How you is, Joe?
Primaries, candidates, elections "issues" (???!), pundits -- the silly season which lasts for years. Some things I can have a bit of fun with and laugh about. Others, well, do you run up a black or red flag before you declare war? I want to do the right thing, so I just write to the editors and such, indecision being upon us.
I'm 61-years-old and my life has been pretty much truncated. I probably won't be around this time next decade. But I wonder why people don't laugh and enjoy. A young friend of mine really has a hard time believing that I'm an atheist and a socialist. I'm not like the others. (No, he's never actually met any other atheists or "reds", but I'm "different", he says. Most people agree that I'm "different". Mainly my wife of forty years. Even though I showed my young friend my voter registration card and he's known me for years, he can't accept it. He has no Idea of what the socialist movement did in this country. Well, since it's being destroyed brick by brick, I suppose he can be excused a bit. But he asked me, really, "What had socialists done for the world?"
I told him that among other things, we invented the world's best sex manual. He'd never heard of it, so I asked him, how had he missed reading the "Commie Sutra"?
I've caught bass that didn't look that stunned, wide eyed, and open mouthed when I got them in the boat. I enjoy little treats like that every now and then.
Personally, I've always been kind of leery of moralists and crusaders. You always wind up with an Eliot Spitzer. There are these secrets that always jump out, mainly that they have punished and injured people smaller than they for what they themselves do as a matter of course. And, just when the credibility that such a "crusader" might have could come in handy, guess what. Someone was watching and caught them doing no-no or with their no-no in a no-no. Any number of televangelists and politicians per year seem to be exemplary of this.
I'm writing from Altoona, Pennsylvania, the home of the first Drug Czar, Harry Anslinger. He was another one favoring death on things like narcotics; everyone who indulged should be jailed at the very least. Well, there were exceptions. Turned out he was supplying Joe McCarthy and the offspring of several general officers from a personal stash. He hemmed and hawed, said something about exceptions being made for exceptional people. But, any prohibitionist seems to think the same way. If they didn't hurt others with no qualm of conscience, it wouldn't be so bad, I guess.
I had some sweet young thing from the media actually talk to my wife and me about The Election. She expressed outraged incredulity that I would not be voting in the primary. I reminded her that in this land of political freedom only "Republicans" or "Democrats" could vote. My wife, a Republican, could vote, I could not. (Yeah, I know, a Methodist republican married to a socialist atheist for forty years -- go figure.) And as far as I could see, whether she voted one way or the other or not at all she was actually as disenfranchised as I was. Delegates and "super" delegates see to that.
I wondered aloud if a "super" delegate could stop speeding bullets without hospitalization and if they wore tights and capes. I mentioned that if they did, please tell them that the briefs go UNDER the tights, not outside, and the stains go to the back, someone PLEASE tell them. Poor girl was shocked.
She tried to tell me that look what the voters did when they changed Congress. How the Democrats had crafted a powerful engine.
I said it was true. Lotta cubic inches, scads of horsepower, but it wasn't secured to the chassis and the flywheel only had about eight teeth. So we had a whole lot of horse power, high RPM, but no real movement. Just further damage to the chassis, a whole lot of noise, scads of fuel used, but no real movement. I told her not to use power unit analogies to an old time drag racer and marine engineer.
What will change? The only entities not holding benefit of law, mandated rights, or citizenship "at the pleasure of the president" seem to be corporations and "the market". All persons who are not "officials" are suspect. You can't be too sure, so everyone out there needs stopped and shaken down except the people in charge.
My wife was part of the initial effort after Katrina. She was very disturbed by what she saw, when the military went in it was more like people were being taken prisoner than rescue. Order was more important than relief or the health and welfare of survivors. And there were these big fat lies the press told.
On "Good" Friday my wife had an accident at her work and I was told they were taking her to the hospital emergency room. Got there about the same time she did, but the ambulance she was in got there along with at least three others so no on really knew who was who.
I noticed a gentleman older than I having a set-to with the girl behind the counter, and this young lady shrilled at him to "shut up, just shut up!" and then called over a hospital policeman. Not just security, a policeman with stick, taser, mace, and a gun. A policeman. She said to arrest this old fart if he made another sound. The policeman advised the man of this action in his monotone, had a hand on the gun, and frowned him out of the area. The girl laughed and said "Well, that put the old fuck in his place." Right out loud and right in public.
A bit later the older man came up to me and asked if he could pace with me. And he told me what happened. His wife had been ill for some years and there would be some test, scan, X-ray or some such thing that would be ordered. Usually he had large out of pocket expenses. About four of five would be botched, lost, or they simply never passed on the results to him because they mislaid the address or phone number. Shrug. He observerd though, that they always seemed to be able to get in touch with him when they wanted their money, no matter how they handled the medical procedures.
He had taken her to the hospital the day before, they'd waited around, had more tests, and were brusquely told to go home, there was nothing wrong with her. And they were threatened with "security" because he was making a scene. Then that Friday (next day) her doctor happened to see some of what the tests said and he called him in the afternoon to bring her in immediately, so the man did.
He got there, they took her away, and the sweet young thing at the counter started scolding him for bringing her himself. He should have called an ambulance. He responded that since she was neither his spouse, employee, or child, she had no business speaking to him that way, and besides, if they sent her home the day before when all the so-called medical people used their machines and waved their credentials at him and the situation was dire even then, why blame him for doing it himself. Then the screaming match I saw started.
Given enough of those situations daily, and working under such stressful conditions, a less mature and acculturated person such as the young lady might well react very badly. I cannot excuse it, but it becomes more understandable.
I cannot help but contrast your medical story with my recent experience in Hopkins Village, Belize. I have two doctors -- one trained in Fidel Castro's medical university, and one we call "the Gringo doctor." The Cuban trained doctor is free. The so-called gringo doctor, who is actually Belizean, trained in Los Angeles charges me US$3.25 a visit. Her husband is a renowned immunologist. Both practices are walk-in practices, open all week except on Tuesday and Thursday mornings when they make home visits to the villagers.
Most medicines issued are generic and usually issued free or so cheap it's not an issue -- at least for Americans like me -- so I buy a six-month supply when I am there. One of my blood pressure prescriptions has not gone generic yet, so the doctor has to order it.
Last time I ordered, when the meds came in the clinic's receptionist hunted me down at the local Internet café bar, delivered them and gave me my change. We had a shorty beer (called a Lighthouse down there) together, then she left.
This is Third World medicine -- what Americans are told will be their fate if they do not pay medical insurance blackmail. I'd be the first to admit it's got limitations. If you want a $50,000 heart bypass operation, you gotta fly to Houston. (By the way, bypass surgery is probably the biggest medical scam in U.S. history, according to the Congressional Office of Technology Assessment and even the AMA. It doesn't prolong life and its pain relieving performance, according to researchers, is no better than that of a placebo. See this.
Anyway, I'm back in the States for a while and I don't get anywhere near a U.S. medical practitioner or institution. When I first left the States for Central America a couple years ago, I was taking nine medications. Now I take two. And my Belizean doc says if I'd get off my fat ass, quit eating an entire hog for breakfast and quit smoking, I wouldn't even be taking them. I'll drink to that! Even my lung COPD condition, while it can never improve and is progressive, does not bother me as much. Hell, I started out a three years ago dragging around an oxygen tank!
Anyway, I guess what I'm trying to say is that between the so-called "impending threat of death," and the inner rage producing insult of the American medical industry, I'll accept the so-called threat -- which Mother Nature carries out upon us all in the end, regardless of how much we pay the extortionist class called the medical profession.
In art and labor,