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OpEdNews Op Eds    H3'ed 8/19/09

Peace Now? Not without national health care

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Grim news in Obama's America:

Single payer dead; public option dead, according to BusinessWeek reporters Chad Terhune and Keith Epstein, interviewed on Democracy Now, August 17, 2009. More people dead, every day, because they can't afford a doc, a drug, or an operation, according to Michael Moore, in his movie and on his blog, Sicko. Health industry contributions to politicians up up up. Up ours. According to the Center for Responsive Politics, a.k.a., Open's report: Health Companies and Drug Manufacturers Lead the Pack During Year's Second Quarter.

Indeed, health industry contributions to the Democratic Party have, for the year 2008-2009, exceeded those to Republicans, though contributions to Republicans exceeded those to Democrats in 2006-2007. Again, according to

To the victors, go the spoils.

Contributions from Health Care to Congress:

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And where's the peace movement? Confused and in disarray, thanks to the Obama campaign's false promise of peace, and fearful of losing their homes, job, and health care. Many have joined the battle for universal health care, if still engaged at all.

Code Pink is fighting for health care not warfare. I've tried several times to bring the covert U.S. war in D.R. Congo, the most lethal conflict, with the highest death toll, in the world, to the attention of Code Pink, but Code Pink co-founder Jodie Evans told me that they're aware of the Congo War, that Eve Ensler is their Congo adviser, and, that they're a small organization and can't spread their energies too thin.

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Though Code Pink is making health care not warfare an issue, Lisa Blank, a friend and loyal member of Code Pink-Phoenix told me she believes that:

There is no immediate intention to solve the health care crisis. It is a big shiny thing in the room to distract our attention from the ongoing occupations, and, it allows Obama the ability to add 45,000 troops to Afghanistan while America looks the other way. Since Obama took office, 103 US Troops have died in Iraq and 148 in Afghanistan. The United Health Care exec makes in one hour what the wars cost us per minute.

Another friend of mine, an outspoken and much quoted advocate of clean, renewable energy, currently employed by a sparely funded coalition, recently said to me:

Ann, I need a hip replacement. I'm in pain every day. So, if one of these dirty power corporations offered to pay me, with health insurance that would cover hip surgery, and, if all I had to do was write computer code, as I often have to make a living, I'd have to do it. Because I can't keep doing this work much longer in this kind of pain.

I've long agreed that health care is a peace issue, and a social justice and environmental issue, because so few speak out or take chances when living in a constant state of anxiety about health care for themselves and/or their families. So I understood why Ralph Nader put "Adopt single payer national health insurance" at the very top of his crystal clear, twelve "Issues that Matter" platform in his 2008 presidential run, ahead of:

Cut the huge, bloated, wasteful military budget

No to nuclear power, solar energy first

Aggressive crackdown on corporate crime
and corporate welfare

Open up the Presidential debates

Adopt a carbon pollution tax

Reverse U.S. policy in the Middle East

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Impeach Bush/Cheney

Repeal the Taft-Hartley anti-union law

Adopt a Wall Street securities speculation tax

Put an end to ballot access obstructionism

Work to end corporate personhood

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Ann Garrison is an independent journalist based in the San Francisco Bay Area. In 2014, she received the Victoire Ingabire Umuhoza Democracy and Peace Prize for her reporting on conflict in the African Great Lakes region. She can be reached at (more...)

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