What Does Dem Loss Mean?

As everyone knows, the Democrats lost the race in MA.

Ted Kennedy’s seat.   Ted Kennedy retained his seat on the senate mainly because of his relationship to Jack and Bobby.

I could never get beyond Chappaquiddick, though, believe me, I wanted to.

The details of Chappaquiddick are murky, reports are speculative. If the stories about Mary Jo Kopechne having survived for hours trapped in the inverted automoble in an air pocket, that slowly dwindled until she suffocated or drowned are true, then Ted’s behavior after the accident allowed an innocent person to experience a slow, painful, death.

And if accounts are accurate, Ted Kennedy allowed this to occur, a young woman slowly drowning, terrified, waiting for Ted to rescue her, taking her leave of life in the blackness of a submerged car, because Ted didn’t want a scandal that would hurt him politically.

He walked away from Mary Jo Kopechne, leaving her alone to die in a watery grave, while he slept.

I won’t belabor the point anymore.

Ted Kennedy, the last hope of the original Kennedy brothers of world wide fame, the one who Jack Called “the smartest of all of us”,  feminine followers said that Ted was the handsomest Kennedy.

Handsome, brilliant, charismatic, the heir to the Kennedy inheritance politically, the natural successor, all gone, overnight.

And although MA voted him back year after year, when it became obvious that Chappaquiddick would forever keep him from the Presidency, IT was always there.

It is said that, “Well, look at all the good he did.”

When I looked at him over the years, it looked like a guy who was having a great life, a happy life, a life filled with parties filled with people who loved him and worshiped him.

He never seemed to be all that concerned with  things he had done.

If, instead of, as he put it at the time, “hashing out the situation with friends and associates”, he had called 9-11, Ms Kopechne would probably have survived.

The Democrats lost Yesterday, Kennedy’s seat is gone.–

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Right and Wrong and Humanity

Government has a role as being the facilitator of our better natures.
Most of us would agree that the luck of being born into a wealthy family does not make one a better person than someone who has the misfortune to be born in Haiti.
I don’t know if you would agree with this, but studying  IRS data and reporting has demonstrated that large numbers of Americans were born “super rich”, and have never known a single solitary want in their lives, at least, materially.
They and those with whom they associate run the country, and sometimes they do a very poor job of it.
What is required is a major shift.
The evil that is propagated by such individuals as Rush Limbaugh, has to be exposed for what it is.
If you study history and have a rudimentary knowledge of logic and reason and philosophy and metaphysics it is obvious that the world and civilization and technology are evolving.
Surely all the blood and sweat and history of a thousand years is not going to reach its epitome by being a world that is safe for those who inherit money, and cruel and brutish for everyone, or the majority of everyone, else.
No, the definite trend in social evolution, or cultural evolution, or civilization’s evolution, is altruism, and equality, for all.
To many, change is a scary thing, even the “enemy”.
Remember how many on the right railed against the word “change” in the Obama campaign?
Some are upset that Obama has acknowledged the harm America has sometimes caused around the world, but how to you get beyond the wrongs you have done if you won’t even acknowledge them?
Countries make mistakes, and sometimes they are not mistakes, they are deliberate.
Hitler did not mistakenly murder millions.
Hitler was able to convince millions of Germans that the most ridiculous policies were the answer to Germany’s, and Europe’s serious problems.
Some people hate Obama.
Most people can see that Obama is a decent man, in a tough situation, in a world filled with crisis.
The people on the right need to educate themselves out of the layers of disinformation spread by the professional conservatives, the Limbaughs and the Hanittys and that group, that earn a fortune building an edifice of hate and self agrandizement.
I am speaking to the people who work and care about their neighbors and their families and the world we share.
We are not going to return to the fifties in America.
And we are not going to return to the 7th century, as desired by the conservatives in Islam.
We are going to move forward, the only question is the nature and strength of the opposition to human progress, and the form of progress, not whether there will be human progress.

What’s In It For Limbaugh?

It’s been my experience in life that if people don’t want to help others, it takes them no time at all to come up with an, in their view, great reason not to help.It is the easiest thing in the world.

Rush Limbaugh is smart, although you wouldn’t think so based on what he says, or his expressed views. Someone said, “To him, it’s all about politics.” I don’t think so. I think with Limbaugh it’s all about ratings and stardom and power and so on. Limbaugh cynically manipulates his audience with emotion and propaganda, he is, in fact, a hate monger.
He says, “I hope Obama fails. This thing in Haiti is perfect for Obama, he can play the compassion card, he can improve his image with dark skinned and light skinned blacks. Do you trust that money you donate to Haiti through a number given by the Obama adminstration will even get to Haiti​?”

Limbaugh peddles hate, and when times are difficult, there is a market for that.
Look at Germany in the thirties.

Haiti

The tragedy in Haiti continues to unfold.
It is so horrifying that it is almost incomprehensible that we can now see on TV and in the social media people on the brink of starvation, amidst a natural disaster of epic proportions, and then we can go out to a cozy restaurant, have a huge dinner, go to sleep, and forget all about the tragedy that is ongoing.
This nightmare can have a blessing concealed within.
The people of Haiti have been impoverished for decades.
Prior to the earthquake, the President of Haiti said that people fed their children mud cakes to fill their bellies as they were so hungry, and there was no food.
The President’s home and palace were destroyed, and he is homeless, he said, “I don’t know if I will find a bed tonight.”
There is criminal neglect in the fact that the wealthy nations of the world have let millions of people live their lives in what would be considered emergency conditions almost anywhere else, certainly in the developed nations.
We all know right from wrong.
It is wrong for someone like say, George Bush to live a life of fabulous opulence , having done nothing to earn any of his wealth and power other than having the good fortune to be born in a fabulously wealthy family,  and a young man suffering from hunger, malnutrition, fear, crime, filth and disease, because he had the misfortune to be born to a family in Haiti.
Rush Limbaugh today said something to the effect that this was good news, the earthquake, for Obama since he could talk about compassion and helping, “and the people of Haiti are black, so this could help Obama’s image with blacks in this country.”
It seemed pretty obvious watching Limbaugh making these remarks that the plight of a few million Blacks in Haiti is of no concern to him.
Pat Robinson said today, “The Haitians have made a deal with the Devil.” and they are being punished by God.
Most people however, and Americans, have traditionally cared about the underdog.
America’s poor are, to a large degree, fed by volunteers, Americans have always supported the disadvantaged.
All of us really need to take the time and examine our values and do whatever we can to  prevent the horrors in Haiti from occurring again, and while we are at it, make human rights, specifically the universally recognized rights of Health, food and a home for all men women and children, as important in our priorities as protecting ourselves from Afghanistani tribesmen.

Global Apartheid

This article originally appeared in The Nation.
Health is the human right that in practice most visibly marks distinctions of race, or of economic or social condition.
Whether governments and international organizations actually have an obligation to enforce this right is hotly disputed. The Bush Administration, following in the steps of its predecessors, stressed in its March 30 response to the UN’s draft declaration on AIDS that “for legal and constitutional reasons, the United States cannot accept a ‘rights based approach’ to HIV/AIDS–any more than it can accept a rights based approach to food, shelter or hunger.” At the UN High Commission on Human Rights in April, the United States alone abstained on an otherwise unanimously supported Brazilian resolution recognizing “that access to medication in the context of pandemics such as HIV/AIDS is one fundamental element…of the right… to health.”
The scale of the AIDS pandemic is unprecedented. But AIDS is like other widespread diseases in that it is fueled not only by unequal access to medical care but also by social and economic conditions. Poverty and gender inequality fuel the pandemic in Africa. Malnutrition reduces resistance to disease. Migrant labor patterns (well entrenched in Africa from colonialism and apartheid) raise the risk of infection. The proximate cause of the spread of AIDS is HIV, but vulnerability to infection is linked not only to behavior but especially to unequal power relations between women and men, and to poverty and living conditions [see Eileen Stillwaggon, “AIDS and Poverty in Africa,” May 21]. Poverty, in turn, is linked to race and to the structural position of communities within countries and of countries within the world economy.
Thus debating what is to be done about AIDS keeps leading back to broader issues. Unless women have the freedom to negotiate the terms of sex, increased awareness and availability of condoms will have only limited impact. Health services deprived of basic resources will be unable to meet the need for treatment or prevention of AIDS. Meeting in Abuja, Nigeria, in April, African leaders agreed on a target of spending at least 15 percent of their national budgets on health, two or three times the current levels. But their chances of meeting this target are slim if they are forced to give priority to paying illegitimate foreign debts over making investments in public health (or if they choose to divert resources to war or personal gain).
Some cite such factors as excuses for inaction. Even as prices of antiretroviral drugs drop in response to protest and generic competition, the lack of health infrastructure and the inability of governments to pay even the reduced prices become new rationales for denying antiretroviral treatment to Africans. As one unidentified international health official told the Washington Post on April 23, while deploring the political stance of activists, “We may have to sit by and just see these millions of people die.”
The alternate response is to address the reasons for lack of infrastructure and inability to pay. That leads back to policies imposed by international financial institutions in the 1980s and 1990s and, in a longer view, to harsh historical legacies that policy-makers still refuse to confront. Granted, corruption and policy mistakes by African leaders also play a role. But in Africa and in other developing regions, unsustainable debt and weakened health systems result in large part from economic policy conditions imposed by international creditors during the past two decades. The imposition of “user fees” for primary healthcare, for example, drove large numbers away from public health services, contributing to increased rates of sexually transmitted diseases. More generally, cutbacks in the public sector helped send health professionals to the private sector or abroad and reduced investments in healthcare delivery systems. Creditors representing a collective economic colonialism managed by the World Bank and IMF increasingly dictated public health and other policies of poor countries. Debt provided the leverage to enforce the economic diktat of global apartheid by the rich upon the poor.
The capacity of postindependence African countries to chart their own course was heavily affected by the fact that neither political nor economic structures had yet broken free of the colonial legacies of authoritarian governance and economic dependence on export of primary commodities. Despite victories by prodemocracy forces in Africa over the past decade, including the demise of formal apartheid in South Africa, and despite modest recoveries in economic growth rates in recent years, AIDS struck a continent that was extraordinarily vulnerable.
Today’s inequalities build on a foundation of the old inequalities of slavery and colonialism, plus the destructive aftermath of cold war crusades. Like apartheid in South Africa, global apartheid entrenches great disparities in wealth, living conditions, life expectancy and access to government institutions with effective power. It relies on the assumption that it is “natural” for different population groups to have different expectations of life. In apartheid South Africa, that was the rationale for differentiating everything according to race, from materials for housing to standards of education and healthcare. Globally it is now the rationalization used to defend the differential between Europe and Africa in funding for everything from peacekeeping to humanitarian assistance ($1.23 a day for European refugees, 11 cents a day for African refugees). As one relief worker said, “You must give European refugees used to cappuccino and CNN a higher standard of living to maintain the refugees’ sense of dignity and stability.”
Gradations of privilege according to group are closely linked to the possibility of crossing barriers from the “homelands” to the more privileged geographical areas. Like apartheid’s influx control, the immigration barriers of developed countries do not succeed in stopping the flow despite raising the costs of enforcement. Moreover, the global governance regime that is assigned responsibility for maintaining the current economic order–as was the case with apartheid in its heyday–allocates key decisions to institutions resistant to democratic control: a global version of “white minority rule.”
We are not the first to note the striking parallels between the world system and the old South Africa. Canada-based international relations scholar Gernot Kohler wrote a monograph on global apartheid in 1978 noting multiple parallels: “a white minority is dominant in the system, has a vastly higher standard of living than the multiracial majority, and is privileged in several other dimensions.” British political scientist Titus Alexander elaborated the concept in his book Unraveling Global Apartheid in 1996, noting that “The G7 countries have 12 per cent of the world’s population, but they use over 70 per cent of its resources in cash terms and dominate all major decision-making bodies.” A sampling of others who have recently used the term includes South African President Thabo Mbeki, Cuban President Fidel Castro, Africanist scholar Ali Mazrui and human rights scholar Richard Falk.
Like these commentators, we do not suggest that the mechanisms of South African apartheid are precisely duplicated at the global level. But we do argue that the parallels are more than a casual turn of phrase.
To those who say that the current global political and economic orders have to do with more than race, we respond that while that is true, in fact the old apartheid was also not just “about race.” It was also an extreme mode of controlling labor by managing differential access to territorial movement and political rights. Racial oppression makes exploitation easier to manage, while exploitation continues within as well as between racial groups. Others have noted that there is no single government or system of international governance that rules the global system as the former apartheid regime did South Africa. True, today’s global institutions–from the WTO to the World Bank to various UN agencies–do fall short of a world government. And no racial distinctions appear in their constitutions. But their power over national governments in the global South is in many cases overwhelming. And representation and leadership within these bodies–particularly in the international financial institutions with the most power–do show a strong de facto correlation with race.
At the global level, control of the movement of labor by immigration laws, representation within global institutions and allocation of public investment are of course far more complex and differentiated than the apartheid system in South Africa (though it was also more complex than generally recognized). The resulting global inequality, however, is even starker than that within any country, including apartheid South Africa. A 1999 World Bank income inequality study by B. Milanovic estimates that the richest 1 percent of people in the world receive as much income as the poorest 57 percent. The study also estimates that more than three-quarters of the difference is accounted for by differences between countries, while the remainder is from inequalities within countries. Given such differences, the resemblance between apartheid’s influx control and current efforts to stop the “illegal” flow of immigrants from South (and East) to North should be no surprise.
Finally, many have cautioned against a framework that blames the “external” West for everything, thereby relieving African and other local tyrants of their responsibilities for this state of affairs. We maintain that there are integral interrelationships between the global context and the lack of accountability of governments to their peoples. The system works differently from the periods of colonialism or cold war patronage, but the common element is that the structure builds in rewards for elites that respond to external pressures more than to the demands of their own people.
Global apartheid is not only an appropriate description of the current world order; it can also help in efforts to transform it. Protests in the “Seattle” series have most commonly been framed in race-neutral terms that obscure the differential impact of global inequality. We maintain that it is only by understanding globalization in terms of race as well as markets that we can accurately probe the foundations on which the current global system is built and develop a transnational culture of solidarity against a clearly defined enemy.
Our success should be measured by the extent to which we can compel the governments of rich countries, as well as multilateral institutions, to reduce the hemorrhaging of resources from South to North; dramatically increase investment in global public goods to redress current inequalities; and accept that realizing fundamental human rights for all is an obligation–not an optional charitable response. Some priority steps are clear and immediate: Address the AIDS pandemic through adequate funding for treatment and prevention, cancel the illegitimate debt, stop imposing catastrophic economic policies on poor countries and stop trade rules that value corporate profit over human life. And, as both an indispensable means and an end in itself, democratize the institutions that make such decisions and eliminate their policies and practices of discrimination by race, gender and HIV status. The US Congress should reserve 5 percent of the anticipated budget surplus each year to fight the AIDS pandemic and to support related global health needs. In addition, Washington can require the full cancellation of the debts owed by African countries to the World Bank and the IMF as a condition for future US appropriations to those institutions. And finally, the Administration should uphold the rights of African nations to insure access to lifesaving medications–including generically manufactured drugs–at the lowest cost for their citizens and should drop the US pressure against Brazil at the WTO, as it forms part of a strategy seeking to undermine those rights.
Our language, moreover, should make it clear that we hold global institutions and those who run them responsible. Allowing the defenders of privilege to monopolize the term “globalization” for their own vision too easily allows them to portray themselves as agents of an impersonal process and to paint advocates of global justice as narrow nationalists or naïve opponents of technological progress. If we do not intend to surrender the globe to them, then we should not surrender the term globalization. Thus, it should not be necessary to explain that “antiglobalization” protesters are not against the “widening of worldwide interconnectedness,” trade with other countries or advances in science but rather against “corporate globalization” or “neoliberal globalization.” It is also not enough to counter with proposals for “people’s globalization” or “globalization from below.”
Rather, we should make it clear that genuine globalization requires that global democracy replace global apartheid. Despite the apparent diversity of issues, this is precisely what the emerging movement for global justice demands. We look not to some imagined past of national autonomy but to a future in which growing interconnectedness means justice and diversity rather than continued inequality and discrimination. Moreover, the last few years show a potential for greater impact that is just beginning to be felt–in protests from Seattle to Johannesburg to Quebec, in passage of the international landmine treaty and in shifting the debate on poor-country debt from “forgiveness” to “cancellation” to “reparations.”
AIDS makes it plain. The fight against global apartheid is a matter of life and death for much of humankind and for the very concept of our common humanity.

Health is the human right that in practice most visibly marks distinctions of race, or of economic or social condition.Whether governments and international organizations actually have an obligation to enforce this right is hotly disputed. The Bush Administration, following in the steps of its predecessors, stressed in its March 30 response to the UN’s draft declaration on AIDS that “for legal and constitutional reasons, the United States cannot accept a ‘rights based approach’ to HIV/AIDS–any more than it can accept a rights based approach to food, shelter or hunger.” At the UN High Commission on Human Rights in April, the United States alone abstained on an otherwise unanimously supported Brazilian resolution recognizing “that access to medication in the context of pandemics such as HIV/AIDS is one fundamental element…of the right… to health.”The scale of the AIDS pandemic is unprecedented. But AIDS is like other widespread diseases in that it is fueled not only by unequal access to medical care but also by social and economic conditions. Poverty and gender inequality fuel the pandemic in Africa. Malnutrition reduces resistance to disease. Migrant labor patterns (well entrenched in Africa from colonialism and apartheid) raise the risk of infection. The proximate cause of the spread of AIDS is HIV, but vulnerability to infection is linked not only to behavior but especially to unequal power relations between women and men, and to poverty and living conditions [see Eileen Stillwaggon, “AIDS and Poverty in Africa,” May 21]. Poverty, in turn, is linked to race and to the structural position of communities within countries and of countries within the world economy.Thus debating what is to be done about AIDS keeps leading back to broader issues. Unless women have the freedom to negotiate the terms of sex, increased awareness and availability of condoms will have only limited impact. Health services deprived of basic resources will be unable to meet the need for treatment or prevention of AIDS. Meeting in Abuja, Nigeria, in April, African leaders agreed on a target of spending at least 15 percent of their national budgets on health, two or three times the current levels. But their chances of meeting this target are slim if they are forced to give priority to paying illegitimate foreign debts over making investments in public health (or if they choose to divert resources to war or personal gain).Some cite such factors as excuses for inaction. Even as prices of antiretroviral drugs drop in response to protest and generic competition, the lack of health infrastructure and the inability of governments to pay even the reduced prices become new rationales for denying antiretroviral treatment to Africans. As one unidentified international health official told the Washington Post on April 23, while deploring the political stance of activists, “We may have to sit by and just see these millions of people die.”The alternate response is to address the reasons for lack of infrastructure and inability to pay. That leads back to policies imposed by international financial institutions in the 1980s and 1990s and, in a longer view, to harsh historical legacies that policy-makers still refuse to confront. Granted, corruption and policy mistakes by African leaders also play a role. But in Africa and in other developing regions, unsustainable debt and weakened health systems result in large part from economic policy conditions imposed by international creditors during the past two decades. The imposition of “user fees” for primary healthcare, for example, drove large numbers away from public health services, contributing to increased rates of sexually transmitted diseases. More generally, cutbacks in the public sector helped send health professionals to the private sector or abroad and reduced investments in healthcare delivery systems. Creditors representing a collective economic colonialism managed by the World Bank and IMF increasingly dictated public health and other policies of poor countries. Debt provided the leverage to enforce the economic diktat of global apartheid by the rich upon the poor.The capacity of postindependence African countries to chart their own course was heavily affected by the fact that neither political nor economic structures had yet broken free of the colonial legacies of authoritarian governance and economic dependence on export of primary commodities. Despite victories by prodemocracy forces in Africa over the past decade, including the demise of formal apartheid in South Africa, and despite modest recoveries in economic growth rates in recent years, AIDS struck a continent that was extraordinarily vulnerable.Today’s inequalities build on a foundation of the old inequalities of slavery and colonialism, plus the destructive aftermath of cold war crusades. Like apartheid in South Africa, global apartheid entrenches great disparities in wealth, living conditions, life expectancy and access to government institutions with effective power. It relies on the assumption that it is “natural” for different population groups to have different expectations of life. In apartheid South Africa, that was the rationale for differentiating everything according to race, from materials for housing to standards of education and healthcare. Globally it is now the rationalization used to defend the differential between Europe and Africa in funding for everything from peacekeeping to humanitarian assistance ($1.23 a day for European refugees, 11 cents a day for African refugees). As one relief worker said, “You must give European refugees used to cappuccino and CNN a higher standard of living to maintain the refugees’ sense of dignity and stability.”Gradations of privilege according to group are closely linked to the possibility of crossing barriers from the “homelands” to the more privileged geographical areas. Like apartheid’s influx control, the immigration barriers of developed countries do not succeed in stopping the flow despite raising the costs of enforcement. Moreover, the global governance regime that is assigned responsibility for maintaining the current economic order–as was the case with apartheid in its heyday–allocates key decisions to institutions resistant to democratic control: a global version of “white minority rule.”We are not the first to note the striking parallels between the world system and the old South Africa. Canada-based international relations scholar Gernot Kohler wrote a monograph on global apartheid in 1978 noting multiple parallels: “a white minority is dominant in the system, has a vastly higher standard of living than the multiracial majority, and is privileged in several other dimensions.” British political scientist Titus Alexander elaborated the concept in his book Unraveling Global Apartheid in 1996, noting that “The G7 countries have 12 per cent of the world’s population, but they use over 70 per cent of its resources in cash terms and dominate all major decision-making bodies.” A sampling of others who have recently used the term includes South African President Thabo Mbeki, Cuban President Fidel Castro, Africanist scholar Ali Mazrui and human rights scholar Richard Falk.Like these commentators, we do not suggest that the mechanisms of South African apartheid are precisely duplicated at the global level. But we do argue that the parallels are more than a casual turn of phrase.To those who say that the current global political and economic orders have to do with more than race, we respond that while that is true, in fact the old apartheid was also not just “about race.” It was also an extreme mode of controlling labor by managing differential access to territorial movement and political rights. Racial oppression makes exploitation easier to manage, while exploitation continues within as well as between racial groups. Others have noted that there is no single government or system of international governance that rules the global system as the former apartheid regime did South Africa. True, today’s global institutions–from the WTO to the World Bank to various UN agencies–do fall short of a world government. And no racial distinctions appear in their constitutions. But their power over national governments in the global South is in many cases overwhelming. And representation and leadership within these bodies–particularly in the international financial institutions with the most power–do show a strong de facto correlation with race.At the global level, control of the movement of labor by immigration laws, representation within global institutions and allocation of public investment are of course far more complex and differentiated than the apartheid system in South Africa (though it was also more complex than generally recognized). The resulting global inequality, however, is even starker than that within any country, including apartheid South Africa. A 1999 World Bank income inequality study by B. Milanovic estimates that the richest 1 percent of people in the world receive as much income as the poorest 57 percent. The study also estimates that more than three-quarters of the difference is accounted for by differences between countries, while the remainder is from inequalities within countries. Given such differences, the resemblance between apartheid’s influx control and current efforts to stop the “illegal” flow of immigrants from South (and East) to North should be no surprise.Finally, many have cautioned against a framework that blames the “external” West for everything, thereby relieving African and other local tyrants of their responsibilities for this state of affairs. We maintain that there are integral interrelationships between the global context and the lack of accountability of governments to their peoples. The system works differently from the periods of colonialism or cold war patronage, but the common element is that the structure builds in rewards for elites that respond to external pressures more than to the demands of their own people.Global apartheid is not only an appropriate description of the current world order; it can also help in efforts to transform it. Protests in the “Seattle” series have most commonly been framed in race-neutral terms that obscure the differential impact of global inequality. We maintain that it is only by understanding globalization in terms of race as well as markets that we can accurately probe the foundations on which the current global system is built and develop a transnational culture of solidarity against a clearly defined enemy.Our success should be measured by the extent to which we can compel the governments of rich countries, as well as multilateral institutions, to reduce the hemorrhaging of resources from South to North; dramatically increase investment in global public goods to redress current inequalities; and accept that realizing fundamental human rights for all is an obligation–not an optional charitable response. Some priority steps are clear and immediate: Address the AIDS pandemic through adequate funding for treatment and prevention, cancel the illegitimate debt, stop imposing catastrophic economic policies on poor countries and stop trade rules that value corporate profit over human life. And, as both an indispensable means and an end in itself, democratize the institutions that make such decisions and eliminate their policies and practices of discrimination by race, gender and HIV status. The US Congress should reserve 5 percent of the anticipated budget surplus each year to fight the AIDS pandemic and to support related global health needs. In addition, Washington can require the full cancellation of the debts owed by African countries to the World Bank and the IMF as a condition for future US appropriations to those institutions. And finally, the Administration should uphold the rights of African nations to insure access to lifesaving medications–including generically manufactured drugs–at the lowest cost for their citizens and should drop the US pressure against Brazil at the WTO, as it forms part of a strategy seeking to undermine those rights.Our language, moreover, should make it clear that we hold global institutions and those who run them responsible. Allowing the defenders of privilege to monopolize the term “globalization” for their own vision too easily allows them to portray themselves as agents of an impersonal process and to paint advocates of global justice as narrow nationalists or naïve opponents of technological progress. If we do not intend to surrender the globe to them, then we should not surrender the term globalization. Thus, it should not be necessary to explain that “antiglobalization” protesters are not against the “widening of worldwide interconnectedness,” trade with other countries or advances in science but rather against “corporate globalization” or “neoliberal globalization.” It is also not enough to counter with proposals for “people’s globalization” or “globalization from below.”Rather, we should make it clear that genuine globalization requires that global democracy replace global apartheid. Despite the apparent diversity of issues, this is precisely what the emerging movement for global justice demands. We look not to some imagined past of national autonomy but to a future in which growing interconnectedness means justice and diversity rather than continued inequality and discrimination. Moreover, the last few years show a potential for greater impact that is just beginning to be felt–in protests from Seattle to Johannesburg to Quebec, in passage of the international landmine treaty and in shifting the debate on poor-country debt from “forgiveness” to “cancellation” to “reparations.”AIDS makes it plain.

The fight against global apartheid is a matter of life and death for much of humankind and for the very concept of our common humanity.

Keep fighting for real health care reform

Tell the leadership in the House that any bill that gets sent to the president should: -Hold insurance companies accountable. We need to revoke their anti-trust exemption and force them to compete with a real public option. -Make sure insurance is affordable.

We cannot wait until 2013 to start insurance market reforms and subsidies and we must ensure nobody will be forced to buy insurance with premiums, co-pays or deductibles they can’t afford. -Protect reproductive choice. We must not impose new restrictions on whether or how insurance companies can cover reproductive services.

On Christmas Eve, the Senate capitulated to Joe Lieberman and Ben Nelson and passed a deeply problematic health care bill.

Now, as the House and Senate bills are being merged, it’s up to the members of the House to keep fighting for real health care reform. Negotiations about the final, merged bill have already begun behind closed doors. There is a lot of pressure for members of the House to accept the Senate bill with all of its flaws.                                                                                                                                                     But rank-and-file members of Congress need to speak out now and keep fighting to make the bill better. Can you tell members of the Congress to keep fighting to: 1) hold insurance companies accountable, 2) make sure insurance is affordable and 3) protect reproductive choice?

Whatever final bill that goes to President Obama’s desk should: Hold insurance companies accountable. We need to revoke their anti-trust exemption and force them to compete with a real public option. Make sure insurance is affordable. We cannot wait until 2013 to start insurance market reforms and subsidies and we must ensure nobody will be forced to buy insurance with premiums, co-pays or deductibles they can’t afford. Protect reproductive choice. We must not impose new restrictions on whether or how insurance companies can cover reproductive services. There is clearly a multitude of views among progressives about the best strategy to pursue, but it’s clear that we won’t get a better bill unless we fight for a better bill. You can bet that the insurance industry, Big Pharma, and other corporate stakeholders in the health care fight are not sitting on their hands. We shouldn’t either. So tell the House, Keep fighting.

Any health care bill that goes to President Obama’s desk should 1) hold insurance companies accountable, 2) make sure insurance is affordable and 3) protect reproductive choice.