Why is Webster Tarpley Spouting Marketing Slogans and Tacitly Supporting the Privatization of Medicare?
by Scott Creighton
(Yes folks, the ACA has two pilot programs which set up the privatization of Medicare. Keep reading.)
We’re being sold a bill of goods. The opinion makers are busy pushing the limited hangout criticism of Obamacare as “bad policy” and they’re doing it for a reason.
Across the artificial ideological divide, the dissident left and right are now in complete harmony with each other claiming the Roberts court SCOTUS ruling on the so-called Affordable Care Act is legitimate, that congress does have the authority to force individuals to engage in commerce with a flawed and even criminal insurance industry on the sole basis that they are US citizens. The argument is that the Obamacare bill may in fact be “bad policy” but it is constitutional.
Once again, I am going to stay out here on the wildest fringes of political dissent and I am going to argue that not only is this conclusion wrong, but I intend to show that the entire “bad policy” meme is probably a marketing campaign bought and paid for by insurance and banking interests intent on disarming the only hope we have to overturn this precedent setting ruling.
The “Bad Policy’ Slogan
All across the political divide I keep seeing people referring to Obamacare now as “bad policy” as opposed to what it actually is… unconstitutional. It is unconstitutional… but more on that later.
Romney helped kick off the bad policy marketing campaign a few days ago…
“Obamacare was bad policy yesterday. It’s bad policy today. Obamacare was bad law yesterday. It’s bad law today. Let me tell you why I say that. Obamacare raises taxes on the American people by approximately $500 billion. Obamacare cuts Medicare, cuts Medicare, by approximately $500 billion. And even with those cuts, and tax increases, Obamacare adds trillions to our deficits and to our national debt.” Mitt Romney
Here’s the RNC:
“ObamaCare was bad policy for America from the very beginning. This November, it will be bad politics for Democrats. Voters want real reform, and only Republicans are prepared to pursue it.” RNC
Here’s Richard Lorenc making use of the meme early on…
“Here, I will offer five reasons why the legislation being considered by the Supreme Court is bad public policy that makes problems with health care availability, cost, and accessibility worse, while also making private individuals’ health decisions a matter of majority rule.” Richard Lorenc
“We’ve heard the back and forth rhetoric of whether the Affordable Healthcare Act is a good or bad policy.” Fox News
For those thinking this marketing slogan is being used only by people on the so-called right, think again…
“It’s bad policy but constitutional” Webster Tarpley
More on Tarpley in a minute… so why create this marketing meme (think “support the troops”)? What good does it do for the powers that run this country?
The answer to that is very simple: you can’t challenge bad policy in the courts whereas you can challenge the constitutionality of illegal laws.
The only way to redress out of control government is through the court system. But if they convince the American people that this horrendous ruling is in line with congressional authority, then the mandate will never be challenged in the way it should. The illegality morphs into “bad policy” and the people are left accepting an unconstitutional mandate as legal.
That’s why you see someone like Romney pushing the slogan; he’s completely for the neoliberal agenda in America which means handing over control of the nation to the corporations and financial oligarchs who wrote the healthcare bill in the first place. They would LOVE to use this ruling as a precedent to mandate even more commerce from the people of America and they damn sure will.
So at least in the chat rooms and dissident websites, gone now is the idea that this mandate is an unconstitutional overreach of congressional authority even though this was clearly the opinion of the four dissenting Justices on the Supreme Court.
“The Court regards its strained statutory interpretation as judicial modesty. It is not. It amounts instead to a vast judicial overreaching,” wrote the four other conservatives. source
Webster Tarpley as Voice of the Dissident Left?
First of all, I have the greatest respect for Webster Tarpley’s work I just think he’s wrong on this point and wrong in such a striking way I have to wonder what is really behind it.
During Webster’s June 30th World Crisis Radio podcast, Webster reversed his former position that the individual mandate in the ACA was unconstitutional and he did so in such a dismissive and intellectually flawed way that I was left wondering what he was actually doing.
Not only does he constantly repeat the Mitt Romney “bad policy’ slogan, but he goes on to explain what I believe to be extremely flawed logic in the process which is something I don’t see Tarpley do very often. A quick example of that would be Tarpley constant labeling of Scalia as a fascist for opposing Obamacare when the law itself is clearly written by and for the insurance corporations. I don’t know what definition of fascism Tarpley is used too, but from what I know, Scalia’s objection to the favorable ruling is probably the least fascist thing he has done while on the bench.
First of all, Tarpley admits that he was of the impression very recently that the mandate was unconstitutional until, as he puts it, he read an article published in the New Republic written by a guy from Harvard.
The New Republic is currently owned by Chris Hughes, a billionaire Bilderberger venture capitalist co-founder of Facebook, from Harvard who ran an online marketing campaign for Obama in 2008. As we all know, Facebook was created by the NSA to serve as a surveillance and propaganda tool and now we have Hughes, a man who was tapped for success like Bill Gates, running the publication that Tarpley uses to justify the constitutionality of the ACA mandate. Hughes also ran a social networking site to link up people with different non-profit organizations. The group he started was called Juno which was then linked up with another organization of the same type called GOOD. Al Gore’s son runs that.
So why is Webster Tarpley using an article published by a pro-Obama venture capitalist Bilderberger’s publication to explain to us how “constitutional” the mandate is?
The New Republic has been supporting the “Syrian Revolution” since day one even going so far as to imply that Syria was trying to develop nuclear WMDs. They even called on Saudi Arabia to attack the “monsterous regime” in Syria and called them “unmanly” for not doing so already.
This article for instance claims we prevented a massacre in Libya and “saved the people of Bosnia” via our NATO bombings and posits the notion that we must do the same thing in Syria. For “democracy” of course.
How the fuck can Webster Tarpley cite anything written by these people as proof of the constitutionality of the individual mandate? Clearly they have an agenda. Tarpley misses all of that? I don’t think so.
Well, let’s look at his argument, the argument he got from the New Republic article to find out.
The Tarpley / New Republic / NSA Argument for the Individual Mandate
The jist of the Tarpley / New Republic argument for the constitutionality of the individual mandate comes from three laws cited by Tarpley in his radio address which supposedly proves not only the constitutionality of the mandate but also the fact that the “original intent” of the founders of the nation supported mandates as tax.
I will list the three and a summary of what Tarpley says about them:
- 1790 – Individual mandate that ship owners had to buy insurance for sailors. 20 framers of the constitution were members of congress at that time. George Washington signed the law.
- 1792 – Able bodied males must procure weapons. 17 framers of constitution were members of congress 14 voted for it. George Washington signed into law.
- 1798 – If you are a sailor you must buy insurance.
From this “evidence’ according to Tarpley, he resigned his opposition to the unconstitutionality of the individual mandate and claims that it’s a “reactionary myth” to state there is no basis for it.
Quite remarkable for someone as educated as Tarpley to miss the mark on this so completely.
First of all, these are LAWS that were passed and signed into law. That does NOT mean the mandate or the laws themselves are constitutional or not. The one thing does not prove the other.
Take for instance the passage and signing into law of the NDAA 2012 and that little provision that supposedly gives the president of the United States the ability to use the military to arrest and detain indefinitely US citizens on US soil. True, it was passed by congress and signed into law by the President, but does that make it constitutional? Of course not. Tarpley understands this.
Second, who cares how many “framers” of the constitution were in congress when these laws were passed? At best he mentions 20 members were in congress for one of the laws (1790) but fails to mention there were 56 members of the first continental congress and 50 or so of the second. The 20 mentioned by Tarpley certainly doesn’t represent a majority and the 14 he claimed voted for the 1792 bill is way fewer than a majority. We don’t know how the rest felt about the law and to claim that the “original intent” supports the mandate based on these facts is ludicrous.
But let’s talk about the “original intent” issue a bit more.
There are MANY things that are constitutional or not constitutional now that were CLEARLY different from the original intent of the founding fathers thus “original intent” does NOTHING to prove anyone’s point on this. Slavery was ok as per the original intent of the founding fathers as was keeping women from voting.
The laws Tarpley / New Republic cites also do not show support for an individual mandate.
The 1790 law provides that ship owners had to buy insurance for their sailors. That’s not an “individual mandate” for every citizen. That’s a law much like a law that says mining company owners can’t use children as laborers in their mines or plantation owners can’t use slaves.
Notice it’s not a “tax”
The 1798 law then shifted the cost of the insurance onto the backs of the workers I wonder who wrote that little fix. Again though, this is simply something aligned to the people who chose to work in that dangerous profession much like people who chose to drive a car these days.
Again.. not a “tax” levied at every citizen by circumstances of being born in America.
The last one, the one where Tarpley later mistakenly claims that able bodied men were forced to “buy’ a gun, actually stated they had to “procure” one. Which meant they could get one from a friend or steal one or whatever. Nothing stated they had to buy one from one of a few gunsmiths in the country.
A far cry from what we are looking at here.
Point is, these cases do not rise to the level of president setting cases for the constitutionality of the individual mandate. Not even close.
And that is to say nothing of the question of whether or not they were ever challenged and overturned later.
In the end Tarpley has to say that for him the decision to accept the constitutionality of the mandate is based on the current law stating that if you are brought into a hospital suffering from an immediately life threatening emergency, they have to treat you for free regardless of your ability to pay.
Though that isn’t exactly true anymore (it used to be but now they can and do reject some people… look it up) it’s not a valid comparison.
They don’t treat you for free. When I had my first P.E. I stayed in the hospital for 7 days. My bill which I am still paying on, was 26,000.
But here Tarpley is making a false comparison. Mandating hospitals treat dying or injured people isn’t equivalent to forcing those same people to pay into an insurance policy that they may NEVER need.
Tarpley later goes on to claim that the ACA is certainly not what he would set up (he supports Medicare for all) but given the world we live in, it’s a better start than nothing. I don’t agree.
In order to make that conclusion Tarpley cites the typical Obamacare cliched apologist quotes about SCHIP and about the increase in Medicaid availability and so on.
He doesn’t mention the fact that the Supreme Court also rejected the ACA clause which forced states to up their Medicaid enrollment eligibility to 138% of the federal poverty level. In fact, Florida (my home state) is already announcing they will not up the eligibility level, thus vast numbers of the people the ACA is supposed to help will not receive that Medicaid assistance thus being forced to buy insurance.
The SCHIP part of the Obamacare act was scrubbed by the Obama administration months ago.
Obama has issued some 2,000 waivers for giant corporations exempting them from having to purchase insurance for their employees.
Rick Scott in Florida is already saying they won’t set up the insurance exchanges which would have allowed for people to ban together and shop for the best prices. This will also help the insurance companies and hurt the people.
And of course, the ACA itself undermines Medicare to the tune of 500 million or so.
The fact is, these companies wrote the Affordable Care Act and they promoted it. To think that somehow it’s going to get better for us in the next year and a half is the worse kind of pipe dream. It’s not going to get better. They are going to remove anything halfway decent about it and keep the worse aspects through attrition. We have already seen that happening and it will continue. No question.
Affordable Care Medicare Privatization Experiment
This is the most under-reported aspect of the ACA: they are trying an “experiment” to privatize Medicare.
Notice the fact that Tarpley fails to mention the purely neoliberal (fascist) ACA “experiments” aimed at the complete privatization of Medicare.
The plans are under the ACA Accountable Care Organization pilot programs the “Pioneer” and “Shared Savings” programs. Under these programs “large blocks” of Medicare enrollees will be handed over to various for-profit companies who will manage their healthcare for a lump sum per person. If the company has to spend more on the healthcare of the person, then they pay the difference… if they pay less, then they keep the difference.
“The ACA’s central effort to keep these costs down is to fund several experiments. Most prominently, two Accountable Care Organization pilots — the “Pioneer” and “Shared Savings” programs — allow private insurers to contract with Medicare to take a fixed budget and take full responsibility for a large block of patients. If the patients’ care costs more, the insurers eat the cost; if the care costs less, the insurers keep the difference. It’s a noble idea, but what if it doesn’t work?” Tampa Bay Times
Let me make that clearer: Medicare money will be handed over to big insurance companies who will then profit from denying care to people.
How does Tarpley miss this one? This effectively starts the process of privatizing his “Medicare for all” system. Yet he claims there are good things in the ACA law that are worth supporting?
As far as I can tell, the “three legged stool” is missing two of the legs. The ones about keeping insurance companies honest and the Medicare/Medicaid legs are on their way out. Incrementalism folks. That’s how they do it.
But that one leg, the one claiming you have to buy insurance from one of the corrupt insurance companies, well that one is just fine and dandy and looking to expand even further into the Medicare business.
The insurance companies have won a major victory here. Their stocks took off the day after the bill was passed in congress and then again the day of the Supreme Court decision but not so much because even though Tarpley claims no one saw this coming, I think a lot of people did. I did. So did Wall Street.
I hate to say it, but I feel Webster may have sold us out a little on this one. There is no way he just started citing the billionaire Bilderberger’s propaganda rag as a solid resource for the fun of it. And the cases he and they cite don’t amount to the level of proof needed for something as large as justifying an individual mandate to pay “taxes” to a privately held corporation especially when they themselves are responsible for creating the horrendous state our healthcare system is in.
Again, I support Webster’s immensely important work on Syria and Libya and NATO. After the vicious demolition of Libya, very few are still out there reporting facts about what is happening in Syria. Webster has a sound understanding of what is going on in the world today and is courageously telling it like it is.
This of course makes it all the more disappointing when he starts sounding off with what appear to be obvious marketing slogans about the opposition to the Affordable Care Act.
The ACA sounds the death knell for single payer advocates whether they know it or not and people like Tarpley are helping take the last best hope we have of stopping it.
William Blum puts it this way:
“The Affordable Care Act will undoubtedly serve as a disincentive to the movement for single-payer national health insurance, setting the movement back for years. The Affordable Care Act was undoubtedly designed for that purpose.” William Blum
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