August 20, 2009

Required Reading

A few items worthy of some serious thought.

This one is older, but I've been thinking about it since it was posted, so it's definitely worth sharing. The Gates arrest and the chatter afterward prompted my friend Naomi to some serious comparison of policing styles and outcomes.

Even at the time, even as a snotty teenager, I had to respect the way the police handled this. This is what I'm talking about when I say Couper used Judo principles. This approach will not work in every situation, but running in and cracking heads rarely defuses things either. In Minneapolis, years ago, PETA ran a protest where they sent attractive young women to strip naked and lock themselves to public signs while chanting "I'd rather go naked than wear fur!" In January. Minneapolis dealt with this by sending about two dozen officers to cut the locks, rough up the protestors, and arrest them. I thought, "It's January in the upper midwest. Isn't this likely to be self-limiting behavior?" It would have worked just as well to send a couple of cops to direct traffic and wait until they got bored. And cold. Nudity is not a major public menace, you know? (They may have done just that in Madison. I can't remember for sure.)

Instead of just focusing on what might or might not be in a future health care bill, Mike is talking about the current health care situation with the help of the experts.

After two years with the smaller employer, the private insurer boosted the premiums by a factor of two. The premiums doubled because in the prior coverage year, one employee’s spouse was treated for an advanced cancer. We didn’t get any raises from our employer, and my own take home dropped because of the increase in my coverage. I guess I could have raged that it “Wasn’t fair! It isn’t my fault she had cancer!” The thing is I knew that it could have been me or my kids who had been sick or needed treatment for an expensive medical condition. Sure enough, my daughter in the next year needed expensive brain surgery and new meds; none of which her mother nor I could have paid out of pocket.

Sara Robinson at AlterNet is taking a hard look at whether the U.S. is stepping away from fascism now that we've gotten rid of Bush--and not liking the answer. (via the Chimp Refuge)

In a 1998 paper published in The Journal of Modern History, Paxton argued that the best way to recognize emerging fascist movements isn't by their rhetoric, their politics, or their aesthetics. Rather, he said, mature democracies turn fascist by a recognizable process, a set of five stages that may be the most important family resemblance that links all the whole motley collection of 20th Century fascisms together. According to our reading of Paxton's stages, we weren't there yet. There were certain signs -- one in particular -- we were keeping an eye out for, and we just weren't seeing it.

And now we are. In fact, if you know what you're looking for, it's suddenly everywhere.

And finally, Greg has had enough of the idea that pointing to obvious racism in politics is off-limits. The rant itself is tasty, but the comments on the original post and at ScienceBlogs are a stunning display of missing the point that really, really need to be read.

Join me, if you will, in a moment of utter, deep cynicism. That would mean you thinking, for just a moment, exactly like I think every second of the day. This will be painful for you, unless you are already where I am....


Mike Haubrich, FCD said...

It's really hard not to be cynical these days, when the issues of health care are so easily distorted and demonized. Thanks for the link-love!

Jason Thibeault said...

Don't get cynical. Keep fighting. If the asshats that are against single-payer, had access to it like the rest of us in the western world, they'd be screaming for the heads of anyone who would dare try to take it away. I would be right there at your side fighting for health care reform if I could, believe me.