Will America invade?

Texas Tribune has a great article and a good piece of research that shows that the Summers efforts by the Grand Old Party(GOP) aka the old white guys, shows that the only logical reason for the extremely controversial, and retrograde “abortion regulation” bought in, in Texas, was had nothing to do with protecting women. You can read it here.

This is no surprise. In the same way that the abortion regulations were not really to protect women, the voter ID laws here in Texas, are not really to protect against voter ID fraud. It’s shameful.

If Texas were a middle eastern country, America would be trying to find a reason to Invade. They’d do it to bring us true democracy; free women from male oppression and frac the hell out of the place polluting all the water, and trying to get out before the locals work out what’s going down.

One out of three isn’t bad, I guess. I assume the Americans were scared off invading invading Texas by our well armed militias?

Be careful what you “Like”

I’ve noticed recently that Facebook has been heavily promoting “Like Walmart” in my timeline. Facebook helpfully not only shows me which of my friends “Like” Walmart, but it also provides a link to their timeline, I guess so I can hop on over and ask them useful questions about Walmart?

Well Facebook, you are not going to socially shame me into liking Walmart. Sure I shop there when I have no alternative. I bought my current Netgear router there, it was the only place in town that had one when I needed it; many people in small outlying areas use Walmart as they no longer have an alternative and 90% of Americans live within 15-minutes of a Walmart. Except, many of them have forgotten or didn’t know that when Walmart came to out of town, it killed main street and many if not all the small, often local businesses, run by local families. But still, Walmart “always [has] low prices” so thats OK.

Rather than “Like” Walmart, I’m left wondering why my friends like them? Really, a company that has a GDP bigger than 169 countries, many of which provide healthcare; Walmart is one of the most profitable businesses in the world, est. profits $34,800 profit EVERY MINUTE of EVERY DAY, and won’t provide healthcare for its’ employees. How can you like that?

Of course the Facebook promotion of Walmart isn’t just an act of kindness, its almost certainly driven by payments from Walmart itself, or an agency acting for Walmart. It’s also likely that you are seeing other “Like” promotions, and if you are not seeing Walmart, maybe either none of your friends “Like” Walmart or you already do. Anyway, Statistics Brain has some great numbers on Walmart, here.

Healthcare perspectives

Although I’m tempted to write a blog post on the current debacle around the Texas legislature’s attempt to remove Women’s choice on abortion, by legislating abortion clinics pretty much out of existence in Texas. I won’t since thats not really healthcare, it’s basic human rights, freedom of choice and freedom of the individual.

I’m heading, this time next week, to my last full distance aka Ironman Triathlon. It’s my last since my right knee is pretty much wrecked, some 36-years after smashing my leg to bits in a motorcycle accident, and some 40-years after having the meniscus removed following a number of soccer injuries. My left knee also shows signs of excessive wear and tear. In 2009 I was referred to Dr Doug Elenz who after looking at x-rays said “a picture is worth a thousand words, I only need six – I don’t know how you run?”. He also said “your right knee needs replacing now, and your left knee soon”. We laughed and joked and I have not seen him since.

So I’ve been considering my options for when I get back. Knee replacement, lot’s of new alternative therapies. A couple of interesting things prompted this blog post though which just show how different things are here in the USA. I checked with a couple of medical insurers websites on type types of treatments available. Here is an example on the Aetna website, it would be nearly impossible to meet these requirements since one or more of the conditions would need to be present in order to make the treatment necessary.

I checked with a friend back in the UK, and yes, provided a Dr referred me to a consultant specialist, and the specialist scheduled the treatment, this would be available free of charge. There may be a waiting list for a hospital bed and surgery.

If I worked for a large multinational, as I did when I was in the UK, I had company provided top-up insurance. Rather than being full health insurance American style, what this did was provide for the things that the UK public healthcare system didn’t. I wouldn’t have had to wait, I would have had a private room. All mostly still at no cost, that’s right, no co-pays none of the other nonsense charges that a US insurance policy mandates.

It wouldn’t be totally free, since the government considered the private insurance a taxable benefit, the value of the insurance was added to my annual income declared by the company to the government tax authorities. So, basic healthcare for everyone, for free. Improved access for those that can afford it or have additional insurance. Both of these come without the panels, expense and charging bureaucracy that are weighing down the US system, the cost and expense mostly actually goes on Heathcare.

The real reason for writing though was an email from a neighbor. He was trying to raise money for his sons’ knee surgery. I’m just left speechless really that average American families have to resort to this sort of thing. Where is the dignity, the respect, the care in a society that allows this to happen?

Everytime I think I understand the American psyche, the societal norms’ something like this comes up and I have to take a step back and accept I just don’t get it.

Some men see things as they are and say, why; I dream things that never were and say, why not. – More at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dvo-7YrMoK0

Senator Edward M. Kennedy quoted these words of Robert Kennedys in his eulogy for his brother in 1968.The New York Times, June 9, 1968, p. 56

Guantánamo Adds Medical Staff Amid Hunger Strike – NYTimes.com

This has been prime news in Europe today and yesterday, that 2/3 of the detainees are now on Hunger Strike, and more than 40 are being force fed. I’m sure this also more than news in many other countries. [BBC; Süddeutsche Zeitung (Germany)]

Whatever you think about the people being held, “terrorists that should rot in hell”, “that should be locked up forever” or “deserve their day in court”, the damage this is doing to the US reputation overseas is immeasurable, and it will be held against us.  Time to end this. The President promised 4-years ago to shutdown Guantanamo,  now is the time for action. While “waterboarding” may not qualify as “cruel and unusual punishment: under the US Constitution, Force Feeding is most definitely clearly a violation of international law.

Interestingly, while this is news outside the US, apart from blog entries, I hadn’t seen or heard it covered on US “News” 24hr or otherwise, TV or Radio, unless you did?

Guantánamo Adds Medical Staff Amid Hunger Strike – NYTimes.com.