August 9th, 2009


More Screaming Tantrums on Health Care

Republicans are currently seeing a demonstration of "lie down with dogs, get up with fleas" as their use of terrorist tactics has caused people to conclude that this sort of nonsense is okay. Now numerous Republican supporters (some of them careful to deny party membership) are disrupting town meetings, interfering with democracy, making death threats against politicians, and generally throwing massive tantrums. This is not how America is supposed to run.

Demonstrators Disrupt Health Care Forums
Washington - As they head home to their congressional districts for the August recess, lawmakers who support health care reform are bracing for protests and demonstrations that threaten to turn violent.   In North Carolina, a congressman who backs overhauling health care had his life threatened by a caller upset that he was not holding a public forum on the proposal.

I was also particularly struck by this quote, which illustrates the deep and indelible ignorance some people have of this country: "If socialized medicine is best ... why didn't Ted Kennedy go to Canada?"

He didn't need to: as a congressman, he enjoys socialized medicine paid for by American taxpayers right here. What we're arguing over is whether the rest of us get to enjoy similar benefits. Or any benefits at all.

Half a Loaf, Heading for Crumbs

Here is a discussion of the assorted health care plans floating about Congress.

These are some drawbacks and limitations:

House leaders have just completed negotiations with conservative "Blue Dog" Democrats, and all three committees will include a non-profit public insurance option, designed to make private insurance companies compete harder and cheaper. However, the public option will not use Medicare reimbursement rates. All prices will be negotiated with insurance companies. The bill's "cost" thus was reduced by $100 billion over 10 years, which simply means that Americans will still pay high premiums.

    In the Senate, the Kennedy-Dodd bill from the Health Committee has a public option. The Baucus-Grassley bill, worked out among three Democrats and three Republicans on the Finance Committee, provides all coverage only through existing insurance companies. While coverage would improve, it would be a gift to the drug companies and would co-opt reform.

These are some advantages, which if they actually materialize, will be useful. It remains to be seen whether they will survive the struggle and/or be made available in any form that ordinary people can afford.

All of these bills would cover most of the 47 million Americans who lack insurance, stop denials for pre-existing conditions, allow job portability, cover the "doughnut hole" in prescription drug coverage that is a problem for the 3 million Floridians on Medicare and emphasize prevention of illnesses. There would be "no caps" on coverage for "people we know with cancer or diabetes," House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., says. Twenty-five million "underinsured" Americans would receive full coverage, with no co-pays for preventive care. Under the House legislation, the minimum-wage mom who realized only at Stage IV that she had breast cancer would receive an early mammogram.

They offer us stale crusts of bread and lie that it is what we were promised, what we voted for. Huh. I'm beginning to wonder if politics could be made over as bread pudding. If any good eggs could be found.

The Real Threat of Fascism

With Nazi symbols appearing in American town meetings, and both Republicans and Democrats calling each other fascists, I wish to present some information on what fascism is and how it works.

Wikipedia article
Fascism comprises a radical and authoritarian nationalist political ideology and a corporatist economic ideology.

Fascism, Anyone? (a list of 14 traits common across several fascist regimes)
Related list of articles from the Bush era, sorted along those 14 categories

The 1984 Index (comparing America to Orwell's novel, updated February 2009)

Is the U.S. on the Brink of Fascism? (current article describing 5 stages of fascism and why America just moved from #2 to #3)

To those who think tactics of misinformation, bribery, torture, intimidation, and terrorism are useful I say this: The end does not justify the means. The means determine the end.

Poem: "A Moment of Maturity"

This poem came out of the August 4 Poetry Fishbowl. It was inspired by prompts from minor_architect and kadiera, and sponsored by janetmiles.

A Moment of Maturity

Maturity comes in the moment
when you see some kids doing a thing you used to do
and you remember how much fun it was
and you recognize that it could be dangerous
and you realize that no one else is watching them so it’s up to you
and you have to decide
whether or not
to tell them to stop.

It is that moment
when you balance the pros and cons,
when you consider the joy of living against the risk of injury,
that matters –

not what you actually tell them,
but that you pause to think about it.

Preliminary Poetry Poll for August 2009

Currently the general fund contains $25. You may choose: two $5 poems and one $15 poem, one $5 poem and two $10 poems, one $5 poem and one $20 poem, or one $10 poem and one $15 poem. I'm going to set the first poll for these options, and then narrow it down by poems later. Those of you who vote based on "What will make the most poems visible?" should note that the first two options reveal 3 poems while the second two options reveal 2 poems.

Meanwhile, here are the available poems by their prices so you'll have an idea where your favorites fall. ("Life's Ledger" has also been sponsored; I'm holding that one for Monday's higher traffic.) For thumbnail descriptions of these poems, please refer back to the original fishbowl post.

"Ugly Ducklings"

"The Activist After Death"
"Bracketing the Passage"
"Filling the Gap"
"Maternal Metamorphosis"
"Milestones of Gold"
"A Night's Courage"
"When Mommy Says NO"

"Rain in the Sun"

"Testing, Testing, 1-2-3"

Poll #1441822 Preliminary Poetry Poll for August 2009

What combination of poems do you prefer for later polling and publication?

two $5 poems and one $15 poem
one $5 poem and two $10 poems
one $5 poem and one $20 poem
one $10 poem and one $15 poem