Tuesday, September 26, 2017

The Third Way Has Always Been A Fancy Excuse For Politicians Taking Massive Special Interest Bribes


Remember the other day when we looked at how centrism sucks? We were looking at American politics. But we're not the only ones with the problem. Remember the British avatar of neoliberal assholism, New Labour's Tony Blair? New Labour is very much like New Dems, the same disease. Monday morning Blair showed up at the Global Politico podcast with Susan Glasser. One of the earth's worst human beings wanted to remind everyone how lucky we are he's no longer spreading his toxins from inside government. Glasser warns her audience that "the former British prime minister, a perennial lightning rod for controversy across on both sides of the Atlantic, has in recent months chosen to return to the political fray" and is running around like a chicken without a head squawking "that the left-wing populism peddled by Sanders and Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn in Britain are not the answer" to neo-fascist movements like Trumpism.
Blair, the onetime wunderkind of British politics who led the Labour Party and the country for 10 years from 1997 to 2007 preaching a Clintonian centrism he called the “Third Way” only to see his tenure end amid recriminations over his support for Republican George W. Bush’s invasion of Iraq, still punches hardest when he’s hitting to his left. In our conversation, he bashed today’s liberal leaders in both countries for “solutions that look back to the ‘60s or ‘70s” and for preaching a form of feel-good “identity politics” that will flop as an answer to Trumpism.

“You can go for what are very good-sounding things like, we’re going to abolish tuition fees, or we’re going to give you this for free, or that for free,” he says, calling out both America’s Democrats and Britain’s Labourites. “In today’s world, and in particular, in the absence of a vigorous change-making center, that’s very attractive. But I don’t think it’s answer, and I’m not sure it would win an election. Maybe it would, but even if it did, it would worry me. Because in the end, I think a lot of these solutions aren’t really progressive. And they don’t correspond to what the problem of the modern world is.”

But it’s Blair’s comments about Trump as much as his disdain for Sanders and Corbyn that are likely to infuriate many U.S liberals.

Just a few months ago, Blair stirred outrage when he told his former communications chief Alastair Campbell in a British GQ interview that Democrats “just go mental with you” at even the suggestion of working with Trump and that the divisive U.S. president who has spoken of the mainstream press as “enemies of the people” may have a point about his “polarized and partisan” media coverage.

Blair did not back away from that in our interview, saying it’s a mistake “just to go in flat-out opposition” to Trump, that the American president may well end up as a traditional Republican at least on foreign policy and arguing Trump has “actually been helpful” in the Middle East, where Blair has served as a mediator for the quartet of Western powers trying to achieve a long-elusive peace settlement.

Trump, he says, has correctly identified “an extraordinary and one-off opportunity” to move toward a deal between Israel and Arab states that may finally be willing to “move on” from the Palestinian issue. “I do think there’s a big opportunity there, and I think that the White House understands that,” Blair tells me, voicing an optimism that few other peace-process veterans share.

“I can’t afford to be in a position of just treating President Trump as if he’s part of a sort of interesting comedy show,” Blair says.

...[I]t’s almost impossible to overstate the extent to which Blair is excoriated across the British political spectrum these days-- “his reputational currency has fallen as his bank account has swelled” over the last decade, says his old colleague Campbell, acknowledging not just Blair’s political unpopularity but the opprobrium he’s gotten for what’s perceived as buck-raking from advising autocrats from the Persian Gulf to Kazakhstan.

Even those who don’t outright condemn Blair see him as a man without a party, tilting at Brexit without being able to propose a realistic scenario by which it could be overturned, given that neither Labour nor the ruling Conservative Party is willing to officially campaign on undoing it. “Brits hate him. They really hate him,” says one American who spent the better part of two decades living in London. “His international stature, even now, masks how low is the esteem in which he is held back home.”

In contrast, Blair has remained well regarded here, and tends to get positive notices from centrist-minded American commentators who see him as a rare liberal willing to take a moment away from Trump-bashing and Brexit-bemoaning to trash the rising populism and “riding the politics of fear,” as he put it to me, that is now increasingly seen as the only acceptable response to angry voting publics in both countries. Just as Hillary Clinton is touring the country now peddling a version of What Happened in her campaign memoir, Blair acknowledges that he and others in the Clintonian middle opened the way for this challenge-- they became “complacent” in power, he says, entitled “managers of the status quo”-- though as with Clinton there are many critics who feel he is hardly introspective enough about his own role in the current mess.
And that brings us to the only thing behind political centrism: corrupting cash. That, after all, is all the Third Way has ever been about. That's the basis of the New Dems more than any political entity in the history of America. They have no real set of beliefs and what holds them together is an opportunity to soak up corporate cash in return for their services. This morning, Lee Fang and Said Jilani penned an Intercept piece about how the insurance and pharmaceutical lobbyists are behind the move to undermine Bernie's Medicare-for-All efforts.

Yesterday we looked at which politicians take the most bribery from Big Pharma. Since 1990, the Insurance industry has spent $387,502,675 in bribing candidates for congressional office-- $236,652,744 to corrupt Republicans and $147,762,884 to corrupt (mostly conservative) Democrats. These are the dozen worst whores to the insurance industry (currently in Congress):
John McCain (R-AZ)- $3,702,426
Paul Ryan (R-WI)- $2,327,530
Richard Neal (D_MA)- $2,207,506
Mitch McConnell (R-KY)- $2,121,451
Chuck Schumer (D-NY)- $2,098,920
Pat Tiberi (R-OH)- $2,057,243
Rob Portman (R-OH)- $2,049,640
John Larson (D-CT)- $1,656,115
Ed Royce (R-CA)- $1,621,899
Chuck Grassley (R-IA)- $1,603,475
Joe Crowley (D-NY)- $1,549,465
Jeb Hensarling (R-TX)- $1,480,784
And, yes, if these 12 men woke top in prison tomorrow on bribery charges, America would be on the road to Medicare-For-All. As Jilani and Fang pointed out, "The for-profit health care industry and its political surrogates were quick to criticize the sweeping universal Medicare legislation unveiled this week by Sen. Bernie Sanders and more than a dozen Senate Democrats." David Merritt, vice president of America’s Health Insurance Plans, a lobbying group for health insurance companies, said in a statement to reporters "Whether it’s called single-payer or Medicare for All, government-controlled health care cannot work." The Council of Insurance Agents & Brokers, another insurance lobby group, released a statement declaring that it "adamantly opposes the creation of a single-payer regime, and our guard is up on these efforts... These are worrisome developments, and the increased volume on single-payer is setting off alarms on what Democratic priorities could represent following seven years of failed ACA repeal efforts."
The Congressional Leadership Fund, a super PAC funded by a number of health care interests-- including health insurance giant Anthem, pharmaceutical firm Amgen, and the Biotechnology Innovation Organization, a lobby group for biotech companies-- also sprung to attack the proposal.

The group called the bill the “latest radical and expensive plan for government-run health care” in an announcement on the CLF website.

Former Rep. Bruce Morrison, the Connecticut Democrat who left Congress and is now a lobbyist for the American Hospital Association, dismissed the plan as doing too much to disrupt employer-based coverage.

“Half of America gets their health insurance coverage on the job,” Morrison said. Single payer would replace coverage for some 150 million people, he noted. “If you just leaped to Medicare for All, you would totally disrupt the expectations of all those people. And that would not be a good idea.”

A similar argument was made by former Democratic Rep. Earl Pomeroy of North Dakota, who lost his seat and is also now lobbying for a number of health care interests, including health insurance firm Aetna and drugmaker Novo Nordisk.

Until he was defeated in 2010, Pomeroy, a ultra-corrupt Blue Dog, accepted a mind-boggling $2,232,597 from the insurance industry, slightly less than Paul Ryan has taken in bribes from them! Pomeroy was never charged with taking bribes and now hands them out to his former colleagues.
“Pretty consistently, people value the coverage they have. Any proposal that says you have to give up the coverage that you know for coverage that we’ll create under a new government program will be a difficult sell,” Pomeroy told The Intercept.

“I think this is an organizing tool to continue to build support for a dramatic further overhaul of the health reform system. And I think that’s its fundamental purpose, and no one thinks it’s going to pass anytime soon,” he concluded.

The universal Medicare proposal released this week extends health insurance coverage to every single American free of copays, premiums, and deductibles-- and has long been viewed as a direct threat to highly profitable health-related industries and providers.

The bill calls for gradually expanding Medicare coverage, starting with the young and phasing in other segments of the population. The plan would cover all essential services, including routine doctor visits, emergency room care, mental health, dental, outpatient care, and forms of treatment.

Sanders’s office also released a statement this week laying out various financing methods for the bill, including an employer tax, closing tax loopholes, and a variety of progressive income-based taxes.

Private health insurers hate the plan because it would largely replace them. Drugmakers fear single payer because the Sanders bill calls for price negotiation on pharmaceutical products, a policy now barred by a provision created by drug lobbyists and their allies in Congress. Other providers are worried that an empowered single health provider will be able to use its collective bargaining power to cut waste and investigate price gouging.

The unrivaled political power of health care industries--  health interests are routinely near the top of rankings for lobby spending and campaign donations-- have made controlling costs incredibly difficult. Americans spend far more on health care per person than any country in the world while consistently ranking fairly low on a range of health outcomes, including life expectancy.

The aforementioned lobby group America’s Health Insurance Plans secretly spent $86 million on dark money efforts in 2009 to derail the Affordable Care Act, with a special focus on eliminating the public option provision. As The Intercept first reported, the Council of Insurance Agents & Brokers, the other insurance group blasting the Sanders effort, similarly mobilized part of the effort to defeat a ballot measure in Colorado last year to establish a state-based single-payer plan.

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At 12:35 PM, Anonymous ap215 said...

Yep they're the root of the problem & they're so brutal time to kick them to the curb get out of the way Third Way.

At 4:05 PM, Blogger Alan Parker said...

Here Is Another Take From Dr William Black On Politico & Third Way http://neweconomicperspectives.org/2017/09/politico-third-way-divorced-reality.html#more-11096


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