The Mess in Detroit

It may not be a perfect solution, but it would be a step forward.

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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~

Important Questions for the E.U.

He poses some very important questions for the British government and the E.U.

As a U.S. citizen, the main thing I take away from this video is:

“Your government: whatever part of the world you’re in, those in power are more than happy to screw you six ways to Sunday.”

~Helena~

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

The Problem With the “Restaurant Dishes With Shockingly High Calorie Counts” Article

baconmobiousstrip

The post begins with this statement:

“Even in this climate of unhinged gluttony, there are still a few restaurants that manage to shock and distress with just how little they seem to care about their patrons’ health.”

The phrase “climate of unhinged gluttony” is exceedingly troubling. It puts a blame and shame air over the entire article. Blaming and shaming people for their weight is doing nobody any good, and it needs to stop.
Highly processed foods are problematic and not good for any body, regardless of whether that body is heavy or slender. However, thin people are seldom accused of gluttony even if they are eating large amounts of food, and fat people will be accused of gluttony even if they are not.
It may be that in some people, simple carbohydrates cause extreme cravings. I was recently diagnosed with type II diabetes, and therefore had to adapt a mode of eating which requires me to be extremely conservative with the number of carbohydrates I consume. Within the first day of doing this, I noticed that the insatiable cravings that I had for simple carbohydrates during my ENTIRE LIFE ceased.
I am angry because I’ve been told all my life to “just not eat those foods,” and made to feel like it was a character flaw rather than a potential physical issue because I craved those foods so much. If we want to point fingers and talk about flaws, then it is my flawed pancreas and flawed pituitary that is the problem, not my character.
We need to stop assuming that we know what or how much people eat based on their body types. If there is a problem, the problem lies in the fact that processed food is more readily available and cheaper than healthier foods. Look at the conflation between morbid obesity and poverty.
Use of phrases like “unhinged gluttony” are also problematic in their blame and shame tone. The use of such phrases renders any journalistic piece unworthy of serious consideration.

http://www.alternet.org/17-restaurant-dishes-shockingly-high-calorie-count-even-america

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.

Republicans Make Pre-Haunting Scrooge Look Like a Generous Soul

republiphant stealing food

This post was originally a response to a post by Michael Hamar, a liberal blogger who lives in Norfolk, Virginia.

I make $18 an hour and sometimes I’m still food insecure. Because my credit was not up to par, the only kind of home I could purchase was a mobile home. I admit that I was naive and had no idea what the impact of a 15% mortgage would really be. I pay $650 a month in mortgage and $500 a month in lot rent. My pay, after taxes and insurance come out, is generally around $1800 a month. I am also trying to pay off student loans, the loan that I had to take out to cover the payday loans I had to take out when doing my unpaid nursing internship, utilities (which in winter sometimes come to around $200 a month) communications (which I got behind on, so I’m trying to catch up) auto insurance, and fuel costs. Then there’s food, and the idea of savings is a joke.
I have a broken furnace that I can’t afford to have fixed. I heat my home by running space heaters. This probably drives up my electricity costs and makes Xcel Energy very happy.
My point being that I make well over minimum wage, and I’m far from making it. The people in minimum wage jobs are really in a bad spot.
The Rethuglicans like to promote the idea that poor people are all lazy and if they weren’t lazy, they wouldn’t be poor. They don’t take into account the fact that the majority of poor people are working poor. Others are people who used to work but no longer can due to injuries or illness.
I’m not sure how much of an aberration I am, but I happen to be a person with major mental illness who has been able to work because my condition is fairly well controlled. Many people with mental illness can’t work.
These individuals make pre-haunting Scrooge look like a bastion of warm-heartedness and generosity.
Happy holidays to you and those you love.

~Cie~

Happy holidays to our team and our readers!