earthwater's blog

Hillary's "glass ceiling" voter drive

Boldly taking on one of the most important issues of our time,

AP — Washington — Tue Mar 6, 6:31 PM ET
Democratic front-runner Hillary Rodham Clinton called Tuesday for the majority of voters — women — to help her break the nation's highest glass ceiling by electing her the first female president.

And that's right in line with what kos wrote in the Washington Post ten months ago:

WTF does Hillary stand for?

If you visit John Edwards's website, there's a nice, prominent tab labeled "Issues," where a few of the biggest issues are discussed.

Go to Barack Obama's website, and "Issues" brings you a bigger variety of our current concerns.

At Dennis Kucinich's website, "Issues" is right there handy, and you get a mission statement, plus Dennis's top ten.

There are also "Issues" links for Chris Dodd, Mike Gravel, Bill Richardson, Wes Clark, Joe Biden, and ten minor candidates. (The Rev. Al Sharpton has not announced, and has no candidate site yet.)

Each of the other candidates' websites have an "Issues" link, but if you want to know where Hillary stands on the issues, good luck.

Health Care for Insurance Companies?

I'd just like to bring another blog to everyone's attention; I hope this is okay, as I don't have much to add. DrSteveB at DailyKos presents an outline of recent proposals for "universal health care" that he says benefit the insurance companies and don't do much for the people in the way of bringing low cost health care to everyone. I'd be grateful for your comments, either here, or at his blog.

Canadians reject terror laws; CIA caused 9/11

Canada will not renew anti-terror legislation that stemmed from the hysteria following the 9/11 terrorist attacks in the US. The vote came after the Canadian Supreme Court struck down one of the provisions, said BBC News:

"On Friday, the Supreme Court ruled that a system allowing the government to indefinitely detain foreign-born terror suspects or deport them violated the Charter of Rights and Freedoms."

Apparently, Canadians feel a lot safer and calmer now. There have been no attacks on Canada. Why was the US targeted, any way? Why do the terrorists hate us, and not Canada?

This week, Amy Goodman interviewed former CIA consultant, Chalmers Johnson, on Democracy Now!. You can hear/watch/read this eye-opener HERE. Johnson is the author of the Blowback trilogy, and he talked with Goodman about his latest in the series, Nemesis: The Last Days of the American Republic. Among his not unexpected, but nonetheless startling to hear confirmed, revelations:

Every president, when he takes office, is told about his secret, private army, the CIA, which he can use for assassinations, destabilization of foreign economies and governments, or for any purpose he chooses, with impunity, even if those actions are illegal. Since the agency was formed in 1947, no president has declined to use the CIA for clandestine warfare. These operations are kept secret from the American people. When there is retaliation ("blowback") for these covert operations, the American people don't see the connection.

Any health care reform we can get

that isn't as stupid as the shrub's plan is all right with me. I've plugged Verla Insko's Health Care for All bill, and the National Health Insurance Act (HR 676), and cheered almost any reform idea that comes along, because any step in the right direction is a start.

In an opinion piece that came out today, Phil Mattera of the Corporate Research Project asks,

"Why are we keeping a hopeless, for-profit health insurance system alive?"

You can read and comment on his article here.

Mattera opines on what each of several political figures want to do about health care reform, but basically all he says about John Edwards is that Edwards wants to tax the upper class to help the uninsured. I think Mattera has overlooked the most important features of what John Edwards is proposing to do, and how it could lead to phasing out private insurance companies' involvement with health care. Edwards recognizes that it's just not politically viable for us to jump straight to National Health (a la the United Kingdom or Canada). At this point in time, the insurance lobby is just not going to let fully nationalized health care happen, and Edwards knows that. What he calls for is to have both at the same time; consumers[I hate that word] people can individually choose between private health insurance or public health insurance, but everyone will be required to have one or the other. Because public health, like Medicare, will be more efficient, the insurance companies, in competition with public health, will have to streamline, tighten up, and (though Edwards doesn't say) accept more modest profits. Edwards sees this as a good way to transition, and his vision beyond is that eventually the people will vote on whether to keep a dual system or go fully to National Health. (It'll be a no-brainer.)

Party Unity

I've been reading *Crashing the Gate*, and it really drives home the point that because of divisiveness over every splinter group's special interests, the Democratic Party hasn't accomplished a whole lot since the 70s, the Republican right has torn down much of what we did accomplish, and we have the worst president ever. They give an example of one good progressive Democrat who was defeated because he happened to be anti-abortion, while his far right Republican opponent was pro-choice. If NARAL had put its special interest aside to get this seat, they would have been in no danger of an anti-abortion vote, but the party would have been stronger for it.

That's the trouble we're in because of our narrow special interests, and we only have to look to the Republicans to see how we should be shelving those interests and focusing on gaining effective political power. Power first; special interests will have something done about their specific issues later.

Medicare Reimbursement for Acupuncture

The Hinchey bill, HR 818, would have Medicare pay for certain qualifying acupuncture services. Do you think it's a step in the right direction? As it is right now, most acupuncture services are like spa treatments for the upper socioeconomic strata. A few beneficent acupuncturists run low-overhead community clinics with semi-private treatment areas and a low, sliding-scale fee structure, not requiring proof of income but empowering patients to decide what they can afford, seeing a lot of working-class patients, and at an average of $20 per visit, patients can afford to come enough times for slow but sure acupuncture to resolve stubborn problems. I applaud this kind of effort, and hope it catches on everywhere. We really need a lot more community with each other, people. But Medicare reimbursement of acupuncture sounds like a great idea, with private insurance sure to follow.

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