Why Are American Health Care Costs So High?

Great video, detailing quickly a VERY complex problem. It’s interesting that the US is supposed to be Land of the Free Markets, but what ends up most often than not is the people get screwed.

I’d say this also applies to telecoms too (something I know better, if you excuse the diversion, it does relate). The lack of regulation (ooh many Yanks HATE the R word) means people only have a few choices, from big companies like the Big Pharma and medical companies setting the price as a cartel, or inelastic demand as said in the video.

Sometimes you have to actually regulate the market to make it free and fair – and indeed better for business. This is what the likes of OffCom, government, EU, DTI and others did in the UK when a few suppliers like Vodafone ruled the market – the transferability of numbers, SIM cards, fair prices for roaming etc. all had to be ruled on and forced into place – but have lead to all manner of new secondary businesses and opportunities.

Big stagnant corporations are bad for people AND business. So in the Healthcare and Telecoms fields in the US I think need such ‘interference’ to make it a fair playing field…not sure why right-wingers were so horrified at Obama’s new and rather meagre reforms, because it would actually be better in the end for them too – lower taxes or premiums, better service, better healthcare for most means less social problems, everyone wins.

But of course, those right-wing politicians are in the pocket of the status quo – big Pharma, the big Telecoms corporates, big oil and tobacco, etc. They don’t want to regulate as it hurts their kickbacks, it hurts the bottom lines of their rich funders who want to keep screwing the people for all they can get. And then those people criticise other countries like Venezuela or in South America especially as being ‘corrupt’. Very odd.

RIP Tony Benn and Bob Crow

It’s been a bad week for us socialists, first RMT’s Bob Crow dies of a sudden heart attack, and now I hear today that Tony Benn is gone.

Both were men who fought for their beliefs, and in the case of Bob Crow I disagreed with some of the actions but you could never fault him doing what unions should do best – fighting for their members. The grudging or not-so-grudging plaudits from the likes of Boris Johnson are testament to that fact. And Tony Benn to quote the Chumbawamba song ‘Never Gave Up’ (although that was about Rappoport) and never sold out…strange how both were treated like fossils by the right-wing and neo-liberal centrists like New Labour, where actually I think they were terribly current, we need more of their kind now, not less.

In fact Blunkett’s response on BBC radio that Benn never understood ‘the middle ground’ got me shouting at the radio and wanting to throw things…abandoning your values just to get elected isn’t something you should be touting as a great thing, David. Benn might have had his odd misfire but usually was solid, and especially as he got older got better than worse, unlike some. Maybe it was because he came from pivilege and was aware of the pitfalls, rather than rushing to the shiny like New Labour lemmings. Anyway, a far greater man than any of Tony and crew. Will be missed.

A Second A Day

Hard hitting, but as Ukraine (and maybe the world?) seemingly slides into war, it’s worth reminding people what it does to children, and families caught in the conflict – in this case a video by Save The Children about Syria, but I suspect shortly joined by Crimea and other places. And it could be about many other places – CAR and Congo for a start.

And yes as ColdWar2k14 trends on Twitter, it does seem we are sliding back to the 80′s via Victorian times…IC missile testing? Mass unemployement? A Thatcher clone in Number 10? It really is the early 80′s again.

Faux outrage in the age of celebrity

As Jack Gleeson points out in this video from his talk at Oxford Union, it’s slightly ironic to post a video critiquing celebrity by someone who was asked to talk because of same – but as others have pointed out the popular Game of Thrones actor has decided to step away from the limelight and concentrate on his theology and philosophy studies at Dublin’s Trinity College. It’s a good and interesting summary asking why do we value celebrities, what does it mean, and is it good? You might be surprised how indepth it is, but given his studies and experience it’s not surprising.

But I’m posting this for a partly unrelated reason – not as a GoT fan but also I saw the video in the comments about Alec Baldwin’s article about leaving public life. Now unlike the situations Jack talks about, this is closer to home. Even within the LGBTQ community there is a vein of faux-outrage and joy-draining worthiness that drives me up the wall. An example I can publicly talk about (I have others I can’t which are equally as eye-rolling) – recently the mods posted this joke to Have A Gay Day and I LOL’d and many others did, including many lesbians. This was a conversation inside the community – but of course a few ‘took offence’. Good thing I didn’t rock out my old mother made me homosexual wool joke then :-/

Although this isn’t excusing Alec Baldwin’s anger issues, it is life under a magnifying glass with an extremely hot sun, and you might have noticed all the meltdowns that TMZ and Perez so love usually involve their children…I do think it’s perfectly acceptable for parents not to want their children to be harmed, photographed or threatened. Unfortunately this is what paparazzi do, and there is a whole backup industry of indeed ‘toxic little queens’ (I can call them that, Alec less so :-P) like Perez Hilton, Anderson Cooper and our favourite self-hating right-wing flip-flop bear Andrew Sullivan ready to take offence. They want to the the Queens of the New Frontier, the new gatekeepers taking power invested in them by a guilty liberal straight majority and then reign like Miss Manners telling people what to be offended at. It’s the Tut Chorus.

This isn’t some anti-PC screed, I do think there is a patriarchal/kyarchical majority who don’t have to think about what they say, and should be reminded when they do there is consequences. But there are ways to win that battle, and like with Ms Africa AIDS comment I think Black Twitter mobbing them and getting them fired isn’t really productive on the winning hearts and minds scale. There is a time and place for that, but it seems so many are free to judge and throw stones – anonymously of course. They enjoy it, but quite often it’s not punching up but down. And as others have remarked, Black Twitter has it’s own back-patting problems over sexuality anyway. The tokenistic response reminds me of people around that gay marine photo a few years back, ‘Oh I’m so wonderful and progressive, I don’t have a problem with this, aren’t I magnanimously grand?’. *puke*

And then a schadenfreunde comes in, and people are like ‘Good they got fired!’ and then move on, lives changed, another 15 minute news cycle, apologies ignored, no-one cares. It’s why I suspect a lot of this outrage is manufactured. It doesn’t seem to come from a place of true anger, more the type of people that liked to tell me as white bisexual women they are experts on Miley Cyrus and her appropriation of black culture. SAY WHAT? I think you need to check your entitlement at the door, honey. Or twenty year old bisexual activists telling me I’m biphobic because I dared suggest some younger girls claim it to turn on their men. I know it, the lesbians sure know it (‘will only kiss in front of their boyfriend/other men’) but yeah, apparently it’s bisexual erasure to point out that queer identities are being co-opted as exotic by straight or curious people. Right. This will be more of an issue, I can tell you as gay becomes more mainstream, it will stop being unpalatable and people will ‘play’ in our spaces more, as allies or claiming to be part of the queer spectrum (demisexuals claiming oppression? LOLWUT).

More importantly for the politically active, they will also drag their entitlement and privilege issues into the LGBTQ, and then like Panty Bliss pointed out in her call, will use our own strategy against us and claim we are being ‘phobic or discriminatory. Classic politics, but the fluffy and cuddly types don’t see the danger…but I see Xtians already doing a version of this ‘victim cloning’ all over the internet to defend their bigotry. Wake up! This is no time to be squabbling over petty stuff, like labels, or the tweets of people who had a few hundred followers at best, which you then catapult to world-wide status with your fauxrage, making your own offence news cycle. FAIL.

And this sadly isn’t restricted to white male privileged types sadly, you’d think other less privileged groups would have it better on that whole intersectional/patriachy shizzle, but no. The loudest voices of faux-outrage happen from within a community, and sound so shrill and joyless, that I prefer Alec Baldwin’s honesty and bridge-burning that any of the right-on but missing-the-point platitudes dropping out of their mouths and, as Bill Hicks said, into my drink like turds.

Even though I did go a little OHNOUDIDNT *facepalm* when he used ‘tranny’, that said, he’s probably copying those trans* that use it. Which is a problem – I wouldn’t say to anyone don’t use a term you like or self-identify with – like I do with queer – but if someone calls me queer then I’m like ‘yeah, what of it?’ – that was the point of reclaiming faggot, queer, dyke, tranny etc – to make those lose their power. You’re putting the power right back in with your offence, giving it back to those who have too much already! Gently remind people – humorously preferably – that there are better terms…but stomping off and toy throwing helps no-one, just makes everyone think you’re joyless and hard work, like the few not getting the joke at HAGD. Complete own goal. Everyone becomes a misanthrope on both sides and ends up hating life. Public life at least.

That’s not a win, it’s a double negative, and as I paraphrased Emma Goldman recently ‘If I can’t laugh I don’t want to be part of your revolution’ (and +1 on the dancing too). What kind of future are we fighting for anyway where we make our allies or friends or even community members feel like shit? Not one I want to be a part of.

We won’t win with that…save the anger for Uganda’s terrifying new bill, Russian homophobia and Pussy Whipping, the real problems the community is facing. The identity label wars belong in the 90′s, it’s partly why I get on better with most of the millennial LGBTQ, they don’t remember that and aren’t usually exhausting in their pointless armchair in-fighting over who won gold at the Oppression Olympics. They actually want to, like, change things? Rather than score points. Which gives me hope.

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