Thursday, August 6, 2009

circuits, rounds, laps, perimeters

1) Dmitry Orlov was interviewed yesterday on Pacifica Radio's Guns and Butter show. I haven't found many thinkers who are writing or speaking as wisely as Orlov, on the subjects interconnected in the collapse of the American Imperial Project. Orlov watched the USSR collapse as a native of that country, and he later moved here in time to see America begin to mirror the collapse of the USSR. What he sees, and how he interconnects those things, is unparalleled among the writers and/or speakers I've encountered. This interview is about the most interesting thing of his I've read or heard. He gets bonus points for using the term "economics" in the pure honest sense, not in the ideologically-loaded sense.FN Give it a listen.

2) Dennis Perrin's most recent entry is an interesting assessment of The Mighty Donkle. You should go read the whole thing because it's interesting and because after you read it, you can read his other entries which are often very funny, as well as pretty astute on many political matters. But here's an excerpt:
Bill Clinton hasn't lost a step. Regardless of his actual record, which includes various war crimes and assaults on that wax deity, the Constitution, Bill's sexy swagger still makes the lib boys and girls swoon and come on cue.

I've never seen anything like this in American politics. Sure, reactionaries grovel before images of Reagan, but his appeal is religious in tone. Clinton is more down to earth, someone you fantasize spending with, and if you're lucky, fuck. (Right-wingers tried this same approach with W., pretending he seemed salty and real, but it never gained the same traction as Clintonphilia.) His corporate centrism is favored by professional liberals high and low, something not lost on Obama. His imperial management was savvier and in many ways more effective than Bush's cloddish attempts (another lesson for Obama). He even survived impeachment, which thankfully avoided any mention of real impeachable crimes, focusing instead on lies about blowjobs.
The rest is here.

3) My friends Lee and Sharon were down this way last week on a road trip from their native Vancouver BC through the northern Rockies. I did a ride with them and Lee's narrative and photos, plus video, are here.

4) The recent disclosures about murder allegations in a lawsuit filed on behalf of Iraqis, against the corporation Blackwater/Xe in the US Distrcit Court for the Eastern District of Virginia, was something that caught my eye in my yesterday evening news-roaming. Over at Feral Scholar, Stan remarked on it yesterday. The discussion following looks like it will get interesting. Michael Anderson's comment was excellent.

5) Some brief thoughts about the current cluster-copulation on national-scale health care. I note that the Prius-driving latte-drinkers are now on-board with National Medicare, thanks to NPR and PBS doing a bang-up sales job on it. A little help was thrown in by Denny the Dwarf and Sleazy Johnny C.

I'm a little more inclined to believe in and agree with the perspective recently offered by Mary Lynn Cramer over at Counterpunch.

Meanwhile the Prius-drivers are clamoring for National Medicare -- as to what I'm typically seeing from the "liberals" and "progressives," here's Dave Lindorff and here's Dave Lindorff again, with some bonus lying for the Donkle... or they're arguing for its equivalent, with pretty much the same problems continued -- here's Jeff Sher.

In contrast, I think Norman Solomon is onto something here, and this pair of data graphics helps underscore why Solomon's aim is good.

My friends over at Dead Horse discussed this recently and Rob seems to like the Medicare-expansion option. My quarrel with this option is that it retains all the problems of Medicare and expands them, further wasting taxpayer $$$ on an inefficient, problem-riddled system.

I also think that at this point, quarreling over the mechanics of whatever system will be used is a distraction being wrought by either naive-but-well-meaning "activists," or a serious psy-op angle worked by various bloggers and other quasi-news-media sources.

The first arguments should be about what are the premises of a national health care program. We will find more agreement on basic premises, and if you're trying to resolve a problem that generates a diversity of opinions on how to solve it, it's better to work from agreement than disagreement. Obviously it's counter-productive to nurture disagreement from the start, eh?

The first arguments should concern the points that (a) health care is a right, not just some privilege; (b) health care should be delivered efficiently, not bureaucratically or with a frenzy of middle-men taking pieces of the overall cost pie; and (c) any system which approves the use of middle-men between doctor and patient should be rejected as unworkable and corrupt.

From those 3 points the details of a workable system can be hashed out. Medicare will not qualify because it is inefficient and it rewards non-contributing middle-men.

Expanding a counter-productive system to all Americans further undercuts what little strength may remain in our government, by confirming that it's just a handmaiden to corruption.


FN - In other words, he doesn't assume "economics" is premised upon capitalism and its continuity into perpetuity.