Noam Chomsky: US Scandalous Healthcare symptomatic of populations’ failure to defend Democracy | Choice of disenfranchised masses to have blind faith in ruling elite

As the title suggests, in this interview and article by C.J. Polychroniou, Noam Chomsky unveils his expansive view of the United States.

truthout

truthout

http://www.truth-out.org/opinion/item/39064-noam-chomsky-the-us-health-system-is-an-international-scandal-and-aca-repeal-will-make-it-worse?tsk=adminpreview#disqus_thread

Chomsky claims that the rejection of healthcare and lack of a real labor presence is symbolic of the much larger issue in the United States > that people do not participate or defend democracy, but are willing puppets of a political realm ruled by a wealthy few, to whom the population simply does not oppose, but subjugate their passions and dreams to agree to the system dictated by a ruling class – who the population could overpower with their force, if they simply wished to stand up for their rights to represent and govern themselves.

I’ve basically excerpted the article, juggling it around a bit to put the most poignant parts from the conclusion – at the beginning – for those who have no time to read. Hence it’s a sort of ‘cliff notes’ version of the article.

And as I posted on Facebook regarding this Truthout article, thank you so much Noam Chomsky for being the expansive and insightful person whom you are!

Noam Chomsky-information website

Noam Chomsky-information website

“The US health care system has long been an international scandal, with about twice the per capita expenses of other wealthy (OECD) countries and relatively poor outcomes. The ACA did, however, bring improvements, including insurance for tens of millions of people who lacked it, banning of refusal of insurance for people with prior disabilities, and other gains — and also, it appears to have led to a reduction in the increase of health care costs, though that is hard to determine precisely.

Returning to your question, it raises a crucial question about American democracy: why isn’t the population “demanding” what it strongly prefers? Why is it allowing concentrated private capital to undermine necessities of life in the interests of profit and power?

….The question directs our attention to a profound democratic deficit in an atomized society, lacking the kind of popular associations and organizations that enable the public to participate in a meaningful way in determining the course of political, social and economic affairs. These would crucially include a strong and participatory labor movement and actual political parties growing from public deliberation and participation instead of the elite-run candidate-producing groups that pass for political parties. What remains is a depoliticized society in which a majority of voters (barely half the population even in the super-hyped presidential elections, much less in others) are literally disenfranchised, in that their representatives disregard their preferences while effective decision-making lies largely in the hands of tiny concentrations of wealth and corporate power…

Turning finally to your question again, a rather general answer, which applies in its specific way to contemporary western democracies, was provided by David Hume over 250 years ago, in his classic study of the First Principles of Government. Hume found “nothing more surprising than to see the easiness with which the many are governed by the few; and to observe the implicit submission with which men resign their own sentiments and passions to those of their rulers. When we enquire by what means this wonder is brought about, we shall find, that as Force is always on the side of the governed, the governors have nothing to support them but opinion. `Tis therefore, on opinion only that government is founded; and this maxim extends to the most despotic and most military governments, as well as to the most free and most popular.”

Implicit submission is not imposed by laws of nature or political theory. It is a choice, at least in societies such as ours, which enjoys the legacy provided by the struggles of those who came before us. Here power is indeed “on the side of the governed,” if they organize and act to gain and exercise it. That holds for health care and for much else.”

The House of Representatives, dominated by Republicans (with a minority of voters), has voted over 50 times in the past six years to repeal or weaken Obamacare, but they have yet to come up with anything like a coherent alternative.

Comparison of the attitude toward elementary rights of labor and extraordinary rights of private power tells us a good deal about the nature of American society.

The expulsion or mass killing of Indigenous nations cleared the ground for the invading settlers, who had enormous resources and ample fertile lands at their disposal, and extraordinary security for reasons of geography and power. That led to the rise of a society of individual farmers, and also, thanks to slavery, substantial control of the product that fueled the industrial revolution: cotton, the foundation of manufacturing, banking, commerce, retail for both the US and Britain, and less directly, other European societies. Also relevant is the fact that the country has actually been at war for 500 years with little respite, a history that has created “the richest, most powerful¸ and ultimately most militarized nation in world history,” as scholar Walter Hixson has documented.

Administrative costs are far greater in the private component of the health care system than in Medicare, which itself suffers by having to work through the private system.

Comparisons with other countries reveal much more bureaucracy and higher administrative costs in the US privatized system than elsewhere. One study of the US and Canada a decade ago, by medical researcher Steffie Woolhandler and associates, found enormous disparities, and concluded that “Reducing U.S. administrative costs to Canadian levels would save at least $209 billion annually, enough to fund universal coverage.

Another anomalous feature of the US system is the law banning the government from negotiating drug prices, which leads to highly inflated prices in the US as compared with other countries. That effect is magnified considerably by the extreme patent rights accorded to the pharmaceutical industry in “trade agreements,” enabling monopoly profits. In a profit-driven system, there are also incentives for expensive treatments rather than preventive care, as strikingly in Cuba, with remarkably efficient and effective health care.”

Carol Keiter, the blogger

Carol Keiter the blogger

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Carol Keiter aka nomadbeatz welcomes donations for her writing, photography, illustrations, eBook & music composition

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Obama’s State of the Union Address | A Noble and Inspirational Leader

Obama’s State of the Union Address

I thought it was a fantastic speech, full of hope and inspiration! Tears of gratitude poured down my face several times. What he chose to acknowledge and address for the future and his optimism, grace and noble nature reveal him as a true leader with a spiritual presence.

I sat and typed as I watched the speech, switching between Al Jazeera and CNN. You have to read between the lines and accept the fact that this is as edited as my notes are going to be. I’m sure a copy of the speech is available through various sites: Facebook and Twitter ‘the White House’.

Middle Class economics, instead of Trickle Down Economics.

…about America…
economy growing at fastest pace since 1999
unemployment rate lower than before financial crisis
more people graduating
as free from grip of foreign oil as we’ve been in 30 years
past 5 yrs businesses created more than 11 M new jobs
america is # one in oil and gas
america is # one in wind power

restore the link between hard working and making gains; for EVERYONE
childcare costs more than their mortgage or the cost of one year tuition at Michigan uni

the country gains when everyone plays by the same rules and everyone contributes to our success

Middle Class economics

• helping working families feel more secure in world of constant change
• when the economics forces both parents to work, we need to stop treating childcare as a woman’s issue; treat it as a national issue that is important for all of us – quality childcare, new tax cuts, $3,000/per child/per year
• we are the only advanced country that doesn’t guarantee paid six leave or childcare – helping states that gives every worker in America to earn 7 days paid sick leave
• Congress pass a law to guaranttee that a woman is paid the same as a man doing the same work
• to Congress: if you truly believe you can live and support a family on $15,000 a year, try it!
• need laws to strengthen rather than weaken a Union
• we need to do more to help Americans upgrade their skills
• in a 21C economy that rewards knowledge more than any before. too many people are priced out of higher education: lower the cost of community college to zero. Stay ahead of the curve; make community college available and universal. Connecting community colleges to connect with local business to train them; paid apprenticeships
• give every veteran access; translate their training and experience into civilian jobs
• Michele and Joe Biden helped in a program to get veterans jobs
• 21C businesses need 21stC infrastructure – create more than
• businesses need to sell more products overseas
• china wants to write the rules – trade promotion – trade deals from Asia to Europe that aren’t just fair. 95% of the world’s customers live outside our borders. We need to bring jobs back from china
• rely on american science, technology, research and development = precision medicine initiative to give us access to making headway
• protect a free and open internet, to build the fastest networks – wants Americans to win the race in creating the proestetics, solar system, astronauts to Mars Good luck Captain Kelly will live for a year in space. “Make sure to instagram it!”
• stop the loopholes, reward companies that keep the jobs here on this soil
• simplify the tax system
• stop allowing the top 1% – that truly helps working Americans to get the economy together
• give people the tools they need, to maintain the conditions for growth – make our economy stronger
• we can not separate our work at home from what’s happening beyond our shores
• how can America can lead in the world. look at the broader strategy to live in a safer Worl
• combine military power with strong diplomacy, don’t let our fears blind us. that’s what the terrorists want, to pay us in their hands

We stand united with people around the world – from schools in Pakistan

bankrupt ideology of violent extremism, opposing Russia’s aggression, supporting Ukraine, supporting NATO allies

America leads not with bluster but persistant steady resolve

Cuba’s isolation is long past it’s isolation date
when what what you’re doing doesn’t work for 50 years, it’s time to try something new
• stand up for democratic values; ending the embargo

• as his holiness Pope Francis; diplomacy is the work of small steps

• he will veto any sanctions
• only go to war as a last result
• no hacker should be able to steal trade secrets
• the world needs to use this lesson; invest in smart development, eradicate extreme poverty, learn how to avoid a global pandemic
• no challenge poses a greater threat to future generations than climate change – 2014 was the planet’s warmest on record, 14 of the 15 warmest years have been
• NASA NOA the best scientists in the world are telling us our activities are changing the planet; massive destructions, posing immediate risks to our national security “we should act like it”
• more public lands have been contributed in the last years
• American leadership must drive international action. The world needs to reach an agreement to protect the one last planet we have.
• As American’s we respect human dignity; technology such as drones must be properly restrained, speak out against antisemitism, stop approaching Muslim’s with fear, cut populations in prisons
• we do these things because they are not only the right thing to do, but because ultimately they will make us safer
• increase more transparency; keep country safe while strengthening privacy
build coalitions to build
• lead with our values; that’s what keeps us strong – hold ourselves to the highest of standards
• United States of America in a nation that gave someone like me a chance; Chicago microcosm of country
• Division itself is misguided: I still believe that we can work together. American’s beat back adversity. He knows the good hearted, generosity and optimism of the American people
• to Congress he said: “set a better example, better reflect America’s hopes. There are a lot of good people on both sides of the isle.
• !!! Imagine if we broke out of these tired old patterns and appeal to each others’ basic decency instead of fears!!!! (wow!)
• talk issues, values, facts …. a better politics instead of drowning people in dark ads, but asking young people to join in the mission of building america

• to Congress: Let’s make the debates worthy of this country,

*reform America’s criminal justice system so that it protects and serves all of us

•rebuild trust. that’s how we move this country forward. I have no more campaigns to run “i know because i won both of them” (excellent comment!). My only agenda for the next two years, is to do what i believe is best for America.

• I want this chamber to reflect the truth; people with strength and generosity of spirit to unite, actions to tell every child in every neighborhood that your life matters

•We see our differences as a great gift. Everybody matters, grow up in a country that shows the world everything that we know to be true. We are more than a collection of red states and blues states. I want people to grow up in a country where a young mom can write a letter to the president.

We are a strong tightknit family who has made it through some hard times. Picked ourselves up, dusted ourselves off, and laid a foundation.

Paul Heise Professor Economics | A Happy New Year is your proactive responsibility |

Having not lived in the United States for a while, I’m not familiar with this writer nor his column, yet the contents of his words reverberated. Heise holds a Ph.D. in economics and is professor emeritus of economics at Lebanon Valley College. This was published in the Opinion section of the Lebanon Daily News, January 5th, 2012. He suggests that Americans let go of their fears and apprehension, and open their minds to seizing new opportunities; through actively taking proactive steps and taking responsibility for creating the life that we want, to once again set examples for the world to follow!

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A happy new year, if we will work at it

By PAUL HEISE

The new year is a good time to seek out and celebrate the opportunities that life presents us.

The actual happiness of this new year will depend not on fate or accident but on how we respond to the opportunities we face. The opportunities are there, and we face a bright future so long as we do not panic and retreat into fear.

Certainly, our highest hopes flow from the physical sciences because they are the base of the technology that sustains us. The theoretical scientists, working in real time, promise new worlds as yet undreamed of.

For example, in biology, DNA research offers the opportunity to change the very nature of humanity. In physics, the search for the boson particle offers us the excitement of a possible fifth dimension. These opportunities are so stunning that they are and should be frightening.

America as a nation spends huge sums on scientific research. While too much of that is military, a lot does spill over to the private sector. Advances in robotics in regard to artificial limbs have been applied to the general population. GPS technology is good for more than just smart bombs targeting terrorists. Similarly, drone technology has been applied to rescue people as well as to slaughter them.

Managing these technologies promises a future of both jobs and wealth, if we are willing to spend the research money directly on domestic needs.

Technically and economically, the world can produce enough to feed, clothe, house, medicate and educate to a reasonable middle-class standard. The only problems in the way of that are political. The 30-year stagnation of the wages of the middle-class and therefore much of our poverty are not accidental. They are the result of class warfare.

We now live in a plutocracy, government by the wealthy, with extremes of inequality in wealth and income not seen for more than 80 years. These inequalities are also the underlying cause of our current depression.

America will get a growing, prosperous economy in 2012 only if we give the middle-class a wage increase commensurate with their increased productivity.

If we want to have a prosperous new year, we must put our political house in order. The financial sector does not have a right to the money it stole or the political power it purchased with that money. We need to demand accountability for the criminal behavior of bank presidents and not just crack addicts.
Our Constitution and all of our universal and unalienable rights, especially freedom from warrantless search and seizure, must be defended and not given up because we are afraid. Corporations have limited liability, uncontrolled size and immortality; no person I know has any of those attributes.
The tea party and the Occupy Wall Street movement agree on at least this much, so the country is surely ready to fight those battles. Coordinated SWAT team action and pepper spray should not deter us.

America is still the most powerful cultural force for good in the world, and politically the world is going our way despite what you hear.

The Occupy Wall Street movement, with its attack on income inequality, was quickly copied across the developed world. Divergent forms of democratic capitalism are emerging and being welcomed. The repressive aspects of Chinese state capitalism are being challenged by the Chinese people themselves. India’s combination of socialism and capitalism is still emerging. Latin America is quietly slipping free of the IMF and North American corporate control. A democratic Arab Spring is outperforming militant Islamism. Across the world, the creation and spreading of wealth is becoming more important than political ideology.

If we revive the middle class here at home and reach out to others, we will have a great year, and the world will go along. Instead of projecting power in the Far East with aircraft carriers, we will share with China the development of an emerging Southeast Asia. Instead of threatening Iran, we will recognize its natural position as a leader in the Middle East. Instead of fighting the world consensus on global climate change, we will be leading the repair of the planet. Instead of fearing science, we will complete that stalled particle accelerator down in Texas. Instead of closing our borders and our hearts, we will open them so we are still the land of the free.

List your own favorite tasks, and we will all have a daunting but exciting agenda.

America and the world face the prospect of a prosperous and peaceful world. But America is still the only country that can lead us all forward. If we succumb to a bickering fear – of technology, of dark-skinned people, of ourselves – we will not lead.

Let’s look at the new year not just as a gift of opportunity but as a task to be accomplished. Then it will be a really happy new year!
A resident of Mt. Gretna, Heise holds a Ph.D. in economics and is professor emeritus of economics at Lebanon Valley College. His column appears every other Thursday. He maintains past columns and can be reached through his blog, paulheise.blogspot.com.

Matt Taibbi | Wall Street has no incentive Not to Commit Crimes |

An informative interview with Matt Taibbi. He’s very articulate and educated about the subject he speaks of and has written a book about; wall street getting away with it, American complacency, the media not necessarily being manipulated from the top-down, but influenced with what will draw the best advertising money….

Guides to Living Longer, Happier Lives – Right Here, Right Now!

I am in the midst of trying to re-organize a lot of things in my life. I have to move, again. I am also in the process of looking for work, because right at the same time I was informed that I must find a new place to live, several of my income sources also simultaneously “dried up”, like a local well suddenly becoming contaminated. Thing is, I have been aware of my need to upgrade to a deeper, larger and more vibrant watering hole before this whole process started, and now have no choice. I’ve been from the start trying to remain calm, and not let these impediments get in the way of things that I’ve wanted to participate in. And then yesterday, in the process of contemplating what I’d like to do, and of thinking about happiness in general, I went on yet another google research whirlwind to inquire among other things, ” Where in the world, people might be happier?”

One study which incorporated economic stability into the picture, according to this necessary ‘bias’ of the Western World…came up with Denmark as being the place where people are the happiest in the World. A dreary, gloomy often cloud covered place, where people enjoy a high standard of living, and also where there are more balanced socialized perspectives in terms of employment. In other words, there appears to be less of a social pecking order pyramid in terms of some jobs having more prestige, and more of an overall appreciation of life over work, and the idea that sharing and communicating optimism on a daily basis to others in one’s community is valued over the type of job one has.

http://www.financialjesus.com/how-to-get-rich/top-10-happiest-countries/

My point is not that I’m considering moving to Denmark. My search continued, and somehow in my trajectory I came upon this link, labeled the Blue Zones, which are what researchers discovered and labeled as the areas in the World which correspond to where people have the highest longevity.

http://www.bluezones.com

And in all of the material that I was reading and listening to, it became clear, that happiness is not a place that I or anyone else can find necessarily in a particular geographical place. It has to do with healthy physical and emotional habits; a balanced diet, a regular amount of physical activity and motion. It has much more to do with attitude than anything else. Having a sense of purpose in one’s life, recognizing the awe of life itself, in whatever way one chooses to approach this grand mystery, surrounding oneself with friends and family and embracing the daily changes with optimism.

In my other searches on ‘where people laugh and smile the most on earth’, since they don’t appear to do so with any high frequency here in Germany where I currently reside, I started doing searches.

It comes down to the fact that humor and laughter is universal in its health benefits, and I recall from the years of Thanksgiving dinners among extended family members, that there was a great deal of humor and laughter around the table, and physical exercise afterwards.

This link gets into a more philosophical inquiry about ‘what laughter is, and why we laugh’. One of the most stunning facts is that babies start laughing in the first months and kids laugh at least twice as much as adults. So, laughter is innate, is contagious just like yawning….and is associated with playful and light-hearted attitudes.

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/3077386/

We all just need to be more playful, and take ourselves less seriously…in order to transmit good vibes to other people that will also ripple to others; the calming, healthier signals of slowing down, enjoying life and appreciating all of the delicate morsels that it has to offer.

http://www.helpguide.org/life/humor_laughter_health.htm

Note, I had to research this stuff yesterday to be reminded, to not ‘stress’ and to be optimistic, about the task that I have before me. At least now I know, that I don’t have to make a mad dash to set up house in another city/country/continent to be happy or healthy, but merely seek out and incorporate healthy physical and emotional activities into my routine, with humor and delight – sharing with family and friends!

And don’t forget that we’re not alone on this planet ‘-)
http://www.avaaz.org/en/no_more_bloody_ivory/98.php?CLICK_TF_TRACK