life on mars

While Republicans in congress have been in outer space for decades, taking congressional Democrats at their word requires you live on Mars, far from current reality. We were reminded of that last week when, at a town hall event, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi reminded us about her long commitment to a single payer healthcare policy for Americans. According to the Washington Post,

“I supported single payer since before you were born,” said Pelosi, who has argued since the passage of the Affordable Care Act that it could be a bridge to European-style universal coverage.

That’s so interesting, because in 2009 when Pelosi was House Speaker, with a Democratic majority, she refused an up-or-down vote on single payer, as proposed by then New York Congressman Anthony Weiner, as to not interfere with the political theater around passing the Affordable Healthcare Act. According to reporting from The Hill,

The House will not vote on a liberal Democratic plan to have a fully government-run “single-payer” healthcare plan, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced Friday…

But as the vote, now planned for Saturday, has neared, Pelosi has seemed increasingly reluctant to open the bill up for any amendments, even from her own party.

While Weiner was correct in calling for congressional Democrats to go on record in regards to single payer, despite no chance of victory, Pelosi clearly showed her preference for the corporately-devised option forced upon us,

“His decision not to offer a single-payer amendment during consideration of H.R. 3962 is a correct one and helps advance the passage of important health reforms by this Congress,” Pelosi said.

So much for Pelosi’s “since before you were born” claptrap. Gives credence to the notion that evidence of a politician’s lying is when their lips are moving. Or is this life on Mars?

Liberalizing lies
Last week I spoke with Dr. Margaret Flowers (watch it here) about her advocacy for progressive causes, particularly her long commitment for single payer healthcare in America. I noted that Dr. Flowers is considered a hero by many on the political left, but is virtually unknown to Democrats, many of whom would certainly align with her positions and her spirit. Why is that?

One of the benefits of not owning a television is that I’m not bombarded with the relentless and ridiculous cable news reporting about how Russia has taken control of American democracy (as if we live in a democracy in the first place). That said, I also generally avoid the headlines these days in The NY Times, The Washington Post, and The Guardian. Why do I say ridiculous reporting? Why am I not checking for Putin under the bed? That’s because for all the evidence of possible Trump-Russia ties, no actual evidence has been presented about the core matter of the Russian’s hacking the emails of the Democratic National Committee. According to a report last week from the Miami Herald,

“I have no problem blaming Russia for what they do, which is a lot,” said Jeffrey Carr of the international cybersecurity company Taia Global Inc. “I just don’t want to blame them for things we don’t know that they did. It may turn out that they’re guilty, but we are very short on evidence here.”

As Carr notes, the FBI never examined the servers that were hacked at the Democratic National Committee. Instead, the DNC used the private computer security company CrowdStrike to detect and repair the penetrations.

“All the forensic work on those servers was done by CrowdStrike, and everyone else is relying on information they provided,” said Carr. “And CrowdStrike was the one to declare this the work of the Russians.”

When you restrict your news sources to mainstream, establishment outlets you’re more likely to be spun and propagandized to believe pretty much anything, including the incredible assertion that Russian hacking of our election was an act of war, according to corrupt former DNC chair Donna Brazile. And Dick Cheney. When establishment kingpins Brazile and Cheney are vomiting dangerous vulgarities from the same playbook, one must wonder about the bipartisan hit job on the president, and neocon push for conflict with Russia.

Whatever ties to Russian officials (or any Russian) existed or exist between members of Trump’s team is one thing, and can be evaluated for what they are. But you can’t say those ties prove official Russian government hacking of the DNC, or of Hillary’s consigliere John Podesta. But you can say that Podesta’s brother was hired by a Russian bank to remove U.S. sanctions. From Zero Hedge,

Russia’s largest bank, Sberbank, has confirmed that it hired the consultancy of Tony Podesta, the elder brother of John Podesta who chaired Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign, for lobbying its interests in the United States and proactively seeking the removal of various Obama-era sanctions, the press service of the Russian institution told TASS on Thursday.

What! You say you didn’t hear about this on MSNBC or National Public Radio?

Apparently there is only a problem with consulting for/with Russian entities when Trump’s team does it. So when Trump claims a witch hunt, there’s basis to that. If you find yourself lining up against the Russians in this drama, consider that by giving your attention over to corporate news media, you’ve been propagandized. There’s a lot of money to be made via conflict with Russia, whether cold war or hot, as explained by Lee Fang in The Intercept shortly before the election,

The escalating anti-Russian rhetoric in the U.S. presidential campaign comes in the midst of a major push by military contractors to position Moscow as a potent enemy that must be countered with a drastic increase in military spending by NATO countries.

Similarly, there’s a lot of corporate money to be lost should the U.S. expand Medicare coverage to a single payer healthcare system. Could that be why you’ve never heard of Margaret Flowers?

Life on Mars
It can get lonely writing in the vein that I do. Certainly I lost several long-time friends in the past year for pointing out the corrupt duplicity on the part of the liberal establishment. I often feel as if someone has left the planet.

These days, the collective, propagandized American consciousness has been exported to outer space, where reality is formed in the mind. The danger here is that we can damage a presidency, and find ourselves embroiled in conflict with Russia, or worse. But short of any of that, we’ll lose out on the very real possibility of movement toward single payer healthcare, to replace the wretched, neoliberal corporate giveaway: Obamacare.

To be clear, in my critique of establishment Democrats, like Pelosi and her overdue-for-the-exit-door cohorts, I’m in no way signaling support for Trump, and whatever is left of the Republican Party. And while the Trump administration’s daily drip of anti-environmental orders are retrograde and dangerous, the parties are two heads of the same Hydra, both completely corrupted by corporate and oligarchic money, whereby the notion of the “public good” is measured against bottom line profits. Had the Democratic Party establishment offered even the slightest concern beyond rhetoric for those in their party desperate for change, Trump would be back home in New York today, sputtering his nonsense on the radio with Howard Stern. That said, with his election there’s been an awakening of the citizenry in a way not seen in recent memory. The challenge is to keep the anger of the electorate focused on the Republicans and Democrats, and not fall for the Russia-mania dog and pony show, no matter what Rachel Maddow tells you. Additionally, strategies of “resistance” are no replacement for bold leadership. Are you listening Chuck Schumer? Change is not a press conference.

In my conversation with Margaret Flowers, she discussed her meeting earlier in the day with Bernie Sanders’ staff, receiving assurance that the senator will, in fact, introduce a Medicare for All, single payer bill, reflective of House bill HR 676, introduced by Rep. John Conyers. Right now we need to appeal to Trump to get behind the rapidly intensifying single payer movement. As someone who has forcefully voiced support for a single payer healthcare, and who desperately needs a “win,” the timing for such a move is ideal. Similarly, just as congressional Republicans were ordered by their constituents not to repeal Obamacare, the same pressure must now be applied to Democrats like Nancy Pelosi who, are happy to say the right thing, and consistently do the bidding of their corporate donors. For example, if Ms. Pelosi is so passionate about single payer, why has she not yet signed on to the Conyers bill? Any excuses about politics being “hard” can not be tolerated. Check out Health Over Profit for to understand more about the current single payer drive, and how you can become involved.

“Life on Mars,” a song David Bowie penned in response to Frank Sinatra’s “My Way,” is about a young girl’s reaction to the media, who, according to Bowie, “finds herself disappointed with reality… that although she’s living in the doldrums of reality, she’s being told that there’s a far greater life somewhere, and she’s bitterly disappointed that she doesn’t have access to it.”

Don’t allow your mind to leave the planet as a tool of sophisticated media propaganda. My suggestion: unplug your television, and turn on to voices like Margaret Flowers.

Take a look at the lawman
Beating up the wrong guy
Oh man, wonder if he’ll ever know
He’s in the best selling show
Is there life on Mars?

–David Bowie