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Archive for the ‘Society’ Category

For the most part, the health care debate (debate?)  has been sufficiently inane (death panels, birthers, rampant socialism) and lacking rational dialogue about real issues we are facing that I’m feeling somewhat embarrassed about being a citizen of country that actually elects to congress some of the members that have been public supporting the false irrelevant drivel that has so intrigued the media.  I am acutely aware that ranting such drivel only encourages others (including me) to rant responses.  I’m also aware that the only change that ranting produces is a change in one’s blood pressure level.  I have therefore decided that it is time for me to post a blog that makes a simple straightforward statement of what it is I want from my government.

Regarding health care I continue to support and want a federal income tax supported single payer system.  This would likely require a rather substantial increase in the income taxes that we pay. Be reminded that we are at once the richest nation in the history world, and the lowest taxed industrialized nation. To that end, I support tax increases necessary to provide appropriate health care, education, social security and other social safety nets.  (For an outstanding assessment of the value and importance of competent government read Mario Cuomo’s Reason to Believe published in 1995.  Reagan was wrong, government is not the problem, capitalistic greed is the
problem.)

I subscribe to our country moving in the following directions:

  • Advocate and financially support and the UN taking the lead in international crises,
    including the current situations in Iraq and Afghanistan, (At this point the best known international humanitarian organizations estimate the total war on terror deaths at 3.4 million. – Does this mean we’re winning?)
    Rely on diplomatic and economic measures rather than military ones in confronting terrorism,
    Accept the jurisdiction of the International Criminal Court and the World Court,
    Sign, support, and carry forward the Kyoto Protocols,
    Adhere to the traditional interpretation of the UN Charter,
    Give up the Security Council veto,
    Avoid use of force except in self-defense against an ongoing or imminent armed attack.
    Comply with the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty which we have signed.
    Comply with the Geneva Convention Treaty which we have signed.
    Comply with the UN Genocide Convention Treaty which we have signed;
    Sign and comply with the Ottawa Convention agreements banning the use of antipersonnel mines.
    Reestablish habeas corpus .
    Repeal the Patriot Act
    Cut back sharply on military spending,
    Dramatically increase social spending,
    A federal income tax supported single payer health care system that includes coverage of preventive, mental and dental health.

And I continue to advocate compulsory voting for all national elections! Let’s hear from everyone!

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In 1936 A.M Hocart the eminent English anthropologist who wrote extensively on Polynesian cultures published a book entitled Kings and Councillors which anaylized in depth the tribal structure of the Fiji Islanders.

He points out that the tribal chief was considered divine and thereby had access to the gods and how to plese them and thus invoke prosperity for the tribe. Hocart goes on to say “if the harvest was good the people were prepared to put up with a moderate amount of tyranny.”

How profoundly similar to the situation in which President Obama now finds himself!  Times haven’t changed much over the centuries.

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As many people realize, the U.S. currently leads the world in the percentage of citizens that are incarcerated – and many states are seeking funds to build even more prisons to accommodate the ever increasing number of citizens that the justice system seeks to incarcerate. This is done in the interest of protecting society from law breakers.

Meanwhile, Dr. Philip Zimbaro’s excellent publications The Lucifer Effect makes it impressively clear that there are three components to why good people do bad things: the disposition of the individual, the situation in which the individual finds him/herself, and the system that supports the situation.

With the gap between the well-to-do and the ever increasing number of people living below the poverty level in this country, growing daily, it would be a far better use of our public monies (federal state and local) if they were spent on programs such as Headstart and job retraining which intervene in ghetto and poverty communities at the prevention level rather than at the punishment level.

To the extent that we switch our focus from correction to prevention we will provide communities with hope rather than the despair that leads to desperate criminal behavior.

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