The War on Voting Comes Home

The War on Voting Comes Home

Republicans hate it when people vote. Despite what the people over at Fox So-Called News say, this really is a center-left nation, and when lots of people vote, it hurts Republican candidates. As Paul Weyrich, the co-founder of ALEC said in 1980 when he was helping run the Reagan campaign, Republican chances in elections go up as the number of people turning out to vote goes down:

“I don't want everybody to vote. Elections are not won by a majority of people. They never have been from the beginning of our country, and they are not now. As a matter of fact our leverage in the elections quite candidly goes up as the voting populace goes down." Flash-forward to today and it’s clear that Republicans have listened closely to what Paul Weyrich was talking about way back in 1980.

At the behest of ALEC - the group Paul Weyrich founded - GOP-controlled states all across the nation have, over the past few years, put into place harsh new laws requiring people to have government-issued IDs in order to vote. Republicans say these voter ID laws protect against “voter fraud,” but really they’re only there for one reason and one reason alone: to keep people - mostly minorities and other Democratic-leaning groups - away from the polls.

Make no mistake about it: getting an ID is not easy and it’s not practical. I know this from personal experience. Earlier this morning I went down to the Washington, D.C. DMV to get my new driver’s license renewed. Other than a vision test, the requirements to get a driver’s license are the same as the requirements to get a voter ID, so the crap I went through this morning to get a new driver’s license is just like what people in North Carolina and Texas have to go through if they want to vote.

Even though I’d checked out the DMV’s website and brought with me my passport, my driver’s license, my pilot’s license, a credit-card statement from my bank, and my electric bill, when I got there, the clerk said that my Social Security number being on my pilot’s license wasn’t adequate. So I went home and rummaged through old papers to find the Social Security card I’d had re-issued a decade ago in Portland.

When I returned to the DMV for my second visit, I noticed that the Social Security office had dropped the last “N” from my name, so there was a difference in the spelling of my name between my Social Security card and my passport. Forget that every other piece of paper I had all had my name spelled with two “N’s” at the end - the clerk still sent me home to get a W2 or a 1099 with my Social Security number on it.

I got the W2 and then went back to the DMV for a third time. But this time, the clerk looked at my credit card statement - which is from one of the largest banks in the country - and said, “This isn’t a bank statement. It’s a credit-card statement.” When I pointed out it was a “statement” from a “bank” and it even said “statement at the top in big letters the clerk got very in my face and basically yelled at me that she knew the difference between a credit card statement and a bank statement and apparently I didn’t and I’d have to go home and figure it out.

So I went back home and found a checking account statement and went back to the DMV for the fourth time. This time I got a very nice guy who told me that the error on my Social Security card was no big deal and that the credit card statement was all he needed. He then went ahead and gave me my driver’s license.

Total time spent traveling and standing in line? Three hours.

Here’s the point: None of the people at the DMV were trying to prevent me from getting my driver’s license - they were just doing their jobs as they thought best. But what if this was my mostly-white home town of Lansing, Michigan and I was trying to get an ID to vote and I was black?

Or what if I was poor enough that I didn’t have a bank statement because I didn’t have a bank account? And what if I was long-term unemployed and therefore didn’t have a W2? And, of course, what if I didn’t have a passport and a pilot’s license or even a driver’s license?

And, even worse, what if I didn’t own my own business - this show - but instead worked for a boss who was going to dock my pay or fire me if I spent three hours away from work trying to get an ID? You get the idea. Getting an ID for a relatively well-off white guy like me is a hassle, but for poor people and minorities - the people who, by and large, don’t have IDs and are the target of Republican voter suppression laws - it can be such an insurmountable obstacle that many of them will just give up and go home.

All that just to vote? I have other things to do with my time.

In-person voter fraud is so rare in the U.S. that more people die from having TVs fall on their heads than commit voter fraud. Nobody is willing to risk going to prison to vote illegally - it just pretty much doesn’t happen. Murder happens far more often. But to prevent this non-event, Republicans have thrown up this huge ID barrier for all the Americans who live in urban areas where they don’t need a car, or are poor enough they’ll never own a car, or disabled or elderly or college students.

Paul Weyrich is dead, but his creation, ALEC, lives on. And with the help of its cronies in the Republican party, it continues to push for voter ID laws in state after state, condemning tens of millions of Americans to go through the nonsense I went through this morning, or, even worse, to simply say, “Screw it,” and not even bother to vote.

Today for me, the war on voting came home. But for all the Americans living in states that have voter suppression ID laws, the worst is yet to come with elections just a few months down the road.

Comments

ChicagoMatt 32 weeks 2 days ago
#1

A very well-thought-out and well-written article Thom, but you're kind of giving fire to the Republican mantra that "government can't do anything right" with your DMV story. During the debates about the ACA, the DMV (here we call it a Secretary of State's office) was used by right-wingers as an example of what government-run healthcare would be like. They would show long lines full of disgruntled people at the DMV, with captions like, "Imagine this was your doctor's office" or "are these the people you want in charge of your health"? I know they were being hyperbolic and ignoring the role that insurance companies play in healthcare, but it worked.

Imagine how many people would support single-payer healthcare if they had GOOD experiences at the DMV, one of the few places many Americans have direct contact with the government.

Sheldon_The_Pooka's picture
Sheldon_The_Pooka 32 weeks 2 days ago
#2

I read your blog about your experience at the DC DMV, and I'm in shock. In MN, all I have to do is give the clerk my expiring license. They they check my eyesight and take my pic. I pay, and I'm out the door. No wonder it takes the DC DMV so long to renew driver licenses. Why? If you have a valid license, the renewal process should be easy. I love your show. I either catch you on Free Speech TV or listen with TuneIn.

chuckle8's picture
chuckle8 32 weeks 2 days ago
#3

I think a bunch of Thom's hassle is because he changed states.

chuckle8's picture
chuckle8 32 weeks 2 days ago
#4

Chi Matt -- Government doesn't want to spend your tax dollars on PR. Anyone whose has dealt with a health insurance company will want the government to take over every phase of their life.

douglas m 32 weeks 2 days ago
#5

Should have brought a dozen donuts the first time :)

Aliceinwonderland's picture
Aliceinwonderland 32 weeks 2 days ago
#6

Matt says to Thom: "...you're kind of giving fire to the Republican mantra that 'government can't do anything right' with your DMV story." And I hate to burst your bubble, but Thom has done nothing of the sort. As a majority on this forum know full well, these tea-brained little fascists have seen to it our Congress is full of their recruits, whose only purpose for occupying those seats is keeping government from functioning at all. - Aliceinwonderland

Bob Hearns's picture
Bob Hearns 32 weeks 2 days ago
#7

Thom, Canada's Conservative party (read neo-liberal) is copying the Republicans. Bringing in legislation, Bill C-23, to make it more difficult to vote and using the same propaganda as the reason for its being needed 'eliminate voter fraud'. Even though we have virtually no cases of voter fraud. Voter turnout results are the same here, a lower voter turn out improves the right's chances of winning. I don't know the current situation in the UK, but Thatcher (Reagan's good friend) tried the same thing there.

ChicagoMatt 32 weeks 2 days ago
#8
Anyone whose has dealt with a health insurance company will want the government to take over every phase of their life.
Another example of political leanings being based on experience. Every time I've had to "deal with" my insurance company, it's been fairly simple. I give a copay at the doctor, and a few months later I get a bill for the post-insurance difference. They do all of the work.

But I'm also relatively young and haven't had any true emergencies.

The only slight hiccup I've had with insurance was due to my own ignorance/confusion about how to add a new child to my insurance. Turns out it's done automatically. I waited on the phone for about 10 minutes to find that out.

anarchist cop out's picture
anarchist cop out 32 weeks 2 days ago
#9
Quote ChicagoMatt:

A very well-thought-out and well-written article Thom, but you're kind of giving fire to the Republican mantra that "government can't do anything right" with your DMV story. During the debates about the ACA, the DMV (here we call it a Secretary of State's office) was used by right-wingers as an example of what government-run healthcare would be like. They would show long lines full of disgruntled people at the DMV, with captions like, "Imagine this was your doctor's office" or "are these the people you want in charge of your health"? I know they were being hyperbolic and ignoring the role that insurance companies play in healthcare, but it worked.

Imagine how many people would support single-payer healthcare if they had GOOD experiences at the DMV, one of the few places many Americans have direct contact with the government.

The only thing the government is doing wrong - in Texas and NC - is making it too hard to vote. Driver's liscences should be hard to get or they should be only for who can prove beyond reasonable doubt who they are but voting shouldn't be hard, the burden of proof should be on who is challenging the identity of the would be voter. Driving is a privilege for those proven competent to operate a potentially dangerous motor vehicle and knowledgeable of the rules of driving and without impairment, exclusivity is essential. Voting is the most basic of rights. Exclusivity in that aspect is detrimental to democracy.

The rare instances, a small handful nationwide in each election, in which voter fraud occurs, in which someone inelligible to vote attempts to vote or succeeds in voting, skew election results far less than barring the hundreds and thousands in each state from voting who have a legitimate right to vote other than they don't have an ID and found barriers to getting one too great. Voting is not like an Olympic Gold Medal, something that has to be earned by overcoming immense challenges - or something that has to be earned at all - it is a basic birthright of every American. To make it into something that can only be attained through great difficulty is to rob someone of that right.

If Republicans are not trying to deny people the right to vote but are only concerned about supposed voter fraud and about the true identities of those attempting to vote why are they against "Motor/Voter" laws where an individual is automatically registered to vote when they get a driver's liscence or state ID? Of coures, it's because they are trying to keep the voting population down.

When I was a Teamster in the '70s and in the Teamster reform movement we ran a slate of candidates in our local elections. Our crooked local officials always tried to keep the members from voting. They would schedule an election on a work day, publicize it only minimally, on notices for the election they wouldn't indicate the time, date or location the voting was to happen, etc.. They would do whatever they could to keep turnout as anemic as possible. Then their lackeys would all show up to vote and they would win. A similar goal seems to be being pursued by the Republicans with their strategies.

Thom's story was not about government inefficiency. If anything, some workers at the DMV were too efficient. Most Americans are, in fact, in favor of a single payer healthcare system. 85% of the citizens of Canada enthusiastically approve of their single payer system and prefer it to the system of the U.S. The only thing wrong with the ads our Republicans ran about government run healthcare was that they were based on falsehood..

ChicagoMatt 32 weeks 2 days ago
#10
whose only purpose for occupying those seats is keeping government from functioning at all.

That's actually true. Well, not to keep the government from functioning, but to keep the government from making any radical changes. It still needs to "function". But we would probably disagree on what it means to "function" when it comes to the government.

That's why I dislike when reporters use the term "least productive" or "do nothing" Congress with a negative tone. For people who aren't disgruntled with the way things are going for them, government doing nothing is actually a good thing.

anarchist cop out's picture
anarchist cop out 32 weeks 2 days ago
#11
Quote ChicagoMatt:

Another example of political leanings being based on experience. Every time I've had to "deal with" my insurance company, it's been fairly simple. I give a copay at the doctor, and a few months later I get a bill for the post-insurance difference. They do all of the work.

But I'm also relatively young and haven't had any true emergencies.

The only slight hiccup I've had with insurance was due to my own ignorance/confusion about how to add a new child to my insurance. Turns out it's done automatically. I waited on the phone for about 10 minutes to find that out.

Your insurance, I presume, is from your employer as part of your compensation and not badly affected by the ACA. A single payer system would be very beneficial to American employers and American business in general enabling them to compete with foreign counterparts. It would've, for example, made the auto industry bail out of 2009 unnecessary.

anarchist cop out's picture
anarchist cop out 32 weeks 2 days ago
#12
Quote ChicagoMatt:

That's actually true. Well, not to keep the government from functioning, but to keep the government from making any radical changes. It still needs to "function". But we would probably disagree on what it means to "function" when it comes to the government.

That's why I dislike when reporters use the term "least productive" or "do nothing" Congress with a negative tone. For people who aren't disgruntled with the way things are going for them, government doing nothing is actually a good thing.

Their purpose is to keep government from functioning and implementation of simple, common sense solutions to problems. They put politics before the well being of the nation always. They know most people aren't aware that the executive branch is less powerful than Congress and rightly think that everyone will fallaciously blame the president for everything that happens so they don't want him getting any credit for any solutions. ACA, for example, was a Republican - Mitt Romney's, Richard Nixon's, the Heritage Foundation's - plan. Infrastructure jobs\stimulus programs were implemented on a grand scale by Eisenhouer.

There is a long tradition of this in the Republican Party. In 1994, for example, the Republican National Committee issued a warning to all Republican members of Congress that they were to vote against Bill Clinton's "midnight basketball" crime bill or they would be denied any RNC funds in the coming election. Thus all Republican lawmakers, then as now, vote in lockstep according to instructions from the party leadership. Their purpose then was identified as not allowing a good idea by Bill Clinton or the Democrats to get through because they didn't want him or Democrats to get credit for any good ideas.

ChicagoMatt 32 weeks 2 days ago
#13
They put politics before the well being of the nation always.

Calling out politicians on putting politics first seems like pointing out the obvious. I think Republicans just assume that all politicians are in it for themselves, from both sides of the aisle, so at least vote for the politician that promises a smaller government. Kind of a "lesser of two evils" mindset. There is no "good" in it at all.

ACA, for example, was a Republican - Mitt Romney's, Richard Nixon's, the Heritage Foundation's - plan. Infrastructure jobs\stimulus programs were implemented on a grand scale by Eisenhouer.

If the people of Massachusettes wanted their version of the ACA, that's their problem. (State's Rights argument.) If the really Blue states want to go single payer, and the really red states want to keep the status quo, why does the Federal government have to get involved? Wouldn't the most possible people be pleased by doing things like this at the local level?

Or, another way of looking at it - even if this law was good for the citizens of, say, Mississippi, wouldn't the fact that it originated in Washington lead to resentment and people fighting against it?

It makes me think of something I heard during some protests by students in Iran a few years back. They interviewed an Iranian student, and he said that even though the US had the resources to help them achieve their goals, once they saw those American jets over their airspace, they would hate it.

You have to remember the huge parts of this country - the "brainwashed masses" as some Progressive claim - HATE Washington and anything that originates there, no matter how beneficial it might be for them.

DAnneMarc's picture
DAnneMarc 32 weeks 2 days ago
#14
Quote ChicagoMatt:If the people of Massachusettes wanted their version of the ACA, that's their problem. (State's Rights argument.) If the really Blue states want to go single payer, and the really red states want to keep the status quo, why does the Federal government have to get involved? Wouldn't the most possible people be pleased by doing things like this at the local level?

ChicagoMatt ~ "Most possible people?" Yeah! I'm sure African American Slaves would have loved to wait for their state to realize that slavery was wrong and set them free. What ever happened to "Whatsoever you do to the least of my brothers that you do unto me" mentality. Or is that just for show when you show up to pretend to pray in your Church/Cult?

The fact of the matter is the federal government is the most efficient and productive way for We the People to look out for those treated as the least amongst us to afford them the same rights and human dignity that make the United States the potential utopia that most of its citizens aspire for it to be. If we don't use it for what it was meant to be, why even bother having a union in the first place?

ChicagoMatt 32 weeks 2 days ago
#15
If we don't use it for what it was meant to be, why even bother having a union in the first place?

Aren't there petitions and movements in states that want to leave the Union? There is a movement here from downstate IL to separate itself from the Chicago area. Recently, a handful of cities in Cook County floated the idea of joining the next county over, to escape Cook County/Chicago's higher tax rate.

If Progressives are so eager to support "We The People", then they should be the first ones to support those people who want to leave. The main reason those movements to break apart a state fail is because of opposition from the major cities - the blue parts of the state.

I've said this before, but if Conservatives really are brainwashed Koch-brother zombies, and this is all some plan by the elites to divide and conquer us, then it seems like their job is almost done. Will there come a point when Progressives / The Occupy Movement / The protesters who claim to represent the 99% / etc... give up? Admit defeat and move on? Does my analogy of the Japanese solider, marooned on an island for 30 years, only to discover the war was lost a long time ago, make sense?

That being said, there are legitimate roles for the Federal government to play. National defense is the obvious one. Printing money, settling disputes between states, regulating air traffic and highways. All good things.

I'm being a little over-the-top tonight. I am sorry. I'm frustrated at something else (I can't find something I need for class tomorrow, and I'm going to have to buy another one. I hate when that happens. I know it's in this house somewhere.)

I will admit that you do make some good points. I will also admit that, thanks to my few days on here, I've had to pull out and refer to my Catechism a few times.

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dr818dr 32 weeks 2 days ago
#16

Give it time. I would say that on 30% of the claims I have to call someone to get them straightened out. Of that once or twice a year it will take months, letters and multiple phone calls to get resolved. The insurance company is constantly loosing paperwork (I think it's just to delay payment) or just denying the claim even though they have paid the exact same claim in the past. I'm fighting them right now over a reduction in the amount of insulin my daughter gets for her Type 1 diabetes. They said they reduced the quantity so she will use less for her own safety. Then of course they tell you on another piece of paper to follow your doctors orders which they have now made impossible by reducing the insulin she can get. (For those unfamilier with Type 1 diabetes you don't decide how much insulin you need, your body does. It's not a disease where you "take two" in the morning.) It's probably a mistake but pharmaceutical's (90 day mail supplier) dispensing life saving medications should not make these kind of mistakes. Someone who follows their directions could get very ill or die.

ChicagoMatt 32 weeks 2 days ago
#17
What ever happened to "Whatsoever you do to the least of my brothers that you do unto me" mentality

I forgot to respond to this a minute ago. This is typical Progressive "white knight here to save the day" stuff. Progressives are SO ENLIGHTENED that it's up to them to save people from themselves. No need to thank me citizen who didn't ask for my help in the first place, just doing my job as one of the un-brainwashed people. I have determined what is best for you, and even though you fight against it now, you will thank me later, like a parent to a child.

MontanaMuleGal's picture
MontanaMuleGal 32 weeks 2 days ago
#18

I hate to sound like a broken record...but

Even though the ploy of requiring IDs to vote seems like a big issue, the issue at the heart of voting is the method of COUNTING the votes.

"Election fraud" is the real problem.

As long as there are computerized voting machines, it is very easy to flip vote numbers.

Remember the fate of Mike Connell?

See Brad Friedman's blog: http://www.bradblog.com/?cat=403

anarchist cop out's picture
anarchist cop out 32 weeks 2 days ago
#19
Quote ChicagoMatt:

There is a movement here from downstate IL to separate itself from the Chicago area. Recently, a handful of cities in Cook County floated the idea of joining the next county over, to escape Cook County/Chicago's higher tax rate.

ChicagoMatt, this is ChicagoMark, could you cite some sources, I've been in Cook County forever, I'm keeping upon things and I've never heard of this. If anything, I suspect it's just a small handful of yayhoos of which you'll find to say just about anything.

DAnneMarc's picture
DAnneMarc 32 weeks 2 days ago
#20
Quote ChicagoMatt:I will admit that you do make some good points. I will also admit that, thanks to my few days on here, I've had to pull out and refer to my Catechism a few times.

ChicagoMatt ~ How very interesting. It is that very Catechism that turned me into a devout atheist for 8 years.

No. You can't have your cake and eat it too. If any of the states you've mentioned have a majority that want to succeed from the union I'm more than happy to see them go. Adios! However, you also cut off all federal aid to your people as a result. Adios!! Perhaps that is the real reason they are so hesitant to commit to their idle threat? Adios!!!!

As far as giving up the fight against "Koch brother Zombies" is concerned consider that to occur the day we all die. Adios!!!!

anarchist cop out's picture
anarchist cop out 32 weeks 2 days ago
#21
Quote ChicagoMatt:

Calling out politicians on putting politics first seems like pointing out the obvious. I think Republicans just assume that all politicians are in it for themselves, from both sides of the aisle, so at least vote for the politician that promises a smaller government. Kind of a "lesser of two evils" mindset. There is no "good" in it at all.

There are and have been more than a few statesmen and public servants (naturally, mostly Democrats) and, until relatively recently, most Washington legislators had enough sense of decency to maintain, at least, a basic modicum of concern for the well being of the country. This out and out "greed is good, corruption is good" attitude, dropping any pretense of propriety, of the current Republicans is a new phenomenon.

The "small government" rhetoric is euphamistic. It really means government that serves their elite cronies but betrays the people. This idea that democratic government that serves the people is tyranny is dishonest on its face. It really means that democratic government, whose action protects the weak from the strong, is tyranny for the strong who would, without it, abuse the weak at will.

Without democratic government, business would supplant government and have complete control of society - without accountability to the people as government has in democracy. Democratic government is for the people what a union is for laborers. It represents them, protects their rights and furthers their concerns. Business hates democratic government for the same reason it hates labor unions. It hates democracy. It wants autocratic control of society. Business is of the "strong" of society and wants nothing to represent or defend the"weak" and to impede them from using and abusing the weak at will.

Republicans are not against government, they are against democratic government. They want business to be the government as in some feudal oligarchy. And yes, Matt, those who vote for them are either hoping to benefit from membership in the elite clique or, more commonly, are stupid enough to fall for the fraudulent PR campaign.

Kirien 32 weeks 2 days ago
#22

whereas my insurance company dothered for two years on a surgery i needed. and the insurance company my mom left when she retired and went on medicare tried billing my dad a hundred grand when my mom died a few months later.

every country that has single payer has better quality health care for cheaper. why is it that the united states cant equal that?

Kirien 32 weeks 2 days ago
#23

republicans, matt, are the ones who so love to claim to be oh so christian.

what is christian about refusing to lift a finger to help those who need it? what is christian about giving the rich tax cuts while others are homeless and starve?

Kirien 32 weeks 2 days ago
#24

first off there is no right to secede. go read texas vs white. secondly..how come the republicans dont obey the people? after all the vast majority of the people want the minimum wage raised and taxes raised on the rich.

and that small government claim is a crock. you republicans have no problem sticking government up womens vaginas. when california tried enacting stricter auto emissions standards there were the republicans in congress and the bush administration...moving to block it. the republicans also want to make people with solar panels still pay money to the power companies as well.and lets remember that it was the gop that so pushed for the government to have carte blanche to spy on us.

you guys want small government for the same reason crooks want fewer cops.

you guys cant even prove voter fraud in any significant numbers and yet you guys want the government to make it tougher to vote. as if a poor person working three jobs just to get by will have time to go get an id....especially when the gop have been shortening hours athe dmv offices or simply shuttering them in democrat heavy areas. and how exactly are two of my uncles who have been confined to nursing homes for the last few years because of parkinsons and a stroke supposed to go renew their drivers licenses? after all..they are perfectly mentally competent...they just are physically unable to go the dmv.

anarchist cop out's picture
anarchist cop out 32 weeks 2 days ago
#25
Quote ChicagoMatt:

If the people of Massachusettes wanted their version of the ACA, that's their problem. (State's Rights argument.) If the really Blue states want to go single payer, and the really red states want to keep the status quo, why does the Federal government have to get involved? Wouldn't the most possible people be pleased by doing things like this at the local level?

Actually, Matt, the American people wanted healthcare reform and the ACA was the best compromise solution. Nixon and the Heritage Foundation also meant it for the entire country.

Canada did something like what you suggested. Their single payer started with one province and all the others followed on their own initiative and each has its own unique version. The ACA isn't as centrally controlling as you seem to think, it also allows the states to impement it as they like as long as some basic points are kept - no denial for pre existing conditions, for example. Vermont does, in fact, have a single payer system, other states do not.

Opposition to ACA by governors in the red states is really just the politics I was talking about characteristic of Republicans. They just don't like it because they didn't think of it. Their supporters are the dupes who've allowed themselves to be convinced they are being victimized by being given a good health care system - which six years ago they were demanding.

anarchist cop out's picture
anarchist cop out 32 weeks 2 days ago
#26

Kirien, you go!

DAnneMarc's picture
DAnneMarc 32 weeks 2 days ago
#27
Quote Kirien:you guys want small government for the same reason crooks want fewer cops.

Kirien ~ How very well said!!!

upperrnaz12348's picture
upperrnaz12348 32 weeks 2 days ago
#28

What little I know about National Health is that it began with Otto von Bismarck as part of his Social Conservative policies that held the view that the State was responsible for the basic needs of its population. It was bound to provide "basic services" at an acceptible level. Needless to say anything more would be provided privately and was obviously an out of pocket expense. Those that had the means opted for more, while most people took used the plan provided by their taxes. Most of Continental Europe followed suit, land England joined in after WWII.

What I know of Israel is that is not strictly "Socialist" and some beknighted folks might bleat, but it was a system of voluntary HMO's estblished in Mandatory Palestine based on party lines where health services became the lynch pin of the membership along with educational, sports and cultural, and in some cases economic functions After the establishment of the State of Israel, these HMOs continuted to function within the previous framework outside of the government, but recieved subsidies from them. Over the years the system, being political, often raided the kitty, especially the Labor Party, knowing the government, of which they were the majority, would subsidize the shortfalls.

This way of doing things "worked" until the the plurality of "believers" in the Labor Party began to wane, and eventually, there was a call to separate the health services from the other functions. Needless to say the major pols were not so willing to remove this ready source of income from the package. As well, to some extent, the other parties, the non-Socialists ones may of made noises about separating health services from the others, but also like the idea of ready cash for election campaigns. At some point, the system corrupted, and the government bought the HMOs out, as it were, and they were part of a National Health system where people remained in whatever plan, but it came out of their taxes. Finally, you could switch plans without penatlies.

The change did create some additional costs mostly because the plans were unable to be as generous as they were. Instead of getting your meds free, you paid a surcharge, not much, but a surcharge. If you need a specialist, there was quarterly surcharge, as well. In addition, the HMOs offered Complimentary Alternative Medical services, Naturopathy, Acupunture, Shiaztu, Homeopathy, and other forms of non-standard medicine at a fee, mostly affordable. Indeed, these services compete quite successfully with the Conventional Medical service. At it is, compared to similar services in the States, it is down right inexpensive--Chiropratic is something like $US 20 a session, Acupunture $US 25, to cite a few examples.

The bottom line is that it works. I had two cataracts removed by the best specialist in my region, one time by the specialist himself, and the second by his assistant, each time of a morning, and returning home to recuperate for $US 100 that included the operation and follow up examinations. Not bad, wouldn't you say. If you wanted the specialist at "his hospital", of course you might pay something closer to $US 300.

I guess the Neaderthals in charge of the political process process prefer to let their "friends" to keep on gettin' rich off the middle class.

Zev

upperrnaz12348's picture
upperrnaz12348 32 weeks 2 days ago
#29

A propos to identity cards. In many nations, Identity cards are quite acceptable, and used for official purposes, in banks, and all the other places that a person has to prove that they are "who they are". Only in America is the identity card regarded as a taboo, a sign that they are being regimented, and forced into a kind of lock step. Where I live, in Israel, and likely other places, you phone in a payment and give your ID card number to verify the account and it ain't no biggy.

Speaking as an ex-Pat, and reading how many US citizens that have been living abroad for all sorts of reasons, frankly, the way it seems to be going, we are better off than most US citizens, and the only motivation to keep our citizenship is a special feeling about "where we were born". In fact, there are ex-Pats that have decided discontinue their US citizenship, as well, for a variety of reasons, taking up the nationality of place where they currently live. Gone are the days when an American like Josephine Baker, the cultural icon for decades in the previous century would say "Paris et ma Patrie".

Otherwise, all we read about is a future dystopia where, as the popular song of the '20s reads "the rich get rich, and the poor get poorer, ain't we got fun" It isn't fun and like many others, we hope for the best, but we don't motivated to "return" to our native land.

ChicagoMatt 32 weeks 1 day ago
#30
ChicagoMatt, this is ChicagoMark, could you cite some sources, I've been in Cook County forever, I'm keeping upon things and I've never heard of this. If anything, I suspect it's just a small handful of yayhoos of which you'll find to say just about anything.

Here:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2009/04/08/three-townships-vote-to-s_n_184680.html

In this case, the "small group of yahoos" is, according the the article, are the voters in three entire cities which overwhelmingly passed the referendum to get the hell out of Cook County because of its sales tax.

The article also points out that,

The secession votes were nonbinding, meaning the Townships remain part of Cook County until a county-wide vote is held and passes. Observers said such a vote would likely fail, since the Northwest suburbs provide a disproportionate amount of the county's revenue.

Meaning that those enlightened Progressives that run Chicago don't care so much about the "will of the people" in these cities, so much as they care about their money.

Since you're local, you've probably had a chance to drive down Lake Cook Road sometime. (For you non-locals, that's the road that separates the more Conservative Lake County from the more Liberal Cook County.) I'll admit, it's been awhile since I've been up that way. But, back in 2010, I used to drive that road every day. On the North side of the road, the Lake County side, all of the stores felt compelled to advertise their lower tax rate. And I'll bet they were taking business from their Cook County counterparts. That the people voted with their wallets to give less money to the government.

BMetcalfe's picture
BMetcalfe 32 weeks 1 day ago
#31

Republicans have NEVER been afraid of voter fraud. If they had been, they'd have thrown away ALL the ballotts from our military personnel, instead of just the ones with African-American sounding names.

Republicans believe the only way they can get back in the White House is to discourage ethnic voters from showing up at the polls. And when that doesn't work, they force them to stand in line - in the rain, in the hot sun, in the snow, and in areas where they will likely be hit by traffic.

Sadly, it's the Republicans who wave the Flag and do every under-handed thing they can behind that flag to make sure only the right and white people in GOP Districts have an easy time casting a vote.

Imagine how much more respected the GOP would be if, when they changed voters' requirements, they had gone to the homes of the elderly, disabled, the hospitalized, the nursing homes, and assisted all those who had previously voted in elections across the 50 states, and helped them acquire the I.D. needed to do this simple task...

Kindness is not one of the GOP's finer points. I doubt that any of them would even think of to make this kind of gesture to loyal Americans who do not have "Republican" listed as their Party.

anarchist cop out's picture
anarchist cop out 32 weeks 1 day ago
#32
Quote ChicagoMatt:

Since you're local, you've probably had a chance to drive down Lake Cook Road sometime. (For you non-locals, that's the road that separates the more Conservative Lake County from the more Liberal Cook County.) I'll admit, it's been awhile since I've been up that way. But, back in 2010, I used to drive that road every day. On the North side of the road, the Lake County side, all of the stores felt compelled to advertise their lower tax rate. And I'll bet they were taking business from their Cook County counterparts. That the people voted with their wallets to give less money to the government.

That's right, I do remember something about it, it's been four years. I think I've also noticed some dilapidation on the North (Lake County) side of Lake Cook.

Anyway, secession movements are usually not legit, i.e., not for legitimate reasons. Upstate New York always makes noises like that also because they want to separate themselves from the City.

Democracy, where you have to share society equally with everyone else, is like Mick Jagger says, "You can't always get what you want." In an undemocratic society elites can get everything they want, everyone else be dammed. No doubt about it, that's the type of society for the self centered and the sociopathic. I still say that they're a bunch of yayhoos.

The Death of the Middle Class was by Design...

Even in the face of the so-called Recovery, poverty and inequality are getting worse in our country, and more wealth and power is flowing straight to the top. According to Paul Buchheit over at Alternet, this is the end result of winner-take-all capitalism, and this destruction of the working class has all been by design.

From The Thom Hartmann Reader:
"Thom Hartmann seeks out interesting subjects from such disparate outposts of curiosity that you have to wonder whether or not he uncovered them or they selected him."
Leonardo DiCaprio, actor, producer, and environmental activist
From Cracking the Code:
"Thom Hartmann ought to be bronzed. His new book sets off from the same high plane as the last and offers explicit tools and how-to advice that will allow you to see, hear, and feel propaganda when it's directed at you and use the same techniques to refute it. His book would make a deaf-mute a better communicator. I want him on my reading table every day, and if you try one of his books, so will you."
Peter Coyote, actor and author of Sleeping Where I Fall
From The Thom Hartmann Reader:
"Right through the worst of the Bush years and into the present, Thom Hartmann has been one of the very few voices constantly willing to tell the truth. Rank him up there with Jon Stewart, Bill Moyers, and Paul Krugman for having the sheer persistent courage of his convictions."
Bill McKibben, author of Eaarth