November 13, 2011

1,027:1; and right-wing health care reform

The New York Times Magazine cover story today is about "how a single Israeli came to be worth 1,027 Palestinians". The use of the word "worth" is offensive enough. It echoes the usual Israeli/U.S. perspective and aggrandizes Israeli vanity, and it utterly misses the obvious reason such a swap is acceptable.

Gilad Shalit was a legitimately captured prisoner of war, his imprisonment a consequence of Israel's attack on Gaza starting in late December 2008 to kill well over 1,027 Palestinians, including hundreds of children. Almost all of the Palestinians in Israeli prisons are there for nothing. They are there for being Palestinian.

The more appropriate interpretation of the numerical disproportion of the prisoner swap is that it is the legitimacy of the imprisonment of so many Palestinians that is not worth that of this one Israeli soldier.

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Also in recent news, Obama's requirement to enrich private health insurers won another district court appeal and may soon be going to the supreme court. One story today echoes the usual reporting, noting that the latest, like many others, judge to support Obama's law is "conservative".

The implication is that this is a sign of reason, based on the assumption that Obama's law is "liberal". In the same vein, liberal supporters of Obama's reforms to enrich private health insurers have crowed over these court wins. For example, Think Progress tweeted: "FACT: The right-wing legal argument against health care reform is so weak they couldn't convince a very conservative Reagan appointee."

REALITY: Obamacare is not health care reform. It is a pathetically modest set of new regulations for private insurers in return for making it illegal not to buy private insurance. It is in fact a very right-wing, even fascist, law: Enrich private insurers or go to jail.