Stop the world, I want to get off



We have Jews burning Palestinians alive in their homes, a hypocrite in charge in Israel condemning the actions of Jewish extremists whilst ignoring the ongoing encroachment of settlements which are illegal under international law. At the same time the right in America continue to support Netanyahu regardless of his actions – the same right that have attempted on more than forty occasions to reverse Obamacare which has allowed over 60 million people in the US access affordable healthcare.

It is also the right that is presenting fifty shades of mental by having Trump as a Republican candidate for President, a man who may be good at business but knows fuck-all about diplomacy, decency or haircuts. If you consider that it is the US approach to foreign policy that has created ISIS then Trump can only make things worse. Mind you if you look at the strange combinations of groups fighting each other with the same country on opposite sides in some battles as they try to contain the terrorists.

The fallout from these wars and civil wars is causing mass emigration and asylum seekers to escape the Middle East and North Africa. There are thousands on the other side of the English Channel trying to find their way across. It’s a humanitarian disaster. Add in the typical French response of burning things then it’s a complete disaster. Also in Europe there is the ongoing attack on Greece by a German led group of bullies forcing them to do unknown damage long-term to the Greek people and the national finances. Austerity only works to a point.

Ask Tony Blair how to balance these things when he accepted a payment of £400,000 for a speech on world poverty and hunger recently. He also believes that we still want to hear from him as he offered his tuppence worth on the Labour Leadership – a race that looks increasingly likely to be won by Jeremy Corbyn. Everyone seems scared of him – probably because he has a vision, values and ideas that mark him and potentially the party out as different from the others – at last! A fresh pair of eyes on the national picture could be a good thing or could cause mayhem, but then what’s worse than the Tories doing as they please while Harriet Harman loses her backbone? The BBC under threat, welfare cuts to those most in need and tax benefits removed from the lowest paid.

Finally there’s my own world which is still far from settled. This week I found myself in a hospice for my job – removing a chair which was of no use to the patient. As I walked through the building and saw all these poor individuals in long-term care or end of life care I wondered why we make a lot of noise about a lion shot in Africa but on our doorstep hundreds, if not thousands of people are forced to live in incapacitated states from which they will never recover. Young and old side by side suffering from life limiting illnesses – to quote my mum “You wouldn’t let an animal suffer like that”.

We live in a world where money and power trumps all, if you excuse the pun. We turn a blind eye to the asylum seekers, the poachers, the dying, the poor, the poverty-stricken and the disabled. We are more angry that a dentist shot a lion that we are of the 30,000 people just 26 miles across the water are looking to come here for safe haven. “Why don’t they stop where they arrive in Europe?” Well many do. Sweden takes more than we do, but one is too many for some. We shrug as another gun is fired in a cinema in America, as another racist incident happens or another example of climate change happens before our eyes and instead “like” a guy dancing at a music festival.

I’m not a religious man, but if I were I’d be wondering where my God was in all this misery and mayhem. Where is the hope? How can we make it through these horrible times we live in?

Stop the world, I want to get off.



Medicare, Obamacare and the gap in between



I can’t take the credit on this one as I saw the issue dealt with brilliantly on the Daily Show and wondered how many others didn’t realise the huge problems involved and how the stubborn and idiotic republicans are making the matter even worse.

In the UK we have the NHS and we also have a private sector system that works in tandem but the important point is that everyone in the UK gets free access to a doctor when they need one – in the US it seems much more complicated and I didn’t fully understand the system so I looked into it. In the simplest terms possible here is the situation:

  • 50% of Americans have private or paid for Medical insurance, may companies will pay for the insurance as part of the terms of employment. With new rules coming in, by 2015 any employer with more than 50 employees must provide medical insurance.
  • around 30% of Americans get cover on Medicaid under Obamacare because they are over 65, disabled or earn under $31,000 a year as a family.
  • The final 20% is the issue – there are many issues and arguments and this is where the problems lie.

That 20% are now covered in the Obamacare Law which states they cannot be turned away by insurance companies for pre-existing conditions, pregnancy or any other issue and the Government picks up all or some of the tab depending on your salary. This sounds fairly sensible so far – but throw in that the Government said they would cover all costs for this 20% for three years until everything was settled and in place and suddenly you have a system that cares for everyone. Good.

Well no, because 26 states refused to take the money and have left their people without cover. Those 26 just happen to be Republican controlled states. People have to pay to use A&E one way or another and if the patient cannot afford to pay eventually the hospital has to recoup its money through insurance premiums. Some families become bankrupt because of this ad have to sell everything they have if it is a long term treatment for something like Cancer so it seems strange that the Republican party would not want to protect their people by taking the money from the Government when offered. Well, it’s because of downright awkwardness and their general hatred of Barack Obama that they are screwing their own states on a matter of political posturing. So rather than take the money for the three years they are willing to allow families not in poverty but on the edge of it to deal with this themselves.

This is around 20 million Americans who are having to shop around for Insurance and with Obamacare’s support they should all now get that, but some will always slip through the net. These people are being left out to dry by a Republican party hell-bent on proving a point rather than looking after their own people. And this is the same Republican Party who refuse to acknowledge that Obamacare is a Law in the US and must be accepted. The whole stand-off over the shutdown is because the Right is still sulking that Romney’s not in power and they don’t like Obamacare. When you put it like that you can see how childish this great nation has become.

To me this is simple – it’s a law, pay for it. No negotiations, no stand-offs, pay it. Why is this once great nation being held hostage by a bunch of sulky rich white men and women? (Who all get paid and have medical coverage during the shut down unlike many of their State constituents) Obamacare is not perfect, but then that’s because it was tampered with so much on its way to becoming a bill – but it’s better than nothing and can be built upon if the Democrats can claim the two houses as well as the Presidency net time round. To make Obamacare out to be the ruin of America, to be unconstitutional and to claim it is damaging existing holders of Insurance is all a lie perpetrated by the Republicans.

Aye, God Bless America – cause no-one else would with that as their idea of democracy.