Saturday, December 15, 2007

Brother Martin's Deep Green Perspective


There is a new organization in middle Tennessee that aims to provide overview and co-ordination, although it has not fully stepped into those shoes yet. Founded in August of 2006 by a broad coaliton that starts with the Vanderbilt Institute for Public Policy Studies and the Mayor's Office of Neighborhoods and runs through the spectrum to Eaton's Creek Organics and Earth Matters Tennessee, Food Security Partners of Middle Tennessee, according to its website, aims to ''bring people together to create and sustain a secure and healthy food system for their region, from production to consumption. We envision a Middle Tennessee in which all community residents obtain a safe, culturally acceptable, nutritionally adequate diet through a sustainable food system that maximizes community self reliance and social justice.

We can afford universal single-payer healthcare because we're already paying too much for healthcare. If we cut out the corpulent corporate middlemen, there's plenty of money already in the system to take care of everybody. According to Physicians for a National Health Program, ''private insurance bureaucracy and paperwork consume one-third (31 percent) of every health care dollar. Streamlining payment through a single nonprofit payer would save more than $350 billion per year, enough to provide comprehensive, high-quality coverage for all Americans.'' Health insurance would be covered by prorated taxes instead of flat-rate insurance premiums, and everyone
except the extremely wealthy would end up paying less for health coverage.

HR 1955 recently passed the House of Representatives by a pretty emphatic 404-6 vote. This overwhelmingly approved act, entitled '' the Violent Radicalization and Homegrown Terrorism Prevention Act of 2007,'' was introduced by Jane Harman, a California Democrat who, like her more famous counterpart Nancy Pelosi, is not the kind of radical new-ager that you might think of when you think California Democrat. Jane is a big fan of the Rand Corporation, which calls itself ''a non-profit institution that addresses the challenges facing the public and private sectors around the world.''

Our “Truth in Strange Places” award this month goes to the CIA for joining the reality-based community and going public with its assesment that Iran has not had a nuclear weapons program for several years. Mr. Bush has denied that he knew this until recently, but his denials have the ring of a man attempting to convince his wife that he has no idea how those lipstick stains got on his collar, or a petulant three-year old declaring that there is too a monster under his bed. We may never know all the arm-twisting that went into this turn of events, but apparently we have US CENTCOM commander Admiral William Fallon to thank for preventing this particular apocalypse. Fallon made it clear during his Senate confirmation hearings that there would be no attack on Iran on his watch, and he appears to have kept his promise. Making this “no risk'' risk assesment public has made the neocons' war drum beat sound pretty hollow, although there is still some chance that Cheney and Bush may find other excuses to whomp the Iranian tar baby a good one.

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