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cal04 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-29-06 12:56 AM
Original message
Bush boycotts his own Conference on Aging
I am not a fan of long-winded Washington conferences, where the converted preach to each other, where serious discussion is rare and rhetorical squabbles erupt over the jots and tittles in weighty resolutions that go nowhere.
But the White House Conference on Aging, held for four days last month, is different - partly because it is convened only every 10 years or so by the president of the United States. The idea for such a conference began in the 1950s with Harry Truman but was formalized into law in 1958, and the first conference was called in January 1961 by Dwight D. Eisenhower.

More than 3,000 people, including 2,500 voting delegates from every state, attended in those last days of Ike's administration, but he graciously took the time to welcome them. And while the major focus was health, the conference brought together fledgling groups that advocated for the elderly, including the American Association of Retired Persons, now AARP, and the more militant National Council of Senior Citizens. Out of the 1961 conference came amendments to improve Social Security benefits and add provisions for the aged to the 1961 Housing Act, and the Community Health Facilities Act. And, of course, in 1965, Medicare and Medicaid were enacted, as well as the Older Americans Act, which established the Administration on Aging.

I've gone into this official history to place in context the fact that George W. Bush is the only president who did not speak to or even visit the conference. He pointedly snubbed it, going instead to a swanky gated retirement community in Virginia, to talk with a selected audience of affluent seniors about the wonders of the new drug benefit. Perhaps he feared that he would encounter some hostility among the 1,200 delegates at the conference, although all of them were appointed by Republicans. That's what presidents get paid the big bucks for. But most of the delegates simply wanted to see and hear from their president.

New York senior advocate Lani Sanjek said, "I think showing up is simply a part of his job.... I was somewhat surprised that the top senior citizen in the White House, Cheney didn't bother to show up." The White House explained that the president couldn't attend all conferences he's invited to, even one that's convened by the president. The St. Petersburg Times called Bush's action "an insult to the elderly ... when the president cowers from his own conference ... he treats the elderly as just another political enemy." If he had attended, he might have learned what was troubling delegates the White House had chosen. They were almost unanimous in dissatisfaction with the Medicare prescription drug bill, and their hopes it will be changed this year. And after a discussion, they expressed their opposition to the substitution of private accounts for Social Security.

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Maat Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-29-06 01:06 AM
Response to Original message
1. Boy, sometimes I think we can just stand back ..
and let this guy burn his bridges with everyone - one by one; he always seems to show his true colors eventually with each audience/group.

He's pure corporatist - loyal to his rangers and pioneers and co-investors - period.

I told my husband if my father-in-law complains about his or Nana's healthcare - stop the conversation. If a senior voted for Booosh, then they are getting what they deserve. I get so ticked off.
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Erika Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-29-06 01:06 AM
Response to Original message
2. Bush could care less about the elderly or anyone else
except for his special interest friends. I'm sure the head of Saudi Arabia got more attention from W than any seniors group would. W doesn't do the needy.
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FightingIrish Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-29-06 01:14 AM
Response to Original message
3. Is it just a coincidence that this post is just after the one about
* going to a humorous black tie affair? He doesn't have time to address the biggest domestic issues of the next generation but he has time to play the class clown. Bush's golden years are going to be shit brown. He will be a pariah in the world and an embarrassment in his own country. Once he is out of office, however he leaves, he will be the most unwanted former president in history.
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sweetbriarose Donating Member (22 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-29-06 03:14 AM
Response to Original message
4. When The Power Of Love Replaces The Love Of Power
Only Then Will Man Have A New Name: GOD - Emily Dickenson

I learned many years ago (the hard way) that NOONE who holds a position of power gives a damn about the elderly.
It was the dead of winter January 1986. I was only in my early twenties and night-shift charge nurse on the east-wing of a very pretty nursing home with a excellent reputation. The couple who owned the place was very respected (locally). Young and naive I thought well of them too. However, that quickly changed when I realized that all they cared about was money (of course).
For over a two-week period they made no attempt what so ever to fix the broken floor heat on the east-wing. Every night I would have to call maintance to adjust the temp. They would piddle around with the temp gauge for a bit and then instruct me to not touch matter how hot things got. During that 2 week period we had 3 residents DIE OF HEAT STROKE---IN JANUARY. It was below zero outside and over 100 degrees inside. I was told to give ALL residents bed-pans and to not allow any of them to put their feet on the floor. A fan was put in every room, but I was instructed to keep all windows shut (for appearance sake I suppose). Call lights sounded constantly through-out the nights. Noone slept. All of them suffered.
At 6:00 am every morning maintance would come back and once again adjust the temp.. that things would cool down.
I went to the owner and pleaded with him to do something - anything. People WERE DYING. He looked at me with a hate in his eyes that to this day chills me to the bone. He said "The flu does that to the elderly".
I called the Division Of Aging. Told them that if they wanted to see for themselves how my residents were suffering then to come at night. Not the day beacause all appeared normal in the day.
They came. 2 of them.
Their anger at what they felt and saw pleased me.
I thought, "finally, something will be done".
They called the owners to told them to get there at once.
They came and all retreated to the office.
I passed by the door often expecting to hear angry words, loud voices...I heard nothing.
After a bit all came out.
The owner was shaking the hands of the Division of Aging people and all were smiling.
Meanwhile - it was still hotter than hell and call lights were ringing non-stop.
On their way out the Division Of Aging people passed by me without a word - they saw but didn't look into my eyes. They pretended I wasn't there.
I went back to answering call lights through tears.
Tears for my residents and for me.
I was in pain.
The soles had melted off the bottoms of my nursing shoes and my feet were red and burning.
At end of shift just before daylight I was called and told to come to the office.
The woman owner had long since gone home to her cozy bed but her husband was still there.
The instant I stepped through the door he shut off the lights.
The only ray of light came from an outside street light.
It was dark and the sinister hate that I could feel coming from him made me ill.
He ordered me to sit down. Then he sat down behind the desk.
He stared at me for the longest time. My body shook.
Finally he said
"Do you have any idea how much money you just cost me". I said "You didn't?".
The Division of Aging people were paid off.
I was fired.
Poor Job Performance.
And that was that.
I went home and put my soleless nursing shoes on the closet shelf.
I never had a reason to buy another pair.
I quit nursing.
I knew nothing would ever change.
The elderly would always suffer.
And so it still is 20 years later.
That only those who really care get burned.

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NMDemDist2 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-30-06 06:36 AM
Response to Reply #4
7. welcome to DU Sweetbriar
what a story!
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Art_from_Ark Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-30-06 01:43 AM
Response to Original message
5. Why do people insist on hanging on to the myth that
this guy is a duly elected, capital-P President who is answerable to and responds to the needs of the average citizen? :shrug:
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0kamisama Donating Member (20 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-30-06 04:27 AM
Response to Original message
6. You can't trust anybody anymore...
It just goes to show that those seniors who supported Bush back in 2004 are starting to feel the pains of getting hung out to dry by their "beloved leader". I guess I'm supposed to feel sorry that they gave him their support, but I suppose those voters would be too dosed up by Phizer to notice.
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NMDemDist2 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-30-06 06:37 AM
Response to Reply #6
8. Welcome to DU Okamisama
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0kamisama Donating Member (20 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-30-06 12:58 PM
Response to Reply #8
9. Great to be here!
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