My thanks to Cyrano's Journal Online for this.
"Percentage change since 2002 in average premiums paid to large US health-insurance companies: +87%
Percentage change in the profits of the top ten insurance companies: +428%
"Chances that an American bankrupted by medical bills has health insurance: 7 in 10
From Chris Hedges' post, This Isn't Reform, It's Robbery. Read It.
Oh, and a inspiring quote to calm my political fury was offered by Sharon Astyk from the book she co-authored, A Nation of Farmers.
“The simple truth is that the glorification of our past makes us believe lies. Glorification of our State makes us accept unacceptable things. And yet, there is a United States worth believing in - moments in history in which competing forces of powerful and weak met and creating something decent, something worth treasuring and admiring. It never happened without resistance, but neither was the story always a narrative of good people and evil leaders - it is far more complicated than that.The emphasis is mine. Sharon's life is a living lab and her post today, though filled with typos and was dashed off, is very thought provoking. It may well be a really challenging jumping off point. I will be watching. I am seriously guarded in my own hopes. I am just not seeing it. So, I daydream . . . (It is better than drugs because I can snap out of it in a moment with a splash of reality.)
All of us were taught a state- and hero-centered history that erased too many ordinary contributions and focused our national pride on the wrong things. But we did have that teaching; we did learn that nationalism. Perhaps a large part of our projects is the unlearning of the untruths, but smashing idols isn’t enough - we need to give people who love their country a place to put that love, give those who derive hope and comfort from their sense of the past a past to attach themselves to.”
Video Via Hecate, that wonderful witch
Der Spiegel sums up America’s latest kabuki dance-a-thon in one simple sentence: Americans Want ‘Freedom to Pay Too Much for Inferior Health Care’.
The lack of knowledge is vastly deep in the public and sphere because billions have been spent to keep everyone confused 24/7. Anyone who seeks fact based coverage through our media hasn't been paying attention for the last decade. And this administration has done little to educate the masses. My own opinion is that wealth care has won out over health care for the foreseeable future. This is a chilling realization as this might be the last opportunity to turn around.
Alas, the facade is slipping as Tengrain's graphic illustrates. He adds,
"can anyone think of a single campaign promise of any significance that [Obama] has not walked away from? Yeah, me neither."
quote h/t Tengrain
Centered or focused on men, often to the neglect or exclusion of women:
My new word of the day was used by res ipsa loquitur at Echidne of the Snakes blog in the following reference [emphasis mine]:
. . . Judith Warner nails it:
As [Hillary Clinton] circles the globe in coming years, making the case for women’s empowerment, starting with their basic right to be taken seriously, Clinton really has her work cut out for her. And it isn’t just because the situation of women around the world is so dire, and the ocean of problems confronting them — maternal mortality, sex trafficking, domestic abuse, malnourishment, lack of education, lack of adequate medical care, just for starters — is so wide and so deep.
And it isn’t just that her historic mandate — to equally empower the other half of the world’s population, to chip away at the forces “devaluing women,” in the words of Melanne Verveer, the State Department’s new ambassador at large for global women’s issues — is so huge and vague and seemingly overwhelming. It’s also because the tide of trivialization that washes over all things “Hillary” is just so powerful. That tide threatens to drown out anything of substance Clinton might attempt for a population whose problems have long been obscured in the androcentric world of diplomacy. And that’s a huge pity.
Warner is too polite to call out her colleague, Jeffrey Gettleman, for contributing to that "tide of trivilialization." In any case, the rest is very worthwhile.
My own preference would be for Clinton to be the woman leading a humbled United States, now dedicated to world peace and social justice. Sadly, the politics remain US imperialism, military might with plans on AFRICON and what seems like the status quo relationship with Agri-business and the monster Monsanto's plans to take over the world via genetically modified seeds. This is old, neo-liberal politics that depresses me deeply. Having said that, I support Hilary Clinton in the seriously vital social justice issue of women around the world. In this role I want to support her emphatically. The policies I named are totally androcentric. Women all over the planet need more power and authority to ever challenge them. Only when more women are in positions of power to assist other women can this androcentric grip be broken.
Hilary Clinton is an exceptional diplomat and I am deeply proud of her presentation to the world. This woman exudes respect and dignity. In her country, my country, she is scorned and belittled by even my most ignorant and uniformed fellow countrymen. This is a time of increasingly androcentric thinking. No, thinking is not the word, because thinking is absent. It seems to have been replaced by hating. Hating the wimminz. From the Guardian, UK, comes this:
Look what happened to Barbara Boxer, the Democratic Senator, who decided to correct a general testifying before her environment and public works committee who kept addressing her as ma'am. The brigadier general who heads the Army Corps of Engineering presumably owes a bit of his own success to his grasp of the rules of protocol and rank.
"Do me a favour," she told him. "Could you say 'Senator' instead of 'ma'am'. It's just a thing. I worked so hard to get the title so I would appreciate it."
Boxer was vilified of course.
As feminists know, the frightening reality behind what the irritainment industry plays off as silliness, is institutionalized misogyny. Hatred of women isn't simply addressing a woman without respect; it can and does translate into murder. There isn't enough outrage over the violence against women. Twice as many women have been murdered in the last 7 years than US Soldiers have died in war. This according to Canadian journalist Antonia Zerbisias writing about femicide. She quotes from Brian Vallee book, War on Women:"Compare the raw numbers," he writes of the period 2000-06. "In the same seven-year period when 4,588 U.S. soldiers and police officers were killed by hostiles or by accident, more than 8,000 women – nearly twice as many – were shot, stabbed, strangled, or beaten to death by the intimate males in their lives.
As we all know now, George Sodini, 48 – whose racist and misogynist online diary reads like a terrorist manifesto – couldn't get a date, couldn't get sex, couldn't lure any women to his modest side-split furnished with, as he points out in a spooky video, "Couch and chair; they match. The women will really be impressed."
Well, they weren't.
And so Sodini's "exit plan" was to go down in history in a blaze of gunfire, taking as many women with him as he could.
Just like Marc Lépine, who hated "the feminists" so much he slaughtered 14 women at Montreal's École Polytechnique in 1989, just like Charles Carl Roberts who executed Amish school girls three years ago, and, arguably, even like Virginia Tech shooter Seung-Hui Cho, a reported stalker of female students who took up-the-skirt photos, yet another violent act of misogyny takes place.
No, no, we say. They were just loners, losers, crazies with guns.
There's not enough outrage.
I am outraged. Daily. But, I must not focus too long or hard as it damages me and paralyzes more than it propels me as a feminist. I digress. To return to what precipitated this post on androcentric USA, is the miserable treatment Secretary of State Clinton has had to tolerate with the US Corporate Press and that sound of crickets coming from the White House. Melissa McEwan writes better than any I have read in defense of the remarkable task that lays before Hilary Clinton and how well she handles it.
Unless Americans believe our Secretary of State should be exporting the ideal of demurring to avoid hurting men's feelings, instead of exporting the ideal that institutional inequality is fundamentally unacceptable, there's no reason why her response should be remotely controversial. She should be praised for behaving like a woman who has an unyielding belief in equality; instead she is being scolded like a bad little girl by the national media.
Remember that next time someone wonders if feminism is really necessary in America anymore.
And, you know, it's bad enough that Clinton's unapologetic insistence on being respected as a person and a Secretary of State is being treated like something about which she ought to be embarrassed, but even worse is the utter disregard for why such a posture is important in a place with a rape epidemic. Our nation should be proud of our Secretary of State for that moment. Our nation should be pleased that we have a Secretary of State who stands up for what's right.
Instead, we mock her—and she will probably be forced to publicly apologize, for asserting her equality on an international stage.
The BBC describes the newly discovered species as a new kind of pitcher plant. And this one is evidently "among the largest of all pitchers and is so big that it can catch rats as well as insects in its leafy trap." Which makes it a pretty mean carnivorous plant--it catches insects, rodents, and other small animals in its tubes as they tumble down into them. The plant then closes its tube, trapping the prey inside.
I live in a coastal community and we have roof rats. Thanks to some hard working cats I haven't seen any rats - except a dead one left as a 'gift' by his cat recently. But, I am okay with the idea of feeding the plant via any and all rodents.
The down side on my roof would be that killing little birds and insects would be the unintended consequence. And there are millions of possible unintended consequences to the ecosystem that I (or trained scientists) can't even imagine. Of course there is no word in the Treehugger post about when or if the Nepenthes attenboroughii might be available to the US market, so my worries are moot. It does seem like something from a fantasy novel. Funny, I am so opposed to war, bloodshed, violence and killing. But, when it comes to my primal fear - rats - I get a bit crazy. Gotta' work on that.
Update: Not an hour after writing this I looked out my window to see out in the drive, the neighbor's cat sitting proudly over a small dead rat. He then tossed the carcass in the air and did cat attack dance moves. I pulled the curtain. *shudder*
All I can say is I am getting myself stronger. The worst is yet to come. I continue to try and keep myself from slipping into negative mode with gossip, mockery and 'othering' - but it is constant vigilance. I still feel it is of upmost importance to stand up against tyranny, violence and hate. I am still opposed to war, the military and the increasing police violations against civil rights. When I fail in my effort to show respect for those around me, I feel I am going in circles.