Sunday, June 28, 2015

Health Care for Profit The Time Has Come for This Idiocy to Stop

Health Care for Profit
The Time Has Come for This Idiocy to Stop

Figure 1My Father's Copy of the Constitution and the book "Children of Yesteryear" describing the war in the Pacific where he served as a Marine Medic

The most totally absurd claim of the Tea party---the main promoter of the idiocy of doing away with Medicare, Medicaid, and every other humanitarian rules/laws---is that if people who get sick and are not insured, it costs 5-10x as much as ACA. Result: since hospitals are run for profit, and they take their 30% profit of the top, and spend what's left on patient care, they raise the rates of those that have insurance to make up for the ER loses. Health care is a 1.6 trillion dollar a year industry, THAT'S RIGHT 1600 BILLION DOLLARS A YEAR. Thirty percent profit is a number beyond most people’s comprehension. Health care is the biggest and most profitable industry in the country, Even bigger than the Military Industrial Complex.

Have no illusions, we all get sick, no matter how good your habits. Weakness to certain diseases are written in the genes we inherit from our parents. To have sickness is to be human. This country has the most sophisticated health care capability in the world. BUT ONLY THE RICH HAVE HASSLE FREE ACCESS TO IT. This is an ethical and moral crime against all of humanity. Exporting medical technology is our biggest money maker (at least it was a decade ago).

Think about it. Through the philanthropy of people like Bill Gates, Warren Buffet, and Michael Dell, children in Africa can get measles vaccine, but children of poor parents in Texas cannot. Texas has slashed it Medicare budget to the very marrow and ranks 51st (yes, less than the ghetto in Washington DC), while having the 10th largest economy in the world. The previous Governor, Rick Perry, refused 9.5 billion in essentially free money from the Obama administration.

In effect Perry, who still considers himself a candidate for President (what a joke--that's not funny) said to hell with the children in Texas who get measles and suffer hearing loss, or who perish (measles has a 5% mortality rate, as it weakens the immune system much like AIDS and the die of pneumonia.). I know this from personal experience. I was born in 1948 and had a bad case of measles. Missed 3 months of school and developed pneumonia, but my father a medic for the Marines in the Pacific recognized my illness and got me the proper medical care. I still have a hearing loss as a common condition to measles victims.  The current American population has no fear or respect for vaccinations because the immunization system is so effective they have never seen the ravages it used to inflict on children world wide, and still does in developing nations.  Same mentality goes for polio which crippled or killed millions of children prior to the Salk vaccine. 

Americans are ignorant of the history of infectious diseases, just as we are ignorant of history in general.  The public schools are in a state of total failure to educate our children with basic skills, yes even reading and writing, and basic knowledge like history, geography, basic arithmetic, and on and on.  George Bush’s testing fetish set the public school system back to the early 1800’s when there was no universal education.  The Methodist Church is largely responsible for making elementary education available to all children, and their system morphed into law requiring children to attend school.  How many of you readers are aware of these basic facts about the history of education system in this country?

When the Frenchman, Alex de Tocqueville, toured the United States in the 1831, he was struck by the fact that no mater what dirt road he traveled, the residents all read newspapers and were well informed about current events at home and abroad. These impressions were recorded in his book “Democracy in America” in which he attempted to inform their “fading aristocracy” and an emerging “democratic order” which he saw as “an equation that balanced liberty with equality.”

World map indicating literacy by country in 2013 (2013 UN Human Development Report and Individual statistics departments) Grey = no data

World illiteracy halved between 1970 and 2005.
Literacy is traditionally understood as the ability to read and write.[1] The term's

We take universal literacy for granted, but the above graphs show a very disturbing trend world wide.

And now, with regressive governments like that of Texas is attempting to throw all that away?  Texas spends less per student in the public schools that every state except Alabama.  A trip to Alabama is like time travel to the early 50’s before the Civil Rights Movement.  Go there today, and you will wonder if there ever was a Civil Rights anything.  There is fortunately an alternative for those parents that cannot afford private schools: home schooling, which is highly organized and is very effective.  But it requires time and effort on the part of the parents, and the many families that live hand to mouth with on or both parents working two jobs, home schooling is not a viable alternative for many poor families.

As Abraham Lincoln,the Father of Conservative politics said:  “The function of Government is to provide for the people what they cannot provide for themselves.”  By this standard, the Governments of Texas and many other extremist conservative states, Government is failing miserably, in fact so miserable that a revolution (meaning voting the Greedy Sociopaths that govern the state in an sadistic manner).  Saddistic may sound a bit harsh to some, but to have a generation of children doomed to being “wage slaves”, which is taken directly from the plot hatched at the School of Economics at the University of Chicago in the early ‘70’s who misread the unraveling of America’s institutions as a flaw in the Constitution, when the real culprit was television as precisely predicted by Marshall McCluhan in the late 1950’s. McCluhan’s work was quickly forgotten and he died in 1980.  However, cutting edge research by psychiatrists, geneticists, and neurologists revived McCluhan’s writing as one researcher observed “heavy TV watchers have the same behavioral characteristics as heroin addicts”, and another member of the team recalled that McCluhan had written something similar.  Re-reading mcCluhan’s work verified that statement and the team changed directions, and by 2003 had identified the mechanism by which the mental illness McCluhan predicted.  Sadly, even though we know that TV is the culprit for America’s descent into a selfish addiction to consumerism, the habit is so ingrained in our culture that the hours of TV watched per capita is still increasing as of the most recent census.

A gentleman and a scholar

Austin, Texas

Wednesday, June 24, 2015


                                        GLOBAL WARMING DEMYSTIFIED : PART II
                                                                     June 24 2015

This is an oversimplified explanation; but, so many people “don’t believe” in
Global Warming. Either that, or they “don’t believe that Global Warming represents
any threat to us.”  This paper is an attempt to break through these levels of resistance based on false “beliefs”.

Our young planet, in geological terms, has had five different extinction cycles.
Each has been caused by global warming from millions of years of volcanic eruptions all over the planet.  Huge masses of molten rock from the planet’s core covered everything in layer after layer. 
When the volcanic activity settled down, the evolutionary process as described by Darwin and Wallace led to giant forests that covered most of the land mass.
Imagine the forests of the Pacific Northwest, trees about 350 feet tall for as far as the eye can see, as well as the trees of the Amazon Rainforest. These forests were everywhere that there was land to support them.

The earth then went through another phase of belching toxic gases (CO2 and methane) with lava that covered everything, including the enormous mass of trees.
Cellulose, that forms the structure of all plants, is composed of chains of carbon atoms with hydrogen atoms attached as well.

Over millions of years of time, through five cycles of growth and extinction, the buried tree masses were “condensed” by pressure from the layers of lava above.
The result was pockets of “fossil fuels”: condensed energy from trees that had captured energy from the sun through photosynthesis. Then after the last extinction cycle, which led to the current evolutionary cycle, the young planet continued to cool down. With this cooling, evolution progressed long enough to produce a more intelligent species : homo sapiens or “us.”  Ironically “homo sapiens” means the “wise ones”, but we certainly are not behaving like Wise creatures, as we have yet to even acknowledge threat of Global Warming, much less take any actions to reduce our burning of fossil fuels.  The politics of such actions are complex, and beyong the scope of this essay, but are discussed in depth in other essays on my blog:

A couple of centuries ago, this clever new species discovered the pockets of oil and gas, staring to use them to expand the ability of living more comfortably anywhere on this planet and expand the industrialization of the planet.  Little did we know, however, until a decade ago, that we were essentially releasing the energy of five gigantic forest fires of enormous trees that once covered the planet ALL AT ONCE !

Hundreds of millions of years that it took to compress and store all the energy from the sun has been released in a nanosecond of Geological Time.  Our ecosystem is very adaptable; but, five forest fires that covered the planet just cannot be absorbed.  Thus, the global temperature is rising, heading rapidly toward another extinction cycle…caused solely by us!  Global Warming is a scientific issue with political ramifications that are like those of a science fiction novel.  Like it or not, this situation is not science fiction, but a real as the drought in Southern California.  We must deal with it NOW, or our species will perish just like the dinosaurs.

A scholar and a gentleman

Austin, Texas

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Pitfalls of Migration


June 23, 2015

A pleasure to hear from you (a Flickr friend in San Francisco).  One's physical environs does shape the content of our work.  You have the pleasures of one of the most architectural rich environs on the whole planet.  I have the violent and always changing atmospheres of Global Climate change.  We just had a month of flooding  within the backdrop of severe long term drought.  May shattered all written records for total rainfall; but that isn't unusual even within the context of recorded droughts.

Oddly, flooding during sever droughts is common, not an exception as one might think.  Perversely, it gives people a false sense that the drought has been broken, when in fact it does not, even without the background of Global Warming.  Ironically, the heavy rains set us back, as people and governments are less likely to prepare for the inevitable running dry, so we continue to overuse fossil fuels to stay comfortable in the summer heat.  The heat is amplified by high humidity, which is also being experienced in Southern Cal., which state of the art water reserves estimations predict that will run out in about 10 months.  A mass migration of 20 million or so Southern Cal people will occur in less that one year, and most of those migrants will pass through Texas before turning north to the Great Lakes region or continuing east to the southeast; two areas that have adequate water, but depressed economies and can offer little in terms of housing for the enormous mass of migrants.

Texas major cities are in the midst of a housing boom, so many will choose to stop here, causing a dramatic increase in real estate prices, similar to that of Oregon and Washington.  Children of natives of these states will be priced out of the real estate market and will be forced to live with their parents, and many retired people will be forced to leave these states because they will be unable to afford the real estate taxes.  We have several friends in Washington that are face with this very problem.  Having to move away from family and friends in one's late 60's or 70's is a crushing emotional blow.  Call this group, secondary forced migrants.  The complexity of the social disruption boggles the mind and the minimal resources (that reads zero) ear marked to deal with the situation. 

To date no politician has even mentioned these issues.  Our collective heads are buried in the sand, and distracted by issues of a totally trivial nature.  That's how the super rich ruling class wants it, because all sensible solutions, decreasing fossil fuel consumption means less profit to ad to their obscene hoard of nearly a trillion dollars in wealth.  Specifically, I am speaking of people like the Koch Brothers in Kansas.  Since, these same people own all the major media outlets, it will not surprise me if following the coming migration catastrophe will depend on alternative media.
Cutting diagonally through the Rockies is a more treacherous route to the Great Lakes, because of the sparse population and dearth of services (water and gasoline) and the stress of long elevation changes on all but very new model cars.  Whichever route taken will be littered with abandoned vehicles, many containing dead passengers from dehydration.  This will put tremendous stress on the states where peoples journeys end.  Pathetically, even though this scenario is oh so very predictable, no Federal, State or local governments or NGO's (non-government organizations) even have a plan to make a plan to deal with this catastrophic event.  It will demonstrate the total failure of government and societies ability to deal with the mass migrations that inevitably come with climactic change due to Global Warming, which is 100% due to our own behavior.  The only good that can result, is that watching this unnecessary catastrophe will wake us up to meet the challenges ahead.  This is simply our first test of how we can adapt to Global Climate change, and we will fail miserably.

Sorry that this news is so bleak on the surface, but underneath the gloom is an opportunity to awaken the nation to what has been done to them over the past 25 years, and awaken to revolt against a system that does nothing to help the 99% of the population.  Some big changes must happen, and must happen soon, or we are doomed to mass extinction at our own hands.  A kind of sleep walking suicide.
A gentleman and a scholar

Austin, Texas

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Chemical Warfare and Global Warming

Chemical Warfare and Free Will
June 21, 2015

Dave, the catapulting of infected bodies was an anecdote that I was not aware of.  Insightful to call this action "chemical warfare": long before science discovered the mechanisms of microbes and the precise mechanism of infectious disease.  Man's inhumanity to man has seen no limits in the history of our species.  Much of the brutality stemmed from a religious "belief" that one side or another believed they were God's "the chosen people" to rid the landscape of the nonbelievers.  This was basic theme of the Crusades.

Now we are up against the wall in two ways: first since the cold war use of nuclear warfare meant mutual self destruction; and now the madness of burning fossil fuels in the pursuit of vast wealth for a few, while billions starve, threatens to cause a mass extinction of all living biological creatures, including ourselves.  This form of suicide is happening so fast, that if we don't change our lifestyles from consumerism to self restoring economies, and strip those super rich who run the economic show of their money and power, in a generation we will have triggered the fastest extinction in history (there have been five, and the previous all took millions of years from the overheating of the atmosphere to extinction).  Our species will have "achieved" an extinction cycle in a nanosecond of geological time.

 The world must embrace altruism and sustainable economies in 1 to 1.5 generations.  We must "allow" or survival instincts to override our selfishness.  This includes taking away the obscene wealth of the sociopaths, the source of Evil throughout the history of our species, by force if necessary.  Ironically, we now know how to build a humane society for the first time in our history.  Lock up the sociopaths, and the rest of us just live by the Golden Rule.  Some left wingers will scream about their "civil rights"; but people who cannot tell right from wrong and relish in creating misery in all other members of our species, have no civil rights.  They commit mass murder every day by hoarding money that could keep billions from starving.  Call it manslaughter if you like, but they are murderers just the same.  Pragmatically, we must identify them up and lock them up.  Beliefs like "free will" will get us all killed along with every other creature on the planet.  Sociopaths have no free will as their biological driven hatred of everyone but themselves, gives them no choice at all about how to behave.  FREE WILL is a nice religious fantasy, but it is not the truth.

Note:  FDR and Congress taxed the rich at 95% during WWII, and the rich did not complain (at least in public).  So there is a president for taxing the rich when the survival of the nation is at risk, which it certainly is now.  Global Warming is a much greater risk than the Axis powers were in WWII.

A scholar and a gentleman

Austin, Texas