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Medicare for All supporters: WHERE DO WE GO FROM HERE?

December 17, 2009
I do not have the answer; but the question is a necessary beginning.
Barack Obama is launching [or his he continuing?] a mammoth effort to move the political center of the U.S. to the right. It is a stunning ambition far beyond the reach of Reagan, Clinton, or the Bush dynasty. His extraordinary Oslo speech, referencing Martin Luther King Jr. to declare that “war is peace”; was nothing short of wizardry on the world stage. Now we have the possibility of the doctrine of perpetual war prosecuted by the U.S.  rising to a universal norm of humane conduct. In addition to the triumphalist new vision of the U.S. on issues of war and peace, the U.S. fervently ignores the most urgent threat to human survival that is presented by global climate destruction. Both of these issues profoundly impact human health.
We as healthcare activists must now forge a political strategy within the political terrain of a powerful and ultra-modern nation-state that is systemically defying, through deliberate deceptions, norms of civil conduct that once offered some buffer to the decent of the modern world into barbarism and unprecedented human suffering. So what do the political and economic elites of the U.S. really care about the guarantee of comprehensive healthcare to those within their borders?
The answer is clear. They are perfectly comfortable convincing us that they are helping us while they systematically attempt an historic transfer of enormous resources from us to an industry that perpetuates the healthcare crisis by denying access to healthcare for its own self-aggrandizement. At the same time, these elites have the temerity to lie about their intention by declaring that universal healthcare access has now been achieved through legislation that is being hatched in the White House. This is moral depravity at a scale that many of us find impossible to internalize because it is far too painful to bear.
So what do we do? We must internalize it because when we do, we give rise to the seeds for our renewed activism and courage. We must become stronger to withstand what is at hand.
We need to appreciate that we are far from being alone. Folks across this nation, ordinary folks like you and me who have become active on these issues, are now far less naive than they were just 18 months ago. Indeed, there has been (and it is still ongoing) a sea change in consciousness among ordinary grassroots human rights organizers that is preventing them  from being as gullible to charismatic pied piper political leaders of this recent period who have depended on our ignorance and need to feel good and to be reassured.
This is a sign of hope.
If I had one recommendation, it is this: we must build and sustain larger and more diverse mass high profile direct actions in the streets across the country for Medicare for All. We must forever end inordinate deference to elected officials. We must push them to represent us. We can not expect them to lead us to victory. We must lead ourselves to victory.
Lastly, Obama blinded sided us once already, but it must never happen again. In the future, we should only have ourselves to blame. Toto has pulled back the curtain.
Now is the time for us to go back to our base, to go home. There is no place like it.

PHIMG (Private Health Insurance Must Go! coalition) will be planning its series of next direct actions in NYC. Go to

Ajamu Sankofa
a co-founder of PHIMG

[Kill the bill! No to President Rahm’s healthcare sell out / insurance Co. bailout. Medicare for All! Now is the time to take the movement to the next level.]

Democrats Lash Out At Obama Over Health Care Disappointments

The Huffington Post   |  Rachel Weiner
First Posted: 12-16-09 01:40 PM   |   Updated: 12-16-09 01:48 PM

Congressional Democrats are starting to voice their anger at President Obama over the way health care legislation has been compromised, blaming him for not fighting harder.

“The president keeps listening to Rahm Emanuel,” said Rep. John Conyers (D-Mich.). “No public option, no extending Medicare to 55, no nothing, an excise tax, God!” he exclaimed about the Senate health care bill to Roll Call. “The insurance lobby is taking over.”

“The White House has been useless,” Rep. Dave Obey (D-Wis.), the chairman of the powerful Appropriations Committee, told Politico. Referencing Senate delays, he said, “It’s ridiculous, and the Obama administration is sitting on the sidelines. That’s nonsense.”

While many House Democrats have expressed anger with the Senate for the watered-down bill, Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-N.Y.) argued that it was really Obama who let centrists take control. “Snowe? Stupak? Lieberman? Who left these people in charge?” he said. “It’s time for the president to get his hands dirty. Some of us have compromised our compromised compromise. We need the president to stand up for the values our party shares. We must stop letting the tail wag the dog of this debate.”

Sen. Russ Feingold (D-Wisc.) similarly suggested that blaming Lieberman was ignoring the real culprit — Obama.

“This bill appears to be legislation that the president wanted in the first place, so I don’t think focusing it on Lieberman really hits the truth,” said Feingold. “I think they could have been higher. I certainly think a stronger bill would have been better in every respect.”

As Politico’s Craig Gordon noted about the president’s health care maneuvering, “Time and again, [Obama] rebuffed Democrats’ requests to speak up more forcefully about what he wanted — a strategy that allowed Obama to preserve maximum flexibility to declare victory at the end of the process, no matter what the final bill looked like.”

Rep. Lynn Woolsey (D-Calif.), pointed to polling that suggests Democrats will face trouble with their base if they don’t deliver a strong bill. “Thirty percent of Democrats will not come out and vote if there is no public option in the health care bill,” she said. “What does that tell you?”

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