Debt Ceiling/Shutdown, and real journalism

I was a serious journalist a long time ago, inspired by Woodstein, Geraldo’s Bellevue expose, and 60 Minutes.  So I HATED doing press-release news and he said/he said.  But that’s all we get from mainstream news these days, not just broadcast/cable but also newspapers.  I guess you can’t get paid to tell THE TRUTH anymore, like this piece of debunking Reaganite mythology that underlies Republican government shutdown threats, and even Democratic compliance.

Journalism used to be called “the rough draft of history” or “the first draft of history” (or more correctly, of historiography).  Today it’s not even that — at least I hope not!

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“Don’t Forget Medicaid”

See the whole thing from Congressman Chris Murphy of Connecticut:

“As we wait for the white smoke to emerge from the ‘grand bargain’ negotiations at the White House, most Americans are already aware of the Republicans’ plan to dismantle and privatize Medicare and Social Security. But what many people may not realize is just how dangerous it would be to slash funding for a program that 60 million Americans rely on for their basic health care needs: Medicaid.

“While it seems that just about every major industry or interest group has teams of lobbyists in Washington looking out for them, some of our most vulnerable citizens simply don’t have a voice in a town where unfortunately, money still talks the loudest.

“Why? Medicaid covers only the impoverished and disabled, so it lacks a traditional advocacy base. This may be news to Republicans — but most poor people I know are spending all their time trying to find a job and put food on the table.”

Take IBS seriously!

“That’s B.S.!”

Rural areas get plenty of Federal tax money

The point of the Commenter from Pennsylvania to this very informative post is well-taken.  The point of the rest is that rural Republican and tea-bag folks are hypocrites for denouncing others’ benefits “from the government teat.”  If they seceded, they’d collapse in just a few years.  The experience of the formerly-independent Dominion of Newfoundland is educational.

Palau is a U.S. State?

Sure there’s alot of important crap going down lately — or in the case of offshore oil drilling, COMING UP!  But while e-activist or e-shopper friends of mine surf from one online petition or storefront to the next, they keep hitting the same speed bump: The Republic of Palau.

Palau (sometimes spelled Belau) seems to be a beautiful Pacific Island nation on TV documentaries.  It’s also an INDEPENDENT Pacific Island nation, though formerly part of the U.S. post-WW2 “Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands,” along with what are now the also-INDEPENDENT Federated States of Micronesia, and Republic of the Marshall Islands.  (Guam and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands [CNMI], though in the same neighborhood, were always governmentally distinct, and not part of the Trust Territory. [Distinct enough that apparently Robber-Baron-era-like sweatshops are still legal on Saipan, CNMI, USA!])

All 3 countries seem to maintain some special relationships with their former postwar Trustee, the USA.  Whether these are voluntary or not, I don’t have information on.  But in any case, THEY ARE NOT U.S. STATES OR TERRITORIES, BUT INDEPENDENT NATIONS.  But my friends in Pennsylvania, who used to be able to whip through online petitions, and even e-commerce, at warp speed, now come to the drop-down list of States,  hit “P,” and instead of moving right on, since the only “P” State is Pennsylvania, have to go up and click down from Palau’s USPS 2-letter abbreviation PW, to PA for the American state.  What’s more irritating for them is that PA comes before PW in the alphabet, even though of course Pal comes before Pen, and apparently these lists are alphabetized according to the name, not the abbreviation, even though the full name is never displayed!

Let’s be reasonable, even though that’s a commodity in short supply in American politics and government these days.  Even though strictly speaking Palau, if it’s part of the USPS now for some reason, comes before Pennsylvania, PA does come before PW, and most Americans have long since come to think of the two-letter abbreviations as entities in themselves.  Secondly, Palau has 20,000 happy people; the Keystone State has more than 12 million (some of them bitter).  Thirdly, considering the passions aroused on the Internet increasingly, having to hit those extra keys to get to an American state in a supposed list of them, is certain to be hurting e-commerce in this Republican Great Recession, and even e-politics, at least a little — thousands of dollars’ worth? tens of thousands?  Fourthly, a note of realpolitik: Palauans have zero members in the U.S. Congress; at this time Pennsylvanians have 19 Representatives and 2 Senators, representing the 6th most populous State in the Union.  Might they also point out that the Quaker State has voted for the (real) winner in every Presidential Election of the post-Reagan era, i.e. the Democrat, while Palau has failed to do so?

I’m the most politically-correct person I know, but certainly going with reason in this minor yet definite inconvenience needn’t be seen as oppressing Persons of Color, i.e. Pacific Islanders, need it?  In any case, PA has nearly 2 million Persons of Color at least, whereas PW has fewer than 20,000 (though for the record, PA has over 11,000 Pacific Islanders alone).  Arguably the current setup is oppressing more PoCs than our proposal!

So how about it, Uncle Sam?  Put PA before PW in the list where it reasonably belongs.  In fact, listing Palau after a U.S. State in a supposed list of U.S. States could honor its independence from them.

If you agree, email the Postal Service through their Customer Service link, and use the “Additional Information” box for the text of your note to them.

GOP Big Lies

“The Obama economic fix isn’t working.”

Right.  That’s why we’re not in the freefall the Republicans got us into and left us in / we threw their asses out over, which we were in until this plan kicked in.  Coincidence?  The economy is a somewhat complex machine (like a corporation, it’s not a person).  At the very least, it didn’t make things worse.  It didn’t create jobs?  You want corrupt (Republican) no-show “created jobs,” or somewhat ethical, legal government contracts that are focused, as they usually are, on accomplishing tasks, not creating jobs per se.  They clearly SAVED JOBS.  Did the President overstate or oversimplify?  Yeah, he does that; I wish he wouldn’t.  But same difference.

“Healthcare reform is about a government takeover.”

That’s why all anybody in Washington, Democrat or Repug, is talking about is money, money, money, no takeover.  *I* want a takeover, just like civilized nations have, like the UK and NOT Canada.  But on this I’m to the Left of the centrist Demos who mathematically should be in charge at this time by virtue of (unstolen) election.

How would I do a takeover?  Wellll…  Since corporations are creatures of the State [Hey, “Statist”! Real conservatives would strike out on their own without the legal figleaf of incorporation, like their pioneer ancestors on the Frontier! Oh, that’s right, they stole that too….] created for some Public Good, I assert there’s no such thing really as “corporate property,” they’re just holding it in stewardship for the Chartering Sovereign, ie, the State in most cases in the U.S.  When the Public Good for which they were Chartered has been accomplished, or set on basically autopilot … OR they’ve turned the law on its head for their own enrichment and the project needs to be terminated or taken in hand … the State yanks their Charter, dissolves them or gives them to better stewards, or takes it over itself.  I figure between the bloodsucking, opportunistic, profiteering health insurance companies and HMOs … overcharging providers … mercenary, “ask your doctor” Big Pharma … vicious or spineless politicians … and even under-reimbursed good Medicare/Medicaid providers …  “politically” active / bribing Corporations all (or most) … (Have I forgotten anybody?) … I think I’m on good grounds here, don’t you?  Anyway, it’s cheaper than having to buy back our own Corporations from the people we Chartered only to have them leech from  us “for the Public Good.”  As a greater Mind than I said once, “They already have their reward.”

Otherwise, I can’t find out how the Brits actually engineered it after WW2 — eminent domain, purchase, dissolution?  But what’s wrong with socialized medicine, alongside

  • socialized police and fire protection,
  • socialized water and sewer,
  • socialized trash and garbage collection,
  • socialized primary and secondary education,
  • socialized electricity,
  • socialized roads and highways and bridges,
  • socialized national defense!,
  • socialized money (Oh, actually that’s privatized: See what a great job they’re doing with it?),
  • socialized Corporate Welfare/Wealthfare,
  • socialized farm subsidies,
  • socialized homesteading (Stolen: see above),
  • socialized airports,
  • socialized trade promotion,
  • socialized ports,
  • socialized Corporate industrial waste cleanup,
  • socialized diplomacy (sometimes),
  • socialized union-busting,
  • socialized religion and charity subsidies,
  • socialized technology subsidies (to get us caught-up with Europe and Japan!),
  • socialized tax loophole subsidies (Oh yes, there’s wealth redistribution … upward, not downward!),
  • socialized road signs,
  • substantially-socialized higher education (State universities, ROTC, CIA, etc.),
  • socialized parks and recreation centers,
  • socialized stadiums (and subsidized pro sports teams / Wealthfare),
  • socialized imperialism and war,
  • socialized Protestant evangelism (of American Indians and Alaska Natives, well into the 1900s) and catechesis (of public school children, also well into the 1900s),
  • etc etc etc.

So what’s so offensive about health care?