copyright ? 2007 Betsy L. Angert. BeThink.org
This article first appeared at Troubled Times. I thank Steven Josselson for the opportunity to share what I believe is a vital message.
Today, I am reminded of our shared purpose. We the people of the United States came together in order to form a more perfect Union. We joined as one to establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves, and our Posterity. However, it seems we have forgotten. Our children and our future suffer as, Congress, Bush Clash Over Children's Health Insurance.
A Bill thought certain to pass the House and the Senate easily, is now stalled. Only days ago, it seemed the decade-old State Children's Health Insurance Program would be expanded.
But the future of the $5 billion-a-year program, which serves 6.6 million children and has long enjoyed bipartisan support, has become mired in an ideological fight over the proper role of government in health care and in more mundane legislative arm-wrestling over how to fund the effort in a tight budget climate.The values and beliefs in question are those discussed early on in our nation's history. What is the role of government and what defines overwhelming authority. Mister Bush, in accordance with his presumed prerogative declares privatization of all programs is paramount. Rather than use the people's money to support us and ensure a healthy commonwealth, the bush Administration proposes programs that benefit those that already have.
President Bush has attacked the proposals as big-government attempts to enlarge the federal role in health care, saying they would siphon choice away from individuals and reduce private insurance coverage for some children. He has proposed about $5 billion in new funding for children's health insurance over five years, for a total of $30 billion -- an amount that the Congressional Budget Office says would be too little to keep covering even just the number of children enrolled in the program now.Apparently, we, as a nation no longer believe that we must provide for those most in need, particularly those unable to fend for themselves. We have abandoned the notion that together, we must promote the common interests, in order to guarantee the quality of our future. If we do not, if we choose to create a divide, a fissure between the rich and poor then certainly as a country, we will fall.
"The program is going beyond the initial intent of helping poor children," Bush said at an appearance in Cleveland last week. "It's now aiming at encouraging more people to get on government health care. . . . It's a way to encourage people to transfer from the private sector to government health-care plans. . . . I think it's wrong, and I think it's a mistake."
The autocrats of antiquity chose to impose their preferences on the common people. Rulers forgot, and ultimately were reminded, governments serve society and not the wealthy few. We must take care of those that cannot attend to their own needs. If for no other reason, if we do not, it will affect us all financially.
While it might be nice to think that we can and will pull ourselves up by our own bootstraps, practically speaking, that is not always possible. Thomas Paine perhaps presented an analogy more apt than any I might construct. In the scholar's desire to explain the intent of government, compare and contrast the rationale for such a system, while honoring the role of society Paine wrote.
In order to gain a clear and just idea of the design and end of government, let us suppose a small number of persons settled in some sequestered part of the earth, unconnected with the rest; they will then represent the first peopling of any country, or of the world. In this state of natural liberty, society will be their first thought.While we as individuals might muse, "People must take care of themselves," in truth we must realize if we are to truly respect life, ours and their, it is indeed, "All for one, and one for all," that must guide us.
A thousand motives will excite them thereto; the strength of one man is so unequal to his wants, and his mind so unfitted for perpetual solitude, that he is soon obliged to seek assistance and relief of another, who in his turn requires the same.
Four or five united would be able to raise a tolerable dwelling in the midst of a wilderness, but one man might labor out the common period of life without accomplishing any thing; when he had felled his timber he could not remove it, nor erect it after it was removed; hunger in the mean time would urge him to quit his work, and every different want would call him a different way. Disease, nay even misfortune, would be death; for though neither might be mortal, yet either would disable him from living, and reduce him to a state in which he might rather be said to perish than to die.
We are our brethren. While I may be able to financially treat any ills my son, or daughter might incur, if I allow the offspring of my neighbor to suffer, than what might I say of myself. Can I truly and admirably be satisfied with my own wealth if I am willing to watch the poor suffer and possibly perish.
Many Americans acknowledge they could not live with themselves if they did not care for the young. Citizens throughout the land think children must be our priority. We as a nation must insure our progeny. Our civilization survives when our children thrive. As a culture, we must make certain the young receive the best health care we can provide.
Congress was diligent working in the interest of the weakest among us. While the logistics may be less than lovely, the intention is admirable. Ensuring that our youngest citizens have health care is commendable.
Key members of the Senate Finance Committee announced a bipartisan deal late last week that would raise the federal excise tax on cigarettes by 61 cents, to $1 a pack, to expand the program by $35 billion over the next five years. That would create total program funding of $60 billion over the period -- enough, lawmakers said, to cover 3.3 million additional kids while keeping the focus on children of the working poor. The committee is expected to vote on the plan as early as this week.However, it seems this well-established and necessary program may be eliminated. If it survives, in another, poorly funded form, as the President proposes, again many of our progeny will be wounded.
The program, which will expire on Sept. 30, "has helped millions upon millions of low-income, uninsured American kids see doctors when they're sick," Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus (D-Mont.) said in a statement. "This agreement will make sure that even more children get the health care they need."
House Democrats, meanwhile, have sought an even bigger increase: $50 billion, for a total of $75 billion in funding over five years. It would be paid for, at least in part, by trimming payments to private Medicare plans for seniors. Such an expansion would reach even more of the nation's 8.3 million uninsured children and, more generally, provide a foundation for further efforts to cover more of the 45 million uninsured Americans, they argue.
A recent study revealed, 1 In 4 Kids Go Without Health Care.
Some uninsured children of the working poor don't go to the doctor's office; it comes to them.Medical professionals disturbed by the finding and a reality that they are all too familiar with went to Capitol Hill to lobby for an ample increase in funding the federal Children's Health Insurance Program. However, it seems our compassionately conservative President rejects the prospect.
They make too much for Medicaid but not enough to have their own insurance.
And 150,000 patients per year, nationwide, get free care from 21 mobile units provided by the Children's Health Fund. But a new report out Thursday from this non-profit group says far too many kids are falling into a huge health care crevice, CBS News has learned exclusively.
The group's report finds despite billions of dollars in government spending, more than one in four children still don't have full-time health care ? a gap twice as big as anyone thought, CBS News correspondent Sharyl Attkisson reports.
"It's more than just insurance and lack of insurance, that are keeping children from getting medical care," says Dr. Irwin Redlener, president of the Children's Health Fund of Columbia University.
It's estimated that 9 million children are completely uninsured. But the new study says 11.5 million more kids end up without medical care for part of the year. And another 3 million can't get a ride to the doctor. That's more than 23 million children.
Rather than consider the needs of the young, Mister Bush postures, 'Government is too big.' Perhaps it is. When Administrators make the rules, disregarding the principles our forefathers established than we, as a society no longer function. I am forever baffled by how easily we forget, in a democracy, in a republic, the term government is meant to signify, "of, by, and for the people."
Some writers have so confounded society with government, as to leave little or no distinction between them; whereas they are not only different, but have different origins. Society is produced by our wants and government by our wickedness; the former promotes our happiness positively by uniting our affections, the latter negatively by restraining our vices. The one encourages intercourse, the other creates distinctions. The first is a patron, the last a punisher.Indeed, when we allow those entrusted to serve with extraordinary power, the people, particularly the littlest ones are left to languish.
Society in every state is a blessing, but government, even in its best state, is but a necessary evil; in its worst state an intolerable one: for when we suffer, or are exposed to the same miseries by a government, which we might expect in a country without government, our calamity is heightened by reflecting that we furnish the means by which we suffer.
In some local communities, citizens came together to provide services for the young. States provided supplementary services. In December 2005, some thought the numbers of children without health care was decreasing.
In the past year, 20 states have taken steps to increase access to health coverage for children and their parents and nine states have reversed actions they took during the 2001-03 economic downturn to limit benefits, according the Kaiser Commission on Medicaid and the Uninsured, part of the Kaiser Family Foundation, which tracks health care trends.However, the situation was never stable. The States alone could not fill the demand.
As a result of these and other steps, there are 350,000 fewer uninsured children in the United States than there were in 2000, the foundation reported. Over the same period the overall number of uninsured rose by 6 million.
Ambitious steps like the child health bill just signed in Illinois and the "Dr. Dynasaur" children's health program in Vermont have broadened coverage for children.
While elected officials cannot agree on how to provide or pay for health coverage for uninsured adults, there seems to be a consensus that covering children is both medically wise and politically smart.
Eleven states facing political and financial pressure, including Maryland, Pennsylvania and Tennessee, have made it more difficult for eligible children to retain coverage.Again we are reminded that although archaic Elizabethan laws may have thought to differentiate between the deserving and those that some think are less so, the current Administration does not make this critical distinction when it comes to children?s well being. In 2007, those in the White House, the individuals that represent the highest form of authority have lost their virtuousness. They have become as Thomas Paine warned us against.
The movement to expand coverage for children dates to the mid-1990s, after the Clinton administration devised a complex plan to provide all Americans with health care coverage. That plan failed, and advocates of wider coverage began pursuing more incremental changes at the federal level and lobbying state legislatures to expand coverage.
Alan Weil, executive director of the National Academy for State Health Policy, a nonpartisan research group, said children's health was one area of state spending that had consistently risen, at a time when most other programs ? including health care for adults ? have suffered cuts. Weil said it was much easier for elected officials to approve spending "for the kids" than to expand welfare programs for adults, even in times of hardship.
"It goes back to the Elizabethan poor laws that drew a conceptual distinction between the deserving and the undeserving poor," he said. "It's very hard to call kids undeserving, even if you don't like the parents' behavior. It's not the kids' fault they are without health care."
As of the beginning of this year, 16 percent of all Americans lacked health insurance, but only 12 percent of children under 18 went uncovered, although that still amounts to 9 million children, according to the Kaiser commission. The gap between the two groups has been widening over the years as fewer and fewer employers offer health care coverage, federal spending on health care fails to keep pace with rising costs, and states are forced to limit eligibility to balance their budgets.
Government, like dress, is the badge of lost innocence; the palaces of kings are built upon the ruins of the bowers of paradise. For were the impulses of conscience clear, uniform and irresistibly obeyed, man would need no other law-giver; but that not being the case, he finds it necessary to surrender up a part of his property to furnish means for the protection of the rest; and this he is induced to do by the same prudence which in every other case advises him, out of two evils to choose the least.Might we remember that in our desire to lessen the forces of "government" we must not forego what makes us great, society.
As those in Congress and the White House debate ideology, lives are at stake. The cost of medical care is on the rise; needs do not decline. In a time when half the bankruptcies are due to medical expenses, America must pay attention. Three quarters of those filing, had medical insurance. Considering that close to two million Americans, debtors and their dependents are affected by medical bankruptcy, we must acknowledge that this program benefits us all. When one person cannot pay their bills, we all absorb the debt. Ethically, when an individual, a child passes because of neglect, we as a society are diminished. Please ponder.
For people such as Beverly Chappell, 43, a Web site developer in Thornton, N.H., the debate is about health and family, not ideology. Chappell and her husband, David, 49, a self-employed carpenter, earn a total of $43,000 a year and for years could not afford health insurance for their family. While the couple still have none, they had signed up their children for the program in 1998 -- just before their son Nathan had his first severe asthma attack.Fear of big government cannot compromise our principles. When those in authority corrupt a system that benefits society we must stand up and say, "We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union . . ."
"If I had not had that insurance, I would not have taken him to the emergency room and he probably would have died," Beverly Chappell said. "The program has value. Nobody should have to evaluate when it is an emergency and when it is not because they are afraid of getting a bill."
The Miracle of Medical Care is Threatened . . .
As I'm sure you've all heard by now, the Department of Defense issued a press release Wednesday touting its capture of one of the top leaders of Al Qaeda in Iraq, Khaled Abdul-Fattah Dawoud Mahmoud al-Mashhadani, also known as Abu Shahid. And in a stroke of sheer luck, interrogators were able to get him to confirm all of the Administration's talking points about Al Qaeda's involvement in Iraq just as the Democratic leadership in the Senate was moving to end a Republican filibuster of the Levin-Reed Troop Withdrawal plan.
Unfortunately, the mediaslumunistofascists at CNN only read you the first page of the press release. Abu Shahid had much more information to share. Here are a few of his quotes the media failed to report:
Our organization would crumble if any of the following pieces of legislation were passed:
- Social security privatization
- Oil drilling in the ANWR
- increasing funding for abstinence education
- repealing tax cuts for the wealthy
Nothing strikes fear in our hearts more than the knowledge that prostitutes dress your senators in diapers.
1,357 of our best terrorist trainees lost all hope and abandoned their training when your mighty and fearsome president commuted Scooter Libby's sentence.
We are undermining your society with gay marriage, evolution, and environmental regulation.
Our ultimate goal is to punish Americans by providing them with single-payer health care.
Tinky-Winky and Spongebob Squarepants are important mullahs in our organization.
We fear Joe Lieberman because he's not really fucking nuts.
Iran plays a central role in our plans for world domination. If America nuked them, the Middle East would become just like Branson, MO.
We hate America because John Edwards has a nice head of hair.
Walmart stands for everything we despise, but if we were Americans, we'd take advantage of the super savings and courteous service Walmart offers to its customers. This week for instance, Walmart is offering a "two for the price of one" deal on Panther Martin fishing lures. You can't beat that. Supplies are limited, so if I want to take advantage of this deal, I must ask my captors to hurry on down to the nearest Walmart and pick them up right away. And while they're there, they should take a look at Walmart's wide selection of sturdy, yet affordable, Coleman camping gear. Yes, Walmart is not only a den of filthy infidels, it's also your Headquarters for Summer Fun.
We?ve heard quite a lot of stupidity about Iraq lately, but this is a jaw-dropper.On the July 18 edition of MSNBC Live, during a discussion of Senate Republicans? move blocking an up or down vote on a Democratic amendment aimed at withdrawing troops from Iraq, Washington Post staff writer Shailagh Murray asserted that ?most Republicans? [...]
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On the July 15 edition of Fox News' Hannity's America, discussing Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Rodham Clinton, host Sean Hannity asserted: "[T]here are still many chapters remaining open from her time at the Rose Law Firm. Take Whitewater and the death of Vince Foster." In fact, Foster's death has been conclusively determined to have been a suicide. Moreover, after extensive investigations, three different independent counsels determined that there was insufficient[...]
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Finally someone says the glaringly obvious about what we have to do to prevent terrorist attacks here: Stop wringing our hands about Musharraf?s shaky situation in Pakistan and cross the Afghanistan border to take out bin Laden?s people who are dug in there.
Lee Hamilton, 76 years old with no political ambitions, said it straight out on CNN yesterday: "If there's anything we should have learned, it's that we must not let Al Qaeda have a sanctuary, which they certainly do in Pakistan today."
For years now, Pakistan?s President has been playing the Bush Administration like a violin, promising cooperation and doing just enough to placate us while keeping the militants in his own country at bay. But Musharraf?s political games have left the United States increasingly vulnerable.
Even Bush and Cheney see by now what has to be done. ?In identifying the main reasons for Al Qaeda?s resurgence,? the New York Times reported yesterday, ?intelligence officials and White House aides pointed the finger squarely at a hands-off approach toward the tribal areas by Pakistan?s president, Gen. Pervez Musharraf, who last year brokered a cease-fire with tribal leaders in an attempt to drain support for Islamic extremism in the region.?
?It hasn?t worked for Pakistan,? said Frances Fragos Townsend, who heads the Homeland Security Council at the White House. ?It hasn?t worked for the United States.?
According to the Times, ?Ms. Townsend...acknowledged frustration that Al Qaeda had succeeding in rebuilding its infrastructure and its links to affiliates, while keeping Mr. bin Laden and his top lieutenants alive for nearly six years since the Sept. 11 attacks.?
It will undoubtedly take a highly sophisticated combination of overt and covert operations to do what has to be done in Pakistan, but, as usual, it is taking someone like Lee Hamilton to say so out loud.
If Bush and Cheney are lusting to invade somewhere, they should forget Iran and do what has to be done in Pakistan. They won?t have to take over a whole country and stay, as they did in Iraq, just get in far enough to uproot Al Qaeda and get out.
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Glenn Greenwald, blogger and author of A Tragic Legacy and How Would a Patriot Act?, will be hosting this week's Yearly Kos in Second Life event on Thursday. It starts at 6pm SLT (Pacific Time) at the YKSL Registration Center. Be there or be square. These events are always a lot of fun, and it'll be incredible to have Glenn there.
I'm thrilled to see Glenn's name in the Cafe Wellstone logs as well. I haven't figured out how to launch the Cafe yet, but drop by the next time you're in-world, have a beer, dance, and meet Delano, my flying humpback whale.
Next door to the Cafe (on the other side of the big house and waterfall), you'll find the Ranch, a gathering place for a great bunch of folks who were regular commenters on Al Franken's Blog. Many of them now blog here. Stop by and pick up an "Impeach" sign from Jillan or one of Fantod's great shirts. (Don't mind the bear. He's just a little gassy).
Next week at YKSL: Sam Seder.
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Oh, oh, oh, how we wanted it so. Oh we wanted it so bad, so bad. We were dying for a war, and a knight riding in like Gawain, or Galahad. But all was not what it seems, we did not hear the screams, from a sargent who had been there, from General who was on the air, from a Governor who knew it unfair. It was all drown out by the blare, with a little help from Tony Blair.
A frat boy Presidency, with all the buff young men in charge, and charged, and charging. Some of us, still want it so, a firm President, with a firm belief that no means "fuck me harder." From the beginning, he has been firm. And with a surge of firm manly confidence, and a swelling of national pride, which affirms everything he stands for. Stands. Firm. Stands. Firm. That's how frat boys are, firm and headed for daddy's firm when they can firm up their transcript a bit with some gut classes. And as far from the fight as possible. They have better babes to do.
Oh, oh, oh, how we wanted it so. We wanted it so bad, the sands like caramel, the waves of young men rising like a swell, on the ocean. We wanted to be had. Judith Miller was our patron saint, only she was paid in better coin.
We wanted them to rip through our constitution and take us, to tear out first amendment away and run their firm hands all over our country, using his huge mandate on us, paying close attention to the twin towers that are what everyone stared at in the skyline of Manhattan. Lovely lady liberty wanted nothing more, nothing more, oh how she begged for it. We wanted to be wet, wet, wet for him.
Blame who you like, because oh, oh, oh, how we wanted it so. Wanted to be his whore and let him use, use, use. Like a drum or a muse, a siren song we can't refuse, a IED that won't defuse.
That's why we didn't need to discuss or debate whether to go to war. Instead, two big smoking pillar argued it for us, and we were warporned into it. I've seen the writing of the time described as "an endless parade of wargasms." And strangely, for such a hard, firm, President, it was soft old men like Thomas Friedman, David Brooks, Karl Rove and Ari Fleisher that argued for him. Among the warporners, the women were men, the men were women, and the country was ready to be sheep.
So we stumbled into the bed we had made. Everything else left unsaid. And our execution was left unstayed, we sore afraid. We were so afrad, that we forgot who the bull horn was pointed at.
But we've grown sick and tired of Bush. Some of us want, recovery. Recovery is a long way away. Because we have to admit more than that we are sick and tired of Bush, but we have to admit that we were sick, and tired, and confused. And that we are finally sick and tired of being sick and tired.
We are tired of a festival of failures, and arming the enemy. Even Republicans do not want forty more years, or even four. We do not even want any more.
And we are just barely ready to do just that. We finally smell a rat. The whispers for impeachment are now old hat. Now just fancy that.
We were dying for a war that we wanted so bad, so bad, so bad. And like caramel it is hot and sticks to everything, everywhere and everyone. Will it matter if we want out of it so bad, so bad. Only if we cry, and scream out loud, so loud that they can hear us, in their dreams, will they hear our screams.
We have to want out that bad, because the taste of it will be sweeter than sugar, and more intoxicating than porn.
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That's what Josh is calling his highlight reel from last night's GOP filibuster of the Levin/Reed out of Iraq amendment. It's got some great stuff, including Joe "Concern Troll" Lieberman, John "Schoolmarm" McCain, and John "Mr. Obvious" Thune, who had my favorite moment:
We're taking a lot of casualties in Iraq because that's where they are killing our soldiers. That's the reason we're taking on casualties in Iraq, because that's where our soldiers are."
Rep. Don Young (R-AK) got pretty heated today on the House floor when he thought schoolchildren in New Jersey threatened to take "his money." Rep. Scott Garrett (R-N.J.) had introduced an amendment...
David at TPM has Condi admitting her greatest weakness:
MB: Would you consider a position in business or on Wall Street?
CR: I don't know what I'll do long-term. I'm a terrible long-term planner.
So that's what happened in Iraq.
Update: More making fun of Condi in Rook's diary.