Posts Tagged ‘constitution’
When you hear something on the Internet it seems easy to say it is a conspiracy theory. After all, what are the person’s credentials, what are his sources, where is the evidence and what assumptions are being made? This thought process began when I tweeted about the possibility that H1N1 being a man made virus released and marketed as a pandemic. I had used sources that pushed an anti-vaccine agenda, not stating things as a possibility, but as a fact. This was too much for a medically trained researcher who tweeted me back that everything was not a conspiracy. So I found an interview of a medical doctor quoting the ingredients, precautions and contraindications of the insert of the H1N1 vaccine and doubting it’s safety and efficacy. The trained researcher then asked where are the peer-reviewed studies by virologists in a scholarly journals? With a bit more research, I found one that asked the same question. So he flat out said that vaccines were safe and cited credentials. Whereupon I found another study, yet to be replicated, that suggested that season flu vaccine might double the chance of getting H1N1. Silence. Later he assured me I would not find more.
Granted, I did start out with a poor source. Granted, I did not start with a credible studies. This was not careful science, but I would suggest that the summary dismissal of information from any source is also not science. The bearer of the information is not the information. The arguments I saw being posed, even if the poser did not see them as just arguments, looked to me as valid questions because I come from a true place of skeptical science. I don’t care about credentials, nor do true scholarly journals, the information speaks for itself, no matter how poorly stated. Well designed studies speak for themselves. So does true investigative journalism. No conclusions need to be stated. The evidence should be before your eyes.
So often when something is shown on the Internet it may appear to be a Just So story. However, that does not mean that is. True science must question everything, including its own assumptions. The first assumption I questioned in the H1N1 story is how did they know that it was going to be a pandemic? It was stated that the type of virus suggested it would be. How did they know that the type of virus was going to act in this way? It had components of other pandemic viruses. How did these components separated vastly in time and space get into one organism? Good question. Medical science had no good answers, but under the pandemic assumption they had to fast track the vaccine to market and in many places mandated its administration (to health care workers). Does this not sound like a scarier prospect than the H1N1 virus itself?
Sources? Credentials? Let us consider the medical researcher first. The training in medicine suggests a high concern for life. The training in science suggests a high concern for truth. Be that as it may, when faced with what you are told is an impending world-wide crisis, the practice of medicine becomes more of an art, and the practice that it is, and the science has no time to carefully replicate or deeply question its findings. This would not be the first time that errors have happened in such situations. So, the question now comes to sources. Well, the validity of my credible sources we will hear more about soon enough, I will let you consider a more conspiratorial one here. The the source of the rushed vaccine trails was Sanofi-Pasteur and CLS Biotherapies which may not at all be reason for concern. The FDA has approved the trials, again no apparent reason for concern. But then, I think to myself about the HPV Gardisil hype. Are we going to again scare the people into immunizing millions and mandating some no less, perhaps with thousands of negative reactions, for an illness that lethally afflicts only hundreds of people. This would be a scandal on its face in the public health world. None of this appears to have happened with this vaccine. So was it all just another conspiracy theory? Maybe, but still aren’t we looking more at dollar signs here than lives? Isn’t this the real problem with all aspects of healthcare in the USA? Are my assumptions here that off base and paranoid? Then someone tweeted me about a Murdoch connection to this and another drug company in the UK. Is your skin crawling yet?
I began looking at the drug approval process used by the FDA. In general, regulators don’t negotiate budgets with the companies they oversee. However, the FDA, is paid user’s fee in the millions of dollars to fast track drug approvals. This funds half of the critical drug approval process. I now begin to wonder how much the FDA might have been paid for the fast track of the vaccine that resulted in the almost 200 million dollars in contracts to provide vaccine to the United States population and how this process must ripple around the world to be effective.
So we have a suspect illness, a suspect regulator, and suspect research with millions of dollars invested by each organization in multiple products. None of this should be questioned by me, even if some credible sources with real vested interests in science and health question it? Am I to accept the paranoid label from a trained medical researcher that have a vested interest in their education, training, and marketability even if they don’t directly work in the field? I don’t think this is clear thinking to do so, but then I am just another fuzzy headed thinker. So you can dismiss me and feel no peril.
The issues of relying on the conspiracy sources are real nonetheless. I must fairly note that much of the originally tweeted information has been discredited apparently and is it still oft repeated. This may have been the point of my original detractor, after all, don’t I keep on pointing out that a source with a history of misinformation is not to be relied upon? Yet, even when I say it is not to be trusted, I mean it is not to be trusted on its face. There may be a real question in all the noise. Where is the evidence, I often ask, was the original probe given to me by the detractor. I looked for the evidence based on my assumptions, ignoring the glaring inaccuracies and leaps in the original links. So much for communication in 140 characters. So much for taking or dismissing information on face value.
An honest reading of the preamble of our constitution says all that needs to be said about our right to health care in this country.
We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.
We the People of the United States? This is an expression that all the people as one voice declare what is to follow. In Order to form a more perfect Union? This expresses the intention to come together as a single community. Establish Justice? To equitably do what is right for all. Insure domestic Tranquility? To keep the peace amongst ourselves. Provide for the common defence? To defend ourselves against common enemies. To promote the general Welfare? To see to the needs of the citizenry that which they cannot do themselves. To secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity? To ensure that our freedoms are not taken away from us or our descendants. Do ordain and establish this constitution of the United States of America? What is ordained and established in these words is the intent of all that follows.
The intent is clear. The intent is that all the people unite as a community in a just, peaceful manner under a government that would protect them, their freedoms and promote their welfare. This is why we still have a country. On the one hand you could say that the federal government is only there to promote these ideas and it is up to the states to carry them out, but then if it can’t or won’t do so, then what is a federal government to do? On the other hand the federal government is to establish justice? Is it just to let the helpless die? It is to insure domestic tranquility? Is it insured if we allow inequities to fester to the point of domestic violence? It is to provide for the common defense? Not all our enemies carry a gun from without. Some live in gated communities and have a sense that they are more entitled than others. It is to promote the general welfare? This is a clear statement of providing those things that states and individuals cannot. Secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity? Is there anything that endangers your liberty and your posterity more than illness or threat of illness? Among the many things that it has been decided appropriate that the federal government needed to intervene to provide, the provision of health insurance (read care) will go down in history as the one that made the most sense. The one that had the most documented need. The one that was covered in every phrase of the preamble of our constitution.
It is only a twisted libertarianism that would suggest that we should let people die that cannot provide for themselves. It is only a self-absorbed selfishness that cannot see beyond their own strength to what others might take as weakness. It is only a perverse sense of entitlement that suggests the fruits of your labor should not be shared with the community even though it was the community that allowed you to reap those fruits. No man is an island, Entire of itself. Each is a piece of the continent. No one does it alone.
We don’t succeed by ourselves, but also we don’t fail by ourselves either. If the public option fails, then we all fail as a country. The fiscal conservative Representatives have failed this country. They have failed on moral and economic grounds. They are oath breakers, liars and have sold out their constituency. A little math will suffice to show you the degree of the lie. Between fourteen to twenty percent of this country works in government depending on how you count. Most have taxpayer provided insurance. To expand the public option would lower that cost to the taxpayer of this insurance adding to the bottom line every cash strapped state. If all government employees were added to public option ( or asked to pay extra cost for private insurance) that could save $600,000, 000. This could end stalled union contracts across the country by taking health insurance off the table. What might this do for other sectors of the economy? What might this do put people back to work? What could this do to end the recession? When are we going to see the conservatives for what they are, fascists?
Oh wait, maybe it is unconstitutional because the government can’t force you to pay for insurance. Their is nothing in the constitution that allows that to happen and the Supreme Court would never let it stand. OK, suspend all social security deductions and programs. Or maybe, pass the law and take it to court, if you are so sure.
The way I see it, this health care debate will become a moot point in the coming years. I see two-thirds of the States passing a form of universal health care of necessity. When that happens, it will be a short step to making it a federal constitutional amendment beyond the reach of the Supreme Court, even though the Court would never have overturned a universal health insurance law anyway. Sometimes you just have to say stick a sock in it.
The idea that a state has the option to opt out of anything for which there is a legitimate interest to enact federal legislation is an oxymoron. The federal government should for the most part only be enacting legislation in which it has an overriding federal interest to enact. The idea that the federal government has an interest in the public health and welfare of the citizenry of this country is well established. Yet, much of the existing legislation enforcement is predicated on federal funding, not on a federal interest per se. So any state can opt out of most federal programs by refusing federal money and so this is what the health care reform opt out option will entail. The problem with this is that people move and sick people with no insurance move quickly. Any opt out provision should include a state charge for all applicants for insurance for those moving from a state without public option to one with a public option. This is still the public option on the cheap for those states that opt out removing the “dogs” from the risk pool of any local insurance plans. It will cost the rest of the country more money for the opted out states’ decision. When individuals opt out of a group plan they are often assessed a percent of the contribution they would have paid had they opted in. If this is sound private insurance philosophy, then maybe it should be incorporated into the public insurance philosophy. Not just for this bill, but also for Medicaid in all it’s incarnations which has weak unenforced versions of this idea in place now.
This opt out option is only an issue because the single payer option was all but rejected sight unseen so early. The opt out option could ensure that many people will go without and others pay more just because they live in an opt out state if the federal law allows the state to decide how to opt out. States should not be allowed to opt out without a state constitutional amendment or referendum requiring the people of the state to vote on it. It would also be more ethical if they provided a local option of their own. I don’t agree with Paul Krugman that the opt out option will be mostly benign for most of us and maybe even be needed by some small states, and that these states will be under pressure to opt in if it works. There are states that haven’t bought into federal programs for years and there are no signs of change any time soon. How is it that the federal welfare reform law had no opt out? It is not moral to allow large segments of the population to die just because we can. I believe in everyone’s right to suicide when such a choice is individual and informed. This is not the choice of most of those that happen to live in these potential opt out states. They have been unable to enjoy many other federal programs available to date due to the failure of their state to opt in. Why would it happen now, on this issue? If you don’t think this is deeply rooted in the history of this country from the beginning, you are misinformed.
The intellectual history of the thugarchy driving the opt out option may actually flow from the middle ages where chivalry was the protection of the aristocracy. That moneyed aristocracy has always existed in this country and their values have been grafted onto our political system via a corporatism, the warnings of which go back to Andrew Jackson and even further. Today the corporate elite can make money from anything without the burden of actually having to produce a product and that money is being bundled into ever larger spheres of control. The danger in this is a centralizing power (i.e., money) that is clearly what Andrew Jackson had in mind when he warned of allowing the monopolistic control of capital to manipulate the real sources of wealth in this country. He said we would be giving up our freedom to the corporation. So the fair and equitable distribution of anything that such a monopoly as the health insurance industry has taken away would be a restoration of freedom and a move away from the existing fascism.