30 June 2007

it was bound to happen sooner or later...

but i didn't expect it from a family member. but maybe i should have and shouldn't be surprised.

apparently, because i refuse to resort to corporal punishment tactics for bebe, someone who has been on this planet a mere total of 820 some odd days, he is going to grow up with a "slit." (?!)


i'm getting ahead of myself, let me back up.

the scene: a restaurant gathering to celebrate my daddy's birthday, complete with stairs going down to the front door.
characters: 12 including us, and random extended family members.

being a two year old, bebe likes to explore. it is also ridiculous to think that he'll sit at a table quietly for an hour and a half. i know, i know - we should have just stayed home - keep the evil child locked away until he's 6.

bebe was on his third break away to go down the stairs. will and i both jumped up and went after him. will got to him first, i returned to the table to overhear the ending of a heated exchange between my mom and brother in law. i said, "what's going on?"

B.I.L.: "i SAID, if you'd spank him, he wouldn't be DOING this shit."
"spanking is not an option for us."
"oh, HERE we go. the VILLAGE needs to raise the child." (i'm an idiot lefty, you see)
"i said, spanking is not an option for us."
"hrmph. grumble grumble grumble."

a little later, it came up again, in a roundabout sort of way. i'm sure i said something snarky about beating a child.

B.I.L: "all i'm saying is that he's going to grow up with a slit if you don't spank him."

my aunt, very softly, "what?"

me: "oh, a slit. he's concerned that bebe will grow a vagina and be a "pussy."

aunt: "ohhhhhhhh."

why can't i keep my mouth shut?

the implications of the whole exchange edged me like none other. first - the spanking. how much more information needs to be put out there before people realize that it is counter-productive to hit a child? especially a boy? there are ass loads of studies about this. ASS LOADS. here's one.

i'am here to guide bebe, not strike the fear of god in him by hitting him. or make him feel as if he is so horrible i must beat him.

if i were to hit another adult, i would go to jail - but it is perfectly legal to hit someone 1/4 of my size?

i'd also go as far to say that people that spank are the ones that need behavior modification. if you're resorting to hitting your kid, you are more than likely acting out of anger yourself, and spanking is a release for you. makes no difference to me - a swat or a slap or a full on beating - they all come from the same place, for the most part. most situations that would "require a spanking" can be easily avoided if you pay attention to your child, and read the signs of an upcoming situation, or phase.

i read a post the other day about a three year old girl that was throwing a full on fit in a mall. the author thought the girl should've been spanked, as her behavior was disrupting the shoppers - and herself. maybe the girl she was tired? hungry? over stimulated? in any of those instances, hitting her would have done no good. hell, as an adult i can last about 10 minutes in a mall before i get completely weirded out and in need of a nap and a hug! a better alternative would have been for the mother of the girl to realize that something wasn't working and remove the tyke from the situation - or do something differently. maybe the mom needed a spanking? kidding. ok, no i'm not. no, really, i'am.

i do understand the frustration, i really do. i ain't perfect. i catch myself yelling things like "stop it!" and "no!" more often than i'm happy with, when i know other distractions and choices will be much more effective. i also need to be more consistent. time-outs work fairly well. but all of this isn't something that will happen overnight - he's so small! - it takes patience and time. he has so much to learn... i'm working on it... and learning , too.

there are a hundred other options for discipline, ones that don't involve acts of aggression and violence. they do work. here are a few:

Top 10 Ways to Handle Discipline Dilemmas

1. Be firm and be kind.

A child is more likely to hear what you're saying if you use a neutral tone.

2. Pause.
There's nothing wrong with saying, "I'm too angry to deal with this now. We'll talk about it later."

3. Teach your kids.
Instead of punishing a child for misbehaving, think in terms of teaching him to behave. "I don't like it when you leave your skateboard in the front hall. Next time, please put it in the mudroom. How can I help you remember?"

4. Be positive.
Instead of saying, "How many times do I need to ask you to brush your teeth?" Say, "Go brush your teeth and let me know when you've finished so I can tuck you in."

5. Give explanations, not threats.
By giving your child a brief explanation of why she needs to do as she's told, you give her a reason to behave.

6. Refuse to get angry.
Instead of focusing on your child's misbehavior and working yourself into a lather, think of each conflict as an opportunity to guide and direct your child.

7. Give incentives.
Inspire your child to cooperate with phrases like, "It's time to go. Why don't you go down the slide one more time and then let's hustle. I want to get home in time to make cookies."

8. Be flexible.
If your little one asks, "Can I just finish watching this show before we go?" be reasonable. If you have the time to spare, make room for your child's requests. This is a great way for kids to learn about the art of negotiation.

9. Drop out of power struggles.
Nothing is as frustrating or less productive as having a showdown with your little one. Invite your child to cooperate by saying something like, "I've got a problem. I want you to wear a clean shirt and you insist on wearing the same old one every day. How can we solve this problem?" Your child is more likely to cooperate if he comes up with the solution.

10. Be smart.
Parents will often deal with problems in a set manner, even if their approach isn't helping. If what you're doing isn't working, find a more effective way to handle the problem. Tip: It's much easier to change your approach than it is to change your child. Ask yourself, "What can I do differently that will inspire a better reaction from my child?"

TIP: Remember these three important rules about punishment:

  • Don't assign a punishment when you're angry
  • Don't use punishment as revenge.
  • A more severe punishment is not necessarily a better one

Cathryn Tobin, MD, is a pediatrician, midwife and a member of the Canadian Pediatric Society and the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons. Her new book The Parent's Problem Solver: Smart Solutions for Everyday Discipline and Behavior Problems was published by Random House. Dr. Tobin has been speaking on parenting issues for more than 20 years. She lives with her husband and four children in Ontario.

aggression is aggression - i want to teach bebe about non-violence - and the last thing i want is for his first act of violence to be at my or daddy's hands. dr. sears also lists ten other fantastic reasons to not spank, things i'd never really thought about pre-bebe...

i just can't fathom hitting my little guy. and given that boys are spanked more often than girls, i have to wonder if this somehow plays into the general consensus that teaches us that violence is ok, and allows it to continue on? yes, children need to learn that there are consequences for their actions - but there is always another way.

and as for that "slit" comment - i can only assume what he meant, given previous comments throughout the years.

1. women are weak - there is something less about being a woman.
2. i'll "turn him gay" by not beating him.

as if you can turn a child gay. most importantly, as if being gay is awful. as if being a woman is something to be ashamed of. as if!

how would hitting bebe make him a "man?" what IS that? and do i want him to be that kind of man???

and this would be why i don't look forward to family gatherings. every time, no matter what, i'm picked into a fight. there is enough war in the world, i don't want it that close to me. it tires me. it gets me all worked up. it makes me sad. most importantly, it keeps me from relationships with others in the family that this doesn't happen with... i could just continue on and keep my mouth shut - nod and smile. but i know that ain't gonna happen. and i imagine, so do they.

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29 June 2007



i can't believe i'm just finding out about the social forum happening in atlanta, as we speak! Damn Damn Damn and DRAT!

“Another World Is Possible, Another U.S. Is Necessary”: Thousands of Activists Gather in Atlanta for the First-Ever U.S. Social Forum

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Inspired by previous World Social Forums in Brazil, India and Kenya, over 10,000 grassroots activists have gathered in Atlanta this week for the first United States Social Forum. We begin our Atlanta coverage with Alice Lovelace, the national lead staff organizer for the U.S. Social Forum. [includes rush transcript]
Over 10,000 grassroots activists have gathered in Atlanta this week for the first United States Social Forum. The theme of the five-day event has been: "Another World Is Possible. Another U.S. Is Necessary." The gathering has been inspired by previous World Social Forums in Brazil, India and Kenya.

We begin our coverage in Atlanta with Alice Lovelace, the national lead staff organizer for the U.S. Social Forum.

  • Alice Lovelace. National Lead Staff Organizer for the U.S. Social Forum. She is an Atlanta-based poet and civil rights activist.

JUAN GONZALEZ: Over 10,000 grassroots activists have gathered in Atlanta this week for the first United States Social Forum. The theme of the five-day event has been "Another World Is Possible. Another U.S. Is Necessary." The gathering has been inspired by previous World Social Forums in Brazil, India and Kenya.

We begin our coverage in Atlanta with Alice Lovelace, the national staffer organizer for the US Social Forum. She’s an Atlanta-based poet and civil rights activist.

AMY GOODMAN: Welcome to Democracy Now!, Alice. It's good to have you with us.


AMY GOODMAN: Describe what the Social Forum is. Why now the first time in the United States?

ALICE LOVELACE: Well, it took a little while to bring it to the United States, because there was a lot of educating that had to be done. People in the United States were not familiar with the Social Forum format, a session where actually there is no agenda, except for the agenda that the people who come bring with them. And that was a little different. The Social Forum is a massive gathering. It’s almost like a big networking meeting. People come to talk about the campaigns they’re undertaking, talk about the situations in their cities around the issues, and to share and to learn from each other, which is the most critical part, and then, something that we're doing that is different from the other Social Forums, actually sitting together and figuring out strategies for how we move our vision for another world forward.

AMY GOODMAN: How did the Social Forums get started to begin with -- I mean , beginning in Brazil?

ALICE LOVELACE: Well, actually they preceded Brazil. The Social Forum process actually started around some of the United Nations gatherings. One of the most important ones, of course, was the conference on race, which was in Durban, South Africa, and people there were being brought together by these United Nations meetings, but they found them to not be serving their needs, so people would gather offsite and talk about the things that they really wanted to talk about. So what happened in Brazil was this realization that they didn't have to wait for someone else to convene them to have these conversations, that they actually could convene themselves and build their own agenda. And that’s what made Brazil and Porto Alegre so important, that it became that independent process of the gathering of civil society to talk about the world they wanted to see.

JUAN GONZALEZ: And once people gather there, how then do they conduct the business of the forum?

ALICE LOVELACE: Well, the Social Forum process -- when you register, organizations have a possibility of submitting proposals for presenting programs at the Social Forum. At our Social Forum there will be 950 sessions that were submitted by those people attending. There will be another 200 to 300 that will actually be organized on the spot, what we call “open spaces,” so that the agenda is built by the people who come. People also find it's very useful for networking, coming together across and around issues, and building new coalitions.

AMY GOODMAN: I also want to bring into the conversation a veteran of other World Social Forums, the South African poet Dennis Brutus. Dennis was imprisoned along with Nelson Mandela on Robben Island for his participation in the anti-apartheid struggle. He’s the author of many books, including Poetry & Protest, a collection of his writings. Welcome, Dennis Brutus, to Democracy Now!

DENNIS BRUTUS: Thank you. Good to be here.

AMY GOODMAN: Talk about this Social Forum that's taking place in Atlanta in comparison with the other Social Forums and why you felt the need to be one of the organizers to make this one in the United States happen.

DENNIS BRUTUS: Well, I found Atlanta -- and I only got here yesterday -- very impressive. I like the participation of women, the trade unions, the kind of cultural activity. So it seems to me it's bringing an additional energy. I’ve been in Brazil, Porto Alegre, and in India, Mumbai, and Nairobi earlier this year. We’ve had World Social Forums in different places. Each one, I think, builds on the movement, and it's a movement of civil society. It's people from the grassroots pushing for change. The slogan "Another World Is Possible" means we reject the kind of globalizing process that is today run by the corporations. We're talking of grassroots globalization. I think, for me, Atlanta is a very pleasant kind of forward movement from the earlier movements.

JUAN GONZALEZ: And, Dennis Brutus, the importance of having this Social Forum here in the United States, given the fact that, I guess, many people around the world would say that the vast majority of the American people are out of step with what is going on in the world?

DENNIS BRUTUS: Well, I guess I would have to agree in some sense. Certainly, for many people outside in other countries, they'll talk of the United States as the “belly of the beast.” It's where the oppressive process begins. But that's only half the story, because there are so many people in the United States, activists, people in the churches, trade unions, community organizations. There is a different thrust. That thrust is for social justice, of course, in the United States, but also social justice in the other countries, which are part of this global process of repression: the rich get richer, the poor get poorer. We're challenging that.

And I think we are actually making quite significant progress. I think all over the world the rejection of the corporate globalizing process is developing. And we see it in countries like Venezuela, for instance, other parts of the world, particularly, I think, South America. I wish I could say it's also true of Africa. We're being kind of slow in Africa right now, but I think we're building in the same direction a different world, a more just world, a more humane world.

JUAN GONZALEZ: In your mention of Africa, we, in the headlines, mentioned that Bishop Desmond Tutu raised some particularly sharp criticisms of the ANC in recent days. Your reaction to that?

DENNIS BRUTUS: Oh, I’m delighted, because it's also what I’m saying, and I think we’re allies. We’re old friends, of course, as well. But the time is growing in South Africa where people, having achieved some degree of democracy, the post-apartheid era, we're saying the people who made the promises are not delivering on those promises. And so, we're into a new phase, and, I agree entirely with Desmond Tutu, we have to move forward and we ought to demand: either you deliver or you're going to have to change.

AMY GOODMAN: His quote exactly: “I’m really very surprised by the remarkable patience of people. [It’s hard] to explain why they don’t say to hell with Tutu, [Nelson] Mandela and the rest and go on the rampage.”

DENNIS BRUTUS: Yes, indeed. And I think that time will come. But you must remember we had all those terrible years between 1948 and up to the end of the ’80s, ’90s, when people endured incredible oppression of the apartheid system, a system under which I went to prison and, of course, many others. But there is this insistence on trying to discover the humane values, not to despair, not to resort to violence, if you can avoid it, and achieve a kind of social justice by persuasion, by organization, mobilizing. And I think Atlanta, for me, is a wonderful example of this process at work.

AMY GOODMAN: Alice Lovelace, as national lead staff organizer for the US Social Forum, why did you decide to do this in the South? You also have recently written a piece about Hurricane Katrina.

ALICE LOVELACE: Yeah. I think that the South actually was the only place that the first US Social Forum could have happened for two reasons: one, because it was a symbol of the Civil Rights Movement, which was a very successful convergence of movements, from labor, education, healthcare, grassroots -- it was a bottom-up movement that ended in successful change, so we wanted to stand on the shoulders of something that had been successful to demonstrate to people we could have success again; and the second was because the South is a microcosm of the world. We are a part of the Global South. Everything that happens in global communities happens to us here in the South, everything from the poor education, poor healthcare, underpaid workers, bad housing, lack of water. So we, ourselves, are a microcosm of the world and the very issues that we're trying to correct.

AMY GOODMAN: If people want to follow this online, if they’re not actually in Atlanta right now, where can they go?

ALICE LOVELACE: WRFG, a wonderful community radio station here in Atlanta, is live streaming from the Social Forum the plenaries and the morning sessions. Our website will be continuously updating and giving people more information about what’s going on at the Social Forum. There are a number of newspapers, Pacifica and different outlets that are going to be either blogging, live streaming or doing current updates on the Social Forum, so people all over the world can follow what's going on here.

DENNIS BRUTUS: Of course, Democracy Now! is doing a great job.

ALICE LOVELACE: Excellent job.

AMY GOODMAN: Alice Lovelace and Dennis Brutus, thanks so much for being with us. And a shout out to our friends at WRFG Radio Free Georgia, as well as to People TV in Atlanta, both very important community media outlets. When we come back, we're remaining in Atlanta, and we'll be speaking with a survivor of Hurricane Katrina, as well as an immigrant rights activist, to talk about the latest decision or non-decision coming out of the US Congress.

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28 June 2007

america LOVES women and children (or) no child left behind....except these.

i started thinking about something that i read while i was pregnant the other day (that simply because i was pregnant, the statistics of me being murdered skyrocketed) after that dude allegedly confessed to killing his pregnant ex. meanwhile another pregnant woman is missing.

one of the largest risk factors facing women while pregnant is being killed by a partner, spouse, boyfriend, ex, etc. HOMICIDE IS THE SECOND LEADING CAUSE OF DEATH AMONG PREGNANT WOMEN in the u.s.

wtf is wrong with this picture?

and if that wasn't bad enough, "It must be noted here that the actual number could be much higher because many states do not have reliable methods for keeping track of such deaths."

of course they don't. why should they? just another silly woman...

kinda like how my city doesn't bother to keep track of the rapes reported in the area. i hear from reliable sources that they are often simply filed away into other categories, such as assault and battery!!!

clear as mud.

then i found this - the united states has the second worst record for infant mortality rates in the developed world.

"The United States has more neonatologists and neonatal intensive care beds per person than Australia, Canada and the United Kingdom, but its newborn (mortality) rate is higher than any of those countries," said the annual State of the World's Mothers report.
two for two:- second leading cause if death is femicide during pregnancy, second worst record in infant mortality...

wt double f?

for as much bragging about how well off everyone in this country is, this is simply unacceptable and horribly difficult for me to get my brain around.

just another day in the good 'ol u.s. of a...

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27 June 2007

8 random facts and funny face yesterday!

so bluegrrrrl tagged me. i'm IT! she asked that i list 8 random facts about myself. i always think these are fun, so i shall do my best to partake!

1. there's a movie i want to see, but the actor in it affects me on such a visceral level that i can't. i've seen him in a bunch of flicks, and it gets worse everytime. closer was the last straw - though it was a fantastic film that continues to haunt me. how can an actor drive me so batty? i can't stand his expressions, the way he carries himself and his voice drives me nuts. i know jung what have a bunch to say about this - perhaps i could channel him to find out why? i imagine it has everything to do with something about him being something about me that edges me, but, still...

2. i like cheese! i have the worst obsession ever with brie. raw, baked, you name it. i love everyone in the cheese family as well. i also have a real soft spot for halloumi. grilled, raw, no matter! smoked gouda? sign me up! oh, god. my mouth is watering. no more cheese talk. and i'll be right back. i need to go, um, not see what is in the 'fridge.

3. when bebe was still exclusively nursing, i actually LIKED the way his nursey poos smelled. STOP kara, STOP! too much information! ew! I AM SO GROSS!

4. my favorite wine ever infinity is bonterra's organic cabernet. my birthday is in august. *hint* *hint* i'm also a sucker for wines with funny names like this and this. and bottles with labels drawn by ralph steadman.

5. if i could do it all again, i'd do it just the same. it got me where i'am today. the good, the bad, and the ugly - so be it. if things had gone differently, i never would have met my hunny bunny and love of my life. nor would bebe be here today. i love my boys with EVERY SINGLE INCH OF ME!!!! and i love myself too, through it all. no silly, not like that. and that mefriends, is just cool.

6. i can't get enough of ani difranco, even after all these years. but you knew that.

7. i LOVE rainy days. and thunderstorms recharge me! i could live in london or the pacific northwest in a heartbeat.

8. my favorite colour is purple. it has been since i was told years ago that purple is the only colour the u.s. has never used on a weapon or bomb. can't seem to verify that fact, but i like it. i like it a lot.

who to tag, who to tag? of course, you don't have to - but i really love reading randoms about peeps!

angry ballerina
sicily sue
blue girl, red state
freethinking nonsense
jolly roger

now, for something a little bit different. i got this handy dandy little tool the other day that allows me to put pictures into my computer - whereas, before, i've always had to wait for them to be emailed to me! yay!

here are some photos from funny face yesterday!

hit it, bebe!

who? meeeeeeee?

insert evil laugh here.

gigglin' mixed with surprised face.

surprised face, all on its own.

a grimace looks like a smile!

whatchoo talkin' bout, willis?

biggest laugh EVER!

zip the lip.

end of communication.

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26 June 2007

bye bye, soy...

it's been nice knowing ya. looks like i have a bit more of label reading to do at the market...

i've seen a bunch of what is contained in this month's utne reader article over the years, and had decided that soy in moderation might be ok. now i wonder. i'm really disturbed by the fact that many babies are currently drinking soy based formula. what is this doing to them, longterm?

i've never eaten or consumed much soy, or so i thought - i didn't realize how far reaching it really is! get a load of this:

The Dark Side of Soy
Is America's favorite health food making us sick?
Utne Reader July / August 2007 Issue

As someone who is conscious of her health, I spent 13 years cultivating a vegetarian diet. I took time to plan and balance meals that included products such as soy milk, soy yogurt, tofu, and Chick'n patties. I pored over labels looking for words I couldn't pronounce--occasionally one or two would pop up. Soy protein isolate? Great! They've isolated the protein from the soybean to make it more concentrated. Hydrolyzed soy protein? I never successfully rationalized that one, but I wasn't too worried. After all, in 1999 the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved labeling I found on nearly every soy product I purchased: "Diets low in saturated fat and cholesterol that include 25 grams of soy protein a day may reduce the risk of heart disease." Soy ingredients weren't only safe--they were beneficial.

After years of consuming various forms of soy nearly every day, I felt reasonably fit, but somewhere along the line I'd stopped menstruating. I couldn't figure out why my stomach became so upset after I ate edamame or why I was often moody and bloated. It didn't occur to me at the time to question soy, heart protector and miracle food.

When I began studying holistic health and nutrition, I kept running across risks associated with eating soy. Endocrine disruption? Check. Digestive problems? Check. I researched soy's deleterious effects on thyroid, fertility, hormones, sex drive, digestion, and even its potential to contribute to certain cancers. For every study that proved a connection between soy and reduced disease risk another cropped up to challenge the claims. What was going on?

"Studies showing the dark side of soy date back 100 years," says clinical nutritionist Kaayla Daniel, author of The Whole Soy Story (New Trends, 2005). "The 1999 FDA-approved health claim pleased big business, despite massive evidence showing risks associated with soy, and against the protest of the FDA's own top scientists. Soy is a $4 billion [U.S.] industry that's taken these health claims to the bank." Besides promoting heart health, the industry says, soy can alleviate symptoms associated with menopause, reduce the risk of certain cancers, and lower levels of LDL, the "bad" cholesterol.

Epidemiological studies have shown that Asians, particularly in Japan and China, have a lower incidence of breast and prostate cancer than people in the United States, and many of these studies credit a traditional diet that includes soy. But Asian diets include small amounts--about nine grams a day--of primarily fermented soy products, such as miso, natto, and tempeh, and some tofu. Fermenting soy creates health-promoting probiotics, the good bacteria our bodies need to maintain digestive and overall wellness. By contrast, in the United States, processed soy food snacks or shakes can contain over 20 grams of nonfermented soy protein in one serving.

"There is important information on the cancer-protective values of soy," says clinical nutritionist Ed Bauman, head of Bauman Clinic in Sebastopol, California, and director of Bauman College. Bauman cautions against painting the bean with a broad brush. "As with any food, it can have benefits in one system and detriments in another. [An individual who is sensitive to it] may have an adverse response to soy. And not all soy is alike," he adds, referring to processing methods and quality.

"Soy is not a food that is native to North America or Europe, and you have issues when you move food from one part of the world to another," Bauman says. "We fare better when we eat according to our ethnicity. Soy is a viable food, but we need to look at how it's used."

Once considered a small-scale poverty food, soy exploded onto the American market. Studies--some funded by the industry--promoted soy's ability to lower disease risk while absolving guilt associated with eating meat. "The soy industry has come a long way from when hippies were boiling up the beans," says Daniel.

These days the industry has discovered ways to use every part of the bean for profit. Soy oil has become the base for most vegetable oils; soy lecithin, the waste product left over after the soybean is processed, is used as an emulsifier; soy flour appears in baked and packaged goods; different forms of processed soy protein are added to everything from animal feed to muscle-building protein powders. "Soy protein isolate was invented for use in cardboard," Daniel says. "It hasn't actually been approved as a food ingredient."

Soy is everywhere in our food supply, as the star in cereals and health-promoting foods and hidden in processed foods. Even if you read every label and avoid cardboard boxes, you are likely to find soy in your supplements and vitamins (look out for vitamin E derived from soy oil), in foods such as canned tuna, soups, sauces, breads, meats (injected under poultry skin), and chocolate, and in pet food and body-care products. It hides in tofu dogs under aliases such as textured vegetable protein, hydrolyzed vegetable protein, and lecithin--which is troubling, since the processing required to hydrolyze soy protein into vegetable protein produces excitotoxins such as glutamate (think MSG) and aspartate (a component of aspartame), which cause brain-cell death.

Soy also is one of the foods--in addition to wheat, corn, eggs, milk, nuts, and shellfish--most likely to cause allergic reactions. Most people equate food allergies with anaphylaxis, or a severe emergency immune response, but it is possible to have a subclinical sensitivity, which can lead to health problems over time (and is exacerbated by the lack of variety common in today's American diet).

"People can do an empirical food sensitivity test by eliminating the food for a period of time and reintroducing it to see if there's an immune response, but most don't do this," says Bauman. "Genetically modified (GM) soy is the most problematic, and that's probably what most people are eating if they're not paying attention. People can develop sensitivity to a food that has antigens or bacteria not originally in the food chain, as is the case with GM foods."

Yet avoiding GM soy doesn't mean all is well, Daniel says: "One question I get all the time is, ‘What if I only eat organic soy?' The assumption is that GM soy is problematic and organic is fine. Certainly, organic is better, but the bottom line is that soybeans naturally contain plant estrogens, toxins, and antinutrients, and you can't remove those."

The highest risk is for infants who are fed soy formula. "It's the only thing they're eating, they're very small, and they're at a key stage developmentally," says Daniel. "The estrogens in soy will affect the hormonal development of these children, and it will certainly affect their growing brains, reproductive systems, and thyroids." Soy formula also contains large amounts of manganese, which has been linked to attention deficit disorder and neurotoxicity in infants. The Israeli health ministry recently issued an advisory stating that infants should avoid soy formula altogether.

Antinutrients in soy block enzymes needed for digestion, and naturally occur-ring phytates block absorption of essential minerals. This is most worrisome for vegans and vegetarians who eat soy as their main source of protein, and for women in menopause who up their soy intake through supplements.

Soy contains phytochemicals--plant nutrients with disease-fighting activity--called isoflavones. Studies claim isoflavones can mimic the body's own estrogens, raising a woman's estrogen levels, which fall after menopause, causing hot flashes and other symptoms. On the other hand, isoflavones may also block the body's estrogens, which can help reduce high estrogen levels, therefore reducing risk for breast cancer or uterine cancer before menopause. (High estrogen levels have been linked to cancers of the reproductive system in women.)

Although soy's isoflavones may have an adaptogenic effect (contributing to an estrogen-boosting or -blocking effect where needed), they also have the potential to promote hormone-sensitive cancers in some people. Studies on the effects of isoflavones on human estrogen levels are conflicting, and it's possible that they affect people differently. In men, soy has been shown to lower testosterone levels and sex drive, according to Daniel.

Bauman believes processed soy foods are problematic but maintains that soy has beneficial hormone-mediating effects. "People are largely convenience-driven," he says. "We're looking at this whole processed-food convenience market and we're making generalizations about a plant. Is soy the problem, or is it the handling and packaging and processing of the plant that's the problem?

"Primary sources of food are a good thing. Once there was a bean, but then it got cooked and squeezed and the pulp was separated out, and it was heated and processed for better shelf life and mouth feel. Soy milk is second or third level in terms of processing."

Bauman's eating-for-health approach calls for a variety of natural and seasonal unprocessed whole foods, including soy in moderation, tailored to individual biochemistry and sensitivities. "Using soy as part of a diet can bring relief for perimenopause, for example," he says. "Throw out the soy and you throw out the isoflavones." (It is possible to obtain plant estrogens to a lesser extent from other foods, such as lima beans or flax.) "The literature is extensive on the benefits of soy, and that should always be stated, just as the hazards should be. That's science. These studies are not ridiculous or contrived, but take a look at them. Who's funding them?" asks Bauman.

"There are a lot of problems with these studies," Daniel says, adding that the 1999 heart health claim was an industry-funded initiative. "Even if there is positive information, and even if these studies are well designed, we need to weigh that against the fact that we've also got really good studies showing the dangers. Better safe than sorry is the precautionary principle. Possible bene-fits are far outweighed by proven risks."

Daniel and Bauman agree on the benefits of variety. "My experience as a clinical nutritionist is that people who have a varied diet tend not to get into trouble," says Daniel.

"We like to demonize certain foods in this society," says Bauman. "If you want to find a fault, you'll find it. The bottom line is: What is a healthy diet?"

Reprinted from Terrain (Spring 2007), published by Berkeley's Ecology Center. Dedicated to fine feature writing about environmental issues, Terrain is distributed free throughout Northern California. Subscriptions: $15/yr. (3 issues) from 2530 San Pablo Ave., Berkeley, CA 94702; www.ecologycenter.org/terrain.

Soy "Nuggets"

Soy milk, curdled and pressed into cubes of varying firmness. Often used as meat substitute. A nonfermented product, tofu contains antinutrients, which can block absorption of essential minerals.

Fermented soybean paste, used in soups and sauces. Rich in probiotics, good bacteria that aid vitamin absorption. Miso is high in sodium but is considered one of the healthiest soy products.

Soybean Oil
To extract oil, soybeans are superheated, ground, pressed, mixed with chemicals, and washed in a centrifuge. Soybean oil accounts for 80 percent of all liquid oils consumed annually in the United States.

Soy Milk
A processed beverage made of ground soybeans mixed with water and boiled, which removes some toxins. Sugar is added to improve flavor. An eight-ounce serving contains up to 35 milligrams of isoflavones, which may change estrogen levels and hormonal function.

Snack Food
Highly processed, a source of trans fat. Check your labels: Potato chips, tortilla crisps, and many other deep-fried things have been cooked in soy oil--straight up or partially hydrogenated.

Whole soybeans pressed into loaves, which are then fermented. Often used as a meat substitute. Tempeh is rich in B vitamins, minerals, and omega-3 fatty acids.

Fast Food
A source of hidden soy. Processed soy proteins extend some burgers and chicken (nuggets, patties, even "grilled breasts"). Buns contain soy oil and to a lesser extent soy flour and lecithin. Soy oil also appears in dressings and dips, in American "cheese," and as the No. 2 ingredient in fries. There's even soy in Big Mac's secret sauce: Soybean oil nets top billing.

Whole soybeans, commonly boiled in the pod and eaten as a snack. Most commercial edamame has been preheated to make digestion easier, but it still contains antinutrients.

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23 June 2007

my dinner with tua

by the way, if you've never seen the film i swiped this post's title from, shame on you. go rent it.

so tua had a little interview up the other day that quite delighted me to read. i decided to take the challenge, knowing the questions he'd pose to yours truly would certainly be, um, interesting. ;)

thinking cap?

typing fingers?

here we go!

1. If you and your Husband could completely reverse roles and identities, physically, mentally, etc. in your marriage, i.e., he be the wife, you be the Husband, which of you do you think would be most successful in your new role, explain why, and tell why the other wouldn't be as successful?

beings how we are the least traditional couple i know in the wedded arena construct, i think we could swap the 'ol societally prescribed roles fairly easily. we already have in many ways... he cooks, cleans, and does a mean load of laundry better than i could any day, hands down. he's a fantastic father. i think he would probably be most successful over all, though. i don't think i could work as much as he does without having a complete and total breakdown. seriously. i stand in awe of the pace that he keeps, being completely present with us, juggling all of the jobs, his writing... i don't know if his paintings would rock like mine do, though. or if he could pull off being a pacifist. hmmm... may be a wash, after all.

2. Thru the miracle of science, you can pick ONE attribute (kindness, toughness, pity, etc), and forever embed that attribute in your Son. Please explain why your Son would be best served with this attribute all his life vs all others.

one? just one? ok. fine.

compassion/awareness. damn. i think that really is two. i think there is such a lack of it today - young, old and in between. i think it would serve him well to be conscientious of others in relation to himself, to give him a firm grounding in this world. i also think compassion is a necessary attribute vis-a-vis the impact that actions and words have on all of the people we share this planet with, not to mention the planet itself. all other attributes stem from compassion/awareness, methinks. it is central to everything.

3. Your blog shows you involved with many, many interests/concerns, and your diversified writing supports that. Pick out 3 that you feel are most immediately important to the continuation of the Human Race, and explain your logic for all three.

three? ok, tua. you're just plain mean. :) perhaps i can be broad and pack a lot into each of my three? sounds delicious. the three biggest thoughts, weighing on my mind right now:

*free paris hilton!
*who will win american idol?
*does my ass look fat in this?


* violence against/exploitation of people. i think the two are more than closely related. violence against women, violence against others, violence against ourselves, violence against other countries - leads to exploitation of people throughout the planet. no one should suffer while being forced to make a pair of over-priced tennis shoes - no one should be murdered for oil and oil profits. period. war sucks. sweatshops suck. violence sucks. cut it out. now. there is always another way.

* the environment. exploiting the earth for the sake of a buck - there is no excuse. mama earth is gonna boot us if we keep up this pace, and i won't blame her one bit. our food systems need to be more locally based and sustainable grown organically. we must learn to consume less, create less waste and recycle more. global climate change is upon us, and we each play a role in it. cheif seattle said it best:
"the earth does not belong to man, man belongs to the earth. all things are connected like the blood which unites us all. man did not weave the web of life, he is merely a strand in it. whatever he does to the web, he does to himself."

*speaking my truth and encouraging others to always do the same. to never stop learning and evolving and building bridges. we all matter, we are all connected. this is about all of us. to have the conviction to stand up for what we believe in. as malcolm x said, "if you don't stand for something, you'll fall for anything."

4. You wrote one of the most emotionally raw, from the depth's of the soul, posts that I have ever read since I've been blogging, and I congratulate you for it. In hindsight, do you ever regret sharing in such detail, and do you think knowledge of what you posted, changed people's perceptions of you at all? Is there anything realistically achievable, that can be done to bring this horror under control, or is it forever out of control, and 'Women Beware?"

how'd you find that? that post had to have been buried fairly deep!

no regrets. none whatsoever. and it's funny, not funny ha-ha, but funny that you bring this up now, when the past two days have found me cursing the system and culture that seemingly condones this shit. i've come to the conclusion that men will continue to do these horrible things to women because THERE IS RARELY EVER ANY CONSEQUENCE FOR THEIR ACTIONS.

recently, a young woman here was pushed into her car in a busy-ish target parking lot in broad daylight and later killed. a couple of years ago, a friend was assaulted by her male roommate and the cops refused to do anything because they didn't see it happen. he wasn't even brought in for questioning. a few days ago i was schooled at work by a defense attorney that told me what sicily sue would be facing from the defense attorney in her trial. it makes me so angry. and i feel so. helpless.

the simple fact is that no woman is ever truly safe. i've been thinking a lot again about what the answer is. and all i can come up with for certain is that i have to do my very best to raise bebe in a way that he would never consider committing such a horrible act against a woman. i've thought often that mandatory self-defense classes for women should be considered, but that still doesn't hold a rapist or woman beater responsible and it doesn't begin to get to the root of the problem.

on an even larger scale - i just don't know. i like what island amazon commented in that post, about the men in pre-industrial japan being made a pariah in their communities. instead, they by and large aren't even being slapped on the wrist - and many many many rapes/assaults continue to go unreported. ultimately, women will have to move beyond a place where they simply hope it never happens to them and speak up. men need to step up and examine whatever it is that is causing such an obscene disrespect for women in this culture - one that results in sexual and other forms of violence. and those men that wouldn't dream of hurting a woman need to be counted as well. perhaps the answer lies with them. i wish i knew.

mu question is this - why isn't this epidemic splashed all over the news? why are we horrified by a woman being forced to wear a burqa, but not by the sheer numbers of women whose lives are deemed meaningless by this "justice" system and society?

as far as that post changing one's perception of me, i really have no idea... did it?

5. You are of course, the famous inventor of the "Poop Sandwich." When you get old, senile, and don't have control anymore, what would be appropriate for Bebe to offer YOU, as a retaliatory sandwich of similar content and quality?

HA! first of all, i will never be old and senile- nor will i ever lose control. ;)

ok, so this isn't a sandwich, but how about a nice tall glass of iced urine-ade? ewwww! gross me out! perhaps with a side of bite sized toe jam and ear wax sandwiches with the crusts cut off?


Do YOU want to be interviewed?

Interview rules:
1. Leave me a comment saying “Interview me.”
2. I will respond by emailing you five questions. I get to pick the
3. You will update your blog with a post containing your the answers to the questions.
4. You will include this explanation and an offer to interview
someone else in the same post.
5. When others comment asking to be interviewed, you will ask them
five questions.



22 June 2007

every. day. and yesterday.

my girlfriend catherine had this beautiful quote attached to an email yesterday, one somehow i've missed over the years:

"I can not believe that war is the best solution. No one won the last war, and no one will win the next war."
~Eleanor Roosevelt

lately, i sit and think about this "war," and try to write about it - but it all ends up getting erased. everything i want to say just sounds like the same old, tired rhetoric that hasn't managed to change anything - but is seemingly everywhere. i feel like i'm continually swimming upstream in a torrential downpour. suffice it to say, this has been a great source of frustration for me. every once in awhile, something i read has the power to sock me on every level - makes me think, "damn, why can't i write like that? THAT is what wants to come flowing out onto my keyboard and just can't. THAT is what eludes me with every key stroke when i try..." i had one such moment yesterday over at angry ballerina's place. i'm going to share it here, now. because it is that good. and important. and perfect. and spot. on. a piece of writing that sparks me enough to dig back in and try again:

Wolf sees sheep. Sheep runs. Gets eaten.

After a nine and a half hour pull at work, stubborn customers, crass remarks at the hands of overzealous lesbians, and a terrible argument with Boss Man over the phone, I had two choices, drink myself into a sweet oblivion, and wake up with a regret stuck in the back of my throat, or go shopping. I went shopping. There are some regrets these days I can live with out alcohol induced or otherwise.

Standing at a kiosk selling wears of "rare" turquoise and lapis rings (please I saw these things in TF Green last month) I spot a Jar Head, about my age, canvassing. I can't help but not stare at how young this kid is. Squared off, proud of his 13 week accomplishment at Parris Island, a windbreaker adorned with the and anchor. He's being chatted up by a group of tan preppy girls, who look like they are right about the age of sophomore year in high school. I don't know who to pity more, the young Marine, or the group of girls vying for his phone number. Such an impressionable age. Who knows what recruiter told this kid to get him to join. I remember my own recruiter, his cars, his clothes. His actions. He was very good at what he did. He knew how to give an illusion of success, and how to sweet talk his way out of responsibility. Through his actions, and my own, he went down in flames, and took me with him. It happens, I made my choice, Ex made his, and this kid has also.
I wonder though, if this kid has this image of how Iraq, or getting shot at in general is like? Does he think, because he went thought basic, that in the event of open fire, he will be able to keep a level head? He seems so sure of himself here, safe, on an island jutting out into the Atlantic, a world away from a future job.

"The nights here aren't what you may expect them to be. Long stretches of quiet, broken by pop pop pops. Sometimes they're close, most of the time too far away to care. But you still hear them"

This sudden onset leaves me feeling rather stingy, I leave the knockoffs at the kiosk, and walk away. Young blood looks me up and down as I walk by, I smile, the favors returned. He seems like he could be a sweet kid, the kind that should be marrying his high school sweetheart, or some cliche like that. Not walking around, being paraded by a symbol of freedom that doesn't exist anymore. Does he know what he is doing? Does he care about what is going to happen to him? Does he know? I keep what happen to Ex close to my chest, it's not my story to tell in reality. I found myself at dinner a few days ago with an overly opinionated drunk accountant who felt the blood of innocent Iraqi's fell on the hands of our soldiers. I unfortunately had to sit there, and listen to this for about ten long minutes until I excused myself from the table, and Doan told him that the blood of Iraqi innocents doesn't fall on the hands of an entire occupational force, just a few bad apples. And then from what I found out later, he told him that the chick who just left the table (me) had a former who was critically injured while serving in the line, and should he feel like continuing his misinformed verbal assault on the memories of those who are lost, he would simply shove his foot up his ass. I think I gave that conversation as much justice as possible with out actually being there.

I'm sitting here, chain smoking cigarettes that cost me just over six bucks a pack, typing on a computer that cost me about two months pay, living in a cottage (barn actually) that costs me about a months pay. And I'm safe. No one is going to shoot at me tonight, or plant IEDs on the road so when I go to work, I trigger them. This occupation is over. We lost. There is no more. It just hurts to watch the t.v, to skim over the articles, and see again and again, how much this war cost. Its not the money. But that's what it boils down to isn't it? Cash flow? How much is that kid worth? How much is Ex worth? If I had stayed, how much would I be worth? I will gladly pay double the price of gallon for gas, I would gladly do that if this would stop. It's over. It's been lost from the beginning. Nothing has been accomplished, it started with men women and children dying in a single scream caught in the back of your throat, and it's going to end with men women and children dying in the same breath.

i'm also stealing fade's image he has posted - it contains one of my favorite howard zinn quotes of All Time Infinity. i don't think he'll mind.



20 June 2007


i got word of this today via the out of iraq blogroll you see to the right there, in the sidebar. i think it's a swell idea and i've just signed on to the pledge. please join me. and join the OOIBC while you're at it...

on the third friday of each month, i vow to take a break from my daily routine to take some action in ending the iraq "war." it will begin september 21st and carry forward until this insanity ceases.

and just so you know - apparently, the military is exempt from the no-call list i added our number to years ago. i got a call this morning at the crack of dawn, asking if i would show my support for the troops ala a money donation that would send someone serving in the navy a care package so that they would know we haven't forgotten about them...

i asked if that care package would include an airline ticket, to support the troops the best way i know how - by bringing them. home. now.


it really chaps my ass. OF COURSE i haven't forgotten about them. how could i? how could anyone? i think about them everyday, for most of my waking hours. i think about them as they continue to come home in caskets, and wonder who will be next? because there will be anext and a next and another next. to have someone call my home and use guilt tactics to imply that i'm just going about my days, humming merrily along is ludicrous! seriously.

and meanwhile...

all i could think about was this - the troops that are so supported by those that sent them off to suit their own greedy purposes wrapped in deceit - like this guy:

Jon Town has spent the last few years fighting two battles, one against his body, the other against the US Army. Both began in October 2004 in Ramadi, Iraq. He was standing in the doorway of his battalion’s headquarters when a 107-millimeter rocket struck two feet above his head. The impact punched a piano-sized hole in the concrete facade, sparked a huge fireball and tossed the 25-year-old Army specialist to the floor, where he lay blacked out among the rubble.

“The next thing I remember is waking up on the ground.” Men from his unit had gathered around his body and were screaming his name. “They started shaking me. But I was numb all over,” he says. “And it’s weird because… because for a few minutes you feel like you’re not really there. I could see them, but I couldn’t hear them. I couldn’t hear anything. I started shaking because I thought I was dead.”

Eventually the rocket shrapnel was removed from Town’s neck and his ears stopped leaking blood. But his hearing never really recovered, and in many ways, neither has his life. A soldier honored twelve times during his seven years in uniform, Town has spent the last three struggling with deafness, memory failure and depression. By September 2006 he and the Army agreed he was no longer combat-ready.

But instead of sending Town to a medical board and discharging him because of his injuries, doctors at Fort Carson, Colorado, did something strange: They claimed Town’s wounds were actually caused by a “personality disorder.” Town was then booted from the Army and told that under a personality disorder discharge, he would never receive disability or medical benefits.

Town is not alone. A six-month investigation has uncovered multiple cases in which soldiers wounded in Iraq are suspiciously diagnosed as having a personality disorder, then prevented from collecting benefits. The conditions of their discharge have infuriated many in the military community, including the injured soldiers and their families, veterans’ rights groups, even military officials required to process these dismissals.

They say the military is purposely misdiagnosing soldiers like Town and that it’s doing so for one reason: to cheat them out of a lifetime of disability and medical benefits, thereby saving billions in expenses. link.

uh, ya think? digressing from the point of the article - i just have to say that i'm not even over there and i'm on the verge from suffering from a personality disorder just reading about this mess day in and day out! and why aren't personality disorders covered, anyway? nothing quite like a bullshit war to cause severe psychological damage... to alter one's personality.

the ultimate in adding insult to injury.


where's the care package for jon town? where is his support?

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19 June 2007

i just have to post twice today

make sure you have a look see at the previous one as well...

remember a ways back, when i found that musician i fell in deep smit with? brett dennen? i got his cd (that was released 3 years back?!?) a few days ago at long last, and this song was also there. i just had to post it up:

I Asked When

Well I dreamed I went out a wanderin’
I heard promises become fables forgotten
I saw bridges stretchin’ out across the water
And towers pushing taller
I knew my reality was clearly defined
By the fences put up around my mind
I watched them thickening the walls over time
Taller then any borderline I saw civilizations deemed insignificant
I saw people’s history tattooed on their skin
I saw families taken from their land
Dynasty shattered and stolen

And I asked when is the revolution
I asked when is the revolution

And all the burdens centuries accrue
They get passed to every generation’s youth
And all the allegories told in lewd truth
I watched them grow wild and spread like the flu

I saw the rise of an untamed industry
I watched machines print a paper economy
I saw my own self stand right in front of me
And I didn’t do a thing

I saw poisons pushed in the street
Prescription pills mingling in the mezzanine
With the whole wealth of doctors and pharmaceutical companies
Still poor people were dying from disease

And I asked when is the revolution
I asked when is the revolution
I asked when is the revolution
I asked when is the revolution

And I broke down at the break of dawn
And saw looming in the clouds above the Pentagon
As real as the Holocaust, as strong as the Parthenon
Visions of Sudan, Iraq, and Vietnam

And I stood silent upon a flooded levee
And stared at the ruins of a merchant city
And the president who came to dine with the noble
He didn’t do a thing

I saw three ships come sailing in
Through the passage of the Caribbean
I saw children coming home in coffins
Millions marching on Washington

And I asked when is the revolution
I asked when is the revolution
I asked when is the revolution
I asked when is the revolution



on the edge of my seat!

my boy is at it again:

i'm on the edge of my seat.

of course this came to me via email right after i opened a letter from our pirate ship, uh, i mean, "insurance" company - questioning me about bebe's most recent visit to the e.r. after he ripped half of his toe off on the post office door. the bill was $1000.00. one tetanus shot alone was $456.00. "someone" is making a killing, no?

the baby and i have insurance, will doesn't. he can't get it. well, he can, but the premiums would be through the roof, pre-existing condition whatnot. we pay out of pocket for lousy coverage. we basically have this plan in case anything goes horribly wrong - high deductible, etc... and boy do we ever pay. i think it costs us around $400 a month, with roughly 1/3 going to a health savings account. it covers no well child visits or office visits for either of us. i'm still trying to figure out what it does do at this point... i've thought of dropping mine, but i'm currently being monitored for potentially cancerous cervical cells, and i know if do, there will be a needed surgery. i've been down this road before. so here we are. i suppose this is what happens when "you don't work hard enough." i guess 5 jobs between us doesn't exactly count...

but i digress.

apparently, our insurance company is looking for a way to weasel out of paying for the vaccines that bebe was given at the visit, though that is the only thing that the plan does cover. perfect. i had to fill out three forms and a detailed description of what landed him in the e.r. and mail it back in. i imagine that his not having had any prior vaxes will play into this somehow.

bad mommy. bad bad bad mommy. now you'll pay
even more!

i'm on the edge of my seat.

health care, my ass.

there is nothing in this country that remotely resembles health CARE. those of us who are "lucky" enough to have coverage get the run around when we try to actually use the insurance. clear as mud.

say it with me: universal health care! this is a bit dated, so it is safe to adjust the numbers below for the worsening truth.

  1. Why doesn’t the United States have universal health care as a right of citizenship? The United States is the only industrialized nation that does not guarantee access to health care as a right of citizenship. 28 industrialized nations have single payer universal health care systems, while 1 (Germany) has a multipayer universal health care system like President Clinton proposed for the United States.

  2. Myth One: The United States has the best health care system in the world.
  • Fact One: The United States ranks 23rd in infant mortality, down from 12th in 1960 and 21st in 1990

  • Fact Two: The United States ranks 20th in life expectancy for women down from 1st in 1945 and 13th in 1960

  • Fact Three: The United States ranks 21st in life expectancy for men down from 1st in 1945 and 17th in 1960.

  • Fact Four: The United States ranks between 50th and 100th in immunizations depending on the immunization. Overall US is 67th, right behind Botswana

  • Fact Five: Outcome studies on a variety of diseases, such as coronary artery disease, and renal failure show the United States to rank below Canada and a wide variety of industrialized nations.

  • Conclusion: The United States ranks poorly relative to other industrialized nations in health care despite having the best trained health care providers and the best medical infrastructure of any industrialized nation

  1. Myth Two: Universal Health Care Would Be Too Expensive
  • Fact One: The United States spends at least 40% more per capita on health care than any other industrialized country with universal health care

  • Fact Two: Federal studies by the Congressional Budget Office and the General Accounting office show that single payer universal health care would save 100 to 200 Billion dollars per year despite covering all the uninsured and increasing health care benefits.

  • Fact Three: State studies by Massachusetts and Connecticut have shown that single payer universal health care would save 1 to 2 Billion dollars per year from the total medical expenses in those states despite covering all the uninsured and increasing health care benefits

  • Fact Four: The costs of health care in Canada as a % of GNP, which were identical to the United States when Canada changed to a single payer, universal health care system in 1971, have increased at a rate much lower than the United States, despite the US economy being much stronger than Canada’s.

  • Conclusion: Single payer universal health care costs would be lower than the current US system due to lower administrative costs. The United States spends 50 to 100% more on administration than single payer systems. By lowering these administrative costs the United States would have the ability to provide universal health care, without managed care, increase benefits and still save money

  1. Myth Three: Universal Health Care Would Deprive Citizens of Needed Services
  • Fact One: Studies reveal that citizens in universal health care systems have more doctor visits and more hospital days than in the US

  • Fact Two: Around 30% of Americans have problem accessing health care due to payment problems or access to care, far more than any other industrialized country. About 17% of our population is without health insurance. About 75% of ill uninsured people have trouble accessing/paying for health care.

  • Fact Three: Comparisons of Difficulties Accessing Care Are Shown To Be Greater In The US Than Canada (see graph)

  • Fact Four: Access to health care is directly related to income and race in the United States. As a result the poor and minorities have poorer health than the wealthy and the whites.

  • Fact Five: There would be no lines under a universal health care system in the United States because we have about a 30% oversupply of medical equipment and surgeons, whereas demand would increase about 15%

  • Conclusion: The US denies access to health care based on the ability to pay. Under a universal health care system all would access care. There would be no lines as in other industrialized countries due to the oversupply in our providers and infrastructure, and the willingness/ability of the United States to spend more on health care than other industrialized nations.
  1. Myth Four: Universal Health Care Would Result In Government Control And Intrusion Into Health Care Resulting In Loss Of Freedom Of Choice
  • Fact One: There would be free choice of health care providers under a single payer universal health care system, unlike our current managed care system in which people are forced to see providers on the insurer’s panel to obtain medical benefits

  • Fact Two: There would be no management of care under a single payer, universal health care system unlike the current managed care system which mandates insurer preapproval for services thus undercutting patient confidentiality and taking health care decisions away from the health care provider and consumer

  • Fact Three: Although health care providers fees would be set as they are currently in 90% of cases, providers would have a means of negotiating fees unlike the current managed care system in which they are set in corporate board rooms with profits, not patient care, in mind

  • Fact Four: Taxes, fees and benefits would be decided by the insurer which would be under the control of a diverse board representing consumers, providers, business and government. It would not be a government controlled system, although the government would have to approve the taxes. The system would be run by a public trust, not the government.

  • Conclusion: Single payer, universal health care administered by a state public health system would be much more democratic and much less intrusive than our current system. Consumers and providers would have a voice in determining benefits, rates and taxes. Problems with free choice, confidentiality and medical decision making would be resolved
  1. Myth Five: Universal Health Care Is Socialized Medicine And Would Be Unacceptable To The Public
  • Fact One: Single payer universal health care is not socialized medicine. It is health care payment system, not a health care delivery system. Health care providers would be in fee for service practice, and would not be employees of the government, which would be socialized medicine. Single payer health care is not socialized medicine, any more than the public funding of education is socialized education, or the public funding of the defense industry is socialized defense.

  • Fact Two: Repeated national and state polls have shown that between 60 and 75% of Americans would like a universal health care system (see The Harris Poll #78, October 20, 2005)

  • Conclusion: Single payer, universal health care is not socialized medicine and would be preferred by the majority of the citizens of this country
  1. Myth Six: The Problems With The US Health Care System Are Being Solved and Are Best Solved By Private Corporate Managed Care Medicine because they are the most efficient
  • Fact One: Private for profit corporation are the lease efficient deliverer of health care. They spend between 20 and 30% of premiums on administration and profits. The public sector is the most efficient. Medicare spends 3% on administration.

  • Fact Two: The same procedure in the same hospital the year after conversion from not-for profit to for-profit costs in between 20 to 35% more

  • Fact Three: Health care costs in the United States grew more in the United States under managed care in 1990 to 1996 than any other industrialized nation with single payer universal health care

  • Fact Four: The quality of health care in the US has deteriorated under managed care. Access problems have increased. The number of uninsured has dramatically increased (increase of 10 million to 43.4 million from 1989 to 1996, increase of 2.4% from 1989 to 1996- 16% in 1996 and increasing each year).

  • Fact Five: The level of satisfaction with the US health care system is the lowest of any industrialized nation.

  • Fact Six: 80% of citizens and 71% of doctors believe that managed care has caused quality of care to be compromised

  • Conclusion: For profit, managed care can not solve the US health care problems because health care is not a commodity that people shop for, and quality of care must always be compromised when the motivating factor for corporations is to save money through denial of care and decreasing provider costs. In addition managed care has introduced problems of patient confidentiality and disrupted the continuity of care through having limited provider networks.
  1. Overall Answer to the questions Why doesn’t the US have single payer universal health care when single payer universal health care is the most efficient, most democratic and most equitable means to deliver health care? Why does the United States remain wedded to an inefficient, autocratic and immoral system that makes health care accessible to the wealthy and not the poor when a vast majority of citizens want it to be a right of citizenship?

Conclusion: Corporations are able to buy politicians through our campaign finance system and control the media to convince people that corporate health care is democratic, represents freedom, and is the most efficient system for delivering health care.

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i'm on the edge of my seat.

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