Shouldn't GM Get the Death Penalty for 57 Cent Premeditated Murder?

Executives at General Motors have answered the age-old question of how much is a life worth. A life is worth 57 cents. Earlier this week, newly installed General Motors CEO Mary Barra was on Capitol Hill, testifying before Congress about GM’s recall of nearly 2.6 million vehicles because of a faulty ignition switch, a problem that has caused the deaths of at least 13 people. But more importantly, Barra was answering questions about why GM knew about the ignition switch problem a full decade ago, but chose not to make fixes that would have saved American lives.

At a news conference after her testimony before a House subcommittee, Barra told reporters that, “I think we in the past had more of a cost culture.” In other words, GM cared more about profit margins than peoples’ lives. And at least with the ignition switch debacle, that appears to be the case.

When General Motors first learned about the ignition switch problem, executives and engineers got together to discuss how the company would respond. According to GM, company engineers got together in 2005, and proposed solutions to the ignition switch problem, which included installing a small new piece of metal called a “switch indent plunger”.

But, statements in 2005 GM internal documents show that the company’s executives decided not to fix the ignition switch problem because that small new piece of metal was too expensive and an unacceptable cost. So, how much did the ignition switch piece that GM executives chose not to fix cost? 57 cents.

That’s right, according to testimony from House Democrat Diana DeGette of Colorado, the piece that needed to be installed in the faulty cars, the “switch indent plunger,” cost only 57 cents. When asked about that number, GM spokesman Jim Cain said that, “Presumably it is based on documents in evidence, so I won't dispute it either.”

So, rather than go out and spend 57 cents per car, or a little over $1.48 million to fix all of its cars with the ignition switch problem, GM essentially performed a cost-benefit analysis, and found that fixing the vehicles, and saving American lives, wasn’t worth losing that $1.48 million. To put that in perspective, GM’s net income in 2013 was $3.8 billion. So, the ignition switch fix would have only cost .0003 percent of the company’s 2013 net income.

As Michael Moore put it, “GM has a legal and fiduciary responsibility to its shareholders to make the biggest profits that it can. And if their top people crunch the numbers and can show that they will save more money by NOT fixing or replacing the part, then that is what they are going to damn well do.”

Even Daily Show host Jon Stewart was outraged by GM’s actions, saying that, “For God's sake, even if you're strapped for cash, GM, you could have found at least that much in the seats of the cars you're fixing. The thing would have paid for itself.”

The GM debacle represents a huge problem with corporate America today - a lack of any real accountability. As Donna Smith, executive director of Health Care for All Colorado, and an owner of a recalled GM vehicle put it, “The GM recall represents once again how dishonest and greedy many, if not most, US corporations have become.” The whole notion of “corporate responsibility” has been thrown out the window, and been replaced with the mentality that profits are king.

Many corporations are willing to do just about anything to protect their profits and bottom-line, even if that means “accepting” that a few people might die as a result, whether in a car crash, an oil-rig explosion, or a suicide after a home is foreclosed on. And even worse, they know that nothing will happen in the way of punishment.

Sure, they might face a fine or two, and have to settle a couple lawsuits, but at the end of the day, those are just the costs of doing business and piling on the profits. In many cases, they're even all or partly tax-deductible, so you and I end up paying for it. Those fines and lawsuit settlements are built into the risks that American corporations are willing to take. But it’s time for that to change, and to put accountability back into the game. It’s time to bring back the corporate death penalty.

As I chronicle in my book "Unequal Protection," throughout most of the 19th century an average of 2000 corporations a year got the corporate death penalty. They were dissolved, their assets sold off at auction, and their stockholders and managers left out in the cold. We've done this before, and we should do it again. Corporations shouldn’t be able to commit massive crimes - from environmental crimes to banking crimes to defective product crimes - and get away with just a slap on the wrist. And they certainly shouldn’t be able to choose making a profit over protecting human lives.

Until there’s the real threat of substantial punishment, like losing the right to do business in America, corporations will continue to play fast-and-loose with the lives and livelihoods of the American people, and Americans will continue to suffer. Let’s make sure that no one else ever has to lose a loved one because a car company thought that installing a 57 cent piece of metal was less important than being a good corporate member of the community.

Comments

ckrob's picture
ckrob 8 years 27 weeks ago
#1

Anyone else old enough to remember how hard the auto companies fought for years against adding seat belts?

Mark Saulys's picture
Mark Saulys 8 years 27 weeks ago
#2

In a competitive society there can be no ethics. Ethics, in such a society, are an impediment to one's competitiveness thus must be then handed down by government in the form of laws and regulations. That's why that group of billionaires published the letter asking the government to raise their taxes a while ago rather than make individual, voluntary donations to the government that some of their critics suggested they do instead.

If one employer pays slave wages then all others have to as well or be done in. Likewise, when one manufacturer saves money producing an unsafe product then all others have to do that or be done in. For there to be any ethical behavior in business it must be handed down and mandated by government.

jkh6148's picture
jkh6148 8 years 27 weeks ago
#3

I am all in favor of the CEO and maybe the entire board of directors being charged with involuntary manslaughter and mandatory prison time for making the decision to not have a recall that results in death.

HOWEVER, as a blue collar GM retiree, the thousands of current and retired employees, and the supplier employees had nothing to do with the decision not to do a recall and would receive an extremely unjust punishment for a decision we had no control over. THESE recalls are almost exclusively the result of defective engineering but all too often it is the "lazy overpaid union worker" who seems to get blamed by the general public.

ckrob's picture
ckrob 8 years 26 weeks ago
#4

So much for libertarianism and free-market capitalism. Dog-eat-dog, race to the bottom without democratic government. Too bad we've lost it. The best living standards in the world are in the socialist, Scandinavian countries while we've gone deeply into the crapper since the 1980's. Now we (U.S.) have the highest economic inequality among developed countries along with the highest rate of incarceration. Can it be we have many of the wrong people behind bars?

Kend's picture
Kend 8 years 26 weeks ago
#5

here is a perfect example of why capitalism works. Unless government of gets involved of course. GM was in financial trouble and it and all those CEO's would have been gone long ago If tax payers didn't bail them out. The well run reputable car comanies like Ford would have picked up the factories and factory workers and everything would be fine now.

The problem is jkh6148 and all his buddies would be the ones who pay the price. Nothing seems fair anymore.

I am guessing that the 57 cent part isn't the problem it is what it would cost to retrofit all the old ones. No excuse but Thom has a way of stretching the truth.

hey don't the employees own GM now? It would be tuff to throw them all in jail.

chuckle8's picture
chuckle8 8 years 26 weeks ago
#6

Kend -- The switch decision was in 2005 and the bailout was in 2009.

Free markets always fail.

Why do you think Ford is well run and reputable?

jkh6148's picture
jkh6148 8 years 26 weeks ago
#7

SEEMS to me - i remember something about a pinto? something about the gas tank not being protected?AND no GM is not an employee owned cooperative.

Loren Bliss's picture
Loren Bliss 8 years 26 weeks ago
#8

We have indisputable evidence -- General Motors' veto of the 57-cent ignition-switch fix, that Ford crematorium called the Pinto, and let us not forget Bangladesh, Fukushima, Bhopal, Deep Horizon, Exxon Valdez, Triangle Shirtwaist etc. ad nauseam -- yet there are still idiots out there who refuse ro recognize capitalism for what it is: infinite greed elevated to maximum virtue, and therefore not only the premeditated rejection of every humanitarian precept our species ever set forth, but the closest approximation to the metaphysical concept of Absolute Evil a few members of our species have ever inflicted on all the rest of us.

DAnneMarc's picture
DAnneMarc 8 years 26 weeks ago
#9

Loren Bliss ~ So good of you to have stopped by. If you have the time I have a question that I'd love to hear your thoughts on. Bernie Sanders recently announced his candidacy for President in 2016. I'm curious to hear whether or not you support him and why? Thanks so very much.

Palindromedary's picture
Palindromedary 8 years 26 weeks ago
#10

GM's auto shop labor charge ranges from about $95/hr to about $175/hr and they usually have a set labor hour per job (ie: say replacing a part may actually take only 15 minutes but they will charge for the whole hour). That could up the actual cost of that 57 cent part...and that is probably just the price it costs to manufacture the part...not what they'd sell it for..many times more.

Of course, these parts would have been under warranty and wouldn't have cost the customer anything except the wasted time to take the vehicles to the shop. But, GM still would have had to pay their employees for that hour of labor. And factoring in the loss of having to use their mechanics to fix these warranty calls vs. other maintenance that customers have to pay for would make it considerably more expensive than just 57 cents per part. However, if they had put that 57 cent part into the vehicles to begin with, when they built the vehicle, they would have lost a little bit of profit but they really end up losing in law suits and in loss of reputation. Who wants to buy a vehicle that is going to kill them? I guess some people will always give in if the sale price is cheap enough.

I think that many of these CEOs and other top execs spend way too much time reading Sun Tsu and Machiavelli and Ayn Rand. I remember the top execs all the way down to the managers in the company I used to work for were all raving about Sun Tsu like it was some kind of a bible. Maybe we need to get more like China...they whack off heads of CEOs who have shamed the country and tried to make too much profit at the expense of their customers...resulting in deaths from using their adulterated products. A chop, chop here. A chop, chop there. Here a chop. There a chop. Everywhere a chop, chop! ;-}

ckrob's picture
ckrob 8 years 26 weeks ago
#11

Kend - Could you respond to the people who have pointed out the specific problems with your post?

Mark Saulys's picture
Mark Saulys 8 years 26 weeks ago
#12

Well Kend, your more deserving Ford knew very well of the Pinto's deadly design but figured the wrongful death settlements into the cost of manufacture of them.

You're saying this happened because GM got bailed out? Kind of a leap doncha think?

Kend's picture
Kend 8 years 26 weeks ago
#13

Yes ckrob I'll respond . We will never no true capitalism.. The government always interferes.

Are you all suggesting that a car company will never make a mistake.

DAnneMarc's picture
DAnneMarc 8 years 26 weeks ago
#14
Quote Kend:Are you all suggesting that a car company will never make a mistake.

Kend ~ Everyone makes mistakes. No one is perfect. However, gross mistakes that risk human life to save a pittance. No! Ridiculous mistakes are an exception to the rule. For instance, the mistake of spelling "know", as "no". Absolutely unforgivable. You "no" what I mean?

Loren Bliss's picture
Loren Bliss 8 years 26 weeks ago
#15

Au contraire, Mr. Kend. "True capitalism," whether in Mussolini's Italy, Franco's Spain, Hitler's Germany, Pinochet's Chile, the IMF's Ukraine or Wall Street's United States, is -- just as Karl Marx predicted and Ayn Rand demanded -- capitalist governance: absolute power and unlimited profit for the Ruling Class, total subjugation for all the rest of us.

Palindromedary's picture
Palindromedary 8 years 26 weeks ago
#16

Kend: even you wouldn't like total capitalism. You'd end up with the likes of one giant Wall Mart that ran everyone else out of business...including whatever business you are in...real estate...among others? Yup, Wall Mart would control it all and you'd be bitchin' about how unfair they are. ;-}

Palindromedary's picture
Palindromedary 8 years 26 weeks ago
#17

And if those who so fancy total capitalism didn't manage to make it into the top .001%, they'd be sloughed back into the barrel with the rest of us dregs of society. And we'd tear them from limb to limb for helping those scum-bags who took it all. And if we get hungry enough, we may even resort to cannibalism...eat the rich!

Kend's picture
Kend 8 years 26 weeks ago
#18

Sorry guys I don't have much fight in me tonight. I have worked 12 days straight about 12 hours a day. Just so I can pay more taxes to subzidise your wonderful lifestyles.

Besides we are still below freezing here and I am exhausted from the longest coldest winter we have had in well ever. I personally am officially praying for global warming. Sorry but it's like I am stuck in one of those glass balls and someone keeps shaking it and making it snow. Maybe I'll have more for you tomorrow. Night all.

Aliceinwonderland's picture
Aliceinwonderland 8 years 26 weeks ago
#19

"Thom has a way of stretching the truth" says Kend.

I seriously doubt the employees own GM, which would make GM a worker-owned cooperative. Kend, you have a way of distorting the truth. - AIW

Aliceinwonderland's picture
Aliceinwonderland 8 years 26 weeks ago
#20

I'm not much of a numbers person. Wouldn't .0003% translate to three-hundredths of one percent? Correct me if I'm wrong; I won't be offended.

Regardless, that's pretty tiny fraction. According to Democracy Now, this would have added the whopping total of one dollar to the production cost of each vehicle, a product costing tens of thousands of dollars. Seriously… What better proof can there be that capitalism is fundamentally evil? When numbers (or profit) trumps life, my friends, we've got a serious problem. Of course this isn't exactly news to anyone who's paying attention. But here is one more case in point. Ralph Nader nailed this phenomenon decades ago, with his famous book titled "Unsafe At Any Speed" (if I recall correctly). - Aliceinwonderland

P.S. Had ole Ralph run for prez again in '08, or in 2012, I would have picked him in a heartbeat.

ScottFromOz 8 years 26 weeks ago
#21

Ahh, I see it clearly now: Corporations are people...until they kill someone and then they're not.

Clear as mud.

Wendalore's picture
Wendalore 8 years 26 weeks ago
#22

I'm old enough. 73. I don't remember the car companies fighting against installing seat belts. I remember we didn't used to have seat belts and then we did. I guess I must have been thinking about other things.

Aliceinwonderland's picture
Aliceinwonderland 8 years 26 weeks ago
#23

Kend, Kend, Kend.... Making mistakes is one thing. Knowing about the mistake and doing nothing about it is something else... and if it also is known that the mistake will kill people, this makes it tantamount to murder. Is that too complicated for you to grasp? - AIW

Wendalore's picture
Wendalore 8 years 26 weeks ago
#24

When I drive around, I think about Libertarianism. Today I saw children getting out of school. I wondered how the Libertarians would handle the coplexities of schools. The other day I was around the courthouse. I wonder what Libertarians propose about crime, but not only crime, family problems such as child custody or parents not allowed to see their children after a divorce or domestic assaut. I see the traffic lights swinging in the wind—someone will have to fix it if it falls. I see the spring pot holes. "They" will come and fix them. Do Libertarians believe in roads? They would privatize? Who would oversee the private companies? What about graft and corruption? The rules of trade? I'll keep listening…

Aliceinwonderland's picture
Aliceinwonderland 8 years 26 weeks ago
#25

"A chop, chop here. A chop, chop there..." sez Palin, describing how CEOs in China get beheaded for selling lethally defective products. "Here a chop. There a chop..." As in chop suey? - AIW

Loren Bliss's picture
Loren Bliss 8 years 26 weeks ago
#26

Marc, to my knowlege -- and given I remain (somewhat) dependent on Ruling Class Media for information, that knowledge may in this case be sorely limited -- Sen. Sanders has not formally announced his candidacy. Instead he has said he would consider running, presumably if there were a loud enough outcry on his behalf.

But if he does run, I would probably vote for him.

My reasoning is threefold:

(1)-Though I am powerfully influenced by Marx, I also believe very fervently in democratic socialism for the same reason I believe in nonviolence -- both seek to avoid the death and destruction that otherwise accompanies political transformation -- though as we see demonstrated more fully every day as the USian Empire approaches the real-world fulfillment of that Harry Turtledove short story about what happens to Gandhi when he dares resist the Nazis, I doubt either tactic will be long-term effective in the savagely pittiless capitalist future that's a-dawning. That's the biggest reason I'm glad I'm old. I probably won't be around when the competing factions -- prosperity-gospel JesuNazis in the South and Middle West, eco-socialists and/or anarchists on the West Coast, more traditional socialists including Communists on the East Coast, not to mention the Reconquista folks from south of the border and probably the Russians trying to take back Alaska -- start waging war on one another and turn the United States into Somalia North.

(2)-While my particular view of democratic socialism may be a decidedly minority stance, I have long been convinced a socialist government under our constitution (and thereby limited by our Bill of Rights and our presumptive balance of legislative, executive and judicial powers) -- and assuming the One Percent didn't immediately overthrow it with a coup by one of their private armies (think Blackwater) -- could give us want-free lives that might literally approach paradise on earth.

(3)-My dream ticket would of course by a Sanders/Warren ticket -- either one as the presidential candidate (though I'd prefer Sen. Warren as my sense of her is she sees the bigger picture, no offense to Sen. Sanders about whom I surely know less than I know about Sen. Warren).

Alas, given the givens, both Sen. Sanders and Sen. Warren are probably more effective in the Senate. Also I'm terrified at the prospect of what the One Percent would order done to either or both should they actually come within range of winning the presidency.

Wendalore's picture
Wendalore 8 years 26 weeks ago
#27

Today Thom interviewed Dr. Peter Breggin. I was in the car getting angry. I think this guy is a charlatan, a snake-oil salesman getting rich from the opposite end. I've known countless people that have been helped by anti-depressants. Me included. I refused to take them, before the SSRI. The tri-cyclics and those other ones that you can't eat cheese with, too many side effects, and besides, I believed you should figure it out yourself with the aid of therapy, spirituality, diet, etc. Trouble is, it wasn't working—had been shame-bound and depressed all my life. Felt like no-one. Prozac came out. People were saying good things about it. I tried it! It saved my life! Maybe not my LIFE, but the quality of my life. I had always felt like I was being dragged in a muddy ditch behind a truck. Then I found out what it felt like to be "normal." A lot of people were saying that same thing then.

I'm still taking an SSRI, Citalopram (Celexa.) and I always will. That's okay. I needed it then, and I needed it 20 years before then, and I need it now. What I had, you don't get better from—my Amygdala and other parts of my limbic system were physically changed from low level chronic trauma from a furious mother. All of us four kids, the same thing. That's okay. My theory is that there is something wrong with our whole culture since the disappearance of the village and of religion. Also, we have inherited animal instincts in our genes, and that's tough to deal with when we also have a huge cerebral cortex.

And then all these people start killing other people. And this guy wants to blame it on psychiatric drugs?? I can't believe my ears! I look in Amazon and see all the books this Harvard educated psychiatrist has published. I read the reviews. Of one book, only 3 people gave one star—and they are saying what I'm saying. This guy wants to be a star. Make lots of money. I listened to him today talking to Thom. What a fake!! Haven't millions of people taken SSRIs? Without killing people?

Ever think that the people who are mass murderers might be killing people because they are CRAZY—and they are taking psych meds because they are CRAZY?? They are not killing people because they are taking PSYCH MEDS!—duh, Dude!

And poor Thom—Thom, you are worried about a completely flat affect because that's how SSRIs work? You are saying that the thing that keeps us from killing people is our affect, our love and our feelings for people… So the SSRIs take away their—no, OUR feelings? Well, think about this—if SSRIs take away our feelings, then why do these people still have all this RAGE that makes them want to kill piles of people? SSRIs take away people's love, but not their RAGE??? This makes no sense at all. And here's Dr. Peter, so pleased to be on the radio with Thom, AGREEING with that theory?? NO WONDER I don't trust this "doctor." Here am I, defending the SSRI, because it's helped me and so many others, and I'm FULL of Citalopram (20 mg), so theoretically, I shouldn't be able to feel anything. So why did I cry yesterday listening to Thom talking about Clinton and his plans for 20% Solar energy by 2000, which Reagan robbed us of—about which I posted here, yesterday.

Gosh, I'm not supposed to have any feelings... Not ANY feelings? Wait a minute, I always thought that the SSRI reduced the highs and the lows of the feelings. It doesn't take them away. So people that feel like they are under the mud being dragged behind the truck—helpless, hopeless, are now walking on the road with everyone else. Okay, maybe I won't get ecstatic, but I'll sure give up as much of that as I might have had in order not to be in the depths of the mud.

And I heard him talking in this fake way about The Perfect Storm of the soldier with the brain damage, the PTSD and the PSYCH MEDS! And that applying to the shooting today. But…I had just heard a few minutes before that that that guy had never seen active duty. But oh well, maybe that report was wrong. But the shooter was mentally ill. He HAD just seen a psychiatrist. And he WAS taking PSYCH MEDS!! That proves that it was the psych meds that pushed him over the edge!! Oh, you say he had bought a gun in early March. Could he have been thinking about killing people then? Could that have been because he was mentally ill? Maybe we have this mentally ill soldier with a gun walking around. Maybe it was the GUN that killed the people.

Thom, I hope you don't continue worrying your intelligent brain about this psych med problem. You've never taken a SSRI? You had a good family I understand, and that's wonderful. I really don't think your forte is psychology. It's mine, though. I am surprised you fell for this supposed expert's BS, because I do think of you as worldly wise. Just pretend it's Reagan talking for a sec, the watch the DOCTOR glamour and mystique slip from his image and see him as just another Glenn Beck type. Goes home and jumps into his swiming pool full of money like Scrooge McDuck. Settles into his favorite arm chair and reads his new book, saying "Damn, I'm good."

Mark Saulys's picture
Mark Saulys 8 years 26 weeks ago
#28

This wasn't a mistake by GM, Kend, it was deliberate. One of my favorite #Occupy placards read, "I'll believe corporations are people when Texas executes one." Perhaps it's time to execute one or more to "put the fear of God" in the rest of them.

It's too bad, Kend that your business is so profitless that you can work 12 consecutive 12 hour days and still have to supplement your income shilling. We appreciate, anyway, that amidst all those 12 hour days you still find plenty of time to participate in our debates and discussions. Why, I've had exchanges with you at 3 or 4 in the morning more than a few times, it seems. I've always wondered how you manage that. I dare say, you seem quite amazing, superhuman, as it were.

ckrob's picture
ckrob 8 years 26 weeks ago
#29

Kend --- I'll take your response to my question as a "no."

ckrob's picture
ckrob 8 years 26 weeks ago
#30

Wendelore, I'm a bit older than you. I remember my mother's right arm would still automatically fly out when I was a teenager, to keep me from crashing into the dashboard as she braked. And no, I wasn't still standing up in the seat next to her. :)

Kend's picture
Kend 8 years 26 weeks ago
#31

Guilty as charged Alice i do add a liitle extra from time to time. Sorry I thought when the Obama bailed GM out the share holders lost there shares in GM and the ownership went to the employees in why of there pension plans. When I have some time I will look into it. At the end of the day no one cared about GM it was the employees and all the retired pensioners that had the most to lose.

DAnneMarc's picture
DAnneMarc 8 years 26 weeks ago
#32
Quote Loren Bliss:Also I'm terrified at the prospect of what the One Percent would order done to either or both should they actually come within range of winning the presidency.

Loren Bliss ~ Very well said. I agree with every word--especially the concern over Sen. Sanders and Sen. Warrens well being if they were to run together. It is this reason in particular that I would like to see them both on that ticket. Personally I prefer that Sen. Sanders leads the ticket for precisely the reason you prefer Sen. Warren--Warren would be more effective. If you touch Sanders, you have to deal with someone with more teeth who now is very PO'd.

Additionally, If the Sanders Presidency is a success--and I feel it would be--it would open the door for 8 more years with Sen. Warren--the first woman President--to continue his legacy. This would not only be a milestone for equal rights, it would also allow for 16 years of liberal control of the executive branch. 16 years might just be what we will need to reverse Reaganomics and clean up the mess his disastrous legacy has left behind. Thank you so much for your response.

DAnneMarc's picture
DAnneMarc 8 years 26 weeks ago
#33
Quote ckrob: I remember my mother's right arm would still automatically fly out when I was a teenager, to keep me from crashing into the dashboard as she braked.

ckrob ~ Wow! We must have had the same child seat. No seat belts in a car made in 1955; and, the dash board was made out of metal. I remember putting my feet up on the dashboard so my Dad wouldn't whack me in the chest with his right arm. I got whacked anyway; and, as a result, I eventually removed all the paint from the glove box with my shoes when nervously anticipating a fast stop.

Palindromedary's picture
Palindromedary 8 years 26 weeks ago
#34

Shouldn't insurance company CEOs get the death penalty for acting as death panels based on profit? Oh, and here's one...especially if you are about to start receiving Medicare.
You know how you have been bombarded by Medicare supplemental insurance junk mail? Trying to get you signed up because "they cover what Medicare doesn't"?

Article by Dr. David Delk (there's also a link to his video as well)

Quote article:..if you have Medicare and buy a supplemental policy with your own money, you are effectively giving an insurance company your money so that they can keep it.
-----------
Unless a supplemental policy specifically states otherwise, the most it will cover are the Medicare deductibles ($147 outpatient and $1,187 hospitalization) and the 20 percent co-insurance. Supplemental policies do not usually cover any medical services Medicare won't cover. What's more, Medicare supplemental insurance will only pay health care providers what you would pay if you didn't have the supplemental policy. Providers aren't paid any more for taking care of you if you have one of these policies.
-------------
The lowest price I was quoted for a policy that covers all Medicare deductible and co-insurance costs was just over $200 a month (or $2,400 a year).
-------------
if you're hospitalized at least twice a year, every year, then buying a supplemental policy might be worth it. A supplemental policy would also be a good deal if you get:

-- 20 MRIs every year, or

-- 25 CT scans, or

-- You visit your doctor at least 100 times a year (twice a week), or

-- You get between 500 and 1,000 standard blood tests


-------------------
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/david-belk/medicare-supplemental-policies_...
---------------------
I sure didn't believe that buying supplemental medicare insurance was worth it..in my case anyway...I thought they amounted to big scam rip-offs. It's nice to hear I was right.

chuckle8's picture
chuckle8 8 years 26 weeks ago
#35

Kend -- Free markets always fail. The freer they are the faster they fall. You need to read "Shock doctrine" by Naomi Klein She has numerous well documented cases of the failure of "true capitalism". I assume you know when I say freer it means less government interference.

chuckle8's picture
chuckle8 8 years 26 weeks ago
#36

Kend -- Global warming is why you are freezing. It is the drunken jet stream. Its inebriation caused by the artic warming 20 times faster than the equator.

Aliceinwonderland's picture
Aliceinwonderland 8 years 26 weeks ago
#37

Thank you, Palin! I think that when I'm on Medicare, instead of jumping on the supplemental rip-off bandwagon and giving some insurance hack $2400 each year to feather his nest, I'll simply save that amount annually if I can, and stash it for a "rainy day". - AIW

chuckle8's picture
chuckle8 8 years 26 weeks ago
#38

Loren Bliss -- I would like your view on Sweden's economy. Actually, I need an education on terms and more. I thought Sweden was a democratic socialist form of government. Yet, circa 2008, the richest person on Earth was the owned of IKEA.

Loren Bliss's picture
Loren Bliss 8 years 26 weeks ago
#39

Sorry, chuckle8, I don't know enough about Sweden's present-day economy to be a useful source. Maybe somebody else here had lived there and/or knows its relevant facts. I do know its humanitarian features are now (and have been) under constant attack from its own Right, another example of the USian Empire's drive to (further) subjugate the Working Class by imposing "austerity" aka genocide.

Aliceinwonderland's picture
Aliceinwonderland 8 years 26 weeks ago
#40

Loren, how is Sweden's right wing an example of the "USian" Empire's fascists' genocidal austerity crusade? Are you saying that Sweden's fascist element was instigated or inspired by the "USian" version? - AIW

Loren Bliss's picture
Loren Bliss 8 years 26 weeks ago
#41

Alice, I think we can take as "probably true" (if not proven fact) that all fascist agitation since the end of World War II has originated from the United States. Largely because:

(A)-The U.S. embraced legions of Nazi war criminals after the war, not just the notable ones like von Braun as in Operation Paper Clip but untold numbers of others, literally filling entire urban neighborhoods with people from Eastern Europe, especially the Ukraine, who had gleefully collaborated with the Nazis and were therefore fleeing from rightfully imposed Soviet death sentences.

(B)-Many of the top-level (Paper Clip) Nazis had asserted shortly before the Nazi surrender they would create the Fourth Reich from the United States. (Google "Fourth Reich" without quotation marks for some additional information; also Google "ODESSA," all caps as here but again no quotes.) (No, I have not read Marrs' The Rise of the Fourth Reich; I did not know about it until tonight. But I did just order it.)

(C)-The U.S. since World War II has helped impose and provied lavish support to every fascist regime on this planet.

The older Communists I knew as a young man, among them men who had fought the fascists in Spain, mostly believed there was a secret organization, initially in Berlin but after Germany's defeat in Washingtion D.C., that was lavishly funded by the Ruling Class and that existed solely to foster global fascism. I tended to doubt this until the recent events in Ukraine, for which see last Sunday's Outside Agitator's Notebook, specifically my comment on "The Danger of False Narrative." But now, given the obvious collaboration of Rightist elements throughout the world, I have to assume those now-dead Leftists were probably correct.

Note too in this context that from the Soviet perspective, WW II was exactly what they called it: "The Great Patriotic War against Fascism," while for the Western powers, it was a war to determine which type of fascism would prevail: the velvet-glove fascism of the English-speaking countries, or the jackboot fascism of Germany, each equally an expression of capitalism. Obviously now that capitalism has no global economic rival, the fascists have pulled off their velvet gloves and govern with not only iron fists but death-ray technology as well...in which context think of the looming environmental apocalypse (and the One Percent's obstruction of any ameliorative measures) as yet another form of genocide, with the entire planet functioning as a death camp.

...G'nite Alice; hope this is not too disturbing.

Aliceinwonderland's picture
Aliceinwonderland 8 years 26 weeks ago
#42

Disturbing yes. Hardly surprising. While I lack your detailed knowledge of history, Loren, I've caught wind of Americans' fascist leanings, our corporate & political ties with the Nazis after WWII. Remember the pablum of lies we got fed when we were young! Everything dumbed-down, simplified and sanitized. You know the story: America fought with the Allies to save the world from Hitler's tyranny, America put an end to the war with the atomic bomb.... I vividly recall this country being characterized as THE leader of the "free world", and what a big-ass, baldfaced lie that turned out to be.

Thinking back to my childhood, I remember how bored I was with history in school. In retrospect I've come to realize that despite all the guilt trips I was subjected to, and the bad grades I received and the relentless flack from parents & teachers… despite all that browbeating, it wasn't my fault. It was the embalmed, watered-down, distorted, simplified, sanitized version of history we were spoonfed by our teachers and our texts that was the problem. It had no life to it, no aura, no authenticity or ring of truth; little more than a long, dreary procession of names and dates with all this grandiose packaging and pretense around it that to me, just wasn't all that interesting. But now when someone like you, Howard Zinn or Noam Chomsky tells it like it is- the real story- I'm fascinated. And what fascinates me is just how outrageous it is, that our country's leaders can so sanctimoniously present the U.S. to its gullible "masses" as this glorious entity that's all about freedom & democracy, this great beacon of hope and role model for the world to emulate, and blah-blah-blah… all the while, "paling around" with Nazi terrorists!

Yes Loren, it truly is fascinating, the shamelessness of these psychopaths. Fascinating and scary. - Aliceinwonderland

Loren Bliss's picture
Loren Bliss 8 years 26 weeks ago
#43

Alice, Reader Supported News has very thorough reportage on the U.S.-Nazi links surfacing in Ukraine. One detailed example that mentions the international coordination between fascist organizations (including the Ku Klux Klan) is here: http://readersupportednews.org/opinion2/277-75/22940-focus-part-ii-meet-...

chuckle8's picture
chuckle8 8 years 26 weeks ago
#44

Loren Bliss -- I think the picture you are painting is correct. The only disagreement I have is that the colors are too vivid. Since I have no writing skills, please do not laugh at my attempt at poetic words. The way I look at what you are saying is there is a constant battle between the 99% and the 1%. The 1% is certainly winning now. Based on the Powell memo described in Thom's "Crash of 2016", it seems that the 99% may have been winning after WWII. They were winning so much that it scared the 1%. Out of that fear, Lewis Powell created his CONFIDENTIAL memo.

I also I think it would have been a significant win for the 99% if they could get the Employee Free Choice Act passed. One more Democratic vote in the senate and it would have become law. That is why I say vote for Democrats.

Aliceinwonderland's picture
Aliceinwonderland 8 years 26 weeks ago
#45

Loren- I clicked the link and read the article. (WHEW) I love that line about "strengthening democracy around the globe through private enterprise and market-oriented reform." What the hell should democracy have to do with the friggin' marketplace anyway? Unless of course, democracy is up for sale, or already sold down the river.

Obama's foreign policy offers little improvement over George W's. Perhaps I'm too generous in this assessment. Obama says intervening in Ukraine's internal crisis is "not only for our own narrow self-interest, but for the interest of all"! The part of that statement before the comma is what it's really about: "our own narrow self interest"; translated: corporate self-interest. Everything after that comma, unsubstantiated rubbish.

I wasn't there when Obama said this and it is is an incomplete quote taken out of context, but I'd bet $$ Obama made no effort to explain exactly how U.S. meddling in Ukrainian affairs is "for the interest of all". And what does he mean by "all", anyway? All Americans? All Ukrainians? All humans on the planet? Or all fossil fuel companies or weapons manufacturers? Regardless, what makes the idea of "American exceptionalism" so dangerous is this delusional notion that we are above international law, lords & masters of the universe. Madeline Albright calls the U.S. the "indispensable nation" while Joseph Nye says this country is "bound to lead"… lead what? Here is the stuff that starts wars, that fascism thrives on.

At least twice in our lifetimes, we've come within a minute or two of a full-tilt nuclear war with Russia. Our entire existence has been in the shadows of this terrible threat. And frankly, Loren, with today's weaponry, I question whether we can survive a third world war. I don't know if I'd even want to survive it. - Aliceinwonderland

P.S. Loren, I bit the hook just now and googled Outside Agitator's Notebook. As always, a pleasure to peruse. I read your story about Truthout, censoring your searingly blunt assessment of the ACA, which I happen to agree with. So I want to thank you for revealing this unpleasant truth about some of these so-called "liberal" or "progressive" blogs. If they censored you, they most likely would censor me too, since I agree with everything you are saying and find it no more radical than my own perspective. I am hugely offended by censorship and view it as a bright red flag, unless it's some sort of hate speech or a particularly vile personal attack, of which yours was neither. Anyway dear comrade, thanks for saving me all that time and aggravation.

Loren Bliss's picture
Loren Bliss 8 years 26 weeks ago
#46

Two points, Alice, or maybe three...

Firstly, on the teaching of history in U.S. public schools: the rote-learning oppressiveness of the USian approach to teaching history and other social studies was an issue when I was in high school (1954-1958), and it has remained so ever since. (I have no feedback from earlier generations because my father attended private schools -- yes my family was once wealthy, but that was lost forever in the Crash of 1929 -- and neither my mother nor my stepmother were sort to question the status quo.) But I presume, based on what I have heard from other sources, the stultifying approach was similar in the pre-war public schools as well.

In truth though there are probably only two workable approaches to teaching history. One, the drudgery of rote learning, makes the subject not only repugnant but meaningless. But the other method, which makes the subject as fascinating as any of the best novels (often even to those who would normally pass it by), approaches history as the dynamic expression of human consciousness -- cause and effect, class struggle, the interaction of the individual with the environment, the economy, the state and the extant technologies. That is how my father was taught history in his New England boarding schools, how he taught it to me (though he was a terrible parent, he was also the best teacher I ever knew), how it is generally taught on the college level, and how it would be taught in public schools were the USian Ruling Class not unalterably opposed to letting us learn the vital lessons history imparts.

It is obvious -- especially when you consider the duration of the public-school controversy about the teaching of history and other social studies -- the odiousness with which history is afflicted by its public-school teachers is not only deliberate but maliciously so. Who in USian public schools is assigned to teach history? Usually it's the main-sport varsity coaches (football, basketball, baseball) -- which means you the student are being instructed in history by the teachers who are dumbest, most testosterone-afflicted and therefore most inclined to fascism. Because of their stupidity, rote learning is the only teaching method of which they are capable, and because of their locker-room values, which are the values of the school-yard bully, they are drawn to fascism like iron-filings to a magnet. (Yes, during the 1950s there were sometimes females teaching history and other social studies in the public schools, but the three such teachers I encountered -- this in three different high schools -- were even more rigid then the males, no doubt because each was a devotee of Ayn Rand. (Yeah, she and her fictional variants on the Mein Kampf theme have been around that long, The Fountainhead since 1943.)

The other reason the teaching of history as a cause-and-effect expression of human consciousness is taboo in USian public schools is that the entire concept of historical dynamics is Marxist in origin. Moreover, this approach to the study of history is inevitably the study of class struggle -- the reality of which is thus proven beyond argument. While that alone is sufficient to ensure its banishment from the USian public classroom, there is also the fact history so taught refutes the concept of "progress" and replaces it with the truth the human condition waxes and wanes like everything else in Nature -- a truth that from the perspective of Abrahamic religion is the rankest of heresies.

Bottom line, Alice, is you like most USians were victimized by your history teachers and thereby duped into turning away from what, in a revolutionary context, is the most vital subject of all.

Secondly (with my apology for having gone on so long about history), Obama's foreign policy is infinitely more dangerous than George Bush's. Bush, a charming dimwit, was kept on a very short leash by the aristocracy. But the conquest of Iraq, which was undertaken both to seize its oil (now owned mostly by Exxon) and to destroy the only effective secular government in the Middle East (capitalism demands theocracy to facilitate maximum exploitation of the Working Class), would have occurred no matter who was president. Obama on the other hand is probably, in terms of IQ, amongst the most formidably intelligent presidents of all time; trouble is, he has sworn his intellect to the service of the most evilly ruthless Ruling Class in our species' history. He knows exactly what he is doing -- and indeed it is on that basis I now believe the primary Ruling Class purpose is to methodically reduce the world population, whether by famine, war or environmental apocalypse, and out of the ashes create essentially the same New Order of which Hitler dreamt.

Thirdly -- yes there was another point I wanted to make, but alas I have forgotten what it was.

Best,
Loren

Palindromedary's picture
Palindromedary 8 years 26 weeks ago
#47
Quote AIW: If they censored you, they most likely would censor me too, since I agree with everything you are saying and find it no more radical than my own perspective.

Me too! I don't know of one thing that I have ever disagreed with what Loren Bliss has said either here in this forum, in other forums, or his own.

donnay's picture
donnay 8 years 26 weeks ago
#48

The US Supreme Court declares corporation is essentially a person so Mr. Holder should prosecute Mr. GM for, like Mr. Hartman stated, premediated murder, attempted murder, etc., and the corporation should go to jail and suffer all consequences such criminal act commands just like a person--AND when the we cannot find Mr. GM to have his/her day in court because there's no such person--the case should travel back to the US Supreme Court and let them 5Boobs find us this corporate person GM they said existed! We should all write to Mr. Holder and insists he bring murder charges against GM. The victims' families; I hope they don't sell out and trade cash for their love one's death--like some of the families of 911--if no one sold out, the truth would have a better chance of surviving. I not only question how much is someone's else life is worth to GM; I also pose the same question to the families of murdered victims.

Aliceinwonderland's picture
Aliceinwonderland 8 years 26 weeks ago
#49

But "donnay", you speak as if assuming our decision makers are governed by logic, reason and common sense! - AIW

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