Politics and political science
politics and political science
The United States citizenry is in steerage in the Titanic. The Affordable Care Act “replacement” bill (the amorphous one whose name and details keep changing) is an iceberg, and the only people getting a lifeboat from it are the .001%. The crew is actively blocking attempts to turn the ship away from the danger. Here we are, sitting in the hull, while the engineers and the company that built the ship are taking apart the ship as it’s sailing headlong into the ice. This the situation today. This is the situation in every single authoritarian country in the world. Wait. Did I just say the United States is an authoritarian country? Well, yes and no. On paper, we still have a republic. But all of its checks and balances just failed in a massive way, simultaneously, after two generations (forty years) of deliberate dismantlement. I remember the air traffic controller strikes in the 1980s. I remember the birth of HMOs and the idea that health care should be for profit. I remember Iran Contra. I remember the grass roots organization of Republican dominionists who plotted together in restaurants and convention centers to permanently keep “those people” out of power. They
The State of the Puppies Up to Now For those of you not familiar with the current controversy about the Hugo Award in Science Fiction, go here, here, and here to read up on what is happening. I do have skin in the game. I am a Worldcon supporting member, and I have long standing friendships and correspondences with several authors and editors and artists in science fiction. I am also a feminist, an anti-racist ally, an LGBTQ ally, and overall what the Hugo Sad Puppies would call a “SJW” (social justice warrior, meant as a pejorative when they say it). I am not going to try to diagnose anyone involved in this issue, I am only going to discuss some broad psychological principles that apply. I am trained in social work, and hold a license to practice in the state of Missouri. My “day job” is as a psychotherapist in my own practice, and I have specialized over the last ten years on issues of poverty, trauma, and personality disorders, with a lot of depression and anxiety thrown in. I have had a fascination with, and have done a lot of work with, people who abuse. The basic premise
After the Ferguson grand jury decision came the Eric Garner grand jury decision. While disappointing, it was not surprising that the police officer that put him in a choke hold on camera that ended Eric’s life will not face charges. While it is widely said that a proscuter can “indite a ham sandwich, apparently it is impossible (or nearly so) to indict a police officer. Which means that not all pork products can be indicted. Statistics all over the United States back this up. While over 99% of people arrested for crimes are indicted, at least at the Federal level, this is not borne out when the accused is a police officer. Statistics show that police officers are largely immune to prosecution for excessive force, even when it leads to the death of an innocent person. This is not a matter of one bad cop, or one bad police station. This is a systemic issue that has repercussions throughout the United States. These repercussions fall mostly, but not entirely, on the bodies of black and brown people. Thus the hashtag #blacklivesmatter.
I sure hope that headline got your attention. I’m trying to figure out how to write this, how to be persuasive enough to make the major difference this post needs to make. Right now, all over the country, GOP led state legislatures all over the country are turning down BILLIONS of dollars in Federal Medicaid money in order to sabotage ‘Obamacare’ (the Affordable Healthcare Act, or AHA). Those death panels you were warned about as the AHA was passed? They have come to pass, not at the Federal level, but in Republican dominated states. The goal? To make ‘Obamacare’ fail at any cost. The cost? Preventable deaths, illnesses, pain, and financial ruin for Americans who live in those states.
The middle class in the United States is essentially dead. This video that I linked to a couple of weeks ago spells out the extent of the income inequality that has become the new normal in the United States. My sons don’t have the same path to relative stability that I had, and I don’t have the same path my parents had. Nowadays, well paying manufacturing jobs have been replaced with rotating temporary workers without full time salaries or rights, including health care. Service jobs continue to be available, but as always are paid less than traditional manufacturing jobs. While CEO and executive pay skyrockets, worker pay has been essentially flat (and not keeping up with inflation) for thirty years.
The Sequester Is Eating the Seed Corn Yesterday’s dance asked you all your opinion of the sequester. My friend Andreas Schaefer from Cologne, Germany responded on my Google + page. The first sentence of his answer was: As seen from abroad : the way this seems to be done looks like amputating a leg of someone overweight to get his weight down. That phrase has been grabbing at me all day. When I was a little girl, I read the ‘Little House’ books by Laura Ingalls Wilder over and over again, month after month, year after year. I always shuddered a bit when it was time for The Long Winter, about surviving on the prairie frontier in an unusually cold and long winter full of blizzards.