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Courage and cowardice

Sunday, August 23, 2009 by Dave Winer.

First courage... Permalink to this paragraph

Arthur Frommer, the famous travel writer, writes on his blog. "I will not personally travel in a state where civilians carry loaded weapons onto the sidewalks and as a means of political protest." He's talking about the event where people openly carrying guns, one carrying an assault rifle, gathered outside an event where the President spoke.  Permalink to this paragraph

Arizona can say that people have the right to openly carry guns of any kind at any time, and we can choose not to spend time or money in such a backward place. Perfectly appropriate way to react to an obvious attempt to scare people.  Permalink to this paragraph

Now cowardice.  Permalink to this paragraph

Last week I wrote about how Republican Senator Charles Grassley from Iowa, one of a very small number of Republicans who, imho, was honorable -- took the coward's route and threw grandma under the bus, doing his part to confuse the electorate on the issues in the health care decision we will soon make. Paul Krugman follows up, now Grassley has the gall to blame first President Obama and then one of his constituents for his cowardly deception. He's 75 years old. Is winning another election so important that he wants to be remembered as a dishonorable liar and coward? Permalink to this paragraph

In all the debates about health care reform, the real issue isn't getting talked about. It's about the people who don't have coverage. Some of the easiest cases are people who have the money to buy insurance, and would buy it, if the industry would sell it to them. But they only want to insure healthy people. So we're in the ridiculous situation here where the people who most need care can't get it. Someone should tell Grassley that some of those people are our grandmothers, and grandsons and granddaughters. Nieces and nephews and mothers and fathers. Don't go claiming the compassionate high ground, when you're selling us out. Shame. (And it could be that some of his own family are screwed by the insurance industry. If not, why not?) Permalink to this paragraph

Of course there are the cases where people pay premiums for years, then get sick, and the company denies coverage, disputing information on their application, or claiming a pre-existing condition, long after accepting the premiums. What recourse do we have? We can sue the companies, but that takes huge money, money they have and we don't. And what difference will it make if by the time the case is decided the patient is dead? The whole idea of pre-existing conditions is one that we need to get rid of, completely. Everyone who wants insurance must be able to buy it. Period. No exceptions. Permalink to this paragraph

Because these problems concern millions of Americans, everyone knows someone who has been put through the ringer by the insurance process. These stories about angry people (what are they angry about exactly and what does it have to do with health care) are drowning out the tragic stories of people who die because they aren't covered.  Permalink to this paragraph

One more pointer.  Permalink to this paragraph

The Democrats aren't blameless because they aren't selling health care reform.  Permalink to this paragraph

George Lakoff explains how it must be done. Not with lengthy explanations of policy, but with stories that fit into the experiences of all of us, and connecting the values of universal health care with what it means to be an American.  Permalink to this paragraph

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A picture named dave.jpgDave Winer, 54, pioneered the development of weblogs, syndication (RSS), podcasting, outlining, and web content management software; former contributing editor at Wired Magazine, research fellow at Harvard Law School, entrepreneur, and investor in web media companies. A native New Yorker, he received a Master's in Computer Science from the University of Wisconsin, a Bachelor's in Mathematics from Tulane University and currently lives in Berkeley, California.

"The protoblogger." - NY Times.

"The father of modern-day content distribution." - PC World.

One of BusinessWeek's 25 Most Influential People on the Web.

"Helped popularize blogging, podcasting and RSS." - Time.

"The father of blogging and RSS." - BBC.

"RSS was born in 1997 out of the confluence of Dave Winer's 'Really Simple Syndication' technology, used to push out blog updates, and Netscape's 'Rich Site Summary', which allowed users to create custom Netscape home pages with regularly updated data flows." - Tim O'Reilly.


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