November 2009


Finally. It felt like it would never happen. Negotiations were at a standstill, secretaries of state could no longer hide their irritation, and it felt like there was nothing left to be done but wait. A long, painful, agonizing waste of time orchestrated as blackmail. Finally, Netanyahu dropped the towel. Or at least part of it.

Yesterday, the controversial and irritatingly uncompromising Prime Minister of Israel took one step towards maturity and inclusion. He conceded to Washington a ten-months freeze of settlements in the West Bank, requested by Europe ever since the death of Itzhak Rabin and by the United States the moment the moment the Obama Administration came into power. Netanyahu had become the thorn in every diplomats side. His submission is not whole: although his promise was clear on the status of the West Bank, East Jerusalem remains in the vagueness of a hugely compromises statu quo.

Benjamin Netanyahu: between a rock and a hard place

So why the sudden gesture towards peace? “we want to show the world a simple truth, that of knowing the Israeli government is willing to start negotiating with the Palestinians, that it is taking concrete measures in that direction, and that it is serious in its peaceful intentions.” the message is hopeful and beautiful, but the ten-month limit allows us to doubt the veracity of those claims.

What will happen once the term limit is reached, and will it be long enough to craft a lasting peace process? The Palestinians remain skeptical on the subject of Netanyahu’s commitment precisely on his unwillingness to clear the East Jerusalem fire. “In [our] eyes. East Jerusalem represents a red line not to cross. Any return to negotiations has to be made on the basis of a complete stop to settlements in the West Bank… Jerusalem included”, declared Nabil Abbou Roudeina, Mahmoud Abbas’ spokesperson. Those negotiations are therefore not that close to happening, since both authorities wish to claim the Holy City as their capital.

Netanyahu, first entirely opposed to any compromise and used to unconditional support from the White House, is finding himself in a situation where he can’t win. On one side, he came to realise the new American administration were not lax on international law as the previous was; and on the other, his own party line – elected along with right wing party Likoud – is heavily relying on nationalism and the expansion of Isreaeli territory. Who is Netanyahu trying to please the most? Danny Dayan, leader of the Yesha Council, representing the colons, feels betrayed by his Prime Minister to the point of claiming that colons feel “persecuted” and that the Likoud’s ideal of a Great Israel is being washed away in the name of international compromise. Nationalists are learning the drawbacks of diplomatic relations and pay the price of international alienation.

Several protests have taken place from the most radical fringes of the colons, most of them commanding officers of the Tsahal. Netanyahu, who himself ha never been more inclined than his predecessor to satisfy the utmost Zionist dream, is now facing the same threats progressive leader Rabin did before being assassinated in 1995 for participating in the Camp David summit.

Ten months during which the world will hold their breath and wait to see if the majority of Israelis – who do want peace and no longer wish to be world pariahs for living in a state perpetuating war crimes in their name – will once and for all take over the handful of right wing radicals menacing to perpetuate a conflict that has shed blood for way too long.

Nothing reminded me more of my younger days as a law student than the passage – or at least, forcible tentative way into health care. I remember discussing the two Chambers and the history of the democratic process of representative voting for the people, law-making while serfs were toiling the soil, implementing progress while our grand-grand-grandfathers were working in the metal industry or dying for some world war started by someone who had been rejected by painting galleries and developed ego issues. One of the lessons that stuck with me the most was a heated debate on the democratic value of the Senate, that my friend Damian thought should be burnt down. “Only the lower chamber [House of Representatives] has a real democratic value”, he argued, “Senators are usually way more conservatives and prove through their voting and constant filibusting to be a hindrance to progress.” I don’t remember his grade, but I remember watching C-Span and laughing at this group of old white men trying to stop the passage of every potentially progressive bill with the might of any 65 year old man believing he could stop prostate cancer from spreading.

Little did I know that in the clusterfuck that is the healthcare reform, the Senate would prove to be less childish, more consistent and slightly more reformative than the House of Representatives. I, myself, am completely under shock after reading this piece on the Huffington Post explaining how some Democratic senators, who didn’t share the same poisonous water Blue Dog water fountain, are fighting to put the public option back on track. Yes, the same public option that the people want, that the people have been asking for ever since Clinton killed it: the public option that would save hundreds of thousands of Americans to die of preventable and cureable diseases every year like the third world country it is about to become.

The House of Representatives, elected by the people and supposedly on a mandate to respect the wishes of their consistuency – that was apparently the way of a distant past – has only managed to not only give in to the Republicans by killing the public option, but became famous by passing the woman-hating, coathanger-loving Stupak amendment that has been so decried by every liberal, progressive, or vagina-bearing citizen. That was not exactly the way it was supposed to happen. Technically, the lower chamber was to pass universal health care only to be stopped by Checkpoint Charlie, aka the Senate, for being a little too ahead of its time, I mean, european, look at all those British people with their healthy bodies, they play soccer, surely we can’t base our own model after a population with a Queen.

Bernie Sanders

All that because of a man bearing the name of a sitcom character.

Bernie Sanders (Ind. – Vermont) threatened everyone last Sunday that without a public option, the bill will not get his vote. Caucusing with Democrats on the subject, he managed to gain the support of Senator Brown (D-Ohio), Burris (D-Illinois), and a three-member collective of Democrats (Schumer from New York, Carper from Delaware and Landrieu from Louisiana) hard at work on a public option that would perhaps help the United States move onto the third millenium. Brown himself stated what we thought we knew: “[If the bill favors conservatives], you’ll lose people on the left”. You mean those very same people who voted en masse on November 4th to vote for Barack Obama, mostly because he promised them the healthcare coverage they deserved but never obtained? Schumer predicted that the public option would rise from his short stint as a dead buill and revive to land on the President’s desk at the last minute. Bernie Sanders, who self-identifies as the biggest threat to the GOP – a democratic socialist – is trying to prove that the Senate is now the more progressive of the two chambers, despite Senators not being on a direct popular mandate.

“The overwhelming majority of Americans want to be able to choose between a strong public option and a private insurance plan. Without that competition, there is very little in this bill that would keep health insurance premiums from escalating rapidly”, he claimed. “This legislation cannot simply be a huge subsidy to private insurance companies that will get millions of new customers and be able to raise their rates as high as they want.”

Sounds like the most rational piece of discourse I have heard regarding the reform in months.

Extensive coverage of police violence during the Democratic National Convention shocked and psychologically tasered the liberal American population who believes in civil rights and the necessity for a state to promote a trustworthy, reliable, and respectful police force on which the citizens can lean in times of inorderly conduit and criminal violence. Democratic societies have been failing one after the other to prove their population they knew how to control internal security issues, make the difference between political trouble and peaceful protests, anarchy and political activism… as well as not making any difference between any citizen, whether the bias is racial, religious, or political. The irony lying within the same countries’ foreign policy being based on exporting their own so-called democratic system is not lost on the victims of police violence. If the Grant case was easy for you to stomach, let’s turn to Paris where the question of national identity, that has been plaguing the nation of Voltaire ever since the independance of Algeria, is now reaching new heights of violence.

Last Wednesday – November 18th – Algeria wins over Egypt in a football match many French citizens of Algerian descent wish to commemorate. Anyss Arbib, a twenty-two year old student at the well-connected, internationally renowned National Institute of Political Science, decides to join the party on the Champs-Elysees in the capital, from his suburb in which most of the population is of northern african origin. North Paris, and specifically the 93rd regional district – Seine Saint Denis – has only gained a reputation through repeated violence, riots, and organized crime. Luckily for Arbib, who is himself entering the preparation for the National School of Governance, France is a soccer country, in which it is widely accepted to honk, scream, yell, and wave flags at whichever country has managed to shoot a ball inside a net.

Anyss Arbib has two major flaws going against him: he is coming from the aforementioned district, and is of Arab descent. Regardless of his qualities as a student, his deep and humble knowledge of the law, his ambition to become part of a government someday, and his writing abilities, Anyss Arbib, born a French citizen on French territory, is suddenly forced to question his own identity. Once the Champs-Elysees are invaded by a group of violent rioters, Arbib and his friends decide to leave and come back home, not willing to be assimilated to people whose behaviour they have always disapproved of. Back on the freeway, they suddenly encounter the police forces, stopping cars at random, dragging their drivers out on the road and beating them severely in front of terrified families and young people. Insults flow from members of the police: “get the fuck out, you dirty Arab”; “what the fuck are you looking at”, to a witness screaming that someone is going to die, before being teargassed by the same polician. Anyss Arbib tries to keep his composure.

Anyss Arbib here on the left with Richard Descoings, director of the National Institute of Political Science

“I have been nothing but polite”, he tells the policeman pushing him against his car. “There is no reason to behave so aggressively.” “Shut the fuck up”, replies the policeman. “I know my rights, I am a political science student”, Arbib calmly replies. “Well fuck political science!” is the reply he gets before being teargassed at close range, and losing consciousness. He comes to still on the freeway to watch a father of several children being dragged out of his seat and beaten up by batons. His friend has also been teargassed and is partially blind. “Go away, you Arab” says a policeman. “I’m French”, Arnyss replies. Was it at that precise moment he realised he wasn’t? A friend later told him, “Ivy League or not, you’ll always be an Arab, even with a French ID.”

When Nicolas Sarkozy introduced his best friend Brice Hortefeux at the head of a new yet controversial Ministry Of National Identity and Immigration, he knew he was just throwing more fuel into a already burning pan. Immigrants – often from the Maghreb, issued from France’s former colonies – are confined into suburbs and withdraw into a dangerous tendancy to communautarism and religious defiance to France’s secular system. With a crumbling education system and a government exacerbating violent opposition through cheap provocation, the 2006 riots so heavily documented worldwide were just one detail of a much bigger picture. France, unable to deal with its colonial past and fully integrate the sons and daughters of those who rebuilt the country after World War II, is now facing religious integrism clashing with other communities of faith, a growing illiteracy rate, decaying women’s rights in the face of integrism, and civil unstability. President Sarkozy was elected on agenda based on tough control and “zero tolerance”. In return, the difference between the upper middle class and the lower working class has grown to a deep, incrossable manhole, and national identity is nothing short of tacky patriotism sprinkled with daydreams of a glorious past that looks nothing like the contemporary bleak, dull reality.

Anyss Arbib is lucky; educated, smart, righteous, and well-guided, his story reached the frontpage of a national newspaper (Libération, November 24); complaints reach the inspection of the police forces, the IJSS; his outcry, firstly published on his Facebook page, touched national consciousness. But for the hundreds of thousands with no access to a network of media consultants or the knowledge of the complex administrative legal process, the mass of those left behind, no recourse is possible and ghettoism is the only answer.

In a word, Arbib is not just seeking accountability. He’s also searching for himself, tied between two worlds – one he barely knows, but is forced to reach out to for support; and one he thought he was a legitimate part of, but rejecting him on the basis of difference. France has never been a homogenuous melting pot of faiths and ethnicities. Under the pretext of assimilation, France just pushed every identity under the rug of the shining Republic. The Commission overseeing and evaluating police forces (CNDS)  will be dismantled by the end of the year despite increasing number of registered complaints  -19 in 2001, 152 in 2008 and 158 for the first three months of 2009). Now what’s a Republican to do?

The whole world has been under shock and awe ever since the contested election of the President of Iran, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, over his more
(relatively) progressive contender Mir Hossein Moravi. Images of the militia – bassidjis – beating protesters down to the ground and the very
mediatized murder of Nera, a young student who could not even be called an activist, has shed a light on a regime that was known as oppressive
and religiously fundamentalist, exposed a danger due to its nuclear arm chase, and a general source of unrest for all western diplomatics
worldwide.

If the detention center of Evin had also sent an electroshock wave through civil rights and human rights associations all over the world for its atrocious treatment of political prisoners, the recent suicide of a prison warden affiliated to the Kahrizak detention center is attracting the attention on one more facet of this obscure and backwards regime. Until then, Kahrizak was not at the forefront of human rights advocates, since it contained mostly criminals and those violating the staunch enforcement of Islamic law (prostitutes, juvenile delinquents, gamblers…), those called arazel-e obash, “scum”, not protected by the halo of political activism. Scared of seeing their work tainted by representing the interests of deliquents, the system implemented in Kahrizak was hardly documented. That was until 26 years old Ramin Pool Andarjani, one of the prison’s doctors, committed suicide.

An aerial view of the Kahrizak prison site

Was it suicide, as the authorities claimed, or homicide, a theory placed forward by the family of the deceased? One thing is for sure, the atrocities played upon the prisoners on a daily basis would take a toll on any human being. Supposedly the toughest detention center, closer to a concentration camp than a regular prison, the cruellest kapos were in charge. In Andarjani’s case, it was a just a question of bad luck: halfway through performing his military service duty, Kahrizak became his assignement.

 

Yet Kahrizak has not just come to light. Iran is familiar with public executions and has never shyed away from proving the population they would go as far as necessary to keep the regime in order. In 1998, 19 “criminals” detained in Kahrizak were taken to Tehran and publicly executed, in front of television cameras. This was unprecedented in Iran where, even at the times of the Iraq war, the tendancy was to compromise with western countries and keep a low profile. Before Ahmadinejad’s arms race, Iran was barely a bleep on a radar compared to the other local hotspots such as Saddam Hussein’s Iraq and Yasser Arafat’s second Intifada in Palestine. The fate of Kahrizak’s detainees was collateral damage to the Islamic Revolution that destituted the Shah of Iran in 1983. Ever since, Ayatollah Khomeiny plays his own cards regardless of diplomatic and democratic rules. But during the Green Revolution, regular protesters, students, civilians, ordinary people with no record of political activism or disruption of social order were suddenly driven to Kahrizak and mixed with criminals, receiving the same treatment. Some kapos understood this as a way to teach the “soussouls” (daddy’s boys) a lesson in the difficulties and consequences of activism. It also exposed Kahrizak to a light it was never supposed to be brought to. Up to 76 people were shoved together in a container with no holes and fed rotting garbage.Over 200 of those new prisoners ended up in critical condition in the hospital.

Local journalist Babak Dad updated his blog with horrifying detailed information on the torture and rape inflicted to the detainees. It was
in during one of those sessions led by the kapos that the son of a renowned scientist who was yet close to the regime in place, Mohsen
Rolamini, died. As far as the authorities are concerned, the young man died of a “viral infection”. For journalists and former detainees, he
succombed to torture and ill-treatment. The doctor assigned to the prison surely knew all the sordid details attached to Kahrizak – and
took them with him to his grave.

It’s no secret that ever since Adolf Hitler came into power in 1933, treasury funds, shops, personal possessions and bank accounts of the Jews living in Western, Central and Eastern Europe were shamelessly stolen and redistributed either to Nazi officials or, as we had known ever since, deposited in secret “dormant funds” in Swiss banks. Little did we know that the State that came to life post-Shoah and claimed to be the only haven of peace for Jewish people on Earth, Israel, was itself in possession of about 130 million euro (over $300 million) sitting safely but unknowingly inside Israeli banks.

Three mainlining banks – Leumi, Hapoalim, and Discount – have already restituted about 25 million shekels (4.7 million euro) to a specific commission created by the Knesset, the Israeli Parliament, wondering where all those funds supposedly given back to Shoah survivors or their descendants had never been given back to those they righteously belong to.

In 2002, the Knesset creates a specific commission of inquiry regarding Jewish funds and presided by Colette Avital. Four years on, Zvi Kanor takes over the commission, and it is only now in 2009 that said commission, promptly demanded by the Victims Assets Restitution Company (VARC), is arm-wrestling with five banks to retrieve an unimaginable sum resting in peace on dormant accounts whose owners have mostly no idea about, or were banned from accessing. Speaking to french newspaper Le Monde, Avital comments: “Not only did the banks not do anything to find survivors or their possible heirs, but for years and years, they settled against anyone coming to claim their dues with documents – letters, notepads, passports from their fathers or their grandfathers, proving their identity.” Until today, most of the Israeli banks told the VARC that they would not act upon their pressing demands, saying the association had “no proof” that Shoah victims’ money was lying still in their basements.

Sick and tired of the continuous harassment from the VARC and probably scared off by the Knesset’s willingness to trace the money back, three banks gave in, but two (Hamizrahi and Mercantile) are still opposed into restituting the money, considerably inflated with interests for over sixty years. Kanor is well aware that the fact Leomi itself gave back 20 million of the 25 million shekels restituted is a huge step forward, but that is only the beginning of another long struggle to finally close the door on the dramatic consequences of the Holocaust. It took a book from professor Yossi Katz, from the Bar Ilan University in 1997 to add more pressure and weight to the VARC’s claims that responsibility needed to be taken from the banks “detaining Shoah’s money”. Adding to the insult of being betrayed by their own institutions, survivors and descendants alike are compelled to show endless proof of their identity and legitimacy of their claim to the money when most of the Jewish people sent to camps were often stripped of their identity and nationality papers, lost in the war.

Zvi Kanor is expecting about 140 million more shekel to be versed to VARC members, but what is most astonishing is Israel’s complete silence on the reasons why it took almost seventy years to reach an ending to the shame and the need for reparation. Whilst Germany is still compelled to pay Israel reparations for war crimes (Wiedergutmachung), contested within the country as being a tool for more military aid towards Palestine, Israel itself fails to pay its own citizens the money they had been deprived of from the regime that drove them to their near destruction. Another controversial topic Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu is not likely to address anytime soon.

I can’t exactly remember the last time I took a unilateral decision. It was probably something regarding the ever-regular debate on whether to pay my rent on time and the unilateral decision I made, this is, without the consent or advice of my landlord, proved to be extremely damaging and taught me a lesson my father would have been proud to make himself. This said, I haven’t had my own apartment taken away from me by excessive force nor have I had been under constant oppression for over sixty years, so I can’t really compare the decision Palestine might be taking – unilaterally – to proclaim itself a state, without the consent or advice of Israel.

Yasser Arafat: he had a dream...

The question of recognizing, legally and politically, regionally and internationally, Palestine as a state – with its own government, its own Constitution, its own set of laws and by-laws, and, most importantly and perhaps most decisively, a preset territory, has been at the heart of every potentially successful peace process to be made in the region. There is no possibility to discuss a two-state solution of only one of the parties is actually a State. There is no negotiation to be made between heads of State if only one of the two parties is indeed a diplomatically recognized head of State. There is no legitimacy to be claimed over a territory if there is no State to organize nationwide democratic elections. Moreover, there is no population without a State, as the Palestinians can not claim national protections. Whose and which nationals are they, exactly? Which force is there to protect them from oppression and guarantee them freedom and labour, and if a force stands up and claims it will, how legitimate can it be? The situation of Hamas in the Gaza Strip and the West’s heated debate over whether or not this is a legitimate government or a terrorist organization such as Hezbollah is adding fuel to the pan and destroying every embryo of a negotiation. For as long as there is no such thing as a Palestinian state, Palestinians are nothing but Israel’s political prisoners, collateral damage of a forceful sionism that was not even entirely supported by a Jewish community already saturated by the hate and violence they endured.

In short: Palestine wants to be recognized as a State. Israel refuses. The issue of whether the land between the Gaza Strip and the West Bank will be attributed to either of the parties is at stake and Israel has much to gain in maintaining a status quo. But after the much criticized Goldstone report, a decision regarding the region has to be reached. The United States, for the first time in a very long time, is pushing towards a two-state solution. This seems to be the only solution. No matter how hard the right-wing Israeli parties are dragging their feet, this is the only outcome. Except that Mahmoud Abbas, currently the leader of the Palestinian authorities, for lack of a better expression, has declared he might take upon himself to do what Yasser Arafat himself did not do – claim a Palestinian state, following the borders created by the 1967 agreement.

Liebermann, currently Prime Minister of Israel, has replied to this claim with as much of a negative answer one could come up with without resorting to weapons of russian manufacture; and President Shimon Peres himself called to a cooling off of the situation, saying that “anger in Palestine must not be turned into a political agenda.” With negotiations at a standstill, and Hamas struggling to maintain a pseudo-democratic facade, how long will Palestine sustain a relative peaceful and downlow demeanour without access to their demands? The White House and the European Union having hurt a wall during their mediation sessions with Israel last summer, Liebermann being strictly opposed to a two-state solution and even refused to freeze Israeli settlements in the West Bank, can a unilateral action, the very opposite of diplomatic action, can be endorsed? What kind of response are we to expect from Israel, if not an armed force one, justified by the fact that their own borders have been unilaterally claimed frioom one side without the consent of the other?

And what will become of the East Jerusalem Palestinians, Jewish Arabs, citizens with no state and residents with no territory, temporary living heads on borrowed time, allowed by a reluctant authority to cultivate the land they have had for millenia? What will become of the brand new settlers, forced to retract backwards, and not knowing which authority to turn to? Should a third party be named and called upon this issue in order to make the decision neither Israel nor Palestine is willing to do without force? What would even happen to a brand new Palestinian state if the decision brings back the painful memories of the blood-spilling power struggle between Fatah and Hamas? Is Palestine capable of running its own people democratically, peacefully, in full cooperation with its reluctant neighbor, and liberating the Gaza Strip without those collateral damages we have become a little too acquainted with?

This is one simple decision, but raising a plethora of questions no one is quite ready to address yet. Unilateral decisions are never favored on the diplomatic scene, for the simple reason they always rile up the party that has not been consulted, like in any divorce, any conflictual relationship, any divided, segregated area. But what if finally standing up to the test and making the decision everyone has been waiting for and hedging one’s bets was the only solution left for the Middle East? What if Palestine had to take their chances?

My morning headache had a name (as they always do), and beyond the nightmare that is swine flu, this one is named Stupak.

Stupak is also one of those Democrats belonging to the blue party for reasons that are beyond our comprehension (he’s fiercely pro-life, much in the likes of Sarah Palin currently hosting fearfully successful pro-life rallies in the South). The Stupak Amendment is an amendment to the current healthcare bill that considerably reduces the federal funds given to abortion. Basically, if you need an abortion, please pay out of your own pocket, thank you. Considering the fact that women in need of abortion are generally mostly of lower to poor working classes, this is not going to help women at all. But this is 2009 and Maine has already given us our federal quota of legal gay-bashing for November; so who else were we going to stump on this time? You’re right, the <i>other</i> second-class citizen: poor women.

The Stupak Amendment, which real name is Stupak-Ellsworth-Pitts-Smith-Kaptur-Dahlkemper Amendment, is already mirroring the Hyde Amendment asking for the complete refusal of federal funds for abortion under health care policies, and the removal of abortion from government-funded health care programs. Planned Parenthood was just about to shoot itself in the head before it heard the news, and is now considering committing itself to the nearest government-funded mental illness program created just for women who have no other choice in life but to turn to the 19th century literature already condemning the use of underground abortion. Guess that a teenage Austrian Jew knew more about women than Democrats do.

As per Republican custom – which once again makes me question Stupak’s allegiance to the Democrat Party – at the moment of voting, Stupak called to the “conscience” of Congressmen, in order to secure the place of his amendment on the bill. The proposed health-care reform, already the product of a severe compromise and the dismissal of anything that would be actually historical and life-changing in the history of healthcare in the United States, is now crowned with the title of the first health care program that completely ignores women’s rights and women’s health in it. I am talking about western countries obviously since we have already stated that the United States has a healthcare record placing them behind Cuba. According to Stupak,

“Passage of the Stupak Amendment does not impose a new federal abortion policy; it simply continues what has been the law of the land since 1977 and I am pleased that with the addition of this amendment the House health care reform bill will continue that policy.”

“I have long been an advocate of health care reform. My goal has always been to ensure that the voices of the majority of Americans who oppose federal funding for abortion were heard in this important debate. Now that those voices have been heard we must move forward and pass a bill that provides quality, affordable health care for all Americans.

“I thank Speaker Pelosi for allowing this important vote to occur and I appreciate the hard work and perseverance of my pro-life colleagues in Congress who held strong and stood with me over the past several months as we worked to find a way to allow this vote against all odds.”

Against all odds, indeed, since Nancy Pelosi is herself a woman and should vote in her conscience with the hundreds of thousands of women she is now condemning by allowing Stupak to use all his manly force to restrict women’s rights a little bit further, in case we weren’t already worried with our situation. Melissa Harris-Lacewell, a teacher at Princeton University, twittered this morning: “So angry about Stupak last night that I had to practice meditation at 2:30AM to finally get to sleep.” Then: “It’s Sunday morning and I am seeking more balance, greater optimism, and the courage to move in a new direction.” We do, actually, and proponents of women’s rights such as Rachel Maddow and Planned Parenthood have already geared up their responses for the bill that passed with a bipartisan vote of 220 – 215 (thank you, Anthony Weiner!)

“Planned Parenthood serves three million women every year through its more than 850 affiliate health centers across the country and has worked tirelessly on behalf of those patients for affordable, quality health care. On behalf of the millions of women Planned Parenthood health centers serve, the Planned Parenthood Federation of America has no choice but to oppose HR 3962. The bill includes the Stupak/Pitts amendment that would leave women worse off after health care reform than they are today, violating President Obama’s promise to the American people that no one would be forced to lose her or his present coverage under health reform.

It is strange, a bit eerie, and terribly confusing that this health care reform, so long promised, so long talked about and so long decried by a Republican Party afraid to lose its homophobic, women-hating and gun-toting base, finally became exactly what the Republican Party expected it to be: expensive for sick people, unaffordable for minorities, reducing women’s rights, denouncing equality, and finally going back to square one, all of that without having mastered a single debate yet. We had been encouraged to look toward European countries and favor systems such as La Sécurité Sociale in France and the National Health Service in the United Kingdom, without ever using this said inspiration to anything progressive, productive in useful. In times of recession, only government-based means of social security are saving societies from decrepit downfalls of epic proportions. It is only because of health care and welfare that most European countries managed to keep their level of conumption to a degree that kept their economies somewhat afloat. What will happen to the United States now?

One question: what is the use of Congress – and most importantly, the use of a majority in Congress – if we are not using it to bring about the ideas and the reforms propulsed by said majority? It’s not as if the Republicans had ever hesitated to press with all their weight when they were in Office. Why, all of a sudden, must everything be bipartisan, to the point it’s not even a question of balance, but a question of pleasing the minority? Barack Hussein Obama wanted to bring the United States into the third millenium after George W. Bush had run it into the ground and hit reverse – now we are retreating further back into the Dark Ages of feodal rule, and I am not so happy about the future of women, of gay people, of minorities, and of low incomes anymore. If anything, brace yourselves, because this future is indeed a bleak one.

By the way, Stupak, please do leave your Democrat Party card at the door when you leave, thank you.

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