Europe Surprised by America’s “Mean Streak”

August 26, 2009

I read an interesting oped today in The Independent, a British Newspaper, where the author talked about some of the differences between America and Europe.  More specifically, the author talked about how “a universal health system is so basic to a civilized society that only the loony right could possibly oppose it”.  I completely agree with this.  It amazes me that there is even a debate over health care in this country.  All the European countries as well as Canda have some form of health care system where everyone is covered, and they are not bankrupt.  Nor have they become communist or fascist as some right wing leaders would have you believe.

For whatever reason, Americans are simply more tolerant of social inequality and intolerance than their European counterparts.  We are a country that worships wealth, and people are willing to let others suffer in order to increase their material worth.  As long as this attitude persists, the uneven wealth distribution will continue to increase.  Conservatives are always bagging on Europe because its secular and talk about how they have lost their faith.  They see this as a threat to society.  Yet America, the supposedly pious and religious country that fears God, refuse to share, denying people one of the most basic rights – their health.

Interestingly, Republicans – the supposed party of Jesus – are the most opposed to helath care reform.  By just opening the New Testament and reading the first dozen or so pages of Mathew, one can pretty clearly see what Jesus probably would have favored.  Maybe conservatives can learn a little about compassion and sharing from some of these “secular progressives” after all.  I mean, isn’t that what Jesus would do?

Can we get an honest debate on anything in this country?

August 25, 2009

I read an interesting article today that says as many as 50,000 industry employees are helping fight back against health care reform.  They are even sending their employees to town hall meeting in order to help sway public opinion.  They are also encouraged to write to their elected representatives.  It is amazing to me that our government like this happen.  Health care should be a natural right for every person in the world, and while that’s not possible right now, an industrialized nation like the U.S. should be able to somehow make this happen – everyone else has.  It seems wrong to me that people are making insane profits off of people’s health, and I see government intervention as the only way to fix this.  However, American’s fear government for some reason, even though it is really one of the only ways for average people to have any say in our capitalist system, since large corporations have many means to influence public policy.

It is clear that these insurance companies want to somehow convince us that they have good intentions.  They say government is bad, and the free market is good.  However, the free market thus far has been an epic failure in regards to health care in this country.  Furthermore, while the insurance companies have agreed to get rid of policies that prevent patients with pre-existing conditions from getting coverage and to stop marking up policies based on things like gender, they are clearly not doing it because they have the American people’s best interest at heart.  The conditions that they have actually agreed to are Congress mandating health insurance coverage for all Americans because it would add tens of millions of new customers.  They want to negotiate the best deal for themselves, and that is understandable.In fact, I recently heard a great interview on NPR, where a Prionceton professor explains how these insurance companies and organizations like the AMA have actuallyl negotiated themselves a pretty good deal so far in regards to helath care reform.  But the fact that they are trying to convince Americans that we have a fair health care system is disingenuous.  Remeber, we are the only industrialized country in the world without some sort of health care for every citizen.

Unfortunately, the strategy of opposing helath care reform because government intervention it is going to be bad for the averageAmericans’ health care working too.  The Wall Street Journal recently published an op-ed how the GOP startegy of principled oppositiopn is winning over independents.  Sorry, but the article should read the GOP strategy of lying and scaring people is winning over independents.  Ideas like Sarah Palin’s death panels the Republicans are espouting are scaring uninformed Americans into voting against their best interest.  The bottom line is that we have the worst health care sytem of anyone in the industrialized world and it is way too expensive.  Plus millions Americans don’t even have any insurance at all.  Just like with the War in Iraq, the Death Tax, and torture, the Republicans are blatantly lying in order to promote an agenda that makes us less safe, less helathy, and contributes to the rediculous distribution of wealth in this country.  Republicans have somehow convinced Americans to once again vote againt their own interests.  In all honesty, if Americans let this happen, then they are getting what they deserve: a government that does not do what’s best for the majority of its citizens.

Obama Needs Some of George W. Bush’s skills

August 22, 2009

When the Bush Administration was selling the Iraq War, anyone who disagreed with him was blasted by conservatives -with a lot of help from FOX News- and said to be unpatriotic.  This was a way of stifling dissent and marginalizing people who thought that the Iraq War might be a bad idea.  George Bush basically took the position of “you elected me, now let me do my job”.  This was infuriating to liberals, but conservatives benefited because their guy got a lot of stuff done the agreed with.  At this time, Republicans weren’t concerned with bipartisanship, mainly because they didn’t have to be.

Now, Democrats are in the same poisition.  Obama can slam stuff down their throat, and there’s not a whole lot they can do about it.  Unfortunately, the Democrats don’t seem to want to do this.  Instead, they have given the Republicans a chance to mobilize and change the direction of the helath care debate with outright lies, such as Death Panels.

News Flash to Democrats:  the Republicans will never work with you.  They are attacking this for just as much of a political victory as an ideological one.  If you can’t pass health care while the Republicans are down and out, you never will.  If they don’t like the bill, tell them too bad.  By trying to win this debate with rational dialogue, you have already lost.  The Republicans don’t have any ideas.  All they have are lies and smear campaigns; they’re grasping for straws.  Unleash the same public relations campaign the Bush Administration did when they wanted to sell the Iraq War.  Otherwise, we’re left with the sad truth that you can sell an illegal war to the American people that will cost trillions of dollars, but you can’t give them health care, even when millions desperately need it.

So Democrats, grow some balls and being willing to be disliked by Republicans and their cronies because they already don’t like you!  I mean, you can’t have John Stewart do all your dirty work.

Health care reform

July 8, 2009

Here is an interesting article on France and the Netherlands’ health care system by Mother Jones, one of my favorite magazines.  My favorite part is this:

“In the course of a few dozen lengthy interviews, not once did I encounter an interview subject who wanted to trade places with an American. And it was easy enough to see why. People in these countries were getting precisely what most Americans say they want: Timely, quality care. Physicians felt free to practice medicine the way they wanted; companies got to concentrate on their lines of business, rather than develop expertise in managing health benefits. But, in contrast with the US, everybody had insurance. The papers weren’t filled with stories of people going bankrupt or skipping medical care because they couldn’t afford to pay their bills. And they did all this while paying substantially less, overall, than we do.”

It still amazes me that we don’t have any form of a public option, despite obvious evidence that our system is terrible.  The onlyobvious explanation to me is that our politicians really don’t care about the peopel they represent.  I know, surprising isn’t it.  Still, it’s hard to feel like we live in a representative democracy with nonsense like this happening.

On a side note, we still have plenty of money to give to Israel – an estimated 20 percent of their defense budget.  This definitely shows what our government thinks is important, and it isn’t the health of its citizens – or the soldiers it claims to love so much.

Widespread human rights abuses in China, unfortunately U.S. has no moral high ground

July 8, 2009

The NY Times reports that:

“The Chinese government locked down this regional capital of 2.3 million people and other cities across its western desert region on Monday and early Tuesday, imposing curfews, cutting off cellphone and Internet services and sending armed police officers into neighborhoods after clashes erupted here on Sunday evening between Muslim Uighurs and Han Chinese. The fighting left at least 156 people dead and more than 1,000 injured, according to the state news agency.”

Also: “The fighting on Sunday was the deadliest episode of ethnic violence in China in decades. The bloodshed here, along with the Tibetan uprising last year, shows the extent of racial hostility that still pervades much of western China, fueled partly by economic disparity and by government attempts to restrict religious and political activity by minority groups.”

Unfortunately, America has done its own part to suppress Uighur’s civil rights, refusing them habeas corpus for over 7 and a half years.  Barack Obama has continued these policies, despite promises  to do otherwise.  There have been reports that they wave the Al Qaeda flag and have been known to engage in terroism.  Still, since most people acknowledge that the Chinese government is a repressive regime that violates human rights, why would we be surprised that a suppressed minority group would violently resist the government’s attempts to violate their human rights?  We can say that they used horrible tactics, but we all remeber what happened last timethe Chinese tried to protest against their government.

If these were Christians, as opposed to Muslims, I highly doubt the U.S. would be so silent on the issue.  Apparently, the United States is against human rights violations by China, but when it comes to Muslims, we’re pretty much on the same page.

Was George Bush more popular than we thought?

July 7, 2009

Interestingly, this Gallup Poll shows America is actually moving further to the right in recent years, despite George Bush’s disatrous policies and the popularity of Obama.  I think this shows that the Republicans are not dead yet, and in fact, only need to wait for the Democrats to sink in popularitry instead of actually reinventing themselves with some new ideas.

Out of touch?

July 7, 2009

More proof that the Republicans are out of touch with America, especially the “young” ones.  Considering this data, that is pretty difficult for them to do.

Earth is 6,000 years old?

July 7, 2009

I really hope this Arizona state senator is kidding about the earth being 6,000 years old.

First post

July 7, 2009

Welcome to my small and (currently) insignificant corner of the internet.  The goal is to practice my writing this summer after quitting a boring internship with a local newspaper.  Hopefully, you like what I have to say.  If not, please let me know in the comments and I will respond.  Thanks.