Thursday, August 27, 2009

FCC 'Diversity' Chief Calls for ‘Confrontational Movement’ to Give Public Broadcasting Dominant Role in Communications

Inspired by Saul Alinsky, FCC 'Diversity' Chief Calls for ‘Confrontational Movement’ to Give Public Broadcasting Dominant Role in Communications
Wednesday, August 26, 2009
By Matt Cover

Federal Communications Commission headquarters in Washington, D.C. (Photo courtesy of FCC)
( – Mark Lloyd, chief diversity officer of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), called for a “confrontational movement” to combat what he claimed was control of the media by international corporations and to re-establish the regulatory power of government through robust public broadcasting and a more powerful FCC.

Lloyd expressed his regulatory call to arms in his 2006 book, “Prologue to a Farce: Communications and Democracy in America” (University of Illinois Press).

In the book, Lloyd also said that public broadcasting should be funded through new license fees charged to the nation’s private radio and television broadcasters, and that new regulatory fees should be used to fund eight new regional FCC offices.

These offices would be responsible for monitoring political advertising and commentary, children’s educational programs, number of commercials, and content ratings of the programs.

Frequently referencing one of his heroes, left-wing activist Saul Alinsky, Lloyd claims in his book that the history of American communications policy has been one of continued corporate control of every form of communication from the telegraph to the Internet.

“Citizen access to popular information has been undermined by bad political decisions,” Lloyd wrote. “These decisions date back to the Jacksonian Democrats’ refusal to allow the Post Office to continue to operate the telegraph service.”

Lloyd claimed that neither technology nor liberal reforms have been able to overcome the damage caused when government fails to give everyone an equal voice.

Throughout history, Lloyd said, “[t]he most powerful communications tool was deliberately placed in the hands of one faction in our republic: commercial industry.”

“Neither Progressive era reforms nor new communications technologies have been able to correct the problems resulting from government abdication of a responsibility to advance the equal capability of citizen discourse,” Lloyd added.

“Corporate liberty has overwhelmed citizen equality,” he wrote.

Government, Lloyd said in his book, is the “only” institution that can manage the communications of the public, arguing that Washington must “ensure” that everyone has an equal ability to communicate.

“The American republic requires the active deliberation of a diverse citizenry, and this, I argue, can be ensured only by our government,” he says. “Put another way, providing for the equal capability of citizens to participate effectively in democratic deliberation is our collective responsibility.”

FCC seal
Lessons for Radicals

Lloyd relies heavily on the left-wing radical Saul Alinsky in explaining his strategy.

Alinsky (1909-1972) was a community organizer and activist from Chicago and the author of the book, Rules for Radicals, which opens with an acknowledgment "to the very first radical ... Lucifer." As for political tactics, Alinsky said, “The Prince was written by Machiavelli for the Haves on how to hold power. Rules for Radicals is written for the Have-Nots on how to take it away. In this book we are concerned with how to create mass organizations to seize power and give it to the people. This means revolution."

With Alinsky as the political guide, Lloyd outlines nine “lessons” that people can draw on when trying to combat international businesses.

1. “Organizing people must be a priority. In order to counter effectively the power of major corporations we understood that we had to be able to demonstrate the support of hundreds of thousands of people. As Alinksy wrote: ‘Change comes from power, and power comes from organization. In order to act, people must get together.’”

2. “Understand where people stand on your issue. Once we were clear that we needed to drum up the support of people, we needed to understand what people knew about our issues. As Alinksy wrote, ‘if people feel they don’t have the power to change a bad situation, then they do not think about it.’”

3. “Connect with groups that have already organized the community. Our means of reaching local communities was through existing national organizations. We reached out to groups that had large constituencies and articulated our message by identifying how our goals fit their core interests.”

4. “The strategy must have an inside and an outside game. For media reform, this means we needed to embrace the necessity of operating both in and outside Washington [D.C.].”

5. “Don’t wait for events to unfold on their own. Pressure, pressure, pressure. If we wanted events to work in a direction that would benefit us, we knew we needed to push. We needed to apply pressure and to direct that pressure not at the government, but through the government at our true opposition – the broadcasters. Alinsky again: ‘The major premise for tactics is the development of operations that will maintain constant pressure upon the opposition.’”

6. “Communications is a priority. Again drawing from Alinksy, we understood that ‘one can lack any of the qualities of an organizer – with one exception – and still be effective. That exception is the art of communication.’ It is not just a matter of getting media to cover your campaign. That is, undoubtedly, a part of it, but it is also about getting the sort of attention you want, so the public and your opposition see you and your issues the way you want to be seen.”

7. “Research is key. We took not only message and public opinion research seriously, we took seriously our obligation to research the activity of our opposition. Our research entailed not only public opinion polling, but academic papers presenting economic and social analysis, legal research…and grassroots research involving the inspections of dozens of televisions station’s public files.”

8. “Establish a broad base of funding and never stop raising money. Alinksy is right that people are a source of power, but without adequate funds organizing people effectively cannot be accomplished.”

9. “Find allies in power. If civil rights leaders such as King had the Kennedys and Johnson, and the anti-Bork campaign had Ted Kennedy, our main ally was [FCC Chairman] Bill Kennard.”

The solution

To combat the control of international business and restore government to what he sees as its rightful place in managing public communications, Lloyd calls for a “confrontational movement” to protest the present order and organize a political movement that could force government to rein the businesses in.

“If our republican form of government is perishing because communications – the infrastructure of that republic – is under the yoke of international business how, at last, do we save it?” he asks. “We must build a confrontational movement to reclaim our democracy, a movement committed to active and sustained protest against the present order.”

To do this, Lloyd draws on his experience lobbying the FCC during the Clinton administration, counseling would-be revolutionaries to follow the tactics used by other left-wing movements, such as the followers of Saul Alinsky and the people who ran the campaign to block Republican Supreme Court nominee Robert Bork.

"We understood at the beginning, and were certainly reminded in the course of the campaign," wrote Lloyd, "that our work was not simply convincing policy makers of the logic or morality of our arguments. We understood that we were in a struggle for power against an oppenent, the commercial broadcasters ...."

"We looked to successful political campaigns and organizers as a guide, especially the civil rights movement, Saul Alinsky, and the campaign to prevent the Supreme Court nomination of the ultra-conservative jurist Robert Bork," wrote Lloyd. "From those sources we drew inspiration and guidance."

Lloyd proposes six initial goals for wresting control of communications from the corporate interests he claims control it. As his book details:

1. “End the federal subsidy of commercial media, particularly cable and broadcast television. Broadcasters should pay for the great privileges of a federally protected license to operate a business by using the publicly owned [radio or television] spectrum.”

2. “The Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB) must be reformed along democratic lines and funded at a substantial level. The CPB board should be elected, [with] eight members representing eight regions of the country (New England, Mid-Atlantic, Southeast, Midwest, Plains States, Southwest, Mountain States, and the Pacific Coast) and a chairman appointed by the president, with the advice and consent of the Senate.”

“Federal and regional broadcast operations and local stations should be funded at levels commensurate with or above those spending levels at which commercial operations are funded,” said Lloyd.

“This funding should come from license fees charged to commercial broadcasters. … Local public broadcasters and regional and national communications operations should be required to encourage and broadcast diverse views and programs. … Spectrum allocations should be established that create clear preferences for public broadcasters ensuring that regional, local, and neighborhood communities are well served,” he added.

3. “The FCC should be fully funded with regulatory fees from broadcast, cable, satellite, and telecommunications companies. The FCC should be staffed at regional offices, matching those CPB regions, at levels sufficient to monitor and enforce communication regulation.

“Clear federal regulations over commercial broadcast and cable programs regarding political advertising and commentary, educational programming for children, the number of commercials, ratings information about programs before they are broadcast, and the accessibility of services to the disabled should be established and widely promoted.”

4. “Universal service support provided by all commercial telecommunications providers (whether they are classified as information services or not) to fund access to advanced telecommunications services should be expanded to all nonprofit organizations, including higher-level academic and vocational schools, community centers, and 501(c) (3) organizations unaffiliated with either business or government.”

5. “Postal subsidies should be fully restored to small independent nonprofits presses. Postal subsidies should be reduced for commercial and business operations. The postal service should be returned to congressional control with the central mission of ensuring that all Americans have access to the post.”

6. “Public secondary schools should be required to include civics and media literacy as part of their core curriculum. Testing on civic, media, and computer literacy should be required and national standards set.”

For those who think any or all of these recommendations might infringe on the free speech rights of broadcasters, Lloyd says his concern is not the “exaggerated” concerns over the First Amendment.

“It should be clear by now that my focus here is not freedom of speech or the press,” he said. “This freedom is all too often an exaggeration. At the very least, blind references to freedom of speech or the press serve as a distraction from the critical examination of other communications policies.”

“[T]he purpose of free speech is warped to protect global corporations and block rules that would promote democratic governance,” said Lloyd. “[T]he problem is not only the warp to our public philosophy of free speech, but that the government has abandoned its role of advancing the communications capabilities of real people.”

Good one as usual by Hanson

Obama and ‘Redistributive Change’
Forget the recession and the “uninsured.” Obama has bigger fish to fry.

By Victor Davis Hanson

The first seven months of the Obama administration seemingly make no sense. Why squander public approval by running up astronomical deficits in a time of pre-existing staggering national debt?

Why polarize opponents after promising bipartisan transcendence?

Why create vast new programs when the efficacy of big government is already seen as dubious?

But that is exactly the wrong way to look at these first seven months of Obamist policy-making.

Take increased federal spending and the growing government absorption of GDP. Given the resiliency of the U.S. economy, it would have been easy to ride out the recession. In that case we would still have had to deal with a burgeoning and unsustainable annual federal deficit that would have approached $1 trillion.

Instead, Obama may nearly double that amount of annual indebtedness with more federal stimuli and bailouts, newly envisioned cap-and-trade legislation, and a variety of fresh entitlements. Was that fiscally irresponsible? Yes, of course.

But I think the key was not so much the spending excess or new entitlements. The point instead was the consequence of the resulting deficits, which will require radically new taxation for generations. If on April 15 the federal and state governments, local entities, the Social Security system, and the new health-care programs can claim 70 percent of the income of the top 5 percent of taxpayers, then that is considered a public good — every bit as valuable as funding new programs, and one worth risking insolvency.

Individual compensation is now seen as arbitrary and, by extension, inherently unfair. A high income is now rationalized as having less to do with market-driven needs, acquired skills, a higher level of education, innate intelligence, inheritance, hard work, or accepting risk. Rather income is seen more as luck-driven, cruelly capricious, unfair — even immoral, in that some are rewarded arbitrarily on the basis of race, class, and gender advantages, others for their overweening greed and ambition, and still more for their quasi-criminality.

“Patriotic” federal healers must then step in to “spread the wealth.” Through redistributive tax rates, they can “treat” the illness that the private sector has caused. After all, there is no intrinsic reason why an auto fabricator makes $60 in hourly wages and benefits, while a young investment banker finagles $500.

Or, in the president’s own language, the government must equalize the circumstances of the “waitress” with those of the “lucky.” It is thus a fitting and proper role of the new federal government to rectify imbalances of compensation — at least for those outside the anointed Guardian class. In a 2001 interview Obama in fact outlined the desirable political circumstances that would lead government to enforce equality of results when he elaborated on what he called an “actual coalition of powers through which you bring about redistributive change.”

Still, why would intelligent politicians try to ram through, in mere weeks, a thousand pages of health-care gibberish — its details outsourced to far-left elements in the Congress (and their staffers) — that few in the cabinet had ever read or even knew much about?

Once again, I don’t think health care per se was ever really the issue. When pressed, no one in the administration seemed to know whether illegal aliens were covered. Few cared why young people do not divert some of their entertainment expenditures to a modest investment in private catastrophic coverage.

Warnings that Canadians already have their health care rationed, wait in long lines, and are denied timely and critical procedures also did not seem to matter. And no attention was paid to statistics suggesting that, if we exclude homicides and auto accidents, Americans live as long on average as anyone in the industrial world, and have better chances of surviving longer with heart disease and cancer. That the average American did not wish to radically alter his existing plan, and that he understood that the uninsured really did have access to health care, albeit in a wasteful manner at the emergency room, was likewise of no concern.

The issue again was larger, and involved a vast reinterpretation of how America receives health care. Whether more or fewer Americans would get better or worse access and cheaper or more expensive care, or whether the government can or cannot afford such new entitlements, oddly seemed largely secondary to the crux of the debate.

Instead, the notion that the state will assume control, in Canada-like fashion, and level the health-care playing field was the real concern. “They” (the few) will now have the same care as “we” (the many). Whether the result is worse or better for everyone involved is extraneous, since sameness is the overarching principle.

We can discern this same mandated egalitarianism beneath many of the administration’s recent policy initiatives. Obama is not a pragmatist, as he insisted, nor even a liberal, as charged.

Rather, he is a statist. The president believes that a select group of affluent, highly educated technocrats — cosmopolitan, noble-minded, and properly progressive — supported by a phalanx of whiz-kids fresh out of blue-chip universities with little or no experience in the marketplace, can direct our lives far better than we can ourselves. By “better” I do not mean in a fashion that, measured by disinterested criteria, makes us necessarily wealthier, happier, more productive, or freer.

Instead, “better” means “fairer,” or more “equal.” We may “make” different amounts of money, but we will end up with more or less similar net incomes. We may know friendly doctors, be aware of the latest procedures, and have the capital to buy blue-chip health insurance, but no matter. Now we will all alike queue up with our government-issued insurance cards to wait our turn at the ubiquitous corner clinic.

None of this equality-of-results thinking is new.

When radical leaders over the last 2,500 years have sought to enforce equality of results, their prescriptions were usually predictable: redistribution of property; cancellation of debts; incentives to bring out the vote and increase political participation among the poor; stigmatizing of the wealthy, whether through the extreme measure of ostracism or the more mundane forced liturgies; use of the court system to even the playing field by targeting the more prominent citizens; radical growth in government and government employment; the use of state employees as defenders of the egalitarian faith; bread-and-circus entitlements; inflation of the currency and greater national debt to lessen the power of accumulated capital; and radical sloganeering about reactionary enemies of the new state.

The modern versions of much of the above already seem to be guiding the Obama administration — evident each time we hear of another proposal to make it easier to renounce personal debt; federal action to curtail property or water rights; efforts to make voter registration and vote casting easier; radically higher taxes on the top 5 percent; takeover of private business; expansion of the federal government and an increase in government employees; or massive inflationary borrowing. The current class-warfare “them/us” rhetoric was predictable.

Usually such ideologies do not take hold in America, given its tradition of liberty, frontier self-reliance, and emphasis on personal freedom rather than mandated fraternity and egalitarianism. At times, however, the stars line up, when a national catastrophe, like war or depression, coincides with the appearance of an unusually gifted, highly polished, and eloquent populist. But the anointed one must be savvy enough to run first as a centrist in order later to govern as a statist.

Given the September 2008 financial meltdown, the unhappiness over the war, the ongoing recession, and Barack Obama’s postracial claims and singular hope-and-change rhetoric, we found ourselves in just such a situation. For one of the rare times in American history, statism could take hold, and the country could be pushed far to the left.

That goal is the touchstone that explains the seemingly inexplicable — and explains also why, when Obama is losing independents, conservative Democrats, and moderate Republicans, his anxious base nevertheless keeps pushing him to become even more partisan, more left-wing, angrier, and more in a hurry to rush things through. They understand the unpopularity of the agenda and the brief shelf life of the president’s charm. One term may be enough to establish lasting institutional change.

Obama and his supporters at times are quite candid about such a radical spread-the-wealth agenda, voiced best by Rahm Emanuel — “You don’t ever want a crisis to go to waste; it’s an opportunity to do important things that you would otherwise avoid” — or more casually by Obama himself — “My attitude is that if the economy’s good for folks from the bottom up, it’s gonna be good for everybody. I think when you spread the wealth around, it’s good for everybody.”

So we move at breakneck speed in order not to miss this rare opportunity when the radical leadership of the Congress and the White House for a brief moment clinch the reins of power. By the time a shell-shocked public wakes up and realizes that the prescribed chemotherapy is far worse than the existing illness, it should be too late to revive the old-style American patient.

— NRO contributor Victor Davis Hanson is a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

What They Told Us: Reviewing Last Week’s Key Polls

What They Told Us: Reviewing Last Week’s Key Polls
Saturday, August 22, 2009
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Is it or isn’t it – in the health care reform bill proposed by President Obama and congressional Democrats? The public option, that is.

The week began with Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius suggesting a government-run health insurance company to compete with private insurers was not a must in the president’s plan. The White House scrambled to say its position hasn’t changed, as the political left howled in outrage.

Just 34% of voters nationwide support the health care reform plan if the public option is removed, and Democratic support evaporates. The previous week, 42% of voters nationwide supported the plan with the public option included.

This puts Obama who continues to battle negative ratings in the Rasmussen Reports daily Presidential Tracking Poll in a delicate political position. His base strongly supports a government insurance alternative, but most Americans have serious reservations about it.

Democrats, in arguing for the public option, are increasingly critical of private health insurance companies, in part for denying coverage to those with pre-existing medical conditions, and 28% of voters say they or a family member have had that problem.

Whether the public option is include or not, however, just 35% of voters say passage of the bill currently working its way through Congress would be better than not passing any health care reform legislation this year. Most voters (54%) say no health care reform passed by Congress this year would be the better option.

Lost in the uproar over a comment in USA Today by the top two House Democrats that those protesting health care reform are “un-American” were several statements aimed at assuring Americans that their access to quality care will be even greater. But 45% of voters think House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Majority Leader Steny Hoyer are wrong when they say the passage of health care reform will mean more affordable coverage for all Americans.

Even with Democrats now talking about going it alone without any Republican support or breaking the reform plan into at least two bills to better ensure their passage, the vote in the Senate is expected to be close. So close, in fact, that terminally ill Massachusetts Senator Ted Kennedy is trying to get the law changed in his state to make sure his replacement can vote right away. Fifty-two percent (52%) of Massachusetts voters agree with Kennedy that the state’s Democratic governor should be able to name an interim senator to take his place until a special election can be held.

More voters than ever rate health care as a very important issue, but the difference in partisan emphasis helps to explain the big Democratic push for health care reform in Washington. For Democrats, it’s second only to the economy in terms of importance; for Republicans, it comes in fifth.

Deficit reduction continues to rank first for voters among the four major budget priorities set down by the president in February. Forty percent (40%) say cutting the federal deficit in half by the end of his first term should be Obama’s top priority, compared to 21% who put health care reform first. But voters also think deficit reduction is the goal the president is least like to achieve.

One bright piece of economic news for the administration this week is the finding that confidence in the $787-billion stimulus plan passed in February has rebounded a bit. Now 33% of voters say it has helped the economy, up eight points from a month ago. But 30% still think the plan has hurt the economy, while another 30% say it has had no impact.

At the same time, 54% worry more that the federal government will try to do too much to fix the economy rather than not enough. That’s the highest level of concern found on this question since Obama was elected president.

Just six percent (6%) of voters now expect their own taxes to go down during the Obama years. This is the first time since last November’s election that the number expecting a tax cut has fallen to single digits. During Election 2008, then-candidate Obama promised to cut taxes for 95% of Americans.

The Country Financial Security Index has fallen to its lowest level since February 2007. Just 35% of Americans now rate their overall level of financial security as good or excellent; 20% say it is poor.

Still, the Rasmussen Consumer Index, which measures daily confidence, ended the week up 18 points from the beginning of 2009. Similarly, the Rasmussen Investor Index, which measures the economic confidence of investors on a daily basis, is 24 points higher than its first reading of the year.

Most voters continue to blame the country’s economic problems on the recession that began under President George W. Bush. For the third month in a row, only 39% say the bad economy is caused more by Obama’s policies.

Eighty percent (80%) of Americans worry, though, that current economic conditions in the countryare at least somewhat likely to lead to increased crime.

Given the mixed messages from the economy and the political turmoil in Washington, it’s perhaps no surprise that Republican candidates have now matched their biggest lead over Democrats of the past several years on the Generic Congressional Ballot. This is the eighth straight week Republicans have been ahead.

Adding to the nation’s uncertainty is the situation in Afghanistan, where violence-plagued elections were held this past week and U.S. military commanders express concern about the rising strength of the radical Islamic Taliban. The president on Monday declared Afghanistan a “war of necessity,” and now just 33% of voters believeit is even somewhat likely that U.S. combat troops will be removed from that country by the end of his first term.

Forty-one percent (41%) say Obama is doing a good or excellent job in his handling of the war in Afghanistan, while 24% rate his performance as poor.

In other polls last week:

-- Just one-third (34%) of voters believe the United States is heading in the right direction. Still, that compares with 10% in late September and early October of last year, and the new finding is up seven points from the week Obama took office in January.

-- Forty-nine percent (49%) of voters say working Americans should be allowed to opt out of Social Security and provide for their own retirement planning. A majority of voters under 50 say workers should be allowed to opt out.

-- Eighty-two percent (82%) of Americans believe their bank account information is at least somewhat secure online, which helps to explain why an increasing number of people are sending personal financial information over the Internet for banking and shopping transactions. But 49% also still believe it’s riskier to use their debit cards online than to use them in a store.

-- Forty-four percent (44%) of Americans think admission to U.S. national parks should always be free, but 47% think the cost of admission should cover the costs of maintaining those parks.

-- The plurality of American adults (46%) believes colleges and universities do not do enough to monitor students’ behavior.

-- Conservative Republicans in Florida may be rumbling about Charlie Crist’s run for the U.S. Senate, but so far the governor is well ahead of his chief 2010 GOP Primary challenger. Crist leads former Florida House Speaker Marco Rubio by 22 points among likely Republican Primary voters – 53% to 31%. Crist continues to maintain a sizable lead – 48% to 29% - over his chief Democratic opponent, Rep. Kendrick Meek, in the overall Senate race, too.

-- Republican hopeful Mark Kirk finds himself starting out even in his 2010 Illinois Senate race against his likeliest Democratic competitor, State Treasurer Alexi Giannoulias.

-- John Oxendine, Georgia’s fire and insurance commissioner, continues to hold a commanding lead over all other Republican gubernatorial hopefuls in an early look at his state’s GOP Primary next year. The Democrat whose already held the job is still the distant front-runner in the race for Georgia’s 2010 Democratic gubernatorial nomination. Former Governor Roy Barnes is 33 points ahead of his nearest competitor, State Attorney General Thurbert Baker.

-- Forty percent (40%) of Georgia voters favor the health care plan proposed by the president and congressional Democrats, but 54% oppose it. Like other voters around the country, those who oppose the plan feel more strongly about it.

-- Labor Day's almost here, so in a new Rasmussen Reports survey, we asked Americans what they did this summer. Among the most popular activities were barbecuing (70%), reading (67%), playing board games (57%) and watching fireworks (57%). Least popular were outdoor concerts and theater events.

-- Speaking of outdoor concerts, 400,000 people descended on a small town northwest of New York City 40 years ago and staged a music festival that would become the symbol of a generation. There were no incidents of violence. But on the 40th anniversary of Woodstock, just 39% of Americans believe that 400,000 people could gather peacefully for a similar festival today.

Remember, if it’s in the news, it’s in our polls. Check out the latest numbers on our home page and keep up with our daily Presidential Tracking Poll. Premium Members get access to more data, a morning briefing from Scott Rasmussen and an advance look at key findings.

If you’d like us to keep you informed, sign up for our free daily e-mail update. Rasmussen Reports updates are also available on Twitter or Facebook.

Rasmussen Reports is an electronic publishing firm specializing in the collection, publication, and distribution of public opinion polling information.

The Rasmussen Reports Election Edge™ Premium Service offers the most comprehensive public opinion coverage available anywhere.

Scott Rasmussen, president of Rasmussen Reports, has been an independent pollster for more than a decade.

What Soviet Medicine Teaches Us

Mises Daily by | Posted on 8/21/2009 12:00:00 AM

In 1918, the Soviet Union became the first country to promise universal "cradle-to-grave" healthcare coverage, to be accomplished through the complete socialization of medicine. The "right to health" became a "constitutional right" of Soviet citizens.

The proclaimed advantages of this system were that it would "reduce costs" and eliminate the "waste" that stemmed from "unnecessary duplication and parallelism" — i.e., competition.

These goals were similar to the ones declared by Mr. Obama and Ms. Pelosi — attractive and humane goals of universal coverage and low costs. What's not to like?

The system had many decades to work, but widespread apathy and low quality of work paralyzed the healthcare system. In the depths of the socialist experiment, healthcare institutions in Russia were at least a hundred years behind the average US level. Moreover, the filth, odors, cats roaming the halls, drunken medical personnel, and absence of soap and cleaning supplies added to an overall impression of hopelessness and frustration that paralyzed the system. According to official Russian estimates, 78 percent of all AIDS victims in Russia contracted the virus through dirty needles or HIV-tainted blood in the state-run hospitals.

Irresponsibility, expressed by the popular Russian saying "They pretend they are paying us and we pretend we are working," resulted in appalling quality of service, widespread corruption, and extensive loss of life. My friend, a famous neurosurgeon in today's Russia, received a monthly salary of 150 rubles — one third of the average bus driver's salary.

In order to receive minimal attention by doctors and nursing personnel, patients had to pay bribes. I even witnessed a case of a "nonpaying" patient who died trying to reach a lavatory at the end of the long corridor after brain surgery. Anesthesia was usually "not available" for abortions or minor ear, nose, throat, and skin surgeries. This was used as a means of extortion by unscrupulous medical bureaucrats.

"Slavery certainly 'reduced costs' of labor, 'eliminated the waste' of bargaining for wages, and avoided 'unnecessary duplication and parallelism'."

To improve the statistics concerning the numbers of people dying within the system, patients were routinely shoved out the door before taking their last breath.

Being a People's Deputy in the Moscow region from 1987 to 1989, I received many complaints about criminal negligence, bribes taken by medical apparatchiks, drunken ambulance crews, and food poisoning in hospitals and child-care facilities. I recall the case of a fourteen-year-old girl from my district who died of acute nephritis in a Moscow hospital. She died because a doctor decided that it was better to save "precious" X-ray film (imported by the Soviets for hard currency) instead of double-checking his diagnosis. These X-rays would have disproven his diagnosis of neuropathic pain.

Instead, the doctor treated the teenager with a heat compress, which killed her almost instantly. There was no legal remedy for the girl's parents and grandparents. By definition, a single-payer system cannot allow any such remedy. The girl's grandparents could not cope with this loss and they both died within six months. The doctor received no official reprimand.

Not surprisingly, government bureaucrats and Communist Party officials, as early as 1921 (three years after Lenin's socialization of medicine), realized that the egalitarian system of healthcare was good only for their personal interest as providers, managers, and rationers — but not as private users of the system.

So, as in all countries with socialized medicine, a two-tier system was created: one for the "gray masses" and the other, with a completely different level of service, for the bureaucrats and their intellectual servants. In the USSR, it was often the case that while workers and peasants were dying in the state hospitals, the medicine and equipment that could save their lives was sitting unused in the nomenklatura system.

At the end of the socialist experiment, the official infant-mortality rate in Russia was more than 2.5 times as high as in the United States and more than five times that of Japan. The rate of 24.5 deaths per 1,000 live births was questioned recently by several deputies to the Russian Parliament, who claim that it is seven times higher than in the United States. This would make the Russian death rate 55 compared to the US rate of 8.1 per 1,000 live births.

Having said that, I should make it clear that the United States has one of the highest rates of the industrialized world only because it counts all dead infants, including premature babies, which is where most of the fatalities occur.

Most countries do not count premature-infant deaths. Some don't count any deaths that occur in the first 72 hours. Some countries don't even count any deaths from the first two weeks of life. In Cuba, which boasts a very low infant-mortality rate, infants are only registered when they are several months old, thereby leaving out of the official statistics all infant deaths that take place within the first several months of life.

In the rural regions of Karakalpakia, Sakha, Chechnya, Kalmykia, and Ingushetia, the infant mortality rate is close to 100 per 1,000 births, putting these regions in the same category as Angola, Chad, and Bangladesh. Tens of thousands of infants fall victim to influenza every year, and the proportion of children dying from pneumonia and tuberculosis is on the increase. Rickets, caused by a lack of vitamin D, and unknown in the rest of the modern world, is killing many young people.

Uterine damage is widespread, thanks to the 7.3 abortions the average Russian woman undergoes during childbearing years. Keeping in mind that many women avoid abortions altogether, the 7.3 average means that many women have a dozen or more abortions in their lifetime.

Even today, according to the State Statistics Committee, the average life expectancy for Russian men is less than 59 years — 58 years and 11 months — while that for Russian women is 72 years. The combined figure is 65 years and three months.[1] By comparison, the average life span for men in the United States is 73 years and for women 79 years. In the United States, life expectancy at birth for the total population has reached an all-time American high of 77.5 years, up from 49.2 years just a century ago. The Russian life expectancy at birth is 12 years lower.[2]

After seventy years of socialism, 57 percent of all Russian hospitals did not have running hot water, and 36 percent of hospitals located in rural areas of Russia did not have water or sewage at all. Isn't it amazing that socialist government, while developing space exploration and sophisticated weapons, would completely ignore the basic human needs of its citizens?

"The filth, odors, cats roaming the halls, drunken medical personnel, and absence of soap and cleaning supplies added to an overall impression of hopelessness and frustration that paralyzed the system."

The appalling quality of service is not simply characteristic of "barbarous" Russia and other Eastern European nations: it is a direct result of the government monopoly on healthcare and it can happen in any country. In "civilized" England, for example, the waiting list for surgeries is nearly 800,000 out of a population of 55 million. State-of-the-art equipment is nonexistent in most British hospitals. In England, only 10 percent of the healthcare spending is derived from private sources.

Britain pioneered in developing kidney-dialysis technology, and yet the country has one of the lowest dialysis rates in the world. The Brookings Institution (hardly a supporter of free markets) found that every year 7,000 Britons in need of hip replacements, between 4,000 and 20,000 in need of coronary bypass surgery, and some 10,000 to 15,000 in need of cancer chemotherapy are denied medical attention in Britain.

Age discrimination is particularly apparent in all government-run or heavily regulated systems of healthcare. In Russia, patients over 60 are considered worthless parasites and those over 70 are often denied even elementary forms of healthcare.

In the United Kingdom, in the treatment of chronic kidney failure, those who are 55 years old are refused treatment at 35 percent of dialysis centers. Forty-five percent of 65-year-old patients at the centers are denied treatment, while patients 75 or older rarely receive any medical attention at these centers.

In Canada, the population is divided into three age groups in terms of their access to healthcare: those below 45, those 45–65, and those over 65. Needless to say, the first group, who could be called the "active taxpayers," enjoys priority treatment.

Advocates of socialized medicine in the United States use Soviet propaganda tactics to achieve their goals. Michael Moore is one of the most prominent and effective socialist propagandists in America. In his movie, Sicko, he unfairly and unfavorably compares health care for older patients in the United States with complex and incurable diseases to healthcare in France and Canada for young women having routine babies. Had he done the reverse — i.e., compared healthcare for young women in the United States having babies to older patients with complex and incurable diseases in socialized healthcare systems — the movie would have been the same, except that the US healthcare system would look ideal, and the UK, Canada, and France would look barbaric.

Now we in the United States are being prepared for discrimination in treatment of the elderly when it comes to healthcare. Ezekiel Emanuel is director of the Clinical Bioethics Department at the US National Institutes of Health and an architect of Obama's healthcare-reform plan. He is also the brother of Rahm Emanuel, Obama's White House chief of staff. Foster Friess reports that Ezekiel Emanuel has written that health services should not be guaranteed to

individuals who are irreversibly prevented from being or becoming participating citizens. An obvious example is not guaranteeing health services to patients with dementia.[3]

An equally troubling article, coauthored by Emanuel, appeared in the medical journal The Lancet in January 2009. The authors write that

unlike allocation [of healthcare] by sex or race, allocation by age is not invidious discrimination; every person lives through different life stages rather than being a single age. Even if 25-year-olds receive priority over 65-year-olds, everyone who is 65 years now was previously 25 years. Treating 65-year-olds differently because of stereotypes or falsehoods would be ageist; treating them differently because they have already had more life-years is not.[4]

Socialized medicine will create massive government bureaucracies — similar to our unified school districts — impose costly job-destroying mandates on employers to provide the coverage, and impose price controls that will inevitably lead to shortages and poor quality of service. It will also lead to nonprice rationing (i.e., rationing based on political considerations, corruption, and nepotism) of healthcare by government bureaucrats.

Real "savings" in a socialized healthcare system could be achieved only by squeezing providers and denying care — there is no other way to save. The same arguments were used to defend the cotton farming in the South prior to the Civil War. Slavery certainly "reduced costs" of labor, "eliminated the waste" of bargaining for wages, and avoided "unnecessary duplication and parallelism."

In supporting the call for socialized medicine, American healthcare professionals are like sheep demanding the wolf: they do not understand that the high cost of medical care in the United States is partially based on the fact that American healthcare professionals have the highest level of remuneration in the world. Another source of the high cost of our healthcare is existing government regulations on the industry, regulations that prevent competition from lowering the cost. Existing rules such as "certificates of need," licensing, and other restrictions on the availability of healthcare services prevent competition and, therefore, result in higher prices and fewer services.

Socialized medical systems have not served to raise general health or living standards anywhere. In fact, both analytical reasoning and empirical evidence point to the opposite conclusion. But the dismal failure of socialized medicine to raise people's health and longevity has not affected its appeal for politicians, administrators, and their intellectual servants in search of absolute power and total control.

Most countries enslaved by the Soviet empire moved out of a fully socialized system through privatization and insuring competition in the healthcare system. Others, including many European social democracies, intend to privatize the healthcare system in the long run and decentralize medical control. The private ownership of hospitals and other units is seen as a critical determining factor of the new, more efficient, and humane system.

Yuri N. Maltsev, senior fellow of the Mises Institute, worked as an economist on Mikhail Gorbachev's economic reform team before defecting to the United States. He is the editor of Requiem for Marx. He teaches economics at Carthage College. Send him mail. See his article archives. Comment on the blog.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Turning Uncle Sam into Peeping Tom by Diana Furchtgott-Roth on National Review Online

Turning Uncle Sam into Peeping Tom by Diana Furchtgott-Roth on National Review Online

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email from Bozeman, MT

Obama visited Bozeman the day before he came to Grand Junction. This account sounds just like what happened in Grand Junction so it is completely believable to me.

This was sent to me by a friend in Bozeman , MT who was there.
Why do we tolerate this?

Hello All,

By now you have probably heard that President Obama came to Montana last Friday. However, there are many things that the major news has not covered. I feel that since my husband and I live here and we were at the airport on Friday I should share some facts with you. Whatever you decide to do with the information is up to you. If you chose to share this email with others I do ask that you DELETE my email address before you forward this on.

On Wednesday, August 5th it was announced locally that the President would be coming here. There are many groups here that are against his healthcare and huge spending so those groups began talking and deciding on what they were going to do. The White House would not release ANY details other than the date.

On about Tuesday my husband found out that they would be holding the "Town Hall" at the airport. (This is only because my husband knows EVERYONE at the airport) Our airport is actually located outside of Belgrade (tiny town) in a very remote location. Nothing is around there. They chose to use a hangar that is the most remotely located hangar. You could not pick a more remote location, and you can not get to it easily. It is totally secluded from the public.
FYI: We have many areas in Belgrade and Bozeman which could have held a large amount of folks with sufficient parking. (gymnasiums/auditoriums). All of which have chairs and tables, and would not have to be SHIPPED IN!! $$$$$
During the week, cargo by the TONS was being shipped in constantly. Airport employees could not believe how it just kept coming. Though it was our President coming several expressed how excessive it was, especially during a recession. $$$$$

Late Tuesday/early Wednesday the 12th, they said that tickets would be handed out on Thursday 9am at two locations and the president would be arriving around 12:30 Friday.

Thursday morning about 600 tickets were passed out. However, 1500 were printed at a Local printing shop per White House request. Hmmmm......900 tickets just DISAPPEARED.
This same morning someone called into the radio from the local UPS branch and said that THOUSANDS of Dollars of Lobster were shipped in for Obama. Montana has some of the best beef in the nation!!! And it would have been really wonderful to help out the local economy. Anyone heard of the Recession?? Just think...with all of the traveling the White House is doing. $$$$$ One can only imagine what else we are paying for.

On Friday my husband and I got out to the airport about 10:45am. The groups that wanted to protest Obama's spending and healthcare had gotten a permit to protest and that area was roped off. But that was not to be. A large bus carrying SEIU (Service Employees International Union) members drove up onto the area (illegal)and unloaded right there. It was quite a commotion and there were specifically 2 SEIU men trying to make trouble and start a fight. Police did get involved and arrested the one man but they said they did not have the manpower to remove the SEIU crowd.

The SEIU crowd was very organized and young. About 99% were under the age of 30 and they were not locals! They had bullhorns and PROFESSIONALLY made signs. Some even wore preprinted T-shirts. Oh, and Planned Parenthood folks were with them.....professing abortion rights with their T-shirts and preprinted signs. (BTW, all these folks did have a permit to protest in ANOTHER area)

Those against healthcare/spending moved away from the SEIU crowd to avoid confrontation. They were orderly and respectful. Even though SEIU kept coming over and walking through, continuing to be very intimidating and aggressive at the direction of the one SEIU man.

So we had Montana folks from ALL OVER the state with their homemade signs and their DOGS with homemade signs. We had cowboys, nurses, doctors you name it. There was even a guy from Texas who had been driving through. He found out about the occasion, went to the store, made a sign, and came to protest.

If you are wondering about the press.....Well, all of the major networks were over by that remote hangar I mentioned. They were conveniently parked on the other side of the buildings FAR away. None of these crowds were even visible to them. I have my doubts that they knew anything about the crowds.

We did have some local news media around us from this state and Idaho . Speaking of the local media...they were invited. However, all questions were to be turned into the White House in advance of the event. Wouldn't want anyone to have to think off the top of their head.

It was very obvious that it was meant to be totally controlled by the White House. Everything was orchestrated down to the last detail to make it appear that Montana is just crazy for Obama and government healthcare. Even those people that talked about their insurance woes........the White House called our local HRDC (Human Resource and Development Committee) and asked for names. Then the White House asked those folks to come. Smoke and mirrors...EVERYTHING was staged!!!!!!!!!!!

I am very dismayed about what I learned about our current White House. The amount of control and manipulation was unbelievable. I felt I was not living in the United States of America , more like the USSR !! I was physically nauseous. My husband and I have been around when Presidents or Heads of State visit. It has NEVER been like this. I am truly very frightened for our country. America needs your prayers and your voices. If you care about our country please get involved. Know the issues. And let Congress hear your voices again and again!! If they are willing to put forth so much effort to BULLY a small town one can only imagine what is going on in Washington DC . Scary!!

A concerned couple in Bozeman , Montana

Friday, August 21, 2009

Keep Your Insurance? Not Everyone.

Obama's claim depends on what employers would likely do under several legislative scenarios.


President Obama has repeatedly said that under the health care overhaul efforts in Congress, "if you like your health care plan, you keep your health care plan." But he can’t make that promise to everyone.
  • In fact, under the House bill, some employers might have to modify plans after a five-year grace period if they don’t meet minimum benefits standards.
  • Furthermore, some firms are likely to buy different coverage for their workers than they have now, or simply drop coverage and pay a penalty instead, leaving workers to buy their own private coverage or go on a new federal insurance plan.
The legislation is a moving target, and projections of how many employees would be switched to a federal plan are wide-ranging – from near zero to a high of 56 percent of all covered workers under the most extreme assumptions. We sort through several scenarios.


At a town hall event Aug. 15 in Grand Junction, Colo., Obama said:
Obama, Aug. 15: [i]f you like your health care plan, you keep your health care plan. Nobody is going to force you to leave your health care plan. If you like your doctor, you keep seeing your doctor. I don’t want government bureaucrats meddling in your health care. But the point is, I don’t want insurance company bureaucrats meddling in your health care either.
But he also said: "I expect that after reform passes, the vast majority of Americans are still going to be getting their insurance from private insurers."
There will be some movement in how people get their insurance under the legislation in Congress – and Obama’s second comment acknowledges that. But his if-you-like-it-you-can-keep-it claim ignores the fact that employers may well choose to buy a different health insurance plan once any health coverage overhaul takes effect. In a late June press conference, ABC News’ Jake Tapper asked Obama about his claim, saying that employers might be attracted to a cheaper federal plan. Obama said: "When I say if you have your plan and you like it, or you have a doctor and you like your doctor, that you don’t have to change plans, what I’m saying is the government is not going to make you change plans under health reform."
That’s true – the government won’t switch your plan for you under these bills. But that’s not exactly the claim the president is making. How many employees could be subject to an unwanted change of insurance is tough to predict. Part of the dilemma concerns the proposed federal health plan and how much cheaper it might be, or not, than private insurance. The House bill as introduced structures the federal plan in a way that would attract more employers than the House bill as amended by the Energy and Commerce committee. A Senate bill is similar to the amended House version. Here’s what could happen under the various bills:
No one "forced" onto federal plan. Obama said "[n]obody is going to force you to leave your health care plan." That’s true enough. The legislation wouldn’t require anyone to switch health insurance – though, in most cases, plans would eventually have to meet minimum benefit standards. The bills don’t require anyone to join the federal plan. The House bill also has a provision that allows those who purchase their own insurance (those who don’t get insurance through an employer) to keep their plan as long as they’d like, as long as the insurance company keeps offering it. Their policies wouldn’t have to meet the new minimum benefits requirements that will be decided by the Health and Human Services secretary.
Minimum standards. Businesses, however, would have to meet minimum benefits standards and would have a five-year grace period to do so under the House bill. Insurance companies could react in different ways, perhaps modifying any plans that don’t meet the standards or dropping those plans as an option. We can’t predict that. It’s unclear which or how many businesses would possibly be affected by this.
Federal plan, House bill as introduced. A greater factor in the ability to keep one’s plan, however, is the federal health insurance option (what Obama calls the "public plan"). The House bill as introduced would set payment rates to doctors at Medicare rates plus 5 percent in this federal plan. Medicare rates are about 20 percent lower to doctors than payments by private insurance. That would make the federal plan noticeably cheaper than the average for private insurance. Estimates on how much cheaper, and consequently how attractive to those eligible to join the plan, differ.
The Lewin Group estimated that premiums would be 20 percent to 25 percent cheaper under the federal plan. A study by the Lewin Group, a subsidiary of UnitedHealth Group that operates independently of the health care company, found that under this scenario in the original House bill, 33.6 million would go onto the federal health plan. That number includes individuals who buy their own coverage and employees of small firms with under 20 employees (those eligible in the second year after the House bill would take effect). The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office, however, estimated that premiums would be about 10 percent cheaper under the federal plan. The CBO and the Joint Committee on Taxation said 11 million to 12 million people would join the federal plan if open to firms with under 50 employees. That’s about a third of the Lewin estimate. Those numbers, too, include both individuals and employees of small firms.
Also, the House bill says that more businesses could become eligible to participate in that federal plan over time. If all businesses were eligible to participate, not just smaller firms, then Lewin’s numbers jump way up, with 103.4 million joining that plan. Lewin further estimated that 88.1 million people would shift from employer-sponsored coverage to the federal plan. CBO didn’t give an estimate for such a scenario. And of course, we can’t say whether or not the administration would actually make larger companies eligible.
Under Lewin’s estimate of the worst-case outcome, 56 percent of all workers covered by employer-sponsored insurance in 2011 under current law would instead have coverage through the federal plan. But if the federal option remained open only to small firms, the percentage switching would be 14 percent under the Lewin estimate, about 7.6 percent under CBO’s estimate.
House bill, as amended, and Senate plan. But these details in the House bill were amended by the Energy and Commerce Committee, making that version similar to what the Senate’s Health, Education, Labor and Pensions committee bill proposed. And under those versions of legislation, the federal option doesn’t have as much of an effect on current insurance plans.
Both of those health overhaul plans would have the federal option negotiate payment rates to providers rather than setting them by government fiat. That would make premiums more in line with private rates. The CBO said that with negotiated rates the federal option wouldn’t have much of an impact:
CBO, analysis of Senate HELP draft: The new draft also includes provisions regarding a “public plan,” but those provisions did not have a substantial effect on the cost or enrollment projections, largely because the public plan would pay providers of health care at rates comparable to privately negotiated rates—and thus was not projected to have premiums lower than those charged by private insurance plans in the exchanges.
The Lewin Group still estimated there would be an impact, albeit a much smaller one. This type of federal plan would attract an estimated 17 million people, with 10.4 million moving off private plans, another Lewin study projected (see Figure 4). That’s if the plan were open to individuals and small businesses. And if such a federal plan were open to all businesses, the numbers don’t go up by much: 20.6 million would join the federal option, with 12.5 million moving off private plans, according to Lewin.
House committees are still negotiating to arrive at a final version of the House bill, though the president indicated on Saturday that this structure had won: "Now, what’s happened in the House bill, that as it’s been modified, is they’ve actually said we’re going to negotiate rates, they won’t be Medicaid rates," Obama said.
The insurance exchange. Leaving the federal plan aside, individuals and small businesses – and perhaps more businesses down the road under the House bill – would be eligible to choose from various private plans in a new health insurance exchange as well. If an employer decided to offer coverage through the exchange, employees would have their pick of various plans in that new health care marketplace.
Clarification, Aug. 18: We originally wrote that employers might "find a more attractive option" in the exchange and "switch plans." But that’s not exactly how the exchange would work. Employers would decide which level of coverage they’d like to offer (a "basic plan" or a "premium plan" would be among the benefit choices under the House bill); employees pick among the plans in that category. Aaron Albright, a spokesman for the House Education and Labor Committee, explains that "the employees get to decide if they’re in the exchange … what best fits their needs. Sometimes the public option might be a little cheaper but might not be as convenient" as another insurance plan.
It’s important to note that as things stand now, employers can and often do switch their employees’ coverage, or even drop it.
The legislation in Congress, however, would require employers to offer coverage (the so-called "employer mandate"), and it provides penalties for those who don’t contribute to their employees’ insurance, as well as subsidies to entice small businesses to offer coverage. Still, the CBO estimated that under the House bill, some firms, likely those with lower-wage employees, would decide to stop offering insurance. The mandate penalty might cost them less than providing coverage, and their low-wage workers would be eligible for federal subsidies to help them buy their own coverage through the exchange. The CBO estimated that "in 2016, about 3 million people (including spouses and dependents of workers) who would be covered by an employment-based plan under current law would not have an offer of coverage under the proposal."
So, can you keep your insurance under the health care proposals in Congress? Answer: It depends.
And it depends mainly on the proposed federal plan, which may not be part of whatever emerges from Congress. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius told CNN on Aug. 16 the federal option was "not the essential element" of health care legislation.
– by Lori Robertson


U.S. House. "H.R. 3200." (as introduced 14 Jul 2009.)
Congressional Budget Office. Letter to Rep. Charles B. Rangel. 17 Jul 2009.
Congressional Budget Office. Letter to Sen. Edward M. Kennedy. 2 Jul 2009.
Congressional Budget Office. Letter to Rep. Dave Camp. 26 Jul 2009.
Focus on Health Reform, Health Care Reform Proposals. Kaiser Family Foundation. Accessed 17 Aug 2009.
Sheils, John and Randy Haught. “Cost and Coverage Impacts of the American Affordable Health Choices Act of 2009.” Lewin Group. 27 Jul 2009, amended 31 Jul 2009.
Sheils, John and Randy Haught. “The Cost and Coverage Impacts of a Public Plan: Alternative Design Options.” Lewin Group, 6 Apr 2009.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Strategy for forcing political change through orchestrated crisis Date: 8/21/2009 12:33:34 AM


* Strategy for forcing political change through orchestrated crisis

First proposed in 1966 and named after Columbia University sociologists Richard Andrew Cloward and Frances Fox Piven, the “Cloward-Piven Strategy” seeks to hasten the fall of capitalism by overloading the government bureaucracy with a flood of impossible demands, thus pushing society into crisis and economic collapse.

Inspired by the August 1965 riots in the black district of Watts in Los Angeles (which erupted after police had used batons to subdue a black man suspected of drunk driving), Cloward and Piven published an article titled "The Weight of the Poor: A Strategy to End Poverty" in the May 2, 1966 issue of The Nation. Following its publication, The Nation sold an unprecedented 30,000 reprints. Activists were abuzz over the so-called "crisis strategy" or "Cloward-Piven Strategy," as it came to be called. Many were eager to put it into effect.

In their 1966 article, Cloward and Piven charged that the ruling classes used welfare to weaken the poor; that by providing a social safety net, the rich doused the fires of rebellion. Poor people can advance only when "the rest of society is afraid of them," Cloward told The New York Times on September 27, 1970. Rather than placating the poor with government hand-outs, wrote Cloward and Piven, activists should work to sabotage and destroy the welfare system; the collapse of the welfare state would ignite a political and financial crisis that would rock the nation; poor people would rise in revolt; only then would "the rest of society" accept their demands.

The key to sparking this rebellion would be to expose the inadequacy of the welfare state. Cloward-Piven's early promoters cited radical organizer Saul Alinsky as their inspiration. "Make the enemy live up to their (sic) own book of rules," Alinsky wrote in his 1972 book Rules for Radicals. When pressed to honor every word of every law and statute, every Judaeo-Christian moral tenet, and every implicit promise of the liberal social contract, human agencies inevitably fall short. The system's failure to "live up" to its rule book can then be used to discredit it altogether, and to replace the capitalist "rule book" with a socialist one.

The authors noted that the number of Americans subsisting on welfare -- about 8 million, at the time -- probably represented less than half the number who were technically eligible for full benefits. They proposed a "massive drive to recruit the poor onto the welfare rolls." Cloward and Piven calculated that persuading even a fraction of potential welfare recipients to demand their entitlements would bankrupt the system. The result, they predicted, would be "a profound financial and political crisis" that would unleash "powerful forces … for major economic reform at the national level."

Their article called for "cadres of aggressive organizers" to use "demonstrations to create a climate of militancy." Intimidated by threats of black violence, politicians would appeal to the federal government for help. Carefully orchestrated media campaigns, carried out by friendly, leftwing journalists, would float the idea of "a federal program of income redistribution," in the form of a guaranteed living income for all -- working and non-working people alike. Local officials would clutch at this idea like drowning men to a lifeline. They would apply pressure on Washington to implement it. With every major city erupting into chaos, Washington would have to act.

This was an example of what are commonly called Trojan Horse movements -- mass movements whose outward purpose seems to be providing material help to the downtrodden, but whose real objective is to draft poor people into service as revolutionary foot soldiers; to mobilize poor people en masse to overwhelm government agencies with a flood of demands beyond the capacity of those agencies to meet. The flood of demands was calculated to break the budget, jam the bureaucratic gears into gridlock, and bring the system crashing down. Fear, turmoil, violence and economic collapse would accompany such a breakdown -- providing perfect conditions for fostering radical change. That was the theory.

Cloward and Piven recruited a militant black organizer named George Wiley to lead their new movement. In the summer of 1967, Wiley founded the National Welfare Rights Organization (NWRO). His tactics closely followed the recommendations set out in Cloward and Piven's article. His followers invaded welfare offices across the United States -- often violently -- bullying social workers and loudly demanding every penny to which the law "entitled" them. By 1969, NWRO claimed a dues-paying membership of 22,500 families, with 523 chapters across the nation.

Regarding Wiley's tactics, The New York Times commented on September 27, 1970, "There have been sit-ins in legislative chambers, including a United States Senate committee hearing, mass demonstrations of several thousand welfare recipients, school boycotts, picket lines, mounted police, tear gas, arrests - and, on occasion, rock-throwing, smashed glass doors, overturned desks, scattered papers and ripped-out phones."These methods proved effective. "The flooding succeeded beyond Wiley's wildest dreams," writes Sol Stern in the City Journal. "From 1965 to 1974, the number of single-parent households on welfare soared from 4.3 million to 10.8 million, despite mostly flush economic times. By the early 1970s, one person was on the welfare rolls in New York City for every two working in the city's private economy."As a direct result of its massive welfare spending, New York City was forced to declare bankruptcy in 1975. The entire state of New York nearly went down with it. The Cloward-Piven strategy had proved its effectiveness.

The Cloward-Piven strategy depended on surprise. Once society recovered from the initial shock, the backlash began. New York's welfare crisis horrified America, giving rise to a reform movement which culminated in "the end of welfare as we know it" -- the 1996 Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act, which imposed time limits on federal welfare, along with strict eligibility and work requirements. Both Cloward and Piven attended the White House signing of the bill as guests of President Clinton.

Most Americans to this day have never heard of Cloward and Piven. But New York City Mayor Rudolph Giuliani attempted to expose them in the late 1990s. As his drive for welfare reform gained momentum, Giuliani accused the militant scholars by name, citing their 1966 manifesto as evidence that they had engaged in deliberate economic sabotage. "This wasn't an accident," Giuliani charged in a 1997 speech. "It wasn't an atmospheric thing, it wasn't supernatural. This is the result of policies and programs designed to have the maximum number of people get on welfare."

Cloward and Piven never again revealed their intentions as candidly as they had in their 1966 article. Even so, their activism in subsequent years continued to rely on the tactic of overloading the system. When the public caught on to their welfare scheme, Cloward and Piven simply moved on, applying pressure to other sectors of the bureaucracy, wherever they detected weakness.

In 1982, partisans of the Cloward-Piven strategy founded a new "voting rights movement," which purported to take up the unfinished work of the Voting Rights Act of 1965. Like ACORN, the organization that spear-headed this campaign, the new "voting rights" movement was led by veterans of George Wiley's welfare rights crusade. Its flagship organizations were Project Vote and Human SERVE, both founded in 1982. Project Vote is an ACORN front group, launched by former NWRO organizer and ACORN co-founder Zach Polett. Human SERVE was founded by Richard A. Cloward and Frances Fox Piven, along with a former NWRO organizer named Hulbert James.

All three of these organizations -- ACORN, Project Vote and Human SERVE -- set to work lobbying energetically for the so-called Motor-Voter law, which Bill Clinton ultimately signed in 1993. The Motor-Voter bill is largely responsible for swamping the voter rolls with "dead wood" -- invalid registrations signed in the name of deceased, ineligible or non-existent people -- thus opening the door to the unprecedented levels of voter fraud and "voter disenfranchisement" claims that followed in subsequent elections.

The new "voting rights" coalition combines mass voter registration drives -- typically featuring high levels of fraud -- with systematic intimidation of election officials in the form of frivolous lawsuits, unfounded charges of "racism" and "disenfranchisement," and "direct action" (street protests, violent or otherwise). Just as they swamped America's welfare offices in the 1960s, Cloward-Piven devotees now seek to overwhelm the nation's understaffed and poorly policed electoral system. Their tactics set the stage for the Florida recount crisis of 2000, and have introduced a level of fear, tension and foreboding to U.S. elections heretofore encountered mainly in Third World countries.

Both the Living Wage and Voting Rights movements depend heavily on financial support from George Soros's Open Society Institute and his "Shadow Party," through whose support the Cloward-Piven strategy continues to provide a blueprint for some of the Left's most ambitious campaigns.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

18 health insurance mandates in Nebraska, and why mandates are not being debated as part of reform

18 health insurance mandates in Nebraska, and why mandates are not being debated as part of reform
August 14, 10:11 AM · Blake Yount - Sarpy County Conservative Examiner

Among the horrifyingly under-debated pieces of the health care puzzle are the crippling mandates imposed by the federal and state governments. Mandates are services that law makers have required insurance companies to provide, and thus required consumers to pay for, regardless of individual desire.

Aside from the fact that these mandates stab liberty with the sword of tyranny, they have also helped to drive costs through the roof. According to the National Center for Policy Analysis, the twelve most popular mandates increase the cost of health coverage plans by anywhere from 15% to 30%. Dare we conclude that rescinding these mandates might help to bring down costs?

In Nebraska as of 2008, insurance companies have been mandated to cover 18 specific benefits. I shall list them now. (Not necessarily listed in order of absurdity):
1) Alcoholism 2)Birthing Centers/Midwives 3) Bone Mass Measurement 4) Breast Reconstruction 5) Cancer Medication 6) Cleft Palate 7) Colorectal Cancer Screening 8) Dental Anesthesia 9) Diabetic Supplies 10) Mammogram 11) Maternity Stay 12) Mental Health General 13) Mental Health Parity 14) Newborn Hearing Screening 15) Newborn Sickle Cell Testing 16) Off-label Drug Use 17) TMJ Disorders 18) Well Child Care.

The Council for Affordable Health Insurance says that each mandate typically increases the cost of health insurance coverage by anywhere from 1% to 3%. So we can conclude that the 18 mandates listed above raise costs for Nebraskans by anywhere from 10% to 20%. Remember, this is just one factor in our health care costs.

Some of these may seem to be common sense as part of general coverage. However, if I had the choice, I would not be interested in paying for a mammogram, breast reconstruction, cleft palate, maternity stay, alcoholism, and others on the list. At my young age, I could envision paying for catastrophic insurance, and that would be all. I would rather pick and choose as life goes on. Indeed, where are all the pro-choice liberals??

Which, in my mind, births another free market solution. Why can’t we sit down with an insurance provider with a list of all available benefits and their costs, then pick and choose which benefits we should like to include in our personal plan? Maybe then we would be free to sign a 3 year, 5 year, 10 year, or 20 year contract with that plan, thereby allowing us to change benefits over time, as life goes on. Of course, we would have to believe in the free market by rescinding mandates and return to the American value of personal responsibility first.

Therein lies the problem. We are so accustomed to being so far removed from our own health insurance, that we now expect to pay next to nothing out of pocket. This seems absurd considering that citizens in the United States enjoy the best medical care in the world.

No politician will tell you that it ought to be your own responsibility to pay for health care. No politician will admit that his or her mandates have priced people out of the private insurance market. No politician will say that regular check-ups, basic services, and many prescription drugs ought to be paid for by individuals. Indeed, they must retain their power, right?

If homeowner’s insurance were mandated to cover carpet replacement at the whim of the homeowner (just as regular doctor visits are covered), would we not drive the cost of carpet services through the roof through over utilization? After all, a $100 co-pay for new carpet would be much more appealing than having to pay out of pocket. Moreover, why would a house full of homeowners content with their wood floors need to pay for the carpet service mandate? But luckily, the government has not stuck their finger in carpet services, the free market has provided reasonable prices for carpet replacement and installation.

Economics 101 allows us to see why health care costs are out of control. Politics 101 allows us to see that politicians have successfully convinced a large group of people that there is nothing wrong with stealing time and money from a smaller group of people through taxation, to benefit the larger group of people.

Through mandates and certain regulations, governments distort markets and destroy affordability. Then they work tirelessly to make us believe that unsustainable system that they have destroyed was in fact destroyed by some other source. This practice pits citizen vs. citizen, citizen vs. business, citizen vs. anything that isn’t government.

It would appear as though, that enough of us are blind and slavish enough to allow these mandated atrocities to continue. After all, most would rather wear a mandated life-jacket than brave the wild waves of liberty themselves.
Copyright 2009 All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
Blake Yount is an Examiner from Omaha. You can see Blake's articles at: ""

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

What is in the health care bill - hold on

What's Really in Obama's Health Care Reform Bill - A Plain English Translation
by Mike Adams, the Health Ranger, NaturalNews Editor

(NaturalNews) Mrs. Bouchard seemed upset.
"I can't afford health care as yet."
The new health reform bill
Made her sickly and ill
"But I'd rather have cancer than debt!"

What's really in Obama's health care reform bill? Almost no one knows, and here's why: It's 1,017 pages long and written in an alien form of bureaucratic English that can barely be decoded by earthlings.

And yet, astonishingly, a U.S. Army translator has been found who speaks "Washington Doublespeak" and he was kind enough to decode the bill and post his plain-language findings over at (

Below, we reprint what he found in the health care reform bill. As you read this, keep in mind that some of these translations are a bit loose with the interpretations, but I've personally spot-checked these points, and they are indeed all contained in the bill in one form or another (shrouded in Doublespeak language, of course).

Editor's note: I don't personally agree with every interpretation listed here, and some of the bill's provisions are actually good ideas (like banning doctors from owning stock in health care companies). But overall, this interpretation points out many alarming provisions in the proposed health care reform bill...

From CMS at

• Page 16: States that if you have insurance at the time of the bill becoming law and change, you will be required to take a similar plan. If that is not available, you will be required to take the government option!
• Page 22: Mandates audits of all employers that self-insure!
• Page 29: Admission: your health care will be rationed!
• Page 30: A government committee will decide what treatments and benefits you get (and, unlike an insurer, there will be no appeals process)
• Page 42: The "Health Choices Commissioner" will decide health benefits for you. You will have no choice. None.
• Page 50: All non-US citizens, illegal or not, will be provided with free healthcare services.
• Page 58: Every person will be issued a National ID Healthcard.
• Page 59: The federal government will have direct, real-time access to all individual bank accounts for electronic funds transfer.
• Page 65: Taxpayers will subsidize all union retiree and community organizer health plans (example: SEIU, UAW and ACORN)
• Page 72: All private healthcare plans must conform to government rules to participate in a Healthcare Exchange.
• Page 84: All private healthcare plans must participate in the Healthcare Exchange (i.e., total government control of private plans)
• Page 91: Government mandates linguistic infrastructure for services; translation: illegal aliens
• Page 95: The Government will pay ACORN and Americorps to sign up individuals for Government-run Health Care plan.
• Page 102: Those eligible for Medicaid will be automatically enrolled: you have no choice in the matter.
• Page 124: No company can sue the government for price-fixing. No "judicial review" is permitted against the government monopoly. Put simply, private insurers will be crushed.
• Page 127: The AMA sold doctors out: the government will set wages.
• Page 145: An employer MUST auto-enroll employees into the government-run public plan. No alternatives.
• Page 126: Employers MUST pay healthcare bills for part-time employees AND their families.
• Page 149: Any employer with a payroll of $400K or more, who does not offer the public option, pays an 8% tax on payroll
• Page 150: Any employer with a payroll of $250K-400K or more, who does not offer the public option, pays a 2 to 6% tax on payroll
• Page 167: Any individual who doesn't have acceptable healthcare (according to the government) will be taxed 2.5% of income.
• Page 170: Any NON-RESIDENT alien is exempt from individual taxes (Americans will pay for them).
• Page 195: Officers and employees of Government Healthcare Bureaucracy will have access to ALL American financial and personal records.
• Page 203: "The tax imposed under this section shall not be treated as tax." Yes, it really says that.
• Page 239: Bill will reduce physician services for Medicaid. Seniors and the poor most affected."
• Page 241: Doctors: no matter what specialty you have, you'll all be paid the same (thanks, AMA!)
• Page 253: Government sets value of doctors' time, their professional judgment, etc.
• Page 265: Government mandates and controls productivity for private healthcare industries.
• Page 268: Government regulates rental and purchase of power-driven wheelchairs.
• Page 272: Cancer patients: welcome to the wonderful world of rationing!
• Page 280: Hospitals will be penalized for what the government deems preventable re-admissions.
• Page 298: Doctors: if you treat a patient during an initial admission that results in a readmission, you will be penalized by the government.
• Page 317: Doctors: you are now prohibited for owning and investing in healthcare companies!
• Page 318: Prohibition on hospital expansion. Hospitals cannot expand without government approval.
• Page 321: Hospital expansion hinges on "community" input: in other words, yet another payoff for ACORN.
• Page 335: Government mandates establishment of outcome-based measures: i.e., rationing.
• Page 341: Government has authority to disqualify Medicare Advantage Plans, HMOs, etc.
• Page 354: Government will restrict enrollment of SPECIAL NEEDS individuals.
• Page 379: More bureaucracy: Telehealth Advisory Committee (healthcare by phone).
• Page 425: More bureaucracy: Advance Care Planning Consult: Senior Citizens, assisted suicide, euthanasia?
• Page 425: Government will instruct and consult regarding living wills, durable powers of attorney, etc. Mandatory. Appears to lock in estate taxes ahead of time.
• Page 425: Government provides approved list of end-of-life resources, guiding you in death.
• Page 427: Government mandates program that orders end-of-life treatment; government dictates how your life ends.
• Page 429: Advance Care Planning Consult will be used to dictate treatment as patient's health deteriorates. This can include an ORDER for end-of-life plans. An ORDER from the GOVERNMENT.
• Page 430: Government will decide what level of treatments you may have at end-of-life.
• Page 469: Community-based Home Medical Services: more payoffs for ACORN.
• Page 472: Payments to Community-based organizations: more payoffs for ACORN.
• Page 489: Government will cover marriage and family therapy. Government intervenes in your marriage.
• Page 494: Government will cover mental health services: defining, creating and rationing those services.

Friday, August 7, 2009

H.R. on board

This was on Neal Boortz on 8-7-09. If it doesn't bring a tear to your eye, have someone call 911 because you have died.

My lead flight attendant came to me and said, 'We have an H.R. on this flight.' H.R. stands for human remains. 'Are they military?' I asked. 'Yes', she said. 'Is there an escort?' I asked. 'Yes, I already assigned him a seat.' 'Would you please tell him to come to the flight deck. You can board him early', I said.

A short while later, a young Army sergeant entered the flight deck. He was the image of the perfectly dressed soldier. He introduced himself and I asked him about his soldier. The escorts of these fallen soldiers talk about them as if they are still alive and still with us. My soldier is on his way back to Virginia', he said. He proceeded to answer my questions, but offered no words on his own. I asked him if there was anything I could do for him and he said no. I told him that he had the toughest job in the military and that I appreciated the work that he does for the families of our fallen soldiers. The first officer and I got up out of our seats to shake his hand. He left the flight deck to find his seat.

We completed our preflight checks, pushed back and performed an uneventful departure. About 30 minutes into our flight I received a call from the lead flight attendant in the cabin. 'I just found out the family of the soldier we are carrying, is on board', he said. He then proceeded to tell me that the father, mother, wife and 2-year old daughter were escorting their son, husband, and father home. The family was upset because they were unable to see the container that the soldier was in before we left. We were on our way to a major hub at which the family was going to wait four hours for the connecting flight home to Virginia. The father of the soldier told the flight attendant that knowing his son was below him in the cargo compartment and being unable to see him was too much for him and the family to bear. He had asked the flight attendant if there was anything that could be done to allow them to see him upon our arrival. The family wanted to be outside by the cargo door to watch the soldier being taken off the airplane. I could hear the desperation in the flight attendant's voice when he asked me if there was anything I could do. 'I'm on it', I said. I told him that I would get back to him.

Airborne communication with my company normally occurs in the form of e-mail like messages. I decided to bypass this system and contact my flight dispatcher directly on a secondary radio. There is a radio operator in the operations control center who connects you to the telephone of the dispatcher. I was in direct contact with the dispatcher. I explained the situation I had onboard with the family and what it was the family wanted. He said he understood and that he would get back to me.

Two hours went by and I had not heard from the dispatcher. We were going to get busy soon and I needed to know what to tell the family. I sent a text message asking for an update. I saved the return message from the dispatcher and this following is the text:

'Captain, sorry it has taken so long to get back to you. There is policy on this now and I had to check on a few things. Upon your arrival a dedicated escort team will meet the aircraft. The team will escort the family to the ramp and plane side. A van will be used to load the remains with a secondary van for the family. The family will be taken to their departure area and escorted into the terminal where the remains can be seen on the ramp. It is a private area for the family only. When the connecting aircraft arrives, the family will be escorted onto the ramp and planeside to watch the remains being loaded for the final leg home. Captain, most of us here in flight control are veterans.
Please pass our condolences on to the family. Thanks.'

I sent a message back telling flight control thanks for a good job. I printed out the message and gave it to the lead flight attendant to pass on to the father. The lead flight attendant was very thankful and told me, 'You have no idea how much this will mean to them.' Things started getting busy for the descent, approach and landing. After landing, we cleared the runway and taxied to the ramp area. The ramp is huge with 15 gates on either side of the alleyway. It is always a busy area with aircraft maneuvering every which way to enter and exit. When we entered the ramp and checked in with the ramp controller, we were told that all traffic was being held for us.

'There is a team in place to meet the aircraft', we were told. It looked like it was all coming together, then I realized that once we turned the seat belt sign off, everyone would stand up at once and delay the family from getting off the airplane. As we approached our gate, I asked the copilot to tell the ramp controller we were going to stop short of the gate to make an announcement to the passengers. He did that and the ramp controller said, 'Take your time.'

I stopped the aircraft and set the parking brake. I pushed the public address button and said, 'Ladies and gentleman, this is your captain speaking. I have stopped short of our gate to make a special announcement. We have a passenger on board who deserves our honor and respect. His name is private XXXXX, a soldier who recently lost his life. Private XXXXX is under your feet in the cargo hold. Escorting him today is Army Sergeant XXXXX. Also, on board are his father, mother, wife, and daughter. Your entire flight crew is asking for all passengers to remain in their seats to allow the family to exit the aircraft first. Thank you.'

We continued the turn to the gate, came to a stop and started our shutdown procedures. A couple of minutes later I opened the cockpit door. I found the two forward flight attendants crying, something you just do not see. I was told that after we came to a stop, every passenger on the aircraft stayed in their seats, waiting for the family to exit the aircraft. When the family got up and gathered their things, a passenger slowly started to clap his hands. Moments later more passengers joined in and soon the entire aircraft was clapping. Words of 'God Bless You', I'm sorry, thank you, be proud, and other kind words were uttered to the family as they made their way down the aisle and out of the airplane. They were escorted down to the ramp to finally be with their loved one. Many of the passengers disembarking thanked me for the announcement I had made. They were just words, I told them, I could say them over and over again, but nothing I say will bring back that brave soldier.

I respectfully ask that all of you reflect on this event and the sacrifices that millions of our men and women have made to ensure our freedom and safety in these United States of America.