EMAIL PAGE SIX
COLUMN SEVENTY-TWO, JUNE 1, 2002
(Copyright © 2002 The Blacklisted Journalist)
Portside (the left side in nautical parlance) is a
news, discussion and debate service of the Committees
of Correspondence for Democracy and Socialism. It
says it aims to provide varied material of interest to people
on the Left.
* * *
Heretofore, we were under the impression that Portside is the Internet's voice of the Left. But it turns out to be the Internet's voice of the fundamentalist Far-Left, which, like all fundamentalist organizations, adheres to an orthodoxy and consequently refuses to post dissident or differing opinions from within the Left---such as HATE YOUR GOVERNMENT BUT LOVE YOUR COUNTRY, available to be read in SECTION ONE of COLUMN SEVENTY. Fundamentalists, like fascists, will not tolerate any disagreements or variations from the fundamentalist orthodoxy.
TWO BY MOLLY IVANS
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BUSH LOVES BIG BUSINESS MORE THAN HE LOVES AMERICA
Mollie Ivins on the EPA
Date: Thu, 28 Mar 2002 22:59:47 -0000
From: "cambria137" firstname.lastname@example.org
dangerous in the air
- Boy, we are marching backward on the environment at a truly impressive pace.
Between the Senate and the Bush administration, we are advancing to the rear,
double-time. The Clean Air Act, the Clean Water Act, fuel efficiency standards,
toxic waste - this is literally sickening stuff.
month, the Senate voted 62-38 to postpone, yet again, increasing the fuel
efficiency standards for cars and trucks. According to the Sierra Club, the
average fuel economy of cars sold in 2000 was 24 miles per gallon, the lowest
since 1979. The failed fuel efficiency proposal could have saved the country up
to 1 million barrels of oil a day by 2016 - as much as the United States
currently imports from Iraq and Kuwait.
will doubtlessly be less than amazed to learn that the auto industry spent
heavily to defeat any improvement in fuel efficiency. According to Public
Campaign - a campaign finance reform group - on average, the 62 senators who
voted with the industry received $18,000 from auto companies. The 38 senators
who wanted stronger standards got a measly $5,900 each. Since 1989, the auto
companies have given $9.9 million to federal candidates and parties. I know,
it's not new, but it does matter.
EPA under Christine Todd Whitman is just not enforcing the law. She has put into
effect new regulations that put off air controls for at least two more years.
According to EPA's own figures, 80,000 major polluters - each with the capacity
to put 10 tons of toxic gas and particles into the air each year - are doing
little or nothing to reduce their emissions. This is not about tree-huggers and
spotted owls; air pollution kills people.
choice to head EPA's clean air program is Jeffrey Holmstead, formerly a lawyer
for the Chemical Manufacturers Association, among others. According to
EarthJustice, Holmstead was also an adjunct scholar at Citizens for the
Dombeck, former chief of the U.S. Forest Service, points out that forests are
not only critical to the atmosphere but are also the key source of clean water.
The undersecretary of agriculture for natural resources and environment, with
responsibility for 156 national forests, is Mark Rey, who worked for 20 years
for big timber trade associations. He vociferously opposes the National Forest
Roadless Conservation policy, which would protect one-third of our forests from
logging, mining and other destructive activities.
here's a lovely item: Rey has defended clear-cutting as "compatible with
rain forest ecology." He probably thinks a roadless area is one in need of
come and administrations go, and little of what they do is permanent. Policies
can be reversed, wars come to an end and new undersecretaries bloom in
Washington. But if you screw up the air, the land and the water, you can't undo
it. Bush is now planning some major restructuring in the executive branch. Maybe
he should consider putting the EPA under Tom Ridge at Homeland Security. That
would make the country safer than leaving the environment to the Environmental
Ivins writes for Creators Syndicate. 5777 W. Century Blvd., Suite 700, Los
Angeles, CA 90045
" 2001 dfw and wire service sources. All Rights Reserved. ##
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OUR HEALTH CARE SYSTEM STINKS!
Health Care System Must Be Fixed
Date: Sat, 30 Mar 2002 17:23:05 -0500
nation must fix its seriously ailing health care sysytem
IVINS: SYNDICATED COLUMNIST
YOU noticed that the health-care system is not working? In fact, it's falling
apart. And the most curious thing about that is how few of the people for whom
the system still works -- and they're the ones who make the decisions -- are
aware of it.
like the old story about frogs and hot water. If you drop a frog into boiling
water, it will leap to get out, but if you drop a frog in cool water and then
gradually heat it up, the beast doesn't notice. Or so they say.
factor is the now-constant cognitive dissonance we have in this country as a
result of the ever-widening gap between most people and the people who run
you have health insurance, the system is a pain in the behind but it works. If
you don't have health insurance, you are flat out of luck. And in case you
hadn't noticed, more and more employers are deciding not to offer health
insurance, or using "temporary" workers or out-sourcing various tasks
so they won't have to cover the workers.
you don't have health insurance, the system is an insane nightmare.
new book by Dr. Rudolph Mueller, "As Sick As It Gets: The Shocking Reality
of America's' Healthcare" lays out the problems as well as any I've read.
But the book is just one more grain of sand in the beaches of evidence we
already have that the system is breaking up.
South by Southwest, the Austin music festival, a panel on health care for
musicians -- who are largely uninsured -- produced this nugget: Did you know
there are more than 1,000 concerts given every week by musicians for other
musicians to raise enough money for an operation or medical treatment of some
a beautiful tradition, but it doesn't work. All the generosity of all the
musicians in the country -- and so many of them are endlessly generous with
their time and talent -- doesn't begin to cover the cost of medical treatment
for even a few. As they say in bridge circles, let's review the play. Ten years
ago, we knew the system was a mess and Bill Clinton got elected in large part by
promising to do something about it. Hillary Clinton got the assignment and
conventional wisdom in the political world is that she blew it.
did make political mistakes in her approach, but the far more important reason
the attempt at reform failed is that the insurance industry spent $10 million to
defeat the bill. Remember Harry and Louise?
then, the politicians have been afraid to try reform. The smartest of them,
including Bill Clinton and Sen. Ted Kennedy, have been trying to move the ball
incrementally -- tinkering with Medicare and Medicaid, starting a program to
insure poor children. But the system is falling apart faster than they can move
to fix it. A Patients' Bill of Rights is not the answer. It won't provide health
insurance for a single additional individual.
most maddening thing about the sheer stupidity of America's health care system
is that the far better alternative is perfectly clear. Every other
industrialized nation manages to do this better than we do.
answer is universal health insurance, a single-payer system. Every time we start
to get serious about reform, the right wing starts screaming, "Socialized
medicine, socialized medicine." And then we're all supposed to run,
screaming with horror. But if you want to see horror in action, try the
emergency room of any large public hospital in this country. And for a truly
hilarious experience, try to get emergency medical help on Christmas Eve. Look,
this should not be a for-profit system. We need to phase out all for-profit or
investor-owned provider and insurance organizations.
suggests a one-time fair buyout of all such organizations. The good news is that
doctors are no longer impeding serious Reform -- in fact, doctors are having
such a hard time under the current system, they've been radicalized on the
subject and can now be counted on to help with reform.
reflexively start moaning about the cost of a "big, new government
program." Actually, what's costly is the system we have now. Americans
already spend 58 percent more than the weighted average of similar nations for
is a system wasteful beyond belief and manipulated by a lobby focused on
providing the highest profits for the their self-interest and investors, and
mammoth cash flows to companies that should not exist or not be involved in
health care. The system is also paying for an extremely large number of sick
people who would not be sick under any decent universal health care
system," writes Mueller.
around deploring the current system will not fix it -- there are citizen action
groups all over the country working on this problem. It is easy to find them and
get involved. You don't have to be on the Internet; the phone book works fine.
can't wait for the political system to get round to doing something about this:
We need to help ourselves now.
Molly Ivins is a syndicated columnist based in Austin, Texas. ##
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