BEFORE READING THESE PLEASE SEE MY COLUMN, “THERE’S NO RED IN MY PINK -rantings of a (not so) self-loathing queer-
You make some interesting points. But please don't attack the idea of a National Health Service. Britain got one in 1946, and its one of the best damn things a government has ever done. Personally when I get a brain turmour I don't want to be sent home to die, because I can't affrod the treatment. Hell, maybe you do. But some people like to live you know.
"Fear leads to anger, anger leads to hate, hate leads to suf-fer-ing"
I'd suggest that you buy yourself some health insurance and try out some good ole' private American healthcare. I believe you'll be stunned by its excellence.
Not everyone can afford private healthcare. And in fact, the number one cause of personal bankruptcy is because of healthcare costs. Oh, and your Administration helped make getting out of debt for personal bankruptcy nearly impossible. But at least those less fortunate than you won't have to go to your hospital or get the same grade treatment that you get.
To this, I can only suggest that you go to the UK and see for youorself. When my cousin and I were visiting on vacation we were involved in a car accident. We were in a rather nice part of London, but we still waited about an hour before he could get treatment. When the doctor suggested my cousin may need surgury, my cousin looked at the state of the ER and demanded to be put on a plane back to the states. He would've rather bled to death on a plane-what does that tell you?
The only difference between private healthcare and nationalized is that in private healthcare is that you must pay your bills or recieve poor care. However, in nationalized healthcare, you recieve poor healthcare no matter how much you are willing to pay. I can only say: don't get sick in Europe!!! :-D
Thanks for replying to my reply to your post. I'm not trying to change your opinion. I'm arguing a point for the sake of arguing it, just like you are posting for the sake of having people read your opinion.
Firstly, I visit plenty of left-wing websites and weblogs, and I can assure you that none of them have ever been, in any way, homophobic or otherwise offensive to homosexuals throughout my reading of them. I also get "Mother Jones" magazine (technically the subscription was a gift, but I thought, "Whatever, I'll keep reading it"), and I have never encountered a single homophobic, anti-gay, or offensive statement or insinuation regarding homosexuals in all the issues I have read. I think that these people to whom you are referring are (as you called the religious ultra-conservatives whom I mentioned) are a small minority among liberals and/or democrats. They might be very vocal, but they do not reflect the views of the majority of liberals and/or democrats. For every website claiming that Israel planned 9/11, I'm sure there is at least one other that claims that Osama bin Laden was good friends with Bill Clinton (or some other famous democrat), or some such nonsense. Very few people actually believe these conspiracy theories, because that's just what they are: conspiracy theories. They get publicity and focus and so on, but, for the most part, people don't stick to them.
Would you kindly link me to the full transcripts of the statements that were made by leading democrats comparing the troops to nazis, preferably from a government source that compiles them, rather than a news source or other independent organization? That would be very helpful.
Also, your statement "compared . . . our own military installations to "gulags"" is false. They compared military prisons, but, more SPECIFICALLY, Guantanamo Bay. Not military installations in general. Not Fort Stewart or Hunter Army Airfield or whatnot. And really, .5% is still something. I would hope, with the greatness of our military which I assume you purport (forgive me if you do not), that there would be NO credible accusations of prisoner abuse! Just because someone is a terrorist or an enemy combatant does not give you the right to abuse them while they are under your control. That's unethical, immoral, and inhumane, among other things. I would hope the military would have more honor and pride in itself than to allow hitting people (enemies or not) while they're down.
Not all democrats want National Health Care, though a fair number do. Social Security is a socialistic policy (though that might change if the current administration changes it like they plan to). That's about it. Taxation is not socialist, though every Bush-supporter I've spoken to in person seems to think so. It's not as simple an issue as "getting to keep your money." There's a lot more that goes into economics than simply whether you keep more of your paycheck or not. The Bush Administration's policy, so far, looks exactly like Supply-Side Economics (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Supply-side_economics): i.e. focus on production, borrowing, etc . . . basically cutting taxes and then "spending your way out" of a deficit. It should be noted that a significant portion of Reagan's economic policy was based on Supply-Side Economics. Whether or not you think people should keep more of their salaries, the bottom line is the Supply-Side is completely bogus; it has not worked and it will not work. It is, in short, bullshit.
Also, I hardly think that "cozying up to Fidel Castro", as you put it, is any worse than the cozying up to Saudi Arabia that we are doing. Have you been to Saudi? I have, and I have some good friends who lived there for a couple of years. It's a hellhole, complete with oppressive laws, and a dictatorial, repressive government that, among other things, allows men to verbally and physically abuse and harass any woman or women who, in their opinion (no proof or standard is needed), are speaking, acting, or dressing improperly. And it goes on from there. And I could talk about all the weapons we sold over the past decades to help out groups that turned out to be terrorist (the Afghan Mujahideen for example, out of which came the Taliban and Osama bin Laden, among others), or all the elections we helped push for that resulted in corrupt dictators who ended up committing human rights violations and other such things (Robert Mugabe, for instance).
Your claim that liberals have done nothing is false. First of all, being vocal about gay rights and such (whether the rights are important or whether it's just for votes doesn't matter, so much as they are standing up for something that no one wants to stand up for) is a crucial in getting attention and sympathy for the issues. Secondly, I would like you to go to this website: www.hrc.org, and then go to the "US Congress and Scorecard" section and download the scorecard (here's the link to that: Scorecard), which lists all pertinent legislation on gay rights, ranging from hate-crime legislation to equating domestic partnerships' rights to those of marriage rights and so on, as well as the political parties of the senators and representatives who voted for them. Considering the vast amount of legislation that failed, despite wholehearted support from Democrats (and often the sole Independent), I am wont to believe that Democrats are doing all they can do in the face of a Republican majority to pass pro-gay-rights bills. Just because laws haven't been enacted doesn't mean nothing is being done. And if you REALLY want to look hard, "Don't Ask, Don't Tell", however stupid and unfair a law, is still, at heart, a pro-gay law, because it allows gays to serve in the military, where they couldn't before. It's not a good law, but it is SOMETHING.
I realize that the majority of Republicans are not ultra-conservatives. However, I do believe that in listing figureheads, you have left out the really important policy- and decision-makers, including Bill Frist, Karl Rove, Rick Santorum and so on. Also, legislation from the bench is different from ruling something unconstitutional. In the Sodomy law case, Judges, I believe, ruled that the defendants were not guilty of a crime because the Texas Sodomy law was unconstitutional in the first place (in regards to the National Constitution), which, being a national constitutional issue, outweighed the state constitution. That precedent is therefore set for every other state, because every state is obligated to follow the national constitution over their own. Therefore, all sodomy laws, not simply the one in Texas, are invalidated. That's not legislation from the bench; that's what the courts are supposed to do. I'm less clear on the marriage issue simply because several states have had different outcomes on the issue (there have been court battles, proposed amendments, and so on). However, declaring a law unconstitutional is a perfectly legal and normal way for a court to act if the law is brought into question in a court case, which it has in every case on the issue, I believe. If a state makes an amendment to their constitution banning same-sex marriage, then the courts can no longer rule it unconstitutional. It's not legislation from the bench. It's called "doing their job". I must say, though, that in Arnold Schwarzenegger's recent vetoing of the gay marriage bill in California, he stated that he felt that it is not an issue to be legislated (because of the Proposition 22 thing years ago), but rather, one to be decided in a direct vote by the people, or by the courts, which seems to be out of line with what every other Republican is saying. Also, we live in a representative democracy, not a pure democracy, which means that, for better or worse, the people do not directly decide policy. We elect representatives who do so for us, and their only incentives for voting according to the whim of the people are their re-election prospects. Yes, the people need to be convinced, but then again, I really doubt the civil rights legislation of the 60s CONVINCED people that racism was bad. If it had been up to the people, solely, none of it would've happened.
Hope to hear back from you. This is very interesting and productive.
Thanks again for reading and commenting. I think discussing and debating issues is the only way for our country to decide on rational and permanant solutions to our problems. Plus, a black eye and sprained neck later (of course, you should've seen the other guy!), I've figured out that debating through columns and e-mails are more practical.
Concerning your comments:
1. "Also, your statement "compared . . . our own military installations to "gulags"" is false. They compared military prisons, but, more SPECIFICALLY, Guantanamo Bay."
Guantanamo is just one of several dozen throughout the world- the Gitmo installation holds approx. 550 of the enemy(out of tens of thousands). It also serves as a base to defend American interests and to create a presence on the island to make sure Sr. Castro behaves himself. Never in my wildest nightmares would I ever compare that installation or any other US brig to the 'gulags' of the USSR
Here are the conditions at Gitmo:
"Level 1 detainees wear white "uniforms" and share living spaces with other detainees. At the other end of the spectrum, Level 4 detainees wear orange, hospital scrub-type outfits and have fewer privileges.
“Padmore, who is assigned to Joint Task Force Guantanamo based on prior corrections experience, described a typical Level 1 detainee as "compliant and willing to follow camp rules." Whereas, Level 4 detainees generally "have a litany of offenses," from threatening other detainees or guards to hurling bodily fluids at guards or refusing to come out of the cell when ordered.
“Detainees generally are allowed out in exercise yards attached to their living bays seven to nine hours a day. Exercise yards include picnic tables under cover and ping-pong tables. Detainees also have access to a central soccer area and volleyball court.
“Other privileges unique to Camp 4 include electric fans in the bays, ice water available around the clock, plastic tubs with lids for the detainees to store their personal items, and the white uniforms. White is a more culturally respected color and also serves as an incentive to detainees in other camps.
“I'm not here to say we're all perfect," Padmore said. "But these young men and women carry out their duties in a highly professional manner." He added that when minor infractions of the rules by guards have occurred, they've been punished swiftly.
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