Thursday, October 29, 2009

Just When Will We Leave Iraq?

Who really knows at this point? A recent article suggests that we may stay longer than we planned. Several military commanders want to maintain the current troop levels (117,000--down from 140,000 a year ago) for up to 2 months after the Iraqi elections, scheduled for January 16. But due to political tensions over voter registrations in the Kirkuk province, the elections may be delayed.

Despite recent suicide bombings, however, our troops have not been called back to the cities to quell violence, and the Iraqi government has not even hinted any misgivings about America's withdrawal plan. And violence levels are still lower than they were in 2005 and much lower than in the first half of 2007. It looks like they can stand on their own two feet now, no thanks to Bush's blunders. Even if they couldn't after all these years, that would be their problem, not ours.

Regardless of what happens in Iraq, we still need to get the hell out of there ASAP. On the whole, the American occupation has done more harm than good for the Iraqi people since we invaded in 2003. However, we've miraculously managed to rectify at least some of the tragic mistakes we made over there. Let's not make any further mistakes by staying any longer than planned.

All this while we are debating how many troops to send to Afghanistan. Hey, how about we wind that war down and get out of there as well.

Being the world's police has gotten us nothing but endless world strife and a $12 trillion national debt. Enough already!

We at the TSAP propose that our government ends these twin boondoggles completely, in no more than a year's time. The sooner, the better. Then maybe we could acutally rebuild America for the 21st century rather than let it wither on the vine.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Why Healthcare Reform Is Dead in the Water

Healthcare reform is still being debated in Congress as we speak. But it is looking grimmer and grimmer by the day.

In 2008, Obama promised to reform healthcare by creating a public option similar to the one Congress currently uses, cutting costs, covering everone who wishes to be covered, and NOT making it mandatory. That in itself was a compromise from what he had said he wanted in 2003, which was a universal, single-payer system like Canada has had for decades. And such compromising from the start was where he went wrong. Obama had to compromise further to placate Congress, and so he did. And compromise with the insurance companies, who, let's face it, really care only about their bottom lines. Who have Congress in their very deep pockets.

And let's not forget about the teabaggers, with their scares about their mythical "death panels" and other made-up fears. These fools really need to get a life!

What will get passed by Congress, if anything, is a severely compromised bill that would likely do more harm than good. Coverage would be mandatory (backed by stiff fines), premiums will go up for nearly everyone, and no public option. That is like forcibly throwing millions of people into a shark-infested pool and expecting no one to be eaten. Since when did the right to be covered by health insurance become a duty to be ripped off?

On top of this, costs will likely continue to skyrocket rather than go down--just look at what Massachusetts has now. Ditto for car insurance in all 50 states.

The TSAP believes that a single-payer system like Canada's is the way to go, preferably one funded by progressive taxation. With price-controlled prescription drugs, and no more HMO's. Anything less would be uncivilized, as evidenced by the fact that nearly all industrialized countries currently have it, with Taiwan being the latest to adopt it. It is also the best way to rein in out-of-control costs. Failing that, we supported Obama's 2008 plan as a steppingstone to real healthcare justice in the future.

But we strongly encourage Congress to vote NO on any compromised plan that lacks a public option and/or penalizes those who can't afford to be ripped off by (or don't wish to give their hard-earned dollars to) greedy private insurers and HMOs.