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Rx for the body politic - E-democracy, not Shutdown over Obamacare

Author bio: 
John-Paul Leonard

 In the beginning was greed.

Decades ago, when the debate was about whether we could afford Medicaid or "socialized medicine", I was saying it's a supply-side problem. Yet there is still no cure for that in sight.
The AMA makes it way too difficult to become a doctor. They know a scarce supply raises the price. So every MD in America gets a greed-given right to be a millionaire. Yes, the US has one of the lowest ratios of doctors per capita in the world. 

It's not a Hippocratic oath to preserve health, it's a hypocritical oath to wallow in wealth that drives the medical industry.

The US health care system is sick and broken. It needs to be fixed and reformed. It's the worst value for money of any in the world -- by far. 

We need to bring in consultants from other countries and learn how they have enough doctors, better services, and all at a cost that the average nation and person can easily afford. And start doing that pronto.

There's a lot wrong with our system - all due to greed and corruption. Why doesn't the medical industry look at nutrition? Because food is cheap and not a monopoly of Big Pharma. Why is the industry trying to ban nutritional supplements? Because they work, without costing an arm and a leg to feed to the medical monster. Why have they not cured cancer after throwing billions at it? Why all this expensive technology and so little healing? 

Because it's not about health care for you, it's about wealth care for them.

Don't take my word for it. Here's from the Wikipedia article on health care reform:

"The mixed public-private health care system in the United States is the MOST expensive in the world, with health care costing more per person than in any other nation, and a greater portion of gross domestic product... the United States ranks LAST in the quality of health care among developed countries... 72nd by overall level of health (among 191 member nations)... About 10.7 million insured Americans spend more than a quarter of their annual paychecks on health care."

So the logical conclusion is to throw even more money at it?

No thanks! We need to fix it first!

In the European Union countries, health care costs run between 9% and 12% of GDP, and everybody is covered. In the US, it's 18% of GDP, and one in three Americans under age 65 is without health insurance. Their primary reasons are they can't afford it, and don't believe it is worth it, and aren't broke enough for Medicaid. The so-called Affordable Care Act is out to force these 50 million people to buy private health insurance whether they can afford to or not. On top of that, Uncle Sam will pay out enormous subsidies to the insurers for these new customers.

This law was written by and for the insurance and medical industries, not the people. But can America afford the "Affordable Care Act?" We're broke, if you hadn't noticed.

Now the events of the last month have shown just how sick our political system is, too. It's been like a train ride with a crew of madmen at the wheel. First Obama and Kerry were itching and scratching to start another war on Syria, ignoring the great majority of the people who were up in arms against it. Only a diplomatic intervention by Putin saved the US from its own "leaders."

Then real pandemonium broke loose between the Mad House and the Mad Senate, when they shut down the government, something that about 100% of the people didn't want. A majority has always been against the Obamacare bill, too. Only 17% think it will help them -- and only 10% approve of Congress.

So let's take the wheel back from the madmen.

Let's start agitating for Electronic Direct Democracy. On any issue that a lot of people think is important, the people should vote and decide. Our representatives have to start representing us, and not the Wall Streeters who think they own everybody. The only way to make that happen is for We the People to get our hands on the voting levers of power and represent ourselves on key issues! By now it's clear we can't trust politicians to do it. We on the other hand have the collective common sense to do the job.

September 2013 certainly proved that We the People could not do worse than the incredible circus show that's driving our bus off a cliff in Washington, while we're yelling "Watch Out!" at the top of our lungs. The thing to do is get up and take the wheel.

The problem that Obamacare was supposed to solve is that a lot of people don't have health coverage, because they can't afford it. The real solution is to make health care affordable, not to force us and our government to buy overpriced products we can't afford. We need to completely re-orient our health care system, and a lot of other things, too -- but this government is far too corrupt to reform much of anything. It needs to be reformed itself. It's broke and broken.

Go E-Democracy. We can do it!
We are the answer we've been waiting for. 


From the Wikipedia section on EDD in http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/E-democracy

Electronic direct democracy (EDD) is the strongest form of direct democracy, in which the people are involved in the legislative function. Also important to this notion are technological enhancements to the deliberative process. Electronic direct democracy is sometimes referred to by many other names, such as open source governance and collaborative governance.

EDD requires electronic voting or some way to register votes on issues electronically. As in any direct democracy, in an EDD, citizens would have the right to vote on legislation, author new legislation, and recall representatives (if any representatives are preserved).

Technology for supporting EDD has been researched and developed at the Florida Institute of Technology,[44] where the technology is used with student organizations. Numerous other software development projects are underway,[45] along with many supporting and related projects.[46] Several of these projects are now collaborating on a cross-platform architecture, under the umbrella of the Metagovernment project.[47]

EDD as a system is not fully implemented in a political government anywhere in the world, although several initiatives are currently forming. Ross Perot was a prominent advocate of EDD when he advocated "electronic town halls" during his 1992 and 1996 Presidential campaigns in the United States.Switzerland, already partially governed by direct democracy, is making progress towards such a system.[48] Senator On-Line, an Australian political party running for the Senate in the 2007 federal elections, proposed to institute an EDD system so that Australians can decide which way the senators vote on each and every bill.[49] A similar initiative was formed 2002 in Sweden where the party Aktivdemokrati, running for the Swedish parliament, offers its members the power to decide the actions of the party over all or some areas of decision, or alternatively to use a proxy with immediate recall for one or several areas.

The first mainstream direct democracy party to be registered with any country's electoral commission [checked against each country's register] is the UK's People's Administration Direct Democracy party. The People's Administration have developed and published the complete architecture for a legitimate reform to EDD [including the required Parliamentary reform process]. Established by musicians [including Alex Romane] and political activists, the People's Administration advocates using the web and telephone to enable the majority electorate to create, propose and vote upon all policy implementation. The People's Administration's blueprint has been published in various forms since 1998 and the People's Administration is the first direct democracy party to be registered in a vote-able format anywhere in the world - making transition possible through evolution via election with legitimate majority support, instead of potentially through revolution via violence.


Whatever your views are on Obamacare, the main point to carry away is that we need to demand the vote, so we have a chance to fix not only the health care system but the corrupt political system. We the People are ready for this, and it is the only way we can fix so many severe problems that the existing system just perpetuates. As I noted on my Syria blog, http://www.progressivepress.com/blog/dirty-war-syria , 

"If the Internet had existed when our nation was founded, this is what the Founding Fathers would have gone for, direct democracy, not rule by irresponsible 'representatives'."

The Internet was invented by the military as a distributed control and communication system that could not be knocked out by an attack at a central point. So it is ideal for combating our enemy within, the corruption that focuses on Washington.

"Businesses are already making us do everything for ourselves. Wipe your own windshield at the gas station, scan your own groceries, get your own medical advice on the Internet, make cash withdrawals from an ATM, and push buttons on the phone until you get a recorded message. They are outsourcing everything to the customer. Washington can do the same."

Since the shutdown, the approval rating for Congress has dropped to 10%. It's an epic failure. We the People can surely do better.

For one thing, they can't corrupt all of us, but corruption is king as long as we let George do it. "You can't fool all the people all the time," Lincoln said, and we're seeing a lot of common sense in the common people.

Whatever your issue is, EDD will be the way to USEFULLY mobilize support and make it happen, especially if it's a good idea that's been held down by this corrupt system.

How to make it happen? We will need Congress to pass legislation. We can lobby congressmen to support EDD, and elect new congresspeople who are pledged to do so. We should identify which sitting congressmen have a record of voting in line with the popular will, on important issues where we know the poll results. That leaves out those who vote on straight party lines. Then we get EDD candidates to run against those who refuse to represent us. This can be our best chance to get new, honest candidates in office against the party machines. 

We could also start on the state level, such as with a sympathetic legislature, governor or gubernatorial candidate.
First of all, it's necessary to get publicity and public support.


I've been asked,
"How can you guard against vote rigging and software with built-in backdoors used for hacking? What's would keep a Diebold situation from happening with eDemocracy? How do you verify the results?" 

My answer:
"that is a good question.
I believe it should be done via the internet.
there should be audit procedures.
one way is to make it open source.

you make it possible for anyone to look up vote totals by precinct, sub-precinct and even by smaller areas.
it would be helpful if voters have the option to make their ballots non-secret, to help make it transparent.
(the level of personal detail can also be optional to help avoid spam and marketing based on the results)

If everyone can check their own vote and other non-secret votes on their street, it's going to be hard to fiddle the figures.
i'm not afraid of letting the world know how i voted. i'm out there flying a flag of dissent every day on my website.

what if most of the open votes go the way opinion polls do and the total vote for the street is going the other way, the way the money interests want?
any web researcher will be able to browse results and expose such discrepancies.
statistically, even a relatively small percentage of open votes is going to show up fraud.

so by publishing very detailed breakdowns of voting results on the internet, you can outsource not only the voting to the people, but also the audit.
just having very detailed breakdowns is going to make it possible for reporters to go door to door and check figures (like exit polls but more exact), though having some open results is better.

it's the same principle as having observers present when ballot boxes are opened and counted. we'll have the whole world as observers." 

Under EDD, we're not going to give contracts for IT to companies like Diebold or Sequoia, who are widely suspected to be criminals. Transparency is going to dispel many problems that are intractable under the current regime.  


Note that I'm not an expert on Obamacare. Let's say for the sake of argument that it's actually a good law. Under EDD, at least people would have had a chance to discuss and vote on it beforehand, so you wouldn't have this confusion. We'd be able to avoid the shutdown. 

Here is a link to find out how much it could cost you, as well as the government: http://kff.org/interactive/subsidy-calculator/ .
We found that the total of the two is far more than we have been spending on health care up until now.


It could also be asked, won't the mainstream media fool people into voting for the corporatist side? Trust in the MSM is already down to a mere 23%. With EDD, we could also enforce anti-trust legislation against media concentration and look for other ways to break the corporatist stranglehold on the major channels.

I was impressed how the American public strongly rejected the ploy for war against Syria, in spite of a major false-flag operation and massive propaganda. Also in Egypt, look how the common people rejected and overthrew the extremist Muslim Brotherhood.

Centuries of effort have gone into raising the level of education and information of the common people. They are ready now. 


Oct. 10. Russia Today reports software costs for the Obamacare websites running to a half billion dollars - an enormous boondoggle by any standards. Is corruption what this program is really all about?  http://rt.com/usa/obamacare-websites-cost-millions-002/

That would be enough money to build a medical school. The younger generation in this country are in debt for college degrees that don't get them any jobs. I also read recently that the average person has 95% of their medical expenses in the last 5 years of their lives. So the young are not getting good jobs to pay off their student loans, they're not getting health insurance at work, and they are going to be forced to pay for medical insurance they won't need for a half century or more, until they have one foot in the grave.
Instead of giving more trillions to the insurance companies and overpaid medical industry, let's make an infrastructure investment in more medical schools, and give more young people a chance to be doctors, helping solve the shortage there.

Oct. 15. New York Times reports that an asthma medicine priced at $250 in the US costs only $7 in Europe. http://www.nytimes.com/2013/10/13/us/the-soaring-cost-of-a-simple-breath.html

Whenever you see ridiculous amounts, think of corruption. Most sectors in the US are price-competitive. Why are the military and medical industries so bloated with overpriced products and services? Where is the control mechanism on rampant overcharging by these two sectors? There isn't any, effectively. And both sectors have the federal government as primary customer. So you're going to see astronomical corruption in these two industries that take such a huge percentage of our deficit spending. Don't expect the Affordable Care Act to address that, it's been written and approved by a corrupt industry and corrupt Congress. (If anyone doubts that the insurance industry is corrupt, watch this video online 9/11 False Flag Conspiracy - Finally Solved - it has 538,000 views.)

To solve this health cost debacle that's killing us, we need to break the stranglehold of the AMA on medical schooling. Commission a lot of new medical schools, which  should provide low-cost health care as well as medical education. And find a way to introduce private-sector competition into medical pricing. Some solution is also needed for the exorbitant costs of malpractice insurance.

http://thinkprogress.org/default/2013/10/19/2806521/billionaire-koch-brothers-spending-millions-deny-health-coverage-income-americans/ Oct. 19 The Kochs have financed a massive campaign pressuring states to deny health care coverage to lower income Americans through the Medicaid expansion contained in the Affordable Care Act.

http://rt.com/news/line/2013-10-22/#51859 Oct. 22 What sheeple? Almost 50% of Americans want every member of Congress replaced - poll
The dysfunctional Congress that caused the government shutdown and nearly pushed the US to a debt default would work better if every single member was removed in next year’s election, according to 47 percent of the American public. Only four percent of those surveyed in a USA Today/Princeton Study Research Poll said that Congress would be changed for the worse if every member was replaced next year, while approximately 40 percent say a full scale change would not make any difference. While the responses come a year before the 2014 midterm elections, the Republican majority in the House could face a tough go at the polls as 52 percent of right-leaning voters said that Congress would improve if every member were replaced.

Nov. 1. American people show their accurately correct instincts once again as they vote 8900 thumbs down to 140 (trollish?) thumbs up against NSA propaganda video on Youtube.  http://www.infowars.com/nsa-propaganda-video-among-highest-downvote-percentages-in-youtube-history/

Nov. 3. So allegedly Medicare Part B covers doctor's visits. I checked to see what kind of check-up you can get under Part B.

Here is what their exam examines:

"Height, weight, and blood pressure measurements
A calculation of your body mass index
A simple vision test"

What a joke!! No urine test, no blood test.
A body could walk out the door and drop dead after passing such a ridiculous "hey kids let's play doctor" so-called exam.
You could probably even go online and find a more thorough exam to administer to yourself.

Once again it's clear -- health care in the USA is a complete and utter misnomer.
It's absolutely about wealth care for the medical industry, and not even remotely about health care.

The Hypocritical Oath reigns supreme.

In fact it's so bad one has to ask if it's more sinister than that. Is our "health care system" actually part of a plan to decimate the population?

Nov. 6. If we can get the ball of public support rolling behind Direct Democracy, we'll need to make sure it isn't hobbled by a software debacle like the one that hit Obamacare. It probably would be a good thing to start EDD on the state level, maybe someplace like Vermont, where there aren't so many billions sloshing around to attract corrupt contractors. 

Nov. 7. A good place to start in implementing this would be a project to track voting records of elected officials and compare them against the popular will or the known popular interest. If results can be publicized it will give an edge to pro-people candidates.

Some tools and organizations of this nature already exist. For instance, https://www.govtrack.us/congress/votes tallies congressional roll-call votes.  http://www.pewresearch.org/ has various data resources including polls (including a recent one saying public trust in government has reached an all-time record low).

Nov. 8. I'm not proposing to abolish Congress or reduce its members to cyphers. There will always be a place for statesmen. They have always worked by appealing to the better instincts of the people to generate a positive consensus. 

The underlying principle is that we are all linked in the common welfare. Hurting another part of society we hurt ourselves. When people understand this, they won't need parties to intermediate between conflicting interests that really don't conflict. 

For instance, the recent decision to reduce food stamps. Most people are not on food stamps, so under popular rule, there might be some voters who are tired of charity and want to get rid of them. But experts would probably tell them that this is the cheapest way to alleviate the problem of poverty, and not to cut our noses to spite our faces. Statesmen could go further and work to solve the problem of poverty. Politicians will not because the poor can't buy politicians. 

Also, We the People have a constitution, and even a popular vote should not be able to make laws or decisions that violate the constitution.

Taken as a whole, the people are not a mob. People are mostly moderates, they prefer moderation and they will exercise moderation. 

Nov. 23. http://www.commondreams.org/view/2013/11/22-1 . 21 Ways the Canadian Health Care System is Better than Obamacare, by Ralph Nader.  Excellent article. Canadian style single-payer full Medicare for all is simple, affordable, comprehensive and universal.
In Canada, when you go to a doctor or hospital the first thing they ask you is: “What’s wrong?”
In the United States, the first thing they ask you is: “What kind of insurance do you have?”
In Canada, costs are controlled. Canada pays 10 percent of its GDP for its health care system, covering everyone.
In the United States, under Obamacare, costs continue to skyrocket. The U.S. currently pays 18 percent of its GDP and still doesn’t cover tens of millions of people.
Obamacare is regressive, with poorer people payer a larger percentage of their income for health care, and CEO's of the top 6 insurance companies raking in salaries of $80 million a year.