Tuesday, May 4, 2010

It's Only Castles Burning

A young friend of a young friend has cancer. The diagnosis isn't complete, but the docs have already discovered a tumor on his spine, which suggests bone lymphoma or bone cancer. He's undergoing emergency radiation treatments to halt the spread of the malignancy because he's in imminent danger of a collapsed spine, which would paralyze him for life even if the cancer goes into remission.

This Native-American family has already lost one son to the Iraq war. Another child -- because I can't help but think of someone I've known since the age of 14 as anything but a child -- recently joined the service.

They have no health insurance.

Hasn't this family given enough, sacrificed enough? Can anyone explain to me why they should have to pay a dime for treatment? Can anyone explain to me why they should have to go through the humiliating process of applying for assistance? Why a Gold Star Mother -- or any mother, for that matter -- should have to tell one paper pusher after another that she couldn't afford insurance, much less the cost of treatment, and can you please help? Why the family should be forced to rely in part on well-meaning fundraisers that won't make a dent in the costs?

Last November, I fell and broke my wrist. The combined pre-insurance charge of the ER, day surgery, follow-up appointments, and hand therapy exceeded $20,000.00. For a common childhood injury. Any guesses as to what a full-court press treatment of bone lymphoma will cost?

And yet there are people who will tell you that keeping the government out of health care is worth the cost this family is paying, that a young man's collapsed spine is a small price to pay for preventing a certain class of people from forming a dependency on the nanny state.

I'm going to guess that said people have never actually been faced with paying such a cost themselves. I'm going to guess that if they ever were, many would be bitter and angry. Which this family is not. They're stoic beyond imagination.

But, you see, there's a this huge danger to the country of families like this becoming dependent on...what? The country that they've already given one life to? The country that another family member has signed up to serve even though this person is all too aware of the sacrifice that may be asked?  The country that they patriotically serve despite its -- to put it delicately -- problematic history with their forebears? You tell me, because I'm having a hard time seeing a danger here...

Citizen K. has refrained from commenting on the ongoing Israel-Palestine tragedy because he doesn't know enough about the convoluted history and politics of that dispute to support an inclination to believe in a two-state solution. In this lengthy but fascinating lecture -- which you can watch or read -- John J. Mearsheimer, R. Wendell Harrison Distinguished Service Professor of Political Science and co-director of the Program on International Security Policy at the University of Chicago, explains that, while a two-state solution may be preferred, Israeli policy will produce exactly what it does not want: A single bi-national democracy dominated by Palestinians. Professor Mearsheimer projects that this will happen only after a period of Israeli policy drift to an official and obvious apartheid that will lose the crucial support of American Jews. In a fascinating aside, he predicts that the internet will play a positive role, and makes specific recommendations for Palestinians to accelerate the process. Highly recommended (thanks, Josh and Sarah)...

British Petroleum has yet to lay out a plan for cleaning up the oil spill in the Gulf, which should come as no surprise to anyone. After all, they didn't think that an explosion could possibly happen. Anyway, why would a $240 billion dollar company invest its scarce resources into a contingency plan for an environmental catastrophe? I mean, even the existence of such a plan might imply the possibility of a spill which could endanger plans for offshore drilling and...well...we wouldn't want that, would we? The legal cap on damages is $75 million, but a group of Democratic senators flatly disbelieve BP promises that it will pay the costs of cleanup want to raise the cap to $10 billion. I wonder what the Republican mantra opposing this and supporting a taxpayer bailout of BP will be? (Thanks once again to the New Orleans Ladder, which remains an amazingly current resource on the spill.)...

Watch Fox News promote the idea that the Federal Flood of NOLA was an act of God and that the oil spill may the result of an environmentalist conspiracy. How do these people say this stuff with a straight face? I suppose that we have to remember that they are actors reading a script...

He may have been born Neil Percival Kenneth Robert Ragland Young, but he'll always be "Neil" to me:


Foxessa said...

As several mothers have remarked regarding BP's statement that it will pay for the mess it made:

"Yeah. My ex-husband and father of my children also promised he'd pay child support."

Love, C.

sussah said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
TaraDharma said...

I feel it is barbaric what this family is going through -- no one in this country should have to fundraise to pay for medical care. Other countries provide good health care - it's not a magical thing, after all. Once someone SEES a situation like this, they tend to "get" the necessity of national health care. And after seeing the devastation of the oil leak on the Gulf, our Govenator has changed his mind about drilling off of California's coast. Could Obama be next?

RealityZone said...

Mean while the American Kleptocracy continues.
Obama must stop all off shore oil drilling, period.
In his 2008 campaign he was against it, now he is for it.
How many more campaign promises will this republocrat go back on.
He was never for single payer HC.
He is center-right, not even center-left.
Dems must hold his feet to the fire on something, sooner or later.

Anonymous said...

am looking forward to an unapologetic liberal to replace stevens on the bench, this with holding of treatment needs to join the dustbin with jim crow laws and prohibition

Roy said...

What that young man's family is going through is an obscenity.

I heard Professor Mearsheimer talk about this on the Diane Rehm show last week. He makes a lot of sense.

Ah, good ol' Neil! Another one of the gods of my youth. And a much more insightful, sensitive, and poetic songwriter than Dylan ever even thought of being!

Distributorcap said...

"I'm going to guess that said people have never actually been faced with paying such a cost themselves."

you are so right -- these are the same people who are judges and let drunk drivers go, who complain when the govt helps flood victims etc,

this is the MOST SELFISH country on the planet - when a family gives so much - like losing a child in battle - and then cannot get help in return from the country that it gave to - well i have no words

Renegade Eye said...

I thought the healthcare part of your post, was quite powerful.

The Bush administration softened the safety requirements on oil drilling offshore.

At the same time Norway has oil drilling offshore, but doesn't have spills. The oil industry is nationalized, and safety equipment is payed for by the government. It has safeguards, the US doesn't.

I don't post much on Israel/Palestine. Overall it's a sideshow.

nursemyra said...

Very sad story about the young man, I hope the treatment is successful.

always liked that Neil Young song

K. said...

Thanks to everyone for your concern, anger, and comments.

C: I'm afraid that that will be an all too true way of looking at it.

TD: Agreed: Once something hits close to home, attitudes change in a hurry. I don't know why it takes that, though.

RZ: Senator Bill Nelson (D-FL) says that offshore drilling is dead. Personally, I doubt it. There will be a big hue and cry, time will pass, and the energy interests will prevail.

Roy: Neil has been a fave of mine for 40 years. He had a terrific run in the 70s, and has put out more than his share of good music since.

DC: The historic absence of empathy in this country is sad. I suspect that it traces back to racial and ethnic differences, but make that point and conservatives hop on you from every direction. Which likely proves the point.

Ren: Your view of Israel and Palestine surprises me, at least from an American perspective. It's a key to the Muslim political world's perception of the United States.

NM: The video is a treasure. I stumbled across it while looking for something else. There's nothing like serendipity!

RealityZone said...

Nationalize the oil Corps.

We send our military over seas to die, while protecting their assets, and profits.

K. said...

Rasta: I hope that happens. The country badly needs a vigorous liberal voice on the Court.

RZ: I don't share your view of Obama on health care, but will get to that in a later post.

Energy nationalization is vital to energy independence (which is vita to national security), but I fear that the industry lobby is too entrenched for that to happen in the absence of a crisis that exceeds the Wall St meltdown in magnitude.

RealityZone said...


Darlene said...

Why, indeed, should the family you wrote about have to go through such tragedies? And they are the only ones who can claim that they are not immigrants.

Why do we have so many outright stupid people? To me, conservatism is a selfish policy.

As for BP picking up the full cost of the other tragedy; don't hold your breath. Or, as they say, when pigs fly.