Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Jane Hamsher is Right

Forcing taxpayers to send trillions to private insurers for junk insurance is just plain wrong.

Anyone who thinks that mandating payments to insurance companies is healthcare reform should get a mandate to do a stint in reform school.

This non-partisan message is right, too:

If the current healthcare bill becomes law, it will be a healthcare disaster for the citizens of this country.

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Thursday, December 24, 2009

Shopocalypse Now

Once again, ‘tis the season in which I celebrate not celebrating Christmas. It’s a personal tradition, begun 20 years ago, that’s only gotten easier over time.

Distancing myself from Christmas wasn’t something that happened all at once, it happened in increments as I abandoned one destructive Christmas ritual after another until none remained. Call it “tapering off,” if you will.

You see, Christmas is a holiday tradition that no longer works for me, primarily because it’s touted as a religious tradition and there’s no room in my life—or in my philosophy—for religion. A second reason is that Christmas has devolved into a shopocalyptic spending frenzy that’s become a cash cow for corporations at the expense of everything else.

If shopping ‘til you drop, then working ‘til you drop to pay the tab is your thing, go for it. But count me out. I prefer to celebrate this holiday season in observance of my new tradition—blogging about how and why I kicked the old tradition.

Harry Kwanukkahmas!

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Monday, December 21, 2009

Winter Solstice

December 21st: The winter solstice, shortest day of the year.

This is also my shortest post of the year. Serendipity? Or synchronicity?

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Friday, December 18, 2009

When Public Education Fails, Useful Idiots Proliferate

One of the drawbacks of lower tax revenues is that education is always among the first of public services to take the hit. As tax revenues decline, the quality of education goes down. School districts, deprived of essential operating funds, react by gutting curricula, laying off teachers, shortening the school year, expanding student-to-teacher ratios, and—in extreme cases—closing schools. The net results are a general dumbing-down of the population and a plentiful supply of useful idiots to provide the labor necessary for wealth creation.

Because most corporations don’t volunteer to fund public education (and usually vehemently object when it’s suggested that they do so), I can only assume that they want workers who are just smart enough to do the work, but not smart enough to ask questions or think independently.

This is yet another way corporations game a system they’ve been instrumental in contriving. Once again they reap all of the benefits without incurring any of the costs. But, with their sole raison d’ĂȘtre being to assure maximum profits for their investors, it’s probably foolish to expect corporations to act in contravention to those ideals.

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Thursday, December 10, 2009

A World in Transition

An excerpt from the novel, Pipeline, by Peter Schechter:

“. . .. The Americans are shortsighted; they won’t see that a long-term dependency on Russia is a strategic trap. They can’t get beyond their big cars. Their crazy use of water. Of electricity. Spend, spend. Consume, consume. The United States is incapable of change. It survives on a mountain of overconsumption and debt. They can’t change their culture, so they will jump at any chance to keep things the way they are.”

[Note: Italics are mine]

We Americans are an arrogant lot for the most part. Enamored of our ingenuity and cleverness, our privilege, we blindly stumble toward the future without regard for the consequences of our actions or critical analysis of probable outcomes resulting from the choices we make. Short-term profits override the need for long-term survivability, and critical topics like sustainability, economic stability, species extinction, environmental degradation, climate change, infrastructure repair and replacement, resource depletion, food and water security, energy independence, healthcare reform, fair elections, and myriad others are backburnered because vested interests wish to maintain the status quo.

This short-sighted approach to the future by business and political leaders—they’re virtually one and the same—all but guarantees that the U.S. will continue down the road to third-world status. But that’s probably a good thing. We Americans have been resource hogs and energy spendthrifts for far too long. Getting knocked back a peg or two will do us all some good, and give each of us pause to consider where we, as a nation, are heading, and how we plan to get there.

“In the future, our children’s understanding of what we broadly call “energy” will differ greatly from our own. How we, as citizens, relate to what we use to drive our cars, fuel our factories, heat our homes, and brighten our computer screens will change radically over the next twenty-five years. America’s leaders face choices today that will decide whether tomorrow this transition will be traumatic and impoverishing or deliberate and enriching.” —Peter Schechter

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