12 December, 2016

The Digest—Monday, 12 December, 2016

[The Digest is a collection of articles, videos, and other media I've viewed and found significant throughout the day. It is a way to divest myself from other social media that is more reliant on likes, click-bait, and peer-approval rather than quality, intelligence, and diversity of opinion, which are the qualities I find important. It is also a way to devote myself to daily contributions to this space...at least in theory.]

-=Summary: Say farewell to mental health care, fighting censorship with...more censorship. Chris Christie vetoes reforms to the use of solitary confinement, Texas forces women to bury their fetuses, a few in the electoral college want to do their actual jobs, "The Soldier's Heart," & They Live=-


The Mental Health Crisis in Trump’s America
Richard A. Friedman from The New York Times

As someone who only has health insurance because of Medicaid expansions under the Affordable Care Act, I am very concerned about this, too. My concern also stems from my studies as a future social worker, and—most crucially—as a human being who abhors the needless suffering of other human beings. I know what it's like to struggle with chronic conditions and no health insurance. I know what it's like to be treated as a failed commodity unworthy of something as essential as basic health care. 

Health care in this country is treated as a privilege, something you get if you're lucky enough to have full-time, non-contractor employment in this country, like a car and a house and other signals of wealth. Humans are not cars. Health insurance is vital to, well, health, which is vital to survival. It is also incredibly short-sighted to treat health coverage in this way, as the overall costs by the uninsured is astronomical. 

Unless Mr. Trump plans to replace Obamacare with universal coverage (hahahahahahahahahahahaha yeah right), he is telling the world, and especially U.S. citizens who can't afford private coverage or who have preexisting conditions, that they simply don't matter. That their health, and thus their survival, is irrelevant. I suspect this is what he thinks, what he feels, about anyone who can't make him a buck or flatter his vanity, so it will be unsurprising when he guts the ACA and thus revokes insurance for millions of people. 

It will still be a travesty, a tragic farce, a puppet show aping 3rd world politics in a supposed 1st world nation. Unsurprising, yes, but unconscionable all the same. 

Will Campus Criticism of Israel Violate Federal Law?
Kenneth S. Stern from The New York Times

I wish more people would see the distinction between objecting to actions of the Israeli government and anti-semitism; voicing dismay, disagreement, or even disgust over specific policies of the Israeli government is not an argument for the Israeli government not to exist, and is akin to people in this country who consider people who call for gun reform anti-American as a whole. It's ridiculous.

You can reject the actions and behavior of a government without being against its people. You can be for Palestinians and Israelis. They are not mutually exclusive, no matter how much the hawkish will it to be so. Fighting censorship with more censorship is hardly a sensible response. Has all common sense fled this nation?

Chris Christie’s Defense of Solitary Confinement
The Editorial Board from The New York Times

Using different words to describe the same practice doesn't make it a different practice, Mr. Christie. I know this is a favored tactic of the GOP, but if you wanted to seal the end of your life in the limelight with an utter lack of humanity, you've done a great job. Imagine being locked in your bathroom for 23 hours a day for a 10 years, or even a year, or a month, or a week. Imagine being denied all human contact for years on end with no recourse to appeal your fate, no time limit on your confinement, no relief from the screams and the stench and the lights that hum 24/7. Perhaps he has one of those bathrooms bigger than most apartments and doesn't consider that to be such a bad deal. Maybe he's just a total prick.

Texas rule requiring burial or cremation of fetal tissue shames women, suit says
Tom Dart from The Guardian

Why do they keep pretending any of these laws have to do with public health and just admit that their sole purpose is to curtail access to abortion? They hint around the edges of this, signaling to anti-choicers that this is the main mission, but write absurd, medically-defying language into such bills that make a mockery of science, medicine, health, and intelligence. Perhaps that's part of the point, too.

US electoral college members demand information on Russia election inquiry
Ed Pilkington from The Guardian

We won't get rid of the electoral college because of Republican-run states, which is another reason liberals need to run for local/state office. The electoral college should be more than it is, as it used to be, and should be more unbiased, including the Democrats currently defecting—are they deflecting because they're Democrats, or because they have actual legal concerns? There are actual legal concerns, but the partisanship of this country makes all investigative moves, all recounts, all action seem partisan in nature. 

I personally think the head of the FBI did more harm than Russia, if indeed Russia did anything, but in a long political tradition, insiders preapproved by commitment to business interests get a pass. End.Less.Ly. Frus.Trat.Ing.


Frontline — "The Soldier's Heart"
via PBS.org

I watched this for class, but Frontline is almost always great, and this was no exception. Very troubling, but very good. Tales from soldiers, one berated for seeking help and then officially charged with cowardice in the face of the enemy...for seeking help with PTSD. And the nominee for Secretary of Defense complains that there's too much focus on PTSD and servicemen/women & vets who commit suicide. He says it makes them look "weak." I wouldn't be surprised if he was the commander who drew up those cowardice charges. Oh, he also thinks we're spending too much on our veterans. So basically, let us use you, use you up, and toss you out. 

Anyway, worth a watch. It's a little old, now, and much more attention and research has been done, but the context of the history of PTSD in relation to the military is very important.

They Live (1988)
via HBO

Still wonderfully entertaining. Great samples for industrial music. Amazing one-liners. Unfortunately, our mind-numbing propaganda requires due diligence and personal investment, not just a pair of sunglasses.

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