Friday, September 18, 2009

Why Does Obama Have to Deny the Truth?

Obama sometimes appears so pragmatic and politically motivated that it forces him to deny the obvious. President Carter, I think, overstated the case when he said that race was the major factor in the recent protests. Race is not the only ingredient, but it is surely one important one. Yet the Obama Administration is falling all over itself, trying to deny that race enters at all. Why?

Remember when he was so naive in his campaign in so stressing our unity at Americans that he obscured  the real  differences that divide us by race, class, region, self-interest, and ideology.

He knows better in his heart. Too bad his head tells him that truth is not politically advantageous in some cases.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Why Universal Health Care is so Hard to Achieve.

Many reasons can be cited to explain why it has been so hard in this country to get health insurance for every citizen, an idea proposed as long ago as Harry Truman. One is surely the powerful individualism that may have been more fitted to the early centuries of our history but ruinous today. This contributes to the lack of a strong socialist tradition characteristic of advanced European nations.

Another that needs more attention is the fact that white people do not want to be taxed for benefits that go to people of color, in the past meaning mainly black folks and today Latinos as well. This too has a long history. See:

Add to this the unwillingness of Americans to  support benefits that help others if it costs them something. Finally, add the political influence of huge insurance and drug companies that can use money, if not to buy. at least strongly influence legislation that preserves and increases their financial interests.

Doubtless other factors enter, but the ones mentioned are sufficient to explain why it will be like moving mountains with a shovel to get universal health care that is efficient and affordable.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Americans, Get Healthier, and Costs Will Go Down

Everybody knows that we spend much more than other countries on health care with worse outcomes. What is not so often noted is that we have more unhealthy people to begin with. Our kids and adults eat too much sugar, made cheap by huge subsidies to corn farmers. We suffer from obesity, sedentary habits, and eat too much fat and fast foods, producing a growing epidemic of type two diabetes.

If we want to have lower health care costs, then we as a population need to get healthier by preventing illness through better diets, more exercise, good health habits -- and no smoking and less alcohol.

When will the politicians tell us this simple truth we don't want to hear? I don't mean with euphemistic-tending, weak language like more preventive care. I mean direct talk like this: "Look, as a nation we are  fat, eat too much sugar and bad fats, don't exercise enough, smoke too much and, generally don't take care of ourselves very well. We can either shape up and get fit or pay more for health care, live with chronic conditions, and die early."

On Outlasting the Bastards

At the celebration of Pete Seeger's 90th birthday, Bruce Springstein spoke of the election of Barack Obama in the context of Seeger's decades long fight against bigotry, violence, and injustice. Then he said, "Pete, you outlasted the bastards."

So come on, all you who long for peace, you who despise prejudice against any human being, you who long for an end to hate and violence, you who work for justice,we have to outlast the bastards.