January 30, 2011

Uncloak the Kochs: Eyewitness Account of the Rally

As an unknown blogger, I find it interesting to watch well-known bloggers treated as members of the media, with everything from priority seating at a panel discussion to multiple quotes in mainstream press.

I also find it interesting that the entire day in Rancho Mirage was created for consciousness raising. Here's one of my tweets from today:

[from @socialupheaval] Feels lacking a real plan beyond today Answers to what action to take lacking @ #UncloakKoch panel

Here's the response I got:

[from @CommonCause] @socialupheaval there is a plan; as @VanJones68 says, 1st step is lifting consciousness. That's today. Tmrw we go forward together.
Actually, what Van Jones said was that he was caught off guard being given the microphone to answer the question what action steps are next for the event. He said he didn't plan the event, Common Cause did, but if he had to answer the question, we should connect with our neighbors and increase awareness of the issues.

See here's the thing: 1,000 people show up in Rancho Mirage. Most of them traveled long distances to get to the rally. Did they not know why they were traveling out of their way for a rally?

We who spent 4+ hours traveling to and fro on Common Cause buses; we who were told we are the leaders we are waiting for - we were looking for concrete action we could take to implement the values expressed by the panelists and rally speakers. We could have formed action groups: meeting up with people from our local areas to develop plans. If Common Cause had a plan for grassroots, cross-organization movement building, their staffers who rode the buses with us could have engaged us in that vision, and helped us find a way to contribute to those clear local steps forward. Instead, we're told to enjoy our consciousness raising.

To be clear: I've been involved in progressive activism for 20 years. I still get a thrill from gathering with like-minded activists. I love that I came on a bus to the desert and met up with two different Wellesley sisters (who don't know each other). I was truly inspired by Van Jones.

But, I'm still wondering: what's next? Where do we go from here?

Posted by cj at 9:05 PM | Comments (1)

November 4, 2009

Healthcare, faith, healing, fixing the system

There are pages of thoughts behind this post.

Let's start with how radically broken the US healthcare system is. Radically, meaning at the root: at the root of the problem is the notion that gambling on whether I get sick or not is a rational way to fund health care. "Health Insurance" has no place in a rational society that recognizes the human right to health: and that in general, human beings should not be punished for the state of their health. Since its takes humanity to create the ills that befall us (see rising cancer rates. increases in asthma), humans as individuals cannot carry the burden of modernity.

Some people react to the randomness of the world by believing in religious healers. Though it is true that your mental and physical states are closely aligned, and that moral psychology can help diminish dis-ease, US healthcare will not be made better by inserting Christian Science into the officially sanctioned list of disease fighters.

At the end of the day, "prayer treatments" are probably a sham, and definitely have no place in the federal healthcare overhaul bill. But it's a minor, farcical side note to a larger transgression: in the name of political expediency, the Democratic Party threw its principles away to convert a minority, mis-informed conservative cabal that believes Economics & Individual Responsibility & Free Trade Greed will cure the US healthcare crisis.

"Healthcare provision seeks to embrace prayer treatments," by Tom Hamburger and Kim Geiger in the LA Times

At a later date, I hope to have time to continue this thread.

Posted by cj at 10:05 PM | Comments (0)

June 22, 2009

The Human Right to Health Care

I find it frightening that the mainstream media's coverage of the health care debate includes absolutely zero advocates of single payer health care. Instead, the Sunday talk shows drone on about what a drain that would be on the capitalist system. Politicians actually lament that if we allow the government to compete in the health care industry, it's a slippery slope to creating government corporations in computer manufacturing and every other capitalist industry.

Then the moderates pipe in that it's a shame Obama is flirting with subsidized health care, but it will be okay if the public option is a thousand and one tiny co-ops, never allowed to amass the scale needed to challenge the for-profit system.

Let's get real, folks. As the majority of US'ians know, health care is a human right, not another financial derivative waiting to be cashed in on. Being a female thyroid cancer survivor should not force me to spend $55 more than the average US'ian at CVS every single month. [My average monthly spend at CVS is $89, whereas the average US monthly spend is $34, according to Mint.com].

I noted my gender in addition to my cancer status because my dear health insurance company determined that I must pay a monthly penalty for choosing name-brand birth control; I am gouged $30 more per month than I was on my previous employer's health insurance plan.

Let's be clear: I did not choose to be susceptible to the environmental damage wreaked on my hometown by decades of military contractors. Since it is vitally important for me to maintain a steady dose of thyroid hormone, and since that hormone reacts to the levels of other hormones in my body, it's necessary for me to take brand-name birth control to ensure I always get the same amount of estrogen in my system. But nevermind all that nonsense, because a profit-seeking medicine gatekeeper decided that I must take generics whenever they are available. I can only be grateful that they didn't decide to gouge me for both medicines I take monthly.

Right, so to bring this personal frustration back to the political sphere, let me just repeat: the state of ease or dis-ease in my body is something for my doctors and me to control. No one should be able to complain that I'm not a great customer because I'm a cancer survivor: I'm a wonderful customer, since I help keep those damn pharmaceutical companies in business!

Do you know the modern health insurance industry was born in the 70s? In forty short years, they've bamboozled us out of more money than any other industrial country and created some of the worst health statistics.

What is so frightening about single payer health care? Is the upper middle class really afraid the poor will over-crowd their hospitals? (This is the argument I heard while waiting 2 hours to be admitted to Cedar-Sinai Hospital for pre-scheduled radiation treatment...as I sat, slightly delirious because I was off my meds, famished because I wasn't supposed to eat 3 hours before swallowing the toxic treatment, in the admitting waiting room while other about-to-be-patients ate their lunch and the entire intake staff took lunch at the exact same time.)

Do people really think government bureaucracy is more inept than corporate bureaucracy? At least the government has citizens' needs as their number one priority. When your primary motivation is profit, what does it matter if you kill someone by denying them treatment?

I'll never understand why more US citizens don't rise up and demand single-payer health care. I'll never understand why the former darling of the Democratic party, Senator Max Baucus refuses to allow single-payer advocates a seat at the negotiating table.

Posted by cj at 9:44 PM | Comments (1)

June 15, 2007

It's Time for Universal, Single Payer Healthcare

For a peak into the life of a cancer survivor who - thanks to family help - maintained COBRA between jobs which allowed her to get life saving treatment when needed - and thanks to her current employer has health insurance, visit my other blog.

Here in California, we should all be supporting Sheila Keuhl's healthcare bill (SB 840). It is the most comprehensive one around. It is not welfare for the insurance industry. And now, it's supported by Michael Moore and the California Nurses Association.

I'm not a big fan of the CNA. I find their organizing tactics repulsive at times; but on this issue we agree: healthcare should not be a profit industry. Healthcare is a human right.

Posted by cj at 2:52 PM | Comments (0)