Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Federalization, Noam Chomsky and Bruce Bateman

I know there are scads of people on these islands opposed to Dekada, opposed to federalization of immigration, and just generally concerned with the idea of contract workers getting green cards because they think it harms them. I personally have this gene that just always associates with the underdog. It is always personally beneficial to service the interests of the rich and powerful. Dengre describes how doing so was pretty good for our governor. The governor is hardly the only example. I'd probably have more money in the bank if I just kissed the ass of the rich and powerful. I just can't and still respect myself.

I've traveled the Philippines enough to see how hard those people work for very little money. My mother in law has five children. Four of them live and work outside the Philippines. The employment pages there are all about jobs outside of the PI. There is wealth there, but the system is unbelievably corrupt, so the people suffer. There is a growing gap between rich and poor in this country and throughout the world. People accept it because they think they'll be rich, too.

Right now there are many people who have lived here for years as guest workers. Many support families back home out of their $3.05 per hour paycheck. They are often separated from their children. Some have American citizen children and they are a family divided. I can relate. I have two American children and a Filipino wife. She still has not met my parents, and we've been married two and a half years. She can't get into the states -- at least yet. Her paperwork is in process, and it should be done soon enough, but the fact is, we are kind of a stateless family right now. We obviously aren't going to leave her. We can't go to the Philippines free and clear, and she can't go to the states. There are many people in this situation. I've seen how hard these people have worked. Many have suffered abuses. How many stories do we see in the paper about people who still haven't gotten their wages. I know some of these people, and they are model employees -- Cal Ripken like in showing up to work every day. I think they deserve a break, and if this harms the CNMI in the short term, that's life, we don't own these people. They are not indentured servants tied here to our meager minimum wage that we paid Jack Abramoff millions to bribe Tom Delay to keep.
***
The corporate influence on global policy is enormous. If you haven't spent some time reviewing and examining the thoughts of Noam Chomsky, you are doing yourself a serious disservice. His opinions on American foreign and domestic policy aren't flattering, and neither are his thoughts on the media. Many just can't handle what he says, can't think about it, can't even consider it. That is a shame. His work is well documented with countless footnotes, and he is in many ways a living Aristotle.
***
According to Angelo's Blog and Middle Road, the call is out to boycott Chamber President Juan Guerrero's places Herman's Bakery, Western Union and Mita Travel because of his stance on federalization. If you ask me, it is about time the contract workers stood up for themselves. Danny Aquino has a stick up his ass about white people and Filipinos, the exact makeup of my family. I appreciate the fact that he is open in his racism. I'm also not sending another nickel to his daycare center Little Darlings. I would hope Brady Barrineau's family would do the same there, but that is their call. Juan T is free to do his thing, and Dekada is free to do their thing. I will say this, if Filipinos can stay away from Jolibee, as they did with the Yumul bill, Herman's Bakery and the others will be a walk in the park.
***
I've been out of blogging circles until the last day or so, and I've gone around, and basically argued with Bruce Bateman on many a post. I have to admit, there was a time I only knew Bruce from his column, and I didn't like him based on that. Things have changed. I really like Bruce a lot and I'm glad to have him as a foil. He's funny, not PC, a genuinely nice guy and a good writer. We see the world very differently, but we are out there arguing with each other with respect and without personal animosity. We are strangely alike, yet different, a blogging paradox. We are both hyper-opinionated, non-pc, hypercritical, distrustful of government (albeit for different reasons), we both like mojitos, diving and the Blue Ridge Mountains. We both have Filipina wives and children. If I didn't know him personally, I might have gone off on him like Dengre did. I kind of did once. I'm really glad to have gotten to know him better.

Harry mentioned this the other day:
"I am not who most people think I am. They have a preconceived idea of who I am
and what I'm like from my radio presence. I do have some definite thoughts and
opinions about things, but if you think you know me from the radio, you're
mistaken."

The same goes for Bruce, Angelo, me, lots of us. When we offer our opinions, sometimes we misspeak and sometimes we are misinterpreted. I feel like my words were mangled here and here. My wife's office workers had a debate on whether I was saying all Chamorros were racist in my criticism of the Taotao Tano protest. The word Chamorro wasn't even in the piece, and all my comments were directed at the signholders. I wasn't even saying they were racist people, just that it was a racist display. There is a difference there. I found Mr. Cruz's defense to be pretty weak and lame. He'd have been better to have apologized and gotten back to the work he was doing before that revolting protest.

I have, to my great shock, not encountered much hostility to my critical public comments. Some doubtlessly don't like me because I'm critical of our system and our government, and I wasn't born here and I'm not "local," yet I have a lot to say. I respect people like Cindy Sheehan and Michael Moore, Harry Blalock and even Dennis Green who often times suffer personal attacks for expressing their opinions. I think everyone should be respectful of the risks they take if the speaker is honest.

9 comments:

Pilgrim said...

Your key phrase in your final paragraph.... respect the speaker if he's honest... said much. Michael Moore is a brilliant film maker who has a brilliant mind. Too bad he isn't honest in portraying his stories. Sicko could have done some good in the USA had it not been for such blatant one-sided reporting that anyone with half a brain knows is not the norm. Everyone I have ever talked to from Canada or Australia tell me that they hate their medical system and would prefer to not be taxes so high so they could opt for a US type of plan.

scubatripp said...

First to Jeff – Absolutely on all accounts including your assesment of Bruce, Sorry Bruce!

Then to pilgrim. I have not seen Mr. Moore's new film and generalizing a nations feelings base on a few acquaintances is just wrong.
Your comment about blatant one side reporting can be charged against nearly every form of media. I hope you will include such things as FOX news in your assessment of "anyone with a brain knows it's not the norm". Problem is when it's feed to you everyday many even with a brain begin to believe. Mr. Moore only gets a chance every few years to make his point, of course it will have a one sided stance. I can't wait to see the movie.

I'm Canadian, there are not many Canadians clamoring to become American. The border has no fence and yet there is no exodus of Canadians (sometimes tunnels to export home grown but...). The fact is the Canadian medical system is not perfect (I know first hand) but given the choice of higher taxes and universal care (holes exist) at a pretty high standard, well, as I say the border is not protected and there is no mass exodus.

scubatripp said...

PS Jeff, I've weighed in on the Shell controversy on my blog.

Jeff said...

I saw that Mike. You are a great moderating influence on that whole mess.

Pilgrim said...

Scubatripp- you only need to do a google search on Canada health care and sum up the pro's and con's. My friends (many) seem to be right on the money.

I do agree that there needs to be some type of general medical insurance plan available for those who do not fall into the medicaid/medicare category, but cannot afford a personal plan for whatever reason. It's hardly fair for a crack head or illegal alien to get complete health care for themselves via the emergency rooms in America and medicaide, but someone making $25-35K a year cannot.

I have a news flash for you though... there are lots and lots of Canadians living and working in America. If you discount draft dodgers, I would venture to say that more Canadians live and work in the USA than vice versa. Ever wonder why?

marianas life said...

the difference here too jeff, is you or i can publicly disagree with bruce, or bruce with us (he's given me a public spanking re: caving) and we don't take it personally or are able to move on the next day and dive, drink beer or whatever. this shouldn't have turned into a big mess. i apologized, removed pictures, admitted i should have just approached harry in person, rewrote the post so its a factoid about crabs and offered to delete all comments so know one will know! any other ideas? he's made it quite clear he doesn't want to see me etc. i'd buy him a beer and have a laugh over brads pictures but don't know if that would work.

Jeff said...

This whole thing is a shame, Bree. I hope Harry gets over this. So far it isn't looking too good.

Envelop Ideas said...

I agree...

Anonymous said...

A worthy article which summarizes what seems to be a concensus about Canada's health care system.

Hidden costs of Canadian health care system

Chicago Sun Times
June 23, 2007
BY BRETT SKINNER

In a pivotal scene in ''Sicko,'' filmmaker Michael Moore marvels at Canada's single-payer health system, suggesting that it is a medical utopia. ''It's really a fabulous system,'' explains one healthy Canadian, ''for making sure that the least of us and the best of us are taken care of.''
But healthy people don't use much health care. If Moore had interviewed ill Canadians, he would have gotten a whole different story.

In reality, Canada's health care system is not the paradise Moore presents.

I should know: I live there.

Consider Canada's notorious waiting lists. In 1993, Canadians referred by their doctors to specialists waited an average of 9.3 weeks for treatment. By 2006, it was 17.8 weeks -- almost twice what's considered clinically reasonable.

In the words of Canada's Supreme Court, ''Access to a waiting list is not the same thing as access to health care.'' The court used that phrase when it struck down the single-payer system in one Canadian province in 2005. Yet somehow Moore missed this, the biggest story in Canadian health policy in the last 40 years.

Canada's long waits are partially caused by a shortage of doctors. Whereas the United States had 2.4 practicing physicians per 1,000 residents in 2004, Canada had only 2.1. That's a difference of 300 fewer doctors in a city of 1 million residents. New York's population is more than 8 million. Imagine what health care would be like in the Big Apple with 2,400 fewer physicians and you have some idea what it's like in Canada.

Over the last 10 years, about 10 percent of doctors trained in Canada decided to practice medicine in the United States. This is the result of low physician salaries, which are paid by the state. The average Canadian physician earns only 42 percent of what the average U.S. doctor takes home each year. Simply put, single-payer systems exploit medical labor. Any U.S. state that adopts a single-payer approach is going to lose doctors to other states.

Canada's single-payer system is also letting its hospitals rot. While the average U.S. hospital is only nine years old, the average hospital in Ontario, Canada's largest province, has been around for 40 years.

And Canada's system limits the adoption of new technology. Among the 24 Western nations that guarantee access to health care, Canada ranks 13th in access to MRIs and 17th in access to CT scanners. The lack of access to medical technology contributes to longer waiting times for diagnostic tests.

The rationing of medical procedures and drugs is another harmful result of Canada's system. In 2003, twice as many in-patient surgical procedures were performed in the United States per 1,000 residents compared to Canada.

And Canada's ''universal'' healthcare system doesn't offer universal drug coverage. Only about one-third of the population is eligible for government drug programs in Canada -- the rest pay cash or have private insurance.

Canada's cost advantage is also an illusion. True, Canada spends less per GDP on medical care than America -- but so does Ethiopia. Such comparisons are meaningless without considering value for money. And compared to Americans, Canadians get relatively little in return for the money they spend. Canada's single-payer system does not cover many of the advanced medical treatments and technologies that are commonplace in America, and Canadians have access to fewer doctors, fewer treatments and fewer new drugs.

Yet in Canada, public spending on health care is still growing faster than the ability of the government to pay for it. As of 2006, public health spending in six out of 10 Canadian provinces was on pace to consume more than half of total revenue from all sources by the year 2020 -- without even taking into account the added pressures from an aging population. As of 2003, the growing unfunded liabilities for health care reached 46 percent of Canada's total economic output.

These are the hidden costs of Canada's health system, and they're far worse than the monetary price of U.S. medical care. But Michael Moore is not interested in such facts. He makes fictional films.


Brett Skinner is a Ph.D. candidate at the University of Western Ontario and director of Health, Pharmaceutical and Insurance Policy Research at the Fraser Institute in Toronto.