Prophet 451's Journal
Member since: Wed Jul 27, 2005, 05:10 PM
Number of posts: 7,341
Number of posts: 7,341
Modern medicine can look like a miracle to us. Through modern medicine, we can allow the blind to see, we can replace worn-out hearts and give a new lease on life to someone who, only twenty years ago, would have been waiting for death. We can really and truly save lives and medicine does so, every single day. But these miracles rely on the donation of blood and organs from people like you. Blood donation is relatively painless and takes about twenty minutes. What are you going to do with twenty minutes? Flick through your paper, maybe have a cup of coffee? Or you can help someone live. Organ donation doesn't happen until you die. You're not going to be using your organs but they can help someone else live. I'm not going to ask anyone to violate the tenets of their faith but this is life and it is precious and it is fragile and it is up to us to save it. Won't you please, give a gift of life?
US Organ Donor Register
American Red Cross Blood Donors
UK Blood Donors
UK Organ Donor Register
Australian Red Cross Blood Service
Australian Organ Donor Register
New Zealand Organ Donor Register
New Zealand Blood Donors
Posted by Prophet 451 | Sun Apr 14, 2013, 12:43 AM (17 replies)
Firstly, you have to remember that the media, then and now, loved her. They were largely based in London and the city of London did very well because her privatisation of everything in sight made the City (financial sector) a lot of money.
Secondly, she was elected during the epic Winter of Discontent, when an overreaching by the unions had resulted in a backlash of hard-right feeling.
Thirdly, she was extraordinarily lucky to have an opposition that was determined to self-destruct. The Labour party was falling apart in the Eighties and in no shape to actively oppose her. They fell out with the unions, which cut off most of their funding, so they had no cash to fight elections; elected as their leader a man who, with the best will in the world, was too easily distracted and too prone to windbaggery to effectively oppose her. Labour wouldn't really recover until the mid-Ninties when they took a hard swing to the right under Blair and effectively ran as Tory-lite. The Liberal and SDP parties were characterised during this period by fratricidal in-fighting.
Fourth, she promised the earth and the media covered for her when she failed to deliver (the power of the media in this country really can't be overstated). The people who did well out of Thatcher's reign were the same people who had the ear of the media.
Fifth, the British Constitution means that we don't vote for Prime Ministers, we vote for parties and the head of the winning party becomes PM. While a huge amount of people loathed Thatcher, most people liked their local MP and voted for them. That meant that the Tories got a majority in Parliament and Thatcher became PM even though many people disliked her as a person.
Six, this was during the same time as Reagan was effectively telling America that greed is good, the same period when much of the world was trending to the right. We thought this was how things were done.
Posted by Prophet 451 | Tue Apr 9, 2013, 05:45 PM (2 replies)
You didn't live through her reign of terror, I did. And that gives me every right to be pleased when a monster like that no longer stalks our fair land.
I despised her, so did most of the working class. She came to power amid a national crisis and then proceded to use that crisis to justify diabolical policies. She decimated the mining and manufacturing industries and then told us to hate the poor bastards who ended up on welfare as a result, all purely to break the unions. She stopped the free milk that had been given to pre-schoolers to aid their bone growth. She deliberately under-funded the NHS, resulting in mass shortages that we haven't fully recovered from even today. She forbid teachers to refer to homosexuality as even an abstract concept. She denied there was any such thing as society. Some will tell you she lifted everyone into the middle class, this is a lie. She simply pretended the working class didn't exist. She stopped students from claiming housing benefit, a massive effective cut to their finances. She told poor people to choose between voting and eating and then described the resulting riots as "wickedness". Her cuts to the NHS led to the deaths of both my in-laws. She defunded the mental health institutions in favour of "Care in the community" where the mentally ill were abandoned. Like Reagan, she ushered in a culture of ruthless selfishness, pretended it was good and used that to demonise the poor as undeserving of help. She used the Falklands, a war that any British PM would have fought, to prop up rampant militarism. She pushed unemployment to 10% and didn't give a toss. She supported Pinochet, the Khmer Rouge and apartheid. She wanted to put AIDS victims into camps. She intiiated the housing crisis by insturcting social housing to sell their houses off. She wanted to nuke Argentina and ordered the Belgrano to be sunk even when it was retreating. She ran her Cabinet like a dictator.
As a person (I've read her autobiographies), she was petty, incurious, vindictive, uninterested in anyone else's viewpoint and surprisingly small-minded.
I despised her. I don't use the word "evil" much because I think it's overused to the point of being meaningless but Thatcher was evil. She is far more admired abroad than she is here, largely because those abroad didn't have to live through her reign of terror.
Posted by Prophet 451 | Tue Apr 9, 2013, 02:50 PM (1 replies)
I believe that each and every person has the right to the freedoms enumerated in the US Constitution. That should go without saying but these days, it sadly doesn't.
I believe that being gay is just as random and morally neutral as having brown hair or green eyes. Just one more variation in the human condition.
I believe that love is the melding of two souls and none of us has the right to get in the way of that.
I believe that every person should have the right to decent, affordable healthcare and, if necessary, the state should intervene to ensure that.
I don't believe that the free market corrects all problems. In fact, I think the USA's “free market's uber alles” approach to things is responsible for many of the country's problems.
I believe that rape is a horrific, traumatic crime; that the perpetrators of that crime should be imprisoned for a considerable length of time; that none of us have the right to judge what a victim chooses to do if that rape results in pregnancy and that those who do should be exiled from polite society.
I believe that abortion would be unnecessary if we lived in a perfect world but we don't and so, it is.
I believe that it is illegal, ineffective and morally evil to torture anyone at any time for any reason.
I believe that everyone has the right to a decent education. That includes tuition at a college or trade school.
I believe that corporate fascism is a far more realistic danger to the USA than socialism or communism.
I believe that if you cannot work or cannot find work, that the state has a moral duty to take care of you until you can.
I believe that, as long as one person sleeps on the streets or one person goes to bed hungry, taxes are not too high.
In the end, I'm an old lefty. I believe that the ultimate reason to have the state exist is to redress the balance between the powerful and the powerless and to care for the people who cannot care for themselves.
Posted by Prophet 451 | Fri Nov 9, 2012, 11:04 PM (0 replies)
His follow-up, The Dark Knight Strikes Again was atrocious and ended with Superman effectively declaring himself dictator (and this was presented as a good thing) and his Holy Terror! was so racist that DC refused to let him use Batman in it.
Posted by Prophet 451 | Wed Jul 25, 2012, 12:02 AM (1 replies)
It's obvious to everyone that the Congressional GOP is abusing the filibuster in a way that was never intended either by the Founders or by those who used the filibuster in gentler times. Hence, just as a kind-of "sense of DU", this poll.
Posted by Prophet 451 | Fri May 18, 2012, 08:11 AM (29 replies)
- I BELIEVE that everyone has a right to decent healthcare, regardless of their income or social class.
- I BELIEVE that everyone deserves the right to a decent education, up to and including college. I BELIEVE in equality of opportunity, including the opportunity to return to education later in life.
- I BELIEVE that money brings power and with great power comes great responsibility. I BELIEVE that if you achieve great wealth, you have a responsibility to pay out some of it so someone else gets the chance to do the same. I BELIEVE that taxes are the price we pay for civilization.
- I BELIEVE that being gay is just one more variation in the human condition and as morally neutral as having green eyes or blonde hair. I BELIEVE that love is the joining of two souls and none of us have the right to get in the way of that.
- I BELIEVE that putting human rights to a vote sets a bloody dangerous precedent.
- I BELIEVE that no-one, not begger or king, president or pauper, is above being called to account for their wrongdoings. Fiat justitia, ruat caelum.
- I BELIEVE in a deity but my beliefs do not require you to believe them. I BELIEVE that life would be significantly easier if we just kept our beliefs between ourselves and our chosen deities. I also hope that your chosen faith (or lack thereof) brings you happiness and/or peace.
- I BELIEVE that something is wrong when the democratic republic jails more people than the communist dictatorship.
- I BELIEVE that once you have paid your debt to society, society should give you the chance to turn your life around.
- I BELIEVE that if you cannot work or cannot find work, society has a duty to provide for you. I BELIEVE that a humane society does not let it's citizens starve because of their misfortune.
- I BELIEVE that a just society would execute it's citizens only rarely for the most heinous of crimes and with absolute proof of guilt.
- I BELIEVE that justices should, well, administer justice.
- I BELIEVE that the law should be a protector of the weak, not a tool of the powerful.
- I BELIEVE that it is possible to be both a democracy and a republic.
- I DON'T BELIEVE in evolution. It would be like believing in the milkman. I just accept it.
- I BELIEVE that conservatism, as it currently stands, is detrimental to the USA.
- I BELIEVE that our planet is warming and human activity is the main cause. I BELIEVE we can overcome this obstacle.
- I BELIEVE in the capacity of human imagination and ingenuity to overcome any obstacle.
- I BELIEVE that the liklihood of failure is no excuse for giving up the fight.
- I BELIEVE that the search for truth is it's own justification.
- I BELIEVE in the power of one human spirit to change the world.
Posted by Prophet 451 | Sat Apr 7, 2012, 08:05 AM (13 replies)
Amount spent on the combination of Medicaid, Medicare and private insurance: aprox. $2.3 trillion annually and leaves 30-45 million uninsured.
NHS budget (in US dollars): Slightly over $2000 per citizen, per year. 0 uninsured.
Cost to cover entire US population under NHS model (disounting start-up costs): aprox. $600 billion.
Cost to cover entire US population under French model (accepted as world's best and disounting start-up costs): aprox. $900 billion.
Administrative overhead, private insurance: anything up to 30%
Administrative overhead, NHS: 6.8% (unionised staff with pensions and benefits)
There's also the fact that the insurance company is incentivised to reject your claim while the civil servant doesn't care either way, he gets paid the same regardless. Now, setting up a true, single-payer national healthcare program is a huge expense. But that expense means building hospitals and roads to connect them, buying ambulances and medical equipment with the knock-on effect in those industries, staffing those hospitals with not just doctors but nurses, receptionists, janitors, groundskeepers, maintenence staff, canteen staff and someone to run the newsstand. Yes, it's a lot of money but it satisfies Keynesian principles in that it actively creates jobs and puts money in people's pockets (construction at first, obviously). Those people then go out and spend that money, increasing demand and getting the whole system moving again. Plus, you get a shiney new healthcare system that you only have to pay the (quite modest) upkeep from then on. And the whole bloody mess of patchwork coverage and the drag on employers just disappears.
Now, don't misunderstand me. The NHS is by no means perfect and could be improved in several areas (although I don't trust our current government to do anything other than try and kill the old dear). But this is one area where the US coming to the game late could actually work to your advantage. Different nations have different ways of organising, administering and funding their healthcare systems. If the US is serious about true, universal, single-payer healthcare, it would be relatively easy to establish a commission to study the existing systems around the globe, taking the funding mechanism from this one and the drug approval mechanism from that one; mix-and-matching the best parts while avoiding those that don't work so well until you end up with something quite special and uniquely American.
Posted by Prophet 451 | Sat Apr 7, 2012, 04:04 AM (1 replies)
The NHS isn't "free" because we pay taxes to support it (well, I did before I became disabled) and we bitch and moan about it because we're British. Bitching and moaning is what we do, it's virtually a national sport. But whenever someone proposes getting rid of the old dear, we shout them down and boot them out of office. We're furious right now because, having campaigned on the NHS being safe with them, the bastard scum Tories are introducing which may, many years from now, lead to privatisation (we're furious with the Tories for many other reasons as well, we are having a national nightmare of buyer's remorse). We had a mini-hate for Americans a few years back when your right-wing started lying about our NHS.
You can still buy private insurance here and some do. Sometimes, they want to skip the availability lists (which means they're often seen by an NHS doctor moonlighting in his free time), some want luxurious hospitals and brand-name drugs (the NHS tends toward functionally spartan and generics to keep costs down), some just want the status symbol. Some large companies offer it as a perk for their high-level employees. But my point is that the NHS provides a "backstop", a ground-floor of service for price and to compete with that, private insurance has to offer a better service for a decent price. Which I always thought was the essence of capitalism. There's a small fee to have a prescription filled (currently about $15) but the young, old and poor are exempt from that and it's main purpose is to stop you bugging your doctor with crap that only needs a couple of asprin.
Proper single-payer universal healthcare in the USA would also mean building things. Hospitals, roads to connect them, ambulances for them to use, medical equipment to fill the hospitals with. And then all those hospitals need staffing. Yes, that means doctors but it also means paramedics, janitors, groundskeepers, canteen staff, someone to staff the newstand, receptionists, maintenence staff and I'm sure I'm missing out loads of people there. Yes, it would cost a fortune to set up an American single-payer universal system but that money only needs to be spent once (you just have to pay the comparatively small upkeep), creates stacks of new jobs and you get a shiny new health system out of it.
I deal with the NHS every week. Because I'm disabled (for reasons of both physical and mental health), I see my doctor all the time. I chose my own doctor, the same guy I've seen since I was a student. I can usually get an appointment within a couple of days with my own doctor who knows me and knows my history and knows the massive amounts of drugs I'm on. I know him quite well and he's not making millionaire money but he has a nice upper-middle-class life. New car every few years, couple of holidays a year, that kind of life.
Finally, here's a few figures for you (all either from Wiki or the CIA World Sourcebook):
Amount spent by Americans on Medicaid, Medicare and private insurance: aprox. $2.3 trillion, aprox. 45 million uninsured
NHS budget per citizen (in dollars): aprox. $2000 per citizen, per year. 0 uninsured.
Amount it would take to cover entire US population under NHS model (discounting start-up costs): aprox. $600 billion.
Amount to cover entire US population under French model (rated as world's best): aprox. $900 billion
Average tax paid by an average Briton: 22% + aprox. 9% National Insurance (our version of Social Security)
Average NHS administration overhead: aprox. 6.8% (unionised staff with pensions and benefits)
Posted by Prophet 451 | Sat Mar 31, 2012, 11:22 PM (2 replies)
Maybe it's because I'm British but doesn't this blow anyone else's mind? We are twelve years into the twenty-first century and one of only two major political parties will nominate, for the most powerful position on earth, someone who has spent at least part of their campaign saying that women don't have a right to contraception.
We're down the rabbit hole now, folks. If they're arguing this, all formerly settled questions, everything, is now up for being debated again.
Posted by Prophet 451 | Tue Mar 20, 2012, 09:10 AM (3 replies)