Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Among the white supremacists in Charlottesville

You probably don't want to watch this. I didn't either. However, you probably should. It is one of the most courageous, intelligent efforts at journalism I've seen in a long while.

Our home-grown fascists and white supremacists feel they don't get a fair chance to tell their own story. Elle Reeve from VICE News gave them just that amid the horror that was Charlottesville. I could say much about people who condemn themselves, but again, I urge you to watch yourself.

One comment: one of the "white nationalists" complains that those other people, those people struggling against oppression who stand in his way, have something his mob lacks -- community, a joy in being together. His purpose in showing up with his tiki torches and guns is to try to build this. Dude, that's not how it works. When we who believe in freedom manage some joyous community, it's because somewhere along the line we figured out we must "love one another or die" as W.H. Auden wrote when the Nazi invasion of Poland plunged Europe and the world into overt barbarism. That's a sentiment that testosterone-intoxicated, whiny white males have trouble finding and sustaining. Absent complete social collapse or an effective Hitler, the crabs in the barrel usually eat each other.

The story as told here absolutely condemns the failure of Charlottesville and state of Virginia do their most elementary job. The white supremacists announced they were coming to provoke. It was the job of law enforcement and whatever back-up was needed to keep the provocateurs separated from the counter-protesters. The authorities seemed literally caught with the their pants down, without the proper protective gear for a predictable confrontation.

For democracy to survive, the state must maintain a monopoly of force and be shamed by the majority of citizens into exercising that monopoly evenhandedly. That's certainly not where we are now, as any of us who have been working to end police shootings and other abuses in our communities are all too aware.

Police in the video don't look as if they even tried. That's more scary than even the bully boys waving metaphorical dicks and actual arsenals.

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Let's be as mean as we can ...

At noon Monday several hundred people called out by SEIU Local 1021 gathered outside Highland Hospital in Oakland in support of one of their own.

Maria [Sanchez], 46, rose from being a housekeeper at an East Bay nursing home to become a registered nurse at Highland Hospital today, caring for patients with cancer, heart, and kidney disease.

Her husband Eusebio, who turned 48 on Monday, graduated from construction jobs to become a full-time truck-driver for the last 12 years. They paid taxes, obeyed the law, and sent two of their four children to college.

Yet after years of trying to obtain green cards to stay in the U.S. legally, their requests denied by immigration judges, then overturned through appeals, their luck finally ran out in May when an immigration officer gave them 90 days to exit.

Mercury News

Even Senator Diane Feinstein, a law and order type, has pointed out to I.C.E. that these are not the sort of people who should be evicted from our country. But unless there's a miracle, the parents and one of their children are gone this month.
As I set out for the rally, a friend asked: "Are the Trump immigration officers just going after the low hanging fruit," immigrants they can catch easily and who can be readily removed? That seems an important question, so I started digging:
  • John Sandweg, former acting director of US Immigration and Customs Enforcement under Obama, thinks so.

    “We are seeing daily raids, but they’re silent — mom and dads with no record are coming in for check-ins and getting deported, ... It’s very abundantly clear that this is not about public safety, not about border security. It’s clearly about setting a record amount of deportations. ... Everything they’re doing is designed to avoid immigration courts ...”

  • Trump's I.C.E. is certainly busy, though how many people they are afflicting and what is actually happening to them remain confusing to interpret. I guess that is what happens when you treat thousands of human beings as numbers or quotas.

    While people with criminal records account for three-fourths of the 75,000 immigration arrests this year, the fastest-growing target under Trump are immigrants without criminal records. About 19,700 immigrants with no criminal records were arrested in the first half of the year, more than double the number in the same period last year. ...officials deported more than 105,000 immigrants in the first half of this year, 42 percent of whom had no criminal records, down from 121,170 in the same period last year. ...

    ... ICE released the arrest and deportation figures late Thursday, two days after the Justice Department announced that from February to July, immigration courts ordered 57,069 people to leave the United States, a nearly 31 percent increase over the same period last year.

    However, Justice officials have not said how many of the immigrants ordered deported were actually in custody — or whether their whereabouts are even known. Every year, thousands of immigrants are ordered deported in absentia, meaning that they did not attend their hearings and could not immediately be removed from the country.

  • Julia Preston explains one driver of the rising number of in absentia deportation orders: desperate asylum seekers from Central America who lack the money to hire lawyers are guessing they have a better chance of avoiding being killed back home by simply failing to show up in immigration court. In the cases she saw, they are probably right.
  • Dara Lind delves into the mysteries of the immigration court system.

    ... the Trump administration opened deportation cases against about 25 percent more people this year than the Obama administration did in the first six months of 2016 (about 145,000 this year versus about 107.000 last year). But they’re just stuffing more and more cases into a very narrow and backlogged tube. ...
    The immigration court backlog is the biggest obstacle to Trump’s border and deportation agenda

    Under the Bush and Obama administrations, the agencies responsible for immigration enforcement (under the Department of Homeland Security) got a bunch more money to apprehend and deport a bunch more immigrants. But the agency in charge of immigration courts, under the Department of Justice, didn’t get the same kind of funding boost to process those cases.

    As a result, the time to resolve a case in immigration court is often measured in years. From October 2016 to June 2017, someone who got an official removal order from an immigration court judge had started the court process 378 days earlier. And the average case still pending in immigration court, as of June, has been pending for 667 days — the equivalent of 19 months.

    ... Without more money from Congress, the administration’s only options are to try to make cases go faster or to try to find more ways to deport people without putting them into court.

    It seems that, because I.C.E. is part of Homeland Security, but the immigration courts system is a poor stepchild of the Executive Office of Immigration Review in the Department of Justice, no recent administration has squeezed out of Congress enough funds to hire the needed personnel. That kind of practical administrative detail is exactly the sort of thing the Trump team seems unable to keep track of.
So immigrants are pushed around, some are deported and others not, the country loses people who are making their contribution to our society, and families and communities remain terrified and are sometimes separated.

Monday, August 14, 2017

San Francisco responds to Charlottesville

It will surprise no one that San Franciscans took to the streets in the wake of the murder of Heather Hyder in Charlottesville. These two women were part of a small Mission crowd in mid-afternoon.

Sunday evening a crowd of several hundred gathered in the fog outside City Hall to share sadness and fury.

This was not your heavily pre-orchestrated demonstration.

For some, there was fury, tinged with fear.

For others, this was probably the continuation of the work of a life time.

It was good to see so many people I did not know, even by sight. After all, I've been to too damn many protests.

Like the city itself, the crowd was predominantly white or of various Asian-origins. But this woman stood by, determined to announce her necessity.

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Breakdown of law in Charlottesville

Embed from Getty Images
Kudos to the many official spokespeople, including Republican senators, who have denounced the white supremacist-initiated terror attack on counter protesters in Charlottesville. In a time when norms of decency are breached so often, even this counts as a Good Thing.

But following up on my last post on the fragility of the rule of law in this moment, we need to attend to these contrasting descriptions of the scene:

Brittany Caine-Conley, a minister in training at Sojourners United Church of Christ, who had come with other faith leaders to protest against the white nationalists, said she was horrified to see officers in the park watching the violence take place outside in the street.

“There was no police presence,’’ she said. “We were watching people punch each other; people were bleeding all the while police were inside of barricades at the park watching. It was essentially just brawling on the street and community members trying to protect each other.”

... [Virginia] Governor [Terry] McAuliffe also defended the police response, saying, “It’s easy to criticize, but I can tell you this, 80 percent of the people here had semiautomatic weapons.

“You saw the militia walking down the street, you would have thought they were an army,” he added. “I was just talking to the State Police upstairs; they had better equipment than our State Police had,” he said, referring to the militia members. “And yet not a shot was fired, zero property damage.”

Note: McAuliffe is a Democrat, at least notionally one of the good guys. He literally owes his election to Virginia's communities of color. But he's saying that police standing off in a lawless situation because they were outgunned by white supremacists is fine. What if the neo-Nazis had been a more organized terror force? Would Governor McAuliffe have felt his law enforcement apparatus could just watch? Virginia makes it legal for anyone to carry a gun openly without a permit. Is this Second Amendment absolutism outweighing the right of all citizens to expect the state to protect them from violent private actors? Sure looks like it to me.

Charlottesville and the rule of law

This scary admonition is from Yale historian Timothy Snyder's On Tyranny: Twenty Lessons from the Twentieth Century. Unhappily, I knew I'd be coming back to his catalogue of warning signs of the death of the rule of law.

Charlottesville certainly brings this one to the fore. Here's more from Snyder:

It is impossible to carry out democratic elections, try cases at court, design and enforce laws, or indeed manage any of the other quiet business of government when agencies beyond the state also have access to violence. For just this reason, people and parties who wish to undermine democracy and the rule of law create and fund violent organizations that involve themselves in politics. Such groups can take the form of a paramilitary wing of a political party, the personal bodyguard of a particular politician— or apparently spontaneous citizens’ initiatives, which usually turn out to have been organized by a party or its leader. ...

... For violence to transform not just the atmosphere but also the system, the emotions of rallies and the ideology of exclusion have to be incorporated into the training of armed guards. These first challenge the police and military, then penetrate the police and military, and finally transform the police and military.

My emphasis. Certainly the white supremacist march in Charlottesville was well within the unhappy traditions of our country. And until the assault with car in the terrorist fashion of this season broke through the seeming ordinariness of tit for tat protest and counterprotest, the script had seemed predictable, if awful and frightening. Law enforcement seemed to stand aloof from the back and forth. Nonetheless, a friend, a woman of color and an Episcopal priest, who was there reported:

The Unite The Right march was a joke. We watched it sputter down a street, take wrong turns, wilt in the heat. Their hate and fear are no joke. It was moving to witness the resistance: beautiful clergy and all kinds of counter protestors witness to love, beauty, and joy all over downtown Charlottesville.

And then someone was killed and so many injured. And it was no joke.

Vann Newkirk at the Atlantic draws a terrifying conclusion:

... even the most feared white supremacists in the lore of Jim Crow were just regular white men, transformed from lives as politicians, mechanics, farmers, and layabouts by the sheer power of ideology. And often, their movements were considered “fringe” and marginal—until they weren’t.

Where euphemism, newly-coined terms, and lack of historical perspective all leave the country confused as to just how the violence in Charlottesville came to be, the truth is there in plain sight. What happened there in Emancipation Park and what is happening not only in the streets of Charlottesville, but streets across the country, is that the rhetoric and policy of white supremacy, which is still fostered and abetted widely, is again being converted into the kinds of overt interpersonal violence by which most people recognize it. And for the people who stand to lose the most from that kind of violence, the question might be when—not if—it transforms from a political peripheral into a regime. ...

... The emerging lessons in Charlottesville are somber. White supremacy can and will flourish when given fuel; white-supremacist rhetoric will tend towards violence; and it’s often only in the rear-view mirror that Americans can clearly see the events that lead to that violence spreading. And although it is possible that the weekend’s tragedies and brutal confrontations in Charlottesville are one-offs -- the presence of antifa counter-protesters, who don’t themselves shy away from brawls, certainly makes this event distinct from Klan bombings and lynchings, for one -- America’s history suggests that vigilance is always in order.

The best the Orange Cheato had to offer was to call out violence "on many sides." It sure looked as if he'd provided the fuel.

Sometimes it takes [Louisiana white supremacist] David Duke to point out the obvious: “We’re going to fulfill the promises of Donald Trump.” Those and other, older promises as well.

Vincent Cunningham at the New Yorker

White supremacy is America's original sin and our permanent peculiar challenge to ideals of democracy, rule of law, justice and freedom. Our police and other agencies of state violence such as ICE's deportation agents always waver between enforcing law and enforcing white society's bigotry, becoming unalloyed agents of oppression.

Resistance includes all efforts to keep these forces from falling entirely into doing their and our rulers' worst. That means everything from legal challenges, encouraging law enforcement professionalism where it exists, protests that seem small and futile when law enforcement is lawless, and taking the risk to witness and oppose where white supremacy seeks to claim public validation. All of that and more. Resist and protect much.

Saturday, August 12, 2017

Saturday scenes and scenery: Hidden Garden Steps

This was an entirely unanticipated find while Walking San Francisco. If I'd have come upon this flight of stairs between Lawton and Kirkham at 16th Avenue from above, I probably would not have completely missed this community art project. But I certainly wouldn't have gotten the full effect which I'll try to convey here.

The most satisfying way to view this set of pictures is to click on the first image and page through them in large size. Enjoy.

This sort of thing can be saccharine, but these artists avoided this through the sheer extent of the piece. If I'd approached the staircase from above, my first impression would have been this:

Friday, August 11, 2017

Quick observations about health care, pain meds, and getting older


I didn't know this. Big corporations that provide health insurance to their employees, mostly through self insurance, want us to understand::

We and our employees spend more than $5 billion each year on four procedures and ailments: knee replacements, hip replacements, back pain and diabetes. These common problems account for 20 percent of the money our companies spend on treatment.

The first two were extreme rarities twenty-five years ago, now commonplace. They work very well for many. All these maladies respond positively to that which people in this country often do not do: keep moving. But you can't expect people to move when their lives are organized (and disorganized) in patterns that preclude exercise.

From a discussion of why U.S. doctors prescribe so much more pain meds than docs in other countries,

“A bit of this is cultural expectations about how fixable is life,” said Stanford psychiatry professor and addiction researcher Keith Humphreys. “America is still young and thinks life can be perfected.”

This rings true and points to a corollary: no wonder we are such an ageist society. Ageing a personal failing, or perhaps our doctors' failing, when we can no longer pretend we haven't suffered wear and tear. Yet we live longer and longer. Aging can't be "fixed." Is ageism a contributor to opioid overuse? Seems likely. Age must be shameful and should be hidden away ... no wonder we like our drugs.

The pic is from a rally in 2010, but like so much, still remains pertinent.

Friday cat blogging

Hey, what's that? maybe it's a mouse tail ...

Got it. Too bad it's boring.

Guess I'll go inside and watch the human with the camera.

We met while I was Walking San Francisco.

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Too much testosterone; girls just want to play too

Actually I'm not thinking (right this instant) about the two childish heads of state currently threatening human and other life while bumping imaginary (limp?) dicks. If we last long enough, I'm sure I'll get to that.

The most succinct description I've seen of I've seen lately of the trouble with testosterone came from David Rothkopf (and his subject wasn't our toddlers-in-power either):

Testosterone is the most effective solvent for human brain tissue. Just a drop or two can render a perfectly functional human cortex completely stupid. As evidence, I offer all of human history.

No, let's think today about testosterone in sport, a subject I last wrote about at length during the Rio Olympics.
Dutee Chand is an Indian sprinter, a sort of mid-level elite -- that is, she doesn't win top level international races outright, but she's a better runner than most everyone in her sport.

She also has higher testosterone levels than most women, levels closer to those usually associated with men. The International Association of Athletics Federation (IAAF) tried to bar her from competition in 2015, but their order was "put on pause" by the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) which demanded more scientific evidence that high T levels correlate with exceptional athletic performances. Chand and the South African 800 meter specialist Castor Semenya, who also may have natural testosterone levels higher than most other women, competed without hindrance in Rio; Semenya won her event.

Accordingly to a comprehensive Statnews article by Catherine Caruso, the IAAF has begun producing studies to take back to the CAS which they assert prove their position. The IAAF wants a blanket ruling that athletes competing as women who show T levels above the 10 nm/L level typical of men are competing unfairly -- ultimately, though perhaps "hyperandrogenic," they are not really women. So far their studies show only a small competitive advantage for women with high T, but at the elite level, even a tiny boost is a lot. Women competitors without that T naturally don't want to compete against someone born with more. But are they truly asking for fairness?

Since the last round about this, many discussions of gender have become more nuanced and additional voices are insisting on being heard:

Hida Viloria, chairperson of the Organization Intersex International [explains] ... “I think the elephant in the room is that even though on record these sporting bodies keep acknowledging that these athletes are women, they keep trying to make regulations based on the conception that they’re not,” s/he said. ...

[Dr. Katrina] Karkazis, [a medical anthropologist and bioethicist at Stanford University, opines] “It really is an open question about whether or not something is fair or unfair, leaving aside the science of it,” she said. “The science could still say there’s a link between [testosterone] and performance and we could still say, and that’s fine, it shouldn’t be understood as unfair.”

Juliet Macur who writes thoughtfully about sports at the New York Times weighs in with an observation from Dr. Myron Genel, a Yale professor emeritus and longtime consultant to the I.O.C.’s medical commission:

Hyperandrogenism can be a natural genetic advantage, Genel argued, in the same way Usain Bolt’s uncommonly long stride or Michael Phelps’s flipper-size feet give those athletes a winning edge. “I think all elite competition at an elite level is unfair, in one form or another,” Genel said.

But will it ever be perfectly fair? Could it ever be perfectly fair? Not when so many different qualities come together to make athletes successful. And not when gender distinctions are changing so rapidly.

At its core, the sports world — rigidly separating men and women — will perpetually struggle to adapt to increasingly nuanced gender distinctions. In June, the District of Columbia became the first jurisdiction in the United States to offer an “X” gender, signifying a neutral gender, on its driver’s licenses. In March, a transgender New Zealand woman crushed her competition in her first international weight-lifting meet, and a transgender boy won a Texas state championship in girls’ wrestling.

Not every governing body is equipped to rule on these kind of eligibility questions. Not every athlete fits into this box, or that one.

Meanwhile, girls just want to play. I'm giving three cheers to three soccer players with short haircuts from an under-11 club in Madison, WI who aren't taking any shit from opponents and parents who accuse them of being boys. Tom Blau, one of their parents, explained:

“[Our girls] are just physical and are playing the sport the way it’s supposed to be played. When we tell a parent on the other team that they’re girls they just say, ‘Yeah right.’”

If anyone misses the message, they have T-shirts that say, “Sixer Strong” on the back and “Try and Keep Up” on the front (with a nod to Title IX, too). ...

[Molly Duffy, the team’s coach] “For the lack of better words, my girls are bad ass,” Duffy said. “They’re faced with this kind of situation and they take on the attitude of: ‘You know what, we got this.’ They are confident in what they do.

Wednesday, August 09, 2017

It's all about fighting for LIFE

Sometimes we activist oldsters wonder who is going to carry the load as we drift off into retirement. Our friend Renee Bracey Sherman is sure doing the job, struggling for justice on multiple fronts and bringing struggles -- women, black people, male people -- together. We can trust her to her to carry the work beyond what her courtesy aunties had yet been able to envision. In today's New York Times, she's published a stinging, truthful opinion piece:

The Right to (Black) Life
... If we choose to have an abortion, we are cast as villains by anti-abortion campaigns that tap into the trauma of our country’s racial history. Outside of clinics, I often hear protesters shout racial slurs and say things like “unborn black lives matter” when black people walk past them.

This isn’t new. Anti-abortion activists have long said that the most dangerous place for a black child is in the womb. They believe that abortion, not police brutality, is the civil rights issue of our time.

But we are stereotyped and called welfare queens if we choose to continue a pregnancy we cannot afford. In addition, black women are ostracized for having children “too young” and for having kids that society deems “illegitimate.”

Then, regardless of the life we provide for our children, if they are killed by police officers, our parenting decisions will inevitably be criticized.

From conception until death, damned if we do and damned if we don’t. ...

Read it all.

Seen on the street

Congress may be on recess and the Cheato off at one of his golf courses, but the Move-On faithful (and perhaps other sponsors?) were out on Market Street today, reminding passersby that the Trump regime is a national emergency.

Some signs are hardy perennials.

The Bay Area resistance isn't about to quit.

Apple doing something right, at least in U.S. retail

Yesterday I needed an accessory from the Union Square Apple store. As I've frequently found, service was quick, friendly, and appropriately knowledgeable.

Perhaps most interestingly, as far as I can see, Apple routinely hires black people for its flagship retail store. Good for Apple. For the hell of it, I looked online for stories about working for Apple retail. It seems the tech company is a pretty good employer for many people.

Tuesday, August 08, 2017

Terror threshold rising

With the Cheato sounding more and more like Kim Jong-Un, don't we wish this was possible!

Asked about reports that North Korea has successfully produced a nuclear warhead small enough to fit into an intercontinental ballistic missile, Trump told reporters that he would meet the threat with “power.”

“They will be met with fire and fury like the world has never seen,” Trump said. “He has been very threatening, beyond a normal state, and as I said they will be met with fire and fury and, frankly, power the likes of which this world has never seen before.”

Just some more on point Mission street commentary.

Why Democrats have to work harder to win

As Markos of Daily Kos points out:

... Republicans engage in voter disenfranchisement and fake news because they can't win fights where everyone is informed and votes

He's right. The disinformation part of the problem I'll leave to the legions of pundits who do that sort of work. It's hard to combat Fox News and Sinclair Broadcasting, but we do have the advantage of being culturally attuned to the younger mass audience, as well as usually right on program and policy.

But I do want to lay out the structural problems we can't solve (quickly) which must be recognized and then highlight several projects to enhance voting opportunities. These are right in themselves and also improve Democrats' chances in a less-than-equitable voting environment.

Federalism:
The essential federal compromise which gives lightly populated states the same number of Senators as large states makes it very difficult for Democrats to win a majority the Senate, at least so long as Dems aren't competitive in many less populous states. This framework was the price paid for getting all the quite different states on board in 1787 during the writing of the Constitution. We're stuck with the result which means that, proportionally, each member of the upper house of the California state legislature represents more than 300,000 more constituents than both of the two federal Senators from Wyoming. That doesn't seem right in a "one person, one vote" country, but it is the fact.

In 2018, 10 Democratic Senators are running in states won by the Republicans in 2016, while only 2 Republicans are running in states (Nevada and New Hampshire) where Clinton squeaked by. It's not a foregone conclusion that Democrats will lose all these seats: Trump is president, Democrats are fired up, and at the moment all these Dems have slight polling leads against as yet undefined challengers. (Incumbency is a strong force.) But even in good Democratic years, Senate contests will be tough for Democrats.

Gerrymandering
The House of Representatives is also tough. Politicians of both parties have always tried to draw districts so as to maximize the advantages for whoever controlled the process. But after the 2010 census, Republicans in states where they controlled the drawing of district lines worked strategically to use the far more precise data now available about voters to make sure they squeezed out every House (and state legislative) seat they could. Democrats were far less aggressive, often being willing to compromise during the line drawing for incumbent protection. As a result, Democrats can win the national popular vote, as they did in 2012 and 2016, without coming close to winning a majority in the House. The system is producing "democratic" results which would seem to imply more Democrats being elected, but as currently allowed by the courts, that isn't happening.

Gerrymandering is being challenged in the Supreme Court during the next term. Some very smart people have attempted to create statistical models which reveal that the game has been rigged compared to expectations on the basis of simple comparisons to how many people in a state voted for which party. You can see some of this at the link. It is hard to believe that either the Supremes or the country at large is numerate enough to accept this evidence, but the Princeton Gerrymandering Project has given it their best shot.

Voter suppression/disenfranchisement
Given their structural advantages, you'd think the Republicans would be confident they could win going forward. But they sure don't act that way; they act as if they think if everyone voted, they'd be out on their asses. And polling supports that Republican fear. So it is very important for Republicans to make voting as difficult as possible for poor people, people of color and young people, all constituencies likely to vote Democratic if they vote. (Note: for all the focus on older Rust Belt whites who loved them some MakingAmericaWhiteAgain, voters making less than $50K voted for Clinton; it was middle and upper income whites who put Trump in office.)

Where they control states, Republicans make registration difficult, impose burdensome and expensive voter identification requirements, reduce voting hours and polling places, restrict early voting and vote-by-mail, and generally do all they can to make voting hard and unpleasant.

Who is fighting disenfranchisement?
  • In the courts where many state and local cases are being fought, frequent voting rights litigants include the NAACP, the League of Women Voters, the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law and the ACLU, as well as various state based groups.
  • Let America Vote, led by former Missouri Democratic Senate candidate Jason Kander and very much out of the Obama/Organizing for America lineage, is active wherever voting rights are under threat -- most everywhere if we can believe this map from their website. They promise to engage individuals in the struggle locally where possible, as well as through the internet.
  • VoteRiders takes aim at defanging voter identification laws that might disenfranchise some eligible people: they help potential voters get the right ID for their state. In particular, they provide an accurate list of ID requirements by state in printable form in English and Spanish. This seems simple, but it involves painstaking, necessary research.
It seems the fight to ensure voting rights is never over; the people who like things just fine the way they are never want everyone to have their chance to cast a ballot. So the struggle goes on.

Monday, August 07, 2017

Navigating health insurance adds jobs, unwanted jobs


I find myself in the unexpected position of thinking Paul Krugman has overemphasized, or perhaps misplaced, the potency of white supremacy in the Republican crusade to destroy Obamacare. The economist and columnist attributes the rage against Obamacare to mobilized racial resentment, which he soft pedals as "identity politics".

Why did the prospect of health reform produce so much popular rage in 2009 and 2010? ... there was plenty of genuine popular rage, stoked by misinformation and outright lies from the usual suspects: Fox News, talk radio and so on. For example, around 40 percent of the public believed that Obamacare would create “death panels” depriving senior citizens of care.

The question then becomes why so many people believed these lies. The answer, I believe, comes down to a combination of identity politics and affinity fraud.

Whenever I see someone castigating liberals for engaging in identity politics, I wonder what such people imagine the right has been doing all these years. For generations, conservatives have conditioned many Americans to believe that safety-net programs are all about taking things away from white people and giving stuff to minorities.

And those who stoked Obamacare rage were believed because they seemed to some Americans like their kind of people — that is, white people defending them against you-know-who.

All that is true; it was mostly the Making America White Again set who drove the noisy clamor against the Affordable Care Act.

But that is added on top of the widely felt underlying grievance against the U.S. health care non-system: it fails to provide what people actually want from the government in relation to health care -- that is, it fails make medical care easy to access, uncomplicated, and as close to possible to free (or perhaps paid for through taxes.) People don't want access to a profit-driven insurance product: to normal human beings, our insurance system means premiums that always seem to be going up, co-pays, deductibles, ever-changing lists covered doctors and services to navigate, and much more. Using insurance is a job. Most people only have insurance because they have a job already. They resent being asked to do another job in order to get their pains diagnosed.

Sarah Kliff, Vox's lead health care reporter, was stunned in field interviews to learn what many people really want:

Medicaid is *way* more popular than marketplace plans. No deductibles or co-pays!

In fact, she reports, among Trump voters in Tennessee, people who used the Obamacare market places to buy insurance expressed "Medicaid envy" at their poorer neighbors who qualified for the cheaper, simple government plan.

Of course I'm glad that Republicans have not corralled the votes to wrench health care away from millions of people -- but the rumblings of discontent will only continue so long as insurers, hospitals, and doctors are allowed to organize provision of medical care to skim off vast profits from themselves. No wonder people are pissed off and stay that way.

H/t to expostfactoid for pulling data on the yearning and the possibility for Medicaid for All together.
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