Pre-existing conditions

Not much going on in the world lately. Well, not exactly true. But I’ve been caught up in trying to purchase some computer equipment and didn’t have a clue as to how stressful that was gonna turn out. Those who say that technology will reduce workload and stress haven’t got a clue.
But enough about my worries and let’s see what the world has got for us.
Health (s)care. That’s about what we can now think of it. Real health care reform is doomed. Health care provision and the insurance for it will forever remain in the hands of the private sector, or as Michael Manley would say, the hands of the ‘rapacious capitalists. It is quite apparent barring some miracle, that the public option won’t be going forward. And if that happens, reform is essentially dead. Capital in America, must always be protected, even if it’s on the backs of the America people, especially those most at risk.
I know, I know that there is some reform. But other than removing the ‘pre-existing condition clause’, everything else is fairly essentially inconsequential. At the end of the day, more than 50 million Americans will remain without coverage (can’t afford it) and thus be at the mercy of the developed world’s most backward health care system.
I read somewhere I think, that more than 45,000 Americans die annually because they were uninsured or denied insurance. And with so many people losing their jobs and heath care insurance, the numbers are bound to go up.
Whether we like it or not, Obama is partly to blame. His neediness to be everyone’s friend has shown him to be weak and has given the republicans a sense of courage that they ought not to have. If he had kicked a couple people in the nuts from the beginning, real health care reform would have passed by now. What a wuss.
***
Was reflecting on a story that seven former CIA chiefs wanted Obama to stop the inquiry into the actions of the Central Intelligence Agency. The first hypocritical thing about this is that if any other country had their intelligence agency behaving with such blatant disregard for common decency as the CIA has been doing over long years, then America would be calling on them for an inquiry.
The 2nd thing that struck me about the story was this quote from the letter sent by the former ‘wise men’, “As a result of the zeal on the part of some to uncover every action taken in the post-9/11 period, many countries may decide that they can no longer safely share intelligence or co-operate with us on future counter-terrorist operations. They simply cannot rely on our promises of secrecy”.
Several years ago, Germany or it might have been Britain, shared some intelligence with the US with the intention that it should be held secret. The Bush administration immediately sent the information to the press, damaging further investigation in the country of origin. According to the white House, it was in their interest to do so. Their interest.
***
Weeks ago, I had addressed the situation in Honduras. Essentially, in June this year, Manuel Zelaya, the president of Honduras, was ousted at gunpoint from his position by a right-wing group friendly to the United States.
The coup came as a surprise because for some time, the coup-happy Central and South America had enjoyed a relatively long holiday from overthrows. Like every other country in the region, the US joined in condemnation speaking about the respect for the constitution and duly elected leaders. But Washington’s tone was really quite soft.
In no time Washington started to blame the coup on Zelaya’s recklessness and left-turning ways and in fact seemed more to hinder his legitimate return than aiding him. As the issue dropped more and more from America’s front pages, Zelaya’s hope for return diminished. Washington was helping the coup-government to run out the clock.
The coupists has decided to bring an election due next year, up to November, and Zelaya in exile would not be able to return to finish his term in office. Obama and the US dawdled. All other attempts to peacefully return the legitimate president fizzled without the weight of American power. The United States is Honduras’ largest trading partner and in any which way, the American president can bring enormous pressure against the illegitimate government.
But this hasn’t happened and Obama and the state department’s actions are tantamount to legitimizing military overthrows.
Now Zelaya has returned to his country, albeit in a secretive way, and is now hiding in the Brasilian embassy. His call for protests caused the coupists to suspend civil liberties including shutting down media stations.
Not a word from Obama, who last week, spent the time in the UN pontificating on the glories of electoral democracy. Instead an American diplomat has blamed Zelaya for more recklessness.
***
I have long said that not only has America no right to be in Afghanistan, they won’t be able to win the war. This is not wishful thinking, but a hard look at history. No one has been able to occupy that country for long. It is one of those quirks of life.
The only way to defeat that Afghanistan would be to nuke every inch of it. But I wouldn’t be surprised that like rats, roaches, mosquitos and Jamaicans, the Afghans would survive even nuclear annihilation.
Having lost Vietnam and being forced to invade countries like Panama, Grenada and Haiti to bear up their self-esteem, the US has found itself losing in Iraq and now Afghanistan. That is a little too much to bear for their military–industrial egos.
No matter how many troops they flood the place with, no matter how many remote bombs they use, Afghanistan is and was lost from the beginning. If they laid waste to Iran and Pakistan, Afghanistan is still lost.
The United States wants to run the world but they’re very easy to manipulate as was seen by Israel, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan’s former strongman Pervez Musharaff and Afghanistan’s Hamid Karzai.
These people easily duped the United States government which is barely the wiser. With Karzai, they are caught in a morass of their own making, not being able to go backwards or forwards, losing soldiers every day.
They are hoping for a miracle having run out of ideas. How the Russians must be laughing.
Please see George Graham’s “By George” blogs –Powerful Illicit interests complicate Obama’s decisions on Afghanistan and Riddle of a military coup and two Obamas- in this medium’s blog pages for additional perspectives.
More than anything, Obama is finding out that change doesn’t come easily to backward countries and for all his talk, special interests with their special interests are far more powerful and longer lasting than him, and he is reduced to nothing more than a pretty-faced talking head with no ability to change the nature of the ruling oligarchies of this country.
***
One of the things about being a country as large as this one, where the moving parts don’t really know what the others are doing, is that quite often there is the tendency for internal contradictions.
In New York recently, the top of the Empire State building shone with red and yellow lights, in tribute to the anniversary of communist China’s revolution. Of course, many are up in arms about a United States institution endowing such legitimacy on China. Quite understandable.
However, America has already legitimized the Chinese government through it s trade policies and through begging loans from the Chinese government. The very fact that a substantial part of America’s goods are manufactured in China, despite Chinese human rights record, gives a certain amount of legitimacy to the government.
The very fact that many industries have knowingly contracted with Chinese companies to have them produce goods that are known to be inferior, means that capitalistic greed has trumped all political and moral obligations.
To bawl out now is just another show of hypocrisy.

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