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Category Archives: health care

Do the Right Thing

I and many others think, after Bush’s 8 years – the Republican Party deserves to die. Its popularity is at an all-time low as NPR reports that now less than 25 percent of the country identify themselves as Republicans, which is good news except . . . the Republicans are DESTINED for a comeback. Sure it may not be this midterm, and Obama will most likely serve two terms, but they are DESTINED to come back eventually . . . no matter how badly they lie and rape this country up the ass . . . why?

Simply because there is no other choice! Of course!

Now, even though the number of Americans who know how goddawful Republicans are is at an all-time high, the entire country lives in the shadow of their inevitable return. And it IS inevitable.

Let’s say for argument’s sake Obama stops moving at a snail’s pace begging for Republican assent at every goddamn step of the way (I can see him in an old folk’s home decades after his last term has ended, ‘I’m THIS close to bipartisanship!’), and accomplishes at least a handful of great things . . . eventually the same old script is going to call for ‘change’ and the voters will turn the levers for ‘change’ and what will come back up will be the only other option: the GOP. The GOP then will not tarry for Democratic assent on anything they do, and will once again set world records for raping and pillaging and murdering brown people overseas before plundering their assets, stealing from the poor, eating babies and snapping old people’s bones to use as toothpicks. [Republicans work on coke. They will look at Bush’s record with a head full of Bolivian marching powder and say, ‘How can I top that?’] All of Obama’s potentially good work could be thrown out in nanoseconds. So what is the long-range plan?

How does progressive America get out from the shadow of the inevitable Republican return?

And a related, but separate question: how does progressive America keep the Democrats as a whole from not turning into Lieberman-like douches? How do we convince those Democrats who believe in the ‘left-right spectrum’ and try to stay in the ‘middle’ of that idiotic faux-metric to instead ignore that b.s. and do the RIGHT thing and what the MAJORITY OF AMERICANS BELIEVE IN, and take a stand for healthcare for all, clean air and clean water, social justice and all that general flower child actual humanist hullabaloo? [Do not be afraid of the label ‘from the left side of the Democratic party’ or the ‘radical side of the Democratic party’ when what you will be doing with healthcare for example, is saving lives. You have corporate profits on one side and American lives on the other – it’s that fucking simple. As always the public forum has been gassed with mass corporate b.s. and the conversation flounders.]

Why don’t we stop using this odd direction-based analogy in describing what kind of society man wants to live in? Ditch ‘left’ and ‘right’ and start talking about doing the right thing. Saving lives at the expense of corporate profits is doing the right thing. That’s not an opinion. That is a fact tinged with just the smallest scintilla of human compassion.

How are we doing?

If the latest OECD report is any indicator, not so well. As Bernard Chazelle notes:

Here are the US rankings out of the 30 OECD countries (1 is best; 30 is worst — worst as in Somalia-like). The names of the countries even more Somalian than the US appear in parens.

Infant Deaths: 28 out of 30 (Mexico, Turkey).

Life Expectancy: 24 out of 30 (Mexico, Turkey, Hungary, Poland, Czech & Slovak Republics).

Health Expenditures: 1 out of 30.

Poverty Rates: 28 out of 30 (Mexico, Turkey).

Child Poverty: 27 out of 30 (Mexico, Turkey, Poland).

Income Inequality: 27 out of 30 (Mexico, Turkey, Portugal).

Obesity: 30 out of 30.

Incarceration: 30 out of 30.

Work Hours (ranked in ascending order): 30 out of 30.

Height (women): 25 out of 30 (Mexico, Turkey, Korea, Portugal, Japan).

Height (men): 24 out of 30 (Italy, Spain, Mexico, Portugal, Korea, Japan).

OECD countries: Turkey, Mexico, Poland, USA, Spain, Portugal, Ireland, Germany, Italy, Canada, New Zealand, Japan, Greece, Luxemburg, Australia, Netherlands, Slovakia, Korea, Czech Republic, UK, Belgium, Switzerland, Hungary, Iceland, France, Austria, Norway, Finland, Sweden, and Denmark.

Of course, as Bernard mentions, those darned French folks sleep more, are taller (this will come to haunt us before too long in Olympic basketball competitions), work fewer hours, and are still skinnier on average than US residents. It couldn’t possibly have anything to do the combination of high stress, those overly long work hours, and poor diet endemic to the US.

Seriously, note the disconnect between health expenditures (where we really are #1) and measures of quality of life such as infant mortality rate, life expectancy. Get the feeling that our “privatize or perish” approach to practically all social concerns should be renamed “privatize and perish”?

Thank goodness we don’t live in a third-world plutocracy. Oh wait – never mind…

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