Category: politics


Today the “news” announced that 26 years olds (up from 23) can now be insured on their parents’ corporate insurance plans as of today. My daughter is 24. She can get back on my plan. Except my company plan has to have it’s annual “enrollment period” which lasts for 4 months. So I can enroll her now but she can’t be insured until January and that will only last for another year and a half. Meanwhile our rates have gone up 17%. For many they have gone up well over 30%.

But I want to let all the corporate insurance companies out there know how much I appreciate their compliance with the law to allow my daughter to have health care for another 18 months. After all, we all owe our very existence to the corporate insurance industry. It is only by their willingness to let us pay outlandish premiums that we may live yet another day, at least until we actually do get sick and they deny coverage.

We must all pull together and do whatever we can to make sure the insurance industry continues to make its record profits for shareholders. These people need jobs. God knows they aren’t capable of doing anything productive for society. It’s a small price to pay that so many will die (45,000 annually – 15 times 9/11) so that so few may live so lavishly. The few, the proud, the greedy, the  shameful – the U.S. health insurance industry. Be proud and stand up for who you are.

The following post is from Dr. Irma Strantz with a important update on California’s SB810, a state bill that would allow a single payer healthcare system in California. The new federal law passed in March allows states to implement a single payer system. But the fight is not yet over.

This would eliminate the cruel unjust practices of California insurance companies in who continue to deny healthcare to people for the sake of profit, resulting in poor public health and even death to those who lack adequate health care, unlike every other modern industrialize nation in the world.


Have you heard that SB 810 passed by a vote of 13 to 6 on June 29th in the Assembly Health Committee?  The hearing lasted about an hour, with Senator Leno providing a strong defense for it’s passage and Health Committee Chair William Monning thanking him for keeping this healthcare reform vehicle alive, stating that it is “as timely as it has ever been”.  Among the “in-person supporters” who lined up and briefly testified were representatives from California Nurses Association, Physicians for a National Health Program – California, Health Care for All – California, League of Women Voters – California, California School Employees Association, California Teachers Association and California Labor Federation. The landmark health care reform legislation, previously vetoed twice by Governor Schwarzenegger, now proceeds to the Assembly Appropriations Committee for a hearing and vote in July or early August. Pending a successful Appropriations Committee vote, the bill will be heard by the full Assembly and if approved, will go to the Governor for signature.  That may happen in September.

Now what we need to do is write our Assembly members on the Appropriations Committee and urge their YES votes for SB810.  When the Assembly Health Committee staff summarized the bill, they showed more than 300 letters of support received from organizations and individuals throughout California!  Our letters make a strong statement, and thank you for taking the time to send one!  The Chair of the Appropriations Committee is Assemblymember Felipe Fuentes.  Local Assemblymembers Charles Calderon and Mike Gatto sit on that Committee and they should hear from us as well.

The mailing address for each of these three Committee members is: PO Box 942849, State Capitol, Sacramento, CA 94249-0058.  For emails, you can use Assemblymember.Fuentes@assembly.ca.gov and then substitute the name for each of the others (i.e. Calderon, Gatto).

Thank you for your continuing efforts in support of SB810!

Irma Strantz, Director
Health Care for All – San Gabriel Valley Chap.

I DO NOT RECOMMEND GIVING TO THE RED CROSS.

I volunteered as an RN and also worked for Red Cross in the 1980’s. They are not that same organization since Elizabeth Dole became the first of several questionable ‘CEOs’ in the 1990’s. ARC DOES NOT ALWAYS USE THE MONEY COLLECTED FOR THE PURPOSE IT AS DONATED! ARC controversies ensued after 9/11, Hurricaine Katrina and after the SriLankin Tsunami. ARC has a much lower ranking with www.charitynavigator.org than many other worthy service groups and relief providers.

I did medical relief work in New Orleans just after the hurricaine…and the Red Cross was shameful in it’s hands off distancing from those in need. They even refused to give aid to Latino resident hurricane victims who didn’t have their ID’s. Gathering millions of dollars in donations, ARC sent trucks to the Common Ground Relief storage, attempting to take our donated supplies which we were distributing to areas in need that Red Cross wouldn’t even go to! Some Medical volunteers who came with the Red Cross defected to other groups due to frustration with the organization’s lack of genuine assistance to the disaster victims.

Read about these scandals /problems if you are interested. Articles from the LA Times, NY Times, Wash Post, Toronto Star detailing ARC transgressions can be found at www.commondreams.org . search.

1. Partners In Health
888 Commonwealth Avenue
3rd Floor
Boston, MA 02215
tel: (617) 432-5298
fax: (617) 432-5300
EIN: 04-3567502
Mail donations to:
P.O. Box 845578
Boston, MA 02284

RANK 66.98 ****

MEDICAL care. Dr. Paul Farmer and Tracy Kidder longtime Haiti advocates recommend this group. They have operated in Haiti for 20 years.
Mission

Founded in 1987, Partners In Health’s (PIH) mission is to provide a preferential option for the poor in health care. The work of PIH has three goals: to care for our patients, to alleviate the root causes of disease in their communities, and to share lessons learned around the world. Through long-term partnerships with our sister organizations, we bring the benefits of modern medical science to those most in need and work to alleviate the crushing economic and social burdens of poverty that exacerbate disease. PIH believes that health is a fundamental right, not a privilege. PIH works in Haiti, Rwanda, Peru, Russia, USA, Malawi and Lesotho, and supports projects in Mexico and Guatemala.

2. Doctors Without Borders, USA
333 Seventh Avenue
2nd Floor
New York, NY 10001
tel: (888) 392-0392
fax: (212) 679-7016
EIN: 13-3433452

RANK 61.22 ****
Providing trauma and surgical care.

Mission

Doctors Without Borders, USA (DWB-USA) was founded in 1990 in New York City to raise funds, create awareness, recruit field staff, and advocate with the United Nations and US government on humanitarian concerns. Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) is an international medical humanitarian organization that provides aid in nearly 60 countries to people whose survival is threatened by violence, neglect, or catastrophe, primarily due to armed conflict, epidemics, malnutrition, exclusion from health care, or natural disasters. In 2007, MSF-USA raised $152.1 million and sent 200 aid workers to work overseas.

Doctors Without Borders/ Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF)

Haiti Earthquake Response – Doctors Without Borders
donate.doctorswithoutborders.org
Your gift today will immediately support emergency medical care for the men, women, and children affected by the earthquake in Haiti. Please give as generously as you can to our Haiti Earthquake Response and help us save lives.

3. Operation USA

Disaster relief & development since 1979

International : Humanitarian Relief Supplies

Operation USA
3617 Hayden Avenue
Suite A
Culver City, CA 90232
tel: (800) 678-7255
fax: (310) 838-3477
EIN: 95-3504080

RANK 68.30 ****

Mission

Founded in 1979, Operation USA helps communities alleviate the effects of disasters, disease and endemic poverty throughout the world by providing privately-funded relief, reconstruction and development aid. We provide material and financial assistance to grassroots organizations that promote sustainable development, leadership and capacity building, income generating activities, provide education and health services, and advocate on behalf of vulnerable people. Operation USA rapidly and expertly provides on-the-ground aid by sending vital life-saving supplies and cash grants to assist communities in rebuilding. Partnering with grassroots organizations, Operation USA specializes in reaching vulnerable populations who are in the greatest need, yet who are often ignored by governments and larger aid organizations.

4. Oxfam America
226 Causeway Street
5th Floor
Boston, MA 02114
tel: (800) 776-9326
fax: (617) 728-2594
EIN: 23-7069110

RANK 63 ****

Oxfam assigned to lead aid groups on water and sanitation Update: During the next two weeks, Oxfam will coordinate international aid groups on the ground in Haiti in the delivery of emergency water and sanitation services. Water is the most critical need in a country where this week’s earthquake left at least 250,000 people homeless.

5. United States Fund for UNICEF
125 Maiden Lane
New York, NY 10038
tel: (800) 367-5437
fax: (212) 779-1679
EIN: 13-1760110

RANK 61.55 ****

Mission

The United States Fund for UNICEF was founded in 1947 to support the work of the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) by raising funds for its programs and increasing awareness of the challenges facing the world’s children. The oldest of 37 national committees for UNICEF worldwide, we are part of a global effort to save, protect and improve children’s lives. Every moment of every day, UNICEF is on the ground providing lifesaving help for children in need. We provide families with clean water and sanitation, we vaccinate against childhood illness, and we help protect children against malaria. We provide nourishment to fight malnutrition, and we care for children affected by AIDS. We protect children from abuse, and we give them an education. We are here to make sure that all children lead a healthy, humane, and dignified life.

I generally am skeptical about the “name” pundits and media stars like Olbermann, Maddow and all the experts they have on their shows that they repeatedly call on to explain things. Even though I generally agree with them, their shows always end up balancing the political spectrum as if the true place where the world should exist is somewhere between the right wing nut tea baggers and the progressives who want universal health care and an end to all war.

Think about that for a minute. What kind of world is it where we agree to accept war just to balance the political spectrum? Why isn’t war horrifically wrong and something that should never ever be resorted to as long as people can talk things out. It’s not like the middle ages where in order to negotiate you have to travel thousands of miles to meet with your foes. Every nation in the modern world has an open dialog with every other one. The fact that we attack territories like Iraq or Afghanistan to rid ourselves of “terrorists” is absurd. No group of people or enemy lives within the borders of any single country. If you attack them, they simply pick up and move to another territory, just as Al Qaeda exists in countries all over the world.

Paul Krugman - Nobel Prize Winning Economic Scholar

But back to the media pundits. Paul Krugman is one that I find a little less “balanced.” That’s a good thing. He attacked Obama for the selection of the same assholes that brought down our economy as the people to run our treasury and economics. He was left out to dry by the media for that, which indicates to me that he was doing something right. The media is owned by conservatives, even MSNBC, the one thought of as progressive. Olbermann and Maddow take their stories from their higher ups at MSNBC based on what is marketable to the progressive leaning audience. The fact that MSNBC is bent as far as it is toward progressives, indicates that progressives are actually close to center and not on an extreme end of the political spectrum. But when Olbermann talks about Limbaugh or the Fox News dickheads, he’s just giving them free advertising. If he truly thought they were of as little importance as they really are, he’d ignore them completely. They are nonentities and don’t exist in my world.

Now the Senate just passed a healthcare bill and Krugman is applauding that as a great step forward. Is Krugman trying to get back into the media spotlight by going middle of the spectrum here?

Krugman writes in the New York Times article, Tidings of Comfort, about the split of people into three distinct areas of the political spectrum: the far right teabaggers, the fiscal conservatives and the progressives, as if this defines left, right and center.

First, there’s the crazy right, the tea party and death panel people — a lunatic fringe that is no longer a fringe but has moved into the heart of the Republican Party. In the past, there was a general understanding, a sort of implicit clause in the rules of American politics, that major parties would at least pretend to distance themselves from irrational extremists. But those rules are no longer operative. No, Virginia, at this point there is no sanity clause.

A second strand of opposition comes from what I think of as the Bah Humbug caucus: fiscal scolds who routinely issue sententious warnings about rising debt. By rights, this caucus should find much to like in the Senate health bill, which the Congressional Budget Office says would reduce the deficit, and which — in the judgment of leading health economists — does far more to control costs than anyone has attempted in the past.

But, with few exceptions, the fiscal scolds have had nothing good to say about the bill. And in the process they have revealed that their alleged concern about deficits is, well, humbug. As Slate’s Daniel Gross says, what really motivates them is “the haunting fear that someone, somewhere, is receiving social insurance.”

Finally, there has been opposition from some progressives who are unhappy with the bill’s limitations. Some would settle for nothing less than a full, Medicare-type, single-payer system. Others had their hearts set on the creation of a public option to compete with private insurers. And there are complaints that the subsidies are inadequate, that many families will still have trouble paying for medical care.

Unlike the tea partiers and the humbuggers, disappointed progressives have valid complaints. But those complaints don’t add up to a reason to reject the bill. Yes, it’s a hackneyed phrase, but politics is the art of the possible.

The truth is that there isn’t a Congressional majority in favor of anything like single-payer. There is a narrow majority in favor of a plan with a moderately strong public option. The House has passed such a plan. But given the way the Senate rules work, it takes 60 votes to do almost anything. And that fact, combined with total Republican opposition, has placed sharp limits on what can be enacted.

There may not be a Congressional majority in favor of single payer, but there is (I think) a popular majority among all Americans in favor of it, or would be if they understood what it really is and were not misinformed by conservative owned media.

And that’s at the heart of what’s wrong in the U.S. government. It doesn’t act on the will of the majority. It’s not representative. This is one fact that pretty much all of these three groups agree on. Taxation without representation is alive and well.

The other point here is that progressives are painted as far left of center, when in fact they are more middle. With the extreme right moving into the spotlight in the Republican party it makes progressives perceived as being far right only because of a popular obtuse sentiment that these two groups have to be balanced.

Nothing could be farther from reality. Progressives don’t balance with right extremists any more than right balances with wrong. You might think that right does balance with wrong, and if so then you exemplify my point. If right balances with wrong then we should allow just enough crime to balance with the good that people do. If a hero saves a life then it should be OK to murder someone for balance.

And so for Obama and others to say we have to compromise and balance the political spectrum is completely absurd, irresponsible, and morally corrupt.