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Ren and Stimpy: the quintessential dynamic duo of interspecies peace and harmony. Thus begins the journey of dialectical and existential actualization through the cartoons of my youth. Perhaps my global schema has more to do with the life lessons to be learned through the magical medium of cartoons than with anything I done lerned in my skooluns.

The Smurfs: definitely commies

I was a dedicated viewer of the smurfs from about age five to age eight. Such an amusing group of blue miscreants prancing around their village, sharing in all the wealth and riches of the forest. Essentially, a very communitarian conclave in which every smurf had a unique talent to add to the proper functioning of smurf society.

Quite obviously, the smurfs were Communists. Come on: sharing the wealth; every smurf got a free home and free health care — I’m assuming a free ride on Smurfette as well; she must have been pretty warn out. I suppose Papa Smurf  had some sort of authoritarian and fascist inclinations, not quite so much a Stalin as a Jim Jones type of leader — sans the strychnine-laced kool-aide. continue reading…

Originally written on April 27, 2010

Just last night I was watching my local news and heard about how some local Wal-Marts are now offering in-store medical clinics for shoppers. These clinics–or convenient care clinics–are supposed to be a quick alternative to having to make an appointment with your Doctor and then waiting, who knows how long, to see your Doctor. I did a little research and found that this is not unique to Central Pennsylvania. Wal-Mart has already opened several of these clinics around the country, with 400 total, scheduled to be opened this year.

This phenomenon of quick health care in a large retail store is not unique to just Wal-Mart. Many large grocery store chains are doing the same thing. What is interesting about these clinics is that when one drops in to perhaps get a sore throat looked at, they are not seeing an M.D., but rather a CNP; Certified Nurse Practitioner. I have no problem with CNPs, in fact, the CNP I see on regular basis is more competent and knowledgeable in general medicine than just about any M.D. I’ve ever seen.  The problem is, a CNP is not bound by Hippocratic Oath, therefore they can refuse treatment to any patient that comes in. continue reading…

Originally written on April 1, 2010

As an individual with a good grasp of twentieth century American Political history, the era of McCarthyism and the so called “red menace” has always been of particular interest. It has always seemed fascinating to me how certain ideas and social movements can be so polarizing due to the manipulation of said ideas and movements by a power structure that feels threatened when we, as American citizens, exercise our right to demand equality as guaranteed by the Constitution. Throughout the twentieth century, especially the latter half, Communism/Socialism has been a particularly effective tag to place on anyone who believes that we are guaranteed certain “inalienable rights.” These rights include: a sustainable wage for production (work); the right to shelter; the right to education and a right to elect representatives who truly represent the people who voted them into office rather than a small cadre of wealthy individuals or institutions who would lose their stranglehold on wealth and power if the majority were actually given these rights.

It is the idea of Communism that frightens those who control the means of production. In a simple Marxian context, the workers would control the means of production, meaning they control themselves, rather than the wealthy controlling the rest of us in order to exploit and maintain their control. It isn’t my intention to give a “dummy’s” guide to Communism, nor am I defending the historical realities of the failures of so-called Communist nations such as the USSR. My intent is to bridge the historical American fear of Communism/Socialism as an idea and instrument of change to the current, though recycled, hysteria that surrounds such ideas as “universal healthcare.” continue reading…

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