It’s Foolish to Think of the Saving of Obamacare is a Victory

Many Democrats are celebrating this morning the defeat of the Republican’s attempt to “repeal and replace” Obamacare. What the hell are Americans celebrating?

I’m an American expat working for the National Health Service (NHS) in the United Kingdom. I’ve been a health care provider in the US system for 29 years, before coming to the UK. If you’re a citizen here, you get healthcare that’s free at the point of service. It’s true, your hospital may not have:

hospitals

  • a football field
  • a swimming pool
  • a basketball court
  • a grand piano

But you do get good quality health care.  That’s my opinion as a provider, and as a patient.

hospitalstay

 

But that’s not just my  opinion, it’s a fact. Health care in the UK costs less and has better outcomes than the USA.

You’ll have US politicians speaking out of both sides of their mouth. They’ll stand there flag waving saying America is the greatest country in the world, while saying America can’t afford to do what the rest of the civilized world already provides for its citizens. They’ll say this while spending more on defense than China, South Korea, Italy, Germany, Japan, France, India, Iraq, Australia, Brazil, Israel, and the United Kingdom combined (and Donald Trump wants to spend 54 billion dollars more).

Since September 11, 2001 the United States has spent 4.79 TRILLION dollars on two wars and the so called “battle on Islamic terrorism.” If you’re an American citizen, do you feel safer? Do you feel like the world is a safer place making that kind of investment?

If you’re celebrating Obamacare, you’re like this guy:

nobike

He might be happy that he’s got a car to drive, but he’s still driving a clunker.

Now that’s not to say say that the NHS is perfect. It’s underfunded and stressed, but what do the people being served by it fear? They fear the NHS becoming something that mirrors the US health care system.

I understand why people are relieved that the health care they have now won’t be taken away, but celebrate? Being screwed over a little less is no reason to celebrate. This should be a wake up call, not a party.

Bernie or Meh, The Clinton Path to Defeat

#BernieOrMeh #ImWithMeh
#IllVote4Her Bernie or Meh, Clinton’s Path to Defeat

I’ll say it up front, I’m a Bernie Sanders supporter that:

  • thinks Sanders has a very narrow path to the nomination (almost impossible).
  • will vote for Clinton if she’s the nominee.
  • thinks Democrats and the Clinton campaign are setting themselves up for a massive defeat in the fall.

The Democratic Party seems to want to have a fight with Bernie Sanders. Today’s post from the Hill:

Bernie’s not a Democrat. What are we worried about? Why would Bernie want to play nice?” said Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.). “I’m just saying if a person doesn’t even want to conform to be Democratic, it’s kind of hard to say, ‘OK, all of a sudden you have to do all these things.’ ”

Sanders isn’t a Democrat? Huh. I guess then they didn’t count him as a Democrat from 2008-2010? He wasn’t a Democrat when Obamacare passed by 1 vote? The reality of this election cycle is that to win, Hillary Clinton supporters need Sanders supporters. Sanders may not be a Democrat, but a very large portion of HIS SUPPORTERS ARE.

There are no super-delegates in the November general election. Clinton my be on the verge of clinching the nomination of the Democratic Party, but she may also be heading for a massive defeat in the fall.

Trump could just rerun Obama’s 2008 ad:

The ad said:

“The Washington Post says Clinton isn’t telling the truth. […]

“But it was Hillary Clinton, in an interview with Tom Brokaw, who quote ‘paid tribute’ to Ronald Reagan’s economic and foreign policy. She championed NAFTA –- even though it has cost South Carolina thousands of jobs. And worst of all, it was Hillary Clinton who voted for George Bush’s war in Iraq.

“Hillary Clinton. She’ll say anything, and change nothing. It’s time to turn the page. Paid for by Obama for America.”

Since 1994 Ohio has lost 320,000 manufacturing jobs since NAFTA was enacted. You can argue whether or not those job losses were from NAFTA, but what I don’t think is arguable is how effective a talking point it is in states that have been hemorrhaging manufacturing jobs.

If Trump keeps hammering Clinton on her support of NAFTA and the Iraq War, while stoking anti-Muslim and anti-immigrant sentiment, he has a very good shot at becoming the next President of the United States.

Clinton and the Democratic establishment aren’t going to win over Sanders voters by falsely labeling them as violent. They won’t win Sanders voters over by painting Sanders as a lonely outsider, effectively aligning his voters out in the cold with him. Say 2/3 of Sanders voters do vote for Clinton, and most Republicans vote for Trump? Trump would win Pennsylvania and Ohio. Clinton’s ahead in the polls in Florida by 1 percentage point.  I have a  question for establishment Democrats. How’d that whole letting Florida decide the election in 2000 work out for you?
 

Iain Lee, Tabloid Media, and What Racism Means

If you follow me on social media or on this blog,  you’ll know I’m a fan of talk radio. I found a new talk show network forming in the UK called TalkRadio, so I gave their shows a listen. One of the shows in particular caught my ear. Iain Lee hosts a show on the network that I’ve come to really enjoy listening to. I even sent him an email telling him (and have told his producer in tweets) on how much I like the show. Lee seems  to be a very honest host that really puts his heart and vulnerability into his show/art.

The last few days Lee has been under attack by British media for supposedly being racist. Lee was on a game show (for charity) and this happened:

Lee defended himself quite well on Monday’s show (May 2, 2016), saying that he thought the girls where in a corner-shop and it was nothing more than that.

On Tuesday night’s show, a caller phoned in to engage with Lee concerning what is referred to as casual racism. I found his treatment of this caller to be rude, and dismissive. He wouldn’t let the caller get his point across, and even used the dictionary argument.  Going on a radio show as a caller always puts the the caller at a disadvantage. The radio presenter always has control over the call and the conversation, and I felt Lee was harsh and refused to listen to what the caller was saying.

Casual racism isn’t always something the person engaging in it even knows they’re doing. Everyone has implicit biases, and sometimes those biases cause us to engage in behavior that we’re not even aware of. He posted after the show on Twitter that the earlier caller had made the observation that black people can’t be racist:

Actual tweets at Storify

FireShot Capture 46 - Editing 'Iain Lee Show _ - https___editor.storify.com_57294eca936b6de4593cf642

The natural response when being called out on pretty much anything in life is a reflexive denial. White people (cisgender heterosexual males) especially don’t like being called racist. Even overt racists don’t think or say they’re racist. But I wasn’t even SAYING Lee is a racist. I was critical of his treatment of someone that was trying to explain casual racism to him.  By criticizing him for his rude treatment of a caller, supporters of Lee have accused me of cyber-bullying.

FireShot Capture 47 - Editing 'Iain Lee Show _ - https___editor.storify.com_57294eca936b6de4593cf642

Even though as soon as Lee asked me to stop tweeting him, I did, I’m a bully. I do understand how difficult it is for white people to hear something they said or did might be racist. I learned this the hard way. I wrote a blog post  in which I typed out the “N” word fully. Soon after I was taken to task by people of colour. I had to listen, because as a white person myself, I’m not the arbiter of what is, or is not,  racist.

For many white people being called racist is something akin to being called a child abuser or a rapist in terms of the public shame. Casual racism isn’t using the N word or lynching someone, it’s a hell of a lot more subtle than that. My issue wasn’t with Lee’s game show performance, but his dismissal and rude treatment of someone that called him on his privilege or the possibility that he MIGHT have been casually racist. As a friend of mine said of Lee’s reaction, it’s as if someone stepped on your foot and the following conversation ensued:

Me: “Excuse me, I believe you just stepped on my foot.”
Them: “ARE YOU CALLING ME A CLUMSY MONSTER??”
Them: “ARE YOU SAYING NOBODY EVER STEPPED ON MY FOOT??”
Them: “IT’S CROWDED GET OVER IT!”
Me: “But you’re still standing on my foot.”

Regardless, I wish nothing but the best for Lee. Lee stated that he has blocked me because he’s struggling with depression. I hope he feels better soon.

 

 

Sassy On Tech: Fitbit Blaze, Garmin VivoSmart HR, and the Dying Charge HR

Recently my Fitbit Charge-HR fell apart. It started with the side button disappearing/falling off. The charging cover proceeded to fall off, making it unusable. I was irritated that the Fitbit fell apart just after a year of use. So I decided to Give the Garmin Vivosmart-HR a shot. I based the purchase on seeing this review:


It seemed to mirror the Charge-HR in terms of features. I did like the screen. It’s flawless in the sun or bright light. But I’m a night shift worker and my bedroom is blacked out, so I need to be able to see the screen in a very dark room. The Vivosmart HR fails under darkened room conditions.

That was annoying, but what had me return the device was the sleep tracking feature. I’ve been spoiled with the Fitbit’s automatic sleep tracking. As a night shift worker, it makes me very aware of how much sleep I’m getting and when I’m getting it. If I took a nap before work, the Fitbit caught it automatically. With the Garmin device, you have to set times for it to record your sleep patterns. I took a nap before work (outside the set sleep times) and the device totally missed recording it.

Read the rest over on Sassy on Tech

Renee Zellweger, Abortion, and Trans Bodies

Wading through all the comments on Facebook about Renee Zellweger’s “new look” have made me think a lot about a common thread between abortion rights, trans bodies, and body modification through surgery. The common issue is between them all is bodily autonomy, the right to make choices about what happens to you your own body.

Wading through all the comments on Facebook about Renee Zellweger’s “new look” have made me think a lot about a common thread between abortion rights, trans bodies, and body modification through surgery. The common issue is between them all is bodily autonomy, the right to make choices about what happens to you your own body.

“But she looked good/better/different before the surgery!”

“She looks ok, but I think she was more attractive as a guy!”

According to who? I’m kind of dumbfounded when someone agrees a woman should have the right to choose what do concerning an unplanned pregnancy, but will comment on a person’s choice for elective body modifications. Why is that ok? It seems to me that it’s Feminism 101 to say that women should have the right of bodily autonomy.

I find celebrity culture to be a tad bit creepy. People will comment freely about a woman’s body as if it’s something of theirs to critique? It’s objectification at its highest level. They probably wouldn’t appreciate the same level of critique of their mother, sister, or partner’s bodies, but they seem to feel they have a right to comment on the body of someone they’ve never met and don’t know? How far is this from the religious fundamentalist (or TERF) who will say:

“The writers of Scripture viewed any attempts at overriding one’s birth-sex as abhorrent, a sacrilege against the structures of maleness or femaleness created by God, and ultimately a rebellion against the Creator who made our bodies,”

The underlying theme is the same, regardless of who it’s coming from. It’s an assertion of ownership, outside of one’s own body. It’s an assertion that bodily autonomy is harmful, and that any change to the “natural body” is mutilation:

“Now one of the things I find puzzling about it is that, when I look at the House of Lords debate on this legislation, those I agree with most are the radical right. Particularly the person I find that I agree with most, in here, and I’m not sure he will be pleased to find this, is Norman Tebbitt… Tebbitt also says that the savage mutilation of transgenderism, we would say if it was taking place in other cultures apart from the culture of Britain, was a harmful cultural practice, and how come we’re not recognising that in the British Isles. So he makes all of these arguments from the radical right, which is quite embarrassing to me, but I have to say, so called progressive and left people are not recognising the human rights violations of transgenderism or how crazy the legislation is. – Sheila Jeffreys

My belief (regardless of if we’re talking about trans people, sex workers, Renee Zellweger, or someone who is pregnant) that it is “my body, my choice.”  The right to make choices about your body is a basic, fundamental human right.

Climate Change and the Search for Truth

(Recently on a progressive e-list I’m on a person pointed to the work done by Science and Public Policy Institute and suggested that we “learn the truth” about climate change. The following is my response to him)

When someone claims to hold the truth to a question I tend to want to believe them.  In my own life I want truth more than anything,  so I my nature is to want to believe what people say.  In third grade Ricky Crawford told me that his father worked for NASA and that his father had told him secretly that aliens from Pluto were attacking and would be here in three days. For three days I cried a lot, hid a lot, and waited for news to break that the aliens were attacking. When I realized that I’d been tricked,  I trusted other people a lot less.

I’ve found consistently through my life that though I want to believe what people say,  I have to dig down and see if there is a more sinister or politically motivated reason underneath. Many people (Christian creationists, for example) start with a belief and amass data to support their belief while dismissing anything that doesn’t support their beliefs.
Continue reading “Climate Change and the Search for Truth”