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Saturday, February 27, 2010

Health Care Fatigue

Comment from Caroline in Leesburg VA at end. "Perhaps it should be suggested that each Congressman reveal his personal health plan and what the premiums are."

I'm not tired of the health care debate. Not at all.

What I'm sick and tired to death about is the political theater. Somewhere along the road to reform, the concept of Health Care became a euphemism for political gridlock.

Where's the "health" in the health care reform? Health Care Fatigue is the purposeful way Republicans are deflating the public's tolerance for a debate which no one understands, except, of course, if you are among the 30 million people who don't have health care insurance.

That's who this debate is about. It's not about Ohio's Representative Boehner, who has health insurance coverage. Instead, it's about people like my husband's nephew who works 60 hours a week in his own business but cannot afford health insurance.

So, President Obama held a publicly televised summit to flush out the divisive issues on C-Span. Nothing changed. Thirty million people who didn't have coverage before the summit, still don't.

Instead of having CNN cover the summit story's after-spin, maybe the public would have learned more from a consumer broadcaster. Perhaps an expert anchor, like in competitive figure skating. A person who really gets what the problems are. Surely, finding someone to talk on TV would not be difficult with 30 million people to choose from. At least one person among 30 million uninsured is likely to have broadcast experience, and maybe be unemployed, as well.

Republicans look fatigued, as well, giving their repetitive responses to health care reform. They're like parrots repeating the same sentences over and over because it's all they know. "This bill.....is.....too big." Really? Tell us something we don't know. Republicans in Congress all have health care coverage; they don't know what it's like to be among 30 million less fortunate people who don't.

I'm not tired of Health Care Reform debates. Debating is always educational, in a level playing field. When one side of the debate lies, twists the truth, relies on rhetoric rather than fact or simply makes stuff up - then I call this "truth fatigue". For example, it's a lie that health care reform is a big government program or socialism. It's a lie that health care reform is going to cost too much money. It's costing us too much money not having health coverage for everyone. Socialism, by the way, is not a health care system, it's a political and economic system. Oh God! I'm so fatigued trying to defend the truth, I never get around to explaining what health care reform really is.

Which is precisely the point. Republicans who have health care coverage don't care one hoot about those who don't, or else, they would stop this exhausting banter and get down to doing the right thing.

I'm energized by people who do the right thing, aren't you?

Getting health care reform accomplished will energize a country where political fatigue is now the politically correct way to deal with problems. Just take the oxygen out of the debate and the patient will suffocate. Shame on everyone who has become an obstacle to helping 30 million Americans get health care coverage.

I'm sick and tired of Republicans who don't want to share their good health care coverage with less fortunate American citizens who deserve better.

Hi Julie,

Pandora's box has been opened by the many forms of communication we have and there is no such thing as debate any longer on health care programs. It's just astounding to see our Congressmen refuse to even think about the lower economic levels of our American society who have been suffering through the decades. When they are talking about the options people have for a health care plan, they are not talking about people without jobs or those already devastated by disease or accidents. As I understand the health care system, everyone with a health plan is already paying for those without insurance through higher premiums--just like with automobile insurance.

Perhaps it should be suggested that each Congressman reveal his personal health plan and what the premiums are. Wouldn't everyone be surprised at the deal they have?!

Caroline

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Saturday, February 20, 2010

Progressives On the Move: Engage Maine



Democrats and Republicans are equally mystified about why a 60 vote super majority in the US Senate didn't move health care reform legislation to a definitive vote, at least not yet. I recently told a Democratic activist and leader in Augusta's Maine State House that it didn't make any sense to be a registered Democrat if the party isn't leading. Why be a Democrat when the party doesn't take a firm stand for something and stick to it?

I know state legislators who say they don't want to rock the political boat because it might mean loosing the next election. Give me a break (!) - they worry about the next election, in Maine? We live in a state with term limited legislators. Eventually, in a state with a population of only 1.2 million people, there's plenty of time for the tenacious of heart to be re-elected, given the rate of legislative turnover.

Out of this timid political re-activeness, one group bolting out of the gate to change the debate is Engage Maine. It's young, progressive, intelligent, professional and doing what no political party dares to say publicly these days. Engage Maine is standing for progressive values where others fear to tread.

In fact, Engage Maine is supporting a professional communications campaign to raise awareness about the importance of raising revenues to meet Maine's budget needs. Yes, indeed, ladies and gentlemen, step right up and see the one, the only, the amazing - brave group of activists who dare to use the "t" word in public.

Taaaaa-daaaa!

Remember when taxes meant revenue sharing? Like, revenue sharing to improve essential government services, as well as to support social programs like long term care, public health, education and the right for every citizen to have health insurance coverage. People too quickly blame the current Great Recession on everything economically dismal these days. But, it was during the Great Depression of the 1930's when Social Security was implemented. In my opinion, the Great Recession is a Red Herring - a diversion from the social responsibility we have to make meaningful changes for the future.

Engage Maine is a re-emerging precious relic of the days when taxes meant spreading the wealth so every one's quality of life is enhanced. Rather than costing money, Engage Maine supports revenue sharing for the purposes of stimulating jobs and economic prosperity. They in Engage Maine are the future everyone talks about when we say, "Let's do it for our grandchildren".

Why fear taxes? Taxes will get America out of the debt everyone is so worked up about. Taxes will help our nation's crumbling highway infrastructure and improve our antiquated railroads. Taxes will support public health technology so people will have access to better vaccines when pandemics like the Swine Flu H1N1 unexpectedly erupt. Taxes will allow all women access to expert reproductive health care at a time when birthing babies should be a bonus to families and our aging society's progeny. In other words, taxes and the accountability about how the revenues are appropriated, will improve American lives. Want proof? Look at Singapore. Can't get there from here, you say? Well, Canada is a beautiful and good example of revenue sharing.

Of course, negative people say America doesn't want to be like Singapore or Canada. People who make these ill informed statements have obviously never been to Singapore or Canada. To believe the Singaporeans or Canadians have a lesser quality of life than Americans is preposterous. These governments require their people to pay taxes- but the value of their investments are obvious.

I congratulate the movers of Engage Maine, with the Honorable Ben Dudley, himself a former Maine legislator, in the lead. It's admirable to see a state like Maine, with the oldest population of all 50 states, engaged with an energetic progressive group of dedicated people who factually exemplify the state's motto "Dirigo" (I lead).

Perhaps Engage Maine will produce visionary leaders the likes of Franklin and Elenore Roosevelt. I'll be glad to remain a Democrat with people like Engage Maine, who stand firm against the current political status quo of ambiguity. Thank you Engage Maine.

http://www.engagemaine.org/web/

Thanks for the comments posted on this blog and to my e-mail Juliana@mainewriter.com

Comment from Andrea in Massachusettes to mainewriter: We need an Engage America!!! The state of our government with our partisan squabbling is so disappointing. Nancy, Harry, Sarah and Dick are the voices in the media and they will never choose to find common ground. Therefore, it's very difficult to move forward. Maybe Maine can lead! Andrea

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Sunday, February 14, 2010

Passion and Politics on St. Valentine's Day

Passion is a word easily associated with sex.

Making the connection with politics, the New York Times columnist David Brooks says he looks for passion in social movements because that's where the future lies. In other words, majority groups don't move the world. Rather, it's the small passionate numbers who initiate change, says Brooks.

This is my opionion: I think there's plenty of historic precedence for this passion concept, like the American and French Revolutions among the many examples. Brooks' statement on political passion is not new news. But, on Valentine's Day, it's worth a blog discussion about how passion is impacting on America's conservative Tea Party movement.

Indeed, the Tea Party's political dunkers are a group steeped in passion. Although I've not seen a flavorful manifesto, the likes of politico Newt Gingrich's Contract with America, the brew of passion stirred up by The Tea Party can probably be summarized on the palm of your hand.

Here's my selection of three Tea Party issues as I read and absorb them from the media:

1. Patriotism - Tea Party activists play the "I Love America" bagpipe like they blended the concept all by themselves. In my opinion, they believe the way to be patriotic Americans is to drink ideas like medicine from the cup they hold. Well, this is a bitter way to define Patriotism. A la Tea Party patriotism is not a passion I'm willing to accept. Patriotism is a sexy seductress, especially when it's clouding freedom of expression in an aromatic cauldron of Red White and Blue steam. For example, is it patriotic to criticize the President of the United States, who is designated as our country's leader in the US Constitution, because he uses a teleprompter to give speeches? It's more patriotic to praise American technology for bringing teleprompter technology to the aid of every person in the world who can afford to use it for public speaking.

2. Taxes - This is the shop where Tea Party proprietors sell their wares. They don't believe in paying taxes, but why? Do these people drive on highways? Do they know it was Republican President Eisenhower who used the power of the government's right to eminent domain to build our nation's highway system? Do Tea Party people receive Social Security Benefits? Do their families have relatives who live in Nursing Homes receiving Medicaid? Look at our nation's struggling public health system. Tea Party people shouldn't complain about Swine Flu (H1N1) because, without public health money, there would be no vaccine available. Have you noticed how the number of mortality numbers reported in H1N1 cases has declined since the vaccine finally became available? Why was American one of the last civilized countries to have this vaccine? It's because the public health system is operating on financial life support, that's why. Tax money is the water our public health system drinks to stay current with modern science. Influenza vaccine is still being made using the same technology in place 45 plus years ago - yet, DNA science is available to vastly improve our ability to respond to a pandemic with vaccine. Oh, hell (!), I'm going to throw this argument overboard because it's a drumbeat sinking into the rhetoric of health care reform.

3. Big Government - Tea Party people are passionate about overthrowing big government. Nonetheless, we don't hear what kind of government would be better suited to our taste. Big government is a strong tasting euphemism for no government at all - which means we'll drain down our US Constitution to a piece of antique paper protected in a sealed vault. If government is reduced to a study of history, then the US Constitution will be no more relevant than the ancient Dead Sea Scrolls that were found sealed in pottery canisters centuries after they were written.

On Valentine's Day 2010, I prefer my passion to be appropriately placed in romantic sentiments rather than controversial political discourse. Physiologists maintain that sex and politics are immersed in the same areas of the human brain. I wonder if there is a tea remedy for this potentially harmful synapse? Like a chicken soup for the passionate brain made with tea and bitters, maybe?

Activists like those in the right wing Tea Party would be better off, in my opinion, if their sexual preference for political passion was kept in the privacy of their bedrooms.

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Sunday, February 07, 2010

Palin Report Card - and blog comments

Note - in the 24 hours since I first wrote this blog, Sarah Palin already failed another test. She couldn't answer a question from a comentator on FOX-TV without reading crib notes written on the palm of her hand. http://www.usnews.com/blogs/mary-kate-cary/2010/02/08/palin-hand-notes-are-alarming-embarrassing.html

Palin gets a F for not knowing what priorities her tea party candidacy should focus on if they (or she) runs for president of the USA. (Comments at end of this blog from Barry in Maryland and Joe in Bangor, Maine).

It's time to give Sarah Palin a grade for her performance as a wanna-be public person. She was a failed Vice-Presidential candidate in the 2008 presidential election. Her one term as governor of Alaska failed to be completed. Let's see, she failed to answer questions a 6Th grader could have responded to when interviewer Katie Couric asked what newspapers she reads. During her 2008 nationally televised vice-presidential debate with Vice President Joe Biden, she failed to remember the man's full name, calling him "Obiden" at the end of the program. We later learned her faulty memory was triggered to recall his first name, which is why she asked in the opening of the debate if she could call him Joe ("Can I call you Joe?", she asked). Palin simply could not remember the name "Biden", her handlers said in a recent 60-Minute TV interview.

Palin fails history and geography. There is no way she can see Russia from her Alaska window in the state's capital Juno. Moreover, McCain campaign handlers said Palin did not even know about World War I or the Korean Conflict.

Okay, Palin has a best selling book "Going Rogue". Who wants to elect a rogue Presidential candidate? Going Rogue means she made a decision to be a dishonest, knavish person; a scoundrel (http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/rogue). I give Palin an F for her book, too. I don't particularly care for dishonest, knavish people and neither do others I know. Ms. Palin forgets, our US Constitution was not designed by Rogues, but, rather, by intellectual men. Our nation is great because we are law abiding people, not rogues.

All the hype about Sarah Palin is dangerous because she is rogue. Her brand of politics is dangerous because she plays on negative emotions. When was the last time you heard Ms. Palin say something positive, or constructive or even helpful? I give Palin an F for intellectual capacity. She can, of course, do extra credit work by coming up with one helpful or constructive thing to say about the USA that isn't couched in right wing politics.

Senator John McCain, you let a dark genie out of the bottle when you chose Palin, and she isn't going to be corked back inside. Nonetheless, since Senator McCain created the Rogue, he should be the person who tells her to go back to Alaska and stay there. She's beginning to smell just like the fish we throw away when it hangs around too long without cooking.

It's unhealthy to eat spoiled fish. Likewise, it's becoming dangerous to let Palin carry on about politics when she can't even say the name Biden correctly.

If John McCain is the patriot everyone gives him credit for being, then he should prove it again by facing down the political mayhem he created with Palin's rise to media-ocrity. Please help us to put the tea bagging "rogue" Palin back in the genie bottle. I'll give Palin a grade of C if she peacefully takes her piles of book and speaking monies back home to Alaska.

Note received from Barry in Maryland (used with permission): "Palin Report Card" article - I just want to tell you it is an excellent piece and right on the money. Palin and all her negative freenzy hoopla is bad enough, but what really scares me is how many people believe and follow that type of nonsense. Thanks for the Report Card, Barry.
Note received from Joe in Bangor, Maine who wants readers to know about www.kingoftheroadmusic.com. Joe says, "I don't enjoy Sarah Palin. I remember seeing and hearing her go on and on talking about the American Armed Forces who are doing God's work. (Listen!), No matter who does it, I have a hard time believing it is God's work. Then, I just saw a clip of her talking about playing the War Card with Iran. She was chastising President Obama for not being stronger on Iran....Let's see now...we are in two wars and Sara is suggesting we play the War Card. I suggest that Sarah be the first one to volunteer to attack Iran. She won't take my suggestion because she happens to be too busy making tens of thousands of dollars milking out those unfortunate folk at their Tea Party."

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