Wednesday, August 19, 2009

GOP's disgusting call for incivility

Today's Providence Journal ran a front page story on the call by Rhode Island Republican leadership to come out and shout people down at tonight's planned health forum hosted by Congressman Jim Langevin. State Republican Chairman, Giovanni Cicione has instructed his fellow Republicans that they have every right to protest. He's right, and, protest is not the problem. The problem is providing instructions to his supporters with these words; "The citizenry has the right to go out and shout at the top of their lungs."

No, you need to be corrected! Citizens do not have the right to prevent others from expressing their right of free speech and this is exactly what has been happening across the country. Using such terms as "death panels" (there is no such thing) and "Nazi Health Care" (inciting language) does not advance the debate. Applying these tactics during any public forum is simply an attempt to squash the debate. Yelling over anyone that is in support of health care reform to disrupt the meeting is coming close to creating a public disturbance.

I think that it is ironic that the same people who said Officer Crowley was right to arrest the Professor in Cambridge Massachusetts, will now show up tonight and act like Professor Gates.
Acting obnoxious is your right I suppose, but that does not mean it can rise to the level of disturbing the peace.

I sincerely hope that Rhode Island Republicans can set an example of true democracy. Have your say, ask your questions, but make sure that others share the same right. Actually, the Chairman of the Rhode Island Young Republicans, Travis Rowley seems more grounded in reality than party leadership. His comments in today's paper were not a call for disturbing the peace.

Anyone that approaches disturbing the peace at tonight's forum in Warwick should be escorted from the hall and not allowed to return. I'm not saying arrest them; but everyone has a right to speak and to those that would hinder my rights, you do not belong as part of the discussion. You are not a good citizen and you don't have the first amendment right to silence my speech.


Sunday, August 9, 2009

Seething over health care!

Seething over health care is an understatement. Seething over folks that choose to believe the bull shit without seriously visiting the debate has become an unfortunate passion. Nobody speaks for the stupid better than Sarah Palin.

Have you notice that most of the folks screaming over health care are medicare recipients? They have their health care (flawed though it might be) and they would want to deny their grandchildren appropriate care. Health care scare mongers are the very people that insist we can't afford government sponsored care because it will bankrupt future generations. Notice to all irrational people out there; health care is bankrupting all of us, and it's not the government's fault.

The Providence Journal (Tuesday, August 4, 2009) had an excellent lead editorial calling for "Health care today". In that editorial, it was pointed out that the U.S. ranks 37th in the world by the World Health Organization for public health. Consider this fact; Medicare overhead is about 3 percent compared with for-profit companies that exceed 20 percent.

On a more personal note, I have knowledge of many friends and relatives that have needed the support of government to ensure quality health care. This country seems to have a great safety net, but what about those folks that I happen to know that have been working hard, can't catch any safety net and can't afford insurance. The nay Sayers see abuse in the system from people that are not doing their fair share; and, they have a point. Why can't everyone agree that people that are contributing and working hard should have a level of health care protection. This is the fundamental issue; not Sarah Palin's imagined "death panel"!

I have many friends and relatives that have joined the debate and the arguments in many cases are irrational. The arguments being used by the right-wing in this country are distortions at best, but they would best be described as deception, lies, fabrications, falsehoods and idiocy. Everyone in the U.S. should be protected by a level of health care - end of discussion.
How you get there needs to be rigorously debated but not postponed. Health care for Americans has been debated since Teddy Roosevelt's Bull Moose Party. Teddy was a good Republican and he got things right!

I am tired of listening to complaints about the health care in Canada and the waiting periods for elective surgery. Everyone goes to that argument without knowing any Canadians. Guess what? I know a lot of Canadians and they are very pleased with their health care. My own father, an American citizen and World War II vet was denied a much needed appointment at Lahey Clinic in Massachusetts when he was complaining of chest discomfort. Lahey Clinic offered an appointment, but he would have to wait months. My family happened to be friends with a cardiologist that set up an appointment for him immediately. Within the week my Dad had a 5 - way bypass surgery which improved his quality of life for his last 15 years. Don't ever tell me that Americans don't have to wait for health care!!!! That's a total lie. The for-profit consolidation of hospitals and doctors have driven up the cost of health care and have restricted access throughout this country.

We need change and we need it today! I'm seething over health care because I have experienced nightmares right here in the good ole U.S. of A.


Tuesday, August 4, 2009

"Sing a little song for me"??

While there is a lot of news to talk about, I want to talk about the outrageous jury decision in the Joel Tenenbaum case. If you have not read the story, Tenenbaum was fined in civil court, $675,000 for downloading and sharing 30 songs over the Internet. While I believe in the absolute right of individuals and corporations to protect their copyright, I believe that the punishment must fit the crime.

How the hell can Tenenbaum be liable for $675,000 worth of damage by downloading 30 songs? Can you envision some 75 year old grandma sitting on the jury and subjecting this graduate student from Boston University to a life-long debt? What the hell is wrong with these people? Are recording artists starving to death?

Tenenbaum was wrong and violated copyright law, but the penalty should fit the crime. If I were on the jury, I would have awarded $30 for the violation, court costs and legal fees for the plaintiffs. The total fine should approximate $5000. This action reminds me that spilling coffee on my lap can be very lucrative. The music executives pursuing this case are disgusting.

If I were Joel Tenenbaum, I would follow through with his plans to file bankruptcy, but I would not stop here. I would connect with individuals that were similarly charged and I would lay the groundwork for a boycott of the music industry that would send a chilling message to stop the "bull shit". Do you realize how connected the high school and college community is? A planned boycott that would send the message to industry to, "stop the shit", would go viral in days. I would suggest boycotting all music purchases for 2 months (November and December). I would then outline my concerns that the music industry must address before the next year. If the industry did not adapt to the changing world, I would press the boycott the following year.

Joel Tenenbaum did not do $675,000 worth of damage to the music industry. The music industry is doing $670,000 worth of damage to Joel Tenenbaum. A controlled boycott that did not put the retailers out of business is a sound strategy for making music executives sweat over their next payment on their 65 foot yacht.

College students - It's time to step up and fight the corporate greed! You need to understand the power that is within your hands.