Today from a Mennonite group in Pennsylvania, Lancaster Against Pipelines: This morning we continued to defend our constitutional right to clean air and clean water by employing peaceful, creative, Civil Disobedience. More than 40 of us woke before dawn and used our vehicles to block the entrance of an active Williams construction site in Manor Township. We called it a Block Party!
I am continually amazed by the courage of the fossil fuel pipeline protestors, aka Water Protectors. If you missed the news last week, this is from Lakota People’s Law Project: “Great news! 42,000 people have signed the petition to #DropDAPLCharges. Many attorneys have worked long hours and 400 of 800-plus charges have been dropped. North Dakota’s judges see that the accusations against water protectors are baseless. Your stand with Standing Rock is making a big difference.”
HARVEST OF THE SACRED PONCA CORN: Saturday, Nov. 4
Join us on Saturday, Nov. 4 in Neligh at the farm of Art and Helen Tanderup for the fourth annual harvest of Sacred Ponca Corn “Seeds of Resistance” that the Cowboy & Indian Alliance planted on land that lies in the path of the proposed Keystone XL pipeline, that also crosses the historic Ponca Trail of Tears.
What is this concept? Apparently there are a few countries experimenting with a guaranteed income for all residents. When I first heard about this I thought, wow what cool idea, but it will never happen here…. Then I read this article, Common Dreams on funding Universal Basic Income. The last 1/3 of the article is heavy on economics, but is a good explanation. Where this has been tried it costs less than one would suspect because individuals having money means we could spend money and this money turn over helps the economy. Trials for guaranteed basic income are in the works for Switzerland, Finland, Oakland, Calif, cities in the Netherlands and Scotland.
This summer I read Naomi Klein’s No Is Not Enough: Resisting Trump’s Shock Politics and Winning the World We Need. Since Nov and the US presidential election, many folks are incredibly anxious, depressed, and upset. Klein brings together the issues that affect our world and our lives: global warming, poverty, racism, economic justice, immigrant rights, etc. Her book ends with the Leap Manifesto – “building a world based on caring for the earth and one another.” (read the leap manifesto here)
Last Spring (2017) I read Elizabeth Warren’s latest book, This Fight is Our Fight: The Battle to Save America’s Middle Class. With the recent news about Equifax’s data breach of half the US population, Senator Warren’s analysis of how big banks and the ultra wealthy have spent the past 4 decades undermining the ability of the middle class to keep our heads above water in this economy is an excellent history lesson as well a prescient look forward. Bold Progressives is an organization that supports Elizabeth Warren and many, many other political candidates like her in small and large races in the US. Here is their platform:
- Expanding Social Security
- Debt-free college
- Allowing everyone to buy health care coverage through Medicare
- Wall Street reform and accountability
- Stopping surveillance and protecting privacy
- Stopping bad trade deals like TPP
- Free and open Internet
- Paid family leave
I am still looking for a US organization that endorses all the planks of the Leap Mainfesto, especially indigenous rights, Black Lives Matter, energy sustainability, climate justice. But this list is encouraging, so far.
I am in the process of making this webpage into a blog. (With the generous help of my IT guy, Courtney. He’s our lovely 72 year old neighbor who has never stopped learning!) These are topics I feel strongly about. Each topic on this page has a powerful adverse effect on our health. These issues are things we can change if we work together, which is why I am moved to discuss them.
With all the news about revisions of our health care system, I am often very irritated on 2 fronts. First as a small business owner and a self employed person my premiums for health insurance have risen to 25% of my income as of Oct 2016. This doesn’t include my $7000 annual deductible. Since I am basically healthy, I have never reached my deductible and truly feel my insurance premiums are equivalent to sending money down a rathole. This is not just my personal self-interest. Health insurance rates make being in business quite difficult. Small businesses in Oregon communities are all being hit with exorbitantly high health insurance costs. I cannot keep my practice open if I can’t cover business costs. I have talked with other small business owners and we are all feeling the economics of rising health insurance. Compassionate people are trapped between doing the right thing by our employees and struggling to be able to earn the money to pay for health insurance.
My second serious gripe regards the US health insurance system as a whole. We are paying top dollar for relatively little health care. All other industrialized developed nations pay less per person and have better health outcomes than the US. Some countries with much better health outcomes pay a fraction per capita annually of what we pay. 35% of our health care dollars go to administrative paperwork and not for health care at all.
See this recent New York Times analysis of Single Payer Health care. The World Health Organization (WHO) defines universal health coverage as “a system where everyone has access to quality health services and is protected against financial risk incurred while accessing care.” See this article from the Guardian on how the US compares with other countries now.
My next topics will be climate change and neoliberalism 😉