Monthly Archives: July 2009

The Diagnosis: Dire

Okay, I’m going to give my “last gasp” lecture on why we should have a single payer health care system or face dire consequences in the near fture.  I am going to use logic in my argument, so I hope it does not offend my American audience.  We seem to have lost our ability to reason when it comes to emotional issues like health care for human beings, due to the naked truth that we, as a country, seem to philosophically stand on the idea that public health care should not be “public,” that is, government-run, and that health care is a privilege not a right.

I believe health care should be a right because, quite literally, bad health care affects us all.  For example, what if, God forbid, we were to experience an outbreak of mammoth proportions that was killing millions of people?  With our present health care system, the government control over how and when any kind of vaccine, cure, or large-scale ability to assist the public in such a disaster is almost nil.  That’s because “big government” has become an anathema in this country.  Nobody trusts “gubment,” as Ronnie Ray-gun used to call it.  Well, guess what?  Microbes, bacteria and viruses don’t care which health care system we have.  However, they are able to spread and kill much easier if we are separated and into our own money-making schemes.  I hate to tell all of you, but that’s just the way our so-called health care is today:  separate, money-making schemers who only care about where they get their money and not about if people are healthy and “cared for.”

With socialized medicine (there, I’ve said it!), any national epidemic could be much more easily coordinated and treated because we would all be working “on the same page,” so to speak.  Government control (hey, I was in the military, and my father, a Pearl Harbor survivor, worked for the Fed for 30 years) gives one the ability to keep a consistent supply system and focus on health care, not health profit.  For example, China (even with their human rights violations) was able to assist its earthquake victims much faster than, say, California (my home state) would be able to.  God forbid that we in California get the “Big One” any time soon!  I can see millions of people dead in our California cities because of the screwed-up priorities in Sacramento.

So, government control provides the much-needed focus and consistency that our present “profit-centered” system does not.  How can Obama and other congressmen want to slip a “little government plan” into the mix of other profit-making insurance company plans to choose from?  My liberal friends think people will “rush to join the public plan.”  Well, get a clue!  If we don’t all support a major public, socialized plan at the outset, no kind of teenie-tiny public plan will ever work!  Why?  Let me give you a little analogy.  Let’s say I’m a country doctor who runs a clinic in a small American town.  If a “big profit-making medical hospital” comes to my town, all they have to do is use their insurance company friends and pharmaceutical company buddies to lower their costs to patients long enough to run me out of business (kind of like what Wal-Mart has done in the merchandizing business).  Then, when I have either joined their “cause” or moved out of town, guess what?  The prices will creep back up to where they’re again making their outlandish profits at the public’s expense.

In America, right now, it’s the public hospitals and emrgency treatment centers, like Martin Luther King, Jr. Hospital in Los Angeles, that are getting shut down because they can’t make enough money to serve the “poor” clientele.  The big profit hospitals, however, just keep getting bigger and richer, however, at the public’s expense!

The costs will keep rising, we’ll keep spending on war, and our health will keep getting worse, not better, unless we all get on the same page for once in our lives.  Oh.  I suppose we all go to the same grave, so what’s the difference?  Pay now or pay with your life!  That’s right.  I’d pay the taxes of Sweden if I thought we could get what they have.

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Filed under Business, Current Events

Change as Future Shock

Prez Obama, when asked about investigating former President of Vice, Dick Cheney’s possible illegal and top secret campaign to “send out hit squads of CIA to execute Al Qaeda operatives” (he never even told Congress about it), recently said,”We should look forward and not backward.”  This statement reminded me of one of the best non-fiction books I ever read, Future Shock, by Alvin Toffler (written in the 1970s).  Actually, his old book really explains what our politicians have learned to sell us all the time now, and Obama is also the “high priest” (perhaps in more ways than intellectual) of this kind of Tofflerian “change”:


“‘The future as a way of life’, which argued that change was going to accelerate and that the speed of change could induce disorientation in lots of people. We coined the phrase ‘future shock’ as an analogy to the concept of culture shock. With future shock you stay in one place but your own culture changes so rapidly that it has the same disorienting effect as going to another culture”

In other words, as long as we stay “shocked” by always looking for futuristic “changes,” then politicians can have their way with us.  It’s when we do what Santayana proscribed and “learn from our past mistakes” that we begin to get in the politicians’ think tanks and begin to create a little real history of our own!

 

 

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Filed under Political, Science Fiction

Letter from Jacko


Dear Michael,

Just call me Jacko.  Why?  You could have remembered me had you received this letter before you died.  Maybe if I had written this before that day you might not have died.  That’s what’s strange about our lives, isn’t it?  We can never know what would have happened had such and such gone differently.  We can only know what it’s like now, from moment to moment; endlessly affecting the present is all we can hope to ever do.

That first day I met you I knew you were an easy little chicken.  You came into the room at the Kingdom Hall assembly of our Lord God Jehovah on that night, and I knew I had to follow you.  You spoke to our minister in quiet, passionate tones.  Your eyes were wide, and you were clearly disturbed about something.  I later found out your father, Joe, had held you up-side-down again and beat you with his belt because you didn’t hit the right note.  I followed you back to your hotel room, and watched you, as you walked around the lobby.  You were ten years old then.  Chickens like you are ready at this age.  I knew it, and you knew it, but you first needed to be released from the bondage of your adult cage.  Adults had hurt you, and I was going to release you to fly with me off to Never Never Land.

I found out that first meeting that your mother was a Jehovah’s Witness.  That’s why you came to our assembly.  She had always taken you kids to Kingdom Hall when Joe was on another toot around town, chasing skirts, drinking and bragging about how famous he was going to be because of his kids.  I told you I was also a Witness, and I hated the war in Vietnam, and I was a completely religious pacifist and lover of animals.  Michael, now that you’re gone, I can tell you.  I was grooming you for your fate and your future as one of us.  We, who are most often misunderstood by the society that breeds us, are lovers of the man-child, the holy ones and old souls who have been given pain in this life so they can suffer it, learn to enjoy it, and, ultimately, we smile thorough it all.  Remember how I told you about how I was from Never Never Land?  I was one of Peter’s Lost Boys.  I was Jacko, the kid who could trip Captain Hook with his cape, wrestle the crocodile and steal time from him, and whisper to Wendy the stories that she would have never read to us had we been merely normal boys.  No, I told you that first night, we were never going to be plain, old normal lost boys.  We were special.

I told you I would take you to Never Land if you hired me to be your assistant.  We could do such wonderful things together while your brothers and father were whoring it up in the hotel rooms after concerts.  We would visit the local petting zoos and other animal attractions.  We would ride the carrousels, the Ferris Wheels, the go-carts, the wonderful, circularly exciting amusements of the flesh outside our insides.  Oh, but it was the inside of you that I was really after.  I think you knew it too, because you did get Joe to hire me, and I traveled with you on your world tours.  I watched you sing and dance, “like a trained monkey,” I told you later, and you would laugh.  You loved to be teased.  You were such a little chicken.

. . . to be continued

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Filed under Current Events, Short Fiction