Challenging assumptions

Why is it, when you reply to a misleading post on line, with information that challenges the poster’s assumptions and points out misleading information, they get so incredibly butt hurt??  Why is it that they get snide and disrespectful but that’s what they end up accusing you of?  Why is it they are allowed to swear but you’re not?  Why when you point out that you have personal, familial experience with something, not to mention professional experience, that is a disrespectful response?

You know, part of discussion is disagreement.  If anyone is to learn anything new, then ideas have to be challenged.  John Michael Greer coined a term:  dissensus.  It means, essentially, the opposite of consensus – which in my opinion is basically imposition of the strongest personality’s ideas by holding everyone else hostage until they agree.  Dissensus means holding an opinion which goes contrary to the established consensus.  It’s usually better if one has research backing up their dissensus, but sometimes it’s just logical deduction that creates it.

The post that caused me to be sworn at, and to be labelled disrespectful, regarded debunking the myth that hordes of Canadians are coming across the border to the US for needed care because the lines are so long in Canada that people are in danger of dying if they don’t do so.  This person brought up one example “friends” (who in fact turned out to be a married couple, only one of whom required medical care) who “had” to come to the US because they had to wait so long for a procedure.  The procedure turned out to be an MRI, for ‘chest pains’ which isn’t exactly first line diagnostic for that.  Lab work and a chest xray would have been done first.  And the wait for this procedure?  4 weeks.  Not exactly a lifetime, and not a time period that would be considered unreasonable even here if you are waiting for insurance pre-authorization.  Not to mention that this person had a stage 3 cancer diagnosis and was given 6 months to live; the MRI in my opinion, though I wasn’t there, was most likely to determine the extent of the cancer not to diagnose it.  And the fact that I know Canadians, and have in-law family in Edmonton and therefore have personal knowledge of how the Canadian system works, only served to make this person even more upset.

I detest how people get so irate and hateful when you challenge their stories.  Especially conservatives because they have such a religious conviction that ‘socialized’ care is evil.  Even when given facts to the contrary.  I especially detest how they are so dedicated to believing the ‘one’ story and they don’t bother to do ANY research whatsoever, instead getting their ‘research’ and ‘facts’ from sites that are paid for by corporations with a vested interest in making sure people don’t have any option but for profit ones.

Now I will be honest.  The Canadian system holds people accountable.  When I worked a contract job for a flight company, we flew a Canadian snowbird from a rural facility to a trauma facility for a head injury.  How did he suffer this head injury?  He was drunk and he fell off the bar stool.  I can tell you his wife was absolutely furious, because their Canadian insurance specifically did NOT cover accidents suffered as a result of alcohol intoxication.  They were going to end up footing the bill.

But so does the AHCCCS system hold people accountable.  They don’t cover accidents resulting from drug or alcohol intoxication either, though most people don’t know that and those that are on the state’s Medicaid system really don’t have any intention of paying the bill that results anyway.

The idea of entitlement seems to be seriously misunderstood.  According to Mirriam Webster Online, entitlement has three meanings:

  1. the condition of having a right to have, do, or get something
  2. the feeling or belief that you deserve to be given something (such as special privileges) (parentheses theirs)
  3. a type of financial help provided by the government for members of a particular group

Now, I told this person in my post that most Americans have a misplaced sense of entitlement, and I meant it in the second way — that people think they’re entitled to have the government foot the bill for their health care, and they don’t have any personal responsibility to manage their own health.  I also meant it in the sense that people want what they want when they want it and damned be the consequences if they have to wait.  I pointed out to said poster that his ‘friend’ exhibited that same sense of entitlement by being unwilling to wait for an MRI and coming to the US to get it.  Lucky him, he had money to be able to cut to the head of the line, because that’s how the triage system works in America — unlike in Canada where for the most part the sickest go to the head of the line and the rest wait their turn.

Health care is a basic human right.  Having someone else foot the bill is not.  Does that mean I think the poor should just do without?  Absolutely not!!!!  It does mean though, that EVERYONE needs to have skin in the game — they need to be required to pay according to their means, and they need to take responsibility for their own health, and they need to be held to a standard of accountability the same as the rest of us — including the very wealthy.

Health care is not an entitlement in the sense of the common usage definition.  Nor is food stamps, or welfare.  Unemployment insurance IS, and so is Medicare, and so is Social Security.  Why?  Because we all pay into that with our taxes for our entire working lives.  Even if you file exempt you do not avoid paying these taxes.  These are programs that are promised to us as long as we pay these taxes via our payroll deductions.  Therefore you should have the right to pull out at least as much as you put in to the system.  And the government has a responsibility to shepherd that money carefully, because it doesn’t belong to them, it belongs to us.  The pissing away of the Social Security trust fund is reason enough to put government officials in prison, in my opinion.  That money was never meant for anything EXCEPT retirement — not funding wars, or paying for NSA spying apparatus.

Socialism in itself is not evil.  We have many, many socialized systems in America, ones that very few people seem to have a problem with:

  1. Postal service – getting mail seems to be pretty well expected by most;
  2. Fire service – what if the fire department would only come if you paid their subscription??  If you don’t think that could have negative consequences, ask anyone who’s ever had Rural Metro stand on the opposite side of the street while their house burned to the ground;
  3. Police service – aside from the increasingly militarized and abusive trend of our police agencies, I really don’t hear anyone complaining about taxes paying for police;
  4. Public roads – everyone assumes they have a right to drive on the roads, and that the roads will be maintained in decent driving condition.  What if ALL the roads were toll roads?  What if you had to pay $5 every time you went to the grocery store just to be on the road?
  5. Social Security, Medicaid, Unemployment insurance – there are those who complain about these, but they’re also the ones who are wealthy enough to not have to live on these…

See?  It’s only evil when it comes to health care.  Or rather, medical care, because our system is built around medical models of illness care, not actual health care.  Instead of railing against the evils of socialism, people would be much better served railing against the rampant corporatization of our government and the selling off of formerly public assets into private for-profit hands.  Or perhaps, instead of railing against the evils of socialism, people could rail against the prevailing medical model and demand actual public HEALTH services – you know, basic preventative health care, health education, dental and vision care, healthy food.  Not meds and expensive hospitalizations, but stuff that actually contributes to a healthy populace.

Ok, off the soap box as I’ve digressed greatly from the original thread of my post.

Russell Brand Takes On The Crisis of Civilisation. But What Now?

“[It] does not mean the solution lies within the prevailing political paradigm. Brand’s call for revolution, for a fundamental political, economic, cultural and cognitive shift, is on point. But rather than entailing disengagement resulting in anarchy, this requires the opposite: Engagement at all levels in order to elicit structural transformation on multiple scales through the overwhelming presence of people taking power back, here and now.” -Dr Nafeez Ahmed
We need a revolution, a world wide one.

Damn the Matrix

Republished from


Dr Nafeez Ahmed

During his Wednesday night interview with Jeremy Paxman on BBC Newsnight, comedian and actor Russell Brand said what no politician or pundit would ever dare say: that without dramatic, fundamental change, the prevailing political and economic system is broken, and hell-bent on planetary-level destruction:

“The planet is being destroyed. We are creating an underclass and exploiting poor people all over the world. And the legitimate problems of the people are not being addressed by our political powers.”

Yesterday, Brand published an extended essay in the New Statesman fleshing out in detail his case for a “revolution” – not just a political and economic transformation, but one fundamentally rooted in a shift in consciousness toward a new way of thinking.

Brand’s interview and article elicited overwhelming support from the general public in social media, but widespread detraction from journalists and commentators. In the Telegraph

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A good reason to never surrender your guns

Only one of many incidents in which peaceful Native Americans were just trying to live their lives and keep their heads down only to be massacred for merely being in the way.

How to bury your stuff

A good reason to never surrender your guns

The pic says it all; and we all know that history repeats itself. I researched this and found plenty of evidence supporting the fact that this event actually occurred, sad to say but it was our own soldiers who carried out the massacre. Wake up people!!

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The Unaffordable Care Act

Obamacare Website Received just 51000 completed applications

If the numbers quoted in the above story, courtesy of the Daily Mail (UK). are correct, then it is as I said in my last post.  It’s not affordable and people aren’t going to sign up for it.  It’s going to fail, fantastically, within the year.

Why are we still pursuing this if only 38% of people polled even think this is a good idea?? The Guardian (UK) If more than half of all Americans oppose this, why are we still pursuing this?

I found out that providers (doctors, nurse practitioners, physician’s assistants) have to sign up to participate in the plans.  Given the fact that they have NOT been signing up in droves, I would guess that even if you are able to buy a plan, you are not going to be able to see the doctor of your choice.  Nor are you going to be able to go to the hospital of your choice — these plans are concentrating the participants to just a few facilities, which may or may not be the closest one to you, or the one best able to treat your issue.

I understand that the IRS does eventually catch up with tax dodgers, even if it takes years to do so.  I think that is because, relative to the total number of taxpayers, the number who don’t file taxes or pay what’s owed are relatively small — under 10% at the most.  What is going to happen when people figure out that if they file exempt they can keep all their wages other than Social Security and Medicare taxes?  How is the IRS going to be able to go after literally millions of people?

What is to stop people from simply working for cash?  I know a lot of people who have done that, or are doing that now.  They aren’t exactly big internet shoppers, and don’t have bank accounts, so it’s not like there’s an easy way to track their spending vs. their income; if a significantly larger portion of the workers and employers just ‘opt out’ of the mainline economy, how is the IRS to track them, let alone pursue lost tax revenue?

It’s time our government returned to understanding they work for us, not the other way around.  I don’t work to pay taxes.  I work to provide for my family.  And if my taxes pay your wages, you work for me.  It would be great if they all started acting like it.

Affordable Care?

Well, according to the stats I’ve been seeing bandied about, an average of about 1% of people who looked at the myriad websites offering health insurance exchanges actually signed up.

My state doesn’t offer an exchange because they opted to go with the federal option.  Knowing this over a year ago, I discovered that my husband and I would only be eligible for the pre-existing conditions option.  The cost, at that time, for a plan with a $2000 deductible and 70/30 coverage:  $590 (if I remember correctly, I didn’t write it down or anything).  Given that both of us are in school, and neither of us works full time, that’s simply out of our price range.  In fact, it’s within $100 of our mortgage payment, the single biggest bill we have.

I’ve spoken with others in a similar situation.  This Affordable Care isn’t affordable for the majority of people in our situation.  It’s just not an option, even if one does forgo satellite TV, weekends out, and eating out.  Those savings still don’t add up to the costs associated with the Affordable Care Act.

I’ve done some research and discovered that if one is not eligible for a plan, or if one has religious objections, one can opt out.  But, probably most importantly, I discovered that the penalty is not legally enforceable by the IRS — they can’t collect it, nor can they charge interest or penalties on the unpaid penalty.  The key is to order one’s taxes so as to not get a refund (which should be the goal anyway, so that the government doesn’t get to use OUR money interest free) in order for them not to deduct the penalty from one’s refund.

I also discovered that if one waits until they are sick and goes to the ER, they will be offered the opportunity to sign up for a plan then.  The first 30 days of coverage are paid for by the federal government, and the next 60 days are paid for by the hospital.  So you can get sick and have it paid for, and need never make a payment.  I’m not sure that the hospital can’t come after you in collections if you don’t pay, but I’m also not sure that’s not any different than things stand now for a lot of people who utilize the ER for illness.

From the little I can understand by reading others’ take on this act, the idea was that people like me, who will be paying for the insurance, will be subsidizing those who make too little and get theirs paid for.  To me this seems like a sneak tax increase; we are forced to pay over $7000 a year in insurance payments for a product we can’t afford to  actually use, and our payments go toward subsidies for better quality insurance for those poorer than ourselves, who will actually use the care.  I would prefer it if there was an actual tax increase and everyone just got medicare.  Medicare is by no means the perfect system, but it is the best we’ve got other than maybe whatever platinum plated plan our Congress gets.

I also discovered that, while insurance companies have been jacking up their rates in advance of this taking effect, and will continue to jack up their rates, that actual reimbursement to providers and facilities is expected to go down by 25% in the next 5 years or so.  So if you get sick and need to be hospitalized, you are going to be in a facility that has staffing stripped to the bone with all the opportunity for mistakes and neglect that entails.  Not to mention the level of overwork and burnout all staff will be dealing with, and the lowered wages coupled with increased workload that will inevitably come; administrators aren’t going to take a pay cut to ensure the line staff have a manageable workload, I can assure you of that.

Rural hospitals may end up closing as a result of this act.  In fact, up to a third of hospitals nationwide, in rural, suburban, and urban areas, may close.  The ones that are left will be hard pressed to offer services.  I believe we may end up seeing cash only facilities spring up as a result of this; for those who can afford it, that is.  The good news (if there is any) about cash driven facilities and providers is that they don’t have to pay for an entire office staff devoted to dealing with insurance companies.  They have eliminated a huge cost outlay.  The average claim is denied at least once before being paid.  It usually takes 3 weeks or so for the denial to ensue.  By the time a claim is paid, it’s months down the road. For Medicare, the time lag is closer to 6 months.  I don’t know about you, but if I’m owed money, I need to have it when it’s due or I can’t pay my own bills on time.  By making the business cash only, a provider can eliminate a credit line and at least 1 full time salary (office manager/billing specialist).  That savings is passed directly onto the consumer.

As usual for the government when naming something, the name of this act in actuality means exactly the opposite.  What particularly pisses me off about this however, is it’s based on a Republican plan — but because a lot of Republicans are racist (it’s where they all migrated to after the Democrats became liberal and social justice supporters), the fact that a black man happened to be in office when this became law, means it’s now the evil Obamacare.  Well, it was Romneycare before it was Obamacare, ask anyone in Massachusetts.

I’m against this act by any name, for the simple reason that it’s a giveaway to health insurance companies rather than anything that will actually get health care to citizens.  Even when I had health insurance, I couldn’t afford to go to the doctor.  And Obamacare does nothing to change that, it actually makes it worse by imposing the purchase of a private for-profit product on citizens.

I’ve heard all the arguments that it’s just like car insurance, and that is mandated.  But the key difference between the two is that you don’t have to drive.  You don’t have to own a car.  No, really, you don’t.  Not having one might limit your mobility, or make it more inconvenient to get where you want to go, but it’s not necessary for having and keeping a job, or for participation in life.  They are not the same at all.

Health care is the next bubble, before education loans even, in my opinion.  The costs are unsustainable and ACA does nothing to change that.  It may in fact speed the bursting of the bubble.  I just hope I can finish school before it all comes tumbling down around my ears.  It’s going to be a long while before the traditional apprenticeship model (as opposed to formal schooling with a test and a piece of paper at the end) of medicine and nursing is acceptable again.

I was a mean mom too.

I have been a dedicated follower of Stephanie Pearl-McPhee, aka The Yarn Harlot, for many years now, probably since about 6 months after she started her blog.  She is a brilliant writer and her love of knitting has inspired at least a few of my projects in one form or another.  We also share a lot of basic values – home, family, responsible consumption of those things necessary for life.  This post is pretty much how I raised my kids.  I sent it to my middle son, and I will probably print it out and send it to my oldest as well.

I always joked that children are born as wild animals and it’s my job to civilize them before they are released into the wild of the world.  I was a truly mean mom; when my children screamed at me that they hated me I simply replied “That’s OK, nowhere does it say you have to love me, only that you have to obey me.”  Now that’s authoritarian rather than authoritative, but it got my point across.  We had rules, but they were for reasons that were open to discussion.  Sometimes they got changed, sometimes they were not.  If the kids could give me a logical reason for changing them, it might happen.  Sometimes I would have to tell them that, while I agreed with their logic, it simply couldn’t be allowed based on societal norms.  Which sucked for them and for me as well.  I mean, I’m fine with a 10 inch blue mohawk, but you are going to be treated like a juvenile delinquent by the rest of society so expect that.  Plus, it’s getting shaved off because you didn’t keep a B average anyway, that was the deal.

This post is masterful and I just wanted to share the Yarn Harlot’s wisdom.  Enjoy!