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While We Still Have Time

In spite of the grimness of the times in which we live, there is still hope. If you feel, like I do, that the usual discourse about matters of critical concern tends to be superficial, misguided, and false, then you might find some solace and inspiration here. I will try to offer insight and a holistic perspective on events and issues, and hopefully serve as a catalyst for raising the level of dialogue on this planet.

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Location: Madison, Wisconsin, United States

I was born in 1945, shortly before atom bombs were dropped on Japan. I served in the U.S. Army from 1968 to 1971. I earned master's degrees in Economics and Educational Psychology, and certificates in Web Page Design and as a Teacher of English as a Second Language. I followed an Indian guru for eight years, which immersed me in meditative practices and an attitude of reaching a higher level of being. A blog post listing the meditative practices I have pursued can be seen here.

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Universal health care made easy

The Madison VA HospitalOne thing that can be said for certain about the Bush crime family is that it is holographic: the part reveals the whole. On a segment of "News Hour" Monday on PBS, an analysis of the Medicare prescription drug program was presented. The plan was crafted by the BCF and its congressional helpers. May 15 is the deadline for Medicare recipients to sign up for the program, or they will be denied the "benefit."

Like anything else the Bush crime family has foisted on the American people, the prescription drug plan is not what it pretends to be. The real benefit - surprise, surprise - is to the pharmaceutical companies - huge campaign donors to the BCF, and to Republicans in general. The cynicism that is involved in foisting this scheme on the elderly public is well documented, and synopses can be read here and here.

In relatively few words I can put the entire issue of health care in the United States of America in sharp perspective. I get my health care through the Department of Veterans Affairs. I have received care there for decades, on-and-off (mostly on). They do a better job than the HMO I was in when I had health insurance. It's not a perfect system, but it's pretty good, and the care is responsible, state-of-the-art, and free, except for medicines.

Most significantly in relation to the Medicare drug plan is that the VA charges a flat-rate of $8.00 per bottle for any prescription. The medicines change from time-to-time, because the VA shops around the different pharmaceutical companies for the lowest price. Because the VA is a large-scale health delivery system, it has what is known as "market power." Leverage can be brought to bear on pharmaceutical companies to provide medicines for a lower price. If they don't cooperate, a comparable medicine from a different company can be provided. It's a little uncomfortable changing medicines, because when I find one I like, I tend to want to stay with it. But it's not a big deal. I can live with it.

What has been the response of the Bush crime family to the veterans health care system? Bush tried to close the Madison hospital, as well as many other VA facilities. No care, no medicine, no anything for not just thousands of veterans, but millions. Because of public outcry and the efforts of Madison's representative in Congress, Tammy Baldwin, the closing plan for Madison was withdrawn. If the Bush criminal operaton gains success in any other area, though, the closing will be back on the table. Especially if the hoped-for bombing and/or invasion of Iran takes place, "budget imperatives" will make cutting back on veterans care "necessary."

There is another reason why the Bush crime family would like to cut back, if not eliminate, health care for veterans. Ever since the 2000 election was stolen, one of the priorities of the Bush criminal organization has been to "privatize" traditionally public services, such as schools, prisons, some military functions, telecommunication systems, health care, and Social Security. The term "public" means invested in the people as a whole - owned by the entire citizenry. "Private" means owned by individuals, the benefit of ownership accruing to the individual owners of whatever asset or function is of concern. The "conservative" plan is to "starve the beast" of government provision of goods and services, making them available to profit seekers.

The VA is a glowing example of a public, or government system that works. It provides health care far better than the private system, and provides it mostly for free to anyone who is eligible. All that is needed to qualify is to have served in the U.S. military: the Army, Navy, Marines, Air Force, and Coast Guard. Being a working, universal health care system for veterans, it is living proof that a "single payer" health care system can be made to work, it can be done simply and efficiently, and at the lowest cost.

If you were a (criminal) politician, and received thousands upon thousands of dollars in campaign donations from pharmaceutical companies, insurance companies, health maintenance organizations (HMOs), physician organizations such as the American Medical Assocition (AMA), large care facilities and hospital associations, and the various other parasitic economic interests involved, you would be dependent on these various entities for your continued tenure in office. In mafia terms, you would be "made." You would be owned.

This is the kind of politician that the economic parasites depend on to fulfill their desire to own the entire universe, hah, hah, hah, hah, hah! In the Republican Party, it can safely be said that it is virtually all of them. In the Democratic Party, it is likely to be many, if not most of them. Especially if they have been sponsored by the Democratic Leadership Council (DLC).

So even if you aren't a veteran, it is in your interest to keep the VA as a thriving institution. There is a knowledge base that can be used to expand VA-type care to the general population. This knowledge should not be discarded, as the Bush crime family would have it, but also should be expanded and improved upon. We have a dynamic, working example of a government sponsored health care system, and it delivers high-quality, low-cost care to millions of people in every state in the U.S. When the time comes to have an honest, distributive, functioning democracy in the United States of America, this public health care system will be the example upon which to base our universal system.

How can this be done? First, get rid of the Bush crime family. Impeach the lot of them. Put them in jail, doing hard labor for the rest of their criminal lives. Then elect yourselves a Tammy Baldwin. Get your own Russ Feingold. If you live in Utah, get rid of Orrin Hatch. If you live in Indiana, get rid of Lugar. If you live in Tennessee, get rid of Frist. If you live in Mississippi, get rid of Lott. And on and on. Get rid of all Republicans, and most Democrats.

That's only for starters. Probably even before getting rid of crook politicians, we should all think about what it means to be a human being, what a human being needs to live a meaningful life, what we want to put in place to foster the pursuit of meaningful lives, and what it will take to achieve that goal. Once a structure is in place, we must develop means for measuring progress towards that goal, and how accountability is enforced.

Looked at this way, we are in a time of one of the greatest opportunities in history. As the Bush crime family is exposed, and more people are beginning to see how they've been hustled, suckered, hoodwinked, fooled, and cheated, their new awareness can be channeled into making positive changes in their own lives, and the lives of the body politic. For those of us working for change, we need to make sure that we remain a positive influence, and that we stay focused on being facilitators of truth, of justice, of decency, of harmony, and of ecology. We know all-too-well the harm done by the greed-based force of human endeavor.

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