(no subject)

I had put myself on something of a political hiatus over the past few months to focus on issues of a more personal nature. However, the recent tone in the debates on health care, an issue I feel very strongly about, have made me pay attention.

One thing I have no patience with politicians, or really anyone, about is the idea that people who are protesting or dissenting, are not speaking with their own voice. That somehow they are just parrots miming something others have told them to say. I may think a lot of things about people who protest against things I feel strongly about, but I would never assume that their opinions are not authentically theirs.

Frankly, if someone is just blowing dissent off as fake, with out engaging in the criticisms, then my opinion is they don't have a leg to stand on. If they did they would stand on it. Even if that leg was merely to explain why the dissenting opinions are crazy.

Elderly people worried about what exactly an end of life consultation will really be, is not crazy. Certainly, even if it is not set out to be a question of Euthanasia, things go wonky when suddenly voters no longer have the power to draw the line in the sand. Oregon's euthanasia laws were supposed to be humane, for those who could no longer stand life, and yet a cancer patient is told the state will cover her assisted suicide, but not treatment that will extend her life. Though the state says she mis-interpreted the statement, the fact is they won't cover the meds that will help her, and I have a hard time believing there weren't some beans counted in that equation.

The difference is that if your insurance company tells you that, you have other options. A consumer as big as the Federal Government will negate the options it doesn't believe in. Medicare already has the power to drown out technology it doesn't care to pay for, even if it is safer and better.

So the committee has promised to take that out of the final bill. Let's hope they don't push this through as fast as all the other bills so that we'll be able to double check before they vote on it.

And while we're worrying about things in these proposed bills floating around, let's look at the provision for the government to come in and teach you how to raise your children. Some parents of young children and parents-to-be will get visits from a government worker to help them with child raising tips.

(No, I'm not making this up. Here are two different versions of the bill and the pages where they talk about this:

http://energycommerce.house.gov/Press_111/20090714/aahca.pdf - pg 842
http://docs.house.gov/edlabor/AAHCA-BillText-071409.pdf - pg 838 )

It all sounds good and wonderful. Working to prevent abuse and neglect is a worthy goal. However, especially growing up around plenty of good and well-meaning people, I get worried any time the government gets involved with the raising of children. Yes, some kids need to be protected from their parents, but that goes overboard quickly. Even with well-meaning people.

Besides, not everyone has the same views on the raising of children. I have something against "helicopter parents" and I certainly don't want to be one. But what if my government official expects that kind of parenting out of me?

Frankly, it's just not something the government needs to control.

And that gets to the bottom of what I feel about government-run health care under any innocuous attempt at a name or description.

First, The government has no more money. I don't know if anybody else has noticed this, but they've been on quite the spending spree for the last year. It just isn't there. At the moment nobody can afford more taxes and with inflation on the horizon (oh, I know, they say they're not going to allow that) people are going to have need of even more of their pennies.

Second, name one government program that works well. Even Obama knows the Post Office is always in trouble. Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security, Veteran Care, etc....always in trouble. Government run schools? Yeah, always in trouble. Government is the best way to man a military (and we all know there is no money wasted in the military) and the worst for social programs.

But mostly, I'm against government-run health care because I'm Pro-choice. I know abortion is murder. And yet, as against abortion as I am on a personal level, I realize that guys in Washington can not make one blanket rule that works well for every situation. I don't want my congressperson to have even that much control over my body or the bodies of anyone else I know.

So, since I don't want them to have that much control. Since I don't think they know what is best for a woman who has to make that decision, which would be so simple for me to make, why would I want them to make the decisions for anyone who has a cold or a brain tumor? Decisions about disposable or cloth diapers? Decisions about a cancer treatment or early death? Do you really want Obama to be in charge of your health care? Would you have wanted George Bush to be?

Yes, there are problems in our health care system that need to be addressed; many of them that will not be addressed with government-run health care anyway, but there are better answers for each of them. Answers that do not give over our choices to our congress people.

Because seriously? When was the last time a congressman/woman or senator really drew a line in the sand of ethics that you were comfortable with it?

We can't go on without some Harry Potter, I think

"So I should be in Slytherin," Harry said, looking desperately into Dumbledore's face. "The Sorting Hat could see Slytherin's power in me, and it-"

"Put you in Gryffindor," said Dumbledore calmly. "Listen to me, Harry. You happen to have many qualities Salazar Slytherin prized in his hand-picked students. His own very rare gift, Parseltongue - resourcefulness - determination - a certain disregard for the rules," he added, his mustache quivering again. "Yet the Sorting Hat placed you in Gryffindor. You know why that was. Think."

"It only put me in Gryffindor," said Harry in a defeated voice, "because I asked not to go in Slytherin..."

"Exactly," said Dumbledore, beaming once more. "Which makes you very different from Tom Riddle. It is our choices, Harry, that show what we truly are, far more than our abilities."

Harry Potter and The Chamber of Secrets by J.K. Rowling. Page 333

A Book Well Worth Reading

This was a time of desperate attempts by the Communist Party to maintain communism - or socialism, as we called it - in Yugoslavia. After Tito's death in 1980 there were predictions that the country would fall apart. This was a time of reform of the educational system, of attacks on artistic and intellectual independence (The bijela knjiga, index of 'unwanted' writers, artists, intellectuals), of political trials ...It had become obvious that the system of 'self-management' Yugoslavia was so proud of was a ruse, invented to make you believe that you - not the government or the party - are to blame. It was the most perfect system among the one-party states, set up to internalize guilt, blame, failure, or fear, to teach you how you yourself should censor your thoughts and deeds and, at the same time, to make you feel that you had more freedom than anyone in Eastern Europe.

But Tanja was wrong in one thing: she believed it would go on forever like that - the same newspaper, the same faces, the same cold climate of fear and silent accusations, the immobility of the system - forever the same. What Communism instilled in us was precisely this immobility, the absence of a future, the absence of a dream, of the possibility of imagining our lives differently. There was hardly a way to say to yourself: This is just temporary, it will pass, it must. On the Contrary, we learned to think: This will go on forever, no matter what we do. We can't change it. It looked as if the omnipotent system had mastered time itself. For our generation, it seemed that communism was eternal, that we were sentenced to it and would die before seeing it collapse. We were not revolutionaries trying to destroy it, to bring it down. WE were brought up with the idea that it is impossible to modify the system, to change it eventually from within. Still, if only Tanja had waited. One's life is not a waiting room in a provincial train station, where one sits waiting for a train that might never come. Yet a week before she died, she'd cut her hair short. I don't think women do this if they are thinking of dying. She struggled to survive but in the end she lost.

How We Survived Communism and Even Laughed by Slavenka Drakulic. Pages 6-7.

Also, a link to the New York Times book review of this book. The review itself is worth a read.


(no subject)

I am not among those who fear the people. They, and not the rich, are our dependence for continued freedom. And to preserve their independence, We must not let our rulers load us with perpetual debt. We must make our election between economy and liberty or profusion and servitude. If we run into such debt, as that we must be taxed in our meat and in our drink, in our necessaries and our comforts, in our labors and our amusements, for our calling and our creeds as the people of England are, our people, like them, must come to labor sixteen hours in the twenty-four, give the earnings of fifteen of these to the government for their debts and daily expenses; and the sixteenth being insufficient to afford us bread, we must live, as they now do, on oatmeal and potatoes; have no time to think, no means of calling our miss-managers to account but be glad to obtain subsistence by hiring ourselves to rivet their chains on the necks of our fellow-sufferers. Our land-holders, too, like theirs, retaining indeed the title and stewardship of estates called theirs but held really in trust for the treasury, must wander, like theirs, in foreign countries, and be contented with penury, obscurity, exile, and the glory of the nation. This example reads to us the salutary lesson, that private fortunes are destroyed by public as well as by private extravagances. And this is the tendency of all human governments. A departure from principle in one instance becomes a precedent for the second; that second for a third; and so on, till the bulk of society is reduced to be mere automatons of misery, to have no sensibilities left but for sinning and suffering. Then begins, indeed, the bellum omnium in omnia, which some philosophers observing to be so general in this world, have mistaken for the natural, instead of the abusive state of man. And the fore-horse of this frightful team is public debt. Taxation follows that, and in its train wretchedness and oppression.

Thomas Jefferson

Jefferson: Political Writings(214-215)

Bill of Rights

Congress of the United States
begun and held at the City of New-York, on
Wednesday the fourth of March, one thousand seven hundred and eighty nine.

THE Conventions of a number of the States, having at the time of their adopting the Constitution, expressed a desire, in order to prevent misconstruction or abuse of its powers, that further declaratory and restrictive clauses should be added: And as extending the ground of public confidence in the Government, will best ensure the beneficent ends of its institution.

RESOLVED by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America, in Congress assembled, two thirds of both Houses concurring, that the following Articles be proposed to the Legislatures of the several States, as amendments to the Constitution of the United States, all, or any of which Articles, when ratified by three fourths of the said Legislatures, to be valid to all intents and purposes, as part of the said Constitution; viz.

ARTICLES in addition to, and Amendment of the Constitution of the United States of America, proposed by Congress, and ratified by the Legislatures of the several States, pursuant to the fifth Article of the original Constitution.

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Source: from the National Archives.

Because ideas can come from everywhere.

"The prospect of freedom?" [Moist von Lipwig] said.

"Exactly," said Lord Vetinari. "There is always a choice."

"You mean...I could choose certain death?"

"A choice, nevertheless," said Vetinari. "Or, perhaps, an alternative. You see, I believe in freedom, Mr. Lipwig. Not many people do, although they will, of course, protest otherwise. And no practical definition of freedom would be completely without freedom to take the consequences. Indeed, it is the freedom upon which all the others are based."

Going Postal by Terry Pratchett. Pages 15-16.

Happy Constitution Day.

The Preamble to the Constitution:

We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.

Clicking the link above will take you to the National Archives website and the full transcript of the Constitution in it's original form.