Concerns of a single dad with a special needs child

My concerns and opinions are from the viewpoint of a single parent with a special needs child.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

What Conservatives really want and the impact on families with special needs

What Conservatives Really Want

Saturday 19 February 2011

by: George Lakoff, t r u t h o u t | Op-Ed

Dedicated to the peaceful protestors in Wisconsin, February 19, 2011.

The central issue in our political life is not being discussed. At stake is the moral basis of American democracy.

The individual issues are all too real: assaults on unions, public employees, women's rights, immigrants, the environment, health care, voting rights, food safety, pensions, prenatal care, science, public broadcasting and on and on.

Budget deficits are a ruse, as we've seen in Wisconsin, where the Governor turned a surplus into a deficit by providing corporate tax breaks, and then used the deficit as a ploy to break the unions, not just in Wisconsin, but seeking to be the first domino in a nationwide conservative movement.

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Deficits can be addressed by raising revenue, plugging tax loopholes, putting people to work and developing the economy long-term in all the ways the president has discussed. But deficits are not what really matter to conservatives.

Conservatives really want to change the basis of American life, to make America run according to the conservative moral worldview in all areas of life.

In the 2008 campaign, candidate Obama accurately described the basis of American democracy: empathy — citizens caring for each other, both social and personal responsibility — acting on that care, and an ethic of excellence. From these, our freedoms and our way of life follow, as does the role of government: to protect and empower everyone equally. Protection includes safety, health, the environment, pensions. Empowerment starts with education and infrastructure. No one can be free without these, and without a commitment to care and act on that care by one's fellow citizens.
The conservative worldview rejects all of that.

Conservatives believe in individual responsibility alone, not social responsibility. They don't think government should help its citizens. That is, they don't think citizens should help each other. The part of government they want to cut is not the military (we have 174 bases around the world), not government subsidies to corporations, not the aspect of government that fits their worldview. They want to cut the part that helps people. Why? Because that violates individual responsibility.

But where does that view of individual responsibility alone come from?

The way to understand the conservative moral system is to consider a strict father family. The father is The Decider, the ultimate moral authority in the family. His authority must not be challenged. His job is to protect the family, to support the family (by winning competitions in the marketplace), and to teach his kids right from wrong by disciplining them physically when they do wrong. The use of force is necessary and required. Only then will children develop the internal discipline to become moral beings. And only with such discipline will they be able to prosper. And what of people who are not prosperous? They don't have discipline, and without discipline they cannot be moral, so they deserve their poverty. The good people are hence the prosperous people. Helping others takes away their discipline, and hence makes them both unable to prosper on their own and function morally.

The market itself is seen in this way. The slogan, "Let the market decide" assumes the market itself is The Decider. The market is seen as both natural (since it is assumed that people naturally seek their self-interest) and moral (if everyone seeks their own profit, the profit of all will be maximized by the invisible hand). As the ultimate moral authority, there should be no power higher than the market that might go against market values. Thus the government can spend money to protect the market and promote market values, but should not rule over it either through (1) regulation, (2) taxation, (3) unions and worker rights, (4) environmental protection or food safety laws, and (5) tort cases. Moreover, government should not do public service. The market has service industries for that.

Thus, it would be wrong for the government to provide health care, education, public broadcasting, public parks and so on. The very idea of these things is at odds with the conservative moral system. No one should be paying for anyone else. It is individual responsibility in all arenas. Taxation is thus seen as taking money away from those who have earned it and giving it to people who don't deserve it. Taxation cannot be seen as providing the necessities of life for a civilized society, and, as necessary, for business to prosper.

In conservative family life, the strict father rules. Fathers and husbands should have control over reproduction; hence, parental and spousal notification laws and opposition to abortion. In conservative religion, God is seen as the strict father, the Lord, who rewards and punishes according to individual responsibility in following his Biblical word.

Above all, the authority of conservatism itself must be maintained. The country should be ruled by conservative values, and progressive values are seen as evil. Science should have authority over the market, and so the science of global warming and evolution must be denied. Facts that are inconsistent with the authority of conservatism must be ignored or denied or explained away. To protect and extend conservative values themselves, the devil's own means can be used against conservatism's immoral enemies, whether lies, intimidation, torture or even death, say, for women's doctors.

Freedom is defined as being your own strict father - with individual, not social, responsibility, and without any government authority telling you what you can and cannot do. To defend that freedom as an individual, you will, of course, need a gun.

This is the America that conservatives really want. Budget deficits are convenient ruses for destroying American democracy and replacing it with conservative rule in all areas of life.

What is saddest of all is to see Democrats helping them.

Democrats help radical conservatives by accepting the deficit frame and arguing about what to cut. Even arguing against specific "cuts" is working within the conservative frame. What is the alternative? Pointing out what conservatives really want. Point out that there is plenty of money in America, and in Wisconsin. It is at the top. The disparity in financial assets is un-American - the top one percent has more financial assets than the bottom 95 percent. Middle-class wages have been flat for 30 years, while the wealth has floated to the top. This fits the conservative way of life, but not the American way of life.

Democrats help conservatives by not shouting out loud, over and over, that it was conservative values that caused the global economic collapse: lack of regulation and a greed-is-good ethic.

Democrats also help conservatives by what a friend has called "Democratic Communication Disorder." Republican conservatives have constructed a vast and effective communication system, with think tanks, framing experts, training institutes, a system of trained speakers, vast holdings of media and booking agents. Eighty percent of the talking heads on TV are conservatives. Talk matters, because language heard over and over changes brains. Democrats have not built the communication system they need, and many are relatively clueless about how to frame their deepest values and complex truths.

And Democrats help conservatives when they function as policy wonks — talking policy without communicating the moral values behind the policies. They help conservatives when they neglect to remind us that pensions are deferred payments for work done. "Benefits" are pay for work, not a handout. Pensions and benefits are arranged by contract. If there is not enough money for them, it is because the contracted funds have been taken by conservative officials and given to wealthy people and corporations instead of to the people who have earned them.

Democrats help conservatives when they use conservative words like "entitlements" instead of "earnings" and speak of government as providing "services" instead of "necessities."

Is there hope?

I see it in Wisconsin, where tens of thousands citizens see through the conservative frames and are willing to flood the streets of their capital to stand up for their rights. They understand that democracy is about citizens uniting to take care of each other, about social responsibility as well as individual responsibility, and about work - not just for your own profit, but to help create a civilized society. They appreciate their teachers, nurses, firemen, police and other public servants. They are flooding the streets to demand real democracy - the democracy of caring, of social responsibility and of excellence, where prosperity is to be shared by those who work and those who serve.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Concerns about the future of this country - will the U.S. survive another 10 years?

I wonder... would it help or hurt our country and our people (the common good of the people (NOT the Wall Street moguls) regarding employment, standard of living, and health and education of our citizens, etc) if our government and our 1% wealthiest citizens (that control 37% of our nation's wealth BECAUSE of our capitalist and political system) invested more money on things that would improve our U.S. competitiveness in the world market, such as small business, local manufacturing, improving the health of our people, investing in technological advancements and implementation, research and implementation of green energy, medicine and other areas of innovation, better education and transportation) instead of foreign military interventions and business investment in foreign countries?

I understand the necessity for self defense but it seems that we should be able to defend ourselves against terrorists more intelligently and efficiently. Can we afford to play the world police any more?

Why are our native corporations investing in foreign jobs and manufacturing. For example, it seems that the war on terrorism is a global concern and should be a more shared world-wide responsibility with better coordination of effort.

Is our economy so grounded in the millitary-industrial complex that without it, we wouldn't have much industry left - that is my fear.

I do believe that we can't rely on simply market demand to address ALL the needs of the common good - not everything can be left to the profit-motive, thus relying on wise use of tax payer money and reinvestment by our wealthiest citizens.

I would like to believe that our 1% wealthiest citizens that made money from this capitalistic society could be more patriotic and re-invest more in U.S. manufacturing and research - where they made their fortunes. Maybe I am wrong, but I don't see it. I am not talking about handouts, but rather reinvesting in the country that created their wealth.

I AM concerned about what appears to be the demise of the United States as a economic world competitor, due to unwise and unpatriotic investments. I am concerned about this means for the future standard of living of our children and grandchildren.

Jobs are going overseas and corporations moving manufacturing overseas. Besides wheat, weapons and some autos, what do we have left to sell?

Can we ever have a peace-time and prosperous economy? I hope to see some light at the end of this dark tunnel, and I hope it is the light of peace and prosperity in this country.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

How will the new health care bill help families

This year, children with pre-existing conditions can no longer be denied health insurance coverage. Once the new health insurance exchanges begin in the coming years, pre-existing condition discrimination will become a thing of the past for everyone.

This year, health care plans will allow young people to remain on their parents' insurance policy up until their 26th birthday.

This year, insurance companies will be banned from dropping people from coverage when they get sick, and they will be banned from implementing lifetime caps on coverage. This year, restrictive annual limits on coverage will be banned for certain plans. Under health insurance reform, Americans will be ensured access to the care they need.

This year, adults who are uninsured because of pre-existing conditions will have access to affordable insurance through a temporary subsidized high-risk pool.

In the next fiscal year, the bill increases funding for community health centers, so they can treat nearly double the number of patients over the next five years.

This year, we'll also establish an independent commission to advise on how best to build the health care workforce and increase the number of nurses, doctors and other professionals to meet our country's needs. Going forward, we will provide $1.5 billion in funding to support the next generation of doctors, nurses and other primary care practitioners -- on top of a $500 million investment from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.

Health insurance reform will also curb some of the worst insurance industry practices and strengthen consumer protections:

This year, this bill creates a new, independent appeals process that ensures consumers in new private plans have access to an effective process to appeal decisions made by their insurer.

This year, discrimination based on salary will be outlawed. New group health plans will be prohibited from establishing any eligibility rules for health care coverage that discriminate in favor of higher-wage employees.

Beginning this fiscal year, this bill provides funding to states to help establish offices of health insurance consumer assistance in order to help individuals in the process of filing complaints or appeals against insurance companies.

Starting January 1, 2011, insurers in the individual and small group market will be required to spend 80 percent of their premium dollars on medical services. Insurers in the large group market will be required to spend 85 percent of their premium dollars on medical services. Any insurers who don't meet those thresholds will be required to provide rebates to their policyholders.

Starting in 2011, this bill helps states require insurance companies to submit justification for requested premium increases. Any company with excessive or unjustified premium increases may not be able to participate in the new health insurance exchanges.

Reform immediately begins to lower health care costs for American families and small businesses:

This year, small businesses that choose to offer coverage will begin to receive tax credits of up to 35 percent of premiums to help make employee coverage more affordable.

This year, new private plans will be required to provide free preventive care: no co-payments and no deductibles for preventive services. And beginning January 1, 2011, Medicare will do the same.

This year, this bill will provide help for early retirees by creating a temporary re-insurance program to help offset the costs of expensive premiums for employers and retirees age 55-64.

This year, this bill starts to close the Medicare Part D 'donut hole' by providing a $250 rebate to Medicare beneficiaries who hit the gap in prescription drug coverage. And beginning in 2011, the bill institutes a 50% discount on prescription drugs in the 'donut hole.'

Sunday, March 21, 2010

You didn't get mad when...

Regarding the teabaggers and right fundamentalist groups:

You didn't get mad when the Supreme Court stopped a legal recount and appointed a President....

You didn't get mad when Cheney allowed Energy company officials to dictate energy policy....

You didn't get mad when a covert CIA operative got outed.

You didn't get mad when the Patriot Act got passed.

You didn't get mad when we illegally invaded a country that posed no threat to us.

You didn't get mad when we spent over 600 billion(and counting) on said illegal war.

You didn't get mad when over 10 billion dollars just disappeared in Iraq.

You didn't get mad when you saw the Abu Grahib photos.

You didn't get mad when you found out we were torturing people.

You didn't get mad when the government was illegally wiretapping Americans.

You didn't get mad when we didn't catch Bin Laden.

You didn't get mad when you saw the horrible conditions at Walter Reed.

You didn't get mad when we let a major US city drown.

You didn't get mad when the deficit hit the trillion dollar mark.

You finally got mad when.. when... wait for it... when the government decided that people in America deserved the right to see a doctor if they are sick. Yes, illegal wars, lies, corruption, torture, stealing your tax dollars to make the rich richer, are all ok with you but helping other Americans... well, to hell with them.

Wake up America!

Thursday, March 4, 2010

We NEED healthcare reform NOW so that you and your family will always have access to health coverage, no matter if you’re sick, get older, lose your job, change your job, or hit a rough financial patch. Healthcare reform will give you peace-of-mind about your health care, and the freedom to live the life you want without fear you’ll be denied insurance or can’t afford it.

Reform proposals already have passed both chambers of Congress by majority vote. They will NOT add to our deficit, and actually will cut wasteful healthcare spending.

Yesterday, the President added more changes after meeting with both parties, including greater efforts to reduce medical fraud and frivolous lawsuits – and then he called for an up-or-down vote on health reform.

But thanks to politics and the coming election season, some in Congress still want to turn their backs, delay and leave us at the mercy of the giant insurance companies.

Who can change their minds? YOU can! Tell your Representative and Senators to finish the job they started!

Opponents are more fired up than ever, because they know it’s always easier to be against something than have the courage to fix a tough, systemic problem like health insurance. But you ultimately have the power, because your members of Congress are responsible to YOU, their constituent!

You can hold your lawmakers accountable if they don’t deliver:
• Health insurance that can never be denied to you, even if you have a pre-existing condition.
• Your choice of the same coverage members of Congress get.
• Help to buy coverage should you lose your job or have less money coming in.
• Needed preventive care and screenings – mammograms, colonoscopies – covered 100 percent.
• Real insurance industry reforms, including a rebate if your insurance company uses too much of your premium on their profits and overhead.
• Tax credits to help local small businesses cover their workers.
• A Medicare program that doesn’t waste your tax dollars, and is there when you need it.

Contact you Senators and Representative now to finish what they started! They work for you! The next few weeks will be critical if we are to get real change, which is why we need you and everyone you know to weigh in.

Call your representative toll free at 1-877-445-1317
Contact your Senators using this directory

Friday, October 30, 2009

correspondence from Senator Lieberman regarding a public healthcare option

I read in the news yesterday that Senator Lieberman declared he will not support healthcare reform if it includes a public healthcare option. Finding this difficult to believe (or NOT), I wrote to Senator Lieberman and questioned him on this. In response, he wrote:

"Dear Mr. Price:
Thank you for contacting me to express your opinion regarding health care reform efforts. I appreciate your taking the time to share your thoughts with me, and I want you to know that I hear and understand your concerns.

Americans today are faced with great uncertainty about their health care coverage and insurance. These concerns focus around rising medical costs, access to coverage, and quality of care. With more than 45 million uninsured Americans and health care spending levels that exceed any in the world, our current health care system is unsustainable. Too often, we reward quantity over quality. The need for health care reform is clear. We must begin to provide Americans with the high-quality, affordable health care they need.

As you may know, various health plans have begun to emerge from both houses of Congress. These initial plans outline key objectives that President Obama has stressed as essential elements to any health care reform plan, including cost reduction, preventive care, health systems modernization, and long-term care and services.

I will continue to work with my colleagues and the Obama Administration on a bipartisan basis to resolve the remaining aspects that are key to reaching an agreement. A broad coalition is needed when addressing an issue as large, and as important for our nation's citizens, as health care reform. I do feel strongly that any health care reform legislation that I support must not only be budget neutral, but also reduce health care costs over the long term for individuals, groups, and businesses and for the federal government. That is the primary reason why I oppose a public option. It would be better to first sustain the long-term solvency of Medicare and Medicaid before creating a new government-run health insurance program.
Some have asked about my remarks regarding votes on health care reform on the Senate floor. When the bill comes to the Senate floor, I am planning to vote to allow debate to begin on the bill, which in this instance will require 60 votes. I very much look forward to debating the various aspects of this critical legislation and voting on proposed amendments. If, however, when the subsequent motion to limit debate time on the bill is voted on, with a 60-vote requirement for that motion to succeed, I will not vote in favor of that motion if the bill at that time includes a public option, for the reasons stated above.

I am hopeful that Senators on both sides of the aisle will come together to achieve meaningful health care reform that expands coverage, reduces costs, and improves the quality of care for everyone.

Please rest assured that I will continue to keep your concerns and suggestions in mind as the health care reform debate continues to play out and as we move forward on this important issue. I hope you will continue to visit my website at for updated news about my work on behalf of Connecticut and the nation. Please contact me if you have any additional questions or comments about our work in Congress.

Joseph I. Lieberman

In disgust, I replied to Senator Lieberman the following message:

"I am very sad to hear that you, Senator Lieberman, will not support health care reform if it includes a national healthcare option.

I see absolutely no reason why not give the public a choice of a national health care program or private insurance.

Without a public healthcare plan, for millions of citizens there still is NO choice.
With no choice, the healthcare problem in the U.S. will persist and drag on and rapidly get worse.

The United States healthcare system is a worldwide disgrace!

A public healthcare plan would finally give millions of Americans a choice.
You, Senator, are also opting to deprive millions of U.S. citizens health care insurance.

Your very vague arguments not to support a public option clearly indicate you are not voting in the interest of your constituents.

That begs the question of who do you represent? Your constituents or special interests… maybe the insurance companies?

The answer appears to be clear and I am very disappointed in your choice of allegiance.

Voting on the side of special interest groups is the main problem in our elected officials today. It is apparent that you are part of the problem.

I will do my best to elect in a Senator that will vote for citizen interests, not special interests.

While you chose to continue to support the enormously expensive, ill-conceived, and fraudulent war in Iraq during the Bush administration, you choose to deny funding for a public healthcare option. Where are you priorities Senator?
I am forwarding your message, along with my reply, to all my friends and family in Connecticut to make them aware of your priorities and decision regarding healthcare.
I also ask them to forward this email to their friends and family in Connecticut.

Steve Price"

If you feel as disgusted as I am, write your opinion to Senator Lieberman and just maybe he will realize that his constituents are aware of his priorities and decisions and maybe will change his mind. His website to contact him is: