Yet another blog for spewing. This one may end up with a lot of religious and social content.


Taxpayer Funding of Murder

I bet you think this is about abortion. In a way, it is, but not the way you think.

You see, my tax money routinely funds things I consider to be murder, or otherwise immoral:
  • Unprovoked wars - murder of civilians by US government sanction
  • Capital punishment - judicial murder of people who may actually be innocent
  • Torture and "extraordinary rendition" - murder, and worse, by US government
  • Blackwater mercenaries - paid killers, murder for hire
  • In vitro fertilization - unnatural fertility for those who can't accept fate
  • Viagra - unnatural hardons for those who can't accept aging
If the control freaks who have decided that their pissant God gives them control over women's bodies can whine about "taxpayer funding of abortions", then I DEMAND that my tax monies no longer be used to fund things that I find to be criminal.

After all, fair is fair - if the "pro-lifers" can deny taxpayer funding of what they consider "murder", I can demand that taxpayer funds should not be used to fund what is more arguably actual murder, or otherwise unnatural and immoral.

Tell your congressperson about this.


Debate on Healthcare? Not really.

I am just repulsed by what is being pulled on the health care debate by the right wing, the blue dogs, and the health insurance lobby. There is so much spin, so many lies and pure bullshit propaganda, including red baiting and dog whistling, that I, and many other rational people, are just flabbergasted and getting very, very angry.
  • How do you reason with people who believe that paying for end of life planning is the same as euthanasia? Who believe that "living wills" are all about "pulling the plug on Grandma"?

  • How do you reason with people who don't even know that fascism is an inherently right wing, corporatist, anti-union ideology? Who engage in thuggish tactics and violence, but whine that they are being falsely labeled terrorists?

  • How do you reason with people who believe that the president in not a natural born citizen, in spite of a legal Hawaiian birth certificate and two newspaper announcements of his birth in Hawaii? I don't even have that level of proof - I just have the same type of birth certificate (not a hospital certificate), and no newspaper articles!

  • How do you reason with people who think that socialism is the same as communism, and that any government involvement in anything but the military is socialism? But yet they'd never give up their roads, fire departments, police departments, municipal sewers, water delivery or courts in which to sue people (or get sued by corporations, more likely.)

  • How do you reason with people who say they oppose "big government", but are all for the massive "homeland security" bureaucracy? They don't bat an eyelash at corporate welfare to banks and defense contractors from the public coffers, but heaven forfend that taxpayer money should be used to keep taxpayers alive, healthy and able to pursue happiness!

  • How do you reason with people who think that it's fantastic that a previous president authorized wiretaps and email snooping on all Americans, but scream bloody murder at the mistaken idea that the government is collecting email addresses of people who disagree with legislation under consideration?

  • How do you reason with people on Medicare, something that the Reaganites vehemently opposed, who now rabidly oppose health care reform for the benefit of the rest of us?

  • How do you get these people to understand that they are being gouged for prescriptions because their party won't let the government negotiate (a good free-market principal) on prescription drug prices for Medicare recipients? These people don't want the *government* to touch their *government* health care to save them money?

  • How do you get through to folks who, when you tell them that millions of people are uninsured, and uninsurable, reply that most of those people are illegals, drug addicts, or irresponsible? Especially when the "source" they cite are right wing lie sheets and insurance company propaganda? When the people you personally know that are in that situation worked hard, then took care of their ailing family members, and are now to sick to work, but not able to get disability because they played caregiver for family for too long?

  • How do you reason with people who whine that you're engaging in "class warfare" when you want to tax the rich more, but yet have themselves been making war on the middle and lower classes for the last thirty years by:
    1. increasing the tax burden on the middle class while giving breaks to the rich,
    2. eliminating funding for programs for affordable housing that keep people off the streets and able to get jobs,
    3. eliminating funding for vocational education
    4. union busting and exporting manufacturing jobs, thus keeping the working class desperate and sinking farther into poverty
    5. fighting tooth and nail against making the minimum wage once again a livable wage
    6. making more minor drug offenses into major crimes with mandatory sentences so that more and more people are imprisoned or can't get work because they're a "drug felon".
    7. restricting access to birth control, prenatal care and abortion for the poor by eliminating funding for family planning, harassing clinics, and shooting ob/gyn's who do abortions, so only those who can afford to travel can afford to rule their own bodies?

  • How do you get through to people who, when you tell them that 79% of bankruptcies are due to health care, and that over half of those started with insurance and got "rescinded" or lost it because they couldn't work, say that those people were irresponsible and should "get a job with insurance"?

  • How do you get the point across to people who, when you tell them that a lot of big companies like WalMart don't offer their part time employees insurance, just say "they should be willing to work full time jobs", despite the fact that WalMart deliberately won't bring their hours to full time so they can avoid paying benefits?

  • How do you keep from screaming at people who act like their (or their spouse's) employer health insurance is great, they'll have it forever, and all anyone needs to do is get a job like theirs? Never mind that that insurance can get changed, they can get laid off, or in an accident that means they can't work, or sick with something nasty and get dropped/rescinded or denied - they have theirs (for now), so the rest of the nation can just suck it up and deal, better luck next time??
I'm sorry, but if these people are going to be that damned stupid, we even more desperately need to pass health reform with a single payer system, and make sure that it includes psychiatric, because a lot of these people are delusional! They are deathly afraid of a "nanny state", but then they turn around and act like irrational children playing with fire and gasoline!

Over 70% of the country wants national health care, and most of them prefer a single payer, no nonsense system. But the lunatic fringe gets all the press, and the health insurance and big pharma shills score the lobbying points. What we'll end up with is a crappy "mandate" by law to buy a toxic, overpriced, non-competitive and unfriendly insurance from the very companies that have brought us to this crisis!!

Seriously, President Obama and the Democratic Party, stop trying to be adult and "fair" - the right will not play along with bipartisan anything, except maybe bipartisan feeding at the lobbyists trough. We won. It's our damn turn to steer the ship of state.

In the 8 years of the Bush regime (and the "Contract OnWith America' before that), they never had any interest in allowing any compromise or inclusion of the Democrats ideas - it was "my way or the highway'. They have spent the last 30 years tearing this country apart, often suborning centrist Democrats (Reagan Democrats = Republican light) into "compromises" that were really sell-outs.

I strongly suggest that "bipartisanship" come to mean "we listen, nod that we've heard, and then do things our way anyway". Seriously, I voted for Obama because I wanted my country back, I wanted the rule of reason and the people to kick corporate interests and religious hypocrisy out of the drivers seat. I am sick of the Republicans, their lies, their demagoguery, their imperialism, their jingoism, their bigotry, their racism, their hypocrisy, their baseless moralizing, their willingness to enslave us to corporate interests. I remember how their cronyism deregulated and fucked over California's energy market, and how the Republicans just tried to say the 'solution' was more deregulation! Yeah, it would solve their desire to get richer?

I will gladly pay more tax to be assured that the piratical leeches of the health insurance industry never again risk scuttling our nation, never again drive hardworking people into bankruptcy, poverty and death from denials, lifetime maximums, and rescisions.

I will rather pay my taxes to cover the indigent, the unemployed, the working poor, and even lazy bums rather than have them go to fund unnecessary wars and sweetheart deals with Lockheed, Halliburton, and Blackwater (or whatever they call themselves now).

I am angry, and apparently we have more ground work to do to reclaim our once caring, fair and proud nation from the cesspit of banana republic corporatism and thuggish, uncaring religious fanaticism. I waited, fuming, until we got smart enough to vote the jackals Bush and Cheney, and their party, out of the White House. I waited, hoping that the previously spineless Democrats in Congress would grow a pair and push back against the corporate blackmail and Republican lie machine.

We have the majority, but the limp-dick slaves of the corporatocracy are still selling us down the river.

I ask you, if your congressman/woman does not back health care reform with at least the compromise of a strong public option (and preferably single payer), that you vote them out in the next primary. Don't put so-called conservatives/Republicans in, but don't support sell-outs, get new blood who will answer to the people.

The job is not done. We must render the neoconservative movement a sad footnote in history, a failed experiment in greed, imperialism and hypocrisy. We must wrest the moral compass of the nation out of the hands of the hate-filled religious fundamentalists and the corporate hypocrites who fund them.

I want my country back, damnit.


Shock! AFA Advocates Fairness?

The people in the AFA, who ordinarily repulse me, came up with a comment that is fair, principled, and right:
Here is the single most important question you can ask your Representative and
Senators concerning ObamaCare.

/"Will you vote to require members of Congress to be included on any bill
dealing with health care? Please give me a yes or no answer."/

If the ObamaCare health care bill isn't good for the members of Congress, then
it is not good for the general public. Members of Congress should live under the
same laws as the general public.
I agree. Whatever Congress passes, they must be bound to it as well. Equal treatment under the law, and them putting their health and lives where their mouth is.

The only way to get true health reform, and sane, fair, economical coverage for all is to force the people making the rules to live under their own creations:
  • If we have to use private insurance in the "free market", so should they.
  • If we can be denied, rescinded, and lifetime capped, so can they.
  • If our "preexisting conditions" make us uninsurable, so should theirs.
  • If we have huge copays, low coverage percentages, and huge out-of-pocket costs, so should they.
  • If they get gold-plated lifetime care at taxpayer expense, so should we. We pay the bills.
The lobbyists can push money at them all they want, but if their health and life rides on it as well, they won't be as likely to sell us down the river for a lobbyist donation.

So yes, Donald E. Wildmon, that is a very, very, very good question to ask.

We all should ask it, and not just regarding health care. No more political elites.


Republican Hypocrisy

From here
The House approved a measure Friday that would put new constraints on executive pay, capitalizing on outrage over multimillion-dollar bonuses to Wall Street executives whose firms were bailed out by taxpayers.


The bill, introduced by Representative Barney Frank, Democrat of Massachusetts, would let regulators ban risky incentive-based pay that could have an adverse effect on the financial system.

This is the galling part:
Republicans slammed the measure as yet another example of needless government intervention into private business practices, similar to arguments that Republicans have been making in the debate over health care overhaul.

“The Democratic majority has a great desire to have the government everywhere in our lives,” said Representative Tom Price, Republican of Georgia. “It cuts at the very core of our free market system.”

What a steaming pile of bullshit!

When you and your corporate masters come, hat in hand, asking the government to bail out your "free market" business, you have no right to bitch about "needless government intervention". By the real principles of the "free market", if it isn't profitable, it should fail! No bailouts, no tax breaks, no favors.

So, Mr. Price, if you and the rest of the Republican vultures want a free market, your corporate cronies can give back the bailout money right now.

If they don't, then they, and you, can just shut the fuck up about government "interference" - that eeeevil "government interference" is why a lot of your corporate buddies still have jobs, houses, cars, yachts, and all of that. They could be like the rest of us, one unemployment check away from homelessness or no health insurance.

So STFU, Representative price, your "Fuck you, I've got mine!" hypocrisy is showing.


Single Payer and HC Links

These are not generally left-wing sites.

For-profit medicine is a national sickness

Health insurance for the 21st Century

Single-Payer Myths; Single-Payer Facts

Paying More, Getting Less

Research Firm Cited by GOP Is Owned by Health Insurer - can you say astroturf?

Medical bills prompt more than 60 percent of U.S. bankruptcies

Health Insurance Coverage

A Healthy Bottom Line: Profits or People? - Santa Clara University Ethics discussion

Alliance for Advancing Nonprofit Health Care - if not SP, then make health insurance non-profit

What the For-Profit Trend In Health Care Really Means - interesting 1996 article, and seeing where we are now (Hint: Some of the previous non-profit are for-profit now [eg BC-BS], and the major for-profits now dominate and rule the industry.)

These are generally considered progressive:

Crazy Wingnut Healthcare Attacks Exposed

Mythbusting Canadian Health Care -- Part I

Mythbusting Canadian Health Care, Part II: Debunking the Free Marketeers

The Health Care Debate: Another Country Heard From

Healthcare Now main page - lots of stuff

The White House Health Reform site - more focused on the wimp-out "public option" to appease the insurance lobby.

Massive takedown of for-profit "health" "care" - "You Can't Buff a Turd"

Single Payer Myths Disproved By Canadian Research!

When Wealthy Isn't Healthy - for-profit health care industry makes more profit while offering fewer services - Brief Article - 1999 article, again it's worse now.

Healthcare vs. the Profit Principle - 1997 article (it's only gotten worse).

More later...

Oh, about rationing and elderly (from Mythbusting Canadian Health Care Part II):
Another persistent (and ridiculously mendacious) rationing myth about the Canadian system is that old people are cut off from treatment and left to die. I've never heard about a single case of this in Canada; but it happens routinely to Americans on Medicare and many private policies, which have strict limits on how long you can stay in the hospital with an acute illness. When the benefits run out, ready or not, they send you home. If you die, you die. The Canadian plan has no such limits: you stay for as long as you need to. But in the US, these limits fit the very definition of "rationed care."

Who does euthanasia, but without anesthetic? Not Canada...


Debunking Wing Nut Baloney About AAHCA

The wingnut post that I am responding to is here. Beware the slime.

My comments are in italics



This is my analysis and debunking of the fearmongering and either deliberate or illiterate misreading of the bill. Anything the moron puts in ALL CAPS is distortion or hysteria.

Pg 22 of the HC Bill MANDATES the Govt will audit the books of ALL EMPLOYERS that self insure!!

The IRS does already. Not an issue.

Pg 30 Sec 123 of HC bill - THERE WILL BE A GOVT COMMITTEE that decides what treatments/benefits you get

Instead of health insurance bean counters. Government committee is accountable to the public, transparent, instead of insurance company beancounter voodoo.

Pg 29 lines 4-16 in the HC bill - YOUR HEALTH CARE IS RATIONED!!!

Wrong. Says nothing about rationing - just sets up group of real experts to determine plan, not beancounters. Original wingnut doesn't know what rationing is.

Pg 42 of HC Bill - The Health Choices Commissioner will choose your benefits for you. You have no choice!

Now all you get is what your employer can afford (if anything) and the insurance company can't avoid paying for. You already have no choice.

Pg 50 Section 152 in HC bill - HC will be provided to ALL NON US citizens, illegal or otherwise

Already is, via ERs can't refuse to treat sick. Not a change. Also, untreated foreigners with diseases can spread to citizens.

Pg 58 HC Bill - Govt will have real-time access to individual’s finances & a National ID Health care card will be issued!

Health insurers already have this, and sell it to drug companies to sell you stuff. Universal ID already here via REAL ID and corruption of social security number.

Pg 59 HC Bill lines 21-24 Govt will have direct access to your banks accts for electronic funds transfer.

"Enable" =/= "require". The government already has this option for tax refunds and collection.

Pg 65 Sec 164 is a payoff subsidized plan for retirees and their families in Unions & community orgs. (ACORN).

Horseshit. Retirees need coverage too - subsidizing them is the right thing to do. Not a "payoff", just making sure that everyone is covered. Non-profits are not evil, and "ACORN" is dog whistle nonsense.

Pg 72 Lines 8-14 Govt is creating an HC Exchange to bring private HC plans under Govt control.

Private HC should be regulated, so people don't get repeatedly screwed.

Pg 84 Sec 203 HC bill - Govt mandates ALL benefit packages for private Health Care plans in the Exchange

No, they mandate the minimums to be eligible to sell through the exchange. No more insurance bait and switch.

Pg 85 Line 7 HC Bill - Specs for of Benefit Levels for Plans = The Govt will ration your Health care!

That's stupid. Government specifies *minimum* coverage, not maximum. Not rationing, it's a floor that you can't get less than. Again, this moron doesn't know what rationing really is. Hint; the insurance companies ration your care based on how much profit they can make on you over your lifetime.

Pg 91 Lines 4-7 HC Bill - Govt mandates linguistic appropriate services. Example - Translation for illegal aliens.

Wow, lots of racism here! You can't tell where someone got an infectious disease if you can't communicate with them.

Pg 95 HC Bill Lines 8-18 The Govt will use groups i.e., ACORN & Americorps to sign up individuals for Govt HC plan

Non-profits are not evil. They can often reach underserved individuals, and get them covered and healthy. Dog whistle racism at its finest.

Pg 85 Line 7 HC Bill - Specs of Benefit Levels 4 Plans. AARP members - Your Health Care WILL be rationed

Again, minimums are NOT "rationing".

Pg 102 Lines 12-18 HC Bill - Medicaid Eligible Individual will be automatically.enrolled in Medicaid. No choice.

This is a problem why? You don't have to use it - you can roy in your own filth if you choose.

Pg 124 lines 24-25 HC No company can sue Govt on price fixing. No “judicial review” against Govt Monopoly.

No one can afford to sue the health insurance companies, on their cheese paring and price fixing, so no change there.

Pg 126 Lines 22-25 Employers MUST pay for HC for part time employees AND their families.

Good. Then they don't end up in expensive ER because their employers are too cheap to make them full time and eligible for benefits (like WalMart does).

Pg 127 Lines 1-16 HC Bill - Doctors/ #AMA - The Govt will tell YOU what you can make.

Instead of the insurance companies that tell you what you can make? Not a change, except a more transparent process.

Pg 145 Line 15-17 An Employer MUST auto enroll employees into public opt plan. NO CHOICE

Universal coverage. You don't have to use the insurance, you can go see a faith healer and die if you like.

Pg 149 Lines 16-24 ANY Employer w payroll 400k & above who does not prov. pub opt. pays 8% tax on all payroll

If they don't insure you, they have to pay a tax that is still less than private insurance.

Pg 150 Lines 9-13 B w payroll between 251k & 400k who doesn't provide public opt pays 2-6% tax on all payroll

If they don't insure you, they have to pay a tax that is still less than private insurance.

Pg 167 Lines 18-23 ANY individual who doesn't have acceptable HC according to Govt will be taxed 2.5% of income.

Much, much, much cheaper than COBRA or individual plans.

Pg 170 Lines 1-3 Any NONRESIDENT Alien is exempt from individual taxes. (Americans will pay).

Visitors don't pay. That's fair.

Pg 195 Officers & employees of HC Admin (GOVT) will have access to ALL Americans financial and personal records.

Now, health insurance claims processors in foreign countries hae access to your records.

Pg 203 Line 14-15 HC - “The tax imposed under this section shall not be treated as tax” Yes, it says that.

Incomplete quote, out of context. The rest is "... imposed by this chapter for purposes of determining the amount of any credit under this chapter or for purposes of section 55." This crap is really reaching.

Pg 239 Line 14-24 HC Bill Govt will reduce physician services for Medicaid. Seniors, low income, poor affected.

Read the whole section. Not a reduction, just recalculation.

Pg 241 Line 6-8 HC Bill - Doctors, doesn't matter what specialty you have, you’ll all be paid the same.

Refers to service categories (type of service performed) without regard to specialty. Says nothing about different services being paid the same. Again, misreading, fearmongering.

Pg 253 Line 10-18 Govt sets value of Dr’s time, prof judgment, etc. Literally value of humans.

More fearmongering crap. "Relative value units" are to try to make fair payment for equal effort.

Pg 265 Sec 1131Govt mandates & controls productivity for private HC industries.

Hahahaha! That way they can't suck us dry and waste our premiums anymore. This is a good thing.

Pg 268 Sec 1141 Fed Govt regulates rental & purchase of power driven wheelchairs.

No. It expands the definition to cover other adaptive devices like power chairs that weren't previously eligible. Increase of choices is a good thing.

Pg 272 SEC. 1145. Treatment of certain cancer hospitals – Cancer patients - welcome to rationing!

More illiterate fearmongering crap and distortion. This section actually requires cancer hospitals to be paid more if their costs are higher.

Page 280 Sec 1151 The Govt will penalize hospitals for what Govt deems preventable readmissions. (Incentives for hospital to not treat and release.)

Good. Hospitals now release people with open wounds and no home care because insurance companies won't pay. This will stop this dumping practice.

Pg 298 Lines 9-11 Dr's, treat a patient during initial admission that results in a readmission-Govt will penalize you.

Again, if the doctor doesn't effectively treat things, just prescribes a band-aid and aspirin, they should be penalized.

Pg 317 L 13-20 PROHIBITION on ownership/investment. Govt tells Dr's. what/how much they can own.

Prevents sweatheart deals where doctors can refer for expensive surgery at expensive hospital that they own. Not a prohibition, a limitation. See this article for why this is needed. The idiot who wrote this doesn't know the difference, or deliberately distorted it.

Pg 317-318 lines 21-25,1-3 PROHIBITION on expansion- Govt is mandating hospitals cannot expand.

Only if they are owned by a single doctor. Again, distortion.

Pg 321 2-13 Hospitals have opportunity to apply for exception BUT community input required. Can you say ACORN?!!

More dogwhistle. Community input is required for malls, housing, and other structures. Community is taxpayers, citizens, people, not corporations. This is a good thing, except to corporatists.

Pg 335 L 16-25 Pg 336-339 - Govt mandates established of outcome based measures. HC the way they want. Rationing.

Outcome based measures means that the treatment has to work, not be witch doctor snake oil. I fail to see how you can equate outcome based measures with "rationing".

Pg 341 Lines 3-9 Govt has authority to disqualify Medicare Advantage Plans (Part B), HMOs, etc. Forcing people into Govt plan.

This means that plans which take seniors money and don't provide a real benefit can get shut down. No more scams = a good thing. Not forcing people into anything, but protecting vulnerable seniors.

Pg 379 Sec 1191 Govt creates more bureaucracy - Telehealth Advisory Committee. HC by phone/Internet?

Not bureaucracy. Many insurers already have this, and can save the time, wait and expense of a office doctor's visit.

Pg 425 Lines 4-12 Govt mandates Advance [Death] Care Planning Consult. Think Senior Citizens end of life.

This is a good thing. In our society, many people avoid planning for their inevitable demise. Advance care planning makes sure that they get their wishes for nursing homes, extreme measures, hospice, funeral, wills and all that written down, rather than putting their families through it at the last minute.

Pg 425 Lines 17-19 Govt will instruct & consult regarding living wills, durable powers of atty. Mandatory!

Good. Then the living wills (patients wishes) are more likely to be obeyed, rather than a more dead than alive husk stuck with tubes and in pain.

Pg 425 Lines 22-25, 426 Lines 1-3 Govt provides approved list of end of life resources, guiding you in death.

Good. Government helps avoid bogus funeral scams and other schemes to fleece the old and ill.

Pg 354 Sec 1177 - Govt will RESTRICT enrollment of Special needs people!

No, the government prevents their coverage and care from being changed often, and people scamming their way in.

Pg 801 Sec 1751 The Govt will decide which Health care conditions will be paid. Say RATION!

Say bullshit. This regards medicaid only, and says that diseases that a hospital gave you aren't covered by the government - they should be paid by the hospital.

Pg 810 SEC. 1759. Billing Agents, clearinghouses, etc required. to register. Gov’t takes over private payment sys.

I wish it said that the government was taking over private payments systems. It would reduce paperwork and cost. But this only applies to medicaid, and if they want to get paid by the government (Medicaid) they must register with the government and meet their standards. Not unreasonable, not a bad thing.

Pg 820-824 Sec 1801 Govt will identify individuals ineligible for subsidies. Will access all personal financial information.

Fearmongering crap. This section is designed to prevent "welfare queens" from scamming the system at our (taxpayer) expense.

Pg 824-829 SEC. 1802. Govt Sets up Comparative Effectiveness Research Trust Fund. Another tax black hole.

Not a black hole at all. Effectiveness research is esential to stop the quackery and scams that are prevalent in many areas of our health care system. Federally funded means that the pharmaceutical companies can't use bogus research to pimp out killer drugs.

Pg 829-833 Govt will impose a fee on ALL private health ins. plans incl. self insured to pay for Trust Fund!

This will replace the huge markups and profits that pharma companies put on all their drugs.

Pg 835 11-13 fees imposed by Govt for Trust Fund shall be treated as if they were taxes.

So? Earlier this twit was screaming (erroneously) about something not being treated as a tax. Make up your mind, idiot.

Pg 838-840 Govt will design & implement Home Visitation Program for families with young kids & families expect kids.

The actual words are "voluntary home visitation". This is not a bad thing, especially for new parents who might be overwhelmed with new kids.

Pg 844-845 This Home Visitation Program. includes Govt coming into your house & telling you how to parent!!!

Only if you voluntarily invite them in, and a lot of people need all the help they can get, especially during the early years. Parenting is not instict, it's a learned skill.

Pg 859 Govt will establish a Public Health Fund at a cost of $88,800,000,000. Yes that’s Billion.

* F-22 that the silly GOP wants: $361 million per aircraft, plus $44000 per hour of flight each! 600 of these is $216 Billion.
* The AIG and bank bailouts: up to $23 Trillion! $40 Billion for AIG, $20 Billion for BofA, $20 Billion for Citigroup (TARP corporate beneficiaries).

$88 billion to get everyone health care? A bargain, and an investment in our citizens.

Pg 865 The Govt will MANDATE the establishment of a National Health Service Corps.

What's the problem with that? You don't have to join, but if you do you will get *training* in health care professions.

Pg 865 to 876 The NHS Corps is a program where Dr's. perform mandatory HC for 2yrs for part loan repayment.

Not required for all doctors, and a good way to help pay the high costs of med school. A good thing for the medical profession.

Pg 876-892 The Govt takes over the education of our Med students and Dr's.

No, again a distortion. The government helps pay for training of doctors, thus helping people who aren't rich already become doctors. This is a good thing.

Pg 898 The Govt will establish a Public Health Workforce Corps to ensure supply of public health prof.

So? It will help to get more primary care doctors, nurses, etc. Then we won't have to import doctors and nurses from third world countries like we do now.

Pg 898 The Public health workforce corps shall consist of civilian employees of the U.S. as Secretary deems.

Someone has to pay them during their training, and the insurance companies won't.

Pg 898 The Public health workforce corps shall consist of officers of Regular & Reserve Corps of Service.

So? Structure, not some dastardly conspiracy.

Pg 900 The Public Health Workforce Corps includes veterinarians. WHAT???

Who else will help control stray animal populations, treat service dogs and see to it that our livestock is healthy?

Pg 901 The Public Health Workforce Corps WILL include commissioned Regular & Reserve Officers. HC Draft?

No, that's fearmongering. This just defines structure.

Pg 910 The Govt will develop, build & run Public Health Training Centers.

Good. Teaching hospitals are in short supply.

Pg 913-914 Govt starts a HC affirmative action program thru guise of diversity scholarships.

Aww, poor little white guy, no more priviledge in attending med school. Again, not a bad thing - now med school wants lots of money (rich white make privilege)

Pg 915 SEC. 2251. Govt MANDATES Cultural & linguistic competency training for HC professionals.

Good. Weeds out the bigots.

Pg 932 The Govt will establish Preventative & Wellness Trust fund- initial cost of $30,800,000,000- almost 31Billion $.

Less than AIG sucked out of us. Potentially a bigger payoff in healthcare savings.

Pg 935 21-22 Govt will identify specific goals & objectives for prevention & wellness activities.

They already do this - Surgeon General

Pg 936 Govt will develop “Healthy People & National Public Health Perform. Standards” Tell me what to eat?

They already do. Along with every asinine diet and celebrity shill.

Pg 942 Lines 22-25 More Govt? Offices of Surgeon General -Public Health Svc, Minority Health, Women’s Health

Specialties are good. Wasn't this guy whining about specialists being underpaid/

Pg 950 - 980 BIG GOVT core pub health infrastructure including workforce capacity, lab systems; health info sys, etc

This whining doesn't make sense. The insurance companies already have this, at our expense, and use it to deny us coverage.

Pg 993 Govt will establish school based health clinics. Your kids won’t have a chance, they will be indoctrinated into the government system.

Oh, another dog whistle - "indoctrinated" - the legislation says nothing about indoctrination. School based clinics are essential to being sure that kids get access to healthcare, even if their parents work and can't take them to appointments.

Pg 994 School Based Health Clinic will be integrated into the school environment.

This basically reestablishes school nurses that have been cheese-pared. Not a bad thing.

Pg 1001 The Govt will establish a National Medical Device Registry.

Less opportunity for snake oil, bogus devices and fraud. Another good thing.

All in all, while the bill falls woefully short of taking the profit motive out of health care, it provides much better regulation of the health insurance industry, and even helps poor people get training in health care! And it's far, far cheaper than Bush's wars and TARP.



My insurance, which I am now paying for on COBRA (made affordable by a 65% subsidy in the stimulus package, thank you!) does not cover annual physicals!

Seriously, the one thing that could help reduce the severity of chronic diseases is early diagnosis and treatment. The other thing is regular monitoring. But my insurance, like many others, does not cover this. It only covers mammograms after age 40, although it covers annual pap smears before then.

It does not cover routine physicals for men, in spite of the fact that many male problems like prostate cancer and heart disease benefit from early diagnosis and treatment. It only sort of covers the reproductive system for women, but not general physicals. Yet thyroid, heart disease and all of those problems are best treatable when diagnosed early.

IMO, any health plan, public or private, should be required by law to cover general annual physicals for adults, just like many cover well baby and child physicals. The long term cost savings, not only in terms of cash but misery, would be staggering.

Single Payer Health Care

Go and read this article: This is what losing your kidneys looks like. I'll wait.

There has got to be an end to the stratification of health care in this country. Why are we willing to have people's very lives dictated by private insurers? Why are we willing to allocated medical care based on who has the most money, the best employer, or a spouse with a good insurance plan? Why are we willing to say to people trying to start businesses, "You must sacrifice your health, and that of anyone you employ, to succeed" because health insurance is too expensive for a bootstrap company?

Before the 1970s, health insurance was based on a mutual, or cooperative, basis. Profit was not permitted. It sorta worked. Once the profit motive came in, prices went up, oligopolies formed, denials increased, exclusions soared, and refusals to insure became so prevalent that it isn't even funny.

If you've ever had acne, asthma, depression, diabetes, cancer, or any of a huge list of ailments you can not get insurance for anything even remotely resembling a reasonable price, if at all. No one will write you a policy that doesn't exclude what you need it for the most!

The "insurance" model itself is faulty. Insurance is supposed to be a hedge against risk. Thing is, nearly everyone gets sick or injured at some point during their lives. The only variables are when, with what, and how often.

What is needed is health assurance - a pool of money that everyone pays into that covers their medical expenses, no "if's, "and"s, "but"s or exclusions. Whether a person gets a boil on their ass, or cancer of the colon, it should just be covered. The best way to do this is with a federal (large pool) single payer health care system.

I am very, very tired of seeing PayPal donation buttons for self employed friends, artists and musicians trying to pay for uninsured medical expenses. The risk nowadays to life and limb from working for yourself due to insurance conglomerate perfidy is unreal.

Please, Congress, for once do the right thing: Single Payer. No triggers (conditions are already met), no mandates (requiring people by law to "buy" private "for profit" health insurance), no half-assed "public option" plans that are designed to fail.

Corporations do not have a "right" to profit from people's misery, stress, pain and death. We the people do have a right to "Life, Liberty, and Pursuit of Happiness", and it's pretty hard to have any of those when you're dying from lack of money to pay doctors.


Another Right Wing Nut Terrorist Shooting

Two Shot at Holocaust Museum in D.C., Police Say. A right wing, conspiracy theorist, terrorist operative, James W. von Brunn, a man in his late 80s, "embraces a far-reaching conspiracy theory involving Jews, blacks and other minority groups."

Obviously, he heard the dog whistle from Gingrich, O'Reilly, Limbaugh, et al and it activated his personal brand of terror on the Holocaust museum. Two dead.

People will say "oh, just another crazy loner", and shrug it off. Don't!.

After all, aren't people who strap high explosives to themselves crazy too? Suicidal? Oh, that's political or religious - but so is anti-abortion or right wing conspiracy theory.

It's all crazy, but it's being orchestrated by people who aren't crazy enough to pull the trigger themselves. The mullahs of right wing talk and tent rallies get their followers all riled up with righteous anger, and they know damn well that the crazy, the people with a desperate, suicidal. homicidal bent will go and do.

The same thing happens in the middle east - religious fervor, hatred, desperation, suicidal ideation and martyrdom make terrorists. That is the core of what drives them. Religion, martyrdom, hatred and a screw loose are the core of any in-person terrorist operatives.

We have a problem: Right Wing Terror. The Christian Taliban, Christian Jihad, American Taliban, whatever you want to call it, is here and organized (and has been for decades). Now that they no longer have a friends and fellow travellers in the White House and Congress to act against their targets with the weight of law, they are taking matters into their own hands, carrying on "the Culture Wars" in response the dog whistles and coded messages sent out by their leadership.

Think our home-grown crazies don't have "training camps"? Do a little work on Google, looking up "Joel's Army", "Christian Patriot Movement", "Dominionism" and the like. Here's an article to get you started. These people have whole "towships" of separatists, plus a huge network of church "camps" and "retreats" (tax exempt land for 'religious' use).

The groups have a couple things in common: overthrow of pluralistic, secular government and hatred of anyone who does not share or obey their creed, strictures, and/or race. Just like the Islamists hate anyone who does not bow to their particular brand of theocracy or does not follow their rules, these terrorists want to overthrow the current government and "put things right" according to their worldview. Anyone who doesn't follow it or is a "lesser" being, dies.

This is no longer a "point and laugh at the wingnuts" game. We need to be aware and alert for any of these crazies in our midst, just to prevent more terrorist murders.


The Christian Taliban and Domestic Terrorism

People on the right whined and bitched last month about the FBI report that pointed out the risk of home-grown right wing terror. The bloviating talking heads like Malkin, O'Reilly, Limbaugh, Coulter et al alleged that it was all a liberal conspiracy against them. Yet, usually in the same broadcast, them would use incendiary and eliminationist language about their enemies - gays, liberals, pro-choice advocates and abortion providers.

Last week, one of their loyal followers once again took up arms and followed their commands, killing Dr. George Tiller in his church. Now, this classic example of the Christian Taliban is claiming that more is planned: "I know there are many other similar events planned around the country as long as abortion remains legal," Roeder said.

Still think that these people, these "Armies of God", "Soldiers of Christ", and "Joel's Army" are just harmless church groups? Do you really think that groups like Operation Rescue and Christian Patriots (incl Montana Freemen) are just protest groups?

They are terrorists, just like Al Queda, Hamas, Hezbollah and their ilk. O'Reilly, Hannity, Coulter, Malkin, Limbaugh, and even Cheney are their Mullahs, their broadcasts being more and more vitriolic exhortations and dog-whistles to their faithful followers. There is no difference in rhetoric, just language. Fighting "the great Satan" and fighting "the forces of Satan" are the same thing: words meant for the terrorist cells. Whether it's abortion, homosexuality or "liberalism", these mullahs of the religious right spew incitement to hate and terror against law abiding citizens. Even the pastors of churches get into the act, railing from the pulpit against homosexuals, liberals and abortion providers.

The leaders of these groups are more deserving of doing time in Gitmo than the footsoldiers we have there now. They need to be arrested, tried for conspiracy to commit terrorist acts under the Patriot Act (which they supported) and sentenced.

I would like to take a brief aside here to remind these dominionist shitheads of something: not all liberals are against the Second Amendment, and they will defend the Constitution against the Dominionist threat.

The patsies who regurgitate their talking points without question in supposedly respectable publications should take a long, hard look at just what it is their "leaders" are advocating. They are not Americans, they are Theocrats, looking to overthrow the Rule of Law for the Rule of Preachers and Bibles. They have shown over the last 15 years or more that they are willing to use the mentally ill and desperate to do their dirty work.

I don't think Jesus would approve.


Moral Relativism and the Religious Right

I made the mistake of reading my brother-in-law's blog yesterday. If I want to know what the distilled right wing talking heads are saying, I just read his stuff, wherein he religiously regurgitates the talking points of the likes of Limbaugh, Hannity, O'Reilly, Coulter, Malkin and Cheney.

This one actually woke me up off and on all night, it bothered me that much. You see, I have real ethics and morals, that are consistent and logical. Yes, they're shades of grey, and situational, but they are not self-contradictory. His, however, are for sale to whoever has the loudest voice that claims the mantle of Christian Conservative. There's no soul searching here, no putting himself in someone else's shoes, just defense of the party line, including the obligatory swipe at the demonized opposition. This person is raising my niece and nephews with this kind of mentality. Disgusting.

When people like me refuse to swallow "Christian" views like "being gay is a sin, therefore gay marriage must be illegal" because it harms no one and protects rights, they call us "moral relativists", and thus "evil", "lost" or "sinners". But when it comes to mild torture (what they euphemistically call "enhanced interrogation techniques that aren't torture"), or even hardcore torture, it's moral relativism and situational ethics until the cows come home, and that's just fine. Waterboard on Saturday, go to church with a clean conscience on Sunday.

Jesus never said anything against gays, but take a good look at Luke 6:27-31:
27"But I tell you who hear me: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, 28bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you. 29If someone strikes you on one cheek, turn to him the other also. If someone takes your cloak, do not stop him from taking your tunic. 30Give to everyone who asks you, and if anyone takes what belongs to you, do not demand it back. 31Do to others as you would have them do to you.
Look very carefully at verse 27, 28 and verse 31 - do they look like justifications for "enhanced interrogation techniques"?? No?? I thought not.

Yet the Pew Research Center found that a strong correlation between evangelical protestants and justification of torture. (Commentary here.) Yes, the most fervent of "fishers of men" are more likely to justify torture. You know, like they used to do to force confessions of witchcraft and thus "save souls" (that they later executed so they could take their land and wealth.) But gay is a sin thus evil, despite the fact that it does no physical or emotional harm in and of itself (all of the physical and emotional harm comes from protestant society's rejection and abuse.) Yes folks, it's a sin for gays to marry, but it's OK to torture a foreign terror suspect.

Hypocrite much? Torture, "enhance interrogation techniques" and the hypothetical "ticking time bomb scenario" are classic examples of the worst sort of moral relativism. In the ticking time bomb scenario, it is not only permissible to torture the suspected terrorist, but their family as well. Not only that, but for many people, the "proof" needed gets very slim, thus increasing the probability of false arrest. Note I say "suspected" - these people never have had their day in a real court - only kangaroo courts using "confessions" obtained under duress.

Really, this shit makes me ill, and very, very angry. When you actually do it to one "fairly conservative" talking heads (but not a hard core one - they haven't got the balls), they get the picture that it really is torture. Stan's response? Oh, but there is no "intent to torture", no " physical or psychological injury", and it's "used as a training technique" by the military. First, "intent" has nothing to do with it. You can call shit "chocolate", and intend to serve someone a dish of chocolate, but it's still shit when fork meets mouth. Second, that type of experience has lasting psychological effects. Third, it's used as a training technique in how to resist torture!!! (They also go through and breaks trainees' fingers.)

Why is it that I, a pagan with a very situational set of ethics, can still find torture wrong, but supposed moral absolutists can "justify" it in hundreds of mealy mouthed ways? Seriously, if you have to torture a prisoner (use "enhanced interrogation techniques", like crushing some one's kid's balls) to get a confession, then your skills in investigation and interrogation suck! First, you probably have the wrong guy! Second, someone under that kind of physical and psychological duress will make shit up that he thinks you want to hear just to get you to stop!! Add to that the leading questions that most of these imbeciles use, and you have a setting for a hype loop of belief that becomes a little microcosm of altered reality.

What will it be next? Oh, it's not okay to beat people up, unless they're gay? Oh, wait, they do that anyway - the "gay panic defense" - too bad the court doesn't buy it, huh? How about it's not okay to abuse a child, unless you have to perform an exorcism - oh, wait, that's illegal too.

Seriously, when you look at what Jesus of Nazareth actually said - like Luke 6:31 - you realize that he would have been horrified at the kind of crap that his so-called followers justify. But "An it harm none, do what you will" is evil moral relativism?

So yeah, my "Christian" BIL says that waterboarding is unpleasant, he wouldn't want to go through it, but it isn't "torture". I say "Jesus Wept" (John 11:35). I'm proud to be pagan - my religious organization doesn't demand hypocrisy the way most Christian churches seem to.


Taxes and Rights

DOMA must go.

The fact that my tax burden is HIGHER because my partner is another female just frosts my jets. You see, my partner makes significantly less than I do. But because of the bigot's laws, even if we could marry in my state (California, where the bigots "amended" the state constitution to enshrine bigotry in it), I would still be fucked over on the Federal taxes.

You see, we don't really give a rat's ass about what your religion says about gay or straight marriage. Some religions won't marry people from two different denominations, much less religions. Do you want us to enshrine that into law too? After all, religion is actually a choice, unlike homosexuality.

This country has freedom of religion. That means that you don't get to force other people to practice your religion, or abide by its tenets or dogma, and they don't get to do it to you. You don't want gay marriage? Then don't marry someone of your own sex!

What the fight is really over is religious privilege - the ability to make the "norms" of your religion binding on everyone, so you and your fellow believers get all the perks and financial advantages, while we pay more for the privilege of being considered less.

I want all of you anti-gay marriage people to do a little exercise: take your favorite piece of anti-same sex propaganda, and substitute "gay" and "homosexual" with Christian and Jew, or maybe Baptist and Catholic. Then remember, if a Christian wants to marry a Jew, or a Buddhist, it's illegal - they can just find another Christian to marry - never mind that who they love is the Jew or the Buddhist.

When it comes to marriage, conformity with someone else's legally imposed religious custom takes a priority over actual love. At least, that is how the bigots paint it - unnatural, perversion, blah, blah.

I guess my biggest grief comes from this: How in the fuck does someone else marrying someone they love, who happens to be of the same sex, damage your marriage in any way? Is it something you feel you're missing out on? Do you fear other people being able to pay less takes by filing joint, or getting benefits on a pre-tax basis for their spouse, or what? Why is my happiness damaging to you?

Being gay isn't contagious, people. You can't teach it in schools - we've taught straightness in schools for generations, and still gays crop up (and suffer) in school - so that's another less bit of silliness for the bigots to cling to.

Why in the living hell would anyone choose to be gay? Seriously, it can get you killed in some places, and screwed over in other ways in the oh, so progressive (not) US. Did you haters choose to be straight? Oh, you say, "it's natural", you've "always" been that way. Guess what? GLBT have too. From very young, even when it hurts, even in spite of the confusion and pain.

But yeah, domestic partnerships and civil unions don't get federal tax benefits, social security survivors benefits, or immunity from having to testify against a partner in court. Hetero marriages do. Add in the automatic right to make medical decisions for a partner, plus a bunch of inheritance stuff, and the disadvantages add up fast.

Even those gays who can marry are screwed by the (probably very unconstitutional) DOMA on the federal level, or when they move. How would you like your fucking marriage not recognized in another state, or by the federal government? That's what DOMA means.

On the California Prop 8 insanity, has anyone really thought about what the bigots have unleashed? Anything, and I mean anything that is a "choice" (even if only to some pseudo-scientist with a suspect agenda) or able to be changed can be cause for banning marriage in the state!!

Anyone want to start a California initiative to prevent people from two different religions from marrying? I'm sure that the spiritual strife causes a lot of divorce. Religion is definitely a choice, after all. "Only marriage between two people of the same religious denomination is valid or recognized in California." Nifty, huh?

What? You say some shit about the "equal protection" clause? Oh, but that's already been nullified by Prop 8.

Hell, I bet we could do something about people who come here and marry a citizen - just make it illegal. Save the taxpayers lots of money - just say to marry a citizen you have to be a citizen.

Who cares if the person you love is from, say, Canada - they'll have to get their citizenship before California will recognize their marriage. "Only marriage between two US citizens is valid or recognized in California." See how that works?

If Prop 8 is upheld, then these would be legal too. After all, you can change your religion, and you can change your citizenship status (it just takes a long time without the marriage beforehand.)

Or how about this - people that are overweight, or smoke, have persistent body odor, or who have mental illnesses or addictions - can be banned from marrying, too. After all, they can diet, quit, bathe or "get over it with the help of God", right? So it's a "choice", thus subject to discrimination.

Since "equal protection" no longer applies in California, or the rest of the United States for that matter (and won't while DOMA stands), we can make all kinds of laws based on voluntary and involuntary "differences" from what's "normal".

So if you are anti gay marriage, don't worry - there are plenty of "choices" that you've made that can be used to discriminate against you, too. All we have to do is take our propaganda from your play book, and it'll pass.

Then we'll see who the real hypocrites are.


Dear Banks and Insurance Companies

When Mr. & Ms. Main Street had problems with unemployment, insolvency, medical costs and debt starting in 2000 and onward, you told your flunkies in Congress "Tough. Let the Market™ Decide". You bade them pass legislation making it harder for individuals to file a clean bankruptcy, and they bowed and did it. You told me "It doesn't matter if you're unemployed, you still owe us money. Borrow from family, get a loan, yada yada". When Citi fucked me over on the one card I was keeping current because of other cards deliquent, they said "Touigh. It's just business. It's our rules. Pay your bills now."

But now, when the shoe is on the other foot, they say "Oh, help us, help us, for the public good! We're too big to fail, waaah, waaah, waaaah!" Your obliging servants in Congress once again have said "Yessa, Massa." and passed huge bailouts. Now you're whining again, "Unfair", because the new administration wants some actual oversight and accountability for our taxpayer money! Fuck you all!

We won't forget this. We won't forget that you said "Screw You, we got the money, we make the rules." when you were riding high, and owned Congress and everything else. We won't forget that you came back, after being deregulated at your own request so that the "Market™" could decide, and begged for handouts because you got caught in the trap of your own greed, then whined because we wanted to know how you spent it and why you fucked up in the first place.

I'm still plotting how to cut you bastards out of my life. I have to do credit, because my life, medical expenses and savings are not all fully funded by my income. But I'm heading there. Each rate increase, each "late fee" (often a penalty for paying my bill a mere day before the statement comes out), each bill insert advertising junk life insurance, all of these things make me hate you more and more.

You have no fucking clue at just how deep the anger goes. You have been paying less than 1% on savings for over a decade, but charging a minimum of 15% interest on credit (often 20% to 30%), plus huge fees for the most piddling of offenses against your ever changing rules. Do you think we can't do the math? Don't you realize we wonder where the difference goes? Do you really thing we're that stupid or math impaired?

When we protest even a small fee increase, we get attitude, arrogance, and even more penalties. What rational person wouldn't be pissed off by that kind of nonsense? Do you really think that the public is made up of doormats? Do you really think that reality TV circuses will keep us distracted enough?

And insurers? More money for less coverage, less paid to the people who actually do the work, and snotty attitudes when we demand what you state we are due in our contracts? Then you go and unilaterally change the terms of those contracts to provide less benefits while increasing premiums? What kind of idiots do you take us, and our employers, for? Do you understand that the reason behind the push for single payer health care in this country is you and the obscene profits you make from people's suffering and financial ruin? Do you realize we look at our medical debts, the denial letters that you send, and then at your obscene profits and see red in more than just our own balance sheets? You take us for fools. We aren't.

You guys are lucky that Congress is holding your feet to the fire, quite frankly. You see, the mob is an ugly thing. If the mass of people even get a hint that you're not being held accountable for what you do with their money, well, they tend to form mobs and do ugly things - see the French Revolution for examples.


To The President

Dear President Obama,

First, congratulations. After the longest interview with the most grueling team of interviewers imaginable, you've finally started the job. A big event, lots of attention, all of that went with it. Lots of expectations are on you, and you have a nearly impossible job ahead.

After the social go-rounds, the photo ops, the interviews, the pomp and circumstance you will go back to the oval office to get down to work.

You will have several things working against you:
  1. Unreasonable expectations - people expect you to walk on water and fix the nation with a flourish of your pen. Impossible to meet them all.
  2. Congress - they all have their own agendas, their lobbyists who line their pockets, and their egos that need feeding. This is both parties - they all suckle at the corporate teat.
  3. The rest of the world - some people will never give up their hatreds and age-old vendettas. Some you won't be able to budge. Some you may have to shoot.
  4. Inertia - this, perhaps, is the most insidious of all. It's a fundamental fact of physics, and is also incorporated in human nature. People don't want to change, to do the hard things.
  5. Your own allies - I learned a long time ago that I could trust everyone implicitly... to do whatever they and their hindbrain believed was in their own best interests. Not what they say, but what they do. When you want them to do the difficult, they will balk.
You have a lot to try to fix. Here's my advice on how to do it:
  1. Economy - no bailouts for businesses, period. They gambled, they lost. Don't reward losers. Instead, bankroll new businesses that will pledge to spend their seed money in the US, and hire US citizens and green card holders. Build the new, don't prop up the old and failed.
  2. Technology - get rid of the H1(b) malarky. American citizens and green card holders are being laid off while companies are importing indentured labor at lower pay. Create incentives for companies to retrain existing staff on new technologies, rather than fire them and import slaves, er, foreign scabs, guest workers.
  3. Science - de-politicize science, and stuff a sock in the mouth of the people who object to science due to religion. That sock is a lack of funding, and regulatory disfavor. Then promote (fund) research and space exploration. Help get our eggs into more than one basket.
  4. Healthcare - get the damned insurance bloodsuckers out of it entirely. Either make all insurers have to be non-profit, or invest in single payer healthcare. Either way, take the profit (and greed) motive out of keeping people alive and heathy.
  5. Foreign policy - get our own house in order before we muck around with someone elses. If we have to take any action, make it a) well planned, b) goal oriented, and c) quick. No open ended wars.
  6. Domestic policy - end these stupid "wars" on (some) drugs, (blue collar) crime, (foreign only) terror and such. To call a thing a "war" on a concept is just stupid, and dooms it to failure. Also, dump the title "Czar" - it's just plain nasty, and sits poorly with the American ideal.
  7. Oil - Look really closely into oil company profits. Really close. Supply is increasing, but cost at the pump is going up too. Someone's pocketing the difference, and it isn't the little guys. Maybe prosecute profiteering and price fixing under RICO.
  8. Energy - A multimodal approach is best, here. While solar and wind are cool, and low impact, don't take nuclear power off the table. Dust off the old, supposedly debunked, machines, and take a second look. Most of them will still be bunk, but some may actually have been buried by pressure from oil interests.
  9. Education - Start with basics. Then, take a close look at the fallacy of "mainstreaming", and the disservice it does to kids at both ends of the bell curve. Teach high school students real life survival skills like cooking, laundry, budgeting, interviewing, balancing a checkbook, living with roomies, credit vs saving, etc.
  10. College - Fund and encourage more industry/college crossover instructors. One thing that pretty much ruined my college days was an ivory tower mentality that disdained the technicians who actually did the work, and made the goofy ideas that they dreamed up work. Encourage schools to use real-world books as texts, instead of the expensive "college books" that financially ruin kids for no practical gain.
  11. Religion - Don't cozy up with the religious right. Yes, they are "Christians", but not all of the country is like them, or even in the JCI (Judeo-Christian-Islamic) religious chain. They do not support the rule of law, but the rule of their nasty version of a God. They want a theocracy, governed by believers guided by pastors and scriptures, not a republic that protects the rights of all.
  12. Military - Less deployment, better equipment, more support at home when injured. Stop deploying Guard overseas, stop perma-posting regular units as "civil control" at home in violation of Posse Comitatus. Caesar should not cross the Rubicon.
  13. Military Chaplaincy/Religion- Clean up the mess. The theocrats are trying to take this over, making the Middle East mess into a crusade. A heavily "Christian Warrior" mentality in our military is bad for our republic - they would support a theocratic coup.
  14. Veterans - Miltary service should guarantee lifetime medical care. Military personnel often encounter dangers that are not fully understood until years later. Allowing only 2 years healthcare after separation from service is an insult to those who are willing to die for us.
  15. Ethics - WWJD? => What Would Jefferson Do? The new rules on revolving doors are a start.
  16. Rights - We all should have equal rights. Either work for full marriage rights for LGBT, or to remove "marriage" as a concept from US civil law. Either way works. Why should someone get more tax breaks because of their orientation giving them the right to marry?
So, there's a start. It'll keep you busy for the first year or so, in fact, considering that you have to work with a giant committee (lots of egos, no brain) like Congress.

Good luck, Mr. President. You've started off on the right foot, but the low hanging fruit is almost gone. Now the tough stuff starts.

-- Ravan Asteris


Happy New Year??

So, I did my predictions over on my LiveJournal and my InsaneJournal. I suppose I could have put them here and linked them, but I didn't think of that.

I am eagerly waiting for January 20th, because even with his Christianoid biases Obama should be miles better than Bush. At least he pays attention to more than just "The Great Commission", and instead looks to Matthew 25 (poverty, homelessness, healthcare). It beats the neocon "I've got mine, here's your Armageddon with a side of imperialism." all to hell.

Still, we could do better. When a Christian can openly run for president, and be considered a serious candidate then we will truly live up to the Constitutional "no religious Test shall ever be required as a Qualification to any Office or public Trust" (Article 6). The proper answer to the question of whether Obama was a Muslim or not was not "Oh, no, he's Christian!", it should have been "What does his religion matter?" and "Who cares? It's not a church position!".

Yes, it's a start that we actually have a Muslim congressman (Rep. Keith Ellison), but he's still part of the JCI religious group. This doesn't just apply to neo-pagans. Frankly, I haven't seen a credible atheist or agnostic candidate either. How about a Hindu, a Sikh, a Buddhist or Shinto, or a Native American practitioner? Seriously, there are a lot of other widely practiced religions that get very short shrift in this country.

So, in the next 4 years, we need to try to wean the US away from the Christian-centric focus of religious dialog. Instead of asking "Who Would Jesus Bomb?", we should ask "What is the Ethical Thing to Do?". Then we can talk about public conduct, right and wrong, fairness, equality, and helping people without dragging someone's holy book into the mix.