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This is What Democracy Looks Like

Today's Note From a Madman

Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Mad as Hell

Lew Warden of the Howard Beale Memorial Society (http://networkcentralca.net) and I have an ongoing dialogue. Sometimes it's nice and sometimes, not-to-nice. Today, Lew sent me a short thought I thought I'd share with you. The following was a response to remarks I made about Jimmy Carter and Ronald Reagan. Here it is:

Reagan was a disaster in so many ways I can’t bear to recall them. I worked my butt off for him to (a) run for Governor, and (b) to get him elected. All on his big pitch that he was an enemy of the IRS and that his “feet [were] set in cement” on the withholding tax issue – which was the start of the big shift of the tax burden from the rich and near rich onto the working man consumer. Then we he reneged on that promise and emptied our insane asylums, turning the inmates into pitiful homeless who roamed our streets and crapped in our parks, I really dumped on him, destroying my own then promising political career. Fuck him!

As to Carter, I can’t really say where he went wrong, even though his Secretary of the Treasury, G. William Miller, was a law school classmate and a good friend. He told us many inside stories but nothing that could account for Carter’s ineffectiveness.

I’m sure you won’t like this, but to my mind the two greatest mistakes of the 20th Century American Presidency were Ronald Reagan on domestic issues and John F. Kennedy on international issues, and yet each has become the leading saints of their respective parties. Rather like St. Francis and the Catholic Church. In both areas they led us down garden paths that have and will continue to plague us for generations.

-Lew Warden

I recommend a visit to the Howard Beale Memorial Society. It's worth the trip. -NG

It Ain't Just for Fun
(but still, I have to get a hobby)

Just for fun, I went to Senator Sam Brownbach's (R-KS) website to see what he had to say about health care. Oh sure, "Sammy-Boy" has lots of ideas when it comes to butting into our privacy or making sure two grown, consenting adults in New York, LA, or Topeka can't do what they want to do in the privacy of their own homes, but what are his great words of wisdom when it comes to fixing the health care crisis?

Well, first "Slingin' Sammy" (and we all know what he is slingin') starts his website's health care page with a paragraph form The Hippocratic Oath.

"I will follow that system of regimen which, according to my ability and judgment, I consider for the benefit of my patients , and abstain from whatever is deleterious and mischievous."
-from The Hippocratic Oath

I bet sooner or later that old "Flammy-Sammy" is going to attempt to define "deleterious and mischievous" as "abortion and same sex fornication." You all know that it's coming.

Next, "Clammy-Sammy" talks about most US Senators not being doctors.

"Most Senators have not been to medical school. They are not physicians and can neither treat the ill, nor cure the sick, nor heal the wounded."
-Sammy's Website

Hey, this is funny stuff. If Michael McDonald (from Fox' "Mad TV"), dressed up like Brownback and said this stuff, I'd be rolling.

"However, the decisions the Senate makes in regard to health policy can affect the lives and health of every single American. This burden cannot be taken lightly. For this reason, public policy makers ought to hold ourselves to the same high ethical standard to which physicians hold themselves."
-Sammy's Website

So now I'm thinking (watch out for the smoke) and I'm trying to figure out just what "decisions" the senate has made in regard to health care. The only decision that comes to mind is the decision to think about it, but get nothing done. Why, even "The Decider" (GW) can't decide.

There is only one "high ethical standard" that "Flim-Flammy Sammy" and his "G"reed "O"ver "P"eople cohorts ought to hold themselves to. It's the inclusion of every single American in a health care program that guarantees them a right to see a doctor when they are sick and the protection of not losing a lifetime's worth of savings when confronted with a horrible illness. Their "high ethical standard" should include the reasonable expectation that Americans will help Americans and that health care is a right, not a privilege just for the rich and the lucky.

"Health care policy has become one of the most contentious issues on the national agenda in recent years. There are sure to be more disagreements in the future. What is important as we debate these issues, however, is for each of us to recognize that what is most important in this debate is the benefit of the patients."
-Sammy's Website

The rhetoric is disgusting. "Sam the Sham" and his GOP partners in crime are the ones with the ball in their court. This is a Republican Senate with a Republican Congress and a Republican President who could use their political capital to actually do some good. But instead they choose to serve their health Care Lobby masters rather than the honest, hard working Americans who put them into office. And then, somehow, they say "The other guy doesn't stand on our moral high ground."


They just make me sick. Good thing I'm covered.

There are numerous links to various health and health related websites on "Sam the Ram's" health care page, but the one to www.healthfinder.gov  made me laugh. The first headline. under the topic of "Health News" was this: "Low Iron Could Help Spur Baldness".

But if that ain't the icing on the cake, the very first article on "Calamity-Samity's" health care page is this: "Brownback Examines Impact of Assisted Suicide".

See? He he does have a health care plan, after all.

The Republicans are an embarrassment in so many ways, but nothing tops health care. There will never be a plan and there will never be progress as long as they are taking blood money from health insurance companies who have been pulling in record profits since their GOP pawns have taken office. Nothing to benefit the Average American will get done as long as these thieves and charlatans remain in office. This should be the battle cry of Democrats and independents who want to become our elected officials. They should state specifics and real intentions, rather that just say "We're going to look into it," which makes them look merely like "Republican-Lites".

Will it take every American paying half of their hard-earned money to health care providers to turn the tide? Perhaps. But I think a well-orchestrated ad campaign designed to remind every American that their father had better health care for them and their siblings than they do now. Our health care system has become survival of the luckiest; survival of the fittest; and survival of the wealthiest. One out of every five dollars we earn goes to keeping our families healthy. Whereas there is no cost I won't pay to keep my family well, That shouldn't be the norm.

If we pay taxes to build Alaskan bridges to nowhere in order to satisfy a Republican Senator; and if we bail out insurance companies who promise to rebuild hurricane, wind-swept homes and never do, then why can't we put to better use our tax dollars and make sure every American has access to a good doctor?

Our values are skewered. We look to stop gay marriage but not the pain of a child in a hospital. We look to save the unborn while we let a mother-to-be scrounge for food and shelter as she carries an unwanted child. No matter who you accept into your heart and no matter how you interpret
God's words, do you really think that yours will be an eternal grace if you don't do everything in your power to make this world a better place as you leave it then when you came in?

-Noah Greenberg

Last Throes

Exactly one year to this date (yesterday), Shotgun Dick Cheney said that the insurgency is in it's "last throes". Just today, the Pentagon announced that 1500 more troops are being moved from Kuwait to Anbar province in Iraq. This announcement came on one of the worst days in the insurgency - three attacks that resulted in 47 deaths and over 100 injuries. So, Shotgun Dick has backfired yet again. Gee what a surprise!

-Robert Scardapane

Sentencing Day

Is it just me or does anyone else love the fact that Jeff "It Was Only a Coincidence" Skilling and Ken "Kenny -Boy" Lay are going to be sentenced on September 11th of this year? Remember, it was Skilling who used 9/11 as an excuse for Enron's collapse and the sharp stock drop. The jury didn't buy it.

Irony or coincidence, it has a true ring to it.

-Noah Greenberg

In response to Madman's health care remarks, Billie M. Spaight writes:

Strip the Parasites of Their Power: Down with the Bean Counters

Right on! Your comments about health coverage are right on the money (pun intended)! As long as we have these bean counters in these parasitical insurance companies (whose only goal is to insure their own profits), we are going to have problems. As long as we allow Big Pharma to finance politicians' campaigns we are going to end up with idiots like Ted Kennedy and worse.

I've just gotten back tonight from a lecture on healthcare by Paul Krugman, the economist who writes for the New York Times. He pointed out that people get scared when one mentions "single payor healthcare," because they are afraid of socialism. But even from an economic standpoint, Krugman pointed out, market forces don't work when it comes to healthcare. In the U.S. have the most EXPENSIVE healthcare because of all the crazy administrative costs of healthcare but yet it does not produce the best results. He points out that when one mentions Medicare, the reaction is totally different although, in reality, Medicare is a single payor system. And he pointed out that we have a moral obligation to make sure that everyone gets the healthcare needed without allowing people to fall through the cracks.

When the bean counters are in charge people who most need it, like your example with the ill child, are the least likely to get it. Right now there is a case going on in NY City with Oxford Health, a subsidiary of United Health, denying coverage to Jamaica Hospital. Now I am not crazy about Jamaica Hospital, but the fact remains that when a person calls an ambulance, say, if somebody is bleeding to death from an accident or having a heart attack or stroke, the person has to go to the hospital served by the ambulances in that area. One does not get to make a choice. So if a person lives in an area that is designated for Jamaica Hospital and, G-d forbid, needs emergency care but has Oxford insurance, that person is damned.

This whole business of damning people is shameful. It is part of the blame-the-victim mentality that is gripping this nation. They keep on talking about ownership and personal responsibility. Well, the parents of that ill child, chose to keep him rather than turning him over to some foster parents or institution. And these parents are being punished for doing the right thing, for adhering to true family values--they don't want to abandon their child because he is sick.

I've noticed that more people are definitely talking about healthcare. Congressional hearings on it are well attended. The lecture I went to tonight was well attended. But, unfortunately, until people get off their couches and demonstrate in massive numbers, we are going to end up with half-baked schemes designed to please businesses and insurers because they are funding the politicians' campaigns. There has to be a groundswell that hits critical mass. I am in the movement. (At least now there IS a movement.) But we have a long, long struggle ahead.

Thank you Noah for keeping this issue on the radar screen. It is one of the most critical issues facing us today.

In response to, "Most American citizens don't want to make it too easy to come here legally because of bias--they don't want many Mexicans, Asians, etc. The people who holler the loudest about legalizing immigrants are the comfortable whites who are trying hard as the dickens to look righteous and caring. I come from a background like that and I know," Robert Scardapane writes:

Accusing people who oppose open borders of racism is a form of racism. When people come here illegally, they expose themselves to manipulation. Open borders is a pie in the sky idea. There is no nation on the face of the earth that has open borders for the simple reason that it would be an economic disaster. Let's start thinking about our citizens a bit ... they had a miserable time these past six years. Over-booking our already tight labor market with millions of new immigrants is simply unfair to the people that are already here (some which may be legal immigrants who waited for years to come into the country).

For now, the best solution is to secure the border. Once it is secured, we can have a limited amnesty.

After that, we need to look at the economic feasibility of increasing the number of green cards. The open border types want to everything all at once and that is simply not responsible government policy.

Sad Quote of the Day

"They ranged from little babies to adult males and females. I'll never be able to get that out of my head. I can still smell the blood. This left something in my head and heart."
- Observations of Lance Cpl. Roel Ryan Briones after the Haditha Massacre

This is truly a sad chapter in the sad Iraq War. I don't want to heap blame on the troops, yet I just can't look the other way. Jack Murtha was on tonight on CNN talking about a cover-up by the Marines command. It's simply wrong! This event should have been addressed six months ago. The officers and troops involved must be held accountable.

Such events prove that war is all hell and thus something to avoid at all costs. Instead, we had the GOP bum rush to war based on doctored intelligence and outright lies. The longer this war goes on, the more likely further events of this nature will occur. This unjust war must end now.

-Robert Scardapane

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-Noah Greenberg