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The Far-Right Conspiracy against the NHS


John Simkin
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I now know why so-many of our American members are so interested in the British NHS. This article appeared in today's Guardian:

The National Health Service has become the butt of increasingly outlandish political attacks in the US as Republicans and conservative campaigners rail against Britain's "socialist" system as part of a tussle to defeat Barack Obama's proposals for broader government involvement in healthcare.

Top-ranking Republicans have joined bloggers and well-funded free market organisations in scorning the NHS for its waiting lists and for "rationing" the availability of expensive treatments.

As myths and half-truths circulate, British diplomats in the US are treading a delicate line in correcting falsehoods while trying to stay out of a vicious domestic dogfight over the future of American health policy.

Slickly produced television advertisements trumpet the alleged failures of the NHS's 61-year tradition of tax-funded healthcare. To the dismay of British healthcare professionals, US critics have accused the service of putting an "Orwellian" financial cap on the value on human life, of allowing elderly people to die untreated and, in one case, for driving a despairing dental patient to mend his teeth with superglue.

Having seen his approval ratings drop, Obama is seeking to counter this conservative onslaught by taking his message to the public, with a "town hall" meeting today at a school in New Hampshire.

Last week, the most senior Republican on the Senate finance committee, Chuck Grassley, took NHS-baiting to a newly emotive level by claiming that his ailing Democratic colleague, Edward Kennedy, would be left to die untreated from a brain tumour in Britain on the grounds that he would be considered too old to deserve treatment.

"I don't know for sure," said Grassley. "But I've heard several senators say that Ted Kennedy with a brain tumour, being 77 years old as opposed to being 37 years old, if he were in England, would not be treated for his disease, because end of life – when you get to be 77, your life is considered less valuable under those systems."

The degree of misinformation is causing dismay in NHS circles. Andrew Dillon, chief executive of the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (Nice), pointed out that it was utterly false that Kennedy would be left untreated in Britain: "It is neither true nor is it anything you could extrapolate from anything we've ever recommended to the NHS."

Others in the US have accused Obama of trying to set up "death panels" to decide who should live and who should die, along the lines of Nice, which determines the cost-effectiveness of NHS drugs.

One right-leaning group, Conservatives for Patients' Rights, lists horror stories about British care on its website. An email widely circulated among US voters, of uncertain origin, claims that anyone over 59 in Britain is ineligible for treatment for heart disease.

The British embassy in Washington is quietly trying to counter inaccuracies. A spokesman said: "We're keeping a close eye on things and where there's a factually wrong statement, we will take the opportunity to correct people in private. That said, we don't want to get involved in a domestic debate."

A $1.2m television advertising campaign bankrolled by the conservative Club for Growth displays images of the union flag and Big Ben while intoning a figure of $22,750. A voiceover says: "In England, government health officials have decided that's how much six months of life is worth. If a medical treatment costs more, you're out of luck."

The number is based on a ratio of £30,000 a year used by Nice in its assessment of whether drugs provide value for money. Dillon said this was one of many variables in determining cost-effectiveness of medicines. He said of his body's portrayal in the US: "It's very disappointing and it's not, obviously, the way in which Nice describes itself or the way in which we're perceived in the UK even among those who are disappointed or upset by our decisions."

On Rupert Murdoch's Fox News channel, the conservative commentator Sean Hannity recently alighted upon the case of Gordon Cook, a security manager from Merseyside, who used superglue to stick a loose crown into his gum because he was unable to find an NHS dentist. The cautionary tale, which was based on a Daily Mail report from 2006, prompted Hannity to warn his viewers: "If the Democrats have their way, get your superglue ready."

The broader tone of the US healthcare debate has become increasingly bitter. The former vice-presidential candidate Sarah Palin last week described president Obama's proposals as "evil", while the radio presenter Rush Limbaugh has compared a logo used for the White House's reform plans to a Nazi swastika. Hecklers have disrupted town hall meetings called to discuss the health reform plans.

David Levinthal, a spokesman for the nonpartisan Centre for Responsive Politics, said the sheer scale of the issue, which will affect the entire trajectory of US medical care, was arousing passions: "It's no surprise you have factions from every political stripe attempting to influence the debate and some of those groups are certainly playing to the deepest fears of Americans. There's been a great deal of documented disinformation propagated throughout the country." Defenders of Britain's system point out that the UK spends less per head on healthcare but has a higher life expectancy than the US. The World Health Organisation ranks Britain's healthcare as 18th in the world, while the US is in 37th place. The British Medical Association said a majority of Britain's doctors have consistently supported public provision of healthcare. A spokeswoman said the association's 140,000 members were sceptical about the US approach to medicine: "Doctors and the public here are appalled that there are so many people on the US who don't have proper access to healthcare. It's something we would find very, very shocking."

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2009/aug/1...publican-health

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This anti-NHS conspiracy is causing problems for David Cameron and the Conservative Party:

http://www.guardian.co.uk/politics/2009/au...vid-cameron-nhs

David Cameron was packing up the beach gear and letting down the Lilos at his holiday retreat in northern France when his mobile rang. Throughout a relaxing family fortnight in Brittany, his staff at Westminster had found few reasons to disturb him. A report in the Daily Mirror about toxic seaweed on the Brittany coast had been relayed a few days earlier, but apart from that all had been blissful and calm.

As he prepared for the ferry journey home last Wednesday, however, the Tory leader was jolted back to reality. He knew that his holiday was well and truly over when an aide told him that Alan Duncan, his shadow leader of the Commons and a multimillionaire, had been caught on film saying that MPs were having to live on "rations" following the clean-up of MPs' expenses. They were treated "like xxxx", Duncan was filmed saying. The remarks were leading the news.

Before the Camerons crossed the Channel, the Tory leader, well aware of implications for his party's image if he dithered, got on the phone to Duncan, a former oil trader, and told him "in no uncertain terms" that his behaviour had been unacceptable. Cameron pulled no punches saying he had made a "bad mistake" that presented Tory politicians in a terrible light. All Conservatives had to show they shared the public's anger about expenses, not stoke it further.

"It will have been a very uncomfortable call for Alan," said one of Cameron's inner circle. But Duncan remained in his shadow cabinet post.

Little did Cameron know that even more trouble was brewing that would throw his party further on to the back foot and lift Labour morale to its highest level for months.

On Wednesday morning, political blogs were reporting that Daniel Hannan, a Tory MEP admired by Cameron, had gone on American television to rubbish the National Health Service.

Cameron has made great play of wanting to preserve the NHS and pump money into it. He holds the British system – free at the point of delivery – in particular affection because of all it did for his severely disabled son Ivan, who died aged six in February.

He told the Tory conference in 2006: "My family is so often in the hands of the NHS. And I want them to be safe there. Tony Blair once explained his priority in three words: 'Education, education, education.' I can do it in three letters – NHS." More than anything, he believes his commitment to the NHS defines his new conservatism.

But Hannan, a cult figure on the libertarian right of the party who became a YouTube star a few months ago after a speech he made attacking Gordon Brown in the European parliament, had taken a dramatically different view. In an interview with Fox News, he explained why he was urging Americans to reject the UK model of universal state provision that his party's leader so cherished.

"Because you're our friends, and if you see a friend about to make a terrible mistake you try to warn him," he said. "We have lived through this mistake for 60 years now."

Hannan made it clear that healthcare should be opened more to the market, that patients should be able to pay for drugs rather than have to wait in queues. He wants a system of personal accounts into which people would save and then shop around for health care in the public or private sector.

Health expenditure would be managed by the individual, in association with his or her doctor. The state would provide the safety net for those who could not afford to save enough, but its role would be drastically reduced. There would be low-cost insurance to cover people for unforeseen catastrophic illness. But the NHS would go. It took some time for the Tory machine to react, but when Cameron heard, he and others in the high command squashed Hannan in quick succession.

As the leader dismissed his views as "eccentric", shadow health spokesman Andrew Lansley said he had done millions of NHS patients a "disservice". And Timothy Kirkhope, leader of the Tory MEPs, even admitted the Tories' reputation abroad could suffer: "It does worry me a little bit that an impression is being given in the United States about the views of David Cameron and the Conservative party which is not accurate."

In Labour circles, Duncan – and even more so Hannan – helped to lift a party that has been on its knees. Last week began with the Tories hoping to steal a march on Labour over the NHS by promoting their plans to modernise, not dismantle, it. The latest big idea was to allow patients access to their medical records online. It was also the week shadow chancellor George Osborne claimed his party was the real guardian of public services. "The torch of progressive politics has been passed to a new generation of politicians – and those politicians are Conservatives," he said.

But the decision to make it NHS week had blown up in their faces. Labour saw its chance. The party of money and privilege, Labour said, lived on, as did its Thatcherite instincts towards public services. "The battle lines for the general election campaign are drawn. It is a turning point for us, no doubt about it. It is the return of the nasty party," said a Cabinet source.

Until Parliament broke for the summer recess, Cameron appeared to have emerged stronger than Gordon Brown from the expenses scandal. Although his own MPs were guilty of many of the most outrageous claims – for moat dredging, duck ponds and second homes – the Tory leader had seemed quicker off the mark than the prime minister in showing errant MPs the door, and surer-footed in his calls for reform.

His party's thumping victory in the Norwich North by-election last month, which saw 27-year-old Chloe Smith thrust into Parliament as the youngest MP, was taken as confirmation that Cameron's modernisation and detoxification strategy was still broadly on track. "Roll on the general election, when the British people also have the opportunity to vote for change," said a triumphant Smith.

But even before last week's setbacks, the new breed of Tories were coming more under the microscope, and the odd question was being asked. A survey of 144 party candidates in the 220 most winnable seats by ConservativeHome website had shown Cameron's new cohort in government would be solidly, and fairly traditionally, rightwing. Only 9% believed that as MPs they should send their children to a state school (though Cameron has vowed to do that). Asked which spending programme should be most immune from cuts, 4% said international development, 34% health, 35% defence and 27% schools. They were also stridently Eurosceptic.

Nothing much wrong with that, the Tory high command would say. But last month the Tories became embroiled in a row about Cameron's choice of partners in a new grouping in the European parliament that includes the 25 Conservative MEPs. Prominent figures in the Jewish community in the UK and Poland called on the Tory leader to disown the group's Polish leader, Michal Kaminski, who has been accused of anti-semitic and homophobic leanings in his past.

Kaminski flatly rejected the charges again last week as "disgusting", but the accusations refuse to go away. Some of Kaminski's denials have failed to hold water. Despite his claims to be pro-gay, he is on record as describing gay people as "poofs" and "fags". New evidence about the views of his Law and Justice party emerge by the day. Out of 39 Law and Justice members of the Polish parliament's upper house (senate), 22 signed a petition to prohibit a planned gay rights march in Krakow this year. They referred to it as "promoting deviation and demoralising behaviour". Angela Merkel, the German chancellor, is said to be dismayed by Cameron's new allies and the Tory leader's attitude to Europe, as is French president Nicolas Sarkozy.

Hot on the heels of the Kaminski furore, Tory MEP Roger Helmer infuriated gay groups by suggesting on his blog that homophobia did not exist, causing severe embarrassment to a party that is holding a gay pride event at its autumn conference this year.

"Homophobia is merely a propaganda device designed to denigrate and stigmatise those holding conventional opinions, which have been held by most people through most of recorded history," said Helmer, who also supported Hannan's view on the NHS. Ben Summerskill, chief executive of Stonewall, who is due to attend the event in October, said: "If Mr Helmer thinks that homophobia doesn't exist in modern Britain, then perhaps he should be introduced to the families of Michael Causer and Jody Dobrowski. I suspect that their dignity in the face of the murders of their sons by homophobes might cause Mr Helmer to think again."

Millionaire Tories bemoaning their poverty, evidence of homophobia, hardline euroscepticism, demands to scrap the NHS… Where was compassionate, modern, socially liberal Cameronism, which championed public services, minorities and the less well off?

Add to this Boris Johnson's recent description of his annual haul of £250,000 from a newspaper column as "chicken feed" and the Tories' downcast opponents began to hope. Labour leaders began to make links – and present Cameron's entire renewal project as fake.

Former Europe minister Denis MacShane said: "Daniel Hannan's pandering to the hard right in America, with an attack on the NHS, is mirrored by his pandering to the hard right in Europe with his support for homophobe and racist Polish politicians.

"Dan Hannan is modern Toryism and Cameron's failure to discipline him – and to sack Duncan – further reflects the strength of support there is for their views in the modern Tory party."

At Cameron HQ, they are uneasy about this spurt of bad publicity, but insist the push for government is being run by true "progressives". A batch of young advisers who are light years from the Thatcehrite tradition is gathering round. Jonty Olliff-Cooper, 26, a former policy adviser to the party, now works at the thinktank Demos, running a programme called progressive conservatism that was launched by Cameron in January. He said he could list 50 people working with or close to the party's leadership who were true reformists.

He described a new group of twentysomething advisers who were, in effect, the new Notting Hill Set. And there were many more "young and fashionable" people working on the periphery of the party. "People like Hannan exist within the party, but the people actually pulling the strings have really interesting and progressive ideas," Olliff-Cooper said. "They are people who are conservative in that they want to lower taxes and reduce the size of the state, but they don't want to leave people without support."

He said he would not describe himself as rightwing but as progressive. He studied history at Oxford and went on to work as a management consultant, teacher and then civil servant. He ended up in the prime minister's strategy unit, working on public service reform and was about to move to the Foreign Office when he got a call from Conservative HQ. "I asked a friend working with George Osborne, and she said, 'Really, they have changed – take a look'."

Olliff-Cooper, who had never voted Conservative, was offered a job as a policy adviser. He is now in the process of setting up a new group to be called Bright Blue or Right On made up of Conservatives in their 20s who want to promote the progressive agenda internally and externally. Others include Rohan Silva, also in his 20s, who came from the treasury to work for Osborne. Then there is Sam Coates , formerly the deputy editor of Conservative Home, who is now a speechwriter for Cameron. Also on the programme at Demos is Max Wind-Cowie, who is gay, went to a comprehensive school in Cumbria, and whose background is in charities and social enterprise.

But, as we report today, Labour is now wheeling out its cabinet big guns in force, believing it has the evidence it has long sought. It has its "narrative". In 1997, it swept to power saying, "24 hours to save the NHS". Its point is that the Tories are more rightwing than they make out. Indeed, Hannan lists a group of Tory MPs and MEPs, including education spokesman Michael Gove, as supporters of his views in the books The Plan: Twelve Months to Renew Britain and Direct Democracy: An Agenda for a New Model Party.

Labour believes it gathered enough ammunition last week alone to see it through the autumn party conference season and well into an election campaign next spring. Writing for the Observer today, Cabinet minister Pat MacFadden says: "Hannan's comments show there are two faces to the Conservative Party – the one the leadership would like us to see and the unchanged rightwing underbelly hostile to the NHS and much else besides."

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Healthcare reform in America isn't helped by the fact that in a time of severe recession, the American people are not being told the truth - if anyone knows the truth - about how it will be paid for. Out of one side of his mouth, Obama says that he will not sign any bill that adds to the federal deficit. Out of the other side of his mouth, he says that healthcare reform will cost up to 1 trillion dollars over the next 10 years (or 100 billion dollars per year). The American people would like to know which side of his mouth to believe.

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who cares what it costs!!!!

Yes, that should be printed on our dollar bills nowadays, instead of the outmoded "In God We Trust."

What price life and health!

Life and health will depreciate in a country that spent itself into bankruptcy like a drunken sailor, in which people's life savings are wiped out and their paper money is worthless, and the only people who will feel relatively safe are those with AK-47s and plenty of rounds of ammunition.

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Life and health will depreciate in a country that spent itself into bankruptcy like a drunken sailor, in which people's life savings are wiped out and their paper money is worthless, and the only people who will feel relatively safe are those with AK-47s and plenty of rounds of ammunition.

One of the things ignored by the American critics of our NHS is that the rich do not use it. They are free to contribute to any private health care insurance scheme they want to. The service they receive is usually much better than the NHS. However, they are very expensive and only a small proportion can afford to pay for this kind of insurance.

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Interesting email from JFK researcher, Dr. Gary Aguilar:

As you know, I'm a practicing, private physician. As we've seen already with the military-industrial-congressional complex, the Big Agra-congressional complex, the Big Pharma-congressional complex, and, more recently, the Big Banking-congressional complex, the upshot of whatever the govt. does with health care will be to transfer massive amounts of the public's dwindling assets to private healthcare corporations -- insurance companies and hospital corporations.

For in America, it's not 'one man, one vote;' it's 'one dollar, one vote.' And the health care lobby has been spending $1.4 million dollars PER DAY lobbying to ensure that whatever is done by the feds helps them first and foremost.

As a former Ayn Rand objectivist, a Milton Friedmanite (who was my patient), a Young American for Freedom Member, etc. and as a student of Ludwig von Mises(!), I know to what uses von Mises is put nowadays: it's put to scare people from govt so that they'll agree to cede even more public power and more public money to corrupt, powerful, private corporations, health care in this case.

Just think about what's already happened to the country, what with the myriad financial calamities that were caused by "anti-regulatory, free market ideologues." If Adam Smith had been right about that "invisible hand," the house of cards would not have collapsed. But it collapsed because powerful corps got control of the govt. and engineered their own golden parachute while the citizenry was thrown from the plane without a parachute. And to whom did both Bush and Obama turn to salvage our financial train wreck? Why, the same guys who were driving the train when it crashed, that's who.

Two newish books lay this out particularly clearly: Ha-Joon Chang, Ph.D.'s "Bad Samaritan," (he's an economics professor at Cambridge), and James Galbraith, Ph.D.'s "Predator State" (he teaches econ at U. Texas, Austin). Both make the point that private interests now use the power of the state to fleece and impoverish the American public. They've done a helluva job, too.

"For example, according to a series of studies reviewed in the Wall St. Journal, no foe of capitalism, it, and against all "patriotic" beliefs, .. the USA is now tied for DEAD LAST AMONG ALL FIRST WORLD COUNTRIES in one's chances of rising to prosperity if one starts out life poor ..." Sound crazy? Well, check it yourself:

http://www.acces.us/PDF/WSJ.com%20_As_Rich..._Gap_Widens.pdf

And then ask yourself this question: If you have a really excellent public university system in your state - say, a U. Michigan, U. Wisconsin, U. California, etc. - how much did it cost you to go to this university when you were young, as opposed to what it costs now? UCLA Medical School cost me - tuition, room, board, books and supplies - $2,000.00 year in 1974 and I got lots of scholarships and grants that helped. (I came from a very poor family.) Today, the tab is $45,000.00 a year, and few outright grants are given these days.

Inflation correct all you want, but these costs have skyrocketed to the point that there are lots of kids who are capable but don't now go to decent colleges because they can't afford to come out owing 10s of thousands of dollars. And in young doctors's cases, something I know about since I teach at UC San Francisco, young practitioners often begin their careers owing as much as $250,000.00, or even more.

In America, the "free market" isn't free; it's a market that's completely rigged by enormously wealthy and powerful corporations that keep their predations buried behind noble ideals of free markets that have absolutely nothing to do with what actually goes on these days.

Look, if you haven't figured it out already concerning the recent banking bailout, you'll not see what hit you until after the, "pro-capitalism" health care lobby is done with ya.

Best,

Gary

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It seems that Barack Obama might be in retreat:

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2009/aug/1...c-option-reform

Barack Obama faced a backlash from the left today after his administration signalled retreat over the introduction of a government-run national health plan.

Progressives dubbed the move 'treachery' and 'betrayal'.

Obama will continue to push for reform this year but the new healthcare provision is now likely to be run by private insurance companies rather than by the federal government, which had been his preferred option.

The apparent White House shift brought to the surface the divisions between Democrats over reform. Left-wingers expressed sadness and anger that Obama appeared to be backing away from the public option while party conservatives claimed that it had never been a realistic option anyway.

The softening of the White House position comes after weeks of sustained, noisy and disruptive protests across the country against his health plan, much of it orchestrated by the right.

Howard Dean, who chaired the Democratic party from 2005 to this year, today emerged as the most high-profile party member to voice concern about dropping the public option. Interviewed on TV network CBS, he said: "You can't really have reform without a public option. If you don't want to have the public option … just do a little insurance reform … and then we'll tackle health reform another time. But let's not pretend we're doing reform without a public option."

Dean's comments reflect the debate within the Democratic party between those who argue that Obama should not back down in the face of the Republican campaign and those who say that it is better to compromise - to get half of what they want rather than nothing.

Obama's healthcare plan, aimed at extending insurance coverage to 46 million Americans who at present have none, has produced one of the most divisive debates in the US since the Vietnam war. Obama, on a visit to Phoenix, Arizona, today was greeted by a crowd in the streets loudly expressing support or opposition to the healthcare plan, even though he was due to speak to military veterans about Iraq and Afghanistan.

The softening by the Obama administration over the public option was signalled by the US health secretary, Kathleen Sebelius, who yesterday said it was "not the essential element" of the healthcare plan.

The White House insisted that this did not amount to a change: Obama continued to think the public option was the best one but he had always been flexible about how to achieve his healthcare goals.

The group Healthcare for America Now, which has been paying for ads in support of the Obama plan, today expressed its continued support for the public option. Jacki Schechner, a spokeswoman, said: "We believe - and the president continues to say – that a public health insurance option is the best way to inject true competition and choice into the marketplace."

The group's blog reflected some of the liberal anger. One commenter, identifying herself as Mary, said the alternative appears to be public subsidies for insurance companies. "I feel literally sick over this betrayal," she said.

Healthcare for America Now has not given up the fight and today announced spending on more television ads targeting the states of members of Congress opposed to reform.

House Democrats today insisted they will not drop the public provision in their bill, at least not in the short term. The Senate, where most of the opposition is coming from, has not yet produced a bill. After both chambers pass bills, the two get together for horsetrading to produce a common bill.

Obama's administration is likely to be judged on whether he can get a health bill on the statute books - he sees it as the centrepiece of his first term. He is to continue the fight throughout the remainder of this month and into next. Although he is off on holiday with his family to Martha's Vineyard in New England next week, he is to break in to it to continue campaigning.

One of Obama's biggest problems is not the Republicans but conservatives in his own party, the so-called Blue Dog Democrats, opposed to the public option. One of them, Senator Kent Conrad from North Dakota, said on Fox News yesterday that the public option was never on the cards: "The fact of the matter is there are not the votes in the United States Senate for a public option. There never have been."

Instead, he proposed creation of cooperatives in which members could negotiate coverage with private insurance companies. But this leaves many liberals cold as they regard it as giving more money to insurance companies, detested for their high profits and patchy performance in paying out on claims.

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Video expose on the British NHS.

http://www.larouchepac.com/lpactv?nid=11514

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Video expose on the British NHS.

http://www.larouchepac.com/lpactv?nid=11514

Terry, thank you for posting this. I now know that I will never take seriously anything that comes from the LaRouche organization. To give just one example of the logic of this video: Adolf Hitler was in favour of a National Health Service type system so therefore you can use terms such as Nazi-NHS and Nazi-Obama. Even Sarah Palin is not as daft as this. It is clearly the political movement for the political illiterates. I am sending the video around to friends so we can have a good laugh at LaRouche organization.

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Guest Tom Scully
Interesting email from JFK researcher, Dr. Gary Aguilar:

As you know, I'm a practicing, private physician. As we've seen already with the military-industrial-congressional complex, the Big Agra-congressional complex, the Big Pharma-congressional complex, and, more recently, the Big Banking-congressional complex, the upshot of whatever the govt. does with health care will be to transfer massive amounts of the public's dwindling assets to private healthcare corporations -- insurance companies and hospital corporations.

For in America, it's not 'one man, one vote;' it's 'one dollar, one vote.' And the health care lobby has been spending $1.4 million dollars PER DAY lobbying to ensure that whatever is done by the feds helps them first and foremost.

As a former Ayn Rand objectivist, a Milton Friedmanite (who was my patient), a Young American for Freedom Member, etc. and as a student of Ludwig von Mises(!), I know to what uses von Mises is put nowadays: it's put to scare people from govt so that they'll agree to cede even more public power and more public money to corrupt, powerful, private corporations, health care in this case.....

Dr, Gary,

The concentration of wealth purchased political power in the US was turned back for a brief time, and workers gained quickly and dramatically in so many ways....overtime pay after 8 hours of work in a day, and after 40 hours work in a week. Decent wages and medical, dental, retirement and vacation benefits were succcessfully negotiated via federally enforced collective bargaining with employers, These types of benefits and paid holidays eventually became widespread compensation models for the majority of US employees, even though they did not belong to unions.

For a time, wealth in the US stopped it's ever increasing concentration into ever fewer hands, and actually reversed noticeably. Big wealth and it's right wing republican party repealed the stronger provisions of the 1935 unionization laws, and republican presidents like GW Bush cynically stacked the labor laws enforcement board, the NLRB, with anti-union hacks as described below.

Too many American voters have demonstrated that they don't possess the discernment to vote in their own best interests, and it shows. Clinton was and Obama is a president concerned primarily with convincing large corporations that it is worth spending most of their lobbying and political influence dollars on them, vs. spending on their republican challengers. These presidents commit to giving their corporate benefactors their moneys worth at the expense of the best interests of their democratic constituents. The top priority is keeping corporate donations in democratic campaign coffers, so as to weaken the republicans.

Here is some history:

http://www.peterkang.com/about_pk/academia...nar%20paper.pdf

Brandeis and Wall Street:

The Crafting of the Securities Act of 1933

Page 3

During the summer of 1932, Roosevelt made it clear in a campaign speech given in Columbus, Ohio, that the regulation of securities and the ways in which the investment banking community conducted business would be central to the Democratic platform....

Page 4

The publication of Other People’s Money in 1914 came as a result of the findings of the Pujo committee hearings in 1912. The hearings were called by Congressman Charles Lindbergh of Minnesota (father of the famed aviator) and named after Arsene Pujo, a Democratic Congressman from Louisiana. The Pujo committee charged J.P. Morgan, National City, First National and three smaller banks of using interlocking

directorships to exert control over the supply of money and the way it was used.

The term "money trust" was used to label these powerful banks, and the perception that a handful of banks controlled over $22 billion of resources ("three times the assessed valueof all the real estate in the City of New York")...

Page 19

the antimonopoly faction of the New Deal, the Temporary National Economic Committee (TNEC) was created to investigate monopolistic practices across various industries, including investment banking.

38

The decision to investigate Wall Street once again

confirmed two things: (1) the New Deal securities legislation had helped to restore the dominance of a handful of banks that had suffered through competition during the 1920s and (2) the fear of a "money trust" in the similar vein of the Pujo committee and Pecora investigations persisted.

38

Geisst, Wall Street: A History, 258.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/National_Labor_Relations_Act

National Labor Relations Act

The National Labor Relations Act (or Wagner Act) is a 1935 United States federal law that limits the means with which employers may react to workers in the private sector that organize labor unions, engage in collective bargaining, and take part in strikes and other forms of concerted activity in support of their demands.

...Origins

It was in a context of severe economic troubles that the Wagner Act came into effect. After a decade of prosperity, during the Great Depression of the 1930s the nation faced an increasingly high unemployment rate and a rapidly declining standard of living[1]. The National Labor Relations Act (or Wagner Act) was one of many programs put in place during the Second New Deal to kick the economy back into order.[2]. The Wagner-Connery bill was signed into law by the 32nd President of the United States Franklin Delano Roosevelt on July 5, 1935. The Act encouraged the rationalization of commerce and industry by establishing minimum wages and maximum hours of work[3]. It established a federal agency, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), with the power to investigate and decide on charges of unfair labor practices and to conduct elections in which workers would have the opportunity to decide whether they wanted to be represented by a union. The board also looked into matters such as improving personnel by better training and the development of standard procedures in different work fields [4]. The NLRB was given more extensive powers than the much weaker organization of the same name established under the National Industrial Recovery Act, which the United States Supreme Court had declared unconstitutional[5]. Federal interventions to regulate relations between labor and capital were opposed by many who subscribed to a “laissez faire” attitude towards economic order [6]. Workers’ efforts to organize in the 1920’s were significantly limited by antitrust laws[7]. The Wagner Act marked a significant change in government policy towards labor organizations in a context of economic depression. This change in mentality can be seen in Senate address on May 8, 1937, in which Roosevelt stipulated: “The right to bargain collectively is at the bottom of social justice for the worker, as well as the sensible conduct of business affairs. The denial or observance of this right means the difference between despotism and democracy”[8].....

...It is declared to be the policy of the United States to eliminate the causes of certain substantial obstructions to the free flow of commerce and to mitigate and eliminate these obstructions when they have occurred by encouraging the practice and procedure of collective bargaining and by protecting the exercise by workers of full freedom of association, self- organization, and designation of representatives of their own choosing, for the purpose of negotiating the terms and conditions of their employment or other mutual aid or protection.

Some of these changes were later achieved in the 1947 amendments.

Amendments

Opponents of the Wagner Act introduced several hundred bills to amend or repeal the law in the decade after its passage. All of them failed or were vetoed until the passage of the Taft-Hartley amendments in 1947....

.

http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/...,759590,00.html

INDUSTRY: Anti-Monopoly

Monday, May. 09, 1938

Last year Harold L. Ickes and Robert Houghwout Jackson handed U. S. Business the Administration's Christmas greetings in the form of a pair of diatribes about "economic oligarchy" and "the 60 families." Implication was that they would be followed by a similarly vehement message from the President to Congress, suggesting revision of U. S. anti-trust laws. Anxiously awaited by Business ever since, the business monopoly message from the nation's greatest governmental monopolist finally appeared last week. A detailed request for Congressional investigation of the whole subject of monopoly as a preliminary to future legislation to curtail it, it was chiefly noteworthy for a tone as mild as Messrs. Ickes & Jackson had been bitter.

Simple Truths. Read to Congress the day after Governor La Follette's launching of a new party in Madison, Wis. (see p. 12), the President's message opened with some strikingly similar themes:

"Unhappy events abroad have retaught us two simple truths about the liberty of a democratic people. The first truth is that the liberty of a democracy is not safe if the people tolerate the growth of private power to a point where it becomes stronger than their democratic State itself. That, in its essence, is fascism—ownership of government by an individual, by a group or by any other controlling private power.

"The second truth is that the liberty of a democracy is not safe if its business system does not provide employment and produce and distribute goods in such a way as to sustain an acceptable standard of living. Both lessons hit home. Among us today a concentration of private power without equal in history is growing."

Statistics. To prove his point that current concentration of economic power is unexampled, the President quoted familiar statistics from reports to the Bureau of Internal Revenue: 1) .1% of U. S. corporations own 52% of all corporate assets, get 50% of all corporate income, less than 5% of U. S. corporations own 87% of the assets and less than 4% of manufacturing corporations get 84% of their net profits; 2) even in 1929 .3% of the population got 78% of the dividends and 3) in 1936, 33% of all inheritances went to 4% of all heirs. Taking this as premise No. 1, the President proposed as premise No. 2 that the concentration was due to monopolistic trends in U. S. business. His conclusion was that "a thorough study of the concentration of economic power in American industry and the effect of that concentration upon the decline of competition" should be undertaken by the Federal Trade Commission, Department of Justice and Securities & Exchange Commission, for whom he recommended appropriating $500,000.....

http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/...,764913,00.html

Thirteen Families

Monday, Oct. 28, 1940

Last week the Securities and Exchange Commission published its report to null a 121-page study of "The Distribution of Ownership in the 200 Largest Non-Financial* Corporations."...

...Of an estimated 8,500,000 U. S. stockholders, less than 75,000 (.06% of the population) own fully one-half of all corporate stock held by individuals....

The 13 most potent family groups' holdings were worth $2,700,000,000, comprised over 8% of the stock of the 200 corporations:...

....» Three groups—Du Fonts, Mellons, Rockefellers—have shareholdings valued at nearly $1,400,000,000, control, directly or indirectly, 15 of the 200 corporations....

The findings of the TNEC investigation of monopolistic corporate power have been sealed for 68 years since the successful 1941 effort by republicans to defund TNEC. The TNEC recommendations to ease the wealth concentration aggravated by monopolies were interrupted by WWII and never acted upon:

http://www.archives.gov/research/guide-fed...groups/144.html

Records of the Temporary National Economic Committee [TNEC]

(Record Group 144)

1938-41

144.1 ADMINISTRATIVE HISTORY

Established: As a joint Congressional-Executive branch committee, composed of members of both houses of Congress and representatives of several Executive departments and commissions, by joint resolution of Congress, June 16, 1938 (52 Stat. 705). Functions: Studied monopoly and concentration of economic power, and made recommendations for legislation.

Abolished: April 3, 1941, by expiration of extension granted by joint resolution, December 16, 1940 (54 Stat. 1225). Liquidation deadline of December 31, 1941,

....144.2 RECORDS OF THE COMMITTEE

...Specific Restrictions: As specified by the SEC, no one, except government officials for official purposes, may have access to records created and filed by the SEC on behalf of the TNEC, except for the following: certain records relating to the insurance study.....

The Taft-Hartley Act

By Ralph Nader

July 18, 2002

This year marks the 55th anniversary of the passage of the Taft-Hartley Act, one of the great blows to American democracy.

The Act, which was drafted by employers, fundamentally infringed on workers' human rights.

Legally, it impeded employees' right to join together in labor unions, it undermined the power of unions to represent workers' interests effectively, and it authorized an array of anti-union activities by employers.

Among its key provisions, Taft-Hartley:

o Authorized states to enact so-called right-to-work laws. These laws undermine the ability to build effective unions by creating a free-rider problem -- workers can enjoy the benefits of union membership in a workplace without actually joining the union or paying union dues. Right-to-work laws increase employer leverage to resist unions by enabling them to benefit from free riders; and vastly decrease union membership, thus dramatically diminishing unions' bargaining power.

o Outlawed the closed shop, which required that persons join the union before being eligible for employment with the unionized employer. (Still permitted are provisions which require any member of a bargaining unit to pay a portion of dues to that union.)

o Defined "employee" for purposes of the Act as excluding supervisors and independent contractors. This diminished the pool of workers eligible to be unionized. The exclusion of supervisors from union organizing activity meant they would be used as management's "front line" in anti-organizing efforts.

o Permitted employers to petition for a union certification election, thus undermining the ability of workers and unions to control the timing of an election during the sensitive organizing stage, forcing an election before the union is ready.

o Required that election hearings on matters of dispute be held before a union recognition election, thus delaying the election. Delay generally benefits management, giving the employer time to coerce workers.

o Established the "right" of management to campaign against a union organizing drive, thereby scuttling the principle of employer neutrality.

o Prohibited secondary boycotts -- boycotts directed to encourage neutral employers to pressure the employer with which the union has a dispute. Secondary boycotts had been one of organized labor's most potent tools, for organizing, negotiating and dispute settlement.

The political damage of Taft-Hartley was just as severe. In addition to starting an era of red-baiting with the American labor movement which led to harmful internal division (a now-invalidated provision of Taft-Hartley required union leaders to sign anti-communist affidavits), the Act sent a message to employers: It was OK to bust unions and deny workers their rights to collectively bargain.

In short, Taft-Hartley entrenched significant executive tyranny in the workplace, with ramifications that are more severe today than ever. Union membership is at historic 60-year lows, with only 10 percent of the private economy's workforce unionized. Employer violations of labor rights are routine, and illegal firings of union supporters in labor organizing drives are at epidemic levels.

It is past time for the repeal of Taft-Hartley. That would be one important step in restoring workers right to organize into unions, achieve a living wage in the Wal-Marts, McDonald's and other workplaces, and in revitalizing American democracy.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Taft-Hartley_Act

Taft–Hartley Act

...Opposition to the Act

Union leaders did not like the bill when it was proposed. Harry Truman vetoed Taft-Hartley, but Congress overrode his veto. More Democrats joined Republicans in voting for the bill and the override than voted against it.[9] Despite this, union leaders in the Congress of Industrial Organizations (CIO) continued to support Democrats and vigorously campaigned for Truman in the 1948 election based upon a (never fulfilled) promise to repeal Taft-Hartley.[10] Organized labor nearly succeeded in pushing Congress to amend the law to increase the protections for strikers and targets of employer retaliation during the Carter and Clinton administrations, but failed on both occasions because of Republican opposition and lukewarm support for these changes[citation needed] from the Democratic President in office at the time.

http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/...,813379,00.html

No Worries?

Monday, Sep. 25, 1950

When U.S. industry mobilizes for war production, the antitrust laws are among the first casualties. Reason: industrywide

production allocations and patent pools, which are taboo in peacetime, are essential for the close integration of industries

needed for big-scale war production. Last week came the first sign that antitrust prosecutions would again be eased up—or perhaps shelved completely—as they were during World War II. Lanky, eager Herbert Bergson, 44, the U.S.'s most vigorous trustbuster since the early New Deal days of Thurman Arnold, resigned his job.

In two years as head of the Justice Department's antitrust division, Bergson had filed 135 suits, including those against Aluminum Co. of America, E. I. du Pont de Nemours & Co. and the Great Atlantic & Pacific Tea Co. (TIME, Sept. 26 et seq.). He has won 80 of his cases, lost only seven. The rest, including the big ones, are still pending. But lately there have been hints that Bergson would have less & less to do.

One hint: When the Government decided to build the hydrogen bomb, it handed the big job to Du Pont. Washington no longer seemed to be worried that Du Pont, which the trustbusters had said was too big, would have to grow much bigger to build the bomb.

http://lawprofessors.typepad.com/adjunctpr...dent-bus-1.html

January 28, 2008

President Bush Announces His Proposed NLRB Appointments

....Senator Kennedy issued the following statement on his web site:

It’s unbelievable that President Bush would renominate Mr. Battista to the Board, after he led the most anti-worker, anti-labor, anti-union Board in its history. America’s hard-working men and women deserve a Board that will uphold their rights, not undermine them. With these nominations, the Administration has again demonstrated its hostility to fairness and justice in the workplace.”

Mr. MoraIes appears to be a management attorney from Phoenix. Battista's term as Chairman just ended and his anti-union decisions are well known. I do not think there is any, repeat any, chance that Battista stands a chance in this Democratically controlled Senate. Additionally, I also think that there is virtually no chance that Morales will be confirmed....

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Video expose on the British NHS.

http://www.larouchepac.com/lpactv?nid=11514

Terry, thank you for posting this. I now know that I will never take seriously anything that comes from the LaRouche organization. To give just one example of the logic of this video: Adolf Hitler was in favour of a National Health Service type system so therefore you can use terms such as Nazi-NHS and Nazi-Obama. Even Sarah Palin is not as daft as this. It is clearly the political movement for the political illiterates. I am sending the video around to friends so we can have a good laugh at LaRouche organization.

John,

I do not agree with your "simplistic" review of the video. What I took away from the video was Obama's healthcare proposal contained the same call for "medical rationing" by an independent commission that Hitler used. That this commission would decide who gets healthcare and what kind of healthcare. This is identical to Hitler's T-4 boards.

This is also identical to the British system. Further that Simon Stevens (Health Policy Director to Tiny Blair) was the "KEY ADVISOR" to Obama prior to his June 1st, 2009 Healthcare reform initiative. Stevens said that NICE could be applied to Medicaid. There is your "foreign influence" of American policy, for example.

Here's a recent article defending the British NICE

http://prescriptions.blogs.nytimes.com/200...-american-lies/

The Wall Street Journal editorial page described NICE as a “rationing board” and wrote: “Americans should understand how NICE works because under ObamaCare it will eventually be coming to a hospital near you.”

Dr. Rawlins noted that defending the N.H.S. had become a political badge of honor in the United Kingdom. “These attacks from the U.S. have been good for the British,” he said. In speeches, Dr. Rawlins routinely tweaks the United States for its profligate health care spending and poor results.

Now from December 2008 here is an article on NICE "cost/benefit" analysis

http://lawprofessors.typepad.com/healthlaw...-costbenef.html

When Bruce Hardy’s kidney cancer spread to his lung, his doctor recommended an expensive new pill from Pfizer. But Mr. Hardy is British, and the British health authorities refused to buy the medicine. His wife has been distraught. . . .

If the Hardys lived in the United States or just about any European country other than Britain, Mr. Hardy would most likely get the drug, although he might have to pay part of the cost. A clinical trial showed that the pill, called Sutent, delays cancer progression for six months at an estimated treatment cost of $54,000. But at that price, Mr. Hardy’s life is not worth prolonging, according to a British government agency, the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence. The institute, known as NICE, has decided that Britain, except in rare cases, can afford only £15,000, or about $22,750, to save six months of a citizen’s life. British authorities, after a storm of protest, are reconsidering their decision on the cancer drug and others.

Note: "But at that price, Mr. Hardy's LIFE is not worth prolonging, according to a British government agency, NICE.

There in a nusthell is why LaRouche identifies the British idea of rationing healthcare with Adolf Hitler. And this is what the British wish to "export" to the United States?

Further in the article we find this:

To arrest this trend, the United States needs to adopt at least some of NICE’s methods, said Dr. Mark McClellan and Dr. Sean Tunis, who served earlier in the Bush administration as, respectively, administrator and chief medical officer of the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services. Dr. Tunis said he spent a lot of time in government “learning about NICE and trying to adopt the processes and mechanisms they used, and we just couldn’t.” That’s because the idea of using price to determine which drugs or devices Medicare or Medicaid provides has provoked fierce protests. But Dr. McClellan said the American government would soon have no choice.

How valuable to his masters will President Obama become if he fails in pushing through this Nazi medical policy of "useless eaters" and "lives unworthy to be lived" ?

http://www.larouchepub.com/eiw/public/2008.../26-35_3548.pdf

Edited by Terry Mauro
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A simple plan to at least relax the skyrocketing costs of health care would be to cap medical malpractice and purge the system of the scum ambulance chasers who prey on people' greed.

In Florida we have a big problem with OB/GYN"s leaving the field altogether because of runaway malpractice insurance and the foaming-at-the-mouth lawyers.

As for the public option, I am probably one of the more fiscally conservative people on here and did not vote for Obama. However I think his public option is a potentially viable plan and is being dragged through the mud by talkign heads and their sycophants. The reality is that something is needed, and fast.

And finally, the funniest thing to watch in the debates is when protesters yell "Get the government's hands off my Medicare". Hello?!?!?!

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I do not agree with your "simplistic" review of the video. What I took away from the video was Obama's healthcare proposal contained the same call for "medical rationing" by an independent commission that Hitler used. That this commission would decide who gets healthcare and what kind of healthcare. This is identical to Hitler's T-4 boards.

This is also identical to the British system. Further that Simon Stevens (Health Policy Director to Tiny Blair) was the "KEY ADVISOR" to Obama prior to his June 1st, 2009 Healthcare reform initiative. Stevens said that NICE could be applied to Medicaid. There is your "foreign influence" of American policy, for example.

Here's a recent article defending the British NICE

http://prescriptions.blogs.nytimes.com/200...-american-lies/

Let me first give you some background history to our NHS before addressing the nonsense put forward in the video.

In the first-half of the 20th century, most of the major industrialized nations introduced social welfare legislation. This came about because of the pressure from the working-class who had recently been granted the vote. This was especially true of women voters (it had been the policy of virtually all the women’s suffrage organizations).

In 1902 George Barnes, General Secretary of the Amalgamated Society of Engineers, formed the National Committee of Organised Labour for Old Age Pension. Barnes spent the next three years travelling the country urging this social welfare reform. The measure was extremely popular and was an important factor in Barnes being able to defeat Andrew Bonar Law , the Conservative cabinet minister in the 1906 General Election.

David Lloyd George, the Chancellor of the Exchequer in the Liberal government led by Herbert Asquith in 1908, was also an opponent of the Poor Law in Britain. He was determined to take action that in his words would "lift the shadow of the workhouse from the homes of the poor". He believed the best way of doing this was to guarantee an income to people who were too old to work. In 1908 Lloyd George introduced the Old Age Pensions Act that provided between 1s. and 5s. a week to people over seventy. These pensions were only paid to citizens on incomes that were not over 12s.

To pay for these pensions David Lloyd George had to raise government revenues by an additional £16 million a year. In 1909 Lloyd George announced what became known as the People's Budget. This included increases in taxation. Whereas people on lower incomes were to pay 9d in the pound, those on annual incomes of over £3,000 had to pay 1s. 2d. in the pound. Lloyd George also introduced a new supertax of 6d. in the pound for those earning £5000 a year. Other measures included an increase in death duties on the estates of the rich and heavy taxes on profits gained from the ownership and sale of property.

This was of course highly unpopular with the rich and so Lloyd George became a victim of the capitalist media. See for example, this cartoon from Punch Magazine (see below):

The Conservatives, who had a large majority in the House of Lords, objected to this attempt to redistribute wealth, and made it clear that they intended to block these proposals. After a long struggle with the House of Lords, Lloyd George finally got his budget through parliament. As a result of this conflict, the Liberal Government passed the 1911 Parliament Act that restricted the power of the House of Lords to block legislation passed by the House of Commons.

Lloyd George's next reform was the 1911 National Insurance Act. This gave the British working classes the first contributory system of insurance against illness and unemployment. All wage-earners between sixteen and seventy had to join the health scheme. Each worker paid 4d a week and the employer added 3d. and the state 2d. In return for these payments, free medical attention, including medicine was given. Those workers who contributed were also guaranteed 7s. a week for fifteen weeks in any one year, when they were unemployed.

Lloyd George's reforms were strongly criticised and some Conservatives accused him of being a socialist. There was no doubt that he had been heavily influenced by Fabian Society pamphlets on social reform that had been written by Beatrice Webb, Sidney Webb and George Bernard Shaw in the early 1900s. However, he had also been influenced by non-socialist writers such Seebohm Rowntree and Charles Booth.

Although most Labour Party members of the House of Commons had welcomed Lloyd George's reforms, politicians such as James Keir Hardie, Fred Jowett and George Lansbury argued that the level of benefits were far too low. They also complained that the pensions should be universal and disliked what was later to be called the Means Test aspect of these reforms.

Other European countries followed Britain’s example and by the 1930s all the major advanced industrial countries had created the basis of their own Welfare State. Although the rich objected to the higher-taxes they had to pay, these measures were highly popular with the vast majority of the population. Even so, it did not go far enough and poor people died in their thousands because of inadequate health-care provided by the government.

The government argued that because of the “great depression” the country could not afford these reforms. However, there was a clear understanding that once the economy improved a much more substantial welfare-state would be introduced.

During the Second World War the government became concerned about the commitment of the British people to winning the war. Many remembered the government of the First World War promising a “land fit for heroes” if we won the conflict. It was a promise that was never kept. This time Winston Churchill realised that the government had to make specific promises in order to have the desired effect on the British people.

Churchill asked Sir William Beveridge to write a report on the best ways of helping people on low incomes. In December 1942 Beveridge published a report that proposed that all people of working age should pay a weekly contribution. In return, benefits would be paid to people who were sick, unemployed, retired or widowed. Beveridge argued that this system would provide a minimum standard of living "below which no one should be allowed to fall". Beveridge also suggested the idea of a National Health Service.

During the 1945 General Election, Winston Churchill, promised to implement the Beveridge Report. So did the Labour Party. In a radio election broadcast in May 1945 he made an attack on Labour’s welfare state plans: “I must tell you that a socialist policy is abhorrent to British ideas on freedom. There is to be one State, to which all are to be obedient in every act of their lives. This State, once in power, will prescribe for everyone: where they are to work, what they are to work at, where they may go and what they may say, what views they are to hold, where their wives are to queue up for the State ration, and what education their children are to receive. A socialist state could not afford to suffer opposition - no socialist system can be established without a political police. They (the Labour government) would have to fall back on some form of Gestapo.”

These comments are not unlike those being made by right-wing Republicans today. Churchill’s comments backfired as the British people wanted the introduction of a welfare state. His speech confirmed that the Conservatives were not committed to implementing the Beveridge Report.

Clement Attlee, the leader of the Labour Party responded the following night: "The Prime Minister made much play last night with the rights of the individual and the dangers of people being ordered about by officials. I entirely agree that people should have the greatest freedom compatible with the freedom of others. There was a time when employers were free to work little children for sixteen hours a day. I remember when employers were free to employ sweated women workers on finishing trousers at a penny halfpenny a pair. There was a time when people were free to neglect sanitation so that thousands died of preventable diseases. For years every attempt to remedy these crying evils was blocked by the same plea of freedom for the individual. It was in fact freedom for the rich and slavery for the poor. Make no mistake, it has only been through the power of the State, given to it by Parliament, that the general public has been protected against the greed of ruthless profit-makers and property owners."

The result was the Labour Party had a landside victory (393 seats compared to 197 for the Conservatives). Over the next five years the Labour government fully implemented the Welfare State. This included the National Insurance Act in 1946 that created the structure of the Welfare State. The legislation instituted a comprehensive state health service, effective from 5th July 1948. The Act provided for compulsory contributions for unemployment, sickness, maternity and widows' benefits and old age pensions from employers and employees, with the government funding the balance.

People in work, except married women, paid 4s 11d a week in National Insurance contributions. For the average worker, this amounted to nearly 5 per cent of their income. James Griffiths, the new Minister of National Insurance, claimed that it was "the best and cheapest insurance policy offered to the British people, of any people anywhere."

Winston Churchill and the Tories fought these measures every step of the way. They were supported by the private insurance health companies that stood to lose most from this system (as is the case in the United States today). However, the Labour Party had such a large majority in the House of Commons that they were able to introduce the National Health Service.

At the next election Churchill had to promise that he would leave the National Health Service alone. Every leader of the Conservative Party has had to follow this policy. The maker of the LaRouche suggests that David Cameron’s defence of the NHS is some sort of conspiracy. He is just doing what every Tory leader has done since the 1950 General Election. It would be impossible for any Tory to gain power without convincing the electorate that the NHS would function in the same way as it does under Labour. Without this assurance he cannot win the next election. That is an example of just how much the British value the NHS.

The video attempts to resurrect the arguments put forward by Winston Churchill in 1945 (dropped of course by the next election as he realised that the British public would not be fooled by such daft arguments).

Reference is made several times to Hitler’s T4 program that was introduced in October 1939. The LaRouche organization claims that the T4 program is similar to the way the NHS works. Therefore, the video goes onto to use phrases such as “Nazi NHS” and Obama is described as advocating “Hitlerian health reforms”.

Of course, people in Britain find this kind of attack deeply offensive. My father, like millions of other British citizens, fought the Nazis from 1939. We were not like the Americans who only decided they did not like fascism until after they were bombed at Pearl Harbor.

The video does not give us any details of Hitler’s T4 program. This is understandable as it has nothing to do with the NHS or Obama’s health-care reforms. In October 1939, Hitler produced details of the T4 program under the title, “The Destruction of Lives Unworthy of Life”.

The camouflage organization created for the medical killing of adults was known as the Reich Work Group of Sanatoriums and Nursing Homes. It operated from the Berlin Chancellery, at Tiergarten 4, hence the "T4" code name. In time, word of the Nazi T4 program (medical killing on a vast scale) filtered down into the general population, and resistance began to emerge. Himmler argued: “If operation T4 had been entrusted to the SS, things would have happened differently, because when the Fuehrer entrusts us with a job, we know how to deal with it correctly, without causing useless uproar among the people.”

Early in 1941, Hitler agreed to let Himmler use T4 personnel and facilities to rid the camps of “those most seriously ill, physically and mentally”. This became known as “prisoner euthanasia”. Hitler gave orders on 24th August 1941 to bring an end to T4. What was discontinued was only the visible dimension of the project: the large-scale gassing of patients. T4 officially ceased as a program, but that turned out to be still another deception. Widespread killing continued in a second phase, sometimes referred to in Nazi documents as “wild euthanasia” because doctors could now act on their own initiative concerning who would live or die. As you can see, T4 has nothing to do with the NHS or Obama's health-care policies.

For more information on this I suggest you read Robert Jay Lifton’s “The Nazi Doctors: Medical Killing and the Psychology of Genocide” (1986)

Several times the video refers to NICE as being the organization that administers the “British Nazi health-care system”. The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) is the independent organisation responsible for providing national guidance on the promotion of good health and the prevention and treatment of ill health. According to the video it is NICE that decides who is to live or die in Britain. I image this is reference to one of the roles that NICE plays in the NHS:

“NICE is asked to look at particular drugs and devices when there is confusion or uncertainty over the value of a drug or device or when prescribing practices vary across the country - so that patients may be receiving different prescribed treatments, depending on where they happen to live, rather than on the state of their health.”

The role of NICE is to look into the claims made by the multinational drug companies. For example, over the last few years these corporations have claimed that they have developed a new drug that helps deal with a particular health problem. These drugs are nearly always incredibly expensive. For example, the cost of this drug for a patient could amount to as much as £100,000 a year. Obviously, the NHS has to consider if it can afford to prescribe such drugs. NICE has upset several multinational drug companies by advising NHS doctors not to prescribe these drugs. There is nothing to stop doctors from prescribing private patients these drugs. Of course, this rarely happens as the private health insurance companies refuse to pay for these drugs. That is why it is so important for these drugs companies to persuade NICE to give their approval so that they can fleece the taxpayer.

The video uses the testimony of some patients complaining about the NHS. Any large institution will not satisfy all its customers. As I have posted earlier, my 95 year old mother has had marvelous treatment from the NHS (she is old enough to remember what health-care was like before the NHS was introduced in 1948). My wife also received excellent treatment for 12 years while suffering from cancer.

The NHS is far from being perfect. It is under-funded and I would like to see more money spent on health-care and less on nuclear weapons and the invasion and occupation of foreign countries. However, as a means of protecting people, regardless of income, it takes some beating. Anyway, it appears to be far superior to the one that exists in the United States. For example, the World Health Organisation ranks Britain's healthcare as 18th in the world, while the US is in 37th place.

post-7-1251221351_thumb.jpg

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John, I couldn't have put it better myself. The wild accusations being flung about by American conservatives during the "debate" regarding health care reform would be laughable were it not for the fact that some of the more gullible members of the American public appear to have been taken in by them. Obama's popularity is, apparently, shrinking, and he seems to be backtracking on some aspects of his promised health care program

Edited by Mike Tribe
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