Health care not warfare

The recent Senate vote to end production of the F22 was significant. The F22 is the second most expensive Pentagon program there is. This vote cut $1.59 billion from an overall military budget of $700 billion.

It’s a very important vote because it represents a break from a longstanding policy of whatever the Military/Industrial Complex wants, no matter how wasteful, they get. When it comes to military contractors and their cohorts in the Pentagon and the Congress the level of profiteering, manipulation and corruption makes Bernard Madoff look like a small-time crook.

The F22 was a fighter jet designed to give the US air superiority during the Cold War. After the collapse of the USSR the manufacturing of the F22 continued. Billions in profit where made by Lockheed and Boeing even though the F22 was never suitable for use in Iraq and Afghanistan.

But here is what’s most irritating: those members of the Senate that have been yelling the loudest that the health care bill is “too expensive” are the biggest supporters of those who voted to continue the wasteful F22 program. They are also the biggest supporters of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars.

Readers will remember back in Feb. ‘07 the image of military cargo planes landing in Iraq with dozens of pallets pilled high with $12 billion in $100 bills that had been allocated to pay for the war and to buy off anyone they could. While that money was being squandered, back home vital social services were being cut, poverty was growing and scores of state and local governments were headed toward bankruptcy. There was not a peep of protest against the lavish war spending coming from those Republicans and conservative Democrats who today are opposing the health care bill because it “costs too much”.

The House Ways and Means Committee has passed a resolution calling for paying for the health care by taxing the rich. President Obama said he likes it and is opposed to any additional taxes on the middle class. An important new precedent will be set if it passes.

But once again Republicans and conservative Democrats are refusing to support it. Why? Because the wealthy insurance lobby is pulling out all stops to defeat any move in the direction of universal health coverage.

Barney Frank recently made an excellent point on the Rachell Madow Show: “If we hadn’t fought the foolish and destructive war in Iraq, we would have the money for health care” .

A recent edition of Meet the Press brought this point home. It featured a shameful attack on the Obama’s health care plan. David Gregory was relentless in his questioning of Kathleen Sebelius, Secretary of Health and Human Services. When Gregory interviewed Mitch McConnell, Republican leader in the US Senate, he threw him soft balls except for one question.

Gregory challenged McConnell’s statement that we have the best health care system in the world. Gregory pointed out an article by two well known health experts who pointed out that the US health care system is not the best in the world. “It’s a myth” they wrote. McConnell got that deer-in-the-headlights look on his face and responded, “That’s one person’s opinion.” Of course it happens to be the opinion of the World Health Organization as well.

Instead of following up with a dose of fierce questioning equal to that of his previous guest, Gregory just let it drop. Could this have something to do with who sponsors Meet the Press?

When the news show broke for commercials a familiar ad from Boeing appeared bragging about their military contracts. This is Boeing of F22 fame. The theme, “We know who we are.”

The American people need to know who they really are: war profiteers and the biggest opponents of health care reform. It seems Barney Frank is right.