March 22, 2010

Post Mortem


Well, I’ve written plenty on this vile reactionary health racket bailout. I don’t have much desire to say much more now. So just a few words.
Everyone agreed in principle that the system was broken, yet instead of chucking the whole thing they all agreed to further entrench the existing broken system. Instead of real reform they entrenched the existing abuses. They doubled down on organized crime.
Don’t let any of this scum get away with comparing this to how Social Security was imperfect to start with but was then built upon. Social Security was structurally headed in the right direction from the inception, and only needed scaling. This reactionary entrenchment of the private parasite heads in exactly the WRONG direction. It builds the parasitic tollbooths into fortresses. It further scales up the inefficiencies, insanities, rent extractions, and crimes.
Today I read this piece on the complete failure of Afghan police training for nine years now. How they’re still handing out “contracts” to the likes of Blackwater and DynCorp, the same who have stolen so many billions already. The piece quotes some would-be reformers offering suggestions on how the process could become more rational and cost-effective.
They don’t get it.
The whole point of the Afghan war, as with every other federal project, is to set up extraction points for well-connected gangs to steal taxpayer money. The government loots on the gangs’ behalf, serves as bagman, hands over the cash. The “contracts”, whatever they’re supposed to be for, are merely fraudulent pretexts. Nobody actually cares if they’re ever performed. Halliburton and Blackwater themselves are indistinguishable from Mafia capo regimes, or from the Bloods and the Crips.
(If anyone needed further proof that the Obama and Bush administrations are identically corrupt down to the very details, the piece says that the “Space and Missile Defense Command and Contracting Office” of all people will be placed in charge of adjudicating the Blackwater-DynCorp turf squabble. I don’t know how they became the bagman of choice, but such idiocy is common in kleptocracies. Indeed, that’s a classic symptom. Then again, “missile defense” was always a world class scam, so maybe scamming’s all that office has ever done.)
The piece quotes DynCorp saying that the US military isn’t good at training indigenous police. I’m sure that’s true. But here’s a memo from reality: If your military, because of the systemic way you set it up, isn’t good at a particular mission, that’s a strong indication that the mission itself is unsuitable and unnecessary; that it doesn’t involve your real interests. So the conclusion you should draw is to reject the mission.
But of course this system does the opposite – if the existing structure’s no good, just pile corporate contracts atop it. Build a corporatist Tower of Babel. Because for this system, a kleptocracy, the real mission is always privatization and looting. Always. In every single case. 
That’s the only reality-based explanation for the Global War on Terror. Any system which actually had the intentions and goals this system claims would act in a completely different way.
In the same way, the only way you can impute any rationality or sanity to supporters of this health racket bailout is to assume their main (and perhaps only) priority is to maximize profits for the rackets. Short of this motive, support for this bill can be ascribed only to ignorance (of what’s really in it, and of regulatory history), cult insanity, and the standard “progressive” cowardice.    
Another of the idiotic “progressive” hack delusions is the way they keep comparing what we have in America today – a gangster cesspool on the verge of overt fascism – with times and places which were/are not at all like that.
Like the comparison with European countries. How can one look at a system that evolved organically among people who still had some sense of a society, and think you can derive a template from that example, and then superimpose it on America’s gangland free-fire zone? News flash – American insurance rackets are nothing like European non-profit private insurance companies, however similar they may seem on paper to the delusionally myopic.
It’s like Krugman trying to compare Canadian bank regulation with what can be done in America. He’s also made the vicious, lying health racket comparison.
This, like everything else by now, is the battlefront of corporatism vs. anti-corporatism, tyranny vs. freedom.
Those who claim to support reform, but who sold out single-payer, and stand by their betrayal today, are traitors.
We know, once and for all, that this system is incorrigible and terminal. The Federal government will never again do anything good for the public interest, or indeed anything which is not a further assault upon the public interest. The American people from here on have to view this government as a foreign, quisling puppet regime. Something to be ignored and evaded as a rule, actively resisted where necessary, and distrusted and rejected always.
It follows that there will never be a significant good piece of federal legislation again. So it’s best if no significant piece of federal legislation ever passes again. I’d really hoped this bill would fail, but oh well..
At any rate, from here on gridlock is our best outcome. The optimal situation would be for Democrats to retain the White House and smaller majorities in both houses. Small enough that on account of their own squabbling they wouldn’t be able to pass anything if the Republicans maintain obstructionist discipline vs. a Democratic president. (By contrast, with a Rep president it’s far more likely that enough Dems would cave in to allow Rep legislation to pass. It happened all the time under Bush.)
It also follows that the filibuster and all other procedural obstructions are now good things.
If that sounds too grim, too pessimistic, just think again about health “reform”, or finance “reform”. Obama and the Democrats came into 2009 with big majorities and an overwhelming mandate to pass real reform legislation. Single payer was theirs for the taking. Castrating Wall Street was theirs for the doing. The banks and the Republicans were on the ropes and could do nothing. (The Reps to this day can still do nothing.)
So what they actually did in both cases – claim that nothing but meager anodyne tinkering could be done, and then not even do that, but aggressively empower the rackets further, turning both “reform” processes into disaster capitalist plundering expeditions – empirically proves what the Democrats will do under the circumstances which are strongest for them. And we already saw during the Bush years what the Republicans will do anytime they have the chance.
So it’s over – the federal government, both Washington parties, and we can throw in the mainstream media, are a total loss. They are now enemies of the people and will never again be anything but that.
It’s a hard, cold realization, but one we have to endure. There will never again be any constructive action in America but new, decentralized action from the ground up.
One thing’s for sure. Now that this monstrosity has passed, if they really go ahead and try to enforce this mandate (it kicks in several years from now; you can gauge their bad faith and their cowardice by how they don’t want it to kick in prior to the 2012 elections) people need to start preparing themselves to become health insurance outlaws, because even millions who would go along with it if they could afford it will not be able to afford it. There will exist, for official consumption, “subsidies”, which in reality will never be even remotely sufficient.
So there, perhaps, is a small, still hazy bright spot, an opportunity in the crisis. Since economic relocalization and the spread of the informal economy are already freedom imperatives, and will be forced upon us by circumstances anyway, perhaps here’s a political pivot for making a virtue of necessity. We can speak the truth – that resisting this mandate will be not only something the system forces upon us, but a positively righteous fight against tyranny, a fight for freedom.


  1. As I wrote to a friend this morning who asked “Good about Obama?

    With respect to health care, The Democrats have cobbled together a 2700 page document-the mere monstrous size of this bill alone should have any sensible person deeply skeptical as to its intent- from which a solution to our sick health care system will not come. How could it when there are six health care lobbyists for every legislator? Health care reform would be great, but (the political system needs to be reformed first) as near as I can tell, the areas that most needed to be addressed by this “reform” will not be.

    In fact, the already existing system has been entrenched through expansion. The insurance rackets will be restricted from some of their worst practices, and that represents an improvement, but in exchange for thirty million more subscribers it still works out to be a great deal for them. In the meantime, people who privately insure will not be helped, and, thrown into the “bargain” we will have to start paying now for services that do not kick in until 2014.

    This “reform” scheme is about enabling Uncle Sugar-who is insolvent- to collect more taxes from the citizenry to keep its giant bloated self alive, and about delivering more folks into the clutches of a national corporate parasite, namely insurers.

    Comment by Edwardo — March 22, 2010 @ 9:09 am

  2. You might find this of interest.


    Comment by Edwardo — March 22, 2010 @ 11:01 am

  3. Do you really think the alleged “restrictions” will work any better than such restrictions have ever worked anywhere else in recent years, or was that just sugar-coating it?

    I hadn’t heard of Blond or his group before, so I don’t know what they’re up to. But it’s funny to see that guy squabbling with Brooks over who can tell a better lie which can better faciliate the rackets. I like the anti “elite” touch.

    The size of the bill – if I recall correctly, the single payer bill HR 676 is thirty pages.

    Comment by Russ — March 22, 2010 @ 2:56 pm

    • And the Canadian single payer bill is sixteen pages… eight if you consider that half of those sixteen pages are in French.

      Comment by jimmy james — March 22, 2010 @ 5:48 pm

      • Where it comes to politics and economics, the thing to do which is both most practically effective and most morally sound is almost always simple and straightforward.

        Almost without exception, wherever anyone’s saying something has to be complicated, it’s because he’s a criminal, trying to get away with robbery.

        Comment by Russ — March 22, 2010 @ 5:54 pm

  4. It quite possibly may be the case that absolutely no improvements will come from this. What I will be interested to see, among other things, is how the ban on insurers refusing coverage because of a pre-existing condition plays out.

    Comment by Edwardo — March 22, 2010 @ 5:13 pm

  5. Is it your view, Russ, that what will happen is that the restrictions will somehow be eroded, if not totally eliminated, after the fact?

    Comment by Edwardo — March 22, 2010 @ 5:19 pm

  6. I expect:

    1. If they violate anything it’ll be really hard for the victim to get help from law enforcement. If they can just obstruct and stonewall, like the banks with the HAMP, and the government responds the way it has with the HAMP (just one example), well, there you go.

    2. They’ll be able to jack up prices on all sorts of pretexts to render any discrimination ban moot. So de facto they’ll still be able to reject people.

    3. The alleged “subsidies” will never materialize. Fer chrissake – they’re talking about wanting to cut Medicare itself- who could believe they’re being honest about adequately subsidizing this mandate to buy what will be far more expensive toxic paper 40 million can’t afford now (and that number too is only going to skyrocket)?

    4. I read that it already has loopholes so that rescission by other means will continue. That the alleged ban on rescissions is a flat out lie.

    5. And then there’s whatever modifications they’ll make, especially once the Reps get back one or both houses. But Rep or Dem, either way we already know the pattern here. Every single step in the process has made it worse. Why would anyone think that pattern is going to magically change in the future, instead of continue as is?

    Those are the ones I could think of right off the bat. There’s probably others.

    Comment by Russ — March 22, 2010 @ 5:48 pm

  7. That’s an interesting take. I hadn’t heard about a ban on catastrophic coverage, though I could have figured as much.

    Of course I reject the notion that this is some master plan to get single payer by stealth. Are we ever going to be finished with this “11-dimensional chess” idiocy? Obama and the Dems are a combo of greed, corporatist ideology, and cowardice. Go with that and you’ll probably never meet with contrary evidence.

    But most of all I agree completely on this: Screw the government. They created this hideous situation, and any of us has a right to act in self-defense.

    I’ve said right from the start that individuals should reject with extreme prejudice the propaganda that it’s possible for us to be “free riders” in a system wholly devoted to the profits of a purely parasitic racket.

    So long as that massive, systemic free rider exists, the very concept of “free riding” is not available to the system as a moral imprecation. And all individuals are freed completely of any such moral bonds. The system has abdicated. (It’s the same as with individual strategic defaults.)

    Hobbes himself, the great philosopher of autocracy, agreed with all this.

    So just as I and others have encouraged underwater borrowers to act according to the same “rational” standards as the rich, so I agree with Denninger here that we as individuals should be rational (“ruthless”, in the jargon) vis this racketeering system.

    Our communities are among ourselves. There is nothing between us and the feudal system or its gangland masters.

    Comment by Russ — March 23, 2010 @ 2:11 am

  8. “Because for this system, a kleptocracy, the real mission is always privatization and looting. Always. In every single case.”

    Just wondering, Russ…

    The more I read here the more I see the term “Kleptocracy” in your writings when referring to our so-called government. Isn’t it a bit more accurate to call our government a plutarchy? Perhaps with a heaping helping of kleptocracy? Of late, for no other reason than the mental gymnastics the endeavor provides, I’ve been trying to accurately classify our government. I know you can help. Thanks.

    Comment by Bloodgroove — April 11, 2010 @ 10:24 am

  9. You can call it either of those. Either describes it. I usually choose “kleptocracy” because it emphasizes the crime itself, while “plutocracy” focuses on the wealth amassed by the crimes.

    I guess I choose the emphasis on the action rather than the status, and on the clear wickedness rather than what many might consider neutral (the wealth itself).

    But either’s accurate.

    Comment by Russ — April 11, 2010 @ 3:29 pm

  10. Ah, I see. I knew you’d throw some light on that for me. Thank you, sir.

    Comment by Bloodgroove — April 11, 2010 @ 3:49 pm

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