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WilliamPitt

Profile Information

Name: William Rivers Pitt
Gender: Male
Hometown: Boston
Member since: 2001
Number of posts: 57,230

Journal Archives

The Savage Arithmetic of the Pre-Existing Condition

The Savage Arithmetic of the Pre-Existing Condition
By William Rivers Pitt
t r u t h o u t | Op-Ed

Friday 30 March 2012

I went to the doctor
Guess what he told me
Guess what he told me...

- Sinead O'Connor


Five years ago, my wife and I took what turned out to be the longest walk in the world to Brigham & Women's hospital in Boston to get a diagnosis for her that had been six months in the making. She was 25 years old, and her right arm had gone sideways on her over the last nine months with a collection of symptoms - numbness, tingling, and tremors of such severity that her good hand was all but useless for anything besides waving at friends - that we had run out of explanations for. Nerve damage? Carpal tunnel? We didn't know. She had gotten an MRI two days earlier, and the doctor had called that day asking us to come down and talk about it. The conversation began with, "You have multiple sclerosis," and that has been our undeniable reality ever since.

Multiple sclerosis, for those not in the know, is a disease in which the body's own immune system goes to war against its own brain. My wife suffered her symptoms because the disease gnawed through the myelin sheaths of her own higher nervous system and annihilated the nerves that control her right arm. Over the intervening years, her brain has taken it upon itself to figure out some good work-arounds - to wit, when the road collapses, you build an overpass - but her hand will never again have the same functionality (until stem cell research bears fruit, fingers crossed).

I give her an injection every day to control the disease, and she takes a variety of other drugs to manage the symptoms. All told, multiple sclerosis - between the doctor visits, the MRIs, and the drugs required to keep a lid on things - costs upwards of $50,000 a year. Thankfully, she is gainfully employed with a major retail company with a stellar insurance program, so a large portion of that cost is defrayed by the insurance she pays for with every paycheck.

Without that insurance, she would be at the mercy of those who think pre-existing conditions are basically God's funny joke on people, i.e., ha ha ha, you're screwed.

She is not alone. I went to the doctor last month, and found out that I have pretty damned high blood pressure. The doctor had me come back four weeks later to do another check, and, yup, really really high blood pressure. I am now on two different drugs to bring it down to a manageable level, drugs that I am going to be on until they wind me in my shroud. I am on my wife's insurance, so again, the cost of those drugs is manageable, but mine is now a house filled with pre-existing conditions.

What if she gets fired, or the company goes belly-up? She is incredibly good at what she does, which means some other company may try someday to tempt her away...until they hear about her pre-existing condition, and mine, and how much insurance coverage for those conditions will cost thanks to our truly insane for-profit health industry. If my wife leaves her company for any reason - especially if/when Scalia and his merry band of ridiculous fascists decide to curb-stomp Obama's health care law - we are both well and truly screwed. It's like Ayn Rand herself was allowed to draft the rules for getting sick in America.

But that's me and my wife.

Here's you.

According to the American Heart Association, more than 81,000,000 people in America suffer from one or more forms of cardiovascular disease.

According to the American Cancer Society, more than 11,000,000 people in America currently suffer from some form of cancer.

According to the American Diabetes Association, 23.6 million people in America currently suffer from diabetes, and the Center for Disease Control has estimated as many as half of all Americans will suffer from the disease by the year 2050, thanks to our deplorable dietary habits.

According to the National Parkinson's Foundation, between 50,000 and 60,000 new cases of Parkinson's are diagnosed in America each year.

According to the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, some 400,000 Americans currently suffer from MS.

That's a pretty substantial portion of the population, with more being diagnosed with cardiovascular diseases, cancer, diabetes, Parkinson's and MS every day.

Do the math.

It's you, too.

Hundreds of millions of people in this country are sick at this moment, or will be sick tomorrow, the next day, or somewhere down the line. The numbers are spinning like the fare meter on a New York City taxi cab, ever higher every day. If you're not sick, you will be one of these days: bank on it...and in the meantime, at least one person you know is in that tribe.

That's fact.

We're enveloped in a national debate about insurance mandates and the political leanings of nine Supreme Court Justices. That's all well and good, but entirely beside the point.

A nation that does not care for its sick and infirm is a nation that does not deserve to exist. A nation that actively profits from the pain and suffering of those sick and infirm deserves to burn in Hell. A nation that throws those sick and infirm to the wolves is so far beneath contempt as to beggar description.

Two years ago, Republican Mike Huckabee compared people with pre-existing conditions to houses that have already burned down. Just the other day on the Leno show, likely GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney voiced a very similar opinion.

They both have awesome health insurance.

Do you? Forever?

One of these days, you are going to have a pre-existing condition.

Hope for the best, but expect the worst. "The worst" is exactly where we are headed, if matters continue as they have.

Straightforward stuff, folks.

Think it over, while you can.

We're on borrowed time, after all.

How are you feeling today?

http://truth-out.org/opinion/item/8202-the-savage-arithmetic-of-the-pre-existing-condition

Since the health care law that protects people with pre-existing conditions is now in peril...

...I thought I'd remind folks of something I wrote two years ago.

"According to the American Heart Association, more than 81,000,000 Americans suffer from one or more forms of cardiovascular disease.

According to the American Cancer Society, more than 11,000,000 people in America currently suffer from some form of cancer.

According to the American Diabetes Association, 23.6 million Americans currently suffer from diabetes, and the Center for Disease Control has estimated as many as half of all Americans will suffer from the disease by the year 2050, thanks to our deplorable dietary habits.

According to the National Parkinson's Foundation, between 50,000 and 60,000 new cases of Parkinson's Disease are diagnosed in America each year.

According to the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, some 400,000 Americans currently suffer from MS.

That's a pretty substantial portion of the population, with more being diagnosed with cardiovascular diseases, cancer, diabetes, Parkinson's and MS every day
."


Do the math, and tell your friends. It's you, too.

Sick Bastards
http://archive.truthout.org/sick-bastards63456

The Bible...we can quote it, too.

They see me rollin', they hatin'.

Oh, My Hand: Complaints Medieval Monks Scribbled in the Margins of Illuminated Manuscripts

Really, really cool.

http://www.brainpickings.org/index.php/2012/03/21/monk-complaints-manuscripts/

The 'Stand Your Ground' law explained in one handy cartoon.

The Finger of Fate Upon You

The Finger of Fate Upon You
By William Rivers Pitt
t r u t h o u t | Op-Ed

Friday 23 March 2012

Then the morning came when I opened my eyes and felt the finger of Fate upon me, I knew the time had come...

- Robert Penn Warren


At this moment, tens of thousands of Americans in Iraq, Afghanistan and all over the world are under arms and in peril, engaged in conflicts that serve only to prolong this terrible, endless age of war. At this moment, millions of innocent people are cowering somewhere because of it.

Make no mistake: someone is, at this moment, bathing in riches at the expense of those soldiers, their families, and the untold scores of civilians whose only crime was getting in the way of the first, best, and biggest payday of this new century. The last ten years have been a festival of profit-taking for a small collection of people you will never meet.

None of them will ever be buried with honors at Arlington National Cemetery, yet their fortunes have been made off the blood and bone and soul of the American soldiers who have gone into that cold ground, and off the screams and agony of millions of innocent human beings ensnared and annihilated by an American machine that eats, and eats, and eats.

Meanwhile, millions of Americans are sitting in their homes with an acid bath at work in their stomachs, fear just behind their faces, because their family is all around them, and they don't want to let it show that the roof over their heads is hanging by a thread because the job just cut back hours and layoffs are imminent. A lot of people have stopped believing in the idea that hard work and dedication will carry them forward, because they are running as fast as they can just to stand still, and that's if they're lucky. A lot of people are going backwards, even as the richest among us enjoy record profits, obscene bonuses and tax breaks that would make Marie Antoinette blush into her cake.

If a family does has to go on relief, well, good luck after November, because even the hardest-working families that need help might have to live up to the Republican ideal, which in the world of Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan and Rand Paul and Rick Santorum means there is no help, because real Americans don't need help, but have to pull themselves up by their bootstraps, whatever bootstraps are...and it really doesn't matter in the end, because poor people don't count anyway.

A large and growing segment of the population does not think this is right, and have been saying so in ways both loud and subtle since September

The Occupy Wall Street movement hurled down a marker, and changed the nature of the conversation in this country in the process. For the first time in decades, income and tax inequality, and the pornographic economic largesse given to the wealthy, have become fodder for mainstream political discussion.

Last fall, the movement was met with violence in a number of places, but only after the encampments had been in place for weeks. Last week, in New York City, the movement was met with extreme violence almost from the moment it raised its head.

It appears the authorities have no intention of letting the movement take root this spring, and have put us all on notice that life and limb will be in peril for anyone who dares to stand up. As before, it will all be documented - if last week is any indication, the police still have yet to catch on to the fact that everyone is a journalist in the 21st century, and their violent tactics no longer happen in the dark - and instead of dissuading people from joining in, their heavy-handed tactics will motivate them like never before.

History cracks me up, because it really does repeat itself. The original name for St. Patrick's Day is "Evacuation Day," commemorating the day when the British fleet- under patriotic duress - fled Boston Harbor. That was a tipping point that eventually led to American independence. March 17, 2012 in Zuccotti Park now stands as a similar day of pride in American history. The authorities pushed people around, beat them up, put heads through windows, and made it all too clear that Occupy Spring is going to be a serious, even brutal affair.

The intimidation is very real, and the danger of harm is vividly present, if last week is to be the norm for Occupy Spring. They want to kill this thing before it begins.

We cannot let that happen. We have come too far, and accomplished too much, to let them scare us back into the cowed submission that allowed this country to be plundered in an orgy of greed, fraud and state-sponsored for-profit murder abroad.

Not again. Never again. This is your time. This is our time. Let us show them what real American courage looks like, as we make for ourselves and our children the better country, and the better world, we know is possible.

Right here.

Right now.

Occupy.

http://truth-out.org/opinion/item/8060-the-finger-of-fate-upon-you

Footprints in the sand... (not what you think)



"Why I Am Leaving the Empire," by Darth Vader



'I no longer have the pride, or the belief'

Why I Am Leaving the Empire
By Darth Vader

TODAY is my last day at the Empire.

After almost 12 years, first as a summer intern, then in the Death Star and now in London, I believe I have worked here long enough to understand the trajectory of its culture, its people and its massive, genocidal space machines. And I can honestly say that the environment now is as toxic and destructive as I have ever seen it.

To put the problem in the simplest terms, throttling people with your mind continues to be sidelined in the way the firm operates and thinks about making people dead.

The Empire is one of the galaxy's largest and most important oppressive regimes and it is too integral to galactic murder to continue to act this way. The firm has veered so far from the place I joined right out of Yoda College that I can no longer in good conscience point menacingly and say that I identify with what it stands for.

The rest: http://www.thedailymash.co.uk/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=5007&Itemid=81

...satirizing this: http://www.nytimes.com/2012/03/15/business/a-public-exit-from-goldman-sachs-hits-a-wounded-wall-street.html?hp

...which is just awesome.

Rush Limbaugh/Free Speech talking point

In the event you are hearing people decry the actions taken against Rush Limbaugh as an attack on free speech, please deploy the following two rebuttals: 1. "Free Speech," i.e. the First Amendment, can only be attacked by the government. When ordinary citizens go after someone like Limbaugh, that is also free speech; and, 2. The conservative Supreme Court has deemed money = free speech with the Citizens United ruling, so by voting with our money and voices against Limbaugh's sponsors, we are following the letter of conservative law.

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