1. Kevin de Bruxelles

    Jane is one of my heroes!

    I do wish though that her blog would make more of an effort to build bridges with the Tea Party types. It is of course correct to denounce explicit Tea Party racism but sometimes some of her guest bloggers turn racialist, in other words they attempt to use racial shaming — for example implying anyone who wants to discuss immigration policy hates “brown people”. It is the same as those on the right who decry any critical discussion of Israeli policies as anti-Semitic

    In a post-racial America, class outweighs race 99% of the time.

    1. DownSouth

      I’m not sure it’s a class vs. race issue, as Martin Luther King made clear in his 1961 speech entitled “If the Negro Wins, Labor Wins” before the Fourth Constitutional Convention of the AFL-CIO.

      But certainly the left’s plunge into identity politics towards the end of the decade proved both highly divisive and counterproductive to progressive causes. Robert Hughes, Richard Bernstein, Alice Goldfarb Marquis and Peter Skerry all wrote incisive and hard-hitting critiques of the elite-network cultural politics that evolved beginning in the late 60s.

      One only has to look at the roster of elite foundations—-Ford, Rockefeller, MacArthur, etc.—-that bankrolled identity politics to become highly suspicious of its ultimate goal.

      1. alex

        I’m reminded of Big Bill Haywood years earlier. From Wikipedia:

        In 1912, Haywood spoke at a convention for the Brotherhood of Timber Workers in Louisiana; at the time, interracial meetings in the state were illegal. Haywood insisted that the white workers invite the African American workers to their convention, declaring:

        “You work in the same mills together. Sometimes a black man and a white man chop down the same tree together. You are meeting in a convention now to discuss the conditions under which you labor. Why not be sensible about this and call the Negroes into the Convention? If it is against the law, this is one time when the law should be broken.”

        Ignoring the law against interracial meetings, the convention invited the African American workers. The convention would eventually vote to affiliate with the IWW.

    2. DownSouth

      Kevin de Bruxelles,

      And since you specifically mention immigration policy, I’d add that this is one of the specific areas that Skerry analyzes in his deconstruction of identity politics:

      The most controversial finding of the Terrance-Hart poll concerned Hispanic attitudes toward sanctions on employers hiring illegal immigrants. In the midst of an intense national debate in which virtually all Hispanic leaders were vehemently opposed to just such sanctions (as proposed in the pending Simpson-Mazzoli legislation), Tarrance-Hart reported that 60 percent of Hispanics favored “penalties and fines for employers who hire illegal immigrants.” The predictable result was a barrage of polemical and methodological criticisms of the survey.


      That such large numbers would be opposed to or undecided on a position that their leaders had made the number one priority throughout that presidential election year highlights once again the persistent gap between the Mexican-American political elite and the rank and file.
      –Peter Skerry, Mexican Americans: The Ambivalent Minority

      Skerry presents a well documented case that identity politics doesn’t really give a shit about its rank and file constituency. Quite the contrary, it’s much more concerned with carrying water for its elite benefactors—-wealthy business and cultural elites.

      1. alex

        Excellent information. Like Kevin I detest the way it’s suggested that any discussion of immigration is really about racism.

        1. DownSouth

          Yep. Robert Hughes summed it up quite eloquently:

          Hence, in the universities, what matters is the politics of culture, not the politics of the distribution of wealth and of real events in the social sphere, like poverty, drug addiction and the rise of crime. The academic left is much more interested in race and gender than in class. And it is very much more interested in theorizing about gender and race than actually reporting on them. This enables its savants to feel they are on the cutting edge of social change, without doing legwork outside of academe; the “traditional left” has been left far behind, stuck with all that unglamorous and twice-told stuff about the workers.
          –Robert Hughes, Culture of Complaint: A Passionate Look into the Ailing Heart of America

  2. Cynthia

    Republicans have a strong tradition of supporting the rich over the rest of us peons. So it makes me wonder why Republicans oppose a health-care bill that is specifically designed to concentrated even more health-care dollars into the hands of the rich. All I can figure is that Republican are jealous of the Democrats for out doing them when it is comes to sucking up to the rich.

    1. kevin de bruxelles


      There is a distinct pattern of Republicans stepping back and Democrats coming forward when unpopular things need to be done. I’m sure others could come up with plenty of other examples but I can think of four examples off the top on my head.

      Supporting mass immigration in California (to help Agribusiness)
      Jimmy Carter removing limits on credit card interest rates.

      The key is that our two-party system is not competitive. It is just a distraction that allows our elite to wear their “masks of consent”. What the Republicans do is step back and pretend to fight against Democratic proposals that help enrich the elite in order to gain political capital which they then leverage into winning the next election and then enacting even more policies that help the rich. But the Republicans would never do anything that really stopped these proposals from happening; they would only attempt to tweek them to make them even better for the rich. So after 2010 they will move to push more and more Americans off MediCare and onto private ObamaCare Eventually, aftet the Republicans overextend, we will get a fresher and brighter hopey changey moment to get the cycle going all over again.

      In order to put this in historic context, below is a quote from Antony Beevor from his The Spanish Civil War, that describe the same political situation in late 19th century Spain.

      Meanwhile, although there may have often been a vicious rivalry between liberals and conservatives in the provinces, there was virtually a gentleman’s agreement between their leaders in the capital. Whenever there was an unpopular measure to carry out, the conservatives retired and the liberals, who had now become almost indistinguishable from their opponents came in. The two main parties resembled those little wooden men who appear alternately out of their houses to indicate the weather. But any high-minded figure, however aristocratic, who denounced the corruption, was regarded as a traitor and shunned. (p19)

      1. Tertium Squid

        You guys are missing the boat on this. The Republicans have been forced into a difficult position – the Democratic corporatist strategy is pulling health care campaign $$$ away from them. If the Democrats are able to show that big insurance interests don’t need Reps working for them anymore, the Republicans will be left out in the cold.

        In this context, Republican intransigence makes sense. They fought against HCR tooth and nail to show big insurance that they needed Republican support to get things done.

        Corporate lobbyists are indifferent about who they bribe, they just want willing partners. A pimp doesn’t care who his whore is, so long as he has one. Either party will do.

    2. Valissa

      From Brad Delong…

      The curious triumph of RomneyCare http://theweek.com/bullpen/column/201077/The_curious_triumph_of_RomneyCare

      Neither Democrats nor Republicans have an incentive to discuss the Republican roots of Obama’s health-care plan. But that doesn’t mean they’re not real—and deep. …

      The conservative DNA of ObamaCare is hardly a secret. “The Obama plan has a broad family resemblance to Mitt Romney’s Massachusetts plan,” Frum wrote. “It builds on ideas developed at the Heritage Foundation in the early 1990s that formed the basis for Republican counter-proposals to ClintonCare in 1993-1994.”

      So why are none of the talking heads on your TV screen and none of the op-ed writers in your newspaper talking about how this health plan is a big victory for Mitt Romney and Republican policy analysts? Because there has been a conspiracy of silence among those working for the bill and those working against it.

  3. Jennifer Hill

    Hey Yves –

    I was so happy when Jane gave Naked Capitalism a shout out yesterday.

    You are doing so much to bring a coherent and accessible conversation to the systemic financial crisis. Please keep it up, you and all of your esteemed colleagues.

    Thanks for your all your writing and analysis. It’s been so helpful to me.

    Also everyone check out Shadow Elite by Janine R. Wedel. One must always give a fellow Kansan a shout out.

    Jen Hill

  4. mpinco

    Surprised anyone gives MSNBC credibility:

    About those racial slurs allegedly tossed at black congressmen yesterday (updated with pictures)
    Rick Moran

    “I find it fascinating that in all the reports in the MSM on the story involving racial epithets being shouted at black Congressmen, very few mention that the only evidence for these racial slurs comes from the Congressmen themselves.

    And they’d never lie about something like that, right?…..”

    I fully expect both the Democrat and Republican parties view the protest as a threat and manufacturer outrage. It’s not like we haven’t seen this before – AIG bonuses.

  5. velobabe

    yeah i really like dylan and kudos to MSNBC for showcasing his agenda. but being located in MST it is hard to slip in this hour of couch time @ 2pm. thanks for profiling important minutes of dialogue. i find that MSNBC sorta caters to eastern standard time lifestyles. maybe substitute chris matthews second hour with TDRS. really liked his two hour morning meeting that got this train rolling last summer. just my 2¢s. yeah, naked c bravo shout out†

    1. readerOfTeaLeaves

      I’m in that group of Americans who don’t own a tv, so I watch everything online, which makes it far more convenient. If you have a fast connection fromfrom home, or work at home, you can google the show and select the clips that interest you.

      But what I find bizarre is that I’m not able to locate this clip in the msnbc list of recent segments. Maybe something about Jane’s calling the people in charge of US finance ‘parasitic psychopaths’ raised problems for their archiving system…?

      I find it enormously refreshing to have a business show that examines the linkages between money and politics; it’s never been more timely. (And the guest line up is often exceptionally good.)

      Also, a ‘second’ on thanking Yves for such yeoman’s work on explaining what’s happened in finance over so many years. I don’t get as many novels read these days, because the finance stuff is ‘stranger than fiction’ and sure feels as if I’m reading ‘true crime’ — a genre that I don’t normally read.

      This mess is one hell of a story, I’ll give it that much.

      1. alex

        “Maybe something about Jane’s calling the people in charge of US finance ‘parasitic psychopaths’ raised problems for their archiving system…?”

        Exactly right. I have a friend who worked on the automatic filter system that rejects anything about speaking truth to power in plain English.

  6. Vinny

    This health care bill is a complete disaster. It’s a joke. Not only does it further facilitate the transfer of wealth from the dwindling middle class to the ultra rich, but it does nothing to address the needs of the American people or the needs of health care providers. So what if the crooked insurance company won’t be able to refuse somebody based on a preexisting condition – they’ll just hit you with a huge premium you can’t afford, and accomplish the same thing. The same goes for health care providers. The fact is, besides a few high-profile hospitals and research centers, most of America’s hospitals and community clinics are in shambles, complete third world sights.

    So, take it from a doctor fed up with the American way of doing medicine: The United States of America will continue to have the worst medical system of the first and second worlds, and tens of thousands of people will continue to die annually as a result. But hey, the fat cats will continue to get fatter, and that’s what matter’s doesn’t it? This country really can’t do anything right anymore, except steal, kill, maim, and lie. That’s America, my friends.


  7. weinerdog43

    “Surprised anyone gives MSNBC credibility:”

    Says the post coming from wingnut central.

    Please, go back to Limbaugh and leave the discussion to the adults. Thanks.

    1. mpinco

      Well considering I don’t listen to Limbaugh it appears the children are the ones playing the race card. My point was that this is very predictable. The manufactured ‘outrage’ of AIG bonuses was used to distract the public from the billions of $ going to banks. This smells of the same tactic.

      Watch what they do, not what they say. Isn’t that what Yves said in the “The Health Insurers Have Already Won” post last year? While the Insurers publically protested health care reform, they were busy crafting the current bill. While they manufacture race outrage what is the real behind the scenes action? Why characterize this as “Hate Speech” when there are valid 10th Amendment issues that will strip this bill of revenue? Revenue for health care or revenue for social security? It is pretty clear to the educated that this is not a deficit reducing bill. In fact, in the whole, it will morph into a large deficit producing monster.

      The general population won’t know by watching MSNBC. Look elsewhere, like Naked Capitalism, American Thinker, etc.

  8. EmilianoZ

    The health care bill might contain some good stuff. I didn’t know much about it but this morning I had a timeline/summary in the Express (it’s a free paper that’s handed out at the entrance of subway stations in the DC area, it’s owned by the Washington Post). It’s a timeline because most reforms will be phased in progressively. Two items caught my eye:

    1) “2012: nonprofit co-ops will be created to compete against commercial insurers.”
    This is not a public option but it might be as good. “nonprofit” must be cheaper than “commercial”. If they’re well-run those co-ops might become big, maybe as big as a public option would’ve been.

    2) “2013: insurance company paperwork will be standardized in the first in a series of steps to reduce administrative costs”
    I remember Matt Taibbi advocated a single-payer system because administrative costs were horrendous with the present system. It looks like the problem is addressed in the bill.

    I think there’s some hope here. We might be unduly negative.

    1. alex

      I agree that there’s _some_ hope and, despite decrying this corrupt bill, my political guess is that overall it was better to pass it than nothing. But even if it is a start, what a truly horrible, corrupt, half-assed start it is.

    2. Kevin de Bruxelles

      To me it is quite simple, Obamacare has been set up as a private alternative to Medicare. As budget deficits rise, in the near future you will hear calls for more and more people to be pushed off Medicare and onto Obamacare. Are the Democrats really going to resist this?

      In eight years there will be no Medicare left.

      1. alex

        “In eight years there will be no Medicare left.”

        I doubt that. They say that Social Security is the third rail of American politics, but eliminating Medicare would lead to history’s first Revolution of the Elderly. Sayeth the man with the walker: “I vote. Failing the effectiveness of that, I don’t need youthful spryness to wire bombs”. I’m only half kidding. Geezers are the last living Americans who remember a time when our people weren’t noted for passively accepting every political outrage. May they eventually pass on that knowledge to their children and grandchildren (bombs optional).

        1. Kevin de Bruxelles

          I hear you Alex, and perhaps eight years is an exageration, but in the end which of the two parties are these old folks going to vote for to save Medicare?

        2. Vinny


          I am just now releasing a new line of revolutionary-related products for the elderly. Our flagship product is a walker that is sporting a pitchfork holder. The walker was designed with the memory-impaired elderly in mind, so for a limited time only we are throwing in absolutely free our “Quick Pitchfork Locator” device that relies on the latest GPS technology that enables the geezer to find his/her misplaced pitchfork before the next revolution ends.

          Order now: http://www.pitchforksRus.com or 1-800-PITCH-EM

          Operators are standing by.


          1. Skippy

            What sad irony, the cattle now have to invest *in* the abattoir.

            Skippy…99.9% of my species scare me to death…their minds more dangerous than any weapon yet created.

    3. jdmckay

      2) “2013: insurance company paperwork will be standardized in the first in a series of steps to reduce administrative costs”

      Note that this was in ’01 HIPAA laws conceived during Clinton years, finalized and waiting implementation upon Bush’s inauguration, then promptly relegated to scrap heap by W’ & co (along w/good chunk of other good stuff from that legislation).

  9. Hugh

    “nonprofit” must be cheaper than “commercial”

    Not really. Most of this bill is about cons within cons. IIRC co-ops will be small. They will have little market share and so little power to negotiate price. You have to ask questions like who will be allowed to join a co-op (the currently uninsured vs. open access) and who will run them (BCBS wanted to). But you should also look at the bigger picture. Anything that would have even potentially posed a threat to the profits of insurance companies was excised from this bill long ago. Also it is my understanding that while some of the tax stuff will happen now most of the other changes won’t come into effect until 2014 or later.

    Finally, you have to distinguish between standardization of paperwork and its simplification. These are often very different entities.

  10. Craig

    The Health Reform Package is really quite worthless. As an employee benefits consultant over the last 20 years I have seen the transfer of huge Medicare and Medicaid costs (including fraud and mismanagement) shifted to private business/insurance. The idea being to bring about a single payer plan. Americans are getting more healthcare than they can afford. In regards to Tea Baggers, many are democrats. The racism/race card is overplayed and only effective in the minds of racists themselves.

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