- Originally posted at Penelope Bagieu’s blog
- Originally posted at Penelope Bagieu’s blog
It’s difficult for me to think of Nelson Mandela as anything but a universally-respected, wise, kind, and thoughtful asset to humanity. But he also organized attacks that would today be unconditionally condemned as terrorism. His government fought peaceful demonstrations with violence, and so he brought violence to his government. He was a fighter…once the fight got started. And he never stopped fighting, and the world is so much better because of that escalation to violence. That is the rarest sort of change, and it is a testament to his care as a diplomat, a politician, a human, and a warrior that it did not merely end in perpetual turmoil and bloodshed. To go from terrorist to president in only thirty years, with most of those thirty years spent in a cell, is an achievement I would never accept if I read it in fiction.
My video tomorrow is about inequality, and it doesn’t mention Mandela because I finished it yesterday and I had to fight the urge to remake it. But he is in my thoughts tonight, I hope he is in yours as well. If you’d like to learn a little more about his life, this short documentary is lovely.
Yeah, Mandela was technically considered a terrorist by the U.S. until 2008. When the U.S. congress tried to impose sanctions on the South African government in 1985 to protest Apartheid, President Reagan vetoed those sanctions. (His veto was later overruled.) That was 1985! NINE YEARS after the Soweto uprising and massacre, and the President of the United States didn’t want sanctions on South Africa.
I was a kid, and obviously very far removed from South Africa, and I want to be clear that I’m certainly no expert. But I overheard a lot of discussions about Apartheid in my childhood, because my parents and their church were involved with organizations linked to Archbishop Desmond Tutu’s anti-Apartheid work. And at the time, it was very controversial. As a kid, I remember hearing that my parents were naive, that Mandela was a terrorist, that one-person-one-vote could never work in South Africa, that it would immediately become a communist dictatorship, that all the white people would be massacred, etc. And had things gone differently in South Africa—had Mandela been a less brilliant leader—the transition could indeed have been catastrophic. To me, the work of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission is one of the great human accomplishments of the past hundred years.
The world is now mourning the loss of a great man, as well it should. But let’s not forget that Mandela (and South Africa) might’ve been free decades earlier had it not been for the fear and discomfort of white people not just in South Africa but around the world.
The ACA provided states with federal funds to institute a Medicaid expansion. The states chose to expand the program also were able to set up their own state exchanges, which were relatively free from the problems the federal site had. Vermont decided to take it a step further by setting up their very own single payer system.
The slogan of the program: Everybody in, nobody out.
The program will be fully operational by 2017, and will be funded through Medicare, Medicaid, federal money for the ACA given to Vermont, and a slight increase in taxes. In exchange, there will be no more premiums, deductibles, copay’s, hospital bills or anything else aimed at making insurance companies a profit. Further, all hospitals and healthcare providers will now be nonprofit.
They estimate this will end up saving Vermont 25% per capita over the current system, in addition to preventing some proportion of the 45,000 preventable deaths that occur annually in the US due to the inability to afford treatment.
Hot damn, Vermont, you sexy maple loving beasts.
I’m a disabled person, and I also work at the Disability Services Office at a college.
Not very long ago, a professor rushed into our office flustered and angry because
1. She had a blind student in her class.
2. She asked us how we planned to communicate graded papers to…
While Ms. McKenna “did not ‘abduct’ the child,” the court said, “her appropriation of the child while in utero was irresponsible, reprehensible.
A man who assisted in autopsies in a big urban hospital, starting in the mid-1950s, describes the many deaths from botched abortions that he saw. “The deaths stopped overnight in 1973.” He never saw another in the 18 years before he retired. “That,” he says, “ought to tell people something about keeping abortion legal.
Look at the difference: In 1977 I bought a small house in Portland Oregon for $24,000. At the time I was earning $5 per hour working at a large auto parts store. I owned a 4 year old Chevy Nova that cost $1,500. Now, 36 years later that same job pays $8 an hour, that same house costs $185,000 and a 4 year old Chevy costs $10,000. Wages haven’t kept up with expenses at all. And, I should point out that that $5 an hour job in 1977 was union and included heath benefits.
Zimmerman arrested again. Exactly how many free passes does he get?
Last time it was his wife he threatened with domestic violence. This time it’s his new (and pregnant) girlfriend…and at Trayvon Martin’s trial (because, let’s be honest, that’s who was on trial) they wouldn’t even allow into evidence that Zimmerman had previously
1) attacked a female police officer
2) had a restraining order from a previous girlfriend
3) is alleged to have molested a female relative who was a minor
All seems kind of relevant now, doesn’t it? One could even say he appears to have a history of violence
Yet THIS is the very kind of person who increasingly far too many White people are willing to go to all out war for. Again and again. Racist murderers
It’s as if White people have an endless capacity to see every crime other White people commit against Black people, no matter how brutal, as completely and eternally divorced from even the slightest possibility of racism
But Black people are not stupid. Far from it. When we hear Paula Deen or Riley Cooper or Richie Incognito casually sling the n-word around…or when we see celebs like Julianna Hough dress up in BlackFace for a “fun costume”…we almost instinctively know: (just as domestic violence doesn’t just suddenly materialize out of thin air) racism and racist actions do not exist in a vacuum. That behavior comes from somewhere. There is a history attached to misogyny, domestic violence and yes, racism. They are all behaviors modeled, condoned and learned over time. Rarely is the “first time” ever truly the first time—it’s usually just the first time we publicly see evidence of it
And as far as racism goes; Black and brown people are not obligated to give *anyone* the benefit of the doubt once they’ve tipped their hand. There’s centuries worth of history—even recent history—that says we’re wise not to. White people are the only ones who benefit from naively extending such credit to other White people time after time after time