Monday, April 30, 2012

For The Love of Our Children

We all know people who have lost their homes due to staggering medical bills.  These are hard-working Americans with jobs and health insurance.  The premiums and deductibles have increased over the years, but a serious health issue that requires extensive hospitalization and major surgery can send any middle-class family into immediate poverty.

The subject has been covered extensively in various forms. The ineffective for-profit health care system has propelled the changes found in the Affordable Health Care Act (AHCA) - A few things have changed: Keeping children in the parent's health insurance until age 26 No pre-existing conditions denial. Reimbursing premiums to consumers if 80% of said premiums are not spent directly on the patient.   

The Act, also refereed to as "Obama Care" has been froth with opposition and an effort to dismantle what is now the law of the land, has found its way to The Supreme Court in recent days.  While everyone focuses on health care for the body, very few are advocating for the need of widely available mental health care services.  

The "tough it out", "walk it off", "pull yourself by the bootstraps" proponents have no clue what they are talking about.  By the time they do, it is often too late.

Adults are overwhelmed by decreasing wages, rising daily expenses, loss of employment and aging parents.  But what about the teenagers? What about the kids?

The teenage years are froth with angst.  In some households, the stress is magnified by parental divorce, financial downturns, or the loss of friendships/relationships.  School work can be overwhelming due to unrealistic expectations and lack of school resources.

The insulation from the realities of adulthood are peeled away from our children earlier than ever.  It is not unusual for middle school age children to be concerned about the family's finances and express these concerns to their angst-riddled peers.

Childhood ends way too early in most households and while teenagers maybe intellectually advanced, the fact remains that they are emotionally unable to handle adult stressors without help.

Some teenagers feel they are being rushed out into a world that has no safety net and realistically, offers no real means of financial support in the form of living wages.  In short, they are in the same boat as their adult parents without the benefit of experience or coping mechanisms.

The sobering news is that in the United States the ages between 15 and 24 are ripe for suicidal behavior.  The Centers for Disease Control has a complete breakdown of ages and gender as well as methods used. It should not be surprising that in the United States, 60 percent of suicides committed by teenagers involve the pernicious accessibility to firearms.

Warning signs and cries for help or attention maybe overlooked as a phase teens go through and minimized in the light of more pressing issues, but they do include writing about death and dying consistently, excessive sleep, self-mutilation (cutting), and/or destructive behavior to their own/others property.

As parents, the guilt can be overwhelming after the death of a child.  Many parents will revisit scenarios and imagine a different outcome. For example; "Could I have handled this better?" - "I should have done something" - "he/she should have been in therapy" - "Why didn't I do...?"

The fact remains that most Americans don't have sufficient health care coverage for physical issues and have even less coverage for adequate mental health services.  Many health plans do not cover any. Many communities have none.

Depressed Teenage Boy - Credit: Dreamtime
This is the reality for the vast majority of Americans and their dependents  American parents, by far and large, are ill equipped to handle the situation on their own and have very few external resources available to help their children.

Teenage suicide could be greatly reduced in the United States if no one had to jump through hoops to get the health care they need when needed.  Health care is not a luxury, but a tool that ensures survival and a human right that should be easily available to all.

No amount of money is bringing that child back to his parents.

For the love of our children, we need Universal Health Care now.  We can't afford to lose another young life for the love of money.


Health Reform: Fact Sheet
Kids Health: About Teen Suicide

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Taming the Beast

It has become obvious that there are two types of people in this country and one group looks like inmates from an insane asylum roaming the common areas of our Nation.  We have watched those on the Left side of the political arena attempt to reason with those who are entrenched on the Conservative side of the political Right. 

Over the past few years, we have seen truth and facts surface like a BP oil spill on pristine waters. We have seen the Pie charts and Bikini charts. We have seen the Non-partisan agency's reports and the physical demonstrations that have Occupied Wall Street.  This is proof that goes beyond a reasonable doubt that the failed policies of the Right have damaged the country, our infra-structure, our economy and our personal lives.  

A reasonable individual, regardless of their political leanings is quite capable of reading, analyzing the data and be willing to shift their positions on issues based on facts and truth.  The mistake the Left-leaning folks have been making is assuming that everyone's brain operates in the same manner.  It does not. 
On a daily basis we see left-leaning folks patiently sending information to those who attack them with insults just for being left-leaning.  We see them debunk conspiracy theories patiently and with facts.  It is all to no avail.

The right-leaning folks do not operate in the same manner as those on the left.  They never have, and the mental defectives continue to believe in falsehoods because the corporatist media feeds their weaknesses. As long as the media keeps feeding the beast, the insanity will not end.

In the past few months we have witnessed a push-back from the Left to set straight the lunacy that has permeated the political discourse.  The left has taken on Rush Limbaugh by denouncing the hate language he feeds to the non-thinking masses and hitting the corporations where it hurts: The pocketbook.

The left is always willing to learn.  Perhaps the Bush years were actually beneficial in that regard?  Perhaps we see Mitt Romney and realize that this election and the next is for all the marbles or we are doomed to be governed by people who have lost theirs.

Those on the right wing side of the political spectrum have no idea who the Koch brothers are and how they fund ALEC and how ALEC impacts every aspect of their lives.  They don't understand what the Heritage Foundation is and who owns it, or the CATO institute, or the myriad of tentacles attached to the same central body.

They don't care.  It is too complex to understand and it would require to patiently sit and analyze the information.  It is not possible to have an intelligent discussion or exchange of ideas with people who have knee jerk reactions and violent emotions based on irrational fear and ignorance.

The left-leaning folks may want to continue to utilize their time and energy into result-oriented efforts that will transform how we receive our news by promoting the election of Congressmen/women who will make it illegal to lie on television and have a media monopoly.

The airwaves are rental property and we, the people, are the landlord. When we fix this pesky issue, the right-wing people will hear a very different message and, at that time, they will have the option to re-evaluate their ideology or continue ranting like lunatics about lies they want to firmly believe in.  The main thing is that the rest of us won't have to be subjected to the rantings of emotionally disturbed individuals who are afraid of everything and everyone because their mouth-pieces will be forbidden by law to feed the emotional black hole that begs for red meat.

That which is fed, will continue to grow.  That which is not, will wither and die. For everything else, we need heavy regulations that no future GOP candidate can dismantle.

We need a Super majority in Congress and the Senate.  These individuals need to be progressive and liberal. The days of middle-ground negotiations are over. We can't afford to continue feeding the beast, it must be tamed.

Related Articles

Senator Rockefeller on Media and Public Interest
Send Clear Channel a Clear Message
Who Writes Our Laws?
Your Political Power
Why Democrats Should Vote on Every Election

Sunday, April 15, 2012

A Letter from the 1% to the 99%

The 1% 

Allow me to introduce myself, I am the 1% - I'd say nice to meet you, but we have never really met... nor do we want to. (If by accident we shake your hand we use Purell immediately.  Poverty could be contagious.)

When we run for office pretending to represent you... (Ha! that is always a good chuckle at the club), we try to sound sincere and we want you to respect the fact that we try.  I find it intolerable that you point out how arrogant we sound and look.  We can't help it, that is the way we were bred and it is bad form for you to point it out.

We expect that you will reward us for having memorized the lines to the memos that clearly state we understand your plight.  Truth be told, we don't.  We don't even know what your plight is or why you have one.  

Just like my ancestors, I have been born with a trust fund and I fail to understand, or care, why you don't have one.  I can only surmise it was poor planning on your grandparents's part.  My money supply is, as it should be; endless.  Yours? Well, I am told your annual salary is the equivalent cost of my latest weekend with my mistress.

It just boggles the mind that you are so stupidly poor. Why do you do that to yourselves? Have you learned nothing?

I don't question where our money comes from or how it keeps growing annually to a rate that could feed a third world country for decades to come.  The only thing that matters is that it continues to be that way.  After all, we can't step down from our gated communities and live among you. Your lives, when I catch snippets of it, sound really gross and we just don't want to.

Talking to you and about you, makes me want to reach for the hand disinfectant.  I feel dirty. We find you disgusting, to be honest.  

If you are obese or undernourished, it is your own damn fault because you don't eat the organic, fresh stuff you can easily find at Whole Foods or Trader Joe's. (As I have been told by my personal assistant Rosie as I write this.) I would not know, since my food supply comes from a quaint village in the South of France.

You don't even import your own water from European or Tibetan Springs... you actually drink that stuff that comes out of the faucet. Just like my dogs. Gross, just gross.

When you are sick, how hard can it be to get on your private plane and get that organ transplant abroad? - Seriously, you are just a lazy bunch.

Elderly Freeze to Death
When you freeze to death in the winter and die of dehydration or heat stroke in the summer it is your own undoing. After all, even Rosie knows how to adjust the thermostat.  Why can't you?

Mitt Romney - Does he understand YOU?
Perhaps you have wondered if a presidential candidate from my elite group, Mitt Romney, has a clue what it takes to maintain a home? To live on minimum wage? To earn slightly above it? Or for a family of four to survive on $40,000 a year? - I'll save you the suspense, no, he does not.

Just like me, Mitt can't relate to your stick homes and your cheapo cars.  You see, we are not rich, we are wealthy.  There is a big difference between the two and peons like you would never understand.  

To us, you are a necessary evil that must be tolerated because we need cheap labor that will raise our children, take them to the park, the doctor's office, change their diapers and make them smell and look pretty.  Our job is to accessorize them properly.  We have the funds for that. (The trust funds, that is)

Speaking of children, a good ol' boy of ours, Newt Gingrich, had the brilliant idea of having your children clean toilets in public schools.  We thought it was a great solution to clearly delineate the boundaries between your people and our kind. After all, your children should know their place early on, to avoid any issues for our darling offspring down the road.

Unfortunately, you did not go for it and that made us furrow our brow for an instant - Then Mario brought out the imported Scotch and we forgot about you and your children just as quickly, but since we are on the subject, I want you to know that we need you to keep reproducing.  

We are finding it hard to replace the hired help on a whim because supplies of people like yours are diminishing.  No contraceptives for you was another great idea.  Unfortunately, you did not go for it either.  

I am addressing every liberal democrat and progressive out there, you are pissing us off! The social experiment of educating the population has been a complete failure as far as we are concerned.

As you damn socialist educated the poor, they became the middle class.  We did not have to contend with this group until you came along.  Furthermore, they became defiant by questioning legalities, human and civil rights issues we never gave a second thought to.

The worse offense was that these people felt entitled to a life we could not control.  We will not have it.  Furthermore, they stood up for the rights of the poor... (I am getting a headache just writing this, the poor have rights? Seriously?)

These turns of events have been too disrupting to our understanding of social order and created unnecessary unrest in our tranquil existence.  These are the same people who are occupying everything we consider ours.  For some strange reason, they think those public places are meant to be shared.  This madness must stop!

We have decided that we will keep hammering away until we achieve the following; a) you reproduce against your will (this right is reserved entirely for us) and b) you will be dumb as a post because it is easier to make you feel grateful for the privilege of shinning our shoes.  It is also easier to replace you on a whim (Rosie has been getting mouthy and giving me strange looks lately.) 

Someone like Warren Buffet is a black mark on our pristine charter.  We must keep these individuals to a minimum and get him to stop talking about his secretary's tax rate.  We just don't care.

As a proud member of the elite, I want you to stop making my life uncomfortable.  We like things to be the way they were and we have the foresight to make this happen.  After all, our trust funds were made generations ago and we, the GOP owners, can plan well into the future.

Mitt Romney is the distraction we are providing you with, so you won't notice what we have planned for 2016 or what we are doing to each and every state through the Koch Brothers and their many tentacles (ALEC, The Heritage Foundation, etc.)

Understand, we are not evil, just willfully entrenched into a lifestyle you can only dream about.  We like it that way. Now, cooperate, damn it!


Someone you'll never meet. 

Follow up: A 99% Response