Just returned from the Corporate Black Caucus.
(News flash: No longer the Congressional Black Caucus – the corporations have taken it over.)
It’s being held this week at the Washington Convention Center.
First thing you notice – people carrying giant white and red “Coca-Cola” bags.
The official convention bags are sponsored by Wal-Mart, Eli Lilly and State Farm Insurance.
Then you go down the list of sponsors.
Boeing, Lockheed, Northrup Grumman, General Dynamics.
And ask yourself –
Is there a session on the bloated military budget?
Coca-Cola, Pepsi, McDonald’s, Kraft Foods.
Is there a session on the junk food glut that is destroying the health of the black community?
MillerCoors, The Association of Black Alcohol Beverage Companies, Heinekin.
Is there a session beer companies preying on the young?
Duke Energy, Southern Company, Chesapeake Energy, Nuclear Energy Institute.
Is there a session on solar alternatives to nuclear power?
Pfizer, United Health, Baxter Healthcare, Novartis, GlaxoSmithKline, AstraZeneca, Kaiser Permanente, Eli Lilly.
Is there a session on health care?
Wow – yes there is.
Thursday at 2 p.m., Room 209-A.
Better head over there.
First thing you notice is that the session on health care is sponsored by a company called Research America.
Research America is a non-profit funded by, among others, Phrma, Pfizer, Upjohn, Merck, sanofi-aventis, United Health Foundation (United Health is the nation’s largest health insurance company), Abbott Labs, Bristol Myers Squibb.
You get the idea.
The panel was put together by Congressman John Conyers (D-Michigan) – the author of the single payer bill in the House (HR 676).
Eighty-six members of the House have signed onto the Conyers’ bill – including most of the Congressional Black Caucus.
But they all have followed President Barack Obama’s lead and thrown single payer under the bus.
Conyers admitted as much in his opening remarks.
“I capitulated on single payer,” Conyers said. “And I’m not going to capitulate on a public option.”
About 40 members of the House have made the same pledge – including Donna Edwards (D-Maryland), Keith Ellison (D-Minnesota) and Sheila Jackson Leigh (D-Texas) – all of whom spoke at the session.
Afterward, I asked Congressman Conyers why he capitulated on single payer.
“Because we didn’t have the support,” Conyers said. “Eighty-six does not equal 218.”
But why not get together your eighty-five colleagues and say no to Obamacare, no to the public option, and kick off a public education campaign on single payer?
Physicians for a National Health Program — even your own aides — admit that you can’t keep the insurance companies in the game — they will destroy a public plan.
Conyers clearly doesn’t want to answer the question.
He offers a handshake and says – “you are tomorrow’s leader in this fight for universal health single payer.”
I try one more time.
Would you reconsider your capitulation on single payer?
“Absolutely,” Conyers says.
Too much corporate money in this town.
Goodbye Congressional Black Caucus.
Hello Corporate Black Caucus.