a Force That Gives Us Meaning. His latest book is American Fascists: The Christian Right and the War on America. His latest book is, “Empire of Illusion: The End of Literacy and the Triumph of Spectacle.”

 

* BONUS:

By the editors—

We’re in total agreement with Chris Hedges. The vicious attacks on Ralph Nader* by the liberaloid tribe, accusing him of “losing the election” to Bush, etc., are simply the arguments of cowards or fools. These people –coalescing around Daily Kos, The Nation and other respectable bastions of liberal discourse–have been the main supporters of Barack Obama (too many of them continue to be) and chief defenders of the disastrous “lesser evil” tradition in American politics. Having to choose the lesser evil could make some sense if such occurrences were an anomaly in US elections, if they cropped up once in a blue moon, but they are the norm. As such they indicate two things: the problem is deeply systemic, and elections in a regime of decomposing capitalist democracy –itself an oxymoron–cannot be the cure. New forms of struggle must now enter the fray to complement the ballot box.

As suggested elsewhere, activists must lead the masses into abandoning the two major political parties. Those enrolled in either party should change their enrollment to No Party or Independent, and urge their family, friends and colleagues to do the same.  Use other existing affiliations (religious, civic, cultural, community, workplace, union, recreational) to promote a basic platform that encompasses the chief concerns of the broad American public: jobs, health care, military spending, environment and energy, campaign finance reform, civil liberties. In fielding this reenergizing approach to politics, three “Cs” must carry the day: Clarity, Courage, and Creativity.

Incidentally, here’s a typical rant (polite, as such idiotic opinions go) against Nader by one of these “pragmatic” liberals. (Keep in mind that many who slander Nader also come out of the insane libertarian fold, as they perceive Nader to be a “socialist”, a proponent of “big government”, or an hypocritical “elitist”.) In general, practically all attacks on Nader lead to the same place: a pitiful lack of understanding of politics in general, an enormous ego, and a total ignorance of the class dynamics that fuel all policies in the real world.

“Some of Nader’s criticisms are valid, but unfortunately he forfeited his credibility permanently when he refused to get out of the presidential race in 2000, splitting the progressive vote and effectively saddling the nation with eight horrific years of George W. Bush. After that, the electorate had to face the fact that for Nader, it’s not really all about the “cause” – it’s all about his ego. It’s too bad, because he’d accomplished a lot of good work in his previous career. “

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 Posted by at 1:38 pm