Author: Vera

Healthcare – Right or Privilege?

Is healthcare a right or a privilege? The answer varies by country. In most of the world it is a right accorded to all residents as part of their social safety net. However, in the United States it is a privilege accorded to the more fortunate – those who have private health insurance, seniors over 65 who have Medicare and Medicaid for a small percentage of low income individuals. For those not falling into one of those categories they are “on their own.” This generally means neglecting medical conditions in the early stages when they are more easily treatable. It often leads to expensive trips to the emergency room when the condition becomes acute and where only the symptoms can be treated without a provision for follow-on care. Medical bills are the major reason for bankruptcy in the United States. Without health insurance many citizens are forced to pay out of pocket for expensive for-profit medical treatment. This has been exacerbated by the housing crisis. Unscrupulous lenders convinced people to borrow against the equity in …

Fiscal Cliff – Senior Sell-out?

When I voted for Obama again in this election I was hopeful he would be more supportive of economic and social justice and favor the middle class over the special interests. In reality, there wasn’t really a choice for any reasonable American voter. The alternatives were an unabashed plutocrat and more progressive candidates in parties that did not have a chance in our 2 party system. I also felt that since Obama didn’t have to run again he would be more supportive of his base, which came through for him again, rather than treat them with the disdain he showed them in his first term. Unfortunately, it appears that his positions in second term may look very much like the first term. He did not accomplish the “Grand Bargain” of selling out Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid during his first term, thanks to the Republicans wanting even more draconian cuts to our social safety net. This time around he’s proposed attacking Social Security using a chained CPI cost of living formula that can have many …

Currency Wars and Decline of the U.S. Economy

Rather than building a strong industrial base that would provide economic security for a vibrant middle class, the United States instead continues to engage in currency wars that reduce the value of the dollar. While EU countries, such as Germany, promote the growth of high tech, high value manufacturing exports and the Euro gains in strength, the U.S. continues to outsource jobs, shrink the manufacturing sector and print money to devalue the dollar against other world currencies. The U.S. dollar continues to decline against the value of the Euro and is at a 15 year low against the yen and is even sliding against the Australian dollar. In past decades American companies sought to import raw materials from third world countries with depressed currencies to fuel the U.S. industrial economy. With the outsourcing of labor and the dismantling of America’s industrial base the United States has been transformed from the world’s greatest exporter to the largest importer of foreign goods. However, with a burgeoning trade deficit the response has not been to manufacture quality products …

Water is a Human Right!

The United Nations voted overwhelmingly that water is a human right. That resolution was opposed by private development companies, such as Bechtel that want to privatize water to add another profit center.  The United States lobbied against the resolution in support of the corporations, but failed to convince an adequate number of UN members to stop approval of this measure.  Ultimately, the United States abstained and the human right to water passed overwhelmingly. In spite of this UN action, San Diego County is now threatened with privatization of its potable water – contrary to the internationally ratified resolution that access to water is a human right. Poseidon Resources Group, a for-profit corporation, is planning a Desalination Project in Carlsbad to provide a potable water supply for San Diego County.  This is a project that should be undertaken by the municipal government under a bond issue – not a corporation that can exploit this element of life to maximize their profits.  If we don’t mobilize against this frightening trend, water in San Diego County will be provided for maximum profit …

TPP – Trans-Pacific Partnership and the Future of America

On July 2, 2012 Carol Heasley and I participated with the Occupellas as delegates to the TPP (Trans-Pacific Partnership) conference. After singing our songs protesting the TPP, the IP and Labor negotiators remained after the meeting and spoke with our group. We expressed our concerns about this very broad international agreement that can take precedence over our national sovereignty. The TPP has been drafted and negotiated in secret by 300 corporations. Even members of Congress have been denied access to the documents. I’m providing this summary at this time as, in spite of protests in San Diego and other cities, the TPP is continuing to move ahead. Every citizen should be aware of the potential impact of the TPP and should join in a movement to stop the approval and implementation of the TPP.

How the Rest of the World Sees Us

While Republicans tout their jingoistic cries of “American Exceptionalism” it is interesting to note what respected foreign newspapers write about the United States and the ongoing Republican campaign saga. It gives us pause that while espousing such exceptionalism, their views and actions appear to be undermining those very pillars of our society that created the exceptional example that we have come to represent to the rest of the world. The following excerpts from the European press are from the The Week’s Dec. 16 “How They See Us.”