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The Entertainment Value of Snuffing Grandma: A Nation of Children Roots For the Mafia

By       Message Joe Bageant       (Page 1 of 2 pages)     Permalink

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opednews.com Headlined to H2 8/20/09

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Every day I get letters asking me to weigh in on the health care fracas. As if a redneck writer armed with a keyboard, a pack of smokes and all the misinformation and vitriol available on the Internet could contribute anything to the crap storm already in progress. Besides that, my unreasoned but noisy take on this issue is often about as welcome as a fart in a spacesuit. None of which has ever stopped me from making a fool of myself in the past. So here goes.

There ain't any healthcare debate going on, Bubba. What is going on are mob negotiations about insurance, and which mob gets the biggest chunk of the dough, be it our taxpayer dough or the geet that isn't in ole Jim's impoverished purse. The hoo-ha is about the insurance racket, not the delivery of health care to human beings. It's simply another form of extorting the people regarding a fundamental need -- health.

Unfortunately, the people have been mesmerized by our theater state's purposefully distracting and dramatic media productions for so long they've been mutated toward helplessness. Consequently, they are incapable of asking themselves a simple question: If insurance corporation profits are one third of the cost of health care, and all insurance corporations do is deliver our money to health care providers for us (or actually, do everything in their power to keep the money for themselves), why do we need insurance companies at all?

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Answer: Because Wall Street gets a big piece of the action. And nobody messes with the Wall Street Mob(as the bailout extortion money proved).Better (and worse) presidents have tried. Some made a genuine effort to push it through Congress. Others expressed the desire publicly, but after getting privately muscled by the healthcare industry, decided to back off from the idea.

For instance:

Franklin Roosevelt wanted universal healthcare.

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Harry Truman wanted universal healthcare.

Dwight Eisenhower wanted universal healthcare.

Richard Nixon wanted universal healthcare.

Lyndon Johnson wanted universal healthcare.

Bill Clinton wanted ... well we can't definitely say " because he made sure that if the issue blew up on him, which it did, Hillary would be left holding the turd. Is it any wonder that woman gets so snappy at the slightest provocation? First getting left to hold the bag on health care, then the spots on that blue dress "

So why did American liberals believe Obama would bring home the healthcare bacon? Because they live in an ideological cupcake land it's a big neighborhood, a very special place where "Your vote is important," and "by electing the right candidate, you can change our beloved nation." Most of America lives in the neighborhood, even though they've never personally met, the shrubbery and flowerbeds of such things as "values" and "hope" bloom. Hope that our desires coupled with the efforts of a good and decent president can affect "change." Evidently these voters never heard the old adage, "Hope in one hand and piss in the other, and see which one fills up first."

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The slaughter of the innocents by the healthcare lobby has pretty much extinguished the political usefulness of the word hope. Nobody, especially Obama, uses it now.

The first on stage scuffle of the Obama administration, government assured health care, quickly settled down into the accustomed scenario of very rich and powerful people in expensive suits "finding middle ground," otherwise known as the status quo. Single payer health care soon became "a consumer government alternative to private insurance," and is now "a system of health cooperatives. Next comes "slightly better health insurance (but not medical services) than before, from the same insurance companies but at twice the price; don't worry though, we're increasing your tax load so you can afford it."

The televised screaming matches, having served their purpose, are over now. The presidency and the nation have settled back into the normalcy of the officially sanctioned state consciousness and its curious non-language, one modified and shaped daily by corporate and government symbiosis. Over generations we've come to internalize this imagistic language, which is quite theatrical when heated up for public consumption and dully bureaucratic when attention is to be avoided. But always it is void of content and any sort of truth. In the corporately managed theater state, it's not whether a thing is true that matters, but how it sounds and looks and what you call it. Call end of life counseling a "death panel," and you've just turned mercy and choice into one more Great Satan.

In the end though, healthcare American style comes down to the preferences of two elite castes, Congress and corporate powers, neither of which can exist without the other. Corporations need the government to sanction their methods of extracting wealth from the public. Congress needs corporations to finance its campaign chariot races. Right now members of Congress have an excellent chance of putting the arm on healthcare industry lobbyist for some real cash:

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Joe Bageant is the author of a forthcoming book from Random House Crown about working class America, scheduled for Spring 2007 release. A complete archive of his online work, along with the thoughts of many working Americans on the subject of class (more...)

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