Friday, January 25, 2008

Propaganda, Rhetoric, and Wasted Votes

Lately I've been kind of a junkie when it comes to politics... a junkie who OD'd maybe. I had to take a break. But now everyone else seems to get more interested so I feel like I should at least keep up with major developments. Who do I support? If you look way back in my archives you'll see... Mike Gravel! And... most of you probably don't even know who that is. Some people still don't know who Ron Paul is. Dennis Kucinich dropped out yesterday I think, and while I'm sure most people know who it is, they wouldn't've voted for him. The really crazy thing is I always thought I leaned Republican! And I really don't trust Democrats any more than Republicans.

But my basic take on politics is thus: If I'm going to have to pay exorbitant taxes (as I do) then I would much rather my taxes pay for health care for poor little me (I can't afford insurance) than to buy guns, bombs, tanks, airplanes, etc., for killing people who don't even have access to water, much less health care.

It's pretty clear from watching debates that the candidates are all a bunch of liars who say one thing to one crowd, and another thing to another crowd. Lain padang lain belalang (Malay proverb literally meaning 'different field has different grasshopper'). The shift of rhetoric between New Hampshire and South Carolina among Republicans really caught me off guard. Suddenly they were all (excepting Ron Paul) trying to prove how much like Reagan they were. I think all these candidates would pretty much run the Constitution into the dirt if they could, and wouldn't think twice about using nuclear weapons if given the opportunity.

Although each candidate has his own special brand of evil, it's nice to know that Fred Thompson has dropped out. (And now Giuliani and Huckabee need to follow!) In case you missed it, you can probably watch this on youtube, but in the SC Republican debate hosted by Faux news, the moderator asked the candidates about recent "tension" in the Strait of Hormuz. He asked specifically if the candidates agreed with the ship's captain or commander, to not engage in hostilities. I can't really read minds of course but I feel like I could on this question.

You see, in South Carolina you have a lot of pro-military types. So the candidates had to say they agreed with the commander because it was his ship and who are they to tell him what to do? See, if I were a commander I wouldn't want some second-rate governor or senator trying to second-guess what I did. And so they said as much, that he made the right decision. But then... they went on to suggest all sorts of sinister outcomes and take a very hostile warmongering stance and it sounded like they wanted nothing other than an opportunity for all out war! It was really absurd what they were saying. Huckabee gave the Iranians a warning, "Be prepared, first, to put your sights on the American vessel. And then be prepared that the next thing you see will be the gates of Hell!" And Thompson chimed in, "I think one more step, and they would have been introduced to those virgins that they're looking forward to seeing." That's right folks, these men are running for president. Well, one is. Thompson has dropped out at least.

Unfortunately South Carolinians liked Thompson... just not enough to vote for him. And here I think is the myth of a wasted vote. In the primaries, there is no excuse for voting for someone you don't like. I don't get it. People tell me "Ron Paul doesn't have a chance," and the only way that is true is if people don't vote for him... because they think he doesn't have a chance. Ron Paul pretty much sucked at that debate. You know, when responding to the same question mentioned above, he mentioned how these other candidates were ready to start WW3 and Brit Hume made fun of him, which made me angry. Technically they all said they supported the do-nothing decision. I guess after working for Foxnews so long, the moderator wasn't able to pick up about how eager all the candidates were to talk about blasting Iran to smithereens--like Ron Paul said, ready to start WW3!!!

On the Democratic side there is a whole other kind of drama--it's just ugly. I want to know who is circulating the bogus email that Obama is a Muslim. Seriously, Fox and CNN covered the middle name mystery a year ago (it's on youtube if you don't believe me) and proved that 1) the "madrasa" he attended in Indonesia was actually quite progressive (and "not Wahhabi" as if they know what that even means) and 2) he's attended the same church for many years, proudly a Christian. And yet you have billboards in South Carolina saying Obama is a Muslim.

And by the way--they are using that as an insult. Should I be offended? If you want to talk about a country going to hell in a handbasket... so much for freedom of religion, right?

There is also the extremely pro-Israeli note he allegedly sent to Ambassador to the UN Khalilzad a few days ago--I'll credit Naeem for that, since I found out about it from him. I'm of the opinion that it is also a fake, especially how it bizarrely appeared on Haaretz and JTA and nowhere else (um, where did they get it?) in the midst of an Israeli discussion about whether or not Obama would be good for Jews. Suspicious. My friend who is going to be a lawyer inshaaAllah really thought it was fake just based on the informal and unprofessional style of the letter. And I've known he was fairly pro-Israel from his AIPAC speech last year, but this is just a little bit... obtuse.

I guess I'm done writing now.


Anonymous said...

I do like Ron Paul although I think his foreign policy is a bit unrealistic. The government spending is way out of control. The taxes are insane. The more you make the more they take. Fair huh? As far as national health care I think that is a bad, bad move. You know how long it takes in the DMV right? Also this country is way to big. My in-laws are in the UK and they got private insurance because the national health care is horrible over there. I think a viable solution would be for state taxes to pay private insurance companies for those who do not have health care and also get the Health Care lobbies off of Capital Hill.

God Bless,


Amy said...

Jon, the very reason that I LIKE Ron Paul is for his foreign policy views. There is nothing "unrealistic" about them, they just happen to break from the recent viewpoint of Americans. I spent the last few months studying Cold War foreign policy and this is a very important issue to me.

The United States has military bases all over the world, in all sorts of countries. The question is: why? Is there a legitimate reason? A better question How would we feel if other countries had military bases on our land? The fact that we are micromanaging the governments of other countries is a problem. It's expensive, it's immoral, and it's making them hate us. This is what people refuse to see--cause and effect. They ignore the real cause (American imperialism) of anti-American sentiment around the world, and then make one up, "They just hate us for our freedoms" or "Their religion is evil" and other nonsense, just lies really.

I agree with Ron Paul that current foreign policy is essentially unconstitutional. The president has now been granted the power to go to war which is something that the founding fathers tried to prevent, Congress had to approve a declaration of war. Now we have troops AT WAR! in TWO COUNTRIES with no declaration of war. It's absurd. Men are fighting and dying.

From an engineering perspective, if you give someone unlimited funds, and unlimited time, can you really expect them to finish the product anytime soon? NO!

So after studying foreign policy I look at Ron Paul's views as refreshingly American and not imperialistic or dictatorial like other candidates.

About health care. Did you know that I work for the Department of Transportation? I know exactly how efficient it is. (I'm in the division of highways though, not motor vehicles, but still close.) When I want to go to the DMV, I can make an appointment and not have to wait, or I can go wait in line for an hour or two at most. If I want to see a doctor and I have insurance, I can either make an appointment and not wait, or I can go to a clinic or ER or something and wait for a little while.

But if I don't have insurance (I don't) and I need to see a doctor (I did) do you know how long I would have to wait to see a doctor at the health department? I called them. Two months. By the time I called them I had been bleeding for 5 or 6 weeks. WEEKS. By the time I actually did see a doctor I was anemic. Having to wait two more months instead of that lucky break, I don't know--I might have been so weak I couldn't walk. It's not even funny. I couldn't afford to see a doctor. That is a problem in this country, that people just can't go to the doctor because they can't afford it.

And you're complaining that you might have to WAIT!?!?! There are some problems on Capitol Hill (it's spelled with an 'o') and the drug lobbies and private insurance companies are a problem, it's true. But I think people don't understand what it's like for the uninsured, people who live paycheck to paycheck, who can't afford health insurance. With as much money this government is willing to spend on killing people, they have plenty to use for helping people instead.

The fact that people in this country are DENIED health care by their insurance companies and others are totally uninsured (like me) are clear indicators that a public health care system is better. Why? Because in other countries if you need to see a doctor, you can.

Too many people take that for granted. I'm becoming very passionate about this issue, since I've had to go through this now and can't afford insurance but NEED to see a doctor. The system is broken. The entire system. That companies are making money by keeping people sick--I mean, doesn't that make YOU sick? Just to think that insurance companies are in it for profit and they get to decide what doctor you go to and what drugs you can take? They are making money dictating this to you, making it even harder for your doctor to help you. And again, there are people who are uninsured who might have to wait MONTHS! (as I was informed by the health dept) to see a doctor because they don't have insurance and can't afford a visit to the ER. This is a problem. If as much money as we were spending on the Iraq War we were spending on health care for poor people like me, I don't think I would be in this position.

In fact, if the government wasn't ripping me off I could probably afford health insurance--with the amount of money stolen from me in taxes each month I could afford health insurance.

L_Oman said...

Amy - no offense, but is insurance so outrageously expensive for a single person now (and since you work for the gov, don't they offer plans)? I don't mean to get up in your business, but you sound like you're caught between a rock and a hard place!

I agree that it stinks that medical care is so expensive there, but I think by searching you can find resources to help you out.

If you're a student, perhaps your uni can help you out too?

I feel sad for you after you mentioned you had a condition for 5+ weeks and came to the point of being anemic because you just couldn't get any care.

Is it really that impossible there to get medical attention?!?! I'm completely stumped by this - but I will say that I'd rather go through all that hassle and paperwork than to deal with the medical profession over here. Competent doctors are few and far between...

Amy said...

Between a rock and a hard place... yeah, that's pretty much it.

In the end I was able to get care by going to the university clinic. I have yet to see a full medical doctor, mostly just seeing nurse practitioners, but the 'condition' is being taken care of. The biggest expense though was an ultrasound I had to have done. Because I didn't have insurance the NP I was seeing called a doctor at a hospital for me instead of referring me to someone for a diagnosis. So alhamdulillah I did receive some kind of care.

But the thing about the university clinic... you see, I had a condition lasting about 5 weeks exactly, and then school let out (exams being finished) for the "holidays" here, and the "condition" actually worsened. And that's when it got so bad that it started to impact my life really. Up until then it was an annoyance, but then I really didn't want to get out of bed, and it was then that I really started to develop the anemia. And then I couldn't go to the university clinic because it was closed!! In fact I ended up waiting through 10 days of that before being able to get any care. That's when I called the health dept. too to see if I could get in to see someone and was told it would be two months before I could see anyone.

Twas a case of bad timing I guess. But because I'm a student, I'm paying a health fee as part of tuition so I can get care. And if I'm unable to pay (as I was) for lab work and medicines then it would go on my student account so I just had to pay sometime before I graduate.

And I work for the government, that's right--state government. And they do offer a pretty good benefits package (because the pay is low), they just don't offer it to me. That is a perk of being a full-time, permanent employee. And since I am still a student, I am only a part-time, temporary employee. So, I still get paid little (compared to working for a private company doing the same work) and noooo benefits.

And I do say alhamdulillah that I was able to get care, and some treatment for the problem. Considering that I've been into the clinic now for 3 different visits (4 if you include lab visits) and have to go back AT LEAST two more times in the next few weeks. So the university health service is really a blessing for me right now.

L_Oman said...

Amy - alhamdulillaah, I'm happy that you did get care.

Looking forward to more of your posts! (L - in Oman)

Anonymous said...

Hey Amy if you like Ron Paul I just started a blog you might enjoy.