Atrocities Committed in the Name of Money and Power

While I don’t believe in a supernatural Antichrist or a conspiracy to bring such a being to power on Earth, I certainly do believe that humanity is capable of great evil and has committed great evils for the love of money and power.

While I don’t believe that we have literally been branded by some sort of Satanic number, I do feel that more than ever, certain numbers have power over our lives. We have our social security numbers, and purchases made with our debit or credit cards are tracked. True privacy is something of a myth.

When people are motivated by greed and love of power, terrible things will continue to happen.

~Opal~

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Same Shit Different Day

Initially, I was interested in what this guy had to say. Then he proved himself to be nothing but another boring, fatphobic asshole who believes that “comedy” means encouraging the sheep to laugh at your mean-spirited jokes about people you don’t even know. Gee, that’s never been done. Next!

~Spectra~

Healthcare Crisis

us healthcare crisis

I will use two different videos to illustrate my thoughts on the state of health care for the poor and working classes. I am a medical assistant in a low income clinic. I am not a doctor and I am not an expert. These are simply my thoughts and observations.


This person is evidently not an American. However, the thoughts she is expressing are thoughts expressed by lower income people in the U.S. who have been diagnosed with cancer. Chemotherapy is not a guarantee, and the cost is prohibitive for those even in the middle income brackets. A person finds themselves in the situation of having to decide whether it is worth it to incur debt of such magnitude that even if the treatment does help them go into remission in the long term, they may be left unable to pay for the costs of housing. Is it worth it to be given what may only amount to another year or two of life at the risk of leaving oneself and one’s family homeless?

This is a question that no-one should ever have to ask, yet many people have to ask it. One should never have to choose between treatment that could possibly save their life and risking not having a home because the monetary cost is so dear.

Breast cancer still kills, even with treatment. In modern times, it is one of the more treatable cancers, but for lower income women it is often a death sentence because there is no way they can afford to pay for the necessary medical care. This is wrong. Nobody should have to make that choice.


I give the caveat that the above video was made by a right-wing political group. I utilize it because it presents “straight from the horse’s mouth” statements only. I prefer news sources that are politically independent, however, I didn’t have the patience to cherry-pick and this one suited my purposes.

The political right wing in the United States at this point is so extreme that they make their icon Ronald Reagan look like a liberal. This makes it difficult to criticize any of the current administration’s policies or behaviors without risking sounding as if one has an extreme right-wing bias, which I do not. I also do not claim to understand everything that is happening with regards to the changes in health care at this time. I only know that they have been little to no help for the majority of people with whom I have come into contact.

President Obama is only one person. He signed the current bill into law. It can be argued that this is the only way he could get any kind of positive change through. I would be quicker to look to Congress as being the ones at fault for the sorry mess that currently plagues the healthcare system. Obama should not have made sweeping promises such as the ones recorded here. However, he is not the sole person responsible for the negative state of U.S. health care.

I am appalled by the laws which make having insurance mandatory and levy a penalty upon those who do not have insurance. This is not a solution. This benefits only the insurance companies. It is highway robbery, and leaves many people in a worse bind than they were in before.

No small portion of the people who come into the clinic fall into the working poor demographic. They are barely able to keep a roof over their heads and afford food. Those who have illnesses that require medications are often not compliant with their medication regimen. It is not that they are “stupid” or “obstinate.” They are unable to afford the medication, even with insurance. These people get lectures from doctors about the necessity of being compliant to treat their conditions. It is not that they are unwilling, it is that they are unable.

It is not so easy to get on a drug company’s free medication program as some individuals would like everyone to believe. Many people who are barely scraping by “make too much money” to qualify. They also make too much to qualify for housing assistance and food stamp benefits. As for the poor being lazy, it often comes down to a person having to make the choice between working and keeping the benefits which allow them to survive. I see many of the people who have fallen through the cracks in the system or who are at risk of falling through the cracks. They are not lazy or shiftless. They are desperate and distressed.

In my own case, I see the doctor but have not been to the dentist in almost ten years due to the prohibitive cost. I work forty hours a week at eighteen dollars an hour. Most of my income is spent on the modest condominium in which I live. The payment on this place is $900 a month, and I’m “getting off easy.” The going rate on a two bedroom apartment/condo/townhome in the metro area where I live is $1000-$1200 on average. This is almost half of my paycheck.

I cannot afford to live in the city, and the costs of moving are prohibitive. The area where I live is a bedroom community of the major urban area. The mass transit to this community is spotty at best. It doesn’t begin early enough to get me to work on time. Thus, it is necessary for me to have a car. Because my credit is less than stellar, I pay more for insurance every month. If there was ever evidence of a conspiracy to keep the poor poor, factors like this point towards it.

I am a forty year old single mother. Groceries for myself, my 18 year old daughter who graduates high school this year and will be attending community college in the fall, and my sixteen year old son who is a smart and kind young man with psychiatric problems which may make it difficult for him to work in adulthood, use up much of the rest of my income. I will be able to keep my kids on my insurance plan until they are 26, but having them on my insurance raises it by $225 a month. According to others I have spoken to, I’m getting off easy.

My point in sharing my own personal story is that I make well over minimum wage, but am still barely scraping by. A major health crisis could devastate my family and leave us homeless.

Something needs to change drastically, and I do not see steps going in the right direction. All people deserve access to good health care, regardless of ability to pay. It might make the difference in a person being able to lead a productive life. It might even make the difference in a person being able to have a chance at life at all.

Thanks for “hearing” me out.

~Carrie~

An Open Letter Regarding the Young Women’s Conference 2014

Dear Ms. Shriver and Ms. Witherspoon:

I saw a report on my southern California evening news about the conference you held today to empower young women; let me say that I believe it is important to inform girls and to encourage them to do well in school, participate in internship opportunities,  and so on.

However,  while this wonderful event included students from a number of schools across the region, it was held at The Brentwood School. I am sure it is a fairly convenient location for those of you who live in that area, but I am curious whether you plan to travel to areas where students may not have the level of economic or social advantage that the young ladies who participated today are privy to. The children, for example, in the public middle and high schools near my home in San Bernardino County do not get to hear such messages from successful women such as the two of you or such as the other guest speakers on the program.

Our children are not without inspiration or hope but would benefit from similar programs. Further, if they could be given support related to information on how they might avail themselves of internships and the other opportunities that were suggested today, they too might begin to explore greater opportunities in the future.

Such information should not be reserved for those of means only.

Thank you, and I welcome your thoughts.

Yours sincerely,

AR Neal

A Social Experiment? Not Really.

Here’s what you do.

First: find three sets of clothes (that would be three each of bottoms, tops, undergarments). Put them all on at once.

Second: keep them on for the next two months. Shuffle layers for a new look each day.

Third: do not shower or wash up for the entire period.

Fourth: repeat until the clothes are too threadbare to hold together.

Fifth: come back and tell me if you enjoyed the experience.

Remember that feeling, remember how your lips curled and you whispered “Ew!” while shaking your head.

Remember that feeling the next time you feel the urge to say “some homeless people like living that way.”

No one desires to not be able to change clothes. No one desires to not have “the comforts of home” and chooses to live in a drainage pipe instead.

Don’t judge. Figure out how to make it better.

Feelings Count. Even if You Disagree

I had an hour occasion to be with a certain group of people for a certain purpose once; let us say it was a church. I was under the impression that I and my kin could share our triumphs and pains there. In the end I found that we could not. It was probably because we were in a minority there.

Now do not be mistaken. There were various cultures of people in the congregation. We missed the comment when we first started there about it being a “multiethnic and multigenerational” congregation. Racial and cultural minorities were outliers and were, so we found out, expected to fall in and comply.

So when a comment came up that was an affront to every non-European in the room, we spoke up. We were the only ones to speak up. And in the end we left, saddened that we could not make a difference, but glad to have taken a stand.

Our feelings mattered and still do. We continue to fight oppression–regardless of the particular “ism” (racism, sexism, ageism, genderism, financialism, etc.).

Don’t settle. Don’t blend.

Competition Class Shape vs. Everyday Fitness

Here is the amazing Marianne Vos, who is in the kind of shape that most of us will never be in.
The pursuit of this kind of conditioning is impossible for the average person. People like Marianne devote large portions of their lives to their sport. The kind of training they do is above and beyond. They do not train to this level when they are not competing. Most people stop competing in most sports by the time they are forty.
There seems to be a push for everyone to be constantly toned and athletic to the degree of people who are in competitive sports–or at least we should all appear this way. This obsession is unrealistic and unhealthy.
The average person should not expect themselves to be in the kind of shape that a competition class athlete is.
While pursuing optimal health is an excellent goal, no-one should be shamed for not doing so. We all have different strengths and weaknesses and different interests.
Some people love to run. I’ll push myself to go a mile around the track three times a week in good weather. I kind of like it. Maybe some people stare at the fat man running. I don’t know, nor do I particularly care. Most of the other runners pass me. I’ve never had any of them say anything to me, which may be because they don’t want to challenge someone of my size. I’m six foot three and weigh somewhere around 330 pounds.
I run three times a week, possibly because I’ve been doing so since I was a kid. At this point in my life, I prefer hiking. When the weather’s good, I like to get out for a hike every weekend. I do go to the gym and do some strength training a couple of times a week, and I love working out in the pool. I love it more and more the older I get! I don’t mean to imply that water workouts are only for the elderly; they are for whoever enjoys them. But as we age, wear and tear on the joints tends to make a workout in water more appealing because it is a very low to non-impact exercise, depending on whether you are doing shallow water aerobics, swimming, or deep water aerobics.
Perhaps the point that I’m trying to make is this: I’m a reasonably active guy, who is reasonably good health. I do have GERD, which I have under control thanks to my good friend Prilosec and steering away from very spicy foods. These days I take my green chili mild.
Nevertheless, I’m still big. Granted, I do not diet obsessively–in fact, I don’t diet at all. Like everyone else here, I was a longtime yo-yo dieter. I now try to choose foods that are less processed and have a good nutrient profile, but I’m nowhere near obsessive about it. I admit to enjoying an organic cheeseburger for lunch once or twice a week. I’m fortunate that I live in an area where organic food is easy to obtain. Not everyone has this luxury.
We have the right to shame absolutely no-one for not being in competition-class athletic shape. We do not even have the right to shame the “stereotypical fatty” who sits in front of the TV chowing down on an entire bucket of Kentucky Fried Chicken all by zirself and chasing it with a 2 liter Coke and a dozen Moon Pies for dessert. Shame does not work to make people skinny, it only works to make them miserable.
Exercise should be pleasant, not punitive. Life should be pleasant, not punitive. The one thing we all need to reduce is instances where we have been unkind to others. Some of us need a little sanctimoniousness reduction, some need a lot. Let’s all get started today!
Peace,
Adam
 
Cross-Posted To:

Derision is Not Acceptable

someones grandmother2013.10W.21

My great grandmother looked a lot like this.

The older I get, the more I look like this.

You know, I get that this woman, my great grandmother, and I will never be seen as icons of beauty and sexual desirability, and I’m fine with that.

What I don’t understand is why it is deemed acceptable to shower derision upon people who are not deemed sexually desirable by the general public.

When did this become the norm?

When did this in any way become okay?

How can people see this as okay?

Being considered fuckable should not be a criteria for being deserving of common decency.

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