Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Sharon Angle needs to stop making things up.

The republican senatorial candidate from Nevada recently claimed that Dearborn Michigan was under the jurisdiction of Islamic (Sharia) Law. As a missionary, I served in Dearborn for three months. Sharia law doesn't allow for the proselytization of non-Muslim faiths. It would not have allowed the building of the Dearborn Chapel where our ward met. Under Sharia law, the Muslim converts in our ward would have been killed. On the contrary, the Arabic community in Dearborn treated me with enormous respect. Mrs. Angle, to quote your friend Sarah Palin, "Stop making things up!" Creating manufactured hysteria based on religious intolerance might just help you win this election, but it’s taking our country down a frightening road.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

The best health care system in America

Surprise!! It is Americans only true system of "socialized medicine." The department of Veterans
Affairs Health System. They have shorter wait times, better health outcomes, better information technology, and cutting edge technology and research, its less expensive . . . and it is run by bureaucrats. And they are not trying to kill anyone's grandparents.


Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Confessions of a pro-life liberal.

I am pro life. Like most of my conservative friends and family members, I am opposed to elective abortions and I believe that it is morally abhorrent to take the life of human being even if that person is still in development. I believe that policy should make abortion more rare and support abstinence, birth control, and adoption rather than taking a human life. I am pro-life because I believe that life is a sacred gift from our creator and that no one can take a human life but god. But being pro-life means so much more to me than the abortion issue. I'm also pro-life after birth. I am strongly opposed to the death penalty. I disagree with euthanasia. I oppose any form of offensive or preemptive war.

Being pro-life, I strongly support universal health care. According to the Institute of Medicine, lack of health insurance causes roughly 18,000 unnecessary deaths every year in the United States. If a terrorist attack or a natural disaster killed everyone residing in the town the size of Brigham City, Utah we wouldn't stop talking about it. We would to do something. It would have been the worst attack on US soil or the worst natural disaster in US history. This happens every year at the hands of our private health care system. Many of these deaths are children. A new study, which was conducted by the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, concluded that children without health insurance are twice as likely to die from injuries as insured children. I believe that life is too sacred to leave in the hands of corporate profits.

I can already hear the argument. "But Keith, what about all of the people in countries with socialized medicine who die waiting for life saving medical care." This is a myth sold by people making a fortune in private health care. The numbers actually show that we wait as long or longer for health care than any other industrialized country. Business Week, no great fan of a national healthcare system, reported in late June that "as several surveys and numerous anecdotes show, waiting times in the U.S. are often as bad or worse as those in other industrialized nations -- despite the fact that the U.S. spends considerably more per capita on health care than any other country." A study of six highly industrialized countries, the U.S., and five nations with national health systems, Britain, Germany, Australia, New Zealand, and Canada, found waiting times were worse in the U.S. than in all the other countries except Canada. Our life expectancy and highest infant mortality rates are worse than most other industrial nations.

One of government's roles is to protect the lives of the people. That's why we have a military. That's why we have a national guard. That's why we have the FDA. How is health care so different? We need health care reform. I challenge anyone who calls themselves pro-life to stand behind universal health care. Lets come together and take one more step in supporting and defending the sanctity and value of every human life.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Torture and the APA

This topic hits close to home for me because I am a former member of the American Psychological Association. My bachelors degree is in Psychology, and I studied this discipline to help people. I adopted the ethical model that motivates all medical and social sciences, from doctors and nurses to psychologists and social workers: DO NO HARM. In in debate on torture during the Bush administration, I was shocked to hear of the contribution of a number of psychologists and the overall contribution of the APA.

In short psychologists assisted in the "advanced interrogation techniques" used at Guantanamo Bay and military prisons in Iraq. There is growing evidence that psychologists were not only taking part in procedures that have shocked the senses of humanity around the world, but were in fact in charge of designing those brutal tactics and training interrogators in those techniques. Even worse, while American Medical Association, the American Psychiatric Association, and the National Association of Social Workers specifically banned involvement in military and CIA interrogation, the APA permitted and supported psychologists involved in torture for the sake of "national security."

To their credit, many in the APA protested and some withdrew their membership altogether. This revolt caused the group to vote on resolutions outlawing their participation in certain techniques such as waterboarding, but left far too many loopholes. In addition, the membership failed to pass a ban from participation in detainee interrogations as other professional organizations have.

If this brings back images of horror films and holocausts involving psychological torture, it should. Psychologist have an ugly history of being on the wrong side of history and today is no exception.

Just makes me glad I ended up as a social worker.