Friday, January 25, 2008

European Health Care

In a recent article about Botox dangers, the following:

"Health authorities in Europe have done a far better job of highlighting the drugs’ dangers, Dr. Wolfe said. The authorities in Britain and Germany have required drug manufacturers to send letters to doctors warning of the dangers."

On so many fronts, European governments are light years ahead of the good ol' US of A - for example, requiring computer manufacturers to build machines for Europe with far fewer toxins, while the "infected" stuff is sold here.


Because European nations foot the health bill for their people, they care.

Whereas here, we don't!

It's that simple.

As long as the wealthy can buy all the health care they need, we don't care!

40 million uninsured. We don't care.

Botox and other meds poorly labeled as to potential dangers, marketed like candy. We don't care.

As long as we can keep 40 million under the radar screen, as long as we can have our candy, we don't care.

It's a national scandal, and until we wake up and learn:
- our European friends are doing a far better job,
- we have something to learn from others (always a tough pill for us Americans to swallow),
- our social capital is being depleted for want of real care and social justice,
- our failure to tell Ronald Reagan and his hands-off philosophy for the economy (except big spending for the military, etc.) to take a hike,
- our failure to help millions out of poverty while spending time and money on bed-room politics (abortion and homosexuality) is warping the soul of our Republic,

our nation will continue to stumble and stall.

Goodness and kindness, mercy and grace, are always the order of the day! And why not link wise national health care to these powerful values?

If Uncle Sam were footing the bill for our nation's health, you can bet your bottom dollar we'd see the kind of regulation our European friends adopted long ago.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Crime and Punishment

2.2 million people in prison.

That’s likely a part of the decline in crime in America, but how much longer can we keep it up? How many more prisons can we build? How many more guards can we hire? And how many more families can we disrupt?

A huge percentage of our prisoners are drug addicts.

I can't help but feel that all of this is rooted in poverty. Sure, there are other causes, and lots of good kids from good families go the dark side of life.

But in every study, poverty is a mean soup cooking away the souls of millions of people who grow up without hope, without morality, without any sense of achievement or self-confidence.

“Lock ‘em up!” can only be a temporary fix, and then what? What happens when they’re released? Prisons get folks off the street, but prisons are also a breeding ground for new criminal relationships, where the young learn from the old, and souls are hardened by brutality.

We have to put people to work, we have to have major public transportations systems in place so people get to work, we need child-care provisions, and we need the resolve to really fix it.

Will we ever eliminate crime? Of course not.

But can we attack and eliminate some of its most profound causes?

Yes! We’ve done it before under Roosevelt and Johnson. We’ve done it before when our nation embraced a social conscience that recognizes just how inter-dependent we all are, and we are “our brother’s keeper.”

Compassion is the clue!

Millions of Americans are compassionate, and let’s pray that a groundswell of compassion will ignite the fires of social reform. We’ve done it before. We can do it again!

Friday, January 18, 2008

Economy Surge


Does anyone talk about how our economy was looted by Bush and Gang in their foolish neo-con adventure to conquer the world for oil?

Of course, our economy is flagging. It's been beaten and brutalized, and the essential roll of government - to infuse confidence and to selectively provide support for the needy - has been lost.

A case in point: the mortgage debacle.

Could this have happened if we understood the nature of genuine capitalism as a regulated capitalism?

The mortgage fiasco simple reveals what happens when capitalism is left to its own devices - it goes crazy and commits suicide.

Leaving capitalizing to its own "ethics," is like hiring a fox to guard the hen house.

Let's the tell the truth here, please!

We have been robbed by the barons of Wall Street, and Bush is their minion!

Monday, January 14, 2008

Bush Insane?

A Middle East trip for peace ... and all the man does is obsessively ramp up the threat-level to Iran ... is Bush insane?

Can the man talk about anything other than war?

Is he even capable of talking peace?

He has utterly lost his balance - if he ever had it - and he's taking our nation further into the insanity of fear.

Robert Frost once wrote: "There's nothing I'm afraid of like scared people."

Because scared people, when scared for a long time, begin doing insane things, like torturing prisoners, when experts agree: torture yields poor results, and more importantly, such behavior is a violation of our nation's sacred principles. We are behaving badly, and our president has only made matters worse with behavior unbecoming to the Office and inconsistent with our nation's character.

John McCain recently notes: we're doing things to prisoners that we called war crimes when they were done by the Japanese in WW 2.

Let's face it: we use torture because we can. It's not about security, it's all about power, and there are are arenas of our government drunk on power.

We need a President who can help regain our balance and stop living in fear.

Surely, the dangers of our world are real, but our reactions have been way over the top. Our fear is causing us to lay aside our principles and our reputation among the nations of the world is suffering as a result.

We can do better, we must do better, we will do better.

P.S. For a fine editorial, see John Buchanan, Christian Century, Jan 15 ed:

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Bush in Israel

First time in his presidency to be in Israel ... where in the world has this man been for the last seven years?

Israel/Palestine, the flash-point of the Middle East ... and now a few more troops for Afghanistan, another flash-point long ignored so Bush and Gang could pursue their dreams of oil domination ... there isn't a thing here that makes any sense, and now in the closing days of his disastrous term, he's bumbling his way through the Middle East looking and sounding totally uncomfortable in his role as statesman.

Thankfully, the troop surge has diminished violence in Iraq and is bringing greater opportunity to that beleaguered nation, yet the fundamental cause of Middle East unrest - the unresolved issues in Palestine - has been ignored, leaving it in the hands of the Israelis, which is bit like hiring the fox to guard the hen house.

The troop surge, also, like a heavy dose of antibiotics, stems the local infection, but the cause of the infection remains the same.

Iraq is stabilizing - I suspect our generals understood this five years ago when Rummy maintained a much lower estimate of needed troops.

Does anyone anywhere in this world understand this administration and those who drove its ideology?

Anyway, may peace prevail in Iraq, may Bush achieve some good results - God works through all of us, so we try our best.

Friday, January 11, 2008


I've slipped behind on this blog ... so much happening ... busier than a cat on a hot tin roof, or as my dad used to say, "busier than a one-armed paper-hanger."

But all good, and all good is the way I see our current political process.

I'm a Hillary guy, but how exciting to see both parties duking it out amongst themselves - the best way to clarify the issues and compel the candidates to speak their minds and their hearts.

Which Kerry failed to do. John Kerry's campaign failed at the point of honesty. He's a good man, but failed to speak his mind and heart - which gave rise to the suspicion that he had neither. Bush obviously had neither, but his willingness to speak a clear word convinced enough folks in Ohio to win the day of the Repubs.

I was a bit fearful for Hillary at this point - good rhetoric and confidence, but wanting to please too many by refraining from too much.

Her social vision is compassionate and compelling, and she needs to articulate it clearly and proudly.

As for Thompson, he's tanked. But who knows?

The Huck is history ... his oily smile and smooth talk Southern Baptist piety won't fly in this country right now. Maybe a few years ago, but the ruse of religion used by the Bush Gang has thoroughly soured millions of religious voters who have finally seen their callow and callous machinations for what they are - using "religious boobs" to foster their own agenda.

Dobson and Gang are old hat these days, their empty-headed ranting going nowhere fast. The tainted televangelists under investigation by the Senate is further revealing how corrupt and self-serving is the powerful TV-religion establishment. Millions of hard-earned dollars sent in the name of Jesus spent on jets, fast cars and lavish homes in posh neighborhoods. Ya, right!

But it's a great country, and our greatness is revealed in our freedom to plow through tough ideas, offer up thoughts and challenge one another in the Spirit of Democracy.

Hats off to the process, and may the candidates grow increasingly bold in stating their minds and hearts, dealing with the issues, offering policies and refraining from the ad hominem strategies that characterized so much the political debate the last few years, especially in the ranks of the "righteous right" and their lugubrious posturings.

I'm going to sit back and watch the fireworks ... great show that it is ... some will fizzle, some already have, and a few will reach high into the sky with glorious color and sound. And the winner is ....