Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Remembering Senator Ted Kennedy

Senator Ted Kennedy will be remembered in many different ways by many different people. For me, he will be remembered as a larger than life personality, a man who made horrible mistakes, overcame unimaginable tragedy, and achieved tremendous accomplishments. His was a life of failure and redemption. In the end, it was an all too human but extraordinary life that reflected the best of what we can all become and achieve when we devote ourselves to what really matters.

To see how others around the world are remembering the late Senator
Read the Article at HuffingtonPost

Friday, August 21, 2009

Health Care Reform - How Bad Do We Want It?

Many of my friends who live outside of the United States simply can't understand why it is so hard for our government to come up with a plan to provide quality health care for all of its citizens. They ask why there is so much resistance to something that would certainly benefit all Americans, I have tell them it's because we don't really want it.

It's easy to lay the blame for the lack of progress on providing universal health care at the feet of greedy insurance companies; a poor economy; bad-timing, whacked out neocons; racists who just want the first Black President to fail; or a combination of all of the above. But in my opinion, health care reform, or the lack thereof, comes down to the simple fact that it is not yet a priority for most Americans.

It's very popular to quote Abraham Lincoln these days so I'll share this one: "Determine that a thing can and shall be done, and then we shall find the way."

Or as Tim McGraw might say, "How Bad Do You Want It?"

As a nation we have yet to determine that quality health care for all shall be done. We want it, but not that bad. After all, most Americans have some form of coverage, don't they? We certainly can't cut the budgets for defense spending, space exploration, farm subsidies and building new prisons. Lord knows that no one wants to stop building new sports stadiums. Do we? And please don't mention the money spent on political campaigns and lobbying.

So the debate on health care reform gets clouded with misinformation, lies, racist comments, half-hearted efforts and fear-mongering, all in order to hide the ugly truth. We, as a nation, lack the will to make it happen.

Insurance corporations don't want to give up profits. Executives don't want to give up bonuses. Stock holders don't want to give up dividends. Politicians don't want to lose votes or campaign dollars. Bureaucrats don't want their budgets slashed. And NO ONE wants to pay more taxes.

Of course, I'm sure that Congress will eventually pass some form of health care reform in order to allow us all to pretend that America has taken one small step in the right direction. But to use a football analogy, driving 80 yards down the field means very little if you falter in the red zone and have to settle for a field goal.

I don't have much confidence that Washington.will pass real health care reform I hope that they will prove me wrong. I'll be happy to eat a little crow. For now I don't think that they know how to sell it and I don't think that they're willing to take the political risk to try. .
And I'm not alone.

In her article, "Health Care Reform Needs An Action Hero", Amy Goodman writes:
"Imagine the scene. America 2009. Eighteen thousand people have died in one year, an average of almost 50 a day. Who’s taking them out? What’s killing them?

To investigate, President Barack Obama might be tempted to call on Jack Bauer, the fictional rogue intelligence agent from the hit TV series “24,” who invariably employs torture and a host of other illegal tactics to help the president fight terrorism. But terrorism is not the culprit here:

It’s lack of adequate health care. So maybe the president’s solution isn’t Jack Bauer, but rather the actor who plays him.

The star of “24” is played by Kiefer Sutherland, whose family has very deep connections to health care reform—in Canada. Sutherland is the grandson of the late Tommy Douglas, the pioneering Canadian politician who is credited with creating the modern Canadian health care system."
Noted columnist Eugene Robinson points out that you don't have to be a "nut job" to have serious questions about the proposed health care bill. In his article, "A Reason for all the Health Care Rage", he writes:

"We know that there are crazies in the town hall mobs—paranoid fantasists who imagine they hear the whop-whop-whop of the World Government black helicopters coming closer by the minute. We know that much of the action is being directed from the wings by cynical political operatives, following a script written by Washington lobbyists. But the nut jobs and carpetbaggers are outnumbered by confused and concerned Americans who seem genuinely convinced they’re not being told the whole truth about health care reform.

And they have a point."

In the following video clip, respected professor George Lakoff points out what a pitiful job the Democrats are doing at trying to frame the health care reform debate.

And finally, Paul Krugman explains that many progressives are just as upset with the current health care debate as conservatives. In his op-ed, "Obama's Trust Problem", Krugman writes:
"On the issue of health care itself, the inspiring figure progressives thought they had elected comes across, far too often, as a dry technocrat who talks of “bending the curve” but has only recently begun to make the moral case for reform. Mr. Obama’s explanations of his plan have gotten clearer, but he still seems unable to settle on a simple, pithy formula; his speeches and op-eds still read as if they were written by a committee.

Meanwhile, on such fraught questions as torture and indefinite detention, the president has dismayed progressives with his reluctance to challenge or change Bush administration policy.

And then there’s the matter of the banks.

I don’t know if administration officials realize just how much damage they’ve done themselves with their kid-gloves treatment of the financial industry, just how badly the spectacle of government supported institutions paying giant bonuses is playing. But I’ve had many conversations with people who voted for Mr. Obama, yet dismiss the stimulus as a total waste of money. When I press them, it turns out that they’re really angry about the bailouts rather than the stimulus — but that’s a distinction lost on most voters.

So there’s a growing sense among progressives that they have, as my colleague Frank Rich suggests, been punked. And that’s why the mixed signals on the public option created such an uproar."

So if you're not a "nut job", a racist, an obstructionist, or a GOP operative and you still have questions about the proposed health care reform, you're in good company.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Tom Ridge: I Was Pressured To Raise Terror Alert To Help Bush Win

I guess it's better late than never to tell the truth. But when you consider all of the deceptions, half-truths and manipulations of the facts told by the Bush Administration, Ridge's admission is nothing surprising. The only real surprise is the reluctance of this Congress and WH to investigate of all of these misdeeds.
Read the Article at HuffingtonPost

Monday, August 10, 2009

Fight Back - Your Life May Depend On It.

Yes, I know the title is a little dramatic but it got your attention, didn't it.

For decades, health insurance executives have become multi-millions gambling with your healthcare. And more often than not they were dealing from the bottom of the deck. Now, we're supposed to believe that they're ready to do the right thing just because the President asked them nicely. Yeah right!

It's time to expose these greedy, callous sociopaths for that they are.

I know that fighting against the health insurance industry and Big Pharma may be tantamount to Don Quixote tilting at windmills or the trials of Sisyphus but can you think of a better cause.?

Join the fight: against the health insurance industry at

Here's a message from Brave New Films:

"What does UnitedHealthcare CEO Stephen Hemsley have to lose if Congress passes real healthcare reform this year? Well, for starters, his nearly three quarters of a billion dollars in unexercised stock options might lose a few pennies on the dollar.

What does Isabella, a four year-old girl in Winsconsin who is physically incapable of eating and has had to be tube fed her entire life, have to gain from healthcare reform? The treatment she needs to live a normal life.

Brave New Films is launching a major new campaign to reveal the truth about the health insurance industry, and we need your help to do it.

Contribute $25 today so we can create more campaigns exposing the obscene wealth of the CEOs of Aetna, CIGNA, Humana and WellPoint and the policyholders theyve abandoned for profit."

Get the Independent Truth

Thanks to BraveNewFilms for sharing this video.

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Monday, August 3, 2009

The Most Dangerous Legal Drug of Choice ... Food.

First, we found out that those wonderful diet pills prescribed by friendly family physicians were dangerously addictive amphetamines that were turning housewives into junkies.

Then we learned that Big Tobacco had intentionally turned its customers into nicotine addicts.

Now there is clear evidence that the processed food industry has systematically created a nation of fat, sugar & salt fiends, And this addiction will probably claim more lives than any other drug, legal or illegal.

Today's broadcast of DemocracyNow discussed a recent report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention which warns that the direct medical costs of obesity total about $147 billion a year, (nine percent of all US medical costs and over $50 billion more than the annual spending on cancer).

In the following video clip, Amy Goodman and Anjali Kamat interview former FDA Commissioner David Kessler, who has spent the last seven years trying to understand how the food industry has actively manipulated American's addiction to food and helped create the country’s number one public health issue.

Sadly the practices of food industry are just one piece of American healthcare nightmare. As stated in the interview food addicts often develop illnesses like obesity, heart disease and high cholesterol. And when they do, they meet their new pusher Big Pharma and have to dance with the health insurance devil.

Related posts:

Parents Beware of the Drug Pusher
posted on Get the Facts & Get involved, July, 2008

Food Inc: Michael Pollan and Friends Reveal the Food Industry's Darkest Secrets
by Tara Lohan for Alternet, June 2009