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2009 June 07 — Why Now?
On-line Opinion Magazine…OK, it's a blog
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A Reading Suggestion

Given what is going on in this country you really should read The Grapes of Wrath. There is a great movie made from the book, but it only covers half of the book. In the actual book the story of the Joad family is interspersed with the story of the Depression. You read a chapter about the Joads, then you read about the conditions around them.

People will complain that the book is a real “downer”, but they should be aware that Steinbeck softened the truth, as he has admitted. The actual conditions were worse than what is presented in the book. Steinbeck visited the migrant camps, and decided to “improve” the conditions for fear that the truth would obscure the story of the book.

Some people are talking about seeing “green shoots” in the jobs report, because not as many jobs were lost as in previous reports since the beginning of the year. There are millions of fewer jobs to lose now and the unemployment rate is still rising. Those aren’t green shoots; they are a demonstration that Wall Street’s golden bull is actually brass, and it is beginning to show the tarnish.

June 7, 2009   10 Comments

The Costs Of Health Care

I keep hearing about we can’t afford this or that, but no real numbers to back up those statements, just references to the deficit.

Let me tell about some costs of the current system.

My Mother manages some apartments, and in the last decade there have been three tenants who moved in because of “medical divorces”. A medical divorce is when parents have to get a divorce so they can get Medicaid for a sick child; they had no other choice. Two people who love each other have to separate to get the medical attention that a child needs. That is a real cost of the current system.

Of course some people pay the ultimate price for our health care system. Jim Capozzola and Melanie Mattson are just two of them. Two intelligent, witty people who died because they could not afford the health care they needed.

How many more families must be broken up, how many more people must die, before the United States decides to provide the same access to health care as the rest of the developed world? Are the profits of insurance companies really more important than the lives of people?

Single-payer is the answer, and everyone with a brain and a heart knows it.

June 7, 2009   2 Comments

Oh No, Not Hezbollah!!

flag of Lebanon

McClatchy says that Lebanese elections could shift balance of power, and the BBC reports that Lebanese vote in key parliamentary election.

All we have heard in the run up to this election is the neocon drumbeat that Hezbollah is going to control Lebanon and sell it to Iran. Excuse me, but Lebanon has a 128 seat parliament and Hezbollah has 14 seats, which it is expected to retain.

The government of Lebanon is allocated to the various religious sects, with the President always a Christian, and the Prime Minister a Sunni Muslim. Hezbollah represents Shi’ia Muslims, which is why they can’t get more than 14 seats.

The one thing that won’t happen, no matter who wins the election, is a census. If there is a census, there is no way of avoiding the reality that the largest religious sect in Lebanon are the Shi’ia Muslims, who would be entitled in finally getting a real voice in the government of their country.

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June 7, 2009   Comments Off on Oh No, Not Hezbollah!!