But it was also clear that an all-round increase in wealth threatened the destruction — indeed, in some sense was the destruction — of a hierarchical society. In a world in which everyone worked short hours, had enough to eat, lived in a house with a bathroom and a refrigerator, and possessed a motor-car or even an aeroplane, the most obvious and perhaps the most important form of inequality would already have disappeared. If it once became general, wealth would confer no distinction. It was possible, no doubt, to imagine a society in which WEALTH, in the sense of personal possessions and luxuries, should be evenly distributed, while POWER remained in the hands of a small privileged caste. But in practice such a society could not long remain stable. For if leisure and security were enjoyed by all alike, the great mass of human beings who are normally stupefied by poverty would become literate and would learn to think for themselves; and when once they had done this, they would sooner or later realize that the privileged minority had no function, and they would sweep it away. In the long run, a hierarchical society was only possible on a basis of poverty and ignorance.
So here’s what you need to understand. The Affordable Care Act isn’t magic — it produces losers as well as winners. But it’s not black magic either, turning everyone into a loser. What the Act does is in effect to increase the burden on fortunate people — the healthy and wealthy — to lift some burdens on the less fortunate: people with chronic illnesses or other preexisting conditions, low-income workers.
Reality check on where we are in history: In 1971 Daniel Ellsberg leaked the massive Pentagon Papers. When President Nixon tried to wiretap Ellsberg’s psychiatrist in response, it was considered an impeachable offense and eventually became part of what forced Nixon from office. Today: Bradley Manning leaks videos of actual war crimes, the United Nations Special Rapporteur declares that “the 11 months under conditions of solitary confinement (regardless of the name given to his regime by the prison authorities) constitutes at a minimum cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment in violation of Article 16 of the convention against torture,” and no one holds Barack Obama accountable.
The reality is that so-called pro-life movement is not about saving babies. It’s about regulating sex. That’s why they oppose birth control. That’s why they want to ban abortion even though doing so will simply drive women to have dangerous back alley abortions. That’s why they want to penalize women who take public assistance and then dare to have sex, leaving an exemption for those who become pregnant from rape. It’s not about babies. If it were about babies, they would be making access to birth control widespread and free and creating a comprehensive social safety net so that no woman finds herself with a pregnancy she can’t afford. They would be raising money for research on why half of all zygotes fail to implant and working to prevent miscarriages. It’s not about babies. It’s about controlling women. It’s about making sure they have consequences for having unapproved sex.
Our American politicos have been screeching non-stop about how Snowden betrayed his oath to uphold the constitution and the law, on the grounds that he did something they didn’t want him to do. Naturally I take the opposite view: the lawbreakers are the NSA staff who spy on ordinary American citizens, and the elected officials who support such spying. These people violated their oaths to uphold the constitution, but Snowden stayed true to his. I still cling to the hope that eventually our nation will come back to its collective senses, and future American schoolchildren will learn about Edward Snowden alongside Rosa Parks, Martin Luther King, the “suffragettes” who marched to get women the vote, and all others who were condemned as criminals in their time yet exonerated by history.
The Snowden Principle, and that fire that inspired him to take unimaginable risks, is fundamentally about fostering an informed and engaged public. The Constitution embraces that idea. Mr. Snowden says his motivation was to expose crimes -spark a debate, and let the public know of secret policies he could not in good conscience ignore - whether you agree with his tactics or not, that debate has begun. Now, we are faced with a choice, we can embrace the debate or we can try to shut the debate down and maintain the status quo.
It’s not too extreme to call our system of government now “American fascism.” It’s the control of government by big business, which Franklin Delano Roosevelt defined in 1938 as fascism. And they control the government and turn the government to their favor—subsidies, handouts, giveaways, deferred prosecutions, non-prosecutions—and against the American people. And minimum wage is just one. You have full Medicare for all, which a majority of doctors and the American people want, with free choice of doctor and hospital. That’s the only—we’re the only Western country that doesn’t have it. Eight hundred Americans a week die because they cannot afford diagnosis and treatment for their ailments. That’s 800 Americans a week, 45,000 a year. Who says so? A study, peer-reviewed, out of Harvard Medical School. So, we have the lowest minimum wage in the Western world. We have the greatest amount of consumer debt. We have the highest child poverty, the highest adult poverty, huge underemployment, a crumbling public works—but huge multi-billionaires and hugely profitable corporations.
Thanks in large part to higher taxes on the wealthy, which Republicans said would not reduce the deficit, deficit reduction is picking up speed at a pace few could have predicted. We’re now looking at over $400 billion in deficit reduction in just one year, and about $800 billion in deficit reduction since President Obama took office…. It’s fair to say this problem has been largely fixed…. Let’s also not forget that Republican talking points on fiscal policy have effectively been left in tatters, and every conservative political figure who’s declared ‘Socialist Obama is turning America into Greece!’ looks incredibly foolish right now.
While the high jobless numbers are partly a legacy of the Great Recession, the fact is that our economy has generated too few jobs for most of the last 30 years and is likely to continue to do so. The only viable response is a return to an idea that once animated domestic policy making: full employment, the notion that everyone who wants to work should be able to find a job, and if the market isn’t up to the task, then the government must fill the gap.
Seriously, if we believe a 14 year old is too immature to know how to take a pill, do we really think she’s adult enough to handle an unwanted pregnancy?
The truth is that the age restriction is completely arbitrary, tied only to our puritanical comfort levels. And listen, I get it; I think it’s fair to say that most people are uncomfortable with the idea of a 14 year old having sex. But here’s the thing - access to Plan B isn’t about keeping a 14 year old from having sex - by the time she gets to the pharmacy, that ship has sailed - it’s about keeping a 14 year old who has already had sex from getting pregnant. And despite what urban legend (or past embarrassing FDA memos) may tell you, making emergency contraception more available is not more likely to make young teens have sex - it will just make them less likely to end up pregnant.
We can’t let our discomfort with teen sex trump young people’s right to sexual and reproductive health and we can’t continue to let politics trump science. If we care about young women’s health and bodily autonomy and integrity, we’ll drop all age restrictions from emergency contraception. Anything less isn’t just illogical - it’s immoral.
People who think that no one uses welfare/food stamps to actually buy things they need can tell that to my hungry 11 year old self who wouldn’t have had decent lunches or meat (at all) without government assistance.
Oh, and who might have gone hungry if there had been drug testing involved. Thanks. I’m glad that you know more about my life than I do! If only I had realized sooner that my mom wasn’t really buying food with that money! I mean, I don’t know what she was doing with it, since our lives were fucking awful at that point and we had a grand total of zero luxuries (I shared a room with my mom! In the basement of my grandma’s condo! I did laundry for the whole house to earn enough dimes to buy myself sodas and candy!), but really, please, enlighten me.
Also, as a child of a drug addict, this law fucking terrifies me. The idea that some kid who is trying to cope with having an addict for a parent (not always easy) also might go hungry or without new clothes or whatnot because some privileged assholes think poor people have to be suffering saints to qualify for help literally makes me cry to think about.
YAAAS TO ALL OF THIS
All these bullshit “welfare reform” laws that are designed to fix some imaginary problem in the system that doesn’t exist all comes out of the perpetuation of the “welfare queen” stereotype that we love to vilify all the time.
When we think welfare we think poor black woman who’s having babies for extra government benefits who’s really just taking the government handouts to buy drugs, candy or brand new shoes or some shit…
Making laws based off stereotypes is NOT how we combat poverty. Its how we make the issue even worse
Reblogged for commentary
My sister had asked me about drug testing laws a few weeks back and this is the quote I wanted to pull up because it sums up how I feel.
In desert societies — including the American Southwest — water is so precious that it is money. People connive and fight and die over it; governments covet it; marriages are even made and broken because of it. If one were to talk to a person who has known only that desert and tell him that in the city there are public water fountains and that children are even sometimes allowed to turn on the fire hydrants in the summer and to frolic in the water, he would be sure one were crazy. For he knows, with existential certitude, that it is human nature to fight over water. Mankind has lived now for several millennia in the desert. Our minds and emotions are conditioned by that bitter experience; we do not dare to think that things could be otherwise. Yet there are signs that we are, without really planning it that way, marching out of the desert. There are some who loathe to leave behind the consolations of familiar brutalities; there are others who in one way or another would like to impose the law of the desert upon the Promised Land. It may even be possible that mankind cannot bear too much happiness. It’s also possible that we will seize this opportunity and make of the earth a homeland rather than an exile. This is the socialist project. It does not promise, or even seek, to abolish the human condition, for that is impossible. It does propose to end that invidious competition and venality which, because scarcity allowed no other alternatives, we have come to think are inseparable from our humanity.