Monday, September 28, 2009



"For example, insurance corporations are infamous for denying coverage to anyone with a pre-existing condition รข€“ things like cancer, or that ingrown toenail you had 20 years ago. The National Women's Law Center, however, recently revealed another "condition" that can preclude coverage: domestic violence. Yes, eight states allow insurance giants to categorize "getting beat up by your spouse" as a pre-existing condition!"

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Leading Dem Plans To Blow Up Deal With Big Pharma

Leading Dem Plans To Blow Up Deal With Big Pharma

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Friday, September 25, 2009

We're Number 37

On September 12, thousands of angry white folks marched on Washington. This was billed as part of Glenn Beck’s 9/12 “Movement” but in light of the fibbing that went on about the number of people present, I prefer to call it the Million Moron March. Many of the nowhere-near-a-million are angry about the possibility of health insurance reform. The idea of everyone having access to health care sends these folks into a tizzy. They’re all wound up about the deficit, and spending. It sure is great to see folks getting concerned about US spending – but you have to wonder where they’ve been for most of the last decade.

The US spends approximately $12 billion each month to occupy the country of Iraq. We have about 100 military bases there – down from the 300 we had at the height of the war. . The hope is to whittle that number down to 6 huge bases, as we “withdraw” from Iraq. There are over 1.5 million pieces of equipment that must be removed, when we “withdraw.” It is estimated that the cost of the debacle in Iraq is going to be about $3 trillion when all is said and done. This war costs each US family about $100 a month. I wouldn’t attempt to speak for all of you – but I’d rather have health care, myself.

The US built the largest, most expensive, and easily the ugliest embassy in world history in Iraq. It is 10 times larger than the UN complex in Manhattan. The embassy complex has 20 buildings. It’s bigger than the Vatican. Why? No one has bothered to explain to we the people why such a thing is necessary. We’re also funding a $17 million troop barracks in Afghanistan. I’m sure that’s very comforting news to all of us who are unemployed or underemployed. Yep, we don’t have jobs, we’ve lost our health care – BUT – we’re continuing on with the “war on terror.” What that really means is that we’ve chosen to sacrifice the well being of our country and our citizens in exchange for being in a permanent, undeclared state of war.

The US may rank 37th in the world for health care, but we are number one in weapons manufacturing and sales. Isn’t it great to know that we still manufacture something in the US? Apparently the three jobs of the future in the US are going to be making weapons, being military cannon fodder, or working for private companies like Halliburton and KBR. We aren’t too selective about who we sell weapons to, so as a special added bonus those folks will undoubtedly use the weapons we sold them against us at some point, thus perpetuating the endless war.

So far, we’ve killed over 100,000 Iraqi civilians. The costs of the permanent war are staggering – the dead, the injured, (physically and/or mentally) and the money wasted – but not a peep out of the angry white folks about any of that. What gets them moving is the idea that their neighbors might be able to have affordable health insurance.

One of the groups present at the Million Moron March was the American Life League, billed as the largest grassroots Catholic pro-life education organization. If you were thinking, “surely a pro-life group would be in favor of affordable health insurance,” you’d be wrong. They had a big sign reading, “Bury Obamacare with Ted Kennedy.” Not exactly a Christian message, is it? It’s also curious, given this statement from the Resolution on Health Care Reform, from the US Catholic Bishops in 1993:
“Every person has the right to adequate health care. This right flows from the sanctity of human life and the dignity that belongs to all persons, who are made in the image of God... Our call for health care reform is rooted in the biblical call to heal the sick and to serve 'the least of these,' the priorities of justice and the principle of the common good. The existing patterns of health care in the United Sates do no meet the minimal standard of social justice and the common good.”

Operation Rescue is against health insurance reform. These people also claim to be good Christians, and pro-life – but they don’t want women and potential fetuses to have affordable health care. It sure seems mighty contradictory, doesn’t it? Instead, they’re bellowing that the health care bill (which doesn’t exist yet) will use taxpayer funds for abortions. From what I’ve read, this isn’t true – but truth isn’t of any importance at all in the “debate” about reform. In the media only one side is being represented; the side the Republicans, Teabaggers, and Evangelical Christians are on.

The group Focus on the Family is against insurance reform. Apparently good, focused families don’t get sick. Gary Bauer of the group, “American Values” is opposed to health insurance reform. It seems that affordable health insurance is not an American value. Gary was, however, a big supporter of George Bush and the war in Iraq – and bent over backwards to justify torture. Torture, it seems, is an American Value.

These are people who claim to believe that every person is made in God’s image, which would seem to indicate that they would deny God affordable health insurance. Matthew 22:36-40 quotes Jesus (in part,) “Love your neighbor as yourself.” Who would Jesus refuse to heal?

The endless war and killing isn’t even being discussed. The possibility of reforming health insurance is cause for angry displays at the grassroots level and the shocking rudeness we saw aimed at the President, on the floor of the People’s House. Our national priorities are a mess, and we are fast turning into a country impossible to recognize, much less be proud of.

"Of all forms of inequality, injustice in health care is the most shocking and inhumane."
--- Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

If you look at the bottom right hand corner of the Bury Obamacare sign, it says ALL, which stands for American Life League, with a little fetus attached to it.

© sbruce 2009 Published as an op-ed in the Conway Daily Sun on Sept. 26, 2009

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Mending Broken Hearts at Sacramento's New Tent Village - Christina Davidson

Mending Broken Hearts at Sacramento's New Tent Village - Christina Davidson

The story of a former US soldier and his wife, newly homeless because of medical problems. This is the kind of story that is NOT being told by the mainstream right-wing, corporate media. Is this really the way we want people in our country to live? How is it that we can spend TRILLIONS on the war/occupation of Iraq, but we can't take care of our own? What has happened to our country?

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Thursday, September 10, 2009

Socialist Handwashing

This week, kids all over NH and the rest of the country were back in school, where I would have presumed we all want them to study, get good grades, and behave in a mannerly fashion. Fortunately, the right wing mainstream media showed me the error of my ways.

It all started with President Obama making a televised address to our nation’s school children. I learned from Glenn Beck that this was “unprecedented” in our history. In fact, Beck advised parents to keep their children home from school that day. This unprecedented speech was deemed so subversive, that children should not even be allowed to hear it. Meredith Jessup of called it “a massive abuse of government power.” Laura Ingraham of Fox News said that Obama’s intent to speak to children, “smacks of an underhanded attempt to influence these young people.” Monica Crowley of Fox said, “It’s something Chairman Mao would do!”

The superintendent of schools in SAU 56 in Strafford County chose to ban the speech from schools in that district. Some schools in Manchester chose not to broadcast the speech. Parents were hysterically calling school superintendents across the state, paralyzed with fear that their children might be exposed to this frightening speech – and the even more frightening suggested follow up activity. Not only did Obama (who we know isn’t really the president because he was actually born in Kenya) want to give a speech, he wanted to encourage the kids to write themselves letters with ideas about how they could help him. He wanted them to…think. What could be more frightening?

It’s a good thing I paid attention to the mainstream right wing media. Otherwise, I might have found President Obama’s speech to be rather typical of what anyone might say to kids at the beginning of the year. I wouldn’t have known that telling kids to study, get good grades, and use good manners was actually deeply subversive. I would not have known that suggesting kids wash their hands a lot and stay home if they’re sick during flu season was actually a secret code leading to socialist indoctrination. Luckily, Michelle Malkin, Sean Hannity, Glen Beck, and everyone at Fox News showed me the truth and the light.

Okay – time to crawl out of the sar-chasm. Glenn Beck is a lying sack of dirt. A cursory Google search would have revealed that a televised presidential address to schoolchildren is hardly “unprecedented.” I’m betting that when St. Ronnie Reagan and George H.W. Bush did it, no one was comparing them to Chairman Mao, or accusing them of attempting to indoctrinate our children. I’m betting that no one in the media suggested to parents that they should keep their kids home from school that day rather than listen to the president. It was heartening to read that most parents in our area did not succumb to the kind of hysteria generated by the media.

It was disheartening, however, that not a single one of our NH Republicans spoke out against this fear mongering. Where was Judd Gregg? Where were our local Republican Party leaders? They all told us it was our duty to respect the last president, yet they are strangely silent when it comes to this one. Not a one of them has spoken up to say that those who believe Obama is not a US citizen are crazy people. Not a one of them has spoken out against the constant, idiotic labeling of Obama as a “socialist.” Not a one of them has spoken out against the disrupting of town hall meetings, the lack of civility, or the outright racism inherent in all of this. Let’s not bury our heads in the sand, people. The constant drone about Obama’s otherness has everything to do with his race. No one would have accused Clinton of “socialist indoctrination.” For all of his faults, Clinton at least had the right skin tone for the US presidency.

We all like to decry the political divide that has been carefully fed and nurtured in this country – yet here we have parents who are teaching their children that only white Republican presidents should be respected. They are teaching divisiveness, fear, and prejudice to their kids, who will grow up and pass that kind of anger and bigotry to the next generation.
Why was the right so fearful of Obama’s speech to kids? One can only conclude that encouraging kids to study, get good grades, and have good manners might cut down on the number of future registered Republicans.

The 12th annual Climb Against Cancer will be taking place on September 19th, at Cranmore Mountain. This is the yearly fundraiser for the local group known as Jen’s Friends, a group that helps valley residents as they battle cancer. There is still time to register as a hiker, be a sponsor, or donate money to the group – all of which can be done at . I hope you never find yourself opening an envelope with a gift card for gas in it, and find yourself sobbing in relief, knowing you’ll be able to afford to drive to Maine for radiation treatments. In fact, I hope you never have to learn firsthand what a great organization this is.
Sign up. Raise some money, go for a hike – and know that this will help folks in our community who are fighting for their lives.

The reprehensible, racist picture of President Obama is being given space to counter all those who will attempt to tell me that all this has nothing to do with racism. Horse hockey. It's ALL about racism.

© s bruce 2009

This was published in the Conway Daily Sun on Sept. 11, 2009, as an op-ed.

We're Number 37