Archive for August 21st, 2007
The Anonymous Liberal has a good point, I think:
As disgusted as I am to learn that the Bush administration has unilaterally imposed rules intended to limit the number of American children who have access to affordable health care, I can only imagine how this must look to someone raised in another country. The fact that millions of American kids lack access to health care must seem downright medieval to the rest of the industrialized world. I mean, we’re talking about children here.
I imagine that the average person in Germany or France or Japan would react to this news much the same way we would react to a report that the German, French, or Japanese governments had repealed laws against child sweatshop labor or child pornography. We’d be aghast. And rightly so. But when the President takes steps intended to cut off health care access for children, we simply chalk it up to a policy dispute.
Well I’m sick of it. There is no excuse for a country as wealthy as ours allowing innocent children to go without access to basic health care. And if policymakers take steps that result in a net increase in the number of children without access to care, they have a moral duty to find a way to fix that problem immediately. As far as I’m concerned, the Bush administration is morally responsible for what happens to the children who lose access to health care as a result of these new rules. If any of them die or suffer permanent harm from a condition that could have been prevented with routine care (and it’s bound to happen), the Bush administration bears the blame.
From McClatchy. Remember, the compassion in “compassionate conservatism” is reserved for the problems faced by Big Business and the wealthy.
Both have fought efforts to better police imported toys from China.
Now both are under increased scrutiny following last week’s massive toy recall by Mattel Inc., the world’s largest toymaker. The recalls of Chinese-made toys follow several other lead-paint-related scares since June that have affected products featuring Sesame Street characters, Thomas the Train and Dora the Explorer.
Lead paint is toxic when ingested by children and can cause brain damage or death. It’s been mostly banned in the United States since the late 1970s, but is permitted in the coating of toys, providing it amounts to less than six hundred parts per million.
The Bush administration has hindered regulation on two fronts, consumer advocates say. It stalled efforts to press for greater inspections of imported children’s products, and it altered the focus of the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), moving it from aggressive protection of consumers to a more manufacturer-friendly approach.
“The overall philosophy is regulations are bad and they are too large a cost for industry, and the market will take care of it,” said Rick Melberth, director of regulatory policy at OMBWatch, a government watchdog group formed in 1983. “That’s been the philosophy of the Bush administration.”
Today, more than 80 percent of all U.S. toys are now made in China and few of them get inspected.
“We’ve been complaining about this issue, warning it is going to happen, and it is disappointing that it has happened,” said Tom Neltner, a co-chairman of the Sierra Club’s national toxics committee.
The Bush administration has promulgated new standards that make it much more difficult for states to extend health insurance coverage to children in middle-income families. “Continuing its fight to stop states from expanding the popular Children’s Health Insurance Program,” the administration is thwarting states’ attempts to expand SCHIP beyond the poverty level.
The compassion seems to be reserved for big business and the wealthy. They have problems, too…
At least from my view, Glenn Greenwald has it exactly right.
Good article here. It begins:
At around six-foot-eight and clad in combat fatigues, Kevin Kiley, the army surgeon general, cut an imposing figure. It was August 2006, and Kiley was in New Orleans to address the governing council of the American Psychological Association (APA) on the subject of psychology in the war on terror. For over a year, the organization had been under fire from human-rights groups and many of its own members, because psychologists had been tied to coercive interrogations and abuse at Guantanamo Bay and other places. Now, many APA members wanted the organization to draw up a firm policy—one that mandated adherence to international standards barring abuse—to prevent psychologists from participating in such practices again.
It was Kiley’s job to convince them not to bail out on interrogations. It’s an open question how much psychologists have contributed to the art of interrogation in the war on terror, but the APA provides a seal of legitimacy that the government values. If it joined the American Medical Association (AMA) and the American Psychiatric Association by barring their members from joining the Guantanamo interrogations, it would further stigmatize the military’s practices. So, armed with PowerPoint slides, Kiley argued for keeping psychologists on the offensive against “sworn enemies” of the country. “Psychology is an important weapons system,” he explained. For the APA to draw up an explicit definition of abuse would be counterproductive. After all, “is four hours of sleep deprivation? How loud does a scream have to be? How many angels can dance on the head of a pin?”
Kiley had the blessing of the organization’s leadership. Despite the controversial nature of the topic in question, APA leaders had originally invited no other speakers to counterbalance Kiley with an opposing view. When this fact was reported by Salon, the group hastily issued a last-minute invitation to Steven Reisner, a New York psychoanalyst who had circulated an online petition protesting APA’s involvement in interrogations. Reisner was visiting his parents in Florida when the call from APA came, and he arrived in New Orleans in an ill-fitting off-the-rack suit and without a formal speech.