Appearing Sunday at a mini-Democratic convention of sorts in a field, Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton declared that if she is elected she will not wait until her inauguration to begin acting as president.
Clinton said that, the day after winning election, she would select envoys to "travel around the world with a very simple message: The era of cowboy diplomacy is over."
"America is back," she said. WAPO
And not a moment to lose! If she wins, let us hope to see people like Richard Holbrooke, Bill Richardson, Wesley Clark, and Robert Rubin on her team. The last years have seen the destruction of America’s hard won position as a moral leader in the world. For the good of all, this wreckage much be salvaged and re-built.
In the field of health care, her approach seemd to be to require people to have health insurance and to create government subsidies for those who can not afford it. Recent experience in my family of massive health care costs have sharpened my awareness of the severity of the devastation wrought on people wthout means by our present lack of system in the provision of health care. Most Americans now accept that idea. This is no longer 1994 and Senator Clinton’s position is not the one she favored then. The time has come in the United States to take up the responsibility for a system of national health care. pl
Although I have not yet decided who I would vote for in the coming Presidential election – I have serious reservations about Hillary primarily because I am concerned that we seem to be evolving towards dynastic rule – 12 years of a Bush and possibly 16 years of a Clinton.
Bush 43 has been a disaster compared to Bush 41. Would Hillary be better or worse compared to Bill?
I just feel the country would be better off if the next President provides a fresh start.
On the issue of healthcare I will post a link to an article that I believe I read in the Economist which had a graph of per capita expenditures on health care in the West. The US spends something like 2-3 times more than Sweden & France & Germany & Canada. Is our health care 2-3 times better? I think the time for single payer health coverage has arrived. It will happen – the question is how long the insurance, pharmaceutical and trial lawyer lobbies will dominate the paid for politicians.
Hillary will do absolutely nothing of substance unless she ends the Iraq War, which she shows little inclination of doing. And by the time she takes office, she’ll most likely have a smouldering Iran to deal with. There is simply no money left for ambitious new programs, what with the wars and with Boomers ready to tap the depleted Social Security Trust Fund.
Amen to that brother Lang. America has to self correct. Has to! For the sake of my grandchildren and everyone else’s children and grandchildren.
What a terrible mess we’ve created!
It will be interesting how she will fight the health insurance industry. They have huge lobbying leverage.
Obviously national health care system work, since there are numerous world examples. They are not cure all, but on average they are much better than current all commercial system. (spain, Canada, all northern european countries, etc)
As baby boomer reach an age where they need more health care service, things will tilt toward national healthcare system.
The devil is in the details of course.
“The time has come in the United States to take up the responsibility for a system of national health care.”
Col., may your loyal readers take that sentence as part of the SST Party platform? Such a stand on the healthcare issue is bound to win a lot more votes for your no-speeches run for the presidency….
“The time has come in the United States to take up the responsibility for a system of national health care.”
Dang PL, You might be a Progressive after all! *g*
Seriously, like you, I too know from personal experience what kind of double-whammy happens when a health crisis occurs.
First, one is physically knocked flat on one’s back in a hospital with a long and often painful recovery staring one in the face.
And of course, after one totters and crawls from the hospital, their next unwilling destination oft ends in the poorhouse.
I hope this topic gets a lot of thoughtful, rational and elevated discussion this election cycle.
can’t have two presidents at one time. As much as i don’t like Dumbya.
pity, bill richardson doesn’t have a chance to be prez.
I hope to see more than the end of cowboy diplomacy and more practice of what is preached. I haven’t given up on winning the hearts and minds of ordinary Arabs/Muslims, but we are not likely to make much progress in that area by continuing the Bushco methodology of yammering about democracy while supporting the likes of Mubararak, Musharraf and the Hashemite dumpling.
One question I’d pose to Mrs. Clinton is whether she’s willing to sit and talk with the Muslim Brotherhood, Hamas and, gasp, Nasrallah, whatever the caterwauling of Aipac, to which she has shown no resistance at all. I’m less than optimistic; the re-appearance of Dennis Ross will settle the issue for me.
Hopefully a Clinton administration will, as one of it’s first foreign policy initiatives, greatly limit if not ban the use of private contractors as fighting forces.
The recent tragedy in Monsour involving Blackwater and the so called security they were hired to provide state department officials and others raises an important question. Aren’t sworn U.S. Army personnel good enough to protect the likes of Paul Bremer and now Ambassador Crocker and their subordinates?
When we look back a decade from now we will see that the use of private armed forces in Iraq with their freelance mentality and the many-fold increase in costs will be considered a significant factor contributing to our setbacks in Iraq.
I was told by a co-worker who served two tours of duty in Iraq as an E9, that on average 1 private contractor serving in the capacity as a soldier cost 10 times as much as equivalent sworn U.S. personnel.
When will this madness of war for profit be stopped?
What “most Americans” accept is a distinctly tertiary concern. It’s the economic aristocracy that decides what’s what.
Wes Clark officially endorsed her so I’d guess that he’s been promised a specific position in her cabinet – or maybe even her VP.
Well, I guess it’s official. Hillary will be the nominee. When Gen. Clark and Col. Lang are for something simultaneously, it’s an idea whose time has come. I’m not sure why the Dem. Party needs to nominate the one candidate who will energize their opposition and get them to the polls, but I guess some things are simply beyond my understanding.
The Post mentioned 12,000, but I heard 16,000 people attended. 12,000 was the number of steaks (two tons) served. They got the field part right, since the event was held at the site of the Indianola Hot Air Balloon festival. Given the location, I am surprised no one put hot air and politics together into a narrative.
The skies were fair, winds moderate and temperature mild if not slightly cool after recovering from record early frosts Friday. The alfalfa fields are green after recent rains and neatly trimmed from the last cutting. The corn is drying down to nice a golden hue creating a quilt of brown and green squares draped over a rolling landscape. In addition, the beer was cold. Food, hot air and cold beer makes for a real Democratic event.
Sixteen thousand people are a big crowd in Iowa (other than at a football game) given that Democrats are a subset in state with a small population. A report in the American Prospect mentions a total registered Democratic base of 597,000 as of May 2007.
The campaigns helped to drive the numbers up by handing out free tickets (35 bucks each) and Iowans are natural tailgaters. This is democracy at the cornroots.
The campaigns held early rallies for supporters and the supporters in turn tried all kinds of shenanigans to draw attention. All candidates received a minimum of 15 minutes to state their positions. Fifteen minutes does not seem like much, but we have been listening to these folks for several months now and there is not much new to say.
Iraq, of course, is a recurrent theme, with health care a strong second. Iraq, short term, is held hostage by events, the President’s bullheadedness and fog campaigns like Return on Success™ so, while we wait for the air to clear, I agree that the health care debate is something we can at least explore without all the baggage the war presents.
Each candidate offers some form of health care assistance ranging from Biden’s catastrophic reimbursement to variations of subsidized private plans to extensions of the Senate health plan and Medicare/Medicaid. All of this will take money, but several candidates make the point that we already pay a hidden tax for health care now in un-reimbursed expenses and co-pays. Whatever happens will need to go through the meat grinder first, but something is going to happen now.
HillaryCare is dead, but Harry and Louise are not coming back from the grave either. In fact, Harry and Louise might just have changed their minds now that they are facing the downsizing and benefits reductions common in today’s workplace.
Different from 1994 is that industries, including the one I work for, want out of healthcare as they compete globally.
However, the competition is not going down easy:
So, now is a good time to read up.
A new “I will go to Korea” pledge? Eisenhower announced much of his team the day after the election and got the international policy ball rolling soon there after and America prospered for it.
It’s ironic that the plan Hilary wanted in 93-94 is roughly the same plan being implemented by Republican governors in California and Massachusetts(something Mitt is trying to hide from now!). It’s sad that things had to get this bad before people started taking healthcare reform seriously.
A very large percentage of the population would like the Bush “presidency” to be over tomorrow. That’s not the way our defective constitution “works” however.
And it certainly does not mean that a small majority of Americans will not still prefer another disastrous “conservative” president in ’08. I don’t think the majority of Americans have learned very much from the Bush Era, except that he was “incompetent”.
Let’s not forget that Team Bush has a great many disasters to spring on us before he infamously exits the world stage, and we appear to have no ability to counter them.
And this does not even take into account the looming economic crack-up that we are entering as a result of Bushco’s reckless fiscal policies—the bridge is out and the train cannot be stopped on that one, whatever Bush decides to do to Iran.
So I think it’s wishful thinking on HRC’s part to imagine (16 dreadful months before the next inauguration) that America will be “back” upon the election of a Dem. America’s very imperial colors and ruthless energy insecurity have been revealed to the world. Many analysts and diplomats have said that it will take a generation to repair America’s tarnished “image” after the outrages of Bushco. An election, whatever the result, won’t change that very much.
There is an interesting interview on “Tom DISPATCH.com” with James Carroll on “American fundementalisms”. Even though Carroll’s points are open to significant argrument and can perhaps even be rejected in part; at its heart the interview captures some aspects of our ethos that have been troubling me for years. I particularly comend his understanding of the issues that drove theFounders in the development of the Constitution.
I note this as an Episcopal priest for 45 years and counting [ who like the Col. chooses to believe what he believes ]. Christian Fundamentalism and/or literalism is as dangerous in its way as any other religious fundamentalism. It is particularly dangerous when it replaces or usurps the normal sources of discourse. Revelation cannot be argured with only accepted or rejected if it is believed in without the contingency of human limitednesss much less the distortions of time, family, history and place. This especially dangerous when it is oriented around binaries such as good/evil and other Manichean type perspectives. I have spent most of adult life working in the secular society at tasks ranging from community organizer to health planning executive. In those tasks ‘the binaries and that style of thinking andf acting have virtually never led to good problem delineation, suggestions for soloutions, or policy.
so long as we as a nation are lead by and act out of thes binaries we will remain in the kind of trouble we are in now.
Since it is in fact a dangerous world we live in we need the best, clearest and as complex as possible perceptions to have a decent chance at acting in ways that move us toward decent outcomes.
I too commend the Economist article mentioned in an earlier post. Note on thing about Medicare; it’s overhead rate is around 3%, nothin else comes close to that. Our present system is increasingly dysfunctional and decreasing the actual level of health care that most of us receive.
While I’m not a great Hillary fan, I somewhat grudgingly have to admire her intellect. I also think she aspires to greatness (of course, they all do, witness Bush Two’s illusions), yet she gives an impression of one who realizes that achieving that greatness requires some hard work. I believe she has the drive and work ethic for that.
She’s not presently my candidate, but, hey, we could do and have done much, much worse.
By national health, do you mean a medical system run by the state as in the UK where doctors are state employees, or do you mean a single payer program such as Medicare?
For what it’s worth, Medicare for all its imperfections uses about 3% of revenue for admin overhead. Private insurers use about 15%,
Some form of socialized medicine is the only way that manufacturing activity can be kept in the United States.
Of course, there are those who think that America is going to be a great country delivering pizzas to one another (and that pizza is going to cost $ 20,000).
There are many working poor people in the United States that have no medical coverage. At the same time, criminals and riff-raff are covered under various plans.
I hope the people you mentioned are with her because if not the world will think it business as usual. Scary Thought.
Clinton’s healthcare ideas were fresh and relevant in 1994; now, they are (as we southerners say) quite pass-ay (per http://www.washingtonmonthly.com/archives/individual/2007_09/012083.php). She is intent on bringing the insurance industry to helm the negotiations; unfortunately, these last 12 years have made it clear that it is the insurance industry that’s causing the problems. Hopefully her plan has evolved beyond government-backed corporate bailouts, but so far her words belie that.
I respect Richardson, and not only for his advocacy this primary season. However, I see Clark and Holbrooke only as political functionaries. Rubin seems to represent old-time Wall Street, and to my mind that is very, very dangerous in the China-on-the-rise world we live in,
It’s also something that would deeply threaten Holbrooke and Clark’s exercise of duties.
Absent major reforms of the executive bureaucracy and curbing wall-street excess, I do not think Clinton’s policies will serve America well. If you think Rubin is the man to manage that, then I will happily listen to your arguments (as a rule, I prefer hope to despaiir). Unfortunately, Clinton’s ties to AIPAC are notorious, and this is central to our immediate foreign policy.
Similarly while big-business and corporations are certainly important attributes of a healthy economy, as equally important is a happy population that has money to spend and time to earn it. I see little in Clinton’s policies that will aid in bringing such a world about. Her husband left Greenspan in place, and the U.S. economy is still reeling from the effects.
Col. Lang, if you would allow me (I’m a bit too young to personally recall), I’d like to ask: what is it that you feel the Carter administration did so wrong?
I have been hearing for thirty years now that he was a terrible president; yet so far as I can see, his administration was beset by an OPEC vendetta, a retaliatory post-Nixon opposition, and a recently-unearthed Iranian/Neo-con conspiracy (or semi-conspiracy, depending on the interpretation). All served the interests of his domestic rivals, and exaggerated by the media (in stark contrast to the current situation).
All of which seems absurd when one considers that during his presidency, the standard of living enjoyed by the lower quartile of Americans was comparable to that that enjoyed by the greater half of today. Nor do I see that corruption during his presidency rivaled that of the Reagan-Clinton-Bush years.
Beyond these facets — any one of which would have been devastating for any president, and none of which were in his control — the only other criticism I’ve ever heard has been from Vietnam-era military who resent his foreign policy.
Admittedly, the Afghanistan policies are debatable, and I myself have deep criticisms. But setting those aside the one thing I see that definitively marks the Carter presidency is foreign interference.
Yet despite these troubles — or in response? — Carter was preoccupied with weaning the US from an oil dependency; with setting up a viable Central-South American Economic Bloc; with ending US support for human rights abuses; with working towards detente with Cuba; with developing Democracy in Central and South America; with cutting back the welfare state; and with slowly bleeding the Soviet Union.
It seems to me, day after day, that Carter’s policies were forward thinking and insightful; hardly anything to be categorically dismissed. You are an articulate man whose insight and opinions I have come to respect; I am quite interested in why you disagree.
I have concerns regarding Hillary, but I will vote for her if she is the Dem nominee for president. As a nurse I know the horrors of not having medical insurance, and how our emergency rooms have become the only health care the poor and uninsured have. I have seen children with their teeth rotted out and middle class families with mentally ill children unable to provide them any treatment. If Hillary will do something to ease this pain, of course I will vote for her.
The American Healthcarer industry is a giant racket. Doctors are an almost perfect trade union, the Insurance companies are a joke and the drug companies are effectively a cartel.
How do I know this? I worked in commercialisation of medical research and I’ve seen the industry in operation first hand. The entire purpose of this racket is to extract your last dollar just before your last breath, period.
Anytime someone proposes doing something about the problem they are labelled as “Socialists” and state controlled medicine “Socialism”.
Let me tell you that we have a dual public/Private system here, and each side keeps the other honest. We also keep drug companies on a very short leash so that they cannot gouge and sell expensive treatments for something that is no better than simpler and cheaper medicines.
Here are four examples that I am personally aware of.
1. I had a knee reconstruction (Anterior Cruciate)after a skiing accident many years ago. Total costs $1500. I’m reliably informed that the same procedure in Vail or Aspen at that time would have set me back $20,000.
2. American lady friend had carpal tunnel syndrome. Even though she had top rate Kaiser Permanente insurance, they wouldn’t fix it and the cost in the U.S. was about $5000. It was fixed here – $1000.
3. My Finance/Admin Manager was diagnosed with Leukemia. Glivec was prescribed (US $ 2000+ per month?) – he got it free from the Government.
4. My Dad was a WWII veteran. when he was 70, he was given a “Gold card” that covered him for any and all medical and hospital costs at any hospital, public or private, any specialists, any procedure, anytime, anywhere, any reason, no questions asked.
All the card had on it was his Army number, and each time I presented it on his behalf during his final years, I received a simple “Thats fine” and never received a bill for so much as a cent.
5. I had a large cyst on my neck and stupidly let it get hit by the boom while I was yacht racing three weeks ago.
It started to hurt, three days later my Doctor decided it had to come out and referred me to a Plastic Surgeon who operates out of the toniest hospital in the toniest part of this city.
I saw him that day, since he had a little time between boob and nose jobs, and he made space for me at the end of his schedule same day.
Half hour operation and out it came. Many stitches, internal and external and another consultation ten days later to have them removed.
Hospital Operating fees and charges………..$500.00
Pathology………Free (covered by Medicare)
All with no health insurance, in a directly comparable standard hospital. I gave up health insurance since it is expensive and provides nothing I can’t pay for myself.
I’d be interested to learn what the American comparisons would be like.
Perhaps the solution is to put pressure on the American healthcare industry by going to Canada, Cuba(?) or elsewhere for cheaper and just as good treatment.
Disclaimer, I am a registered Republican but from the Non-Lunatic wing.
I voted for the Dumbnator the first time out because I had nostalgia for Papa Bush.
Last time voted straight Democratic throughout even for local dog catcher out of sheer disgust at the NeoNutties.
Hillary is my hemlock, bit like Socrates I might have to swallow it and do the same this time around.
Hemlock is preferable to Kool Aid.
However, I have to acknowledge intelligence when I see it.
First, she says it will cost about 110 billion which is as much as a year in Iraq.
Even though we all know it will cost lots and lots more.
Second, she offers lots of choices which makes everyone happy but the reality is the cheaper choices are run by the government.
Guess which ones will the choice of employers?
So Hillary care, nationalized health care, will emerge over a couple of years.
Lastly, she says we deserve the same care that Congress gets.
No need to explain that one. lol
Col, if she can get that dream team, maybe she can start to undo the damage done by the Dumbnator.
Not an easy or enviable task.
Or maybe we can have another Lewinsky moment or something even better like a love child.
National healthcare would be a wonderful thing to acheive. The sad reality is illustrated by the plan for healthcare insurance rather than for a national healthcare plan. The huge wad of capital and profit will just be shifted about between corporations rather than being invested, or say, the current profit component of the system
reallocated to cover the current 40M+ uninsured.
Its said the private infastructure promotes economical rationality, competition ensuring economy. The reality is often the law of the HMO jungle. But the goal is healthcare, not competition and profit. At the very least, removing the insurers would remove a layer of profit and semi-redundant administration and data management, the cost of which could be directed to healthcare, not health costs(profits). More money might make it to hospitals and patients.
But the insurers and their costs aren’t going anywhere – but to Congress.
If PL doesn’t stir the pot (and run the temp up), I don’t know who does in blogdom.
Well, as an on-going Republic for the past couple centuries we do need to think about the next few. To get us “back” is going to take a lot of thought and effort given the current mess into which we have managed to get ourselves. It is not fatal but…
I do not support the idea of sending “envoys” Hollywood style around the world PRIOR to her Inauguration (if she would be elected). She can give speeches outlining her foreign policy right here in America and capitals around the world will duly take note. This is what the foreign embassies in Washington are for. They will duly analyze the situation and their ambassadors will report, etc.
For better or worse, under the Constitution, the current President of United States is our Commander in Chief and is primarily responsible for the conduct of our foreign policy. And whether we like it or not we are at war and there are over 150,000 Americans in a tight spot in Mesopotamia. [This is said despite my belief that the Decider may have early onset Alzheimer’s and/or clinical issues owing to cocaine and alcohol abuse and/or a chemical dependency.] The transition period from the Election to the Inauguration is a sensitive time period and the transition needs to run smoothly with continuity particularly given our international situation and the war that we are in.
Rubin is a serious and able man, Holbrooke and Clark are garbage in my view.
Hillary? Well, I don’t have anything against folks from Park Ridge but…
“Mrs Clinton’s problem is that she very willingly suspended disbelief in 2002. When it came time to deliver her Senate speech in support of the war, she reiterated some of the most outlandish claims made by Dick Cheney. …
Later, as the winds of opinion changed, Senator Clinton claimed – and continues to do so to this day – that hers was a vote not for war but for negotiation. In fact, the record shows that only hours after the war authorization vote Senator voted against the Democratic resolution that would have required Bush to seek a diplomatic solution before launching the war.” Etc…
Clearly the front runner, Ms. Clinton shows some gumption in providing her version of a new health care system. By some estimates the Life/Health and Property/Casualty insurance folks together with other areas of insurance take almost 20% of pre-tax dollars from the US public. Because of a 1947 statute–McCarran-Ferguson (sic) to the extent the states regulate the business of insurance the Feds won’t. State regulation is a joke. This is primarily translated as a federal anti-trust exemption. Well folks there is the money for health care reform. And by the way did you know that audits of medicare providers and reimbursers (is there such a word?)is almost non-existent because Congress fails to adequately staff and fund the OIG of HHS. Naturally this dministration (and past Administrations) uses OMB to prevent adequate budget for the OIG for HHS.
Here is to the real free lunch–corporate socialism or worse. Where are Hayek, Rand, and Friedman (Milton not Tom) when we need them. Instead we get FOX News with their deeply penetrating fodder.Congress won’t even allow statistics and funding of studies of the insurance industry to be done. Only 5 states even have actuarial staff. The welfare state exists just not what or for whom most of the people think. Unfortunately, Ms. Clinton has not disclosed total contributions by insurance industry PAC’s and executives to her campaign. Here is to at least full disclosure. Still she gets an A for bravery on this one. Clearly more guts than her husband.
If I had a melancholy disposition this is what I would write:
While America fritters and squanders her treasure and blood in Irak, China invests in its future?
What has America learned from Irak?
To bomb Iran? really, i ain’t shxxxing you.
the symmetry is striking.
In 2001, the UN had disarmed Irak but Bush was determined to invade and had his poodle Blair to back him. Congress had to back him b/c Irak was a danger to guess who.
Today the UN has reached an accommodation with Iran. No matter the Iranians can’t even have the knowledge that could lead them to have the potential. And as poodles, there are Sarkozy and Kouchner. And as for Congress, you know Iran is an existential threat to you know what.
Healthcare- there won’t be any money for veteran’s care much less the general public by the time all the Irak-Iran bills come due. And the Chinese get tired of financing them.
On a sanguine note, maybe something will happen to stop the madness. Some Deus ex machina surprise.
I didn’t actually read an endorsement for Ms. Clinton in Col Lang’s post, so I’m not so sure there’s one in it.
Wes Clark has an op-ed today in the Washington Post. He has *always* impressed me. Colonel, did you ever work with him? Is he the real deal?
I tend not to need leaders in my life, (or at least I like to think that!) but by God he could probably even get this lump-on-a-log, tub-o’-goo slacker Zoomie motivated and dedicated!
The Brits have a good balance between public and private health care. Everyone gets a decent level of care with the National Health Service. I’ve used it personally and it was responsive. A friend had a motorcycle accident and was in the hospital for weeks. The nurses even let him out to go to the pub with us during his recovery! Another coworker had his appendix removed and everything went fine. If you can afford insurance, or if it’s an employment bennie, then you can get a higher level of care with private clinics. There are problems in the NHS system that would require lots of discussion. But for the most part I think they have a pretty darn good system. It works.
Some co-workers who were US contractors in Germany told me the German system was better than the NHS.
Oh, and I’m not a Hillary fan. Actually, Clark would be the only candidate I could get motivated for but he’s not running. I like Ron Paul although I believe government has more of a role to play in our lives than he does.
Clifford says “…Clark [is] garbage in my view.”
Hey, don’t rain on my parade!
Hillary’s (or anyone’s) healthcare reform initiative will be able to stand up to the insurance industry this time because the rest of corporate America will be joining the fight.
Am I the only one reading this as sarcasm:
“And not a moment to lose! If she wins, let us hope to see people like Richard Holbrooke, Bill Richardson, Wesley Clark, and Robert Rubin on her team. The last years have seen the destruction of America’s hard won position as a moral leader in the world. For the good of all, this wreckage much be salvaged and re-built.”
“A senior liberal member of Congress told me, “It’s fair to criticize Rubin on ideological grounds, but he’s utterly sincere in his views.” Rubin tends to get a free pass on actions that, in lesser men, would be seen as plain conflicts of interest. For example, Goldman Sachs, which Rubin left to join Clinton, was a prime underwriter of Mexican bonds both before and immediately after the passage of NAFTA, as Faux points out in his book, The Global Class War. Goldman was also the investment bank that underwrote the privatization of the Mexican national phone company, Telmex, in the late 80s. After NAFTA created a gold rush of foreign money into Mexico, enriching Goldman Sachs and its clients and triggering an unsustainable speculative boom followed by a crash, Rubin promoted the bailout of Mexico that made foreign bondholders whole. A little-noticed provision of NAFTA permitted foreign banks to acquire Mexican ones. In 2001, Rubin, back in the private sector, negotiated Citigroup’s $12.5 billion acquisition of Mexico’s leading bank, Banamex.
As Clinton’s adviser in trade negotiations, Rubin’s top priority was less a level playing field for American exports than rapid access for U.S. financial capital. In negotiations for China’s membership in the World Trade Organization, then-Chinese Prime Minister Zhu Rongji came to Washington in April 1999 to consummate the deal. According to Joseph Stiglitz, former head of Clinton’s Council of Economic Advisers, Zhu, a reformer, went home empty handed because he failed to satisfy Treasury’s conditions on rapid financial market liberalization and on access for foreign banks, which Rubin pushed over the objections of the State Department and the U.S. trade representative.
Rubin’s crowning achievement was the repeal of the 1933 Glass-Steagall Act, which had separated largely unregulated and more speculative investment banks like Goldman Sachs from government-supervised and -insured commercial banks like Citi, which play a key role in the nation’s monetary policy. Glass-Steagall was designed to prevent the kinds of speculative conflicts of interests that pervaded Wall Street in the 1920s and helped bring about the Great Depression (and reappeared in the 1990s).
Glass-Steagall was steadily weakened by regulatory exceptions under three administrations going back to George Bush Senior. The premise was that tearing down the regulatory walls would promote competition. But the effect was to create greater concentration and renewed opportunities for insider enrichment.”
” Discounting his mainly verbal support for a more equal America, Rubin’s economic views are much as Clinton described: Eisenhower Republican. Rubin has personally pitched President Bush on his proposed grand fiscal bargain: The Democrats agree to cap Medicare and Social Security, the Republicans agree to raise some taxes, and a glorious future of budget balance ensues. Only Bush’s resistance to tax increases has saved the Democrats from this ideological and political neutering. But Rubin continues to promote his recipe through his Hamilton Project.
The project, launched a year ago, began with several appealing premises. Its founding manifesto, written by Rubin, Peter Orszag, Altman, and Jason Bordoff, declared, “Prosperity has neither trickled down nor rippled outward.” And government is part of the solution. (“Effective government can enhance economic growth.”) Specifically, programs of economic security can help “by enabling people to take the risks that promote growth” and by “lessening calls for growth-diminishing policies like closing our markets to competition.”
So far, so good. But the Hamilton Project’s actual program does not advocate serious new social outlay, nor does it have a kind word for unions, wage regulation, or social norms for trade. With the exception of one early paper by Jacob Hacker on “Universal Insurance,” Hamilton proposals are basically budget-neutral. I asked Rubin what level of net new social outlay the project envisioned. He declined to say.”
Re: Hillary and the Iraq vote.
It may well be that she voted in favor purely out of political calculation with little thought of national welfare as some in this blog have suggested. I don’t know.
But, consider the possibility that it is, in fact, very hard for Congress to tell a President “no” when he claims national survival is at stake. If Hillary is weak, then history shows she has company. Congress rarely says “no”. I can’t remember a citation, but I recently read an article where a Dem. Congressman described the efforts to win his vote. He was invited to secure briefings where he was innundated with “fact” after “fact”. He had no answer to the arguments presented and, eventually, felt complied to give the President a free hand.
Try arguing with Creationists or Holocaust deniers. It’s obvious that millions of Jews perished in genocide, right? If you haven’t argued with them before, you’ll almost certainly lose. People who make up “facts” always win the argument in the first round.
Contempt for Congress’s complicity these last years? I share it. But, it’s a harder job than it looks.
As the US population ages and, predictably, aquires more minor and major medical problems, we see a shift towards more support for a National Healthcare System. As they say, necessity is the mother of invention.
Thank you for the update, Col. Lang. A compelling and great thread. Just got back from the airport – I’ve been on the road for a month and it’s been a bit of a blur.
I was part of the Draft Clark movement in ’03. And a proud supporter of him ever since. And I am equally proud being a member of the SST community and I hold no one in greater regard than I do you, Col. Our country needs you sir, (As if you haven’t given enough)and it is my fondest wish that you would have place at the same table, with Clark, Holbrooke, Richardson and Rubin.
Dear Prof. Kiracofe,
I respect you tremendously and I enjoy reading you -there is much to learn from such an accomplished and learned man such as yourself. I do however, strongly disagree with your assessment as Clark and Holbrooke a garbage.
In 1995, during the negotiation process, Clark and Holbrooke’s diplomatic convoy was ambushed on a road by landmines and small arms fire, after Milosevic refused them safe passage. One of their jeeps crashed down a ravine and killed its passengers. Risking his life, Clark, then a 50 yr old man and 3-star general, rapelled down the ravine to search for survivors, admist enemy gunfire. He stayed with the burning jeep until help arrived, saving the wedding band of a dead soldier to personally return it to the soldier’s widow.
When I think of Rumsfeld auto penning his signature on the next of kin KIA letters, I think of Wes Clark personally returning the soldier’s wedding band to the widow.
Well we know the Federal Reserve does not understand Energy or Housing. If Rubin replaces Bernanke (sic) in a Clinton Administration will he understand militarism and the military-industrial-academic complex as James Carroll analyzes it in his 2006 memoir (really much more) “House of War.” Talk to any vets about health care recently?
PL what do you think of the lifetime benefit of free health care for military retirees?
Folks are already starting to write letters to the next President:
“Congratulations on your inauguration. May history remember your term in office as the greatest political turn-around in American history.
Now to Iraq, the puzzle your predecessor has left for you to solve:
1. Compounding one botched war in Iraq with a second one in Iran would sink your presidency before it starts.”
To get ready for the foreign policy of the next President, Dem or Republican, one might as well get familiar with all the Lib Imp stuff at:
Princeton Project http://www.wws.princeton.edu/ppns/
“Liberal Imperialism” is also referred to as “Social Imperialism” by Brit historians.
For some historical context on this form of flathead foreign policy see:
Robert J. Scally, “The Origins of the Lloyd George Coalition. The Politics of Social-Imperialism, 1900-1918” (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1975.
The re-read it and compare with Tony the Fabian Poodle and W.
I presume that you are concerned with people who are voluntarily retired after a minimum of 20 years honorable service. I also presume that you are not concerned with retirements for disability.
Military personnel are not employees of the government. They are members of the armed forces.
The glue that holds the armed forces together to do things often incomprehensible to civilians, under conditions of great privation is the belief on the part of service members that they have a special relationship to the government as members of a warrior caste in society, one that sacrifices itself for the greater good, one that involves lifetime membership in the armed forces.
Retired military people are still members of the armed forces. I am still a colonel in the Army. I am on the retired list, but still a member. I am sunject to recall until I die. Retired as opposed to former military people do not receive pensions from the service. They receive “retired pay.” It is not contributory because pay is never contributory. The medical care which retired people receive is part of the package of assurance that continued membersip is real.
The Army recently sent all retired people various symbols, decals, etc, that said on them “I was a soldier. I am a soldier. I will always be a soldier.” Re-enlistment rates for enlisted soldiers have remained high despite the hellish experience of the post 9/11 world. If you want to see those rates fall, start tinkering with the arrangements that make the soldier believe that he should sacrifice for you.
In spite of all the snide BS one hears or reads about it, soldiers do not serve BECAUSE oftheir pay. They serve because of the sense of membership. Take that away and you will have true mercenaries in your service. Then you should look to your safety.
In any event, the percentage of people who make it to a 20 or 30 year retirement is quite small compared to the number who serve. pl
A lot to contemplate/digest in this post and subsequent thread. Quick reflections:
1. Whatever else happens in the next year I think the ‘demonization’ of Hillary will not fly with American people. I don’t think they can swift-boat her anymore. They can wound her and they will…but I think (and I almost cannot believe I am writing this)the issues are so important this election, they will trump the swift boat stuff.
2. She should consider selecting Webb for VP if she gets the nominatiion.
3. Healthcare, as an issue that gets address (for better or worse) has finally arrived. It, also will resist GOP attempts to demonize it. Stakes are too high to scare off with nonsense about socialized medicine”
4. Rubin, Clark, Holbrook, whatever. Not my first choices but solid people. And what about Col Lang? Not a fan club cheer….simple as this: nation desperately needs people with your expertize and experience.
5. I sincerly wish the nation had more leaders who understand where the economy is going in the 21st century. What ‘information revolution’ really means to our way of life. What business models must evolve if we are to be sucessful with our economy. I am afraid right now the leadership, the political leadership, is, for the most part, clueless. They remind me of the French General Staff in July 1939.
Sorry for moving off the thread but for anyone who speaks fluent Arabic, and has the time, and the desire, to watch this interview….I sure would welcome their take on it.
You ask “Am I the only one reading this as sarcasm…”
I was wondering the same thing, much like when Vick “found” Jesus.
We need a Lang Decoder Ring. Call the NSA.
Mr ElBaradei has responded to the Mssrs poodles Sarkozy and Kouchner at the IAEA’s annual conference in Vienna.
“We need to be cool,” he told reporters “We need not to hype the issue.
“I would not talk about any use of force,” he said. “There are rules on how to use force, and I would hope that everybody would have gotten the lesson after the Iraq situation, where 700,000 innocent civilians have lost their lives on the suspicion that a country has nuclear weapons.”
Actually PL you read my question correctly and thanks for the thoughtful answer. I was speaking to retirees from 20 or 30 years of active service presumably some of which was in Theatres of War. It is just that when I hear of Tricare and other issues it seems there has been some breach of the moral responsibilty by Uncle Sam to those it did in fact offer free medical care for life to if they completed a military career. The issue of the disabled and the referral of discharged VETS to the VA system is another matter. That system should also be the best care available and sometimes is but recent events indicate substantial problems.
As to the comradeship of arms I have no doubt of your sincerity. Your life and career speak to very very honorable service. As I understand in the Priesthood of Intelligence.But it is my question whether a society that relies on non-citizens, the layer of society that finds the military an economic as opposed to duty choice, and then does not adequately compensate them when ill or injured is really a moral society. Actually, I resigned my commission after what I considered faithful service because I felt that others were better qualified to be the officer corps as opposed to an overage, broken-down Artillery LT who started as a draftee. The fact that the ARMY made me part of the nuclear Priesthood allowed me to indulge a long-term interest in Command and Control of nuclear weapons. I attended the high school in Arlington that produced General Lee Butler, a man I respect but do not necessarily agree with. That is an example. I clearly had many friends, fathers, brothers, and now sisters in the military that I respected greatly. I also know that documentation of the growth of the military-industrial-academic group, its origins well established in books such as William McNeil’s “The Pursuit of Power” (1982) in the western world gives me pause as I see it starving the civil agencies and needed social spending. Yes, we do need warriors, but those must be true warriors like yourself willing and able to speak truth to power. There was open criticism of the President’s policies during my Viet Nam era service. My understanding is that is now a UCMJ offense. Am I correct? I am deeply interested in civil-miliatary relationships and issues and your blog is very very interesting to me from that standpoint. Thanks so very much for what I know is a tremendous effort. Since this relates to Ms. Clinton I do really wish that a President would come to be elected that had faithfully served in the Armed Forces, however, briefly. By the way, however, briefly I served as a Battalion S-2. Service that led to an ARCOM for my only earned military decoration.
we didn’t win the Cold War just to institute health-care Communism here in the States did we?
Just kidding. Too bad she won’t end the occupation of Iraq or take the military option off the table with Iran (assuming Bush hasn’t already attacked by then).
“The glue that holds the armed forces together to do things often incomprehensible to civilians” only in so far as the notions of chivalry, gallantry, and camaraderie have become obsolete in US & EU.
The citizens of these polities have no understanding of these norms of human behavior and their occurrence among other peoples (Arabs or Koreans – as examples) is often greeted with incredulity and condensation. US & EU polities currently emphasize material success and commercial achievement to the exclusion of almost everything else.
An Arab, a Chinese, or an Indian will have no problem understanding what Col. Lang has meant.
I suppose that my 3 years enlisted time in the Guard (infantry)followed by 26 years as an officer of the Regular Army (infantry, Special Forces and intelligence) ought to mean that I know something about the Army. Incidentally I always considered myself a soldier first and then an intelligence officer. Maybe some intelligence officers did not fight, but I did.
You still don’t have it right. Retired people whether retired for service or disability can use either uniformed military medical care or Tricare. After they reach 65, they then are eligible for “Tricare for Life” plus medicare parts A&B. This care system is IMO completely satisfactory.
Former (as opposed to retired) soldiers who have disability receive care from the VA. I know little about that system. As for the well publicized problem at Walter Reed, remember, that is not a VA hospital and the problem was with the organization of care for outpatients.
I don’t think you get it about soldiers’ motivations. Young people may enlist the first time for a variety of reasons, but what keeps them re-enlisting is not that. It is their adopted identity. I fail to see what is wrong with foreign enlisted men’s service in the US Armed Forces. For these people it is just about always a path to citizenship. As for the economic “class” of those who enlist (as opposed to officers), do you think that the draft funstioned to bring the children of the privileged into the combat arms? If you do, you are wrong.
As for Senator Clinton’s lack of military experience, Polk, Lincoln, FDR and Wilson were all without military experience. (Lincoln’s few months in the militia are insignificant). All four of them were succesful wartime commanders in chief.
my comment was directed at them politically not as persons, and I was not precise enough in this regard having not yet had my third cup of morning coffee.
Building on my comments about El-Baraedi’s Amazing talk.
Here is more Amazing stuff from the heretofore totally silent John Abizaid!!!!
“”There are ways to live with a nuclear Iran,” Abizaid said in remarks at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, a think tank. “Let’s face it, we lived with a nuclear Soviet Union, we’ve lived with a nuclear China, and we’re living with (other) nuclear powers as well. ”
“I believe the United States, with our great military power, can contain Iran — that the United States can deliver clear messages to the Iranians that makes it clear to them that while they may develop one or two nuclear weapons they’ll never be able to compete with us in our true military might and power,” he said.”
That answers the question I once posed to the Col. whether this man Abizaid had drunk the Kool-Aid. Non.
straight talk from a four-star. Just Amazing.
Mr. Lang please stop humoring the DLC. Senator Clinton is not the choice of a large number of Americans and it is not a good thing to try and make her the Democratic Party Nominee.
My fears are that they (Cheney and Bush) attack Iran and that the madness they will cause to the american public (USA! USA! USA! USA!We are at War! Obey the President! The Republicans are strong!) will help to a republican be elected. That will be a way to postpone the reforms the country need (like a national healt care and lower the public deficit – and, sorry, to lower the public deficit you will need more taxes) and to mantain the uniletarism and the policy of erode democracy inside US(imperial policy).
Any democrat president will be better than bush the young. Sadly, I think the democrats need grown a spine.
Sorry, I am naturally pessimist.
Thank you for your response. You certainly know much more about the Dayton Accords and many other subjects than I do.
Ah yes, the third cup of morning joy juice…a wonder in itself.
“5. I sincerly wish the nation had more leaders who understand where the economy is going in the 21st century. What ‘information revolution’ really means to our way of life. What business models must evolve if we are to be sucessful with our economy.” Jonst
I recommend reading:
“In the Age of the Smart Machine: The Future of Work and Power” By Shoshana Zuboff
I would lend you my copy but I’ve ruined it by dog earing so many pages.
I’ve been doing “information” for a long time, both as a contractor and staff developer. A curious paradox of the information revolution is that automation degrades skill and increases dependency. Jury is out whether that is a good thing.
Also, the information techhnology, at least in my industry, is less important the further up the food chain you go. In the management suite judgment, experience, intuition and social intelligence is the coin of the realm. Information is something the help gathers, hence the failure of Executive Information Software applications several years ago. Dashboards, the current EIS wannabe may suffer a similar fate. Technology, if it exists at all in the management suite, takes the form of Blackberrys and other social networking gizmos.
Basically, the future is fewer higher skilled people doing more of the middle level work, with automation, depending on the industry, doing more production.
I’m a private pilot, and an old pilot joke talks about the “glass cockpit” of the future:
In the future an airline cockpit will have one pilot and a dog. The pilot is there to take over if anything goes wrong, and the dog is there to keep the pilot from touching anything in the meantime.
That’s pretty darned funny.
PL–Again thanks for the comprehensive response and edifying some of my ignorance. Glad you think the system is working. Both enlistments and retired medical coverage. Let’s hope so.
Reports to day make me think Hilary’s health care initiative is a joke.
She talks about making Health Insurance available to everybody – which is not the same as confronting the entrenched special interests that have you paying at least half again what the rest of the developed world pays.
When a country is in crisis, the personal issues of leaders are irrelevant – wisdom & sane action are called for and trump all other considerations. When leaders fail, in retrospect we often find the source among their inner demons – I guess there is little else to occupy our analysis.
H. Clinton and Clark. One is despised by many who have never met her, the other by many who have been close to him (Army experience). H. is scary because she’s a cold you-know-what who might actually execute on her platform (whatever it is). The General is a very smart (IQ-wise, unusual for one who has reached that level) and ambitious person with a need to serve, & serve better than anyone else can.
While I am pretty fed up with excluding / selecting leaders by personality & popular media’s filter, I don’t think we will see leaders as arose at other crutial points in US history. If we are stuck with the likes of these two, we could certainly do worse – just look at the whole field.
Agree with much of what you wrote. However, I will feel better when, one day, federal judges, politicians, lawyers, business leaders, scholars, teachers, reporters, writers, et al, who I interact with on a weekly basis have some passing familarity with, among other things, SCO v. IBM….
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/SCO_v._IBM or the looming, and significant costs to the economy of the VISTA OS.
When they can understand those things and many others like it (and again “understanding”, as I am employing it results only in a passing familiarity)I’ll think we are making progress.
One person’s view.
Speaking of bringing America back…went to see “In The Shadow of the Moon” last night.
Go see it. It will remind you of what we can do when we put our minds to it.
Shadow of the Moon
Full diclosure…made me mist up when Armstrong set foot on the moon.
Back in the olden days when I served, a draftee, the army had a rule called “unity of command,” or some such. Every armed group in the field answered to one command. Those that weren’t were enemy. In Iraq we not only have local freelance groups, we have our own freelance armies. WTF? What are the rules? Something needs explaining here. Contract workers making huge amounts of money fighting next to guys getting army level pay? Come on, that can’t last for very long.
” Recent experience in my family of massive health care costs have sharpened my awareness of the severity of the devastation wrought on people wthout means by our present lack of system in the provision of health care.”
AS someone who is suffering from Stage IV cancer (there is no stage V), and who struggles to stay employed because my (and my spouse’s and minor son’s) health insurance is through my employer, I have an extremely cynical view of a system that forces sick people to work in order to get health care. I’m also somewhat amused at the “conversions” when people get an up-close look at this travesty, as you seem to have, Col Lang.
Hilary’s plan sounds OK, but a little too little and little too late.
John Edwards for President!
I am proud to support Hillary Clinton for president. Years ago, I saw her one night on Charlie Rose, who asked her something about North Korea — can’t recall what now — and she had all the issues re No. Korea COLD. She knew and could clearly express all the complexities and challenges. I was profoundly impressed with her intellect and her knowledge.
Her performances in the debates have buttressed my views of her intellect, knowledge, maturity, and sophistication. I love what Pat quoted from her: That she’ll travel around the world with a very simple message: “The era of cowboy diplomacy is over. America is back.”
How heartening. She’ll make us all proud to be Americans again because we’ll know that most of the world isn’t cowering in fear of what the “cowboys” might do next.
Re health care: I share Pat’s concern about the plight of millions of Americans dealing with devastating health care costs. What I like about Clinton’s plan is how REALISTIC it is, i.e. it can really be enacted (it can pass Congress), and it can quickly benefit millions of people. And without an uphill, impossible battle against the major corporations.
John Edwards, in contrast, claims he’ll fight every insurance and pharmaceutical company into submission. What folly. They’ll destroy him with an all-out assault long before he ever destroys them. Clinton’s plan realizes both the power of these huge corporations and the hundreds of thousands of Americans employed by said companies (they won’t want their employers brought down by Edwards).
Is it the ideal plan? No. But SOMETHING beats NOTHING every time. Take the Republican-passed Medicare prescription drug plan … all the liberals decry the plan, and wish it hadn’t passed, and that there was no plan until they get the ideal plan that brings pharmaceuticals to their knees (which will never happen).
But, for all of the seniors and disabled who have Medicare prescription drug coverage, it is a godsend. They are getting help with paying for their drugs. That’s something. If the single-payer, no-pharmaceutical-corporations people had had their way, and lost in Congress, those Medicare recipients would have zero prescription drug coverage. Those people are grateful for that “something.” The last thing on their minds is that pharmaceutical companies are profiting from the plan. I guess that’s not the best set-up (then again?), but if it saves limited-income people $100-1000 (or more) a month for drugs, it’s a huge deal.
Jon Stopa got it right. It is unconscionable that we sponsor, as a nation, armed forces that do not answer to our Military Command structure.
Any thinking, loyal American must answer the question. “Why”…, “Why” do we have private mercenary soldiers serving side by side with regular Army personnel?
Wake up damn it!
This is another example of corporations superceeding the best interests of our Country!
Private profits are determining National geopolitics.
One nation under Dow Jones, indivisible with dividends, and capital appreciation for all… who hold stock in the corporation…and then they say America be damned because there is always off- shoring and out sourcing, and blah blah blah