Thursday, December 17, 2009

Health Care Reform the Great Hoax

If you have been following the Health Care Reform Debate recently you have witnessed one of the greatest sell-outs in the history of politics. Many people will tell you that politics is a dirty game. I think that it is a toilet inside of a cesspool surrounded by a nightmare. No one inside of the system escapes being soiled and no one outside escapes having their interests trashed.

I have followed presidential politics from Eisenhower to Obama, and I am absolutely astounded at the fact that the successor of FDR, JFK and LBJ lacks the balls to stand up to his own caucus. When faced with a bullying, strutting, self serving egotist such as Joe Lieberman the 44th President caves in like a tower made of wet tissue paper. Oh he is beautiful and smooth and smart; however, I am beginning to believe that all of the intestinal fortitude in the Progressive Democratic Party Leadership is sitting in the Secretary of State’s Office.

Following his magnificent collapse Obama seems to have sent his minions in the Senate out to the cameras to instruct the American people not to be greedy, take what we can get and that nothing has really been lost. Perhaps this is the most appalling thing of all - to bargain away any chance we had of real health care reform then to stand and tell us that we don’t see what we see, hear what we hear and know what we know. My mother used to say of people who engaged in this behavior, "The empty wagon rattles the loudest." Empty they are - of decency, compassion, honor and often brain power. They still have their even emptier slogans though. "Don’t let the perfect be the enemy of the good," code for the needs of the American People aren’t really the issue.

We began this Health Care nightmare with the idea of a single payer system. We are the only wealthy industrialized country in the world that doesn’t cover all of its citizens. Many of the countries that have the single payer model are not using a socialist foundation. It might behoove some of the empty wagons rattling in this country to acquaint themselves with the difference. Thanks to Senator Olympia Snowe - whom I don’t remember seeing on the presidential ticket despite Obama's need to placate her at every opportunity - and some other so called bi-partisan Republicans single payer was pushed into the cesspool as the public option emerged.

The public option was predicted to be a government run plan that the uninsured and others could buy into. It was to be not-for-profit and therefore cheaper to run. This would have offered competition to the private health care insurance providers and encouraged the lowering of costs. Once again for the benefit of the empty wagons rattling about government take over and socialized medicine, this is neither. The public option, as the word option implies, was a choice.

Down the toilet with single payer and with the help of Senator Max Baucus’ Finance Committee, into the cesspool with the public option as the Medicare buy in materialized. The buy in would allow people 55 and older to buy into Medicare. This is a group of people who are very difficult to insure. Onto the scene comes Joe Lieberman, the Senator from Aetna, to flush single payer down the toilet and push the Medicare buy in into the cesspool.

What is left? A windfall/bailout for the insurance companies shored up by individual mandates to carry insurance. Penalties to be exacted by the IRS. What becomes of the employer mandate? Will employers drop their employees from coverage secure in the knowledge that the individual must provide their own insurance?

Supposedly there are some consumer protections. However, the health care insurance industry has been dancing around consumer protection for years. Particularly, when they have, as they do now, someone to carry their water in the White House. This is a bit like forcing tax-payers to do business with organized crime.

The real sadness of this is that the President and the Democratic Senate had a chance to do something monumental and historic for the American People. Instead, like very brilliant surgeons with the opportunity to remove a heretofore inoperable tumor they decided that rather than using the best equipment, the finest medications and the most excellent technique they would bleed the patient because the man who owns the leech pool contributes to their campaign. Herein lies the rub, as the Bard said. We have the finest government money can buy. Most of our so called leaders of both parties and all descriptions spend a good deal of their time sporting Joan-Crawford-Hurt-Me-Pumps, strolling up and down K Street singing "Love/Influence for Sale" to passing lobbyists. There is a name for people who behave this way, and it isn’t Mr. President or Senator.

Finally, a word to the Tea Baggers and the Freedom Loving Patriots who have fought health care reform at the behest of corporate sponsors these many months. Aetna is tossing several hundred thousand people off their rolls soon to protect their profit base. Odds are that some of you will be in their number. Perhaps your corporate friends like Dick Armory will help cover any and all of your medical expenses in the weeks and months to come. Of course, we know that you won’t want to accept government subsides. Good luck with all of that.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Obama, Health Care and Other Political Scapegoats

I remember very clearly when George W. Bush was elected - or should I say appointed by Scalia - in 2000. The media, many liberals included, placed their soft little cheeks up against Bush’s rosy red bum and chattered about wanting to have a beer with him. They happily lowered the bar and watched their new leader stumble through the White House and the English language for about a year and a half. By then it was clear to even the dullest, working reporter that Bush was not only a fool, but a dangerous fool under the control of one of the most malignant ideologues in the history of American politics - Dick Cheney. Suffice it to say that the media was roundly ridiculed by the American people and even some within its own ranks for their starry eyed refusal to investigate thoroughly and report objectively on the Bush Administration’s embarrassing war in Iraq, blundering in Afghanistan, attempted extermination of the Middle Class, and incompetent management of the economy.

I have followed politics in this country for the better part of half a century, and these things I know:
The media seems never to admit its mistakes unless it stands to be sued, with the exception of a few truly remarkable journalists like Ms.Rachel Maddow on MSNBC.

The media never forgives or forgets. The media will get even, if not with the object of their vengeance then with a reasonable facsimile. Therefore, since they have absolutely no power to hold Bush accountable anymore they are hot after his successor - President Obama. Our 44th President has been over scrutinized, over criticized and over speculated about. Now at nine months in office he is expected to have fixed the economy, solved health care, solved the global warming problem, sent unemployment back into the low single digits, not to mention cleaning up Wall Street, Iraq and Afghanistan. Sometimes I wonder if some of the heads squawking at me from behind my TV screen are insane. Let’s face it, even George W. Bush, a virtuoso among the inept, couldn’t screw all these things up in only nine months.

There are a number of excuses for this behavior, but only one honest name for it - scapegoating. That is to say blaming one person for the failings, shortcomings or mess made by another. It isn’t just the media. Oh hell no, the Republicans have been doing it with increasing vehemence since Obama was elected. Those on the right are the people who followed and supported Bush, allowing him to spend the Conservative movement into near collapse. These are the people who didn’t argued with him or take issue with his policies until very late in his administration. They are dreadfully unhappy with the result of Bush’s years in the White House and would rather call Obama a Socialist then look at their own culpability.

In social psychology scapegoating is a hostile hallmark of dysfunctional group behavior. In politics it is business as usual. Still in all, the scapegoating isn’t the worst manifestation of disease-like behavior in our government. With the passage of the House’s Health Care Bill, H.R. 3962, we saw the trading of a few Democratic votes - many of which did not materialize - for the right to undermine a woman’s lawful exercise of her reproductive freedom. This was an act of extortion that suggested the psychopathology of sever narcissism.

It seems to me that there are with a few exceptions three kinds of people currently serving in government and using these and other pathological tactics to support their personal agendas. First, the whores peddling their influence up and down K Street. These are the people who routinely sell their constituents out for campaign contributions. Second, the religious zealots, career misogynists and parasitic capitalists who pick and choose the principles of the Bible, the Constitution, and the Free Market that support their bigotry, cruelty and greed. I am thinking specifically of the Democrats who promised to vote for H.R. 3962 if the Stupak antiabortion amendment was passed. After passage of the amendment many of them voted with the Republicans against reform. They are liars, and their voters should consider removing them from office on the grounds of trustworthiness, authenticity and commitment. Finally, there are the want-to-be lifers. Men and women who expect to be buried from the House or Senate and will do nothing that might interfere with that. They vacillate, procrastinate, and sit on their hands until the vote is safe. They are the most treacherous of all because they are fundamentally and deliberately inert.

Such mental and moral midgets are always casting about for scapegoats to shield them from the ramifications of their own narcissistic and duplicitous actions or inactions. Barak Obama is their goat of choice currently. However, ideas can also be used as scapegoats to cover up the real motives behind political action. For instance, this ridiculous Stupak amendment, steeped in Christianity, is being used to deny one group of people health care unless another is disenfranchised. Religion has always been used as a tool to exercise illegitimate control over the feminine mind and body. Women are entitled by law to abortion services and other forms of reproductive medicine.

Make no mistake about the fact that the purpose of Stupak is to stop health care reform not abortion. As the Democratic and Republican Right well know, the Hyde amendment passed on September 30, 1976, already prohibits the use of taxpayer dollars for abortion services. Cynically realizing that Pro-Choice will not be denied the legal options guaranteed under Roe v. Wade, the amendment’s proponents hope to force the left to vote down its own health care bill if Stupak is part of that bill. In other words, Stupak and his tribe are unwilling to say that they wish to deny the American people a sensible health care reform bill - for whatever reason - so they are making a scapegoat of a Woman’s Right to Choose and pounding the Bible to do it.

What a show some of our lawmakers put on, strutting about, talking out of both sides of their mouths, wrapped in the flag and proudly displaying many of the personality traits of a successful serial killer, to wit: over 18,000 people die every year without health care coverage in America; our infant mortality rate is one of the highest in the world - yes, a very successful serial killer indeed .

Saturday, September 19, 2009


There are days when my mind reels with the contradictions around me. I want to scream that it can’t all be true at once. For instance, the following arguments cannot be supported side by side without admitting to the most grotesquely immoral of stipulations:

One cannot espouse a pro-life position, defending the rights of the unborn, while simultaneously supporting politicians and state governments that allow health care insurance companies to deny prenatal coverage to many women on the grounds that pregnancy is a preexisting condition.

Stipulation: Some unborn babies have no rights in the service of profit.

One cannot be identified as a freedom loving American demanding liberty while simultaneously denying fellow citizens the freedom of action and choice to protect their life.

Stipulation: My liberty is more important than your life - even if I don’t know what the hell I am talking about and believe that all kinds of things are in the Constitution that are not.

One is not a patriot who disrespects and threatens the Commander and Chief of the United States of America.

Stipulation: African Americans cannot be Commander and Chief of the United States of America.

Walking a righteous path requires more than mouthing political talking points and serially vomiting selective and/or misquoted passages from the Bible. Using the head for something other than a showcase for a vicious and destructive mouth is a place to start. Without very much effort a little thought might indicate that two diametrically opposed principles cannot cohabitate in the same truth. One must be a lie.

I have seen a lot of things in my sixty years. I saw a president cut down in the streets of Dallas. I saw a man walk on the moon. I saw human organs transplanted and the fall of Communism. I have seen the Internet, email and Twitter. I have also seen the truth twisted into lies and fall to ashes in the mouth of a self-serving and opportunistic political ideologue. I left the wilderness of youth behind me long ago, and am entering old age and the wisdom of the Goddess. With all I’ve seen and all I’ve learned, this I know. There is no power in the world, human or other, that can work the liar's alchemy backward.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

There Are More Things In Heaven and Earth . . .

Liberal. 1. Having, expressing or following political views or policies that favor civil liberties, democratic reforms, and the use of government power to promote social progress. 2. Having, expressing or following views or policies that favor the freedom of the individual to act or express themselves in a manner of their own choosing. The American Heritage Dictionary, Second College Edition, Houghton Mifflin Company, Boston.

Edward M. Kennedy was a Liberal. He was not a Fascist or a Nazi. Those two philosophies are at the opposite end of the political continuum, to the right in point of fact. He was not a Marxist, a Socialist or a Communist. He was not a moderate or a conservative – he didn’t advocate the value of money or rigid social structures over people. Teddy was a humanist, an altruistic advocate of social justice. He loved this country because he realized that his and all liberal visions of social justice can best be realized here.
Over a period of nearly 50 years he promoted, penned and passed some of the most important human rights legislation in the history of our government or any other. From Civil Rights to Voting Rights, from Equal Pay for Equal Work to increasing the minimum wage and much more – Teddy was there. The man never worked a day in his life, outside of government, and yet he was the best friend the working man or woman ever knew. Certainly better than all the “real Americans” who would flush the unions down the drain without a second thought and consider a living wage a burden on business.
Senator Kennedy believed that everyone should have decent housing, food to eat, an education and health care. It is in keeping with the dark irony of his tragic family that he should die before seeing the work of his life completed. I am afraid that his vision of health care for everyone has followed him into the grave at Arlington. It will take ten Democrats to carry his mantel, and we don’t live in a world that cares about social justice anymore.
The elderly stand up in town hall meetings and screech about socialized medicine while collecting Medicare. Seems to me that they don’t give a damn whether or not their children or grandchildren have health care. Idiots wear guns to Presidential venues. What are we suppose to make out of that in a country that has assassinated four presidents, with thirteen near misses and a couple of questionable? Here’s what I make of it. Me-me-me-me-me is the Gregorian Chant of the infant soul. I hear it everywhere making it even more poignant that Teddy’s great voice is silent.
For people who don’t believe in reincarnation take a look around. There are people showing their ass daily, mostly on T.V., who could not possibly have gotten so stupid in one lifetime. I do believe in reincarnation. I hope Teddy comes back, although I can’t imagine why he would want to.
The rose above is a pristine white hybrid tea. Like all white roses this one suffers in the heat of summer. It burns and fades early. Yesterday morning as Senator Kennedy’s funeral began the rose opened and defied the blazing sun. Within several hours the rose unfolded in a cacophony of shades of pale and sweet rose scent. The name of the rose is John F. Kennedy.

Flower Comments

Thursday, August 13, 2009

What in the Hell are They Fighting For?

I have been watching these town hall meetings closely. Between the bouts of nausea and anxiety I keep asking myself, "What in hell are these people fighting for?" Could it be the broken health care delivery system on the verge of implosion? Could it be the multimillion dollar profits of multimillion dollar corporations? Is the working class just a collection of stooges following the ultra rich blindly against their own interests in the name of the Constitution? Could it ultimately be that these angry, shouting mobs of ageing adolescents are stupid enough to believe in intellectual excrement like death panels and government spies in the exam room, and if so are they moronic enough to believe that I or any other medical professional would stand still for such things? What arrogance. What condescending presumption. What a total lack of respect for their fellow human beings. Is this the heart of Christian-Middle America - selfishly defining the world and their fellow citizens exclusively in terms of their vested interests, fears, neurosis and insecurities?

This is all so pathetic. I keep seeing people standing up and tearfully shouting out that they want their country back. Where exactly do they think it has gone? Could this be code for, "I want a white face like mine back in the Oval Office?" Is it possible that we are going to deprive millions of our supposedly beloved countrymen of health care because we haven’t come to grips with our bloody bigotry? There is a sorrow here deeper than any sorrow I ever observed in the psych ward; deeper than any sorrow I ever felt for an alcoholic who killed his family because he was too drunk to know what he was doing; deeper than the sorrow I felt in the OR watching a surgeon repair the tortured veins of an HIV positive, teenage addict. It is deeper because everyone knows that booze and junk lead to addiction. However, we treat hate - the greatest of all mind altering substance - as if it had no deleterious properties, no long term effects.

I see hate, and little else, in these town hall meetings full of rage and belligerence. Hate is addictive, and we are addicted. We hate our government, until a hurricane comes. Our politicians hate the government, but don’t mind sucking off the government tit for thirty or forty years. We hate our president. He is turning the economy around and has cut our taxes, but we hate him still. His face is black. He has a funny name, and certain fools say he was born in Kenya. I remember when certain jug-heads in the House attempted to change the law so Schwarzenegger could run for president. Of course, he is pasty white. We hate other countries. We have savaged Britain and Canada for the last six months because of a health care system they like and we know, "but slenderly," as Shakespeare said. We hate one another. The Sarah Palins, Glen Becks, Rush Limbachs and other unmedicated wack jobs keep this going with the right people and the wrong people; the good people and the evil people; the real Americans and the interlopers; God’s people and the devil’s. They have built a narrow world boarded by anger, hate and resentment with few options. Their followers living within those boarders even hate themselves it seems to me.

President Obama is the president of open boarders and expanded options and possibilities. He forgives his enemies and turns the other cheek. These are Christian virtues, I am told. I wouldn’t know. I am a Pagan and I leave forgiveness to the Goddess. She controls the laws of karma, and deeds return in increments of three. Turning the other cheek makes no sense to me. Never turning my back on the enemy does. I admire Obama, and I am terrified that while attempting to help this country he will be hurt. I am pretty certain that we aren’t worth it.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Blue Dog Democrates

The Blue Dogs are a group of conservative democrats. They have tended to resemble Republicans within the last several months, particularly with regard to Obama's health care plans. My fear is that they will undermine him to such an extent that his health care plan will go the way of Clinton's in the early 90's. Since he has staked so much of his presidency on the promise of affordable health care for every American, I am concerned for his chance of reelection in 2012 if health care goes down. Most people say that the Dogs will stop short of this, but who can tell. It all depends upon how red their state is and how much money they take from the health care lobby.

I am determined if the public option goes down to the interests of the insurance companies - to advocate for the proposition that the people in Congress lose all health care benefits. There is no reason why the American people should subsidize their public servants in what they are denied. I can't imagine that it would be very difficult to stir up against the Dogs and others the same selfish interests within the general public that are now worried about what covering the uninsured will cost them. It is time that Congress lived in the world it creates.

If the Dogs want to be Republicans they should cross the isle. I have written to the leader of the Blue Dogs telling her so. I tried to write to the coalition, but their email is no longer working - imagine that if you can. I am providing some urls for anyone who would like to write. Let’s be clear here, these people live in our Capitol and feed at our government's troughs. Therefore, anyone can write to them who wishes too, regardless of who put them office. coalition leader of the Blue Dogs

Now, if you have reached the end of this blog and are thoroughly pissed off, that would be your problem. You are in the wrong place. I am a Liberal, an unashamed, unabashed Liberal. I believe that people are more important than money. Don't waste my time forcing me to read an angry comment - go find someone with whom you have something in common.

Saturday, July 18, 2009


This morning I caught an ad on CNN. A woman claimed to be a Canadian who needed brain surgery at one point and was told that she would have to wait some ridiculous period of time. I say ridiculous because some of the claims about the British and Canadian systems boarder on malpractice. At any rate, she indicated that she had to come to the US for surgery. It begs the question, what in hell did she use to pay for her care? I know neurosurgeons. I worked with many when I was in institution health care. THEY DO NOT WORK PRO BONO.
There is something really strange about all the crap being spread with regard to health care in other countries. There aren't too many people walking around who could afford to pay out of pocket for resection of a brain tumor. It seems to me that either she is lying or there is something she isn't telling us.


I have stopped watching the news or reading it on line. I refuse to go into the Internet News Chat Rooms that are like nothing so much as toilets. I realize that I am frightened and irritable. I have taken counsel with my good friend Kitty, other wise women and my Goddess. This is what I know.

In the late 60’s I joined the Fabian Socialist. I remained a card carrying Socialist for nearly eight years. Barak Obama has no more resemblance to a Socialist than I do to an NBA star. Most of the political opportunists throwing this term at him like spitballs wouldn’t know a Socialist if they ran over them with a tank.

I left the Socialist Movement when I understood that the logical outcome of the old adage, "What goes around, comes around," and the Pagan Rule of Three is that most people have exactly what they deserve. Still in all, I remained committed to social justice, civil rights and women’s rights. I joined the Democratic Party. Please note the "ic" on the end of the word Democratic. In this phrase Party is the central noun. It is modified by the adjective form of the noun Democrat. Here ends the lesson except to say that politicians who are so self absorbed or lack the perspicacity to speak their native language properly should stay away from the microphones or learn to Sign.

These many years since have demonstrated to me that Democrats use money to take care of people, while the Republicans seem to use people to take care of money. I hear this persistent and ubiquitous rant about the Unbridled, Unrestrained Free Market as if it existed on some soaring, rarefied plain miles above the human condition. It is a tabernacle to wealth and greed of which most people will never own any significant portion, but will exist only to serve. The working class is enslaved by the concept, mouthing the rhetoric of their economic betters like hypnotized children hoping for a sweet. It is group think, group speak, no free thinkers allowed, and they call Obama a Socialist.

The worst of it is the hate speech, the demonizing and the veiled, or not so veiled threats. I sometimes think that we are a nation of one-note-canaries. We are so shrill and so unyielding that we can’t hear the many other notes that would ease our soul and make a beautiful symphony. I feel as if the world has grown dark and bloody as Macbeth’s Scotland. Juxtapose this to the bright promise of President Obama’s election and the darkness fills with a palpable sorrow.

I will enter my sixth decade in November. I have seen a great deal. I know where rage and hate lead, and it is nowhere that any sane person should want to go. I know truly that greed is a deadly sin and not, as some in this country would have us believe, a cardinal virtue. Mostly, I know that true freedom lives in the heart with love and empathy.

Calling Social Security an Entitlement is a Damn Good Way to Get Away with Theft

Here is my problem with so-called-entitlements. I have had Social Security removed from my pay for nearly 50 years. There was no "check if you wish to contribute" box on my tax forms. I wasn’t given a choice. The money taken out of my check was food off my children’s table. Where the hell did it go? Who raided my retirement fund? I am an Italian American, when my ethnic brothers, the mobsters of the 1940s and 1950s, raided the Teamsters retirement fund they were charged with racketeering and sent to prison. Now the modern day racketeers are telling me that I am a drain on society and it isn’t their fault, it is mine. I need to retire later, take less and they have no accountability. I suppose the good news is that we never adopted the Bush plan and put Social Security into the stock market.

Well I have an idea how we can save some money in this country. Cut the salaries of all those serving in the Congress in half. Cut their retirement benefits in half. Most of them may not have Social Security. Their government funded retirement is far better and has never been in question. Anyone now receiving a salary who is no longer serving in government and not of retirement age needs to go get a job, and their funds need to come back into the country’s coffers. Perhaps it is time that we demand that our legislators receive compensation and benefits consistent with the average public servant rather than being spoiled and pampered like an elite ruling class. Above all we need to remember what Mark Twain said, "There is no distinctly criminal class excluding the United States Congress."

Just an opinion.