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PatrickforB's Journal
PatrickforB's Journal
November 22, 2022

Today, shortly after noon, in 1963, John F. Kennedy was assassinated.

May he rest in peace in perpetual light.

We should remember.

That is all.

November 22, 2022

Health care in America.

My wife awakened this morning weeping from agonizing pain. As she has for the last two weeks.

Four weeks ago she had a shoulder replacement surgery on top of two unnecessary surgeries earlier this year - one in March to flush out a non-existant infection, and another in May to install an antibiotic plastic temporary shoulder to fight this nonexistant infection. She also had to have two six-week picc lines (essentially an needle keeping a vein open so the patient can inject antibiotics once or twice a day. It takes about half an hour each time).

How do we know her infection was non-existant? Her infectuous disease physician (with whom the surgeon had minimal contact, because...well, I don't know. But 'evidence based' is sounding increasing like bullshit to me to be honest) told her he didn't think she ever even had an infection.

Bottom line, we finally, after the second surgeon went off on her, became furious when she confronted him with what the infectuous disease guy had told her (the surgeon had used a test usually used for infections in metal prostheses, like shoulders and knees, and not for 'native joints'). The wife researched that on that bane of all the god-playing doctors, the internet, and found out the surgeon had probably misused this test on her to find 'infection.'

She complained formally, like that would do any good.

She had the final shoulder replacement, which was reverse, so she'll never have full use of the arm. And what was really wrong, you ask (if you have read this far, which I don't expect many of you will)? She had agressive rheumatoid arthritis in multiple joints, which if the HMO had read the warning signs instead of worrying about collecting copays and coinsurance and premium payments, they could have done some simple tests YEARS AGO and my wife wouldn't even have had to have shoulder surgery.

Evidence based = trial and error. Let's all be honest. THE PROFIT MOTIVE IS IN DIRECT CONFLICT WITH OUR INTERESTS AS PATIENTS. Evidence based is just a CYA song they all sing. Because in my wife's case the evidence was THERE all along - swollen fingers, surgery to remover an arthritis-twisted bone in her hand, a second knee replacement back in 2012. All there. But the cost cutting greed-measures in this system designed to serve Wall Street greed-lizards and shareholders rather than patients make me, at least, want to hurl.

And I'm TIRED of hearing how the Democrats took Medicare for all Americans off the table in '09 because they didn't have enough votes, and it wasn't good politics. It would have been moral. It would have been the right thing. I volunteered for Obama's '08 (and '12) campaigns BECAUSE HE CAMPAIGNED ON HEALTHCARE. Michelle's dad got shitty service because of inadequate insurance, bean counters denying payment for meds he needed, and a hospital much more concerned with cash flow than with actual patient care.

There are around 850 people who have been elected to high office, and if they wanted to do the right thing they could do it now!!! NOW!!!

Oh, but wait. The health insurance lobby! Oh no! We cannot possibly hurt SHAREHOLDER PROFITS!

Now, she's calling the nurse care line for what good they will do. We have to wait in a socialized medical system you say, but we had to save for two years to pay the financially crippling copay in 2019 for the hand surgery, and we had to TAKE OUT HEALTH CARE DEBT now, in our sixties, when we should be doing better than we ever have financially.

We need Medicare for all Americans NOW. It is the right thing, the moral thing, and FUCK SHAREHOLDER PROFITS.

OK, rant over.

October 30, 2022

Concerning Anti-Sematism being on the rise, racism and the billionaires looting the treasury

My father was in the Pacific Theater in WWII.

He was in the Battle for New Guinea on Morotai.

It took the world upwards of sixty million lives and years of economic ruin to get rid of the Axis powers.

Dad had a friend, Herb, who was in Patton's Third Army and he had stories about liberating Buchenwald. Other stories, too. Patton really did tell his soldiers to grease the boogie wheels of their tanks with German blood and guts.

Hitler awakened nationalism, blew the ember of anti-Sematism into a raging fire and loosed the 'dogs of war' upon us all.

How in the world did WE here in America get to this almost exact parallel to Germany in the 30s?

Oh, that's right.
- The 1971 Powell Manifesto
- Death of the Fairness Doctrine
- Nixon's Southern Strategy
- AM hate-talk radio
- Growth of the Republican news (propaganda) machine (Fox, Sinclair, others)
- Sarah Palin waking up the ugly, stupid, ignorant, racist base of the GOP
- Trump and the 'good people' at Charlottesville
- Rise in right-wing militias (the American Stahlhelm and Sturmabteilung)
- Moscow Mitch packing the Supreme Court with Dominionist Christians

In the meantime Wall Street roars:
- The Espionage Act that put Eugene Debs in prison
- The legal doctrine of Shareholder Primacy in 1919
- The Taft-Hartley Act which made general strikes illegal
- Systematic union busting with little support for workers in the US Congress (1950-1990s and even later)
- Supply-side Chicago School economics (trickle down) calling for taxes for corporations and billionaires to be cut, cut, cut in order to transfer the burden of paying for the Federal Government to individual taxpayers, who now shoulder 86% of that burden while corporations are only paying in 6.8%.
- Supreme court rulings easing corporate corruption of elected officials, culminating in Citizens United
- The constant drumbeat about how government is bad, bad, bad
- The constant drumbeat about the national debt (only when Dems are in power - OK for GOP wars, though)
- The discipline of GOP talking points - right now, the words 'far left agenda' are being put forth in ads all over the US
- Immediate condemnation of anything that would materially help Americans and their families as SOSH-A-LIZM
- The neoliberal mantra of 'privatize, deregulate, and gut social programs'
- Bush trying to privatize Social Security in 2004

You get the idea. Lots of money behind creating a system THAT FUNNELS TAX MONEY FROM THE US TREASURY TO BILLIONAIRES AND CORPORATIONS. Make no mistake, please, EVER. This is and has always been about money, and more money for the uber-wealthy and corporations - from the days of the rise of Hitler to these unhappy days we're living through now. The racism and anti-Semitism is incidental in that DEMOCRACY IS NOT SUPPORTIVE OF OLIGARCHS.

It is far easier for oligarchs to steal money from taxpayers in a fascist state, after all. Trouble is the fascists tend to war and genocide, and the oligarchs ALWAYS foolishly think they can be controlled.

This, people, is why I call them BILLIONAIRE PARASITES.

This is a CLASS WAR and has been since the first time the people rebelled against aristocrats. Silly us, eh? Wanting better lives and all!

October 28, 2022

So, you take umbrage at my attack on capitalism. Note: I cited two factors.

The FIRST is capitalism. Let me explain: we see ads on TV, the classic is a law office telling us about the Camp Lajeaune water lawsuit and lamenting 'profits over people.'

'Profits over people' is not just a left-wing trope. It is an actual legal precedent, brought forth in a MI Supreme Court ruling in 1919 against Henry Ford. It seems Ford raised the wages of his people on the factory floor so they could afford to buy the cars they made. The Dodge brothers sued Ford on the basis that these 'excessive wages' were irresponsible because they deprived them of PROFITS to which they were entitled as shareholders. And they WON.

Officially, this doctrine is called 'Shareholder Primacy' and what it means on the ground is that if you are the CEO of a publicly traded company, your ONLY job is to protect and increase shareholder profits. Period. So, your first act will be to bust the union, if there is one. You will also cut corners on benefits, try and steal the pension fund if you can legally get away with it, turn a blind eye to any wage theft, and compromise safety on the floor. You will also challenge every workers comp claim, and fight against any legislation or regulation designed to help workers. And you will spend capital to automate as much as possible.

As to consumers, you will cut costs by using less costly (and lower quality) materials, and shrink the size of the packaging but leave the price the same (Brits call this 'shrinkflation'). Also, if your product is dangerous, if it hurts a few people sometimes (think Ford Pinto and J&J talc), you will do a cost/benefit analysis and make a decision as to whether it is better FOR SHAREHOLDER PROFITS to simply pay off the people who sue or recall the product and incur the cost of fixing it. Seriously. We can find a number of examples of this.

Concerning the environment, the CEO of the publicly held company will foul the environment as much as they can get away with because environmental damage the company does not have to pay for is called an 'externality.' And, if there is a spill, the company will work hard with members of Congress they have corrupted with campaign donations to pass the cost of cleanup onto the taxpayers so SHAREHOLDER PROFITS aren't hurt in any way. Ever wonder why Republicans apologized publicly to British Petroleum after its massive oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico? They wanted to pass the cost of cleanup onto us taxpayers, that's why. And that darned Obama instead made BP pay $20 billion.

This is coupled with the Chicago supply-side (we call it 'trickle down') economics which holds that if you cut taxes for corporations, they will create so many new jobs that the greater number of workers paying payroll taxes will offset the corporate tax shortfall. Now, think that through - this is a systematic transfer of wealth (oooh! A wealth REDISTRIBUTION). Essentially, it puts more of the burden (at this point 86% of the burden) of running the federal government on to taxpayers, while corporations saw their tax contribution to the federal government go from ~35% back in the 1960s and 70s down to 6.8% today. Maybe even lower - I haven't looked at this data for a couple years.

Ah, you ask...how to these scamps get away with stealing us blind like this?

If you obtain and read the memorandum Lewis Powell wrote to the US Chamber of Commerce at its request way back in 1971, you will get some good insight. It is colloquially known as the 'Powell Manifesto,' and lays out the entire plan for a corporate/Republican 'news' (propaganda) network by building out talk radio, and creating a Republican 'news' network. This is why operatives like Rove, Rumsfeld and Cheney had the snake Reagan kill the old Fairness Doctrine in 1987. This pocket veto opened the door for Fox 'News' and later the growth of massive right-wing syndicates like the Sinclair Media Group who gobble up local channels and force the newscasters to read national news from their scripts. Also, have you noticed that networks like CNN no longer take emails from us? The Hill and Huffington Post cut out comments? There is a reason, and it is that the monied groups (I lovingly call them billionaire parasites, and every billionare really IS a failure in tax policy) push back on truth HARD, and they do not want readers to realize that a large number of Americans don't agree with the content - both 'factual' and polemic.

This is why the right-wing's (it is called NeoLiberalism, don't you know - why? Maybe to fool us) mantra is 'privatize, deregulate and gut the New Deal. Lately, we have heard that key Republicans have promised to shut down the government if Democrats don't agree to massive cuts in Social Security and Medicare, have we not?

And, of course, we can round all this off with the constant drumbeat that government is bad, bad, bad, bad, bad...Reagan also started this by saying that the government isn't the solution, it's the problem. This is why some of the right wing-nuts hate government so very virulantly - they do not see, due to exposure to YEARS of propaganda, that the real enemy is the billionaire parasites and Shareholder Primacy.

So ends my soliloquy on capitalism. Now to population.

The SECOND factor I brought up was overpopulation. The earth could still support us but if you go to sources like World Counts https://www.theworldcounts.com/, you will see that around 9 million people die per year of hunger related causes in the face of trillions in amassed wealth (by the few), and that we need 1.82 planet earths presently to support us all.

So, yeah. Capitalism and its attendent pollution (lots of info on that in World Counts) and the carbon induced climate change that threatens to make this planet uninhabitable is one factor, and overpopulation another.

When, we wonder, will our species GROW up, put aside pride, greed, anger, hate, war, and all the rest, and start organizing around keeping the earth in good order, controlling our population growth, and ensuring that people have enough.

Remember John Lennon - You may say I'm a dreamer, but I'm not the only one...

September 19, 2022

The Divide and Conquer strategy is alive and well - beware!

Russian trolls went into overtime to divide women in 2017 after their successful marches. There is a NY Times link in this post, but you might hit a paywall.

Here are a couple of paragraphs as an excerpt:

Linda Sarsour awoke on Jan. 23, 2017, logged onto the internet, and felt sick. The weekend before, she had stood in Washington at the head of the Women’s March, a mobilization against President Donald J. Trump that surpassed all expectations. Crowds had begun forming before dawn, and by the time she climbed up onto the stage, they extended farther than the eye could see.

But then something shifted, seemingly overnight. What she saw on Twitter that Monday was a torrent of focused grievance that targeted her. In 15 years as an activist, largely advocating for the rights of Muslims, she had faced pushback, but this was of a different magnitude. A question began to form in her mind: Do they really hate me that much?

That morning, there were things going on that Ms. Sarsour could not imagine. More than 4,000 miles away, organizations linked to the Russian government had assigned teams to the Women’s March. At desks in bland offices in St. Petersburg, using models derived from advertising and public relations, copywriters were testing out social media messages critical of the Women’s March movement, adopting the personas of fictional Americans.

Think about that for a minute, because you can BET right-wing trolls are working out how we might be divided around abortion rights. Around LGBTQ rights. Around birth control.

The Republicans are trying to drive the conversation to inflation. Don't let them.

Russia has warred against us on social media since 2016. Ditto N. Korea, China and others. Don't fall for it.

Here is the Times link: https://www.nytimes.com/2022/09/18/us/womens-march-russia-trump.html?campaign_id=2&emc=edit_th_20220919&instance_id=72327&nl=todaysheadlines&regi_id=95472539&segment_id=107470&user_id=122c14754c0ebb2d655cb1433556f337

August 13, 2022

We are witnessing a 'civil war' in the Republican party not seen since the 19th century.

Republicans have always claimed to be the 'party of business.' To this end, they set up an entire corporate propaganda system as outlined in the memorandum Lewis Powell wrote to the US Chamber of Commerce clear back in 1971. If you read it, that is what we have now - a giant right-wing 'news' propaganda organ which includes many talk radio shows, Fox, Brietbart and others. When the snake Reagan allowed the Fairness Doctrine to die in 1987, the road was opened for what we have now.

This worked admirably, judging by declining membership in unions, the higher 'full-retirement' age for Social Security so that very high earners would not need to be taxed, creating 'holes' in Medicare to encourage privatization, privatizing prisons and so on.

As measures go, we can look at:
- stagnating wages
- massive increases in CEO 'earnings'
- unnecessary and destructive tax cuts that rob from our treasury to pad the pockets of the rich
- huge increases in the prices of drugs (that isn't over, though this new legislation will help)
- extreme increases in heat, storms, wildfires and the melting of polar ice caps because the right-wing noise machine lied to us about global warming not being human caused
- dramatic increases in corporate profits
- a significant segment of the populace who mistrusts government and thinks they want smaller government
- a knee-jerk reaction among rank and file Republican voters who have been fooled into consistently voting against their own economic interests because 'we ain't nebber gonna go SOSH-A-LIST' when they do not even know what socialism or capitalism even mean
- the constant drumbeat of dog whistles designed to make us hate and mistrust one another; to divide us so we won't notice the treasury being stripped for the sake of billionaire parasites


What is Actually Happening
But it backfired. Just as the German aristocrats thought they could 'control' Hitler and his 'master race' fanatics, our Republican establishment thought it could control the Trumpie-Qs. We had the horror of January 6, and now with the January 6 committee, the treason is apparent for all to see, and Trump is losing what Machiavelli called the support of the people.

This is by design. Why do you think Liz Cheney is leading the charge to nail Trumpy to the wall?

I'll tell you: Because he crossed the line and activated the crazies in a way that is VERY DANGEROUS TO SHAREHOLDER PROFITS in the long term. Political instability, and certainly war, are bad for all but a few businesses. And they are definitely bad for all of us. Many of the oligarchs - not idiots like the Mercers or the Kochs, but the ones that are so rich they are out of site - they are pulling some serious strings to bring the people John McCain called 'the crazies' back under control so they can continue to reap massive profits.

Make no mistake about Liz Cheney. Remember she is the daughter of DICK (Darth Vader) Cheney, who was the CEO of Haliburton prior to becoming W's puppet master. The Cheneys represent this massively wealthy group who is all about maximizing SHAREHOLDER PROFITS at the expense of the taxpayers. To do this, they need to slap Trumpy on the wrist, and grind on many of the rank and file GOP in the US Congress and in state legislatures - the ones that have forgotten who GOD (corporate profits) actually is.

That is what this IS, and why I think in the end Trumpy will be broken financially, criminally prosecuted, and many of his crazier minions will end up in grey bar city, or at the least not being able to ever hold office again. I also think we may do better in the mid-terms than expected.

What We Have Going For Us
The reversal of Roe.
The recent Dem victory on climate change and drug prices.
The recent fall in gas prices.
The constant drip, drip, drip of the news cycle against Trump.
July 10, 2022

Native American boarding school survivors tell of abuses

Ever since I read Robin Kimmerer's brilliant book, Braiding the Sweetgrass, I have been bothered by the concept of these boarding schools. Kimmerer tells the story of how the US Army came onto their reservation and rounded up all the kids, forced them to go to a 'boarding school' back east, where they were essentially stripped of their culture and language.

Now, according to Kimmerer, who is Potawatomie, there are only NINE elders in that entire nation who even know the tribe's native language.

I saw a post here in early May that talks about that, and of course there was the story of a mass grave in a Canadian 'school.'

Here is an update: https://www.reuters.com/world/us/native-american-boarding-school-survivors-tell-abuses-2022-07-09/

This is an excerpt (good for Deb Haaland!!!):

ANADARKO, Okla., July 9 (Reuters) - U.S. Interior Secretary Deb Haaland on Saturday met with elderly survivors of Native American boarding schools, her first stop on a year-long tour to hear first-hand accounts of widespread abuses committed at those institutions.

Haaland met with survivors at the Riverside Indian School, the nation's oldest federally operated boarding school for Native Americans, collecting oral histories of the atrocities they faced.

The schools were centers of forced assimilation that began in the early 1800s and continued through the 1970s, with the stated goal of wiping out Native American culture.

Definitely worth reading, and Braiding the Sweetgrass is GREAT. It really is.

July 2, 2022

And we wonder why police are so brutal to people of color or liberal demonstrators?

Here's an article from Reuters Investigation that talks about how some of the extremists actually have businesses TRAINING cops.

Here's the link: https://www.reuters.com/investigates/special-report/usa-police-extremism/

On social media, Richard Whitehead is a warrior for the American right. He has praised extremist groups. He has called for public executions of government officials he sees as disloyal to former President Donald Trump. In a post in 2020, he urged law enforcement officers to disobey COVID-19 public-health orders from “tyrannical governors,” adding: “We are on the brink of civil war.”

Whitehead also has a day job. He trains police officers around the United States.

The Idaho-based law enforcement consultant has taught at least 560 police officers and other public safety workers in 85 sessions in 12 states over the past four years, according to a Reuters analysis of public records from the departments that hired him. A Washington state training commission in 2015 temporarily banned Whitehead from advertising courses on its website because of instructional materials that referred to a turban-wearing police officer as a “towel head” and contained cartoons of women in bikinis, according to emails from the commission to Whitehead that were reviewed by Reuters. Other marketing literature touted Whitehead’s “deception detection” technique that, among other things, teaches officers not to trust sexual-assault claimants if they use the word “we” in referring to themselves and their assailant.

The billionaire parasites, otherwise known as oligarchs have spent decades propagandizing us, driving wedges, making us hate and mistrust one another, and promoting ignorance so we won't notice them stealing our tax dollars to line their own greed-pockets.

Plus, a brutal extremist-right police forces serve their interests QUITE WELL.
June 29, 2022

A regular brown-shirt. I always believed the Secret Service was

above any politics, and absolutely dedicated to its mission (fighting counterfeiting and guarding the First and Second families as well as former presidents).

Now, we have this, and also earlier reports they stood down the day JFK was killed.

Personally, I blame oligarchs for both - the billionaire parasites. They have a three pronged approach:

1. Provide a constant drumbeat of propaganda designed to promote fear, and to drive wedges between us.
2. Strip our treasury through tax policies, government contracts and privatization.
3. Empower dominionist 'christians' to impose a theocracy on us through the judiciary, political gerrymandering and voter supression.

It's working pretty good, I'd say, except for the fact that Trump proved a loose cannon instead of Norquist's proverbial 'dumb president who will simply sign laws given him by a Republican Congress.'

The billionaire parasites, corporate boards, and big Wall Street greed-lizards are likely furious over this whole thing, because it brings too much light and exposure on them, and on what the politicians they own are actually doing.

June 13, 2022

Hi. Just wanted to say that yesterday I took my wife, and my oldest daughter to see

the new Jurassic World.

No spoilers but the movie was good. I recommend it. Nice seeing Durn, Niell and Goldblum together, and it had some other good actors as well. It did have a plot, which is good, and plenty of nonstop action.

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About PatrickforB

Counselor, economist and public servant.

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