Thursday, November 7, 2013

Suck On This

Is it me, or is President Obama sounding more and more like a vacuum cleaner salesman who shows up at your door unannounced, immediately launching into a spiel about how wonderfully well his product sucks? 

He finagles his way into your living-room before you even have a chance to protest, throws down a handful of his magical pixie dust on your threadbare carpet, and dares you to try out your old clunker. You thought you liked it and could keep it, but once he whips out that $1,000 Kirby of his, you guiltily realize that all this time, you've been endangering your loved ones by allowing hordes of microscopic parasites to multiply, undetected, in your humble abode.

And so it is with the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. So buy, buy, buy. Now, now, now. Even though you can't even get on their website to comparison-shop. Your consuming health will thank you, your family will thank you, and most of all, Barack Obama will thank you. He's kind of like that bewigged TV pitchman boasting that he is not only a client of the Hair Club for Men, he's the president. So what's not to trust? Plugging predatory health insurance is like plugging hair plugs.... when you're president.

And he's so good at it, he is once again up for Salesman of the Year, having already won the prestigious award in 2009 for his "Yes We Can" murketing campaign. This time around, his goal is to join forces with the predatory private insurance industry and convince his rapidly dwindling audience of gullibles that he is on their side. Yes He Is. And to prove it, he went to Big D yesterday and urged his unpaid sales force of volunteers for the Insurance Cartel to keep up their good unremunerated work on his behalf, and on behalf of multimillionaire CEOs at WellPoint, United Healthcare, the Blues in the Red States and the Red Bull in the Blue States, and blood-sucking, tax-exempt corporate leeches everywhere. Reuters reports:

Before the fundraisers* in Dallas, Obama met about 100 volunteers who are helping people sign up for health insurance.
Dallas-Fort Worth has 1.1 million people without health insurance, 40 percent of whom are Latino, the White House said.
In his motorcade, Obama passed protesters holding signs saying "LIAR!" and "No Obamacare."
But volunteers with an interfaith group gave him a warm welcome. Obama thanked them for their help and urged them to keep working with the uninsured.
"I just want all of you to remember that as challenging as this may seem sometimes, as frustrating as may be sometimes, we are going to get this done," Obama said.
And by getting it done, he means doing you in. He means getting more business for the health insurance industry, which apparently just can't help falling back into its old predatory ways, gaming the system and screwing subscribers. But rather than calling them out on their perfidy, Obama and the whole neoliberal team are joining forces with them. As usual, imposing hardship on the masses and pretending it's a gift is a huge "challenge."

Obama and Big Insurance are now joined at the H.I.P., so to speak. And it seems like it was only yesterday, circa 2010, when Nancy Pelosi castigated the industry by calling them "immoral villains!"

Some people, according to The Hill, are actually kind of shocked and disappointed that Pelosi and the Democrats, having gone to bed with the villains, no longer feel so comfortable posturing about morality: 
But the White House has appeared reluctant to attack the insurers now, in part because they’ve sought their help in repairing the floundering enrollment portal.The insurers and the White House have formed “alpha teams” to prevent errors and duplications on ObamaCare applications, and the two sides are keeping in close contact as officials race to fix HealthCare.Gov.
Millions of Americans have received cancellation letters in recent weeks informing them that because of ObamaCare, they will not be able to retain their health insurance — dealing a blow to the president’s credibility.
Allies of the president say insurance companies played a role in the cancellations, and argue the president should do more to highlight that.
Democratic pollster Celinda Lake said she did not understand “for the life of me” why Democrats didn’t blame the “fantastic enemy” they have in front of them.
“We ought to say, ‘The insurance companies are absolutely undermining this,' and they don't want to have policies that meet the minimum requirements and we're not going to stand for it,” she said at a Christian Science Monitor breakfast.
Celinda did not say that Democrats should be absolutely calling for the ouster of the "Fantastic Enemy" and insisting on Single Payer or Medicare for All. I guess nobody's clued her in to the inconvenient truth that it's not in the Democratic Party's interest to bite the hand that feeds it.

* To raise money for millionaire politicians, not the hungry, sick, and destitute, millions of whom are now going without a week's worth of food because of Democratic embezzlement.


Cirze said...

I nominate you for the Nobel Peace Prize as well as the Journalism Prize (which can be made up and added to the mix just like the Economics Prize was) due to your unequaled merit.

My only addition is that it should be Medicaid-For-All because that is what all the other countries in the progressive world have to protect their populace. The US Medicare program can take all your money and leave you ill and destitute if you get really ill and don't qualify for Medicaid, which many states (like my own NC) will never allow to happen now.

I haven't had medical care in years due to the high rate of unemployment in this state (without any Federal help to alleviate this situation) and the oversupply of professionals.

Tell it, KG!

Zee said...


Of course Obama can't "call out" the insurance companies for their "perfidy."

Obama was party to their perfidy from the very beginning, leaving insurance companies galaxy-sized loopholes through which they could (and would) drop millions of health care insurance policies, forcing the holders thereof to accept "ObamaCare-compliant" coverage that, yes, would be more extensive, but which would also have higher up-front costs, deductibles, copays &etc. which ultimately will make the new policies unaffordable.

Thus, it would be risible for the Obama administration to "blame" insurance companies for the millions of dropped policies and higher costs for new, Obamacare-compliant ones, when Obama and his administration should have seen this coming, and, indeed, probably did.

Zee said...

And I see that the WaPo gave Obama three Pinnokes for its attempt to blame the health care insurance companies for the dropped policies, too.

Fred Drumlevitch said...

On the other hand: U.S. so-called "law-enforcement" is apparently now offering — well actually, requiring — invasive medical probing and ionizing radiation scans. So, whether or not one has medical insurance, and irrespective of whether it's good or bad insurance, one can get certain procedures done!

Yes "folks", under Democratic President Obama-the-Constitutional-scholar's reign, you can get some very "folksy" treatment from a federal agency. Likewise from the Texas State Police under supposed-fan-of-small-government Republican Governor Rick Perry. (For Perry, perhaps "small government" simply means small hands doing the cavity searches?).

Bob Dylan sang "You don't need a weatherman to know which way the wind blows".

To which one might nowadays add the line: "You don't need a U.S. Border Patrol anal probing or Texas State Trooper genital search to know that fascism is here". But given that such actions are occurring, there is no excuse for the American populace not understanding what has happened to civil liberties in this country.

(And from the WaPo just a day prior, the Border Patrol’s latest fascistic decision on another issue I’ve previously commented on at Sardonicky: )

Time to cut back both funding and manpower of American “law enforcement” and “security” agencies by 90% — while we still can.

And we can apply the dollars towards subsidizing genuine medical care, without the insurance company middlemen, for all Americans.

Zee said...


Truly, “law enforcement” run amok.

The New Mexico case—of which I was already aware—is really bad, but at least the various body-cavity searches, enemas, X-rays, colonoscopies and the like—humiliating though they might be— were conducted on the victim, David Eckert, by medical professionals, which means that they might, at least, have been conducted under hygenic conditions.

(Although it is equally outrageous that the various doctors and hospitals would attempt to collect from David Eckert rather than from the law enforcement agencies involved; I wouldn't blame Eckert if he set the sundry doctors and hospitals on fire as “payment” for their chutzpah. I would.)

The roadside body-cavity searches in Texas—as shown in the video for which you provided a link—were beyond humiliating and disgusting.

Am I imagining it, or did the female officer conduct first, an anal search and then a vaginal search of the first woman using the same hand and without changing gloves? And am I imagining that she appeared to do the same to the second woman in the video, possibly without changing gloves after searching the first woman?

Beyond being unconstitutional, this is medically disgusting, unbelievably humiliating, and inexcusable!

I hope to God and the ACLU that in both cases, these so-called “law enforcement officers” find themselves not only out of their jobs but in prison themselves, confined with cellmates who are inclined to carry out similar "explorations" on these thugs-cum-cops during their long stays in the slammer.

What goes around should come around.

Zee said...

Well, in the latest ObummerCare twist, Obama is now apologizing to those Americans who lost their insurance thanks to his "signature" accomplishment:

"I am sorry that they are finding themselves in this situation based on assurances they got from me," he [Obama] said in an interview with NBC News.

Is he actually hoping for some kind of forgiveness from those to whom he so blatantly lied?

Jaysus! This guy isn't a President, he's a pathetic, simpering, empty suit!

Fred Drumlevitch said...


At least for the second woman being searched by those Texas State Troopers shown in the last video of the nydailynews article, the short-version video (the only one I watched) seems clear, and so I'd say you're definitely not imagining that the cop first performs an anal search and then a vaginal one without changing gloves. The search procedure for the first woman in that video and also whether the glove was changed between the searches of the two women are ambiguous because there appears to be a discontinuity at 3:29 and another one at 4:07 in the excerpt. Those questions may be resolvable via the longer video. (When the shorter, 5-minute video begins to play, there is a brief pop-up that lets you "click for un-edited version". But that runs over an hour, and frankly, I'd rather put the time towards reducing the backlog of biology journal articles I need to read.

With regard to that whole search mentality (whether hygienically-done or not), I'm not sure which is more outrageous — that cops should consider themselves authorized to operate that way, or that there hasn't been a greater public outcry against it. But in the name of the repeatedly-recited "security" (be it about "radicals", drugs, gangs, terrorism, or just the generic "keep us safe"), too much of the populace seems ready to accept any intrusion, even a quite literal one. (For anyone here not familiar with it, I'll mention that Radley Balko's "Rise of the Warrior Cop: The Militarization of America's Police Forces" is certainly worth reading).

Meanwhile, a relative recently received a mass-mailing DNC solicitation ostensibly from "President Barack Obama" asking in large type on the envelope "Do you still have my back?" What a bad joke from someone who had the opportunity via the financial crisis to lead this country into progressive change in many areas, but instead chose to expose his own backside and bend over forward for the plutocracy, and deliver assorted substantial "favors" to the corporate world.

James F Traynor said...

Hell, Fred, we don't have to read the book, just go out and look around; the place is jam packed with wannabe ninjas.

Fred Drumlevitch said...

An expanding trend: "jailhouse chic":

Yes, it's off-topic, but perhaps relevant as an acclimatization place where the health insurance company executives, and many politicians, could be housed prior to transfer to a more secure (and more spartan) facility.

James F Traynor said...

By the way Karen, congrats for coming in a good second on Krugman's column today.

Take a look at the NYT's picks for the same. Pretty damn lame. I think the masses are beginning to turn

Zee said...


On "socialism" versus mixed economies...

I enjoyed your comment on PK's column today, as well as the “Reader Pick” above it by Socrates.

However, both comments remind me that “words matter,” and I think that both you and Socrates have chosen poorly when you make reference to “socialism” as a positive form of government.

Socrates, in particular, really blew it when he said “... there's one very democratic, highly educated, socialist country that made a different decision with the Banksters - Iceland - and its economy is healthy today.” (My bold emphasis.)

I have to point out that Iceland, like its Scandinavian relatives, is not a “socialist” country. It has a mixed economy, which means that

“both the state and private sector direct the economy, reflecting characteristics of both market economies and planned economies. Most mixed economies can be described as market economies with strong regulatory oversight, and many mixed economies feature a variety of government-run enterprises and governmental provision of public goods.

The basic idea of the mixed economy is that the means of production are mainly under private ownership; that markets remain the dominant form of economic coordination; and that profit-seeking enterprises and the accumulation of capital remains the fundamental driving force behind economic activity. However, unlike a free-market economy, the government would wield considerable indirect influence over the economy through fiscal and monetary policies designed to counteract economic downturns and capitalism's tendency toward financial crises and unemployment, along with playing a role in interventions that promote social welfare.”
(My bold emphasis.)

See also:

Socialism requires that the state owns all of the means of production, is the sole employer, and makes all the decisions regarding “choice” within the economy.

There is a huge difference.

The very successful Nordic countries are all mixed economies, whereas the four remaining countries that call themselves “socialist/communist” either are not, in reality, or are not particularly successful, viz. China, Cuba, Laos and Vietnam. Certainly, they are not especially “democratic.”

So I'm thinking that when you call for a “socialist stampede,” that's not really what you're hoping for. Rather, I think you're hoping for a “stampede” in the direction of Iceland and Scandinavia, which is not a stampede toward socialism.

To be continued...

Zee said...

"Socialism" versus "mixed economies" (continued)

The right wing has been very succesful in labeling all things European as “socialist,” and you and Socrates are playing right into their hands.

This country will never move towards true socialism.

So it is important to educate Americans on the difference between socialism and mixed economies, so they can see the benefits of the latter and perhaps move this country in that direction.

"Socialism" = bad. "Mixed economy" = good. It's that simple.

I leave you with another quote about “socialist” Iceland:

“Iceland is ranked 27th in the 2012 Index of Economic Freedom, lower than in prior years but still among the freest in the world. As of 2012, it ranks 30th in the World Economic Forum's Global Competitive Index, one place higher than in 2011. According to INSEAD's [an international graduate business school] Global Innovation Index, Iceland is the 11th most innovative country in the world. Unlike most Western European countries, Iceland has a flat tax system: the main personal income tax rate is a flat 22.75%, and combined with municipal taxes, the total tax rate equals no more than 35.72%, not including the many deductions that are available. The corporate tax rate is a flat 18%, one of the lowest in the world. There is also a value added tax, whereas a net wealth tax was eliminated in 2006. Employment regulations are relatively flexible and the labour market is one of the freest in the world. Property rights are strong and Iceland is one of the few countries where they are applied to fishery management. Like other welfare states, taxpayers pay various subsidies to each other, but with spending being less than in most European countries.”

With those tax rates, Iceland doesn't sound all that “socialist” to me.

Karen Garcia said...


If it weren't for socialists, you would not have Social Security. Please, educate yourself:

I, for one, was surprised and pleased that Socrates and I both used the S word and still got a lot of recommends. Polls show that the majority of Americans (including self-identified Republicans) approve of socialist policies, like universal health care. Just don't call it socialism, or they head to the fainting couch. For alas, there are still people who equate socialism with Stalinism. The S word has gotten an undeserved bad rap.

James F Traynor said...

Zee, you are right in substance, but what Americans regard as socialist is single payer, food stamps, wic etc. Some, though a minority, even regard social security as a form of socialism. To the majority of them Scandinavia is and was socialist, not by your, and the generally accepted definition among the educated, but by their own cultural definition of the characteristics of what they regard as socialism.
And many of the 'educated' would consider 'mixed economy' as a liberal label to cover their perfidious intent.

The Black Swan said...

I haven't ventured over to the NYT in a long long time, but I wanted to check out Karen's comment and see what USPravda is up to these days.
My God it is sad. I read a 'Room for Debate' about the arts that was sickening. The only debate seemed to be: "get a job you lazy artists". Our societies obsession with money is outrageous. It has become the sole arbiter of value in all walks of life. And the Krugman editorial about jobs and the economy. Let's take a look at the world we live in. The world created by our economy. Environmental destruction, famine, genocide, war, mass poverty, extinction of species, the dismantling of our educational system, our health system, our infrastructure, the genetic adulteration of our food supply... the list is endless. But by all means we got to keep this machine rolling along, just get everyone back employed so they can continue to consume everything and keep that economy growing. Krugman might be arguing for a better outcome, but it is in a world consisting of only death and destruction. A more comfortable descent into extinction for the masses, instead of directly confronting the root causes of these problems.

I also wanted to see if anyone has been on YouTube lately, and seen the sh*tstorm going on with some changes Google has made. I think YouTube is one of, if not the greatest, things on the internet, but corporate greed is killing it. It would be great if this was one of the straws that broke the back of these corporate behemoths.

Finally, I want to make another poke at Basic Income, especially in light of this debate about socialism and mixed economies. I know the word 'socialism' is anathema to our culture, even though it presents one of the few viable options for long term survival of our species. My idea related to BI would be that every adult citizen gets $1,000,000 placed in a trust by the US gov. The trust will pay out 3% interest, guaranteeing a $30,000/yr income. The money held in the trust will be loaned out to various private and public projects geared to fixing our infrastructure and cleaning up the environment. Just a thought, still barebones, but these are the things we need to start talking about. The world we want to and can live in, not this feudal corporate dystopia that is being forced upon us.

Pearl said...

Zee and other frightened people: Something to think about - looks pretty good to me and they have their government leaders, even royalty in charge. Saw it working in Denmark and even permit private investments in businesses which are regulated.

The "Nordic model"

Main article: Nordic model

Olaf Palme, prime minister of Sweden who was a main architect of the Swedish social democratic model
The Nordic model refers to the economic and social models of the Nordic countries (Denmark, Iceland, Norway, Sweden and Finland). This particular adaptation of the mixed market economy is characterised by more generous welfare states (relative to other developed countries), which are aimed
specifically at enhancing individual autonomy, ensuring the universal
provision of basic human rights and stabilising the economy. It is
distinguished from other welfare states with similar goals by its emphasis on maximising labour force participation, promoting gender equality, egalitarian and extensive benefit levels, large magnitude of redistribution, and liberal use of expansionary fiscal policy.[174] This has included high degrees of labour union membership. In 2008, labour union density was 67.5% in Finland, 67.6% in Denmark, and 68.3% in Sweden. In comparison, union
membership was 11.9% in the United States and 7.7% in France.[175] The
Nordic Model, however, is not a single model with specific components or rules; each of the Nordic countries has its own economic and social models, sometimes with large differences from its neighbours. It has been credited with lowering poverty rates and promoting social mobility.[176][177][178

James F Traynor said...

I dimly remember (so can't reference) a poll around the time of the Reagan administration whose results indicated that somewhere around 70% of the population disapproved of his policies while voting overwhelmingly for him.

This is in line with "What's Wrong with Kansas" (interestingly published in Britain and Australia as" What's Wrong with America"). Americans, for some reason, continually vote against their own interests. Why? It's been offered that we are more religious and individualistic than, say, the Europeans and British. I think that this may well be the reason.

Take, for instance, single payer or economic regulation (keynesism). When the Scandinavian countries are pointed out as examples of the success of these strategies conservatives who oppose them call it socialistic (Scandinavian), while conservatives who are for these policies argue that Scandinavian countries are not really socialist but have a 'mixed economy'.

Grung_e_Gene said...

Yep, it's all Obama's fault especially with the entire Congress, SCOTUS, MSNBC, Faux News, AHIP, the Chamber of Commerce, and the blog-o-sphere 100% behind him and totally being truthful about everything they write.


Zee said...

@Pearl (and @All)--

I guess I don't see that I was expressing fear of a mixed economy; rather, I thought that I was expressing a measure of admiration for them for their obvious successes.

On the other hand, I really do fear true socialism, which concentrates entirely too much power in the hands of a government populated by flawed human beings.

As we are seeing with our own government, “Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely.” Placing all of the means of production totally in the hands of a corruptible few cedes vastly more power to government than we already have done, and, IMHO, would be our complete undoing—if we haven't completely “undone” ourselves already.

It will forever be a mystery to me why and how Progressives are so inclined to concentrate ever more power in the hands of government, when most of the evidence points to the inevitable misuse of that power for the benefit of the few who are lucky enough to wield that power.

As to whether or not Social Security, Medicare, food stamps, etc. represent “socialism,” well, it appears that “socialism” is in the eye of the beholder.

Again, IMHO, under these programs the individual still is free to exercise a huge amount of personal choice. We can do what we like with our Social Security checks and we can choose our own doctors and guide our own courses of treatment under Medicare. (The same would be true under a single-payer system, too.) Food stamps and unemployment insurance are simply “public goods” intended to help people through life's rough patches, things that any advanced society should happily provide for all of its citizens when they need them. And again, one can spend one's “unemployment check” anywhere one chooses, and, apparently, one can even buy fresh lobster with food stamps.

Under true socialism, none of these choices would necessarily obtain, and, to me, that makes all the difference in the world.

Frankly, although I have yet to understand it fully—something I am hoping The Black Swan will explain in greater detail someday soon—anarchy would be preferable to true socialism.

Fred Drumlevitch said...


I presume that was sarcasm on your part, and that you are in fact taking issue with the criticism that Mr. Obama receives on this forum. (If I've read that wrong, my apologies for what follows).

While you are correct in alluding to there being plenty wrong with some of the other institutions of this country and that all blame shouldn't fall on Obama, you should have noticed that the criticisms voiced on this forum have ranged far and wide, far beyond the president.

But that the causes behind many of the current problems have been multiple and varied in no way excuses Obama's actions, or lack thereof. This nation's problems are so extensive that real progressive leadership will be required to make a significant dent in them — and we've seen little of such leadership from the current occupant of the White House. Rather, we've seen a president who for most of his tenure couldn't wait to deliver more and more to those who have not only wrecked this nation but also amassed great benefits to themselves while doing so.

Consider banking. FDR welcomed the hatred of the bankers; Obama practically made love to them. How many criminal prosecutions of the banksters have occurred? (Compare that to the over one thousand felony convictions that resulted from the savings and loan crisis of the '80s). How much transformation of the banking structure has occurred? The regulations enacted are a pale shadow of what should have been imposed. And the banks were too-big-to-fail before, but now they're bigger than ever. Furthermore, the artificially-low treasury interest rates are a continuing subsidy to the banks that has cost prudent individual American savers hundreds of billions of dollars in interest that they would have otherwise received in a healthy economy operating according to the capitalist principles this nation supposedly operates under.

As to improving the lot of lower- and middle-class Americans, whose economic situation has been deteriorating for three decades, what did Obama do? Well, he talked incessantly of a "Grand Bargain" — which really meant further screwing them. Chained CPI, ditto. Jobs? He appointed General Electric chairman Jeffrey Immelt in 2009 to the President's Economic Recovery Advisory Board, and then in 2011 as chairman of the Council on Jobs and Competitiveness. I guess it didn't matter to Mr. Obama that G.E., like many large/multinational corporations, has outsourced and exported countless U.S. jobs.

And consider the military and the national "security" apparatus. Both of them as currently operating are a clear and present danger not only to our economy but also to our democracy. Those dangers may have begun earlier, but they have significantly expanded under Obama.

I could go on and on, but the real icing on the cake is that Obama has not only achieved little of benefit to the average American (while permitting expanded harm), he hasn't even attempted much of benefit, and that is inexcusable given 1) his pre-election campaign intimations, 2) the popular support he had when he first took office, and 3) the opportunity that he had as a result of the financial crisis.

Fred Drumlevitch said...

@Zee, @Pearl, @James Traynor, @Black Swan, @Karen: interesting discussion on the topic of socialism. I'm all "commented out" right now, so not much from me on topic except to add that with regard to socialism, historically there has been considerable conflation of the economic system and the social ends, which has caused confusion. Furthermore, as history has repeatedly shown, the best laid plans often go astray. Even aside from the aforementioned conflation, can the term "socialism" even be rescued from the tarring it has received at the hands of the right-wingers? (Can "liberal"?). I'm not optimistic that "socialism", whether applied to economics or the social justice ends, can be a useful word in U.S. politics. Perhaps a rebranding is necessary, with a catchy name and a focus on ideas front and center, so that the considerable number of Americans who might support progressive, "socialist" ideas aren't scared away.

Pearl said...

Zee: I understand your confusion. However indicating that all governments will be as corrupt as what we are witnessing now is not necessarily the case.

We don't have to end up with a truly Socialist government which is very
unlikely in the U.S. and may or not become corrupt, but we could begin to
support and vote for honest and caring people who would utilize the kind of mixed economy which would incorporate things like universal health care,decent social security benefits, better choices of jobs, regulations to stop selling our country out to the rich and powerful,
and stop lying so much to the people. That alone is worth a fight because
what we are seeing now is the bottom of the barrel.
Canada is a capitalistic country, but it is a regulated one and although
wealth is not completely fairly distributed (which is a battle going on now) if we get a change of leadership we will begin to incorporate more things in
a mixed economy which will reduce the poverty levels and raise the income
ones, etc. along the lines of the Scandinavian countries.
Remember, the birth of the universal health care system we have here, was
instituted and fought for by the New Democratic Party which supports many
socialistic ideas which benefit the people and there is more hope for
improvement in Canada, because people don't start running for cover when
they hear the word SOCIALISM.
Decent government can happen if people become less brainwashed, frightened to death by threats to their privacy and expectations of terrorism, ad infinitum.

Let us fight step by step now - it is timely if you just read and hear about the anger and frustration and suffering of so many citizens going on now. We can have good government no matter how we name it if there is grass roots support and people vote for decency through 3rd party choices. We owe this to our children and grandchildren who will need guidance in the years to come. This could have been a great time for the American people if we had gotten a man in the Oval office who wasn't an empty suit or worse.

Valerie Long Tweedie said...

I for one use the "s" word to de-demonize the word. What we all want is actually a social-democratic model but the Uber-Capitalists in both parties have demonised any progressive laws that take the average person into account as "socialist" that I have come to identify with the word. I think Iceland is a great example of the social democratic model working brilliantly. After being sucked into the greedy world of banking deregulation and the train wreck that ensued, the Icelandic people demanded that their government not bow to WTO pressure and bail out PRIVATE investment banks. There, the government actually listened to its citizenry and did what they wanted. I would say that democracy is actually much more aligned with that brand of social -democracy (which again would be labelled socialism by the Right) than laissez-faire capitalism.

I would say I am much more of a socialist than a capitalist because I think the governments of the world should be fighting the WTO and reining in these multi-national corporations instead of allowing them to steal our democracy. So YES - Let's hurry up and put a little regulatory power into the hands of the government before it is too late.

And one more thing - just because our government has been corrupted doesn't mean all government is bad. Good government - like they have in Iceland (and in Germany when I lived there) - is a wonderful thing that benefits ALL its citizens.


James F Traynor said...

The trouble, I think,is that the label we give a set of things becomes so emotionally burdened that it becomes more real to us than the set of things it contains.
Plato took it so far that he came to believe the label was reality and the 'things' mere poor copies. A perfect answer to this form of irrationality is Magritte's "This is not a pipe".