Sunday, August 30, 2009

The republicans are not even the least bit interested in bipartisanship. I understand Obama's need to have consensus but that is a dream that will not come true. At this time in history, this is all about not allowing the democrats to have success. I don't believe that it is all an astroturf effort. I have listened to rush et al and the craziness in is in full effect. What my hope is that they get so extreme that even their most ardent supporters start to scratch their heads and wrinkle their collective brows. But what is more likely to happen is an extremist attack against the administration.
The democrats need to ensure that all needs are met and to push this through. We need reform and once it is in place those gripped by the fear of socialism, death panels, forced circumcision, etc. will realize that the those stirring the pot had no basis for their fear mongering. Some might continue to support them but I believe the majority will feel betrayed and not just a bit silly.

I am tired of seeing unnecessary suffering in this country.
I am tired of those that happen to be blessed with wealth and comfort judging those that are not.
I am tired of people acting like health care is a privilege.
It is not.
It is a right.
It is a right in a free, wealthy and "Christian" society.

Push it through.


Wednesday, August 26, 2009

I hold my nose and read a godawful blog in the Houston Chronicle occassionally which I will not reference here as I do not want to promote this kind of crazy. But I did read a good comment that I thought was worth posting as it is concise and factual.

"Nazism is fascism, by the way, which is far right.
Socialism is an economic system, not a form of government.
Socialism provides greater individual freedom, not less.
Totalitarianism is not socialism.
Fascism is not socialism.
Big government is not socialism.
Our present oligarchy is not socialism.
Conservatives aren't freedom loving.
Conservatives by definition, don't want change.
That is why all government is conservative--the role of government is to protect--you can't protect what hasn't come yet.
That is why all politicians are conservative: you can't win voters who don't exist yet.
That is why popular movements bring the real changes in society, and laws, governments and other institutions catch up later.
And now, the time for change has come as our current economy has failed.
Obama can't stop the future, no matter how hard he tries, he is a mere mortal waving a sword at a tidal wave. The future will come, whether we fight it or welcome it, just as night becomes day, winners become losers, and so on. Even the Bible makes this observation."
Posted by: Jason at August 25, 2009 04:30 PM

Saturday, August 15, 2009

I am a huge, huge Whale Wars/Sea Shepherd supporter. My husband and I dVR it and watch, spellbound.

It's funny. I have changed a lot of practices, habits in my life based on my love for the dependents in this world. I am moved to tears AND to action by the blatant cruelty we inflict on those that cannot fight back. I have seen endless, countless videos of the most horrific examples of the daily torture we inflict on animals and on children.
I have seen it all.
Literally.

And I am also extremely aware of what happens when hunters hunt and kill their prey. I know. I have seen it.

But last night was still horrifying. The part that caught me and threw me around, emotionally, was seeing this glorious animal fighting for TWENTY FIVE MINUTES while the harpoon was still in his head, having been shot six or seven times, he fought with all his might. The blast of water from his blowhole was what made it unbearable. Knowing that this animal took 25 MINUTES to slowly choke and drown on its own blood, was soul destroying.

I am outraged.

I was fortunate in that I didn't have to sit in that helicopter and watch, powerless, as this incredible animal fought for his life, fought and twisted and flung himself desperate to disengage. Seeing him going all out - 17 knots - trying to get away from the harpoon ship - unable to get a good enough breath to dive - he was doomed. Seeing that harpoon blast out and pierce the whale was gutting.

I cannot reconcile the brutality.
The abject cruelty of human beings always stuns me.
I have seen it.
I have watched.
I have been a witness for the animals and cried out in primal pain knowing that the last image that these animals witness on this earth is pure evil.
Because that's what it is.
I don't know how you can explain it away.
Feeding the masses.
Entertainment.
Human advancement by testing.
Culture.
Tradition.
Clothing.
None of it justifies the terror, the indescribable pain, the horror of what these animals endure.
God! We are so much better than this!
25 minutes.
Go and punch a pillow for 25 minutes.
Or jump in place.
See how long it actually is.
See how long that animal suffered.
How long it struggled for breath.
How long it thrashed around causing the harpoon to inflict that much more damage and pain.

I sat in my chair sobbing.
Sobbing for the animal.
Sobbing for humankind.
Sobbing for the people who were out there trying desperately to stop this brutality and being rendered powerless.
Paul Watson has been the captain of the Sea Shepherd crew for 35 years without one whale killed during all that time.
And in one campaign, three.
Three precious animals, three majestic mammals of the ocean were mercilessly slaughtered for profit.

We can do better.
But at this moment, I honestly do not believe that we want to.

Sunday, August 09, 2009

Why the shouting?

I think I know the answer, in fact I know that I know. But I wrestle with this. I understand the anger. I understand that feeling of not being heard, of the country that you love and live in careening recklessly, out of control towards impending doom.
I felt that way.
I empathize, deeply, I honestly do.
I remember the despair and outrage at being called a terrorist, unpatriotic (whatever that really is), an aider and abettor, a conspiracy theorist.
I get that.
I also understand how in all that darkness and disillusionment that spark of someone else, someone out there that heard me and felt as I did. How that voice speaking is like a life line, a buoy in a raging sea.
I get that.
But never did I think it was a good idea to go and shout at someone trying to explain something.
Regardless of their point of view.
Sure, I got angry with friends and family that kept on and on about how wrong I was. I was incensed. I couldn't understand how they didn't SEE it. No matter how rational, angry, crazy I got about it, they just didn't see how wrong going to war was, the ownership society, the corporations sweeping in and creating legislation.
But never did I think that going in and shouting and screaming and carrying swastikas was the most effective course of action.
But others did.
I get that as well.
I know that it got crazy there towards the end.

Why the screaming?
Where was the outrage when we were throwing billions upon billions at Iraq? When there was no reason to be there? Where we sent in mercenaries? Where we sent our guys into harm's way with defective body armour? Where we started something with no exit strategy?

This is what staggers me and makes me stand in complete awe at the incredible ability of those that want - for whatever reason - to manipulate people. Because that's what it is. Obama seems to have withdrawn with the expectation that people would understand that this legislation isn't even out of committee yet. That there is no bill to speak of. That everyone is putting in their two cents, different entities are bringing in different points of view. It's like wigging out about a house plan when only the structural drawing is done. No architectural no mechanical electrical or plumbing. Just the structural. And we have people screaming No! No waste of money on gold toilets (what gold toilets?)! No Waterford crystal chandeliers (what??)! It's ridiculous.

Honestly, I think these are normal, working class people (for the most part) that are in a mind set of - we have lost our country. A black, socialist, communist, Muslim, terrorist has taken over our country. Everything we have ever known and loved. Everything we have held dear. Everything we thought would be there forever, as it is now. Everything we have held as American....slowly being ripped from our hands.

And those with a vested interest, those with ulterior motives, those who have been feeding gluttonously at the trough of graft and greed, see an opportunity to mobilize these very real, very affected, deeply moral and principled people as the face of outrage and resistance. Hannity starts his program with a subtitle of "Conservative Underground" and "Conservatives in Exile".
The outsiders.
The forgotten.
The ignored.
And for hours upon hours, on weekdays on AM radio they say the same things over and over. Bureaucrats making decisions instead of your doctors.
Death counseling for seniors.
No protection for special needs or dependent beings.
Government funded abortion.
On and on. Some present with a sense of urgency. Some with indignation. Others with sarcasm. But they all say the same things. Over and over and over. I want my country back. Obama is a racist. Obama hates white people. Do you know that they are still bringing up Rev. Wright? Aires? All the nonsense that was thrown from the right - stuck on the radio dials.

Did you know that since he took office there has been a race/creed based shooting once per month? With references to Obama or the threat to country evidenced by every single one?

I have no issue with a debate. I think it is the only way to have a real democracy. I do not want one party to have their way unchecked.
But I cannot get behind the shouting.
Do you remember towards the end of the election? The people that swarmed to the Palin rallies? The monkeys? The caricatures? The adamant clutching onto the false "Muslim" "terrorist" labels?
That should have been our first clue.
There are plenty of people in this country that will never admit that they are racist. But they are. When you bring a sock puppet with a black man's name attached, you're a racist. When you think a place is too dark or decide not to enter a convenience store because there are only minorities, you're a racist. There are people that believe that Muslims are a threat. That brown people are scary.

And there are people who are clever enough to capture that sentiment, that fear, because that's what it is, fear, and use it to promote their agenda.

The MSM....you know...the one owned by conservative run corporate giants aka the liberal elite, have been ignoring middle America. So they are coming out and ensuring that they are heard.
By shouting at town hall meetings.
Or is it, that the MSM is only presenting the concerned citizens - you know the 85% that believe Obama isn't a real American - as crazed, irrational screaming fringe. But that's not exactly what is being conveyed is it? No. They are being presented as citizens who have been shut out of the process, desperate to be heard. Normal, every day Americans that don't want socialized medicine. And, keep your government hands off my medicare.

I think Obama expects us to be grown ups. To wait for the plan to be presented to our individual representatives for debate and negotiation and to see that the idea is to bring down costs, to encourage prevention, to reduce the stress that has been weighing so heavily on the most susceptible, the most vulnerable, those that believed they had coverage and found themselves with no recourse.
The plan is not to make life harder, but ease the burden - so that our seniors won't have to choose between a meal and medication.
This ridiculous exaggerated imagery of grey wool sacks in Soviet style hospitals, rationing is not the goal for anyone. Honestly, who wants that? Who doesn't have parents or know seniors? Who doesn't know a disabled person? Did anyone hear about the bill that is either passed or very close that will pay the college tuition of veterans? This is in line with the liberal agenda. Believe me. I've seen it.
Delayed surgeries, shortages of vaccines, doctors forced to live in ridiculous places because the doctor quota is filled in an area. That is not part of the plan.
I know. I know.
I'm godless.
I want babies to die.
I hate tradition.
I hate America.
I know.

The biggest problem with us is that we are so easily moved into chutes of complacency - absentmindedly moving into categories so that we are more easily able to define. Liberal? Gay loving, god hating, baby killing, anti-military, aider and abettor. Conservative? Neocon, profiteering, bigot, racist, war-mongering bullies.
The problem is that perhaps the tiniest fraction of people fit into these categories. Microscopic numbers really.
But they are the most vocal, the most present in this situation.
They have the ones with the megaphone and the audience.

So when the person that refuses to buckle or cave, who casts out fake conservatives, who repeats over and over again that he is the keeper of the beacon - the last stronghold of morals, virtues and decency says that the country is in peril, those that identify with him, those that have been left behind look for the light in the darkness.

But rush, hannity, savage, beck.
They are nothing but showmen.
Entertainers.
Perhaps they believe they are speaking for the people in some far recess of their minds. Perhaps they believe that they are doing the right thing. But I don't think that's the case. I believe that this is all about money. It is all about how many people they can influence. How many they can get to listen to them and to buy the products they spend most of their time selling in commercials between segments. It is all about getting these people so impassioned that they move would make anyone drunk with power. Can you imagine? Having millions of people not only listen to you but to go and do what you suggest? I cannot fathom that kind of rush. Doesn't matter if you invoke Nazi Germany, Hitler, Stalin, Lenin, Gulags to get them there, that's not what's important. Your sponsors, your bosses, your advertisers hear you speak and see the army rise.

It must be amazing.

But is it in the best interest of the country?
As soon as we can get past these ridiculous stereotypes, these pathetic excuses, these moronic caricatures of our fellow citizens, the better.

I don't know what Obama should do. That's why I'm not president and he is. Should he address this or continue his "No Drama" approach? Should he figure out a way to get his "fight the smear" website to other avenues of communication that varying segments of our society use?

All I know is that we need to ratchet down the hysteria. I have a deep dread that this is going to end badly because no one addressed it. We ignored or justified or played down the fringe element that seems to be getting more and more out of control every day. We thought - it's just a few, they don't speak for the majority.
But it takes just one.
Just one person that has had enough.
That sees no end.
No hope.
The minorities are taking over.
The Mexicans are taking jobs and our healthcare.
The Socialists and Communists are infiltrating the weak hearts of the limp wristed liberals.
The gays will be legitimized and will flaunt their lifestyle choice in the faces of our innocent children.
The freaks will be out in droves forcing their ways upon our society.
It will take one person.
One lone person to decided that he is willing to die for his country.
That he is ready to sacrifice his life to save the innocent babies doomed to death, the weakening of the beloved country, the demise of the Judea-Christian foundation that is the foundation of this country.

It will not be an external enemy that destroys this country.
It will be an internal split of the citizenry based on falsehoods and lies.
Unless we decide to be grown ups.


Thursday, August 06, 2009

Obama wants to kill your grandma
Five right-wing myths about healthcare reform, and the facts
By Mike Madden

Turning America socialist apparently wasn't enough for him -- now President Obama is trying to make old people kill themselves, callously deny important medical procedures, funnel tax dollars to abortion clinics and wiggle the government's way into every doctor's office in America.
At least, that's the sense you might have about the healthcare reform proposals Congress is considering from listening to opponents describe them. Already, conservative activists have erupted against the plan, with protesters hanging Democratic lawmakers in effigy and disrupting town hall meetings.
As both the House and the Senate clear out of the Capitol for the month, expect the viral buzz -- and the TV battle -- about what's in the bills to grow louder and louder. The White House finally seems to have realized that the administration can't win the policy debate without addressing some of the attacks from the right. Aides recently released a video rebutting some of the claims about what healthcare reform would and wouldn't do. An administration official told Salon Wednesday that the White House will soon launch a Web site modeled on the "Fight the Smears" site Obama's campaign ran last fall, where voters can find -- and debunk -- some of the rumors about the reform proposals, and the White House is already collecting chain e-mails at "flag@whitehouse.gov," an address Obama aides set up to receive them.
But the administration might already be behind the curve. Over the last few weeks, opponents have managed to get out their spin on the bill through talk radio, blogs, chain e-mails and other channels. And their talking points depend on a notably elastic approach to the truth. Here's a fact check of some of the more alarming claims that the right is making about healthcare reform, claims that are already hardening into myth.
Myth 1: Democrats want to kill your grandmother. This claim seems too outlandish on its face to get much traction, but Republicans actually made some headway on it recently. Two House GOP leaders put out a statement warning that the healthcare reform bill "may start us down a treacherous path toward government-encouraged euthanasia." To hear opponents of reform talk about it, the legislation would force seniors to go in for sessions once every five years -- and more frequently if they're sick -- where doctors will encourage them to end their lives. Rep. Virginia Foxx, R-N.C., summarized the scare tactic pretty well on the House floor last week, when she said the bill would "put seniors in a position of being put to death by their government," and therefore, wouldn't be pro-life. The GOP has pushed this line especially hard with some of the conservative groups behind the government's intervention in the Terri Schiavo case a few years ago, hoping to get antiabortion allies on board fighting reform. "Can you imagine the response of the American people when they find this out?" one-time GOP presidential candidate Fred Thompson asked about the alleged euthanasia scheme on his radio show last month. "They're going to counsel you on preparing you to die," Rush Limbaugh pronounced a few weeks ago. Proof of how far this attack has spread came last week, when a caller to an AARP forum asked Obama about it directly. (Probably unwisely, the president tried to make light of the question, saying there weren't enough government employees to go meet with old people to talk about end-of-life care.)
There is a kernel of truth at the root of this attack: The legislation would order Medicare to pay for consultations between patients and doctors on end-of-life decisions, which it currently doesn't cover. But the consultations wouldn't be mandatory; if your grandmother doesn't want to go talk to her doctor about end-of-life care, she won't have to. Because Medicare doesn't pay for this kind of planning now, only 40 percent of seniors who depend on the government insurance say they have an advance directive that tells healthcare providers what measures they do and don't want used to prolong their life, even though 75 percent say they think it's important. The lack of planning actually costs a lot of money. Medicare spends billions and billions of dollars annually on expensive treatment during the last year of a dying patient's life. Without allowing Medicare to pay for end-of-life consultations, it's hard to know whether patients even want to go to such expensive lengths.

Myth 2: The government -- i.e., you -- will have to pay for abortions. This is another way the GOP is stirring up antiabortion activists against healthcare reform -- by warning that your tax dollars will be used to pay for someone else's abortion. An ad by the Family Research Council dramatizes the issue about as creepily as possible. "To think that Planned Parenthood is included in the government-run healthcare plan and spending tax dollars on abortions," a distraught older man tells his wife, sitting at their kitchen table after opening a letter from the government. "They won't pay for my surgery, but we're forced to pay abortions." The narrator lays out what's going on: "Our greatest generation denied care, our future generations denied life." A House Republican aide says the GOP thinks this could be the most potent type of viral attack against reform, since antiabortion Democrats will have trouble voting for the legislation if it includes taxpayer funding for the procedure.
But only the most extreme antiabortion reading of the legislation would say it does that. The words "Planned Parenthood" and "abortion" don't appear anywhere in the text, despite conservative buzz that it would funnel millions of dollars to killing babies. (A proposal in the Senate version of the reform legislation would require insurance plans to cover preventive care and screening visits to community health providers, which could include Planned Parenthood.) Even an AP story that Matt Drudge was hyping on Wednesday as proof that the government would be funding abortions didn't go quite that far -- instead, the story detailed a fight over whether women who buy government-subsidized private insurance through a proposed exchange system should be able to have abortions covered by their plans. Pro-choice lawmakers are trying to craft a compromise that would require insurance companies to pay for abortions out of premiums paid by patients, not out of tax dollars. Pro-choice Rep. Lois Capps, D-Calif., amended the House version of the legislation to state that abortion is not part of an "essential benefits package" that all insurance plans must provide -- meaning someone could offer a special "pro-life health insurance" plan that doesn't cover abortions, even under the reforms.

Myth 3: Obama will ban all private health insurance. Allegedly, the House proposal for healthcare reform bans private insurance. This rumor comes complete with a citation: "Right there on Page 16 is a provision making individual private medical insurance illegal," the unflaggingly pro-business paper Investors Business Daily wrote in an editorial last month. Other right-wing blogs and news outlets picked up on the idea, as well. It fits in with a broader message Republicans have been using: The reform will lead to a total government takeover of healthcare.
The IBD line is literally true -- Section 102 of the House bill says insurance companies can't independently issue any new individual policies after the legislation takes effect (though existing policies are grandfathered in). But it misses the point. Private plans aren't banned, but rather shifted into the new health insurance exchange the legislation would set up. You can still get a private policy, but the way in which you buy it changes. If you wanted to buy your own insurance, you have to do it through the government-run insurance exchange. Your policy becomes part of broader risk pools, which makes the premiums cheaper and keeps insurance companies from dumping them once they get sick. PolitiFact looked into the claim and rated the IBD editorial "pants on fire," its lowest rating -- as in, "Liar, liar, pants on fire."

Myth 4: The government can't possibly run a healthcare program. Opponents of reform trot out comparisons to government services frequently when they try to argue against a public, government-funded healthcare plan. Republicans drew up a chart that purports to show how convoluted the bureaucracy involved in any government plan would be. This message doesn't make Obama the enemy, it makes government inefficiency the enemy. "If you like the Post Office and the Department of Motor Vehicles and you think they're run well, just wait till you see Medicare, Medicaid and healthcare done by the government," conservative economist Arthur Laffer told CNN this week.
If that doesn't quite make sense, there's a reason -- Medicare and Medicaid are, of course, government-run healthcare programs. Medicare in particular is quite popular; polling shows some seniors are anxious that the reform will affect the care they already get from the government. (In fact, Democratic pollster Celinda Lake says she frequently encounters voters who say they want to keep the government out of their Medicare.) The Department of Veterans Administration also runs a healthcare system that experts praise for its well-developed health information technology network, which lets doctors see results of tests and procedures any patient has had anywhere in the network -- eliminating the wasteful duplication that Obama says he wants to cut out of the larger healthcare world, as well.

Myth 5: Unlike private insurance, government bureaucrats will ration care. This line also makes government the enemy. "You may want healthcare that your doctor has prescribed for you," Peter Ferrara, of the anti-tax, anti-government Institute for Policy Innovation, wrote on the National Review last month. "But the rationing bureaucracy in Washington that doesn’t even know you, or your doctor, may decide that your doctor doesn’t know what he’s talking about, or that you are too old for the government to pay for your hip replacement to stop the pain, or to get an expensive triple bypass or a pacemaker operation to save your life." Since the Obama administration keeps talking about encouraging doctors to shift to outcome-based pay scales and evidence-based guidelines for what treatments or procedures to use, opponents don't have much trouble painting a troubling picture of faceless government hacks denying the care you -- or your loved ones -- need.
Of course, there are already plenty of faceless hacks denying people care right now; they just work for private insurance companies, not the government, and they're denying care because that helps keep the insurers' profit margins up. At a recent House hearing, just three insurance companies testified that they had "rescinded" -- or dropped -- coverage for nearly 20,000 patients between 2003 and 2007, often after patients had submitted claims they thought would be covered. Even Republicans seem to know the insurance companies can be bad. "I would always rather the devil I know than the devil I don't know," House GOP boss John Boehner said last week, explaining why going after the government works even though private insurance companies would seem to be just as much of a villain.