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Friday, July 31, 2015

50 Years After Medicare and Other News

It has been more than 50 years since Medicare was signed. On July 30, 1965, President Lyndon B. Johnson signed Medicare into law. I support Medicare completely. Medicare is the national health insurance program for Americans 65 years of age and older. Medicare was a historic program and was one of the last major social reforms during the 1960’s. During that time, there was a massive crisis for American capitalism. We saw the civil rights movement going on and workers fighting for higher wages and improved social conditions during the mid-1960s. A rebellion took place in Harlem, New York after a shooting of a black teenager two weeks before Johnson signed the Medicare bill. On March 8, 1965, 3,500 Marines were dispatched to South Vietnam. This was the first time, U.S. ground forces were sent in Southeast Asia overtly used to fight the NLF. About 2 days before Medicare was law, LBJ announced the doubling of draft quotas and the dispatch of another 50,000 troops to Vietnam. 10 years later, the U.S. imperialist war in Vietnam would end in a defeat for the US. 58,000 Americans and millions of Vietnamese human beings unfortunately would die as a product of the war.  However, by today’s standards, passages from the Democratic Party platform on which Johnson ran in 1964 sound radical. In a section titled “The Individual,” the platform reads: “The health of the people is important to the strength and purpose of our country and is a proper part of our common concern. In a nation that lacks neither compassion nor resources, the needless suffering of people who cannot afford adequate medical care is intolerable.” The ruling class had no choice but to allow Medicare to exist (just like the Social Security Act was passed under Franklin Delano Roosevelt in 1935) because of the mass struggles that took place by the working class. The reactionaries like Ronald Reagan and Barry Goldwater have opposed Medicare before it was signed. Medicare has been a great success for seniors nationwide. At first Medicare was divided into Part A and Part B. Part A was a program provided for impatient hospital care and Part B included preventive services, ambulance transport, mental health, and other medical services. Part B requires a premium payment. In 1972, President Richard Nixon signed legislation expanding coverage for those under age 65 with long term disabilities and end stage renal disease. In 1997, those who are enrolled had the option to enroll in Medicare Advantage (or Part C, which is managed care programs administered by private companies). Part D was signed by George W. Bush which dealt with optional prescription drug benefits since 2002. All components of Medicare except Part A in certain instances carry premiums and deductibles. Medicare still is a great program despite its shortcomings. Most Americans support it. The reactionaries lie and say that Medicare is related to socialism. The Medicare legislation faced significant opposition in both big business parties. The Democratic vote in favor of the bill was 57-7 in the Senate and 237-48 in the House. The Republicans opposed the bill 13-17 in the Senate and narrowly approved it in the House, 70-68. In 1964, George H. W. Bush opposed Medicare and the Civil Rights Act.

We need universal health care now more than ever. Largely as a result of Medicare and improved medical technologies, life expectancy at age 60 increased from 14.3 years in 1960 to 19.3 years in 2012. Prior to Medicare, about half of America’s seniors did not have hospital insurance, more than one in four elderly went without medical care due to cost, and one in three seniors lived in poverty. Some 53 million elderly are currently enrolled in Medicare. Today, virtually all seniors have access to health care and only about 14 percent live below the poverty line. Despite a relentless attack on Medicare services in recent years, Medicare is extremely popular—with 77 percent of Americans viewing it as a “very important” program that needs to be defended, according to a recent poll. Many Republicans like Newt Gingrich, Paul Ryan, and Jeb Bush either want Medicare to be phased out or radically changed to be more privatized. Jeb Bush is sponsored heavily by the Koch Brothers too. Today, we have the Affordable Care Act, which is a law with strengths and weaknesses. In 2013, the Congressional Budget Office estimated that the ACA would reduce Medicare spending by $716 billion from 2013 to 2022. Under the first four years of the ACA, home health care under Medicare is being cut by 14 percent, including $60 million in 2015 and $350 million in 2016. While doing nothing to rein in the outrageous charges by pharmaceutical companies for cancer and other life-saving drugs, the Obama administration’s proposed 2016 budget includes $126 billion in cuts from what Medicare will pay for these drugs. The ACA forces workers to purchase plans from private companies on government run exchanges. This is not universal health care, but the ACA has legitimate parts in it. Medicare and Social Security are under threat by corporate forces. The social right to health care like the right to a livable income, education, housing, and a secure retirement should exist for all people. Capitalist forces don’t want true universal health care and we are still fighting for the day where health care is available for all, not for some. We want human needs to be fulfilled, the general welfare promoted, and justice for all.

Also, the DHS has monitored or spied on the BLM too. That tells me that the Black Lives Matter movement is multifaceted and many true heroes, who are standing up for our people, are in that movement as well. Fringe people like Bundy and his ilk can aim guns at the police and slander black people, but FOX News, Limbaugh, etc. refuse to really expose Bundy's extremism. The reactionaries are in the losing side of history. We are opposed to police brutality. We are opposed to racism and discrimination. Black human lives matter and we assert our humanity by not sucking up to extremists like O'Reilly (who disrespected black children and said that he didn't hope that they steal his hubcaps. I didn't forget his comments about Sylvia's too), but we assert our humanity by following solidarity with black people and fighting for our rightful liberation as human beings. I believe in self-defense. People can call self-defense what they want. Self-defense is not about using indiscriminate violence used against innocent people. Self-defense (which the BPP believed in) is about actively protecting our communities and defending our community as black people. I don't believe in armed resistance against innocent people. I do believe in communities protecting their residents. There is nothing immoral about self-defense. Slave revolts were righteous. What the Jewish people folks did in Warsaw during the 1940's in Warsaw was righteous too. What the Deacons of Defense did in the Deep South was righteous too and they protected black people during the civil rights movement. I also have no problem with legitimate boycotts as boycotts have worked throughout human history. I don't believe that people should solely protest. Protesting alone never solved problems even old school civil rights activists know that. People have the right to pray or not. Also, a person's personal spiritual business should never be slandered. People have the right to pray if they want to. I pray and I'm not ashamed of praying. One solution is for us to set up more of our independent infrastructure and build up more of our own black institutions (that means we continue to work on developing our families, set up more of our businesses, support schools that we establish which teach black children the truth, advance STEM related fields for our people, and support black enterprises that are making a difference in the lives of our community. We have to grow our networks of power across America and all over this Earth as Brothers and Sisters), so we can protect our lives more. We have to confront poverty and advance creative efforts in fighting poverty which includes cooperative economics, help from workers, and community based programs. I have no problem with body cameras and laws being changed, so our rights are protected. Not to mention that society must change internationally. There is structural racism and structural economic oppression (found in the market). These problems are not just found in America. It's found in Brazil (where black people are victims of police brutality too) and globally. Therefore, we should also have international solutions and international collaboration with black people worldwide as advocated by Malcolm X (who was a Pan-Africanist). This is an international struggle for liberation.

There was the German Thule Society, which was a secret society that influenced the Nazis. It was founded in 1918 and ended just before 1930. Its founder was Rudolf von Sebottendorf. It was sponsored by the DAP (or the Deutsche Arbeiterpartei). The DAP was reorganized by Adolf Hitler into the National Socialist German Workers’ Party of the NSDAP (which was the Nazi Party). According to author Nicholas Goodrick-Clarke, Hans Frank and Rudolf Hess had been Thule members while other leading Nazis were only invited to speak at Thule meetings or were totally unconnected with it. The Thule Society was a racist, crypto-fascist organization who demonized Jewish people, foreigners, and Bolsheviks. Before the Thule Society existed, Walter Nauhaus formed the Germaneorden group to promote the myth of Aryan supremacy. The Thule Society wanted members to have no Jewish or heritage that was from a person of color. Thule is an old word that describes the Northern region of Europe. This society has about 250 members in Munich and 1,500 elsewhere in Bavaria. Sebottendorff planned but failed to kidnap Bavarian socialist Prime Minister Kurt Eisner in December 1918.  During the Bavarian revolution of April 1919, Thulists were accused of trying to infiltrate its government and of attempting a coup. On 26 April, the Communist government in Munich raided the Society's premises and took seven of its members into custody, executing them on 30 April. Amongst them were Walter Nauhaus and four well-known aristocrats, including Countess Heila von Westarp who functioned as the group's secretary and Taxis who was related to several European royal families. In 1918, the Thule Society bought a local weekly newspaper, the Münchener Beobachter (Munich Observer), and changed its name to Münchener Beobachter und Sportblatt (Munich Observer and Sports Paper) in an attempt to improve its circulation. The Münchener Beobachter later became the Völkischer Beobachter (German): People's Observer), the main Nazi newspaper. It was edited by Karl Harrer. The DAP established links with the Thule Society via Anton Drexler. Sebottendorff left the Thule Society. Hitler would later criticize occultism and secret societies (as he felt that groups like the Freemasons were agents of Jewish people). The Nazis claimed that high-degree Masons were willing members of the Jewish conspiracy and that Freemasonry was one of the causes of Germany's defeat in World War I. In Mein Kampf, Adolf Hitler wrote that Freemasonry has succumbed to the Jews and has become an excellent instrument to fight for their aims and to use their strings to pull the upper strata of society into their designs. Hitler gave a speech in Nuremberg on September 6, 1938 showing his disapproval of occultism.  Freemasonic concentration camp inmates were graded as political prisoners, and wore an inverted (point down) red triangle. I don’t agree with Freemasonry ideologically, but Freemasons should never be harassed, assaulted, placed in concentration camps and killed because of their views. Ideological freedom without tyranny must be established throughout the Earth. The evil of Hitler is truly abominable. Hitler was a very evil man. Likewise, Heinrich Himmler was interested in mysticism and the occult. Himmler emulated the structure of Ignatius Loyola’s Jesuit order in the Schutzstaffel or the SS according to Hone. Historian Nicholas Goodrick-Clarke's 1985 book, entitled, "The Occult Roots of Nazism" has great research on this issue. Many SS members were definitely interested in mysticism like SS officer Ernst Schafer (who was involved in the 1938-1939 German expedition to Tibet). In order words, the Thule Society must be studied in order to understand information about the viciously racist and evil Nazi Party.

I don’t respect Bill O’Reilly as a man. Andrea Mackris has said that O’Reilly sexually harassed her. His ex-wife said that he used domestic violence against her. His own 16 year old daughter said that she witnessed him using domestic violence against her own mother. So, he is a total moral hypocrite. Now, it is true that George Soros has funded groups or some organizations in Ferguson. That’s true and that's problematic. What is false is to say that Black Lives Matter is a monolithic group that is funded totally by Soros. Soros has funded affiliates and Soros is an establishment person. I don’t agree with Soros’ foreign policy agenda especially at all. The truth is that Black Lives Matter is made up of many people. Likewise, Black Lives Matter movement has to maintain political independence and be careful since reactionaries would love to slander the movement as one entity when the movement is diverse. Personally, I don’t believe that any affiliate groups should have received money from Soros at all. Also, we have to acknowledge the many grassroots people in the Black Lives Matter movement who are sincerely fighting for the demilitarization of the police, for ending police brutality, for economic justice, and for other solutions. What’s really fringe is about the Koch Brothers funding organizations that want to promote historical revisionism in the state schools of Texas, anti-environmental policies, and anti-voter rights laws in America. What's also fringe is how FOX News consistently ignores (or spews retrograde talking points about the following issues) the issues of the epidemic of police brutality, the War on Drugs, misogynoir, and ecocide in America. O’Reilly is a liar by calling Black Lives Matter people as an anarchist group. So, O’Reilly has used half-truths and outright lies. O'Reilly is an extremist like Limbaugh, Michael Savage, Alex Jones, and the rest of them. Obviously, Patrisse Cullors doesn’t want to tear down the country. Likewise, the BLM movement should be careful and not be a permanent front group of establishment people like Soros or anyone else. Many people in the Black Lives Matter movement sincerely want justice and are independently minded. There is a group called Hands Up Coalition DC with people who are doing great work as well.
#Black Lives Matter.

By Timothy

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