RSSCategory: Social justice

Ideology Be Damned!

September 15, 2009 | By | 5 Replies More
Ideology Be Damned!

This is the reason we need healthcare reform in this country. Crystal Lee Sutton has died at age 68 because her insurance company diddled and dawdled over whether or not it would pay for the medicine necessary to save her life.

Don’t know who Crystal Lee Sutton was? She was the real-life inspiration for Norma Rae, Sally Fields’ excellent portrayal of a small-town union organizer who went to bat for workers’ rights.

This kind of thing should not happen. When profit—or overhead, however you wish to consider the problem—is placed ahead of life, those arguing against reform should hang their heads in shame. They cling to an ideology about free markets and consumer choice as though such things are part of the Ten Commandments (which most of them don’t follow either) and always at the expense of lives.

Dammit, people, we’re talking about a system which should operate for people’s benefit, not for its own. A system is simply a method of approach, a way of doing something, and if it can be changed once, it can be changed again if the reforms are found insufficient! It is no argument to reject reforms on the basis that the reforms might cause harm, since the present system is already causing harm.

It is a foulness to our present system that many people find that in order to vouchsafe their own health or the health of their loved ones they must fight for the very thing they were told they had purchased in the first place. This is in no way different from lending predators who lied to people in course of borrowing money to buy a home. The average person has neither the time or expertise to understanding every clause and addendum in a complex contract and must rely on what he or she is told. Either you have insurance coverage or you do not. It should not come as a surprise after you are already sick and discover that there are codicils which protect the insurance company from having to pay out what in principle they obligated themselves to do if not by the letter of the policy then by the spirit of agreement with a customer. Yet thousands, millions of consumers daily learn to their dismay that they don’t actually have what they thought they had bought.

This is not a game. If the private sector is more concerned over profit margins than providing service, then they should lose the privilege of offering said service.

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Scalia’s thought process: “Well, he probably did something else wrong anyway.”

September 14, 2009 | By | 23 Replies More
Scalia’s thought process: “Well, he probably did something else wrong anyway.”

Way back in 1989, I happened to be watching Episode Two of a PBS series entitled “Ethics in America.” It was a terrific 10-part series that considered compelling topics in ethics. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia was a participant in Episode Two. You can see all of the episodes, including Episode Two here (click on the little “VoD” button next to Episode 2). You might be wondering how I could possibly remember a particular comment from a particular episode from 20 years ago. I do remember: it was burned into my memory because it was so utterly bizarre.

At about the 31-minute mark, the moderator (Charles Ogletree, Jr.) posed a hypothetical. What if you were an attorney and your client told you that he committed a murder a couple years ago? The clear answer is that the attorney-client privilege protects that admission; if you were that man’s attorney, you could not tell anyone else what your client told you in the course of your consultation with him.

Things got much more interesting, as the moderator elaborated on the hypothetical. Assume that your client tells you that after he committed the murder, the police erroneously arrested the wrong man. Further, assume that man has been found guilty by a jury and he is scheduled to be executed. As the attorney, what can you do to protect the life of an innocent man who is about to be executed for a crime committed by your own client who is confessing his guilt to you?

This is a tough issue, right? At the moment where the moderator indicated that the innocent man was about to be executed for a crime he didn’t commit, Justice Scalia spoke up: “Well, he probably did something else wrong anyway.” You can see and hear this statement for yourself at 31:50 in the video. Although I’m certain that Justice Scalia would claim that his utterance was a “joke,” (after all, other participants laughed), it makes you wonder, especially in light of a recent case decided by the United States Supreme Court, In re Davis.

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Guess this author

September 3, 2009 | By | 1 Reply More
Guess this author

The more things change, the more they stay the same, it seems. See if you can guess who authored this quotation on capitalism vs. socialism: (all emphases are mine)

The economic anarchy of capitalist society as it exists today is, in my opinion, the real source of the evil. We see before us a huge community of producers the members of which are unceasingly striving to deprive each other of the fruits of their collective labor—not by force, but on the whole in faithful compliance with legally established rules. In this respect, it is important to realize that the means of production—that is to say, the entire productive capacity that is needed for producing consumer goods as well as additional capital goods—may legally be, and for the most part are, the private property of individuals. For the sake of simplicity, in the discussion that follows I shall call “workers” all those who do not share in the ownership of the means of production—although this does not quite correspond to the customary use of the term. The owner of the means of production is in a position to purchase the labor power of the worker. By using the means of production, the worker produces new goods which become the property of the capitalist.

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The U.S. War on Drugs by the numbers

September 1, 2009 | By | 11 Replies More
The U.S. War on Drugs by the numbers

In the current edition of Esquire Magazine, John H. Richardson mentions the:

startling lack of controversy that greeted last week’s news that Mexico had suddenly decriminalized drugs — not just marijuana but also cocaine, LSD, and heroin.

In his article, Richardson describes the drug war in the U.S. with some staggering numbers. For instance, every year the U.S. “war on drugs” costs:

15,223 dead and $52.3 billion spent each year — which is, incidentally, almost enough to pay for universal health care.

One can’t help but think of Einstein’s well-used definition of insanity: “Doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.”

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12 Reasons why the U.S. government should not mandate clean water or clean air.

August 16, 2009 | By | 1 Reply More
12 Reasons why the U.S. government should not mandate clean water or clean air.

12 Reasons why the U.S. government should not mandate clean water or clean air.

1. Clean air and clean water are not a right. As such, they not the responsibility of government.
2. Government efforts to mandate clean air and clean water do not in practice guarantee universal access clean air and clean water. Many countries have laws to require clean air and clean water but don’t actually have clean air and clean water.
3. Eliminating the profit motive will decrease the rate of innovation regarding clean air and clean water.
4. When a government mandates clean air and clean water, it slows down innovation and inhibits new technologies from being developed and utilized. This simply means that technologies regarding clean air and clean water are less likely to be researched and manufactured, and technologies that are available are less likely to be used.
5. Publicly-mandated clean air and clean water leads to greater inefficiencies and inequalities. Government agencies promoting clean air and clean water are less efficient due to bureaucracy. Universal clean air and clean water would reduce efficiency because of more bureaucratic oversight and more paperwork.
6. Converting to a national clean air and clean water system could be a radical change, creating administrative chaos.

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Who would Jesus insure?

August 16, 2009 | By | 42 Replies More
Who would Jesus insure?

Who would Jesus Insure?

That was the slogan on a placard that stole the show at a tea party attended by Michael Krantz yesterday:

[T]he Medicare recipients who want nothing to do with government-run health care [were] one of the more amusing right-wing cliches of this long hot August. There were no doubt plenty of them yesterday among a crowd that was predominantly older, overwhelmingly white and, I’d wager, heavily evangelical, a combustive demographic that didn’t exactly cotton to the gutsy girl who kept pacing around trying to yell “Health care for everyone!” loudly enough to drown out the repeated death threats and off-topic anti-abortion catcalls that greeted her homemade “Who Would Jesus Insure?” sign. Her question, in fact, was quite a bit more piquant than the ones I was asking.

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