August 29th, 2008

barack obama

You can't heal what you can't feel!

Reasons to vote for Obama.

Op-Ed Columnist

Feeling No Pain

Published: August 29, 2008

My first reaction to Bill Clinton’s convention speech was sheer professional jealousy: nobody, but nobody, has his ability to translate economic wonkery into plain, forceful English. In effect, Mr. Clinton provided an executive summary of the new Census report on income, poverty and health insurance — but he did it so eloquently, so seamlessly, that there was no sense that he was giving his audience a lecture.

My second reaction was that in Mr. Clinton’s speech — as in the speeches by Hillary Clinton and Joe Biden (this column was filed before Barack Obama spoke on Thursday night) — one heard the fundamental difference between the two parties. Democrats say and, as far as I can tell, really believe that working Americans are getting a raw deal; Republicans, despite occasional attempts to sound sympathetic, basically believe that people have nothing to complain about.

As it happens, the numbers support the Democrats.

That Census report gives a snapshot of the economic status of American families in 2007 — that is, before the financial crisis started dragging the economy down and the unemployment rate up. It’s a given that 2008 will look much worse, so last year was as good as it will get in the Bush years. Yet working-age Americans had significantly lower median income in 2007 than they did in 2000. (The elderly, whose income is supported by Social Security — the program the Bush administration tried to kill — saw modest gains.) Meanwhile, poverty was up, and health insurance — especially the employment-based insurance on which most middle-class Americans depend — was down.

But Republicans, very much including John McCain and his advisers, don’t believe there’s a problem.

Former Senator Phil Gramm made headlines, and stepped down as co-chairman of the McCain campaign, after he described America as a “nation of whiners.” But how different was that remark, really, from Mr. McCain’s own declaration that “there’s been great progress economically” — progress that’s mysteriously invisible in the actual data — during the Bush years? And Mr. Gramm, by all accounts, remains a key economic adviser to Mr. McCain.

Last week John Goodman, an influential figure in Republican health care circles, explained that we shouldn’t worry about the growing number of Americans without health insurance, because there’s no such thing as being uninsured. After all, you can always get treatment at an emergency room. And Mr. Goodman — he’s the president of the National Center for Policy Analysis, an important conservative think tank, and is often described as the “father of health savings accounts,” a central feature of the Bush administration’s health policy — wants the next president to issue an executive order prohibiting the Census Bureau from classifying anyone as uninsured. “Voilà!” he says. “Problem solved.”

The truth, of course, is that visiting the emergency room in a medical crisis is no substitute for regular care. Furthermore, while a hospital will treat you whether or not you can pay, it will also bill you — and the bill won’t be waived unless you’re destitute. As a result, uninsured working Americans avoid visiting emergency rooms if at all possible, because they’re terrified by the potential cost: medical expenses are one of the prime causes of personal bankruptcy.

Mr. Goodman has in the past, including in an op-ed for The Wall Street Journal, described himself as an adviser to the McCain campaign on health policy. The campaign now claims that he is not, in fact, an adviser. But it’s a good bet that Mr. McCain’s inner circle shares Mr. Goodman’s views.

You see, Mr. Goodman’s assertion that lack of health insurance is no problem precisely echoed what President Bush said a year ago: “I mean, people have access to health care in America. After all, you just go to an emergency room.” That’s because both men — like Mr. Gramm — were just saying in public what modern Republicans say when they talk to each other. Despite attempts to feign sympathy, the leaders of today’s G.O.P. fundamentally feel that Americans complaining about their economic and health care difficulties are, well, just a bunch of whiners.

And that, ultimately, even more than their policy proposals, is what defines the difference between the parties.

It’s true that elected Democrats are often too cautious — and too beholden to major donors — to be as progressive as the party’s activists would like. But even in the face of a Republican Congress, Mr. Clinton succeeded in pushing forward policies, like the State Children’s Health Insurance Program, that did a lot to help working families.

And what one sees on the other side is a total lack of empathy for and understanding of the problems working Americans face. Mr. Clinton, famously, felt our pain. Republicans, manifestly, don’t. And it’s hard to fix a problem if you don’t even think it exists.

barack obama

I'm pleased -

I'm pleased with McCain's choice for vice-president, a woman, 44, with very little experience, a bachelor of arts degree in journalism, five children, who she is obviously not in the home raising, plus she is for oil drilling in Alaska, and is against listing the polar bear as endangered.  She supports the teaching of creationism along with evolution in the schools.

If she is supposed to be the answer to Hillary Clinton, I don't think so.  What part of forward thinking, intelligence, and health care does McCain not get.  

The people he is trying to appeal to probably won't vote for a woman, and the women I know who supported Hillary until the very end will not be impressed with Sarah Palin's lack of support for the environment or gay marriage.  

Is this who we want for our next president?  

According to Wikipedia, she has "called unreliable the climate-change models cited by Kempthorne and environmentalists that predict melting of Arctic ice."

One wonders what planet she lives on.    I think this choice of McCain's points out his senility more than anything else he's done of late.  All women are not the same.  This woman is not Hillary Clinton and no way that I can see will she attract the women who supported Hillary, at least not the women I know.

barack obama

an insult to the country -

When Bush wanted to nominate Harriet Miers to the Supreme Court, I thought it was one of the dumber choices I had ever heard, but was not surprised knowing where it came from, but this choice of McCain's of Palin for vice-president may have trumped Bush on the dumbness and out of touch scale.

At least, Miers had a degree in law.

This choice seems guaranteed to alienate almost everyone, as she does come with some inconsistencies.  Oh, right, she is a "maverick" like McCain, just what we want in our president, after the "bring em on" mentality we've had for eight years.  

What feels most insulting to me is that this is a response to some women supposedly being dissatisfied that they did not get Hillary Clinton for president.  Does he really think this woman equals Hillary in any way?  I am grateful he chose her, and insulted too.   How dumb does he think we are, or how corrupt is the election process at this point?

Imagine this woman as president which could very well happen with the age and health of McCain.  I had wondered if the GOP might just concede this time around.  Maybe this is their way of doing just that.  That way, when they lose, they can blame the woman on the ticket.  How perfect is that.

It does amaze!

This ought to get the juices of Hillary going even more in support of Barack.   Oh, my!!

ashes and snow - wings

Kindness -

This is to balance my "rant."   I am trying to balance the see-saw of myself.    :)

Joan Borysenko:

I love His Holiness the Dalai Lama. And of course there's quite a famous quote, when somebody said to him, "What is your religion? Explain your religion."

And His Holiness replied, "My religion is kindness."

You think about the great spiritual people like Mother Teresa.... She used to say, "Every dying person I pick up is simply Jesus in one more unfortunate garb."

There is that sense that people who have a real reverence for life see everything as part of the divine, see every person as divine.

And how could you be less than kind? How could you be less than compassionate?

Not because you're making a judgment about it, but because it calls forth holiness — you serve life because it's so beautiful, because it's so holy.

Rachel Naomi Remen said that really well one time. She said, often the way we serve is conflicted, because we think we serve life because it's broken. In fact, we serve life because it's holy.

I think that's what kindness is about.

—Joan Borysenko
New Morning Treasury

Book Cover

the fog, my friend -

The fog is rolling in.  She is my friend, and the moving presence of fog feels like a she tonight and I find myself moving into the I need to make a special dessert mode to celebrate.  The fog is back, our air conditioning, our blanket.  All's right with the world.  It's cool!!