By Joe Conason

Mandela’s Crucial Lesson For America — And The Republicans Who Never Learn

December 12, 2013 7:00 am Category: Memo Pad 81 Comments A+ / A-
Mandela’s Crucial Lesson For America — And The Republicans Who Never Learn

Beyond the eulogies bestowed this week on the late and truly great Nelson Mandela, a visionary, revolutionary, and peacemaker, there is much for Americans to learn from the story of his vexed relationship with our country. We will forget the mistakes perpetrated in dealing with him at our own peril.

To put it simply, the same Washington figures who so wrongly coddled Pretoria’s apartheid regime three decades ago – people like Dick Cheney and the neoconservatives – now tell us, wrongly again, that the United States should abandon negotiations with Iran and continue the embargo of Cuba. (And of course these are the same experts, politicians, and pundits who promoted war against Iraq, while assuring us that the invasion would be a cheap cakewalk.)

Back when the Reagan administration reversed President Jimmy Carter’s policy of pressure on the white government of South Africa, the Republicans explained that the African National Congress was merely a group of Marxist terrorists. Besides, the white Afrikaners were friendly to the United States as a matter of geopolitics if not democratic principle, and their mineral wealth argued for them even more loudly.

Yet long before sanctions finally passed over Reagan’s veto and right-wing opposition, any serious analyst could see that the white South African government, like all of the old colonial regimes in Africa, was inevitably doomed. In the eyes of the world, if not Washington, the ANC was no more “terrorist” than the perpetrators of the Sharpeville massacre, while the liberation army’s bombings had far greater moral justification than apartheid’s murders, tortures, and everyday oppression.

Indeed, Mandela and his movement were seen as the legitimate voice of South Africa’s black majority by civilized governments on every continent, including many of our traditional allies. By the time the United States finally passed South African sanctions, similar boycotts had been legislated in dozens of other countries – which was why they ultimately worked.

Without sanctions, the Reaganites had no realistic plan for defusing the explosive, potentially tragic situation in South Africa, and no methods of cooperation with the world community that sought a peaceful transition there. Behind a fig-leaf policy called “constructive engagement,” they instead seemed to believe that they could sustain the unsustainable, perhaps indefinitely.

Such policy illusions were not only morally flawed but strategically stupid, risking the permanent mistrust of the African people, whose continent has since become so vital to the planet’s economic and environmental future. Fortunately, the Clinton administration persistently engaged with Africa –and specifically with Mandela – in ways that helped to heal that ugly breach. It is a project that President Clinton, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, and Chelsea Clinton, in her role at their family foundation, have continued to pursue energetically.

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Mandela’s Crucial Lesson For America — And The Republicans Who Never Learn Reviewed by on . Beyond the eulogies bestowed this week on the late and truly great Nelson Mandela, a visionary, revolutionary, and peacemaker, there is much for Americans to le Beyond the eulogies bestowed this week on the late and truly great Nelson Mandela, a visionary, revolutionary, and peacemaker, there is much for Americans to le Rating:

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Comments

  • Buford2k11

    the GOP has cursed our county with their greed, and un-ending of hatred of anyone not white, nor American..

    • Canistercook

      Are they your GOP friends?

    • rustacus21

      … nor male, nor rich… Some interesting intersections here, forcing one to wonder exactly what their REAL agenda is… Just out of curiosity of course…

  • ORAXX

    Fidel Casto’s death? He’s still alive. At any rate, if conservatives could learn from history, and contemplate the consequences of their policies, they wouldn’t be conservatives.

  • FT66

    Anyone who can see or hear well, will agree republicans are against anyone who is not white. Let us take for example: Suppose this group of Latinos who have been living in shadows and still live the same, were a Group of Irish, British or French. Do anyone thinks they couldn’t have taken any action of providing them citizenship up to now? They are denying and will continue to do so, that they are not racists, but they are. We are judging them by their actions and not by their words, as we know most of time words mean nothing and actions matter a lot.

    • Canistercook

      You must know a lot of republicans! Seems to me you are VERY judgemental!

      • FT66

        Hey, please I am not judgemental.I never practised this career.What I did was to view out what is in my mind.With your statement you are not going to silence me! You better know this!

        • rustacus21

          … b/c afterall, we’re gathered here in the “Constitutionally PROTECTED” public square of ideas-exchange! Let US all speak out & speak up, so we can compare… Ideas on the conservative end of the ‘square’ & parallel & contrast them w/ideas from the Liberal/Progressive end of the ‘square’ & which produced the greater benefits/advantages for the greater proportion of ALL OF US – the citizen majority, in the exact, same manner, again, PROSCRIBED by original Constitutional commandments/imperatives…

      • rustacus21

        No. One need not be judgmental to see, as FT66 PLAINLY indicated (not paying attention – another Republican/conservative/T-bagger affliction?!), that ALL Republican/conservative/T-bagger policies are specifically focused on a precise/specific agenda: advancing what WAS Constitutionally proscribed opportunities/liberties/freedoms/protections for ALL, being reduced to coverage/application ONLY to rich/white/male… U get the point. This is so redundant, it’s mind-boggling that people DON’T truly see this – even after 40-plus YEARS no less… Making the real question, not what’s wrong w/THEM, but rather, what’s wrong w/US?!?! … out of curiosity of course & to avoid being ‘judgmental’ by all means…

        • Canistercook

          Might be interesting to see the ‘rich white males’ many of whom had parents that built this country and fought for it will be like when they lose control and the welfare crowd take over!
          Sent from my iPad

          • rustacus21

            My family has generational roots going back to the early 19th century. Ours is a very diverse heritage & it’s really frustrating as this debate always breaks down to the ‘white’ & ‘not-white’ quarters of such a broad discussion, since the issue is President Nelson Mandela’s contribution to the same humanity that overcame the same racism that infects & afflicts America yet today. Intelligence tells us that 90% of the opposition to President Barack Obama is race-based. Let’s not be foolish & think for a moment this isn’t true, considering he (the President) inherited a formidable, yet MANUFACTURED crisis! A crisis made worse by ‘white’ men who had not a measurable amount of what I call ‘social maturity’ enough to put aside they petty, personal & extremely CHILDISH differences, toward lending a hand to undo what their conservative, supply-side, trickle-down economic policies did – AGAIN, in destroying a perfectly functioning & healthy economy, from 2001 to this very moment in time. Many families have fore parents who fought, bled & died for the WELFARE of ALL American’s – w/out exception or distinction. It was conservative policies that halted the independence initiatives of Liberal/Progressives seeking to REDUCE the numbers U so articulately refer to as the welfare ‘crowd’, only to divide the nation & produce such opinions which point fingers & disparage & cast judgements, instead of see this as a big picture issue, where the ‘justice’, ‘equality’ & ‘opportunities’ we ALL were to share in, NOW are reserved AGAINST all but the rich, the male & the white. Dispute this if U want but look up pictures & note the names of the nations top 5 billionaires & top 10 muilti-millionaires & see if a pattern doesn’t clarify itself opportunities for wealth & those of crime & punishment ‘opportunities’. Mr Mandela told US to be mindful of these realities so that in concert, we could eliminate them – COLLECTIVELY…

          • Canistercook

            Clearly you are a racist. My dislike for Obama is his total lack of experience in running anything especially something as big as our country. He was elected by foolish blacks, youths and women who feel we should apologize for being white. It’s time to get over race and elect a qualified individual, regardless of color. Good people with management skills come in all races so lets elect one. Obama is a left wing socialist and Obamacare another welfare program that will bog down our country.

          • charleo1

            Clearly, you do not know what a racist is. Or, who elected
            Barack Obama. Yes, he carried the Black vote, but so has
            every Democrat, since Johnson. Because the Republican
            Party decided to sacrifice their vote, to pick up Souther Dixie-
            crats. Was that racist, or just politics? And if so, why did it
            work, or are you unaware of it? Know who else elected
            Barack Obama? Latinos, by 70+%. Ever wonder why? If so, stop. Republicans can tell you. Obama also got 60% of the
            college educated, male, White, urban male vote. As well as
            remarkable support, among Asians, male, and female. Catholics, and I’m leaving out some here. But, the point is, Did anyone consider that W.’s experience at running several oil operations in the ground, or, that borrowing $400,000 from his Daddy, to invest in a sports franchise, in which he had zero management responsibilities. Or, that the Governor of Texas is largely a figurehead position, contributed to his total disaster as Chief Executive, and Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces? No, I don’t think so. I believe most people believe it had nothing to do with his lack of management experience. It was largely because, he was nothing more than a well connected dullard to begin with. That wound up being a huge mistake for the Country. And how many of those people that elected Bush, for their own reasons, didn’t vote for Barack Obama? And, we’re suppose to be sorry they didn’t get to pick the next one? Why? Because, they’re so good at it? Take as a perfect example, yourself. From your position, Obama is a Left Wing Socialist. What then, would you make of a President, that raised taxes, not once, but three times. Doubled the size of the Federal Government, tripled the public debt, gave blanket amnesty to 4 million undocumented aliens, while putting the Federal Government on the hook for paying for the medical treatment of anyone presenting themselves at a public, or private hospital, regardless of their legal status to be in the Country, or their ability to pay? That would make Ronald Reagan the hero of the Conservative Right, by which they say, they judge all Presidential candidates. Now, you can’t blame that one on
            the, “foolish Blacks,” or White women, that, “feel they should
            apologize, for being White.” In fact, it might do you some good, to reassess your own way of looking at the world. We have a big diverse Country here, and you seem to be trying to look at it thru a pinhole. White women, do you know any? Broaden your horizons. Look at the big picture, and give those same things that motivate you to vote for a President, to all these other people out there. As we’re all a lot more
            alike, than we’re all that much different. Start with that truth,
            and you’ll end up a lot closer to understanding the real reason Barack Obama is still President, and not anyone else.

      • toptwome

        I live where just about everyone is a republican. A few whites are Democrats and most of the black people are Democrats but we are sure in the minority. I fight with donations to other state races because this state is rabidly against any common sense that would turn them around. Women that I know are lovely but still republicans because they grew up that way. Eventually some of them will change and learn that Democrats are the only ones who care about all people regardless of color, money or any other agenda. Now we have Jindal and Vitter is thinking about running for governor. Gag me. We are never going to get out of the republicans who are wrong on just about everything.

        • Canistercook

          Too bad you don’t understand there are only two viable parties in America today and they both have something to offer. That is why there are a lot of independents now. They are smart enough not to join the far right or the far left and are trying to keep the country in balance against the die hards.
          Sent from my iPad

  • Michael Kollmorgen

    American Exceptionalism has NEVER worked.

    Teddy Roosevelt tried it with Gun Boat Diplomacy in Middle America. That’s been a wholesale disaster.

    We tried it in the Philippine Islands after we beat Spain, didn’t last long.

    We been using it on Cuba ever since the revolution. Not very successful. Even as loved as Kennedy was, his Bay of Pigs disaster will be long remembered by the Cuban people. It’s sort of a like a thorn in a finger that just can’t be pulled out. We even tried it on Japan and that caused Japan to declare war against us.

    The ONLY reason we have been able to get away with it for so long is because of our military strength. But, politically and economically speaking, all of these efforts have been a dismal failure. We have made enemies all across the world in one form or another. And, don’t fool yourself, Japan might have been a partial success. Japan beat the crap out of us economically for many years after WW2. And, they haven’t forgotten or forgiven us for using the Atom Bomb on them. We still have major pay-backs coming from them eventually.

    American Exceptionalism is no more exceptional than a Pimple on a elephant’s behind. We better start learning that reality or one of these days, all these countries and ones I haven’t mentioned are gonna gang up on poor ole USA and REALLY beat the crap out of us.

    The Big Schoolyard Bully is gonna get his ass kicked one of these days.

    • rustacus21

      Imperialism… Such a nasty, messy, racist concept… We have to remind ourselves constantly the ‘afflictions’ of which we’re still attempting to purge from our system… Has anyone ever stopped to really understand why Republican/conservative/T-baggers ‘REALLY’ hate the President? I mean, have people really stopped long enuff to consider a thing or 2 about this ‘condition’ of theirs? Take it back a century & a 1/2. We see the nation at literal WAR!!! Then President Abraham Lincoln & the Union weren’t have a very successful go at it, remember? We have the Emancipation Proclamation & Gettysburg in the same year… coincidentally, the year the war turned… If memory serves… Anyway, some Americans have yet to come to grip w/a few things in this, the American ‘family’… Racism, imperialism, colonialism, ‘exceptionalism’… which is what we’re currently dealing w/in all this economic inequality… Big picture s#%t, if U will… President Mandela had the ‘exceptional’ irony of coming to power at the exact same time as the one President of this nation engineered the greatest economic renaissance of the century – maybe American history. S. Africa, along w/the rest of the continent began to benefit by century’s end, as did many traditionally excluded ‘minorities’ here (woman, non-Whites, new immigrants, etc.), but still, SOME American’s hadn’t ‘modernized’ their thinking quite yet… This was President Mandela’s message to the world. Bill Clinton already understood this. The vast majority of his support base did as well. Mr. Conason was there, speaking from authority as he does… Something happened to US however – thirteen years ago, this very night, in fact! Anyone care to venture a guess as to what that was, that virtually changed the world overnite?…

      • silas1898

        The Felonious Five of the Supreme Court declared Dumbya president.

  • itsfun

    Iran is dedicated to killing all infidels. Being nice to them is not going to change that. Their one and only goal is kill all of us.

    • Michael Kollmorgen

      I gave you one up because I feel you are right to a large degree. Iran, as long as they have their form of government (being ruled by religious extremist) will remain a threat to Israel.

      Instead of going into Iraq and Afganestan, we should have taken out Iran. Other than some minor chest beating by Sadam, neither of these countries was a threat to Israel.

      The reason we hung Sadam was not because of human rights violations. We hung him because he knew to much.

    • daniel bostdorf

      Conason answers the Iran question in his article:

      “With Iran the stakes are even higher, threatening the stability of the
      Persian Gulf and the entire Middle East. Again, sanctions have worked
      only because the Obama administration managed to mobilize the
      industrialized nations as a bloc to prevent the mullahs from gaining
      nuclear weapons. Conservatives in Congress who would tighten those
      sanctions now – ruining the potential for a successful deal, alienating
      the Iranian public, and destroying the international alliance – have
      shown that they have no conception of how global diplomacy actually
      functions.”

      Iran is not going to kill “all infidels” at all. Where do you get that rubbish? Fox News and Limbaugh and beck??

      • sigrid28

        Generalizations in the form of pronouncements have become the specialty of the neocons: generalizations can be converted easily into talking points for the ignorant base. I see the word “all”–twice in this post by Itsfun–and I’m not surprised to find some wild assertion that is too broad to be useful or factual, for that matter. This is how Republicans talk in ways incompatible with helpful political discourse. No wonder they have so little understanding of or respect for diplomacy.

        • daniel bostdorf

          so true…so true…

    • Sand_Cat

      You have no idea what “Iran” – or anyone or anything else, for that matter – is dedicated to.
      Go write your lies elsewhere.

    • jmprint

      Negative, negative, negative.

  • charleo1

    It hasn’t been talked about a lot. But, one could not help but notice the tremendous
    popularity of our President on the world stage, in South Africa. I don’t know about
    some, but I feel proud for my Country when I see other Nations showing such
    affection, and respect for our President. Of course the always nit picking, forever fault finding Right Wing, predictably tried to mask over the World’s opinion of our President, by making his attendance all about, “the handshake, with Cuban dictator, Raul Castro. This, the same bunch that was singing the praises of Vladimir Putin, a couple of months ago. Who continues to lead Russia ever further backward, toward Communism. The same hypocrites that seem to have no problem at all, with American Corporations trading with, and enriching the Communist Government in China. So, the Right Wing, Neocons have their, “good,”Communist, and their, “bad,” Communist, like Raul Castro, with whom they evidently expected the President to slight, and thus make the funeral of this beloved icon, all about our petty politics. It does fit perfectly into their definition of American Exceptionalism. With these stooges, it is always about us. And, as is typical of our, so called Liberal Press, all but a few mostly ignored what Obama said, in favor of covering, “the controversy,” or, the, “cell phone scandal,” where Michelle was supposedly ticked off. Nice going American press. You missed the big story. The interesting, and important story, is what an African American President says, and symbolizes, about the United States
    to the people of South Africa. Why they are so deeply thrilled, and hopeful of being able to put old assumptions about a racist imperialist, America to rest. The old America, that didn’t support Mandela, or them, in their struggle for equality, and freedom. But the, “New America,” had elected a President that looked like them.
    What else could it mean, but that their Hero, who’s life they were celebrating, had
    been victorious. And with the great America finally on their side, how much longer
    could it be, that the dreams of “Madiba,” that are also their dreams, will come to
    full fruition? Let us hope then, they are right.

    • Michael Kollmorgen

      I guess the American Press can’t make enough money saying good things about Obama. So, they’re now demonizing the guy boosting up their bottom line profits off of dirt, etc.

      The one shining light about our International politics is how well-liked Obama is on this stage.

      But, I wonder, is it Pity they offer him or genuine like. Me thinks, he is getting a huge break from the international community, basically thinking; “hey, give the guy a break, he’s been getting screwed by his own people. We just can’t tolerate the pain in it”.

      All of these countries know full well Obama has had an uphill fight since the first day he took office. And, they probably know more than we do about what is really going on.

      • charleo1

        As I was confessing, perhaps I haven’t been listening hard enough.
        But, it seems the main stream media have been accused of being
        blindly in the tank for the Left in general, and Obama, in particular,
        throughout the Right Wing media. They are now trying to offset the perception. CBS News with Scott Pelley, plus the 60 Minutes’ hit piece on Benghazi, literally made me sick. I’m glad they got their
        nose rubbed in it. It’s too bad Fox don’t get the same. They spew
        garbage, 24/7, and no one except Jon Stewart, ever calls them
        on it. Well, we do, the N. Memo does. But you get what I mean. IMO Fox accounts for 80/90% of what’s gotten so nutty with the Right. Since Murdoch bought the WSJ, and turned it into the National Enquirer of financial news, the Republicans are constantly quoting some douche bag, over there, saying the economy is actually worse. Or, it’s better, but got so, despite the fact Obama is a card carrying Socialist. As to World opinion about Obama, and the fact he is so well thought of. Is for the American Right, who screwed up our international reputation so bad, that in the last 2 years of Bush, America itself was practically toxic. Obama has bee able to turn a lot of that around. And of course, it’s another reason the Right hates him. I tend to believe the international community likes, as well as respects President Obama, because Barack Obama the man, is an honorable person. I believe much of the world feels a commonality with Obama, because many of them have been subjected to the same problems he has, with this very belligerent faction within our body politic. Plus, I think they, (the world,) was so God Damned glad to be rid of Bush, and his cabal, they would have probably fell all over themselves, and awarded the Nobel Prize to Paris Hilton. As to the question, if they expected too much, and were disappointed, I don’t know. We do know he’s had that problem here, in the Liberal Wing of the Democratic Party.

        • Michael Kollmorgen

          You made my day:) Paris Hilton – indeed:)

        • toptwome

          Yes we were so glad to see Bush gone. He left us in a recession and with the same GOP rubber stampers for Bush. These republicans turned a sharp turn to austerity once President Obama was elected. That is why I always will vote for Democrats in my state if any run even if the lose. I am done with republicans. We have some very sorry republicans in my state and they do get away with privatization and now charter schools and profiteering for the greedy.

          • Michael Kollmorgen

            Not only do I agree with the vast majority of the democratic platforms, I also vote democratic just to piss off Republicans.

            If there is any way I can stick a knife up through their rib cages (figuratively speaking of course) I’ll do it.

            The Right wing of the Republican Party needs to totally disappear off the political landscape and be replaced with at least middle of the road Republicans.

            IF we could only keep them from breeding more Republicans. We could sneak in some Saltpeter in their water supplies.

            Just let the Democrats know which bottles of water NOT to drink from:)

        • Canistercook

          Perhaps they finally realized what they was ‘propping up’

    • FT66

      Pres.Obama is very liked everywhere outside US. I wish a case study can be done how people feel about him. It is really funny wherever I go they are tuned on Fox News, and Fox News People thank them for listening to them. I wish these Fox News could see the reaction after extending those thanks. I heard some say: “We listen to you, but we do not take what you say.You are horrible and don’t stand to your say: Fair & Ballanced”.

    • sigrid28

      Almost the moment the president’s superb speech at the Mandela memorial was over, National Memo had the text in full on its website and the video of the entire speech, capturing the crowd’s responses and in the background dancers expressing joy and flags waving enthusiastically. MSNBC ran the speech several times during the day; and C-Span, where I saw it live, ran it several times during the day as well. I’m just an English teacher, but I would use this speech as an example of brilliant writing and skillful diplomacy in any classroom in a heartbeat.

      Only insomniacs like me, who watched the entire memorial overnight, got to see South African President Zuma’s remarks, which were maybe over an hour in length–followed by more speeches! People on the dais were in actual pain waiting for the four-hour memorial to come to an end. From a multicultural perspective, it was very interesting. Dancers, singers, and bands out in the stadium were hushed by speakers who went on and on self-indulgently with dull speeches no one was listening to out in the huge soccer stadium. President Obama’s speech was one of the few to which all paid attention. I was reminded of the occasion of the Gettysburg address, a two minute speech that will be remembered forever following a two-hour speech that was forgotten almost immediately.

      • charleo1

        Well, you know me Sigrid. If It’s not covered by Fox, and Friends,
        it’s not on my radar! Just kidding! I must confess, we’ve been busy
        preparing for family that will be here before too long. My time has
        been limited mostly to the NBC Nightly News. So, there you go.
        I’m always glad to be wrong, if I’ve missed a positive. I’m glad to
        hear it.

        • sigrid28

          I think you are RIGHT that even liberal news media have not discussed the speech much, though they did give it a lot of (deserved) airtime. I’ve been trying to spend more words praising President Obama and liberal policies than I do complaining of annoying, rotten, disgusting Republicans and their stupid, nonsensical, mean-tempered talking points–even though, as we all know, the latter is more fun. Speaking of fun, skip the news as much as possible and have a great holiday.

      • Canistercook

        Wonder who wrote it!

    • Canistercook

      Perrhaps you did not see the ‘other’ people in S. Africa that are now living behind electrified fences and wondering about their future there. Or those that no longer walk the streets of Joberg after dark! Hopefully Mandela’s
      dream will succeed of a unified nation but it is very iffy and needs all, blacks and whites, to overcome racism. Racism is growing unfortunately here i America as we see attacks on ‘the rich white guy’.

  • middleclasstaxpayer

    Deaf people are all complaining that the sign language “expert” at Mandela’s funeral was a fake, but the REAL FAKE was standing right next to him?

    • tax payer

      I don’t understand how those that are deaf and were closer to the action didn’t let someone know the man didn’t know any sign language unless they too were fakes.

    • Sand_Cat

      So this is the lesson you learned?
      Thanks for proving the article is spot on!

      • middleclasstaxpayer

        Thank YOU for confirming WHO the real FAKE is!

    • jmprint

      And the other fake is posting as middleclasstaxpayer.

      • middleclasstaxpayer

        At least I don’t lie at the expense of others to get what I want…IE: “if you like your doctors & your health plan, you can KEEP your doctors & health plan, PERIOD.” Does that sound familiar???

        • jmprint

          I also remember when Greenspan used to say that we weren’t in a recession, remember that.

          • middleclasstaxpayer

            Exactly when WAS that???

          • jmprint

            Quoted: In the documentary film Inside Job Greenspan is cited as one of the persons responsible for the Economic Meltdown of 2008. He is also named in Time Magazine as one of the “25 People to Blame for the Financial Crisis”.[90]

          • yeehaw

            @jmprint….You’re in trouble now, providing facts and evidence will certainly bring the “Wrath of God!”

          • middleclasstaxpayer

            So how does that compare to Obama telling us “the economy is getting better” when in fact tens of millions have given up even looking for work, and thus NOT being counted as “unemployed”, while more PART-TIME jobs than ever are being substituted for full time work in order to avoid the forced health care expenses, and health care COSTS are SKYROCKETING as the “affordable”?? care act is instituted, preceded by vast & numerous lies about us being able to “keep your doctors & health plans PERIOD!” Fact is, the POOR are WORSE OFF under Obama than at any time in US history.

          • Michael Kollmorgen

            As far as the “official” unemployment figure, the government uses a formula that don’t include part time, contract, people who lost their payments, people who just stopped looking for work and active military personnel. I don’t remember when they started NOT using these groups of people in their official figures. But, it’s been awhile – way before Obama became President.

            The intent was noble. However, when enacted, ACA didn’t mandate that insurance companies MUST cover people with pre-conditions as far as I know. And, ACA didn’t mandate “affordable” coverage either. What is affordable though? That is the big question. When a premium is $400+ a month, that’s a lot of dough a lot of people simply can’t afford.

            I’d like to know what people are going to do if they don’t sign up for coverage by the deadline if they simply can’t afford the premiums. Fine them? How? If they can’t afford the premiums, how they gonna afford the fine?

            My companion right now is looking into ACA. But, he so far won’t be able to afford the premiums with all his pre-conditions. And, the deadline is creeping up real fast for single people.

            He’s got an appointment at one of the local clinics to help him sign up and go through the process. I wouldn’t do it alone by myself – just too complicated. There are many programs available that will reduce the cost of the premium for him. I still believe it is “iffy” at best since he is a home owner and barely makes enough to even pay the necessary bills, including what I can help with. Another $400+ bill a month will kill us.

            We’ll both play a wait and see game unfortunately.

          • middleclasstaxpayer

            Michael, you are correct on all points. But note that while your comment “ACA didn’t mandate “affordable” coverage” is true, we all BELIEVED coverage was going to COST LESS, per the presidents’ MANY ASSURANCES regarding this. Remember: “if you like your doctors & like your plans, you can keep your doctors & plans, PERIOD.” “And it will COST LESS!” Well, none of the presidents’ promises & assurances are proving true. And we cannot afford the new “affordable” plans either.
            Hope 2014 brings better luck to you & your companion.

          • jmprint

            Blame your greedy insurance company, why would you want to keep it. Why can you not afford the rates, do you make extremely too much money, if so why cry.

          • middleclasstaxpayer

            The health insurance marketplace is extremely competitive…ALL the new “affordable?” plans are double or triple the cost of our old plan, and the deductibles on average have gone up 1300% (from $500 to $6500) and MORE! This untenable situation was created by a lying administration with a goal of redistribution of assets from workers to non-workers. When our government encourages rent subsidies, food stamps, child credits, electric & water rebates & free cell phones, why should the less fortunate consider working, even if they can? They’d have to be crazy to turn down the free stuff!

          • jmprint

            That is a lie. The plans are based on your income. My plan was 200 dollars lower and the deductible was 2000. cheeper and that is before the tax credit which brought the deductible down to 0 and the payment my monthly 600.00 less.

          • middleclasstaxpayer

            The “credits” apply to only 5%-10% of the population…..the remaining 90%-95% (the “MIDDLECLASS”) are being pummeled by these huge cost increases just when we need to prop UP our economy, NOT threaten it with further cost INCREASES!

          • jmprint

            (The “credits” apply to only 5%-10% of the population.)
            Not true statement, your nose is growing.

            {just when we need to prop UP our economy,}
            That’s exactly why the republicans need to get off the high horse and help the economy instead of interfering.

          • middleclasstaxpayer

            Let me be MORE specific….Anyone who earns UNDER $16,000/year does NOT qualify for the ACA…..these are the SAME poor folks who were covered previously under Medicaid, and who are STILL COVERED under Medicaid ONLY. Most middleclass folks are NOT covered under the ACA for CREDITS or SUBSIDIES because their earnings are considered too high by our all-knowing Obama administration.
            What middle class families ARE GETTING are HUGE INCREASES in both medical PREMIUMS & Medical DEDUCTIBLES as a direct result of the ill-named “affordable?” care act.

          • jmprint

            You don’t have to make 16,000. or less to get tax credit. Your nose is growing. Single person making up to 45,000, still qualifies for tax credits. I am middle class, I received a tax break, premiums are lower and deductible is at zero. YOU DON’T KNOW ALL THE FACTS.

          • middleclasstaxpayer

            NO ONE who earns $16,000 or less qualifies for the ACA….they send you to Medicaid….go on the ACA site and enter an earnings of $16,000 and see what happens…we already did and were referred to MEDICAID…end of application to ACA.

          • jmprint

            EXACTLY, BUT the point is you can make over $45,000. and still get a tax break.

          • middleclasstaxpayer

            You may qualify for a “tax break” as you put it, BUT for MOST AMERICANS, even AFTER the tax break they are still being asked to pay HIGHER PREMIUMS, and most folks are seeing deductibles 10 to 30 times GREATER (HIGHER), erasing ANY possible discounts provided. It’s the classic LOSE-LOSE situation, disguised as a “benefit.” Even a liberal should be able to understand that.

          • jmprint

            You are still lying. Most American, are under government insurance either in form of Medicare, Medicaid or Military. So the ones you keep talking about are the ones that can afford insurance. Like I said stop crying. Most americans who are now not insured, WILL be able to afford insurance.

          • middleclasstaxpayer

            WRONG……our son had a great policy, but he earns too little to be under ACA…..so now his choice is: DOUBLE HIS PREMIUM, and a 1300% INCREASE in deductible ($500 to $6500)….so he’s stuck with Medicaid. NOT a good situation for ANYONE!

          • Michael Kollmorgen

            Thank you for your support. My companion and I do appreciate it very much:)

            Just like former President Carter, the problem with President Obama is that he is really an academic, not a real politician. If he were a real politician, he’d know better than to trust anyone, especially insurance companies.

            He can believe that he is being noble in his cause, but politics will change that in a heartbeat. Basically, he got duped into believing these insurance companies would do the right thing. Some in his own administration might have set him up for this fall also. It wouldn’t surprise me. In politics, there are NO friends.

            His administration should have put in mandates right from the start. But, knowing these fancy insurance company lawyers and of course with the help of the Republicans, they would have found a way around them sooner or later anyway.

            I am rather skeptical about this. The PUBLIC stands to get a royal screwing through this all – as we always do.

          • middleclasstaxpayer

            The first problem is anyone believing we can “pay Less & get MORE?” It’s a common law of business balance that you cannot pay less & get more. But it appears that the administration folks KNEW about this dilemma, and argued over it since 2010, yet apparently decided to lie about the ultimate outcome in order to get folks to vote for reelection of Obama, knowing when the truth came out, as it did in late 2013, it would be TOO LATE to reverse course or do anything about it. We were lied to, plain & simple.

          • Michael Kollmorgen

            You are probably more than likely right.

            However, how come other countries can offer the same if not better coverage for their citizens at affordable prices, if not at all and we can’t?

            I’ll tell you why this is.

            Many years ago when these countries started to implement these plans, they also put in strict cost controls and with very high regulations of their healthcare industry.

            Yet, I hear from very few people in other countries saying their healthcare is inferior in any way what so ever. In fact, most are extremely satisfied with what they have which usually covers a person from birth to death and anything in between.

            Yes, there are complaints about the high taxes they pay. But, when they need healthcare, they shut up real fast knowing full well, if they didn’t pay now, it would cost a lot more later on as in our situation.

            We’ve done the opposite. We, our government specifically, in effect has given the healthcare industry total free reign to do as they wish and to profiteer as much as possible with very little regulation other than say, for instance, safety issues. After all, the AMA is one of the largest lobbies in Washington.

            That’s why our situation right now is so dam expensive.

            Our government has in essence given the healthcare industry the right to basically dictate life and death over us by what we can afford to pay. Not so in other countries.

            Here in the US, you can’t pay, you die, simple as that.

          • jmprint

            It’s not complicated at all. I signed up back in October, it was a breeze. I was uninsured since 2011. When the greedy insurances up their rates, because ACA was approved. The states that didn’t expand medicaid are the ones that are having issues with people making under 16,000 not able to obtain insurance. Blame need to be put where blame goes.

          • Michael Kollmorgen

            OH, I’m not blaming ACA at all. I know things take time to get going right. There’s probably going to be bugs in the system for a long time. I heard when SS was first put into place, they had lots of problems with it too.

            It’s just my companion, I think, is going to have a lot of trouble getting affordable coverage. I know he probably won’t quality for Medicaid because he owns the home we live in. It used to be if you had more than $1500 in Assets you couldn’t qualify for Medicaid. Maybe with ACA it might be different. This is what my hopes are. I’ll let everyone know how it went Tuesday night.

            Honestly, I really don’t know. We’ll see what happens this Tuesday Evening when we go to see some sort of ACA Counselor at the local clinic.

            With my personal situation, I won’t ever have to worry about it. I went on Disability a year ago and receive Medicare plus I pay for United sup.

          • jmprint

            Good Luck, once your partner signs up, you are going to be a happy camper and realize what the rest of us have, that Obamacare is best for all of us. The insurance and big money are working hard against it, but it takes individuals like us to speak up, and good luck and God Bless. Merry Christmas and A Happy New year to you.

          • Michael Kollmorgen

            Thank you very much:)

            Yea, I’ll let people know how it went. I’ll write an addition to this comment tomorrow night.

          • jmprint

            If your republican TP would move to another country, things would definitely change for the betterment of the United States, they have caused our country to be stagnant. You are just blind to the facts.

  • JDavidS

    Note to author…Once you’ve said “Republican” the words “never learn” become redundant.

    • daniel bostdorf

      well stated even with typo! :-)

  • daniel bostdorf

    This article by Joe Conason is dead on in his observations, which have nothing to do with a fake sign language person with a brain chemistry disorder that causes psychotic breaks….The article is about the GOP and its collective “psycvhotic break” over important lessons that Mandela taught us but GOP fails to learn…

    “To put it simply, the same Washington figures who so wrongly coddled Pretoria’s apartheid regime three decades ago – people like Dick Cheney and the neoconservatives –now tell us, wrongly again, that the United States should abandon
    negotiations with Iran and continue the embargo of Cuba. (And of course
    these are the same experts, politicians, and pundits who promoted war
    against Iraq, while assuring us that the invasion would be a cheap
    cakewalk.)”

  • tdm3624

    Exceptionalism is the theory that the U.S. is qualitatively different than other nations.
    Unilateralism is a doctrine that supports one sided action, usually in disregard to other parties. The two words don’t mean the same thing. It’s too bad some folks think they do.

  • stsintl

    Support of Apartheid is still going on, when one looks at the white supremacist regimes of Israel against the local Palestinians. Those who are continuing their struggles for freedom from Apartheid are called terrorists just like Mandela and his supporters were called.

    • Michael Kollmorgen

      Israel isn’t anymore whiter than the Palestinians.

      As far as Apartheid goes, that conflict over there is far from that. It’s been going on over there for over 2000 years between the Muslims, Christians and Jews.

      And, all over a piece of dirt maybe 20 acres or so in size. Think deeper. This is not really about Palestinian Statehood. It goes much much deeper.

      • stsintl

        The Israeli population may not be all white, but those in power have always been from White Europe. The struggle only started with Zionism, in response to Hitler’s Holocaust in Europe. Palestinians [Jews, Christians and Arabs] had been living there in harmony for centuries.

        • Michael Kollmorgen

          It is true during the time of the bible, their various religious beliefs lived together pretty peacefully.

          Probably the only reason white Europe played a dominating role was because they brought their “technology” along with them, which the the arabs didn’t want.

          Actually, and I hate to phrase it this way, if it weren’t for white Europe, the middle east would still be in the dark ages. Many parts are still this way in spite of all the modernization around them.

          The thing about this all is that at one time Arabia was at the height of their civilization and actually helped Europe out of “their” dark ages. Why everything went to hell in Arabia after that I believe is still a mystery.

          Like I said before, all this crap has been going on, back and forth for over 2000 years. IF anyone thinks this is going to be straightened out, even in one generation, is really stretching it.

          I’ll be honest about this, Israel I think is really a lost cause. The US just ought to let all the Jews come here as citizens. Abandon Israel completely, destroy everything and let the Arabs have it afterwards.

          • stsintl

            I agree with everything you have said. I have joined “Jewish Voice for Peace” who are very active in trying to end the Apartheid in Israel. Hope they can soon find their Nelson Mandela.

  • Jrigney

    It is far worse than just that. The legacy of Iran is blood on GOP hands. During the Eisenhower Administration, his Sec’y of State and Director of the CIA, The Brothers Dulles, orchestrated the overthrow of a democratically elected government in Iran and installed a despot monarch in it’s place. For the time being, I am not even talking about the crimes we have committed against Chile & Guatamala.

    And we wonder why the rest of the world screams “Bullshit!” whenever we start going on about standing up for “Peace & Freedom”.

    Many Republicans that we have stupidly put in positions of Foreign Policy Leadership, either have no understanding of the concept of “blowback”, or just don’t care, as long as their pockets are being nicely lined. I suspect that both are true.
    Can you even imagine how differently the Middle East would look today, if we’d had 60 years of peaceful democracy in Iran?!

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