Motley Moose – Archive

Since 2008 – Progress Through Politics

health care

One more thing anti-vaccers don’t get…

I wasn’t going to jump into this conversation, but I want to add another dimension to the discussion of the benefits vs. dangers of vaccinating. I feel qualified by the fact that my first-born child had a severe reaction to her first DPT vaccination many years ago.

We got her first vaccination on time when she was two months old. Within ten minutes, she was screeching non-stop, like a threatened animal. We got sent home anyway, where she continued to screech for many hours until she had a seizure and went into a coma for three days. Happily, she woke up and seemed perfectly fine. She didn’t have any long term neurological damage.  

After A Very Long 24 Hours, I Have One Request…

Please sign up to become an organ donor, if you haven’t already done so.

Last night, my mom’s life was vastly improved because someone made that decision.  That means she has the new kidney she’s been waiting for a life free from dialysis.  And that all happened because some decided it would be a good thing that G-d forbid anything happened to them their organs could be used to save and improve lives.  Taking those five minutes can really make a difference and do a whole world of good for many people.

I’m very happy to report that she’s doing well at the moment.  The kidney is starting to come to life and she is doing really well for someone that came out of major surgery around two o’clock this morning.

So, have a happy and healthy new year and please, please, please, make the decision to become an organ donor (if you haven’t already done so).  

The Other Closet: Living With the Stigma of Mental Illness

I have touched on the topic of stigma against the mentally ill before, so I’m taking bits and pieces of research from that previous diary. But I’d like to revisit it here in a slightly different way. There was a statement made in another diary the other day that brought this to mind. Someone elsewhere in the blogosphere suggested that the mentally ill should be imprisoned “just like sex offenders” until doctors could determine that they were safe for society. I’m assuming that it was not intended as it was written (I certainly hope not), but unfortunately, there are many out there who do actually think this way.


Welfare Used to Fund Terrorism! Beyond Rhetoric: 10 Ways to Fix Welfare

Today headlines blared that the Boston bombers had been funding their terrorist lifestyles with welfare. How could we, the cash-strapped people, have been allowed to provide for these shady characters? The American-born wife and baby were obviously part of a long con on the generosity of the American people. That the wife chose to work 80 hours a week (possibly for less than minimum wage) as a quasi-servant rather than continue with those benefits does not mitigate the fact that someone who later became a terrorist got to mooch! Who would have the insolence to even wonder whether the indignities of the broken welfare system factored into how much these “losers” came to hate the United States…?

Well, I’m going to dare to bring it up.

The welfare approach in the United States are ridiculously fragmented, inadequate, poorly implemented, and outright broken. Political rhetoric from all sides raises the taxpayer’s awareness that their money pays for an enormous welfare system. Yet when the taxpayer turns to this system during their own time of desperation, they discover unanswered phone calls, months (if not years) of applications and appeals, bureaucratistans that don’t bother to deliver the measly few “services” they meticulously document on your “plan” (the California Department of Rehabilitation, which is supposed to be putting people back to work, is a major offender here), and have abundant means to retaliate (for example, by consigning your case to limbo) if anyone complains.

There is a deliberate rightwing campaign to make stymied taxpayers believe that “someone else” (of a different race, religion, or political affiliation) is getting paid “regular checks from the government”, while anyone who has ever tried to deal with this system knows for sure it’s not them. “Disability checks” are the latest spearhead in the rightwing’s egregiously misinformed attack on welfare.

But while Republicans regular twist and ignore facts to shore up their 47 percent Entitlement Society propaganda, Democrats are failing in the other direction by blindly defending the system without acknowledging the problems or making any attempts to fix them. President Obama’s idea of a bipartisan bridge is cutting Social Security benefits, when many seniors are already struggling to get by on a few hundred dollars a month. There is no way around the fact that the only way to get everyone off welfare is to guarantee full employment.

Last year I wrote a series of posts about my own experience of the welfare fiasco for Daily Kos, but I found this was the wrong venue since too many comments trivialized or even flamed a subject that is a matter of life-and-death to a significant segment of the U.S. population. I looked for another place to repost my series, but I could not find another place where I could convey what I knew about welfare to a broad audience of voters. Finally I just boiled down what I had to say in 10 Ways to Fix Welfare on a free WordPress blog and left my message to float on the ether. As far as I know, no one is reading it or referencing it. It’s vitally important to dispel the fog of ignorance that surrounds welfare. So it’s time to make another attempt to shed light on the real problems with welfare and how to fix them.

I am copying my “10 ways to Fix Welfare” here in the hope that this post will be passed around and spark a larger conversation, with testimony from the people who have actually interacted with the welfare system. My complete article is pasted below, and there is a little more information about me on the WordPress site.

Shame & Suffering: The Stigma of Mental Illness

Stigma is a more complicated concept than one might initially guess upon mere casual consideration. Definitionally relatively simple, the causes, mechanisms, and consequences of social stigma are myriad and complex. You can find stigma, of one sort or another, most anywhere you look. Stigma will thrive in society wherever ignorance or fear or hatred of that which is “different” are acceptable mentalities. The tendency to stigmatize, label, and set certain groups/individuals apart from the rest of society as “other” is, to an extent, human nature. The need to categorize people, places, and things is normal — it’s just a function of how our brains work. We run into problems, however, when we begin allowing categories and labels to exclude and define people.

It's On! Recap and Commentary on the First Republican Debate (2012)

I don’t know whether many people (especially on the left) had the stomach to watch this 90 minute exercise in silliness and futility, but I personally am a bit of a masochist. I sat through the full thing, knowing all the while that it was over an hour of my life I could never get back. For the most part, little of interest was said, though I must confess to a few points of agreement on my part with a couple of the candidates (95% disagreement of course). There were even some laughs scattered throughout, so I can hardly call it a complete waste, can I?

Let’s have a look at what was on the table tonight.

Vickie channels Ted

Victoria Reggie Kennedy, the wife of the late Ted Kennedy, has an op-ed in the Washington Post. It is well worth a read. I really don’t have a lot to add to it.

My late husband, Ted Kennedy, was passionate about health-care reform. It was the cause of his life. He believed that health care for all our citizens was a fundamental right, not a privilege, and that this year the stars — and competing interests — were finally aligned to allow our nation to move forward with fundamental reform. He believed that health-care reform was essential to the financial stability of our nation’s working families and of our economy as a whole.

As President Obama noted to Congress this fall, for Ted, health-care reform was not a matter of ideology or politics. It was not about left or right, Democrat or Republican. It was a passion born from the experience of his own life, the experience of our family and the experiences of the millions of Americans across this country who considered him their senator, too.

The bill before Congress will finally deliver on the urgent needs of all Americans. It would make their lives better and do so much good for this country. That, in the end, must be the test of reform. That was always the test for Ted Kennedy. He’s not here to urge us not to let this chance slip through our fingers. So I humbly ask his colleagues to finish the work of his life, the work of generations, to allow the vote to go forward and to pass health-care reform now. As Ted always said, when it’s finally done, the people will wonder what took so long.

Wingnut Watch: Whew, the Lovable Fuzzball Doesn't Fear Us!

Ramping up teh krazy once again, Minnesota token lunatic Representative Michele Bachmann (R-MN) has provided us with a slew of asinine creative catchphrases to laugh derisively at adopt for personal use. I think most of us would agree that there’s no one on the national scene quite like Bachmann. Sarah Palin is probably dumber, but that could be said when comparing her to pretty much any nationally known politician. So beating Palin out on brains (if only someone would actually beat their brains out — it wouldn’t take long) is really not much of an accomplishment on Bachmann’s part. But when it comes to pure, unfiltered, unadulterated KRAZY… Bachmann may indeed take the cake.

"That Great Unfinished Business of Our Society"

I have waited to write this diary because I knew I needed to cool off. The health care debate has been a rollercoaster for months now, and the up-down-left-right topsy-turvy nature of the whole ordeal has been turning my stomach for a long time. Over the months, we’ve been bombarded with a dazzling and dizzying array of mixed messages. I’ve allowed myself, at times, to become as hysterical as the worst alarmists in the blogosphere, and just yesterday morning, I was ready to get up in front of all of you to curse Reid, condemn Obama, and prophesy doom. (Not my finest moment, admittedly.) But as I examine and reexamine the dialogue on this issue, my moods and thoughts are as wildly mercurial as the volatile health care debate itself. I have been torn and troubled all along, but the latest news from the Hill has me more perplexed and conflicted than ever. More mixed messages, more obstruction, more disputes — more infighting, alarm, compromises, concessions: A sea of contradictions, contravention, and confusion, well-poised to overwhelm and unravel even the steadiest among us.

So how do we navigate these roiling waters?  

The Oppression of Women as a Party Platform

To start with, let me be clear: The oppression and general subjugation of women is not an exclusively Republican issue. The Stupak-Pitts amendment, which is an attack on women’s reproductive rights and was drafted by a Democrat from Michigan, makes that clear. Nor is the oppression and subjugation of women even an exclusively male issue. I don’t want to get into an argument about the “blame the victim” mindset, but the fact is, a lot of women adhere and/or contribute to the doctrine of male domination. Now, is that because they have been indoctrinated to do so? Sure. However, the same can be said of sexist men. Despite all the calls for political correctness and the efforts of feminists throughout the country and the world, everyone who has grown up in the United States has been influenced, in one way or another, by the pervasive and prevailing mindset of masculine domination. Some of us are more resistant to indoctrination than others, but few, if any, are entirely immune. We are all subject to the influences of gender stereotyping, no matter how careful our parents may have been to prevent it. Every day, we are inundated with indoctrinating images and ideas, through television, literature, music, and innumerable other mediums. What is most important isn’t that we are completely free of assumptions about the opposite sex, or even our own, but that we strive to understand the causes and effects of sexism and rail against it when we perceive it.