What Agenda?

The New York Time’s notoriously Fox-addled political reporter, Adam Nagourney, engages in some typical but sadly anachronistic “Democrats are doomed” hand-wringing in Thursday’s paper, faux-fretting that given the (factually inaccurate, but that’s par for the course) supposedly massive wave of Democratic retirements in the Senate, Obama will be hamstrung in carrying out his “agenda.”  The first retarded premise of the article is that losing scandal-plagued Chris Dodd is a bad thing for liberals, which it clearly is not, and the second is that Obama even has an agenda that would be harmed by a congress even more wholly controlled by Republicans than the current one.  Dick Cheney’s Chicken Little bleatings notwithstanding, whatever Obama’s “agenda” was supposed to have been, it’s already over.  Stick a fork in it.

Nagourney lamely brings up financial reform, climate legislation, and any number of things that clearly won’t amount to a hill of beans as “threatened” by Republicans’ still unlikely sweeps in 2010, as though he weren’t aware that those pipe dreams have already been sold down the river like everything else “hope and change” was supposed to bring.  We already know that any climate legislation will be so hopelessly watered down that the planet’s fate is as good as sealed, that even when the despicable and crooked Tim Geithner is tossed out for his now-revealed corrupt involvement with AIG, the clone that will replace him will be just as bad or worse, and that Sonia Sotomayor is as “liberal” as any Supreme Court nominee Obama would ever consider nominating.  In short, Nagourney is breathlessly reporting on a game that has already long since been thrown.  Can you believe they charge two bucks for that paper?

To washed-up beltway manipulators like Nagourney, a large majority in the house and 60 seats in the Senate must continue to be trumpeted to the NYT’s long-suffering readers as a thing worth losing, when the last several months have shown anyone with a pulse that it’s not.  Despite Nagourney’s tired ramblings, we are a now irredeemably just another failed state ruled by thieves, warmongers, and religious freaks, and if anything, Obama’s election has cemented this reality to a point where it’s no longer necessary for anyone who wishes otherwise to vote at all.  Newspapers may blame lots of things for their own decline, but the simple fact is that reading one to become an informed citizen is a dispiriting and pointless waste of time; vote and organize until you’re blue in the face, but unless you’re content to live in a corporatist dictatorship your time would better be spent filling out emigration papers.

From the time Obama utterly and flagrantly capitulated to the telecoms in allowing the government to spy on its citizens for corporate profit, we could see this coming, but more so in retrospect….  Democratic “victories,” costly and arduous as they were to achieve, have had no effect but to energize the fascist “base” of the Republican party while turning myriad Bush atrocities into bipartisan “consensus” along the way, which in the end is much more damaging.  If you don’t like a repressive government taking your money to spend on wars, repression, and empowering further the powers that be, move to Sweden.  At least you won’t have to read the New York Times there.

As we’ve seen, the answer to a health care “system” that gobbles up twice the money for half of the results is to throw more struggling people’s money at it.  The answer to  cripplingly expensive wars all over the globe is to start a few more of them.  The answer to the rapacious greed of the banksters is to give them more money, just as the answer to global warming is to build more nuclear power plants.  In short, the answer to every problem is to make it worse, and Adam Nagourney calls that an “agenda” that might be “threatened” by something so paltry and meaningless as an midterm election, following  two that were supposed to begin to cast aside such insanity.  Spare me.

Back in the days before Nagourney’s “reporting” helped to clobber John Kerry’s bid to oust Bush in 2004, there were still a lot of people who might have believed such nonsense.  And in those days, his cruel joke of a newspaper only cost a buck.  Today, Nagourney can type all he wants, but the fate of America, and the New York Times, is already sealed.

As only the Teabaggers seem to recognize, Democracy is as dead as Michael Jackson and Anna Nicole Smith, and even in the unlikely event of the Republican sweep Nagourney now cheerleads, the “agenda” will remain the same.


  1. DCLaw1 says:

    It really is hard to avoid the sense that, while we may have two parties, we have a single permanent ruling class (and philosophy). I hadn’t seen it so vividly until now. I really think this is primarily the product of our opulence and hegemony. Money and rapaciousness as raison d’etre, it turns out, has a natural result.

  2. cocktailhag says:

    Well, I don’t know about you, but I keep peeking around at airport security, looking for that elusive hegemony and digging through the sofa cushions for that fabled opulence. Not unlike GWB, rooting around for that sneaky WMD, I don’t expect to find much. The joke’s on us, I think. They hate us for our freedoms, but those have made themselves pretty scarce, too.
    Still, it’s nice to know that ol’ Nagourney still believes. That makes at least one.

  3. DCLaw1 says:

    No doubt, opulence is pretty hard to come by these days, but it survives. And I’m referring to the kind that does survive — the opulence of entrenched money and power (what I meant by “our”), and the American mass-psychology that Greed is Good

    It has caused us to erect shrines and citadels of money and power, in reverence to their mythical ability to enrich the masses as it enriches itself, and to serve as a totem of our own greatness, even as it robs us blind.

    • cocktailhag says:

      The only citadel I can think of is the Baghdad “embassy,” which looked like the sort of thing the Commies would be embarrassed of and be tearing down to build a shopping mall. I used to joke that the Bushies were the ones flattered by those famously ire-inducing Hiltler comparisons; they were all Goebbels and no Speer, and couldn’t put up a barracks that didn’t electrocute people.
      What a shoddy and pathetic despotism we got for our money.

  4. timothy3 says:

    Speaking of the Times and Dodd, I got a laugh from their editorial on Dodd’s departure and how he can now “make a difference” regarding financial reform:

    We would be disappointed if he decided to go through the revolving door and seek a job in the industry he now oversees.

    Like that’s not guaranteed.

    • cocktailhag says:

      Besides all the Randian BS about “government takeovers” and such, I found little to disagree with about the article. What the author doesn’t get, of course, is that if it really were a government takeover, a lot less money would be involved. Medicare’s overhead is 4%, private insurers 20-30%.
      Part of what makes health care so expensive is the insatiable demands for profits every step of the way.

    • cocktailhag says:

      That article was just righty horseshit, which is unsurprising considering the source. There is no “free market” for health care, and there can never be, since no one chooses to have a bypass or cancer treatment, and the crap about competition across state lines is a meaningless sound bite. States have to have able to have the power to regulate health care, since the monopolistic companies and even the frigging Catholic church all have their grabby paws out, and some states won’t put up with the profiteering and inferior offerings, otherwise we might as well all move to Texas or Alabama.

      • sysprog says:

        By federal law, the USA has almost no federal regulation of insurance. Canada, by contrast, has both federal and provincial regulation, or, as the insurance industry calls it, a “harsh regulatory climate.”

        Here, the regulatory climate varies, state by state.

        For instance, there are 34 states that have enacted mental health “parity” laws (seen as “harshness” by the insurance industry.)

        These parity laws require health insurers to cover (some) mental illness (variously defined in the 34 states) on an equal basis with the coverage of “biological illnesses” such as cancer.

        A federal law saying that a policy issued in one of the other 16 states must be available for purchase by a resident of one of those 34 states would, in effect, deny those 34 states the right to supervise and regulate insurance coverage of mental illness in their state.

        The final result of cross-state selling wouldn’t be to increase the number of policy options for health care consumers. It would be to deny the resident of most states the ability to call their own state government and complain about an insurance company. And that’s a valuable and useful right, for now, in many states.

        Instead, if you’ve got a problem with your insurance, and you live in LA or NYC or Chicago, and if the insurance companies are only selling policies issued in Mississippi, then you’d have to phone Mississippi with your complaints.

        Of course, this won’t happen, because Illinois and New York and California aren’t going to surrender to the insurance companies and to Mississippi.

        It’s just another right-wing fantasy about using the federal government to abolish state’s rights. They did it for banking and credit cards, (your credit cards are issued in South Dakota to avoid the usury laws in your home state) but they aren’t going to be able to do it for health insurance.

        Why does the right wing have so much hate for state’s rights?

        • cocktailhag says:

          As usual, it’s because expedience always trumps principle, silly sysprog. They never meant it about states’ rights in the first place, except when it came to being racist. It comes back to the old game show question, “Stupid? or Lying?” I never know which.

          • Mustn’t overlook crazy. Anybody who’d rather turn the country into Somalia rather than pay taxes is way beyond stupid.

          • Sigh…. One two many rathers and a thousand miles behind. Stuporous blog commenting is a vice, but sometimes I just can’t wait till morning.

            Maybe it was the Indian feast I attended earlier in the evening. A lady from Chennai decided we should have a taste of real South Indian cuisine, which left me afterwards with the feeling that I could fly without wings, or write without a thought to editing.

            (Thank God I didn’t tie a bathtowel around my neck and attempt to leap off the garage, as I was accustomed to doing when I was much younger and more elastic.)

  5. cocktailhag says:

    I know the feeling, although I only had pizza at the joint downstairs this evening. My jumping off days are over, too, which is probably a good thing for a 13th floor dweller. That’s what elevators are for.

  6. nailhead tom says:

    “There is no “free market” for health care, and there can never be, since no one chooses to have a bypass or cancer treatment,”

    Despite government’s already heavy thumb on the scale of health care finances, remnants of a free market do exist. For instance, there is a substantial range in the cost of MRI exams within individual markets. Why should this be? Why would one clinic charge $1800 for the same test that another bills out at $700? Darned if I can figure it out.

    • Atul Gawande can. Research, Tomele, research. It’s what separates commenters from blowhards.

    • cocktailhag says:

      I don’t know either, but I used to have discussions about this with a client and friend who had worked in employee benefits his entire career; this was back in the mid 90′s. He noted that when MRI’s were invented, every hospital had to have one, despite their enormous expense at the time.
      “Within five years, all those machines were running around the clock,” he said. “Was a huge unmet need suddenly discovered, or were the hospitals simply trying to quickly amortize a huge expense?” I would surmise that the $700 clinics are further along on their amortization cycle.
      I think you would probably agree that well-insured patients have long been seen as juicy revenue sources, and thus prescribed oodles of expensive treatments and tests, while the uninsured/underinsured have been given the equivalent of “take two aspirins and call me in the morning.” Thus, cost drivers come not just from government, but from the profit motive.
      When my mother was dying in 2008, she was lavished with many expensive and obviously failing treatments in her last couple of months: multiple heart procedures, various doctors to address her various failing systems, yet was routinely tossed out of the hospital and sent home, leaving her care to my brother and I, only to return a few days later. Each time, a whole new slew of expensive medications were subscribed, and the old ones flushed down the toilet. I shudder to think of the waste and prolonged misery that came from the fact that she had good insurance, which she was required to prove at every turn. Once, during another terrifying night at the emergency room, she said in frustration, “Couldn’t they just give me a shot, like we gave the dog?”
      The bills marked “to the estate of” began to arrive three days after she died.

  7. The Heel says:

    On your blog’s topic, Blow did a good job (sorry couldn’t resist) in the NYT’s editorials this morning. I think he is right with his ascertainment about the wingnuts’ destiny. But honestly, a razor thin margin for Dems is as bad as a full on Rep regime. By the time every democratic backbencher has carved out his bribe in order not to exercise his de facto veto power, any bill is diluted to some useless piece of garbage – see health care etc….. I know, I know, preaching to the choir (minus Tom)….
    I can tell you that health care is intrinsically socialist and by definition will always be. The problem is that wingnuts and other conservatives like to see things in Dubya colors – black or white. Of course most things in life are way more complex.
    In Europe, every country has a “public option” of sorts. That doesn’t mean that private insurers are bared. Not at all. When I was living and working there, I did exit the public plan and signed up with a private insurer. It was cheaper – because I was young, healthy and without pre-existing conditions. Of course I knew that I could always fall back on the public plan if need be. That is the sweet thing. The public plan HAS TO ACCEPT you, no matter what. The private guys can pick and choose – guess what, saves them money and they pass some of it on to you as their client. Just don’t apply when you really need them :)

    So with me likely having one of the best levels of understanding of the true differences between functioning European systems and idiotic wannabe market driven systems, I guarantee you it is cheaper for the tax payer to have a public option. Again preaching to the choir, I guess…minus Tom’s ilk. I also realize that I have better chances to talk a Shark into becoming a vegetarian than opening a wingnut’s mind. Don’t really know why my finger keep on typing :)

    • cocktailhag says:

      I read that article, too, (Blow’s job….) but I’m not quite as sanguine, given the righties’ proven adeptness at snatching victory from the jaws of defeat. (Sept. 11, 2000 election, 2008 election, etc.)

  8. nailhead tom says:

    Blow says,”Simply put, it’s about fear-fueled anger.” Really? While the much-maligned religious right bogeyman is the straw man for the utopians, Blow never mentions the real issues that drive true conservatives and tea party activists, which is the monstrous growth of government at all levels and its attendant disregard of private citizens and business except as a source of funding; government spending programs that reward incompetence and maintain allied zombie corporations and fiscal and monetary policies that are turning the US dollar into papel hygienico. Democrat/utopian/socialists are dismissing this at their own peril. Of course, when the worm has turned, it will be the “religious right” at fault, rather than those with even a rudimentary understanding of economics.

    • cocktailhag says:

      This “monstrous growth” is a figment of your imagination. During the Bush years, entire industries, Blackwater and Halliburton to name only the most obvious, grew up to suck at the federal teat; neither would know any “free market” if it dropped on their heads. The bank bailouts, which were made necessary by Republican-spawned deregulation, were Bush’s baby, too. By “zombie industries,” I’m assuming you mean GM. No utopians put any guns to GM’s head to induce it to spend the last twenty years fighting fuel and safety standards and building crappy cars and bloated but high-profit SUV’s. They signed unsustainable and back-loaded union contracts to reap short term profits at the expense of long term viability, and just like the banks, turned to the government when their bets went sour.
      The fact that you seem to blame the current administration for these things show that you need to get out more.
      Bush’s Medicare Part D was a much bigger corporate giveaway than the current, admittedly wasteful and stupid health care “reform.”
      As usual, your partisan blinders make you see things no one else can see; no worm has turned. If it had, the teabaggers would have risen up against Bush in 2005, or sooner.

      • nailhead tom says:

        It’s hilarious to listen to you commies spout the same detritus over and over, intimating that it’s some kind of profound original thinking when it shows up day after day on Huffington Post, Firedog Lake, Daily Kos and other pixelated nonsense sites. If only Al Gore or John Kerry had been elected president there would have been no bank failures, we’d all be driving the Chevy Volt, Muslims would be lying with lambs instead of eating them, and the planet’s ambient temperature would have nestled down to a perpetual autumn in Paris. And anybody who doesn’t embrace the utopian world view is a “REPUBLICAN!” Sorry, objecting to the shop worn and adolescent theories you androids keep pushing is an obligation of all concerned citizens.

        • cocktailhag says:

          You know, Tom, sometimes when I read your endearing missives, which is obviously rather often, I feel like my crazy grandmother, Etta, has returned from the dead to harangue me.
          All you need is a white mushroom hairdo, a mink coat, and a 1970 Maverick, and you could pass for her.
          Like you, she obsessed about commies and unions, though no evidence of either’s influence were apparent, even back in the 70′s, and she deeply despised everyone not just like her, and didn’t mind saying so, repeatedly.
          And like her, you drop in multiple times each day, to hurl abuse and say the most nonsensical things, but for some reason everyone, myself included, put up with it.
          But unlike her, you’re pixelated. Thank God.

  9. nailhead tom says:

    John Hinderaker says:

    “Sources inside the House Democratic leadership are leaking the news that they are giving up on including a public insurance option in the final version of the Dems’ government medicine bill:

    Senior House Democrats have largely abandoned hopes of including a government-run insurance option in the final compromise health care bill taking shape, according to several officials, and are pushing for other measures to rein in private insurers.

    Instead of government insurance, the bill will incorporate top-to-bottom regulation of “private” insurance carriers. This is just one of many such regulations:

    House Democrats want to require insurers to spend a minimum amount of premium income on benefits, thereby limiting what is available for salaries, bonuses, advertising and other items. The House bill sets the floor at 85 percent; the Senate-passed measure lowers it to 80 percent for policies sold to small groups and individuals.

    So what is shaping up behind closed doors is classic National Socialist legislation. The government will not overtly take over the insurance industry (“seizing the means of production,” in Marxist terms). Rather, ostensibly private institutions will be left in place, at least for the time being. But those “private” institutions–the health insurance companies–will be subjected to top-down regulation that turns them into agents of state power. No meaningful competition will be permitted. The federal government will run health care, but will do so behind a facade of private enterprise. Mussolini would be proud of Ms. Pelosi and Mr. Reid.

    Presumably this arrangement is only temporary. As we have noted before, the Left doesn’t really need a public option. President Obama has said that under his proposal, private insurance companies would be driven out of business over a period of ten to twenty years. At that point, there will be no such thing as private medicine, and the federal government will be able to come out of the closet. It will be illegal for you or members of your family to obtain medical treatment, except as permitted and controlled by the government.

    Will America then be a free country? That’s debatable, but I would say, No.”

  10. nailhead tom says:

    A typical ad hominem, unreasoned CH response.

    • cocktailhag says:

      I don’t bother arguing with you because you’re impervious to facts. Medicare’s overhead is 3%, and you say it’s commie to allow insurers 20%. That’s so stupid it deserves no response.