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Chelsea Green Blog

Modern Tyranny: Healthcare Reform Isn’t Really About the Majority

Healthcare, healthcare, healthcare. The one thing everyone needs, and the one thing the government withholds adamantly. How is it possible we can call ourselves a true democracy when our government can’t even figure out a way to heal the wounds of its sick? It’s sick. David Sirota speaks plainly about the issue, and lays it down hard in the San Francisco Chronicle (SF Gate) this week. He calls it tyranny:
“For those still clinging to quaint notions of the American ideal, these have been a faith-shaking 10 years. Just as evolutionary science once got in the way of Creationists’ catechism, so has politics now undermined patriots’ naive belief that the United States is a functioning democracy. The 21st century opened with a handful of Supreme Court puppets appointing George W. Bush president after he lost the popular vote — and we all know the costs in blood and treasure that insult wrought. Now, the decade closes with another cabal of stooges assaulting the “one person, one vote” principle — and potentially bringing about another disaster. Here we have a major congressional push to fix a health care system that leaves one-sixth of the country without coverage. Here we have 535 House and Senate delegates elected to give all 300 million of us a voice in the solution. And here we have just 13 of those delegates holding the initiative hostage. In the Senate, both parties have outsourced health care legislation to six Finance Committee lawmakers: Max Baucus, D-Mt.; Kent Conrad, D-N.D.; Jeff Bingaman, D-N.M.; Mike Enzi, R-Wy.; Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, and Olympia Snowe, R-Maine. The group recently announced it is rejecting essential provisions like a public insurance option that surveys show the public supports. Meanwhile, seven mostly southern House Democrats have been threatening to use their Commerce Committee votes to gut any health care bill, regardless of what the American majority wants. This, however, isn’t about the majority. These lawmakers, hailing mostly from small states and rural areas, together represent only 13 million people, meaning those speaking for just 4 percent of America are maneuvering to impose their health care will on the other 96 percent of us. Census figures show that the poverty rates are far higher and per-capita incomes far lower in the 13 legislators’ specific districts than in the nation as a whole. Put another way, these politicians represent exactly the kinds of districts whose constituents would most benefit from universal health care. So why are they leading the fight to stop — rather than pass — reform? Because when tyranny mixes with legalized bribery, constituents’ economic concerns stop mattering.” […]
Read the entire article here.


Why Modern Wheat Is Making Us Sick

Why is modern wheat making us sick?  That’s the question posed by author Eli Rogosa in her new book Restoring Heritage Grains.Wheat is the most widely grown crop on our planet, yet industrial breeders have transformed this ancient staff of life into a commodity of yield and profit—witness the increase in gluten intolerance and ‘wheat […] Read More

A Dictionary to Survive the Future

When British economist David Fleming died unexpectedly in 2010, he left behind his great unpublished work, a masterpiece more than thirty years in the making—an intellectually evocative and inspiring dictionary, Lean Logic: A Dictionary for the Future and How to Survive It. In it, Fleming examined the consequences of an economy that destroys the very foundations—ecological, […] Read More

Michael Ableman’s 15-Point Urban Food Manifesto

What if farms and food production were integrated into every aspect of urban living—from special assessments to create new farms and food businesses to teaching people how to grow fruits and vegetables so farmers can focus on staple crops.That’s the crux of Michael Ableman’s Urban Food Manifesto, which has been ten years in the making […] Read More

Q&A with Michael Ableman: How Urban Farming Can Improve Society

Street Farm is the inspirational account of residents in the notorious Low Track in Vancouver, British Columbia who joined together to create an urban farm as a means of addressing the chronic problems in their neighborhood.Street Farm is a story of recovery, of land and food, of people, and of the power of farming and nourishing […] Read More

Overshoot, Collapse, and Creating a Better Future

In 2016, Earth Overshoot Day happened on August 8—the day when we’ve exhausted the planet’s resources for the year, and are essentially borrowing from future years to maintain our existence today.Perhaps you celebrated this day with a counter-solution: a vegetarian meal, telecommuted, or turned off the air conditioning. There’s a lot more you could be […] Read More
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