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Passions in Poetry

"The Anger of the Festering Fringe"

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JenniferMaxwell
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0 posted 10-02-2009 05:56 PM       View Profile for JenniferMaxwell   Email JenniferMaxwell   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for JenniferMaxwell

I never got back to flesh out my thoughts on the right-wing fringe element and how dangerous I feel they are. This article explores the issue and its causes.  

“I've had these thoughts for some time, but have been reluctant to express them. Now so many others have voiced them that it's pointless to remain silent. I am frightened by the climate of insane anti-Obama hatred in this country. I'm not referring to traditional conservatives or Republicans. They're part of the process. I'm speaking of the lunatic fringe, the frothers, the extremist rabble who are sweeping up the ignorant and credulous into a bewildering and fearsome tide of reckless rhetoric.”
http://blogs.suntimes.com/ebert/2009/10/the_anger_of_the_festering_fri.html

Mistletoe Angel
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Hi everyone!

As y'all may have noticed, though I have ended my recent hiatus from Passions In Poetry several months ago, I have barely made a presence in here since then, and though at the time I returned I couldn't quite think of why that was, I now believe I know why, and wanted to share what's on my mind as I think it ties in well with the somber political climate we're in.

As most of you are well aware, I've been known to voice my opinions very strongly and forcefully here. That was especially true from the time the War in Iraq began on through about 2007, where I was fiercely critical of our government's foreign policy, as well as the increasing theocratic and neoconservative leanings of the GOP establishment and its departure from its core party roots in particular, among other things.

While I do believe I was absolutely justified to protest what I still firmly believe were wrong policies on my part, I also, in retrospect, wasn't proud of how heated my addressing of the issues could be and how that at times allowed ego to get in the way and cause disharmony in the community. I ultimately concluded it was unhealthy to allow this kind of commentary to keep spiraling like this, because I felt I was increasingly losing a spiritual component of my life through this, as much as I do enjoy the company of everyone here and of conversation, so I needed to break away from this forum and reclaim that spiritual touch.

And that's what I feel is sorely lacking in our cultural dialogue right now. Rather than constructively focusing on and addressing the broader issues that directly impact our lives in a broad community-minded sense, it's aggressive comments made from the likes of Joe Wilson and Adam Grayson that have overshadowed the conversation and have only intensified the anger and cognitive dissidence on both ends of the spectrum. And while there have always been fringes on both ends, I sense now that they have consumed a considerably broader scope of our national discourse than in much recent memory, and I am saddened by that..........and now that I reflect back on the past six years or so, I realize I fed into that manic maelstrom as well, even while I believe my intentions were always good and I had rational grounds on which to dissent.

*

I suppose what I'm trying to say, is that this year has been a very transformative year for me on multiple levels, and after having a major emotional breakdown late last year during a historic snowstorm after silently suffering from social alienation, self-possession and compulsive pseudo-prudence, I realized I was spiritually bereft, that I finally was able to observe my inner-thoughts in the stillness of my loneliness and accept that I had been in denial, I had been angry with myself, I had gotten so hard on myself, I had harbored so much regret..........and had relied on the past in identifying myself and had used the future as a crutch in the hope better days were ahead while not taking constructive aims to let the present determine the future............and that I HAD to not merely change, but transform my life...........and so started volunteering intensively through the non-profit agency Hands On Greater Portland, which helped me re-connect with many different communities, then from there started regularly volunteering at local rescue missions like the Union Gospel Mission, the Blanchet House and the Julia West House, the Cherry Blossoms Loaves & Fishes and artistic coalitions like the Zimbabwe Artists Project, among other groups.

In effect, I discovered even more social outlets which further helped me integrate into the broader community and keep me more grounded in the present, including spiritual/personal development groups like the dance gathering Ecstatic Alchemy, and from there I've gained a more holistic appreciation of life than I've ever felt, and with that I feel only faint remnants of my past discomforts and feel no baggage within!

*

For those wondering why I share this anecdote in this particular thread, I guess what I am saying is that, now that I reflect back on my own experience, I realize that I, or anyone for that matter, who lives with feelings of scarcity and absence in their hearts, is capable of one day waking up and finding one's self in a "festering fringe" of sorts.

If I was in the same place I was two years ago, I would react here in agreement with Ebert in anger. But while I may disagree with the intentions of at least some of Obama's fiercest detractors, I can't be angry with them all the same..............because I now realize then I would only allow the anger to consume me, and simultaneously I realize many who live driven by unchecked anger and are part of this so-called "festering fringe" are NOT monsters. They are NO LESS human than any of the rest of us and I've also come to realize for the same reason that this notion of a "festering fringe" is illusionary. Perhaps some of those vocal voices, for instance, bear scars to this day from the past that might even be as political as they are personal and thus react to certain parts of our cultural psyche with more ardent emotion than others. And while I would disagree with what it is they're doing, or even the grounds on which they base their opposition, that doesn't make them "wrong" or "insane" or "despicable". They're just trying to find stillness in their own lives, many probably no less frightened than I was for a while leading up to early this year.

That said, I hope this will be my last post in this forum............not because of anyone in this forum, nor because I don't enjoy talking with anyone in this forum.............but because I just feel, inevitably, discussions will get heated here.........and I guess I've lost heart in this specific forum because I don't want to feel that way anymore, and I don't want to make others angry all the same.

Hope y'all understand, and I offer y'all my kindest regards!

XOXO,
Lisping Hibiscus


"If we have no peace, it is because we have forgotten that we belong to each other"

Mother Teresa
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2 posted 10-03-2009 08:21 AM       View Profile for Balladeer   Email Balladeer   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Balladeer's Home Page   View IP for Balladeer

Another article naming those against Obama as racists.....ho hum.

I suppose now that the IOC is made up of racist, too...waiting for Carter and Pelosi to confirm that fact. Stand by...

Who can seriously compare American president to Hitler? Who believes a man who attends church more regularly than any president since Carter is an atheist?

Perhaps, Jennifer, you can recheck that video you wasted your time watching with the hundreds of signs portraying Bush as Hitler, a monster, a man that must die, etc, etc, etc.
Where was Ebert then, or Pelosi, or Rhodes scholar Rachel....or you? No one on the left seemed to have a problem with that. Who can seriously compare American president to Hitler? Apparently people on both sides. It's just that when Democrats do it, it's ok. When the right does it, it's harmful to the country. Such a deal....
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quote:
It's just that when Democrats do it, it's ok. When the right does it, it's harmful to the country.


Anyone comparing Bush or Obama to Hitler is an idiot of the highest order as far as I'm concerned.

I'm sure you'll agree Mike.

.
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4 posted 10-03-2009 08:45 AM       View Profile for Denise   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Denise

It is a fallacy to categorize political opinions, ideological differences and honest questions as 'hate' and 'racism'. And anger is not a bad thing. It can be a catalyst for a change in direction, personally and nationally. Without a constructive outlet for that anger, such as freedom of expression, anger could easily fester, with destructive consequences. I think the bottom line is that we have to 'own' our own anger and take responsibility for using it wisely and channeling it productively, as I believe those who have been participating in the Tea Parties and the March on DC have done.
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quote:
It is a fallacy to categorize political opinions, ideological differences and honest questions as 'hate' and 'racism'.


It depends on the political opinions.

If a person's political opinion is that a particular race should be rounded up and exterminated in concentration camps I'd say you'd be pretty spot on categorizing that person's opinion as "hateful" and "racist". In such a case no fallacy exists.

.
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6 posted 10-03-2009 09:37 AM       View Profile for Denise   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Denise

That's not a political opinion, Grinch, that's racism.
JenniferMaxwell
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7 posted 10-03-2009 09:41 AM       View Profile for JenniferMaxwell   Email JenniferMaxwell   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for JenniferMaxwell

The difference that you either can’t see or aren’t willing to admit, Balladeer, is that the anti-Bush fringe element carried banners and signs whereas members of right-wing hate Obama fringe groups are carrying lethal weapons. Not only have they brought guns and automatic rifles near to where the President was speaking, they’ve also brought them to tea parties and local town halls. There is an undercurrent of lethal violence about to erupt that’s nearly palpable, fueled by the hate speech and rhetoric of those like the anti-Obama Fox talk show hosts.

Off for a Rocky Mountain High. Have a good week, take care and be well.

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What was the incidence of violence at the left-wing protests compared with the incidence of violence at the right-wing protests, Jennifer, guns or no guns?

Carrying a weapon when you are legally allowed to do so, to affirm that right, when those in power are trying to deprive you of that right, is not a crime and not a reason to suspect that an undercurrent of lethal violence is about to erupt. That's just paranoia.

Please point me to any incidence of Fox News 'hate speech' against Obama. I haven't seen any. All I've seen are some who disagree with his policies.  
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http://dailymail.com/Opinion/DonSurber/200909230460
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Anyone comparing Bush or Obama to Hitler is an idiot of the highest order as far as I'm concerned.

I'm sure you'll agree Mike.


I agree wholeheartedly. grinch. I'll go further to say that anyone who compares life in America these days to a holocaust shares that same distinction.....like Grayson.


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I understand, Jennifer. Calling a president Hitler or carrying signs for him to die is fine as long as you don't have a legally registered firearm in your possession. (how many instances were of that happening, again?)

No, what you are saying is that republican extremists are dangerous when doing the same things democrat extremists did which you did not find worthy of criticism at all.

We've seen a lot of that lately...


Yes, have a Rocky Mountain high. You need it.
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12 posted 10-03-2009 01:57 PM       View Profile for Grinch   Email Grinch   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Grinch


quote:
anyone who compares life in America these days to a holocaust shares that same distinction.....like Grayson


Wasn't he comparing the alleged deaths of 44,000 Americans a year who are uninsured to a holocaust?

If so it's technically a valid use of a word that describes mass deaths but personally I think the Jewish holocaust was such that the word holocaust should be set aside and be reserved to describe that single heinous act in human history.


.
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.

The Obsolescence of a Slur

Criticisms of Obama are increasingly met by cries of “Racist!” . . .


How do we determine the accuracy of the “racism” charges?


1) Is the criticism of Barack Obama unusual by recent presidential standards? . . .

2) Is there a systematic racialist attack on other black politicians and leaders? . . .

3) Is President Obama’s agenda, or Obama himself, the problem? . . .

4) Has the Right recently been more racially conscious in its attacks than has the Left?  . . .

5) Is racial polarization more pronounced among whites or among blacks? . . .

6) Are there trends in the general society that suggest a new racial polarization?  . . .


http://article.nationalreview.com/?q=MDJmODI5MjdhNDQ4ZjdiZDYxMWFkZTdmMzM3OTk1MjU=&w=MA  ==

.


Was the Olympic Committee racist when they handed the Obamas
and Chicago their hats in the first round?
Seems it was a big upset.

.
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14 posted 10-03-2009 06:27 PM       View Profile for Grinch   Email Grinch   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Grinch

quote:
Was the Olympic Committee racist when they handed the Obamas
and Chicago their hats in the first round?
Seems it was a big upset.


No.
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If so it's technically a valid use of a word that describes mass deaths

Tell me you are joking, please.

hol⋅o⋅caust
  /ˈhɒləˌkɔst, ˈhoʊlə-/ Show Spelled Pronunciation [hol-uh-kawst, hoh-luh-] Show IPA
Use holocaust in a Sentence
See web results for holocaust
See images of holocaust
–noun
1. a great or complete devastation or destruction, esp. by fire.
2. a sacrifice completely consumed by fire; burnt offering.
3. (usually initial capital letter) the systematic mass slaughter of European Jews in Nazi concentration camps during World War II (usually prec. by the).
4. any mass slaughter or reckless destruction of life.


Please point out whi one applies to Grayson's comment. Are the 44,000 deaths great devastation or destruction, that less than one percent of the population? Are traffic deaths to be referred to a holocaust then?

I can understand one or two of our illustrious members saying that in an attempt to give Grayson a free pass, but it's hard to imagine you doing it....and yet there it is.

Grayson's use of the word was intentional and used for one comparison only, as you well know.

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     Was the Olympic Committee racist when they handed the Obamas
    and Chicago their hats in the first round?
    Seems it was a big upset.
No.



I wouldn't say that too quickly, grinch. Yes, I agree completely the IOC did not act along racial lines....but don't underestimate our mainstream media and vocal black leaders like Sharpeton and Jackson. In my imagination, I can portray them describing the scenario of the IOC's actions being influenced by the problems Obama is having at home, the resistance to his programs, the plummeting of public opinion that believe in his decisions...all of this, of course, spurred on by evil conservative talk shows who have incited the public against him...and all because of their evil racial prejudice against him. So,in a roundabout way, race will turn  out to be the scapegoat excuse, after all. Ya don't think it will work out that way? We'll see soon enough...........
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17 posted 10-03-2009 09:22 PM       View Profile for Grinch   Email Grinch   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Grinch

quote:
Tell me you are joking, please.


If I were joking Mike I would have put a little smiley face at the end of it.  

The term holocaust has been used since at least the 10th century in England to describe death on a large scale, while the majority of cases involved genocide the usage was not confined to genocide alone.

The word holocaust originally derived from the Greek word holokauston, meaning "a completely (holos) burnt (kaustos) sacrificial offering" to a god. Since the late 19th century, "holocaust" has primarily been used to refer to disasters or catastrophes.

According to the Oxford English Dictionary, the word was first used to describe Hitler's treatment of the Jews from as early as 1942, though did not become a standard reference until the 1950s. By the late 1970s, however, the conventional meaning of the word became the Nazi genocide.


-----------------------------------------------------------------

The Concise Oxford Dictionary of English Etymology 1996

holocaust whole burnt offering XIII; complete sacrifice XV; complete destruction XVII.
------------------------------------------------------

It may be that we're experiencing another one of those differences in word usage Mike - Two nations separated by a common language and all that - As I said earlier, out of respect I'd prefer to see the word used exclusively for the massacre of the Jews but I don't get a say in the matter. In English any large incidence of death can be said to be a holocaust.

.
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Personally, I think a good reason for losing the Olympic games was the fact that Michelle and Barack forgot they were not speaking to Americans. Their "It's all about me" tactics didn't fly.

Brfore Michell's speech, the audience was treated to a presentation of South Side Girl, her mother narrating her daughter's growing up in Chicago. Then Michelle gave her speech, over half of it talking about her childhood, her father coming down with multiple sclerosis and a variety of personal stories. What did this have to do with Chicago being a good site for the Olympics? Not a darn thing and the IOC recognized that. It would have been a good speech in America, with thousands of supporters cheering, crying, celebrating and suffering with her growing up period....but this was supposed to be a pitch for Chicago, for the Olympics.  It didn't fly.

Here's the speech. Judge for yourself..
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2008/08/25/michelle-obamas-democrati_n_121310.html

Wow. Imagine me, presenting a Huffington Post link!!

It must have been crushing to Oprah to realize she just might not be as influentual in other parts of the world as she is here. Welcome to reality, Ms. Winfrey...
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19 posted 10-03-2009 09:34 PM       View Profile for Balladeer   Email Balladeer   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Balladeer's Home Page   View IP for Balladeer

It may be that we're experiencing another one of those differences in word usage Mike

I doubt it, grinch. In your lifetime, how many times have you heard the word holocaust mentioned in any context outside of war? When many die over there due to a soccer match gone berzerk, is it considered a holocaust? When severe weather conditions kill thousands, it is referred to as a holocaust? In what other contexts have you heard the words used over there?

All of this "Well, it could mean...." chatter is meaningless. You know how he used it and why he used it. Offering him a pass through these semantics tarnishes the "fair play to all" that you have graciously shown lately.

One half of one percent can hardly be called a holocaust by any standard.
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While I'd love to argue the entomology of the word holocaust Mike I don't really see much point. I've already said that I would have preferred it if he'd used an alternative word but I see nothing sinister in using the word he used within the context of mass deaths.

Have I seen the word used recently used outside the context of war?

Yes. Several times while reading and comparing the arguments for and against abortion.
http://www.realtruth.org/articles/152-a.html

Do I hear it every day? No, but then again mass death isn't generally an everyday occurrence where I live.

You've piqued my curiosity though Mike. What did you think the Grayson meant when he used the word holocaust if he didn't mean mass deaths?

BTW, I hadn't noticed any "fair play to all" change recently - are you sure it's not that you're seeing my posts in a different light perhaps?

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21 posted 10-04-2009 12:07 AM       View Profile for Balladeer   Email Balladeer   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Balladeer's Home Page   View IP for Balladeer

What did you think the Grayson meant when he used the word holocaust if he didn't mean mass deaths?

Simple enough. He wanted to shock, outrage, present mental images of people being slaughtered. He wanted to present Hitler's Germany as a valid comparison to the American government in intentionally massacring their people. He wanted a mental image of Auswich projected into people's minds. His words were not only an insult to the government but to every Jew killed in the real holocaust.

No, I won't argue the semantics...believe what you like.
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And today Mike -- over 100 people died because we perpetuated, intentionally, a system that doesn't provide health coverage for its' citizens.

Tomorrow and the next day will be the same, by your intention.  If you aren't for covering them -- you're for not covering them.
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quote:
Simple enough. He wanted to shock, outrage, present mental images of people being slaughtered. He wanted to present Hitler's Germany as a valid comparison to the American government in intentionally massacring their people. He wanted a mental image of Auswich projected into people's minds. His words were not only an insult to the government but to every Jew killed in the real holocaust.


Perhaps he did mean that Mike, if so it didn't work for me. It could be that when people talk about the abortion holocaust, the aids holocaust and the haemophilia holocaust they're doing the same thing but all I get is the image of people dying on a large scale.

I don't think it's likely that he was trying to insult the government, or the Jews who died in the Holocaust, the idea that your government is somehow consciously trying to exterminate the uninsured is ludicrous in the extreme. Besides if Grayson is levelling that charge at the government he has to include his own and every previous government, Republican and Democrat. Insulting the Jews who died in the holocaust is even less likely to my mind - Grayson is Jewish - which would make him even more sensitive to drawing such parallels.

.
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And today Mike -- over 100 people died because we perpetuated, intentionally, a system that doesn't provide health coverage for its' citizens.

What part of the Constitution does that violate, LR? Where exactly is that written? Today, over one hundred people died in car accidents. Is that because the government has not come up with a car that can protect people in accidents? Today, dozens of people were murdered. Is that because the government wasn't able to insure their safety? Nobody is born with a guarantee in their crib, LR.

That 44,000 figure....how valid is it? Are you going to contend that, with health insurance, they wouldn't have died? Do you then claim that, in countries who provide health coverage to all, no one dies? I find that unlikely. How many of those 44,000 could aford health insurance but just didn't bother getting it? How many of them died due to total abuse of their bodies? How many had terminal illnesses that even the best health care couldn't save?  It's a figure meant to inflame criticize and convince people that only the government can save them.  

No one denies health care reform is needed. No one denies that there is waste that can be eliminated, streamlining of the system that can be achieved, more control of insurance company prices through competitive pricing, an honest effort at tort reform...there are many ways in which health insurance premiums can be reduced to be more affordable to those who cannot afford it at the present time.  The question is.....does that require a government takeover of the health care industry? DO we give a government that has never run any private business successfully without going bankrupt control over health care?
 
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