(& Denial Is A Vast River Dividing Our Nation)
Yesterday's CCS teaching duties kept me clear of the keyboard, but here's the promised first-look at my new 6-pager "Tenderfoot," debuting in the upcoming CCS anthology Dead Man's Hand -- debuting, in fact, at the CCS and I Know Joe Kimpel tables at SPX in a couple of weeks.
President Bush's sudden embrace of 'fiscal responsibility,' manifest in his veto of the child health care bill endorsed by both the House and the Senate, is a hideous disgrace after seven years of his squandering the greatest surplus any US President ever inherited and racking up a historic record-shattering deficit, largely to bankroll (persistently off the books: e.g., not included in his annual Federal budget) his fucking unjustified, unprovoked Iraq War.
That his veto is exercised even as his Administration is demanding another obscene 150+ billion to continue financing the war is monstrous beyond imagining, but -- hey, business as usual.
How does the populace deal with this spectacle, this schism, this madness and shame? I have received the following pair of emails from no less than eleven family members in the last two days. Read 'em and weep...
Subject: Wealthy or Poor?
Putting things in perspective:
One day, the father of a very wealthy family took his son on a trip to the country with the express purpose of showing him how poor people live.
They spent a couple of days and nights on the farm of what would be considered a very poor family.
On their return from their trip, the father asked his son, "How was the trip?"
"It was great, Dad."
"Did you see how poor people live?" the father asked.
"Oh yeah," said the son.
"So, tell me, what did you learn from the trip?" asked the father.
The son answered:
"I saw that we have one dog and they had four.
We have a pool that reaches to the middle of our garden and they have a creek that has no end.
We have imported lanterns in our garden and they have the stars at night.
Our patio reaches to the front yard and they have the whole horizon.
We have a small piece of land to live on and they have fields that go beyond our sight.
We have servants who serve us, but they serve others.
We buy our food, but they grow theirs.
We have walls around our property to protect us, they have friends to protect them."
The boy's father was speechless.
Then his son added, "Thanks Dad for showing me how poor we are."
Isn't perspective a wonderful thing? Makes you wonder what would happen if we all gave thanks for everything we have, instead of worrying about what we don't have.
Appreciate every single thing you have, especially your friends!
How cozy -- and timely, circulating even as President Bush rails against any meaningful health care shelter for children in families earning $80,000+, while he pushes for a more punitive variation on the current program he has vetoed.
The above sickening homily posits a la-la land in which the 'have-nots' have more than the 'haves,' evoking an American land-based (agrarian) spiritualism and asserting Christian values even as it inverts the pyramid with mock piety.
My gorge rises along with my blood pressure; are these the little lies spread to justify ongoing support for the President and epochal shift in the American economy that is enriching insurance and pharmaceutical interests while banking on the misery of an increasingly stranded once-middle-class strata? The poor -- well, fuck the poor, they can just suck dirt -- oh, sorry, I mean, "Thanks Dad for showing me how poor we are." Suck it up, America.
Here's another headbanger from an email circulating among my elders:
Subject: The Scary Truth About Canadian Healthcare - A Must Read!
Absolutely true - we've been there!
I received this today from a career Marine, he just happens to be a Canadian. I believe his thoughts on the recent health care proposal might be of interest to some.
Subject: Health Care
Hey Guys; I saw on the news up here in Canada where Hillary Clinton introduced her new health care plan. Something similar to what we have in Canada. I also heard that Michael Moore was raving about the health care up here in Canada in his latest movie. As your friend and someone who lives with the Canada health care plan I thought I would give you some facts about this great medical plan that we have in Canada.
First of all:
1) The health care plan in Canada is not free. We pay a premium every month of $96. for Shirley and I to be covered. Sounds great eh. What they don't tell you is how much we pay in taxes to keep the health care system afloat. I am personally in the 55% tax bracket. Yes 55% of my earnings go to taxes. A large portion of that and I am not sure of the exact amount goes directly to health care our #1 expense.
2) I would not classify what we have as health care plan, it is more like a health diagnosis system. You can get into to see a doctor quick enough so he can tell you "yes indeed you are sick or you need an operation" but now the challenge becomes getting treated or operated on. We have waiting lists out the ying yang some as much as 2 years down the road.
3) Rather than fix what is wrong with you the usual tactic in Canada is to prescribe drugs. Have a pain here is a drug to take- not what is causing the pain and why. No time for checking you out because it is more important to move as many patients thru as possible each hour for Government reimbursement
4) Many Canadians do not have a family Doctor.
5) Don't require emergency treatment as you may wait for hours in the emergency room waiting for treatment.
6) Shirley's dad cut his hand on a power saw a few weeks back and it required that his hand be put in a splint - to our surprise we had to pay $125. for a splint because it is not covered under health care plus we have to pay $60 for each visit for him to check it out each week.
7) Shirley's cousin was diagnosed with a heart blockage. Put on a waiting list. Died before he could get treatment.
8) Government allots so many operations per year. When that is done no more operations, unless you go to your local newspaper and plead your case and embarrass the government then money suddenly appears.
9) The Government takes great pri de in telling us how much more they are increasing the funding for health care but waiting lists never get shorter. Government just keeps throwing money at the problem but it never goes away. But they are good at finding new ways to tax us, but they don't call it a tax anymore it is now a user fee.
10) My mother needs an operation for a blockage in her leg but because she is a smoker they will not do it. Despite her and my father paying into the health care system all these years. My Mom is 80 years of age. Now there is talk that maybe we should not treat fat and obese people either because they are a drain on the health care system. Let me see now, what we want in Canada is a health care sy stem for healthy people only. That should reduce our health care costs.
11) Forget getting a second opinion, what you see is what you get.
12) I can spend what money I have left after taxes on booze, cigarettes, junk food and anything else that could kill me but I am not allowed by law to spend my money on getting an operation I need because that would be jumping the queue. I must wait my turn except if I am a hockey player or athlete then I can get looked at right away. Go figure Where else in the world can you spend money to kill yourself but not allowed to spend money to get healthy.
13) Oh did I mention that immigrants are covered automatically at tax payer expense having never contributed a dollar to the system and pay no premiums.
14) Oh yeah we now give free needles to drug users to try and keep them healthy. Wouldn't want a sickly druggie breaking into your house and stealing your things. But people with diabetes who pay into the health care system have to pay for their needles because it is not covered but the health care system.
I send this out not looking for sympathy but as the election looms in the states you will be hearing more and more about universal health care down there and the advocates will be pointing to Canada. I just want to make sure that you hear the truth about health care up here and have some food for thought and informed questions to ask when broached with this subject.
Step wisely and don't make the same mistakes we have.
The plethora of bullshit in the above is so daunting, I haven't time to even begin addressing it this AM.
Taking just one point -- #7 -- my dear friends Randy and Jean-Marc L'officier were just last week in the US, dealing with the death of a dear one who died, after a lifetime paying into health insurance, because the HMO denied diagnosis and care so long that a treatable condition proved fatal. It gets worse: in his final hours, moved to hospice overnight without notification of his wife, she arrived at the hospital to be rerouted to the hospice, where -- on a Saturday -- they demanded she pay $3000 on the spot or she would not be permitted to see her husband on his deathbed and further care would be denied.
The lies, obfuscation, misery-profiteering and absolutely out-of-control spiraling costs of profit-based insurance and health care in the US is a system shattered beyond comprehension and desperately in need of major redress. This President and Administration, and the House and Senate's, complicity in this process is incalculable -- while we, the taxpayers, pay for 72%+ of their health care costs as a perk of their station. Bush has no concept of life for any family earning $80,000 or less in this country -- for that matter, he hasn't a clue what it's like for any family earning under $1 million or more.
The GOP and lobbyist-controlled spin on the issues calculated to further impoverish and deny any modicum of health care to all but those who have yet to be bled dry, or those above being bled dry (the rich) is an abomination, and these kinds of email propaganda campaigns are a major sign of the times.