Archive for August, 2007

Republican Hypocrisy Continues

For a long time, the Republicans have used ‘Family Values‘ as the core of their drive to secure power in both Congress and the White House. You would rather think, that a party so wrapped up in what they call ‘Family Values‘ would at least have the decency to understand what those values are. (see commentConservative Hypocrisy‘) I mean when did lying and hate become something of value within the family structure?

It is also amazing to me that any ‘Gay‘ person would be a part of this party of racists, bigots, and hypocrites. I mean Tom Foley (see commentA Politicians Demise‘) was a darling of the Republicans, but diddled with the young male pages. And his party knew it, and covered it up. Now what kind of ‘Family Values’ are those?

Now there is Senator Craig (R) from Idaho spouting off how he isn’t Gay nor has he ever been Gay. Like uh, someone needs to tell the Senator that if you are Gay, you stuck with it for life. Sure you can deny the feelings and live a lie, as many assume he is, but fact is, being Gay isn’t a choice, its a fact of nature. I mean come on here, the Republicans need a head check, or a brain check. After all, the rumors about Senator Craig are well known, and yet here he is, their recent Poster Boy for ‘Family Values‘ and he goes into a men’s bathroom to get picked up?

Earlier this week, news surfaced of Craig’s August 8 guilty plea to a misdemeanor disorderly conduct charge stemming from his June arrest in a men’s room at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport. The married, 62-year-old senator pleaded guilty to disorderly conduct after being picked up during a police sting targeting “lewd behavior” in the airport’s restrooms. (source)

The issue isn’t whether Senator Craig is Gay or not. The issue is that he hid the fact that he was charged with a crime, plead it down with a guilty plea and now figures that it was a mistake? As someone said on television, Innocent people rarely plead guilty without consultation with a lawyer, while guilty people generally accepts deals. The real issue is that now he claims he wasn’t guilty, yet he stated under oath that he was guilty, and I don’t know, but lying under oath just doesn’t seem like qualities I’d want in my elected official.

Can we say ‘Alberto Gonzales‘?

Now I don’t know, but frankly the issue seems to also be that if you believe in ‘Family Values‘ that you can’t be Gay. I mean look at how quickly he denies being Gay, but then why would he be sending ‘signals‘ to another man in a restroom bathroom noted for such meetings? He was stretching his legs?

Kind of incredulous if you ask me. The details from the arresting report is rather detailed, and you have to wonder, what part of playing footsies was mis-understood? I don’t know, but when I use a bathroom stall, I sure as hell don’t stick my foot out to the other stall. I’d love to hear what his explanation is for doing that, if it wasn’t to send a signal? I mean does he really believe people are that naive, that stupid?

What pisses me off the most, is that the Republican’s believe that Gay’s can’t be conservatives. They seem to revel on this religious double talk that only Good Christians can be Republican Conservatives, and that Gays can’t be. I mean you have that same bullshit attitude here in Canada, with Stephen Harper and those who support his party, like Joe Comuzzi. (see commentHarper Gains Another Bigot‘)

The talk is about whether or not the Republican’s can hold Idaho with Craig. They are calling for him to resign, expecting that they could hold the Senate seat if he is gone. Would seem to me that instead of wondering about the political ramifications, they should be wondering why so many of their staunch bulwarts are being perverts. I mean you have one propositioning prostitutes, another who claims he made lewd advances out of fear of his life, and now Craig who claims he did nothing wrong, but plead guilty to have the charges disappear.

Who in their right mind would support a party that attracts so many liars

They’ll Blame the Lead Toys.

Once again, the SAT scores are down nationally, according to the ‘College Board‘ which runs the tests. However, you have to read the story to maybe get a glimmer of an idea of just how Education is truly being sabotaged, and has been over the last few years. I really had to read the article more than once, to figure out that this so called non profit company is blaming the lower scores on the fact that more students are taking it, plus that most of those are from low income groups or minority groups.

The declines for the class of 2007 were not caused by one single factor, the officials said. But the increase in the number of traditionally underrepresented minority and low-income students taking the test played a part, they said. So was a new requirement in Maine that all high school seniors take the exam, including those who would not in the past have viewed themselves as college-bound. (source)

With all the tirades about lead in children toys, (see commentWhat Standards?‘) I can see it in a few years from now, when the test scores are still in decline, someone is going to remember all the recalls of this decade, and blame it on China. Course they would partially be right, but the fact is, we are so tied to ‘cheap‘ that we are asking for more and more of this kind of results. We no longer place Education at the top of our Priority Lists, when it comes to Government Spending or Action.

Kids are under assault, despite the bullshit from people like George Bush who preaches that no child will be left behind, and yet consistently goes out of his way to deny children real education. The whole article on the SAT results should be a warning sign, and the company doing the tabulation should be leading the outcry. Instead they gloss over it, claiming that its about low income, minorities, watering down the results. My question to them and to educators is simply this:

Why should it matter what income the parents have, what race the child comes from, what religion, what creed? Why aren’t they being taught at the same level as the so called elite children are? Is it that money talks, that there really is no professionalism left in the Education System?

This is what happens when you mix religion with education. This is what happens when you attempt to foist a narrow religious standard unto all children. You take away their ability to learn, to grow smarter, to become brighter. When you have 47 million citizens without Health Insurance, another increase, you have parents who are too stressed in just surviving to aid in helping their offspring learn.

Society is failing the young of today, and how will they be able to change all that is wrong today, when they haven’t the abilities to cope, to judge, to decide?

For example, the average score for students who planned to apply for financial aid in college was 501 in critical reading and 508 in math; the average scores for students who did not intend to apply for aid was 530 in critical reading and 548 in math. The average scores for students whose parents did not graduate from high school was 421 in critical reading and 445 in math; the comparable averages for students whose parents are college graduates was 522 and 533.

Similarly, there were racial and ethnic differences. The average scores for black students were 433 in critical reading and 429 in math; the averages for Puerto Rican students was 459 and 454, and the averages for white students were 527 and 534. (source)

To President Bush who says that schools are improving, that his ‘Charter School Plan‘ is working, look at the numbers. Look how just Black and Puerto Rican students average almost a 100 points less in critical reading, and over that in critical math (for Black students, Puerto Ricans are about 80 points less). That is shocking, and considering this is the age of computers, of easy access to information, it is unacceptable to have such disparage between the races like that. Public Education is FAILING and it is time someone woke up the Government, and started to go back to basics.

You listen to the candidates, and you have to ask yourself. Do any of them get it? They talk about increased funding for Cancer research, which is great, is needed, but who do they think are going to find the cure if our children can’t read or add well? Who will be the Banting’s of tomorrow, if our education system continues to have lower standards, lower results?

The Sellout Keeps On Going.

The last of our Steel Companies was sold to US Interests today, and now no Canadian company owns any part of the steel industry in Canada. Back in the days of Trudeau-mania, the mantra was simple, if Canada wanted to play in the Big Leagues, it needed to OWN it’s own Industries, to insure that Canadian Goals were met.

Hamilton-based Stelco Inc., the last of the major Canadian steel makers, announced Monday that it has agreed to be acquired for $1.1-billion (U.S.) by United States Steel Corp., which is itself a struggling former giant. (source)

This is one more result of the Free Trade groups, that insist on globalization, insisting that such international ownership will increase our employment, reduce our expenses, and keep prices down. Back in the late 1960’s Pierre Trudeau was very clear, as were the Liberals then, that if we wanted to keep Canada in the hands of Canadians, we needed to OWN our resources. TO insure that OUR concepts, our Principles, were adhered to, that our Standards were maintained, then we needed to step up and take control over all of our industries.

Two years ago, the Government formed a group to manage and help protect the Steel Industry. Today we no longer have such an industry. Canadian jobs aren’t the only thing at risk here, but all the other manufacturing productions are now at risk. We no longer have a local producer, who will be accountable. Instead a United States firm will be in charge, and we can hope our standards won’t suffer, but we have no way of insuring that.

That is the rub. See, maybe they will, for now. Maybe for the next five years even they will, but when push comes to shove, who will be the first to feel the heat when the company is in trouble? The main United States plants, or the Canadian plants? You can bet it will be ours.

This is partly what Trudeau meant, when he said we needed to own our own resources. It is why the airline industry has suffered since its deregulation at the demand of the United States. Same goes for the telephone industry. Same for the wine growers, and let us not forget our softwood lumber industry.

Conservative MP Mike Wallace, who is now chair of the parliamentary steel caucus and represents Burlington, Ont., yesterday welcomed U.S. Steel’s acquisition of the ailing Hamilton steel maker. And Mr. Wallace shrugged off concerns about the loss of Canadian ownership in the sector. (source)

It is this blaise attitude that one has to wonder about. I know that some polls think we are on the right track, but I think that is mainly because we are not yet facing the economic breakdown that is happening in the United States. Our housing market isn’t collapsing like the United States, and one major reason is how we REGULATE OUR BANKS. Something Stephen Harper and his gang want to change.

Trudeau had it right. We can’t stay independent if we are owned by foreign interests. It really is that simple, and with the Oil Industry now writing our immigration policies, with the Harper Government determined to open our borders wider to cheap labor, shoddy imports, can the remaining control over our Natural Resources be far behind?

Do we really want the next George Bush to dictate to us, what is safe, what is harmless? Do we really want the United States to set our standards for health care, for banking, for security? I don’t think so, and I wonder how people like Stephen Harper can sleep at night, as during the day they sell their country out, for whoever offers them the more cash, the more campaign funding, and the jobs for when they are out of office.

Corruption is common in United States politics. (see commentHimmler, err Gonzales Resigns‘) You have a Congress and White House that IGNORE the wishes of the people, and how soon before Stephen Harper completes his mission for George Bush, and does the same for us?

Do you want two tier health care (see commentTwo Tiered Health Care?‘)

Do you want lower education standards?

Do you want lower safety standards (see commentWhat Standards?‘) for Food, Drugs, Toys, Electronic?

Do you want lower wages as more cheap labor migrates into the country?

Do you want more gang violence as open borders, open wider?

Do you want less responsive government as voting becomes digital and unverifable?

Do you want to see Social Security collapse?

Do you want to become part of the North American Union? (now known as the Security Prosperity Partnership plan?)

If you answer YES to any of the above, then VOTE CONSERVATIVE.

Otherwise VOTE FOR CANADA and Choose a Different Political Party other than Harper and his Sellout Artists.

Two Tiered Health Care.

Universal Health Care is something civilized nations seem to be attempting to weaken, if not actually destroy. Whether it is the Harper Conservatives or the Republican Party or even Hilary Rodham Clinton, the idea of Universal Health Care is like a red flag is to a bull in heat.

While the Presidential Candidates spar over who has the better plan, the fact is simple. Nearly 60 Million citizens have no health coverage, and it was under Hilary Clinton (not her husband, she was the one in charge) the solution was believed to be the HMO plan that winds its way across America today. The number of uninsured has increased, as costs continue to skyrocket, and frankly that is part of the problem, not just for those without universal care, but those with it.

Our standards seem to have suffered. I really do wonder what it is about Money that makes so many seem to be greedy. I mean let’s be honest here. How would your boss feel if you come to them at the end of the contract, and say that you’ll do a good job but only if they pay you more?

Yet that is exactly what Nurses, Teachers, Doctors, and other so called Professionals do each time their labor contract comes up. They plead that the conditions need improving, and that if they are given more money, then they’ll be able to do a better job. I am sorry, but it isn’t like the conditions suddenly changed after they were hired. They are the same conditions that they knew about when they chose to become a Doctor, a Nurse.

Only the pay scale changed from when they entered the field.

Now I am all for getting paid what the job will earn. I am also of the opinion that a fair wage is something we should all aspire for, and allow for, but when does a ‘fair wage‘ become nothing more than greed? Is it about corporate profits? I mean should health care run in the black?

Here is where I part company with the Conservative Philosophy. I believe that Health Care is not about profits, but about quality of care. I believe that if it costs more to keep people healthy, then it is an expense we need to accept. That doesn’t mean we accept paying outrageous prices for things like bedpans, or Tylenol but that we shouldn’t be wedded to the notion that hospitals and clinics need make a profit. Mind you I believe that Government should always try to get the best price and not accept higher prices for materials. But then, that is me.

Still, what kind of standards, what kind of ethics is it when we take on a job, and don’t give it 110% effort? Isn’t that like cheating the people who hire us? And sure, I know the old saying too, you get what you pay for, but come on, if we go into a job with our eyes open, shouldn’t we do our best? It isn’t like they changed the rules once we got hired. We know exactly what we are in for, when we sign up, so why do we seem to always be hedging our bets?

When you sign up for the Military, you know that if war breaks out, you are going to have to fight. There is no doubt that you are being trained to fight, and so what if you join in peace time? If war breaks out, do you suddenly tell your commanding officer that you won’t go unless they give you more money? Man talk about being thrown in jail in short order if you pulled that stunt, yet that is exactly what Nurses and Doctors do.

Corporation don’t buy Hospitals or run Clinics for their own health. They buy them to make a profit, and that too is okay, providing that they still provide the right kind of care, that doesn’t endanger a patient. However, given that the over riding principle is to make money, you just know that quality of care has to suffer, no matter how much they say otherwise. It is why Private Health Care is not going to work, for you and me.

Private Health Care is for those who can afford it, and frankly, I don’t believe that we can be calling ourselves a ‘civilized society‘ if we are unable to provide the basics such as health care for ALL of our citizens. I have no qualms about expecting those who earn more, to pay more, but within reason. I mean come on, to charge $250,000 for a by-pass operation? That is obscene, and yet that is what the Private Health considers reasonable.

Granted, there are a lot of costs associated with any surgery, but should the deciding factor be how much you can pay? Hell, even a Millionaire needs health insurance or they’ll not be a millionaire for long. And there lies the problem.

Just because someone has made a lot of money, does that make them more valuable as a citizen than some one who earns minimum wage at Burger King? Two Tiered Health Care says so.

Fact is that if we base health care on money, on income levels, we are saying to the majority of people, that they are not as important to society as the rich, the powerful, the famous, who can afford better health care. Frankly I find that distasteful, and despicable even. I am very naive, because I thought people became Doctors and Nurses because they had this urge to help people, to heal people.

When did all that change, to have added, ‘Only if they can Afford it‘ or worse, ‘help according to what they can pay?‘ Seems to me that yes, we all need to earn a decent living at our chosen profession. Not like I am going to sell one of my stories or write one for $5, but is what I do worth $100? $200? or $1000? Most writers charge a set amount, and yes the more famous maybe can command more, but that is generally after years of toiling for the $30 or so.

Doctors earn their degrees after several years of study, but at least in Canada, that education is subsidized by us, the taxpayer. In most countries where there is some form of Universal Care that is the case. Even in the United States, education centers are subsidized by the taxpayer. So in fact, Doctors may pay some of the costs, but the brunt is borne by all of us. Yet they seem to feel they owe us nothing back.

I don’t get that concept at all.

Consider the example of the Military and the GI Bills. Today, if you sign up for the Military under one of their education plans, you can get college tuition paid for, books, and all that to complete your education. Once you graduate you are expected to serve for so many years, before you can go into private practice. You can’t decide afterwards that you don’t want to serve, you made a commitment.

Why is it any different if you go to college to become a Nurse or Doctor? The taxpayers still pay for a lot of that education, and are willing to give you a job. However, instead of working at County Hospitals, or under Univeral Health Care, you suddenly want it to be private, to charge what ever the traffic will bear.

Where is your obligation to pay society back for subsidizing your education?

Two Tiered Systems only [[acerbate]] this type of behavior. I know the argument is that we live in a Democracy, but don’t we also have a moral obligation to honor our debts to our fellow citizens? Is Democracy just about the individual, irrespective of others living within the same society? Don’t we have a moral obligation to help our neighbor?

Consider the plan put forth by Mitt Romney. He doesn’t want to have Universal Care, but a way to make it easier for low income earners to get insurance. In short, to add to the corporate profit lines of Big Business. Now that might get some people medical coverage, but at a price. It takes away your right of choice, is based on what your employer offers, and that isn’t health care, that is just offering a handout.

Romney’s plan would help people buy private health insurance “in a way that builds on the experience in Massachusetts but doesn’t force a one-size-fits-all approach on other states,” said Sally Canfield, a Romney policy adviser who previewed the speech for reporters. (source)

This is the standard line by those who can afford health care. It is the line that Stephen Harper and George Bush use often. It is about making it more affordable for us to buy insurance, when the truth is, the Government needs to PROVIDE THIS SERVICE. This isn’t about increasing Insurance Company Profits, but about insuring that we are a healthy society. It is about taking the burden off the shoulders of the working citizen, and those who aren’t working.

It is about providing the same care, for all Citizens. And yes, that should be the very best care possible. With a two tier system, Private Care will drain the pool, will lessen the quality care for those who can’t pay for it, and that is wrong. Each person deserves the best possible care, irrespective of their income level. It shouldn’t matter if you are Bill Gates of the homeless begger on the street corner. If you are sick, you should be able to get the best possible care.

The job should fall to Government, not Private Corporations for the simple fact, that Government is responsible to the People, not Shareholders. IT should be the will of the people to determine the levels of care, and willingness to pay for it. Not what the profit line is.

signagture

Himmler, err Gonzales Resigns

One more rat has left the sinking ship of state, known as the USS ARROGANCE. At last the Justice Department can stop being the bullseye for those seeking to come up with a new version of the Keystone Cops. Instead of focusing on how to snare Democrat Politicians into their web of dishonesty, corruption, and firings of prosecutors who fail to live up to the mantra of ‘sic em‘ the department might get a bit of fresh air.

Gonzales, the first Hispanic American to hold the post, has resigned. What the legacy of his tenure as Attorney General will be, is hard to guess, other than it can’t be as horrid as that of his long time friend, and mentor George W. Bush. That one ought to rate quite a few notations in the history books, if one ever gets written.

Perhaps his legacy will be his staunch defense of Torture as being acceptable. Or maybe it’ll be his 63 repetitions of ‘I don’t recall‘ or maybe it’ll be his rushing up the back steps of a hospital to try and coerce his predecessor into supporting the wire tapping program. Whatever it will be, it will be a footnote to the greater evil & disaster known as the Bush Presidency.

Maybe he’ll have to compete with our ex-Justice Minister, Vic Toews, for who most resembled Heinrich Himmler from the Hitler legacy.

Yet, even now, with his resignation, George W Bush continues to play politics, continues to play the ‘blame game‘ by claiming that Alberto Gonzales was a great American, who was a victim of Politics. In accepting this long overdue resignation, Bush continues to show why he is so low in the polls. It is like he hasn’t a clue as to what has gone on, at how his pet Gonzales has so besmirched the office of Attorney General, that it could take a long time before its credibility is ever restored. As is his usual attitude, he blames others for his own mistakes.

“It’s sad that we live in a time when a talented and honourable person like Alberto Gonzales is impeded from doing important work because his good name was dragged through the mud for political reasons.” (CBC News report)

What is truly sad, is that this is true to a point. We do indeed live in a time when talented and honorable people are impeded from doing their jobs. Course I am not referring to Alberto Gonzales, but two border guards, Campion & Ramos, come to mind when I hear that speech. I also have to smirk, because while we do indeed live in those times, as President Bush said, it is times that HE CREATED.

He incarcerates border guards for doing their jobs, praises the prosecutor Johnny Sutton for bowing to Mexican Pressure to make an example of them, commutes the sentence of his Vice President’s chief aide for lying to a Grand Jury, but can’t see the irony in his own remarks. If there is any legacy from his Presidency, it will be at how he made Government Agencies nothing but POLITICAL EXTENSIONS.