March 28, 2010

Oh yes he most certainly can

It has been a momentous week in US politics, with President Barrack Obama celebrating a landmark victory over healthcare reform, the likes of which has not been seen in the country since 1966 when President Lyndon Johnson introduced Medicare for the elderly. The green light for this piece of legislation marks an historical change for America, both in the social and political landscape. 

The new legislation will extend medical care to nearly all of its citizens, by providing coverage for tens of millions of previously uninsured Americans. It will also begin to curb what can only be described as decades of heinous insurance company abuses. After a year of bickering between Democrats and Republicans - who have likened the change to a Socialist conspiracy - the bill made history last Sunday when it was passed without a single Republican vote.

Obama fought the fight of his life - making secret deals with big pharma, insurance companies, hospitals and the entire health care chain - in order to gain their support or their silence. 
Granted, the package might not be as good as it could have been, with some Democrats calling it a 'watered down version' but given what he was up against and armed with the knowledge that he may not see another term in office, the end result is nothing short of a miracle for Obama's presidency.  

And so, as the Republican and Tea Party extremists are busy perfecting their hate campaign against anyone who voted in favour of the bill, and the Democrats are busy deflecting lynch mob tactics (including death threats against their children), one would hope that the American people will begin to see that health care is not the real threat that underpins their country. 

The American people voted for change and change is what they are being given. It might take some time, but eventually public fear will be replaced with gratitude and perhaps some healthy introspection into why this change took so long to arrive. In time the public will realise that free health care has nothing to do with Socialism, Communism or Naziism and everything to do with improving people's lives. 

Back at home and the week in politics has not been quite as exciting. Yes, our Prime Minister went head to head with the opposition leader, Tony Abbot over health care and and yes channel 9 dusted off that terribly scientific piece of technology we like to call 'the worm', but unfortunately nobody was at home to watch it. Why the debate was broadcast at midday when everyone was at work, is beyond me, but after reading the media transcripts it seems likely that the broadcasters were doing us all a favour. Still, its any wonder Australians get so energised by American politics with its dramatic arcs and Soap opera plot lines, when all we have to get excited about is a dentist, a monk and the bloody channel 9 worm. This satirical piece from The Punch explains all.

Here are some of my new favourite things from cyber space. 

With notes she took between an immigration officer and an assylum seeker in 2002, Rimi Kahn exposes our immigration department as unqualified to be making life and death decisions. In this article from New Matilda she asks, Would you trust them with your life?

Time Magazine asks Do animals commit suicide?

In this article from The Atlantic called Sin or Crime, writer Andrew Sullivan calls for the Pope to resign over Catholic child sex abuses. 

This hilarious satirical piece from The Onion is called Like Hell I'm Going To Let Some Black President Help Me Pay For Dialysis. It pretty much sums up the idiocy of the Tea Party/Republican agenda. 

The Atheist Delusion was written by one of my favourite columnists, Phillip Adams. This is a transcript of his entire speech from the recent atheist convention.

Still on the topic of atheism and even the Herald Scum Sun has gone over and beyond with this one.  This disturbing piece came to me via a friend on Facebook and I feel I must quote her exact introduction to the article. "Prepare for the title match of the century as ex- footballer - with - a - dead - girl - in - his - hotel - room Gary Abblett takes on morality, Richard Dawkins and evolutionary science. Prepare to be converted non believers." 
The article is entitled What kind of world do we want to live in?       
(Um.... preferably not one where an ex- footballler/ drug addict/ date rapist/ murderer is being paid to lecture people on morality!) 

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