Archive for July 29th, 2009

by jhwygirl

There’s all kinds of crazy talk out there about impending disaster of health care industry reform. One of the more maddening ones is the-sky-is-falling “We don’t need socialized medicine.”

Socialists. Socialism…it’s all the righty-wing talk show craze. That and – apparently – the real conspiracy behind health care reform is an objective to massively kill of senior citizens and abort all babies.

I’m not kidding. Here’s the video:

“Talk Back” which is the Montana conservative talk show, broadcast here in Missoula on either AM1290 or 1340 in the mornings – the 4 or 5 calls I caught this morning were all about how the whole intent of health care reform was to kill off old people.

That’s so blatantly loony talk that I have trouble fathoming that people actually converse about things like that. Keep in mind, this wasn’t one call, it was 4 or 5 calls in a row, with the host in the background saying “yes, yes.” Not simply one person saying “Aww, their all socialists,” but full blown back and forth conversation.

On another local conservatalk show a while back, the topic was the rising tide of socialism and a woman caller phoned in to say that we didn’t need “no stinking education department – and same with that energy guy,” to which the talk show host cut in, agreeing with her (keeping in mind, she advocating for getting rid of the Department of Education) and then ranting on about the energy czar created I don’t know when and asking, sarcastically, how many solar plants and how many wind towers do we have out there.

This is the same guy who is all about drill-baby-drill, and making fun of energy efficiency enhancements and green energy initiatives whenever opportunity strikes.

Maybe I shouldn’t listen to that crap. I like to think it keeps me awake on long drives.

One that you hear – it’s actually pretty unavoidable – is that Canadians have socialized medicine. That we don’t need socialized medicine. It’s on the radio, the television…emails – it’s at the office water cooler.

Then there’s all kinds of myths that go along with that one – but saying that anything that’s been talked about by advocates, whether it be single-payer or a public option, is socialized medicine is a root myth…from there, many others sprout off. Think that woman from Canada, think “we’ll have government giving us aspirin instead of pain pills,” (which might not actually be too bad of a thing, but I digress) and, of course “Abortions for everyone!”

But using the word socialism implies that the government is going to somehow impossibly involved in day to day decisions concerning health care.

My question for conservatives – or people against reform: I guess it’s OK for the market to do that then? Because that’s what they do every day – they deny health care requests, tests, operations, etc., based on what is essentially (they are a corporation, afterall) a quest for both efficiency and profit.

Probably purely profit, but efficiency in the sense of denying as much as is efficiently possible.

Is the fear that you’ll be denied some test? Because that’s what it sounds like, yet the market is currently doing that on a daily basis?

Is it the free market that you love-to-hate? Or hate-to-love?

Having some sort of public entity – I mean, if the feds are so terrible at everything and the free market is so grand – can only serve to add to competition, thereby producing a better product. Isn’t that pretty basic free-marketeering? Basic capitalism? Competition is good, right?

That’s the kind of stuff out there, the basic tenant of their objections to reform, that get me. How are we at this point, where that kind of basic falsehood is being spread and repeated out there?

If having the government involved in health care is socialism – and keep in mind, we’ve already got health care for the military, Medicare and Medicaid – then what is the highway system? Schools?

There is a word, you know, for a government that props up corporations over the best interests of it citizens. Anyone know what that is called?

by JC

This little dandy happened by my email box today, from the Progressive Democrats of America’s Montana chapter:

Dear ****,

“Our” Senator, Max Baucus, is holding a big fund-raiser known as Camp Baucus ($5000 per PAC or $2500 per Individual) at Big Sky, Montana, from July 31 through August 2 for the insurance industry, the pharmaceutical companies, the hospital association, bankers, and other fat cats to raise money for his “leadership” PAC.

He takes their money even while he is writing legislation that will affect health care! So Montanans for Single-Payer health care will be there, too. We’ll rally to show Max and his corporate friends we are very displeased with what they’re up to in Washington, D.C.

We’re asking single-payer supporters from across the state to join us at Big Sky this Friday, July 31st from 10:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. (and Thursday as well, if enough people are interested).

[Details below the fold]
Continue Reading »

by JC

Really??? And just how does the two new ordinances under consideration accomplish that?

“The working group aims to protect and improve quality of life in downtown Missoula for all people who use the area, including business owners, people who live and work downtown, shoppers and patrons of professional offices, and people who are without means and depend on social services,” said city communications director Ginny Merriam

When the Panhandling Work Group and its town crier resort to this sort of political, nonsensical happy speak, you know that they are worried about perceptions more than they are about reality. And Councilman Strohmaier aims to pick up the battle on August 12th, with a renewed attempt to move the ordinance.

Much better would be finding some more solutions for the homelessness we have in Missoula and Montana. Somehow, I don’t think the number of beds available in local shelters is anywhere near able to meet the numbers of homeless in Missoula, judging by what I’ve seen in encampments and car sleeping around town.

So I have a nice resource for those who want to combat these immoral ordinances:

The National Law Center on Homelessness and Poverty has a a 12 page booklet entitled “Combating the Criminalization of Homelessness.” Here’s an excerpt:

What Are the Problems with Criminalization?

Besides the clear moral problem of punishing someone for carrying out life-sustaining activities in public when there are no other alternatives, there are also legal concerns. Criminalization may violate at least four Constitutional amendments.

For example, when a city creates a prohibition against panhandling but allows firefighters to solicit donations, First Amendment concerns are raised because the government is permitting one type of oral expression but not another.

The Fourth Amendment, which prohibits unreasonable search and seizure of property, is implicated when a city decides to destroy homeless persons’ tents and personal possessions without giving either notice of its plans or a process for allowing the people to first claim their property.

The Eighth Amendment prohibits cruel and unusual punishment. If a court punishes a homeless person for performing life-sustaining activities in public, like sleeping, there could be an Eighth Amendment violation if the homeless person had no where else to perform the activity (necessary for survival).

The Fourteenth Amendment equal protection clause may be violated if police routinely only cite homeless people for sleeping in a public park but allow business people to nap in the park undisturbed.

These are only some of the constitutional concerns raised by criminalization ordinances.

Oh, and I would be remiss here if I didn’t provide a nice link to the ACLU’s press release where they won an 8th Amendment case against the city of LA’s criminalization of homelessness laws:

“The Eighth Amendment prohibits the City from punishing involuntary sitting, lying, or sleeping on public sidewalks that is an unavoidable consequence of being human and homeless without shelter in the City of Los Angeles,” Judge Wardlaw wrote [for the 9th U.S. Circuit].

I hope someone at the Montana ACLU or Montana Human Rights Network is paying attention here. And a hat tip to Klemz for referring to this case!

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