Thu Aug 17, 2006
The Occupation? Fuggedaboutit!
an email I saw..
What a stroke of luck – 10 days before a war breaks out in Lebanon, we buy an apartment in Nahariya.
We had been looking for a place for about a year. We went to Cyprus to check out the beautiful new communities on the northern shore – it’s quite a bargain, if you don’t mind settling in occupied territory. We thought about Mauritius, but the savings on real estate would be offset by the costs of flights there. So finally we settled on an apartment under construction in Israel’s sweetest little town on the Mediterranean coast – just 5 miles south of the border with Lebanon.
We were looking for a sea view. Had the balcony already been built, we would have been able to watch the Israeli navy array itself along the coast, laying siege to Lebanon. We wanted to be close to Kibbutz Sa’ar, just north of Nahariya, where one of my grown daughters lives, except when she evacuates herself to safer points south. And we wanted a getaway from turbulent Jerusalem, somewhere we could spend long quiet weekends and eventually a serene retirement. Several dozen rockets dropped into her kibbutz and our serene neighborhood this weekend.
In listening to the media, to my neighbors, to the gas station attendant, I am amazed by the lack of comprehension: “We leave Gaza, they shoot missiles at us from there. We leave Lebanon, they kidnap our boys. How do they expect us to leave the West Bank? Fuggedaboudit!”
These views, expressed by most Israelis these days, can only fill me with awe at how the Big Lie works: Repeat it often enough, publicly enough, by political and spiritual leaders, and the whole country/world will begin to believe that Israel is innocent of all wrongdoing and that these attacks emerged from a political vacuum:
As if there is no occupation. As if there is no siege on Gaza. As if there are no 39 years (and counting) of military and political oppression with all the killing, maiming, home destruction, and livelihood wrecking that this entails. What is it about “end the occupation” that they don’t understand?
No, I do not justify Qassam missiles or Katyusha rockets hurled at Israeli towns or the kidnapping of anyone (even armed soldiers in tanks). I do not justify any attacks by missile or suicide bomber or remotely detonated device.
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Fri Jun 23, 2006
Medicare and "Why Conservatives Can't Govern" by Alan Wolfe
Anyway back to our regularly scheduled program. I've had a couple posts on Medicare - which has turned my fathers small business into a vertiable non-profit. He's making much less on each transaction - and the insurance and drug companies are making more. The conservatives in power left out the small business people in the new Medicare plan it seems. It's made a huge impact on his bottom line - to get the patients on new plans the work load becametwice what is was before.
Since January it has become less work to deal with the program, the biggest amount of work in dealing with the new plan is over. But even so, he says for each Medicare transaction he is making even less money than before. So little it doesn't even make sense.
The Wal Marts and the mega stores can absorb this - both the time and the money. I saw a sign in a big mega store with a pharmacy that college pharmacy interns would be available to help seniors choose a Drug plan. For a large store with a number of Pharmacists and technicians on staff, the extra work can be absorbed.. And the diminished return on the sale. But for a small store, with 2 or 3 employees, a great influx of time in dealing with this, and a decrease in profitability on each item, it hurts them so much worse..
And the ironic thing is that when the government imposes a more complicated system and limits the amount of money that can be made, it sounds like some kind of 'liberal' do-gooders imposed some regulatory bureacracy. But no, the complexity of the current system comes from the conservatives just letting the insurance companies write the new Medicare system.
The insurance companies and the drug companies make more.
The small town pharmacy makes less.
Pretty soon there will be no more small town drug stores, just giant Wal-Marts, and all the money you spend will not go back into the economy, destroyed small towns with their best chances of an economy are to pick up tourism dollar in recreating the glory of the American small town yesteryear.
Is this the laissez faire free market, or a new bureaucracy written by various big business lobbies in collusion with their so called 'family values' conservative who would just as soon see Wal-Marts and Dollar stores take over every small town?
In the following essay by Alan Wolfe in the Washington Monthly, "Why Conservatives Can't Govern", he argues that conservative have an inherent contradiction in governing and making public policy.
Anyway, it's a great read, and here's a quote from it about Medicare:
The question of whether Medicare reform will prove politically fruitful for Republicans is still open. But the question of whether it has proven to be an administrative nightmare is not. There were two paths open to Republicans if they had been interested in creating an administratively coherent system of paying for the prescription drugs of the elderly. One was to give the elderly nothing and insist that every person assume the full cost of his or her medication. The other was to have government assume responsibility for the costs of those drugs.
But Republicans were just as unwilling to design a sensible program as they were unable to eliminate the existing one. To prove their faith in the market, they gave people choices, when what they wanted was predictability. To pay off the pharmaceutical industry, they refused to allow government to negotiate drug prices downward, thereby vastly inflating the program's costs. To make sure government agencies didn't administer the benefit, they lured in insurance companies with massive subsidies and imposed almost no rules on what benefits they could and could not offer. The lack of rules led to a frustrating chaos of choices. And the extra costs had to be made up by carving out a so-called "doughnut hole" in which the elderly, after having their drug purchases subsidized up to a certain point, would suddenly find themselves without federal assistance at all, only to have their drugs subsidized once again at a later point. Caught between the market and the state, Republicans picked the worst features of each. No single human being could have designed a program as unwieldy as this one. It took the combined efforts of every faction in today's conservative movement to produce a public policy so removed from common sense.
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Mon Mar 20, 2006
on listening to right wing radio
Wow, Listen to this Rush Limbaugh wannabe, Lars Larson try to debate Portland State University Conflict Resolution professor Amanda Smith Byron with classic style black and white thinking. - MP3
He keeps saying the same things, over and over.
It's painful to listen to right winger hate radio. They barrel over the callers, isolating one thing they said out of context, chipping away and trying to get the guest worked up so their knuckle dragging listeners can cheer and jeer when the sensitive and intelligent person gets the final shout down from the angry father type who ain't gonna take it no more.
The 'Medium is the message', I guess.
This is what our media give us in the land of the 'free'? The equivalent of aural bitch slapping for sport, making a mockery out of any issue in order to make sure an humiliate those who dare to have critical thinking?
I met a wonderful Iraqi woman, Eman Ahmed Khamas, who is in Portland for 2 days for speaking engagements. She talks about her experience in Baghdad, as an Iraqi, and a woman, and as someone who believes the US troops should leave. She mentioned being on a right wing show here where she was shouted down, they laughed at her, and she didn't even know how to deal with it. To her she couldn't understand, because they invited her, and they just wanted to talk over her, cut her off and take her out of context, and jeer at her. Really when you think about it, it's like we are putting immaturity and agressiveness on a pedistal with all these shows.
I look at the dozens of grisly photos and video stills of civilian casualties from high altitude U.S. Bombing that Eman took herself in Baghdad, listen to stories of people disappeared, and I wish to God that other people in this country would start seeing things like this, hearing people like Eman.
Sometimes I think how it seems like we as a society have been going backward.
Right-wingers, have you brought any Iraqi people to your churches lately to speak about their misery? When a mother who has lost her soldier son asks the president 'was it worth it', do you ask her what her political party is? Did you think that the military alone would be able to just go out and 'fight them over there, so we wouldn't have to fight them over here'? Have you brought a soldier to your church who has pulled the trigger, and not known how to live with himself? How complicated life has become, nuanced in shades of grey rather than the utopian and dare I say Stalinist black and white that your flunky cheap labor fear mongering corpratist party mouthpieces have coached us to? Have you figured out their populist nationalism is just a schtick, and they are preying on you, while feeding your vicimization back to you, as all these right wing radio hosts have been doing for the last 15 years? Is it time to start questioning those who wrap themselves around the flag and kissing cross while ripping both to shreds?
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Sun Mar 06, 2005
Corporate Communication, Circa 1997.
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Thu Nov 18, 2004
Now Is Not the Time For National Unity!
by Nicholas von Hoffman
A little disunity, please. Let’s get divisive, gang. No national healing—raw wounds, anger and resentment. This is the moment for accusations and recriminations.
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Wed Nov 03, 2004
you gotta be injured or sick to heal -
and I am neither. Distressed, worried, powerless, threatened. Those do not require healing, they require satisfying action. A change in situation. The gloating iowahawk is right on one point - learn from your mistakes. I hope the leadership of the Democratic party gets the point - what they are doing isn't working. Read more...
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Tue Nov 02, 2004
GET HIM OUT
dammit! cringing. can't work much now that i've done my part. fuck. I don't even know where to watch the Laker game tonight. Fuck. Ok, gotta clean house....
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Tue Jul 13, 2004
UPDATE: Yesterday was International Link to JC.C Day. I missed it!
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