Why are we the only stupid industrialized country in the world?

mail box imagesThe postal service this week announced it would be cutting as many as 30,000 jobs through attrition - using hiring freezes as workers retire or quit. According to American Postal Workers Union president William Burrus, cutting the U.S. Postal Service delivery to five days a week would be the beginning of the demise of the Post office. Burrus says it's not true that the postal service has to initiate major changes to survive a grave crisis. Burrus says a little-known requirement by Congress for the postal service to pre-pay retiree health care obligations is the central cause of financial problems at the postal service. Absent that burden, the union president says, there would be a surplus of $3.7 billion over the last three fiscal years.  In other words, if we had Medicare for All, the postal service would be profitable.  Probably forever.  Why are we the only stupid industrialized country in the world?

In a new study conducted by the U.S. Geological Survey, every single fish tested from 291 freshwater streams across the United States was found to be contaminated with mercury. Interior Secretary Ken Salazar said, "This study shows just how widespread mercury pollution has become in our air, watersheds and many of our fish in freshwater streams." It's very damaging to the developing nervous systems of fetuses and children, and can have severe effects on adults. Mercury enters the environment as atmospheric emissions from industrial processes, mostly from the burning of coal for electricity. It eventually concentrates in rivers, lakes and oceans, where it enters the aquatic food chain.  There is no such thing as clean coal, even though our President used the phrase in his state of the Union address.  And we're now seeing an epidemic of autism in the United States that may be connected to contaminated Chinese toys, or to mercury, or both.  Welcome to the brave new corporate world.


Todd Lockwood (not verified) 9 years 50 weeks ago

Ron: did Thom say it would be free? Standard attack mode: to put words in the mouths of those you attack that they did not say.

The fact is that "socialized" health care would remove the profit motive from basic human services in a way that would be beneficial or all. Cars didn't become safer until insurance companies noticed that unsafe cars were changing their bottom line. But what affects the bottom line of insurance companies? At the moment, nothing. They're free to raise their rates, deny service, and change terms at will. It is estimated that 25 cents out of every insurance premium dollar paid is profit. My wife works for a health care provider doing billing. I know for a fact that insurance companies obfuscate, stall, lie, delay, ad nauseam, and hire an army of lawyers, accountants and lobbyists to make it possible. Which requires health care providers to employ people like my wife whose sole function is to prove to insurance companies that they are, in fact, required to pay the bills they contracted to pay. These expenses only compound the damage of the ridiculous profit margins these companies expect.

Subtract all that needless interference and health care becomes massively less expensive. We'd even be willing to lose my wife's employment to make it so.

If you have some actual data to add to the discussion, bring it. I don't think you do. You're just another lazy right wing freeper (who clearly was not banned for his insulting tone), throwing grenades at the parade.

Todd Lockwood (not verified) 9 years 50 weeks ago

Ron: it's Thom's blog, that's right. That means it's on you to provide data if you're going to refute him. As I suspected, you got nuthin'. Just innuendo and invective.

But since you ask, go here:


Craig Reid (not verified) 9 years 50 weeks ago

It has crept up on us so slowly we hardly realized it. The purging of critical thinking skills from our schools and from our society in general. Over the last 30 + years the Cons have been pushing us to stop thinking critically and just accept authority without question.
It really started in the 1960s with the spread of activism and public protests. It was a movement in response to an unjust and unnecessary war. Our generation was the product of an affluent and successful middle class resulting from high taxes on the rich, enforcement of anti-trust laws, empowerment of labor unions and an educated and informed generation of young people. It was this generation of critical thinkers that scared the shit out of the Republicans. When we took to the streets and challenged the authority of the establishment a shock wave resonated throughout the conservative world.
Conservative thinking relies on unquestioning acceptance of authority as the way to keep socieity civil and keep the rabble from mucking up the works. That fear gave rise to a long and sustained effort to cleanse our country of the cancer of critical and progressive thinking. When President Nixon said that if the President does it then it must be legal, he set the mold for the future vision of conservatives for a rigidly ordered nation where dissent is not tolerated and punishable by all manner of penalties.
It really kicked into high gear during the Reagan administration when the Cons were able to eliminate most of the means of imparting critical thinking skills to students the elimination of civics classes, principles of democracy classes and any kind of format that would encourage students to question authority and make an attempt to improve their lot in life.
We now have an entire generation of young adults who have very little idea of what Jeffersonian Democracy is or what ideas and values our form of government and our principles were founded upon. They are ignorant of the great struggle throughout history between rigid, fear-driven, conservatism and forward thinking, progressivism. The demise of true journalism is one means by which the Cons have accomplished this change. We no longer have actual journalism taught in our schools and colleges - it's all been re-geared towards info-tainment - the battle for ratings, advertising dollars and PROFIT.
Our media, what the founding fathers referred to as the fourth estate - the independant journalistic means by which our representatives are held to account for their actions, has been completely swallowed by the radical right-wing corporate power structure. Through witholding enforcement of The Sherman Anti-Trust Act, corporations have been allowed to grow larger and larger until their wealth, power and influence has completely eclipsed the power and influence of we the people .
Jefferson believed that the only way this great experiment could succeed was if there were a literate and informed electorate. That is why he pushed so hard for public education and why he founded the University of Virginia. Without said informed electorate our experiment in democratic rule would be doomed to failure and this is exactly what we are experiencing now.
Critical thinking scares the holy hell out of conservatives because when people are able to think critically for themselves they don't need an authoritative government to keep them down, they tell them what to think or punish them if they step out of the limits set by their betters . When people are able to think critically they are able to understand what is happening and make informed decisions about how to govern themselves. The people take control of the helm and tell those who would be authoritarians how to steer our ship of state.
There are a few basic, root changes that must be made if we are ever to regain our power as a free and self-governing people. The re-learning of critical thinking is among the most basic of those changes. From that will stem a whole host of positive changes such as the ability to see when they are being manipulated and intimidated. When people are able to think critically about what is going on around them they will come up with amazing ideas about how to make things better.
It doesn't take a genius to see how we've been herded into a pen and manipulated and scared into doing the will of the rich and powerful, so that they may keep and increase their wealth and power. It's time to face our fears, gird our loins and push back in unison with the power of our numbers to take back what the Constitution and the Bill of Rights gave to every American, the right to be free to make our own choices about how we govern ourselves.
The government is not a them it is an us, we the people. We elect these schmucks, they are supposed to do what we want them to - that which is the very best for all of us. Reagan succeeded in creating a false demon - government. Remember when he said - The nine most terrifying words in the English language are - 'I'm from the government and I'm here to help' . It's time we turn that around and tell the conservatives - The nine most terrifying words in the English language are - I'm from the corporation and I'm here to help.

LeMoyne (not verified) 9 years 50 weeks ago

Is it stupid for the US not to not have a universal health care system that creates both the sense of security and the actual enhancement of the right to life?
Hmmm let's see... here are just a few benefits: a profitable national postal system (carrying over 40% of world's mail volume!), greatly reduced auto insurance costs (most of it is medical liability), more competitive industry globally (watch China beat the US in joining the modern world), more focused and profitable industry locally (no insurance overhead, cost, management time and worries)
And trillions of dollars saved or actually spent on health care instead of "overhead" (dunning, denying and dining out).
And you'll like this Ron: it cures the right-wing hypocrisy about how we have the greatest medical care in the world when millions of people go years without any care at all.

Ron Rutherford (not verified) 9 years 49 weeks ago

In case anyone missed it:
So Thom, You consider being stupid by not having a "socialist security" for health care also, no? Didn't your mother ever tell you that just because everyone else is going to jump in a lake does not mean that you should. If other industrialized countries also forced women to wear burkas would you also think we should follow that example.

The big question is why do you think just because government provides the services that it somehow is free then?

Your blog does not get too much traffic and your forum is losing interest. Why do you think that might be? I really want to know if you want lively dynamic conversations on your forum or is it meant only for "Libs". Considering that people get banned for the slightest while the "forum pets" get to insult all day, I have to wonder.

Maybe if you paid attention more to even your own words, you would in fact notice your hypocrisy as in http://www.thomhartmann.com/board/./viewtopic.php?f=4&t=3852
Thom Hartmann is a hypocrite!

Link: Why are we the only stupid industrialized country in the world?

Thom: You have another issue that I am sure you will get right on to responding to at:
T.H. says Geo. Washington wanted Fed Gov Health Care
Probably just making the shit up again, hey Thom???

PS: If you have some actual data to add to the discussion, bring it. I don’t think you do. You’re just another lazy right wing freeper (who clearly was not banned for his insulting tone), throwing grenades at the parade.Why???? It is Thom’s blog and he never even provides a link to his "facts" in his comments. His books are even worse for not having footnotes or much of a bibliography.

PS2: Ron: did Thom say it would be free? Standard attack mode: to put words in the mouths of those you attack that they did not say.
I am asking Thom, not one of his cheerleaders. I’m asking him where will he find the money. I have read and listened enough to know that he is just pushing that issue under the rug or has some “hope and change” mantra that he repeating.

Yes, and thanks for the vacuous link…

Thom: You have another issue that I am sure you will get right on to responding to at:
T.H. says Geo. Washington wanted Fed Gov Health Care
Probably just making the shit up again, hey Thom???

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