Monthly Archives: August 2012
Men Would Rather Be Manly Than Alive and What Say We Leave a Planet for Our Offspring? Derailing War and Violence, Part 1
The question posed at the end of the last chapter was whether we had opened the door to an unimaginable armageddon or were experiencing the birth pangs of a massive consciousness transformation and subsequent Earth rebirth. Are we going to self-destruct, bringing death to the entire planet along with us, or will we become good citizens of this planet and our species continue on?
What Say We Leave a Planet For Our Offspring?
Most folks would think there would be only one answer to that question desired by virtually all humans. But in previous chapters, especially Chapter Five: Death Wish – Thanatos Walking, I showed how, and why, that common-sense notion would, amazingly, be wrong: We saw how there is a huge percentage of our human Earth citizens, and a part of all of us, that wants to “throw in the towel.” This has always been true of humans, but it is of critical importance only now.
But I will assume anyone reading this will at least consciously be wanting our vital question to be answered in the affirmative. You know as well as I that the folks on the other side of this question are doing vastly different things right now than us and are nowhere to be found around here.
How Do We “Like” Life?
So the next thing to be addressed is how we might change our fortunes and live. Since continuing on is not just of matter of deciding it—voting “like” on it or checking its box—as we saw in Chapter Five: Death Wish, how can we get around this part of ourselves and our population that wants to do us all in? We need to know how to derail our perpetual cycles of war and violence. We need know how to quit bringing pollution and suffering on us. We have to know how we can stop our secret desire to take comfort in failure, how to “unlike” self-sabotage on our inner “profile.”
How Do We “Unlike” Fascism?
I have written a great deal on this question, including an entire book in 2011 on the way we act out this masochistic tendency politically and culturally by taking comfort in totalitarianism and embracing fascism. [Footnote 1]
For our purposes presently I will focus on the element of it all that is critical to answering our question. So we first need to look into the place from which emanates our dilemma. I showed that this bugaboo is our Will to Death.
Our Coming Into This World Makes Us Want to Leave It
Now we need to get more specific on this negative inclination of ours. As we have seen this Will to Death arises from human’s unique-among-all-species primal pain rooted in our singular way of coming into the world, our unique human birth.
We Need Look Deeper
We need to look deeper into the elements of that part of ourselves that would have us take us all down. We need inquire into that tendency of ours to choose pollution over health, tyranny over freedom, war over peace, enslavement over autonomy, violence over pacifism, oppression over liberty, misery over happiness. We must derail the cycles of war and violence. We must know how to “like” happiness.
We Need Know Where Exactly to Focus Our Efforts to Be Successful
To do so, we must separate the skeins of this inner entanglement and shed light into this darkness within. We need to know specifically, precisely where to place the lever of effort we will apply to truly move the world, to derail it from its current acceleration into oblivion.
So we look now into the elements of that perinatal unconscious manifesting currently as a will to die on the grandest scale imaginable.
Cycles of War, Cycles of Birth
We find there are two researchers who are particularly relevant to our understanding of the elements of the perinatal unconscious in a way as to avert collective, worldwide disaster. These are Stanislav Grof and Lloyd DeMause. [Footnote 2]
Men Would Rather Be “Manly” Than…Alive…
[T]he group-fantasy shared prior to wars expresses the nation’s deep feeling that the increase in pleasure brought about by the prosperity and progress that usually precede wars “pollutes” the national blood-stream with sinful excess, making men “soft” and feminine”—a frightful condition that can only be cleansed by a blood-shedding purification. [Footnote 2]
Men are more terrified of appearing “feminine” than of losing their lives. Why we invite war.
DeMause is saying we go forever into war because after a while peace makes men feel guilty, “sinful.” Men have uncomfortable, even shameful…homophobic…feelings of being “soft” or “feminine” when their lives are good. So men choose the “purifying,” masculinizing ritual of war to fight off these feelings. Nothing distracts one from looking inward better than a “good, old-fashioned” life-or-death struggle, and war is the most all-encompassing of them.
Men are more terrified of appearing “soft” than having the boot of totalitarianism on their neck. Why we allow fascism.
What DeMause says about bringing war upon us can be said also about allowing fascism, inviting totalitarianism. For whether we are fighting enemies of another nation or struggling to survive against oppression at home, we are involved in a daily struggle. Secret to us, we feel better being engaged in a dramatic battle, though it brings us suffering and misery.
We simply can’t hack peace for very long. We feel guilty, for some reason, lolling on the beach. You ever notice how at the end of your vacation time, you are anxious for it to be over and to get back to work? That feeling—that one where we feel…guilty?…uncomfortable…tense?…unfulfilled?…(you tell me)—that’s it. That’s the one I’m talking about.
It happens the same way collectively after we have experienced a “vacation” of national peace—for example, in the Nineties when we were prosperous and mostly peaceful under Clinton. At the end of it, with Bush, we ended up getting the misery and struggle many in America were driven to want, though no one would ever admit that.
A quick aside. The fact that the majority of Americans actually didn’t vote for Bush and so tried to choose happiness over struggle is a source of hope for us in all this. That’s a hint of what’s coming.
Continue with Cycles of Birth, Cycles of War … The Four “Colors” of the Perinatal Veils and Why Women Fear Fatness and Men Fear Femininity
Return to Through Gaia’s Eyes – Nature Balances Herself: Eve of Destruction or Global Healing Crisis
2. Lloyd deMause, “Restaging of Early Traumas in War and Social Violence.” The Journal of Psychohistory 23 (1995): 2. Reprinted with permission on the Primal Spirit site.
Stanislav Grof, Realms of the Human Unconscious: Observations from LSD Research. New York: Viking Press, 1975; LSD Psychotherapy. Pomona, CA: Hunter House, 1980; Beyond the Brain: Birth, Death, and Transcendence in Psychotherapy. Albany, NY: State University of New York Press, 1985; The Adventure of Self-Discovery: Dimensions of Consciousness and New Perspectives in Psychotherapy and Inner Exploration. Albany, NY: State University of New York Press, 1988; The Holotropic Mind: The Three Levels of Human Consciousness and How They Shape Our Lives. San Francisco: HarperSanFrancisco, 1993.
Derailing the Cycles of War and Violence – Audiocasts
For the author’s reading, with elaboration, of this part, click on the link to the audio site above or click the audio player here:
“Part 2; Can You Handle Happiness (And the Pain That Comes With It)?” – the audio by SillyMickel Adzema
For the author’s reading, with elaboration, of this part, click on the link to the audio site above or click the audio player here:
Continue with Cycles of Birth, Cycles of War … The Four “Colors” of the Perinatal Veils and Why Women Fear Fatness and Men Fear Femininity
Return to Through Gaia’s Eyes – Nature Balances Herself: Eve of Destruction or Global Healing Crisis
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Apocalypse No! Chapter Five: Death Wish – Thanatos Walking
Apocalypse is How an Over-Achieving Species Like Ours Does Its Will to Death
Freud showed we had a will to die…so — Will we survive? Will we wake up from global apathy to save our planet? Will we resist cowardly denial or die out like the dinosaurs?
Will We Survive?
This chapter discusses an age-old question which has currently become of immense, literally vital, importance: Will our species survive or die out like the dinosaurs? is the most crucial issue of our time. It is related to the fundamental fact of our existence for it is about the struggle between the forces of Life and those of Death. The consequences as to the winner of that inner struggle have to do with no less than the continued survival of life on this planet or total planetary collapse.
Eros vs. Thanatos
In the struggle between the current powers of life versus death, it is helpful to remember Freud’s paradigm-shifting observations about the human psyche on Eros and Thanatos. Freud showed how all human lives are drawn out against the background of each person’s inner struggle between the opposing forces of life and death…Eros and Thanatos. Specifically, for our purposes here, Freud advanced an understanding that made his insights paradigm-shifting, specifically, that each of us carry within us a Will to Die, which he referred to as Thanatos. [continued after video]
Thanatos Walking/ Will to Die, Pt 2:
Fleeing Freedom, Hating Goodness, Wanting Apocalypse
by SillyMickel Adzema
For the author’s reading, with elaboration, of this chapter, click on the link to youtube above or click the audio player here:
Freud established that we act out a will to live and to be in the sun and to have fun and to love and to like goodness and health and truth.
“Other Times I Can Barely See.”
Freud also saw that we have at other times an opposite feeling that causes us to want to live in the dark; to not be around people; to shy away from life and the light and being seen and recognized and even to wanting to be lonely. This feeling causes us to not care about fun, to hate and be angry, indeed to hate everyone and even to want to lash out at them for no reason other than what might be self-labeled as spite. It makes us jealous of those who find happiness or pleasure in their lives and impels us to lash out at them and make them suffer the way we, on the inside, know we do. Because of this self-defeating tendency we irrationally beat up on our own bodies as well and abuse them with all kinds of substances and behaviors.
Thanatos is why there are always Republicans or something like them — Pharisees, Inquisitors…
And times in which they hold sway—stifling, life- and creativity-averse, stagnant and little changing times: the Middle Ages, for example…
This downward pull makes us want to hate goodness, calling things “kumbaya moments.” This part of our nature causes us to be jealous of others who are more giving and to hate them for that, to call people “goody two-shoes” or say something is “schmaltzy,” or to be saying that all that good stuff is just “drama.” It has us putting out terms like “bleeding heart” liberals. It causes us to not care about the truth, but rather to say things instead to hurt, get revenge, to get back at. Or it has us say untruths to get advantage, to disable our competitors, to hide from the evils we commit which enslave us further in the hiding of them, and so much more.
Struggle Will Out
But Freud took it beyond our inner struggles and talked about how the events of the world, the actions and movements of history, and the dramas of all the ages are in fact the products of this inner struggle.
At this very moment, our lesser selves are taking us on a path that leads inevitably, one way or another, to total species extinction. But not just that, being the “overachieving” species we are, we are bringing total life extinction to this planet and possibly even planetary annihilation–the death of virtually all life on this Earth.
Our Dogma Barks Out Our Specialness
Dogma Barks Out Specialness
Well, Ain’t We Special?
Freud pointed out we have a Will to Live, too–nothing earth-shattering there. In fact, so far he is stating nothing more than the common-sensical beliefs of the masses. Indeed, it is the universally held mainstream near-definition of humans…one of those “obvious truths” about us we like to bless ourselves with. Freud’s first point, taken by itself, encapsulates the cliched view of What We Are—that what distinguishes our species above all others revolves around a superior Will to Life.
While common-sensical that our Will to Life is part of a species superiority of ours, it is wrong…going too far. For would anyone say that other species don’t also have an incredible Will To Live?
Not So Much
But this hyperbole or over-reaching in stating humans are unique in the degree of their Will to Life reinforces my point about Freud’s ideas being zeitgeist-shattering. For in this common, frequent, pervasive even universal, and nauseatingly repeated promulgation of supposedly the obvious, by any and all who speak before an audience—large or small, from a principal speaking in front of a gathering of high schoolers or a preacher before his gathering of church-goers to the TV media pundit before a world-wide audience, and even to a US President’s audience of even greater global reach—it is shown that our special Will to Life is not as true as is assumed. For if we had such a superior drive in us, would it need to be constantly reinforced and upheld, as if against some attack, or attacker? And if so, what is the feared attack or attacker?
And here we get a clue into Freud’s discovery and its utter undermining of all that which is normally said regarding our humanness. For regarding our being special in our Will to Live, this kind of “protesting too much” and its flip side of repeating it ad nauseum, as Shakespeare obviously saw points to a hidden agenda. Truths do not have to be repeated endlessly, mantram-like, even ritualistically. For they are self-evident and need as much propping up as the belief that the sky appears to be the color blue to us—and you don’t hear much about that, do you?
My Dogma Barks Out My Specialness
But the pervasive repetition of the supposed Truth of our species Will to Life—especially the blown-up version that has it being the thing that makes us human, different from other species, “superior” to other species (there’s a clue), and even “special” (clue. Getting it?)—points to its being, not so much truth as dogma. And dogma does need to be endlessly repeated in that such things are exactly about things that are not obvious truths.
In fact, this repetition of an obvious truth points to its being not true. In the previous chapter I showed how our “sad proselytists” have to say their untruths and unrealities out loud in order to buck up or reinforce their believability. So also human societies need to endlessly repeat, in order to reinforce against onslaughts of insight, their precious untruths.
But the reasons behind the promulgation of this supposed “obvious truth” go even beyond, since we are not dealing here with any conscious or acknowledged, let alone written and standardized, set of things not obvious. For indeed, in this sad repetition of our superior life-valuing, it is put out as being something not needing institutional backing, being simply true in its obviousness.
So what then? Well, this repetitive characterization of Us, as Humans, has all the indications of something that has an intention, however unconscious, that has a calculation, however desperate our desire to not see it, about it to achieve an effect on the audience—in this case—the masses of all humans.
Humans’ Uniqueness Among Species? We Suck Up
What is that pathetically overlooked intention? Well, let us take a look at what that effect might be.
Anytime you place our species above all others (true or not), you are making as much as anything else a play to butter up your audience of fellow humans and appeal to their vanity…and thus, making them feel good, hoping that they will feel good, or, like you in return. In commonspeak, that’s called “people-pleasing.” In the vernacular, it’s called “sucking up.”
OK, so we’ve established that people in front of audiences near-universally want to say things that will make their audience feel good towards them. No, not so fast. For that overlooks the fact that somehow…and get this; for if the spoken thing were of the obvious truth category, then why would this follow…that somehow all these people speaking out to others about the unique will to life they have know—somewhere inside them—that saying such a thing will, in fact, give people a good feeling. That’s another clue.
More Socratic Dialoguing
And again, continuing this Socratic dialogue, well, wouldn’t humans just, of course, feel good hearing about their being superior? Doesn’t everyone feel good when told they are better and such? Well, now we’re getting to where Freud took us. For he knew, as we all do if we simply think about it. The answer is “no, not necessarily or even usually.”
Think about it. If the Beatles were to be told they were a good band, would that give them a good feeling? No. certainly not. For that was so true as to be overwhelming and almost scary in its near-universal belief. And we can suppose that to them having that kind of power and influence because of their talent—especially when you come out of nowhere, from humble, unassuming backgrounds—may have been distressing to think about and hardly something wanted from others. How could they not wonder about this power, its source, where it would lead, and all that? I don’t think it happenchance that this success sent all of them into drug-taking—to both block it out as well as come to terms with it—into soul-searching of the spiritual and, especially John, of the therapeutic sort. Sometimes one does not want to be reminded of how “good” (and therefore powerful…therefore responsible) one is; there’s such a thing as feeling one is scary good.
Or take the obviously accomplished anybody, Pavarotti, say. Wanna tell Pavarotti he sings good? Don’t think he’d feel a thing.
But, you say, that’s because they hear that all the time.
Ok, granted that. But think about when it would have felt good to them. Look to your own experience and you realize that you feel good when people tell you things about yourself—especially when they state them as self-evident and obvious to all—about which you are not certain, about which you often or at least sometimes have doubts, and about which you are insecure! Look to your own life. Can anyone be flattered about the things they know to be without question? Can you be flattered about the color of your skin or hair, or about…. Well, not stated as a fact, you wouldn’t. A person would be flattered only if they had some bad feeling, insecurity in that area, first; and second, if that quality of them is not usually noted though it be assumed by everyone to be a good, positive, or “superior” thing.
This pervasive, mutual stroking we do has a result which is of dire consequence currently: We scapegoat our planetmates because of this pathetically low self-esteem and those who play on it.
Sycophantic, Suicidal Ape – “Quit Hitting Yourself!”
“Quit Hitting Yourself!” and Sycophantic, Suicidal Ape
Skipping to the point here. People can be made to feel good about things of themselves they are not sure of.
How to Make Someone Love You: Tell Them Something Wonderful About Themselves They Normally Doubt Is True
They will feel good, because the thing they would want to believe, the thing that would make them see themselves positively, the thing that would feed their slanted bias toward themselves…. Ok, I’ll finally use the word: The thing that would prop up and feed a person’s “ego” or the belief in one’s goodness, superiority, and so on, in a world of so many others, well that makes one feel good, whether it is true or not.
So, we see that the intention of this pathetic public pronouncing of a superior human will to live is to salve the egos of the masses. Why does it feel good? Because it is universally true that the ego is in constant assault from something which makes it feel not good.
What is that thing that makes people feel not good about themselves, so that being told something that counters that would make them feel good? Well, the answers, by psychologists since Freud, have many terms attached to them. And by the way, before the psychologists there were the theologians attempting to answer this. But Freud’s analysis not only answered it, but put it in the largest context possible—one into which both psychologists and theologians would find an inroad.
We can say, to backtrack a bit, that this pandering by those in front of audiences makes people feel good because it supports the defense system that all humans have erected against the real truth—that zeitgeist-shattering one that Freud was first to fully explicate. It feels good because it supports the denial that all humans have against the real truth that they feel about themselves, one of the things that human societies universally consign to that black hole of the Unapproved and Hidden. [Footnote 1]
“Quit Hitting Yourself!”
So this repetitive obvious truth about humans having a strong Will to Live is repeated to please audiences and make them feel good—”people-pleasing”—because it is a salve to the egos of the masses, which in reality are not merely bruised. No, this goes directly toward propping up a particular defense, a particular denial that we all carry. And that denial is that, IN TRUTH, humans don’t at all feel like they have a tremendous Will to Live. How can I say that? Well, how many things do you know you do which are “not good for you”? How many things do you not do which you know would aid the cause of our supposed universal desire to Live and to Live as long as possible?
The point is that humans, along with a Will to Life that is undeniable, also have a Will to Death.
How many times have you woken up, thought about all the pressures and obligations, or complexities, responsibilities…. thought about all the seemingly insurmountable obstacles or challenges that you are facing… thought about all the things that just have to get done, yet you feel that you could not possibly have the time to do all of them…. How many times have you woken up and felt overwhelmed with what life has become and not wished to just curl up, go back to sleep, and never wake up again? How many times have you taken to drugs or intoxicants in full knowledge of their negative and even dire concomitants and simply thought to yourself, “Aw, what the hell. If I were to die, so what? What’s so great about life anyway?” Or, with less clarity, simply said, “Well nobody lives forever!”
Do they sound like the pronouncements of a species that has a tremendous will to live? No, in fact, alongside our Will to Live, we have not only a Will to Die, but even a will to self-destruction.
Right about now, it might be occurring to you how this makes sense of so much, seemingly insane, human behavior we’ve seen of late. This Will to Die explains why we continue nonchalantly our march to armageddon. It shines light on how we can suck up air in cities that gives us raging allergies, clogs our lungs as bad as chronic smoking would, and will kill off the children we raise there long before their times. It reveals how we could drink poisoned water, blithely go about our business as the globe fills up with nuclear radiation and makes its way into our food supplies and as our government refuses even to test for it, and turn our backs as the oceans die, and killer tornadoes, hurricanes, earthquakes, and tsunamis chalk up thousands in the kill column. It explains why people allow themselves to be enslaved and controlled by others—allowing fascism in established democracies—unconcernedly voting for rabid folk who would take away their rights and security and bring down their freedoms, health, and even lives, while watching those living under totalitarian systems risk their lives for a such freedom and rights and democracy. So much more.
Now, the intention here is not to repeat all that Freud and psychologists have said in showing how this works. Besides, just look at the evidence around you of addiction, chronic accidentalism, unhealthy behavior habits without number, and of course the ultimate evidence: suicide.
And by the way, if we have such a strong Will to Live, superior to all other species, then explain why it is so that we are the only species that has suicide? And we’re supposed to be the conscious ones?
What Freud pointed out has tremendous explanatory power, especially now in our current worldwide financial upheaval, depression/recession, expanding global fascism, nuclear meltdowns, oil spills, near environmental collapse, wars and terrorism, nuclear armaments of planetary annihilation, and tendency to pollute body as well as environment, and even to do it thoughtlessly, in full knowledge of the consequences.
The Only Important Question and About That Inner Monster of Yours
I repeat: Freud established that we act out a will to live and to be in the sun and to have fun and to love and to like goodness and health and truth.
I repeat: Freud also saw we have at other times an opposite feeling which causes us to want to live in the dark—to not be around people, to shy away from life and the light and being seen and recognized and even to wanting to be lonely—that causes us to not care about fun, to hate and be angry, indeed to hate everyone and even to want to lash out at them for no reason other than what might be self-labeled as spite; that causes us to hate goodness, calling things “kumbaya moments,” that causes us to be jealous of others who are more giving and to hate them for that, call people “goody two-shoes” or saying something is “schmaltzy”; or saying that all that good stuff is just “drama”; and putting out terms like “bleeding heart” liberals; that causes us to beat up on our bodies and abuse them with all kinds of substances and behaviors; and that causes us to not care about the truth, but rather to say things instead to hurt, get revenge, to get back at; or to say untruths to get advantage, to disable our competitors, to hide from the evils we commit which enslave us further in the hiding of them, and so much more.
Pandavas versus Kauravas
Freud said we struggled between these two opposite feelings throughout our lives. It is because of this contradiction we carry inside that we can never be truly sure of who we are and even that we can question our motives and intentions (those more self-analytical of us). It is because of this contradiction that we can always feel we could have done better, that people don’t know everything about us, even when they say they do, and that sometimes we fear, especially when we are younger, that if people knew what we had inside they would shy away, not like us, think us to be bad, even monstrous.
By the Way, About That Inner Monster of Yours…
It is because of this contradiction that people are so terrified of revealing themselves, lest some of that not socially appropriate, not socially sanctioned, not socially approved part of themselves slip out. And the fear there is that then we will be seen to have been found out; and that then we will be confirmed in our worst fears that indeed that “other” part of ourselves is—the horror that cannot even be spoken in one’s mind—that dark part of ourselves is the real us…which carries with it the view that any of the “good” in us is just a cover up so that other people will not know.
Mask on a Monster, Lipstick on a Pig
But Freud took it beyond our inner struggles and talked about how the events of the world, the actions and movements of history, the dramas of all the ages, are in fact the products of this inner struggle. Desperate between these poles, we join together with others of the same feeling—whether of lightness or of negativity—in multiple relations and groups on both sides of that struggle. More than that, while driven unwittingly from sources on one side, we expend ourselves in complex ways, in concert with these other, to represent these groups as well as ourselves as acting out from sources on the other side; we mask ourselves as the other.
Babel’s Inner Blueprint
Ultimately, these groups magnify our powers. And the cumulative acts of many individuals, along with the actions of groups and their leaders, all within complex and contradictory motives at all levels and in every matter, create the complex events of all times. All these happenings are at base the story of inner conflicts—complex outer conflicts notwithstanding. In a cumulative manner and over time, things are ever more convoluted and twisted and complicated through the actions of the myriad characters—all of whom conflicted inside, act inconsistently, and out of their own unique struggles which have all of us perceiving and interpreting things in ways totally unique to ourselves.
Again, The Question
These huge world events, then, Freud laid at the feet of the individual struggle. Basically the world becomes an arena of the acting of the Will to Life against the Will to Death, of Eros versus Thanatos.
That is why I say what we are discussing is an age-old question. Although to our detriment…or fortune?…it is now more than any other time crucially relevant, and it is the most immense importance and consequence as to the winner of that inner struggle.
For while we watched with paralyzed hand on one side, on the other our lesser selves are presently taking us on a path that leads inevitably, one way or another, to total species extinction. And not just that alone, but in fact total life extinction on this planet, and possibly even to planetary annihilation—the destruction of this planet itself.
That is why in upcoming sections I focus on this question of dire importance. I talk more about this Will to Death manifesting currently as planetary suicide. But unlike Freud I do not address this Will to Death in a general sense. I deal specifically with its existence as an element of the current struggle between those of us who would live and those opposing that.
I deal with the question of the sway of the the “dark side” as over against the Power of Truth, Love, Higher Power; God…if you will; Sathya Sai, that is, Truth Love…if you will; the Universe; or simply the Better Angels of Our Nature manifesting in increasing numbers of lives….
The questions we need to ask are about which side will win in the end. For certainly it will be decided one way or the other, and soon, of that we can be sure. And that is what makes this time and this question different from any other time. Because this question is not an academic one, now. It is one whose answer will become known far sooner than we would ever wish.
So, we will continue to live, and we will become good citizens of this planet and our species will continue on?
This discussion is only now beginning.
Strange Days, Indeed. “Most Peculiar, Mama!”
Beginning in the next chapter, “Strange Days,” we begin discussing this question of life-death, eros-thanatos, survival-extinction.
Continue with Apocalypse No! Chapter Six:
1. The “Unapproved and Hidden” is discussed in the chapter, “The First Prasad,” in my book, The Great Reveal by SillyMickel and the Planetmates. The planetmates describe the origins of this tendency of ours to need to speak out our supposed specialness, tying it to our creation of the Unapproved and Hidden in societies. I write about this more generally on one of my blogs in particular, “Sillymickel’s Blog of the Obvious Unspoken Things.”
Thanatos Walking/ Will to Die, Pt 2:
Fleeing Freedom, Hating Goodness, Wanting Apocalypse
by SillyMickel Adzema
For the author’s reading, with elaboration, of this chapter, click on the link to youtube above or click the video player here:
Continue with Apocalypse No! Chapter Six:
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Foolin’ the People About America … It’s About Creeping Corporate Insertion Into Every Aspect of Your Life. Better Off Than Fifty Years Ago?
Peaking in the Sixties, Starving for Prosperity, The Compassion Gap, Starving the “Beast,” Humbug for the Poor, Democratizing the Hate … Your Money or Your Life
Culture War, Class War, Chapter Fourteen: Better Off Than Fifty Years Ago?
Better Off Than Fifty Years Ago? Part One: Peaking in the Sixties
- Americans are innovators and problem-solvers.
- There’s nothing Americans can’t do, no problem we can’t solve, once we put our minds to it.
- Things just keep getting better in America
- Republicans are for small business.
So unfortunately, after Reagan instituted “voodoo economics,” with prices on health care and pharmaceuticals going through the roof along with the sudden unexpected increases of other necessities of life, you had that lowered standard of living we have now become accustomed to for the great majority of Americans. You had a population that was poorer, in relative terms, and got increasingly poorer.
Over time, over the course of my lifetime, though we might ostensibly have appeared to prosper we did not. The apparent rise in standard of living was a result of the glut of new consumer items produced in an increasingly technological and complex culture. You might be able to afford plenty of cheap trinkets and toys, but for things that pertained to your well-being and quality of life, such as health and medical care, good schools, wholesome food, higher educational opportunities, a clean environment, recreational opportunities, fuel and energy, leisure, family, and quality time, and so on we were ever more wanting.
Peaking in the Sixties
In retrospect I can see we prospered in the Fifties and Sixties. The records show that Americans achieved a peak of affluence in the Sixties and that since then, and rapidly accelerating since the Eighties, we have been on a downward slide.
Poor Mothers Could Afford to Stay Home and Take Care of the Kids.
I can see the ways we, living in the Fifties and Sixties, were as a culture fairly well off, though personally my circumstances were anything but that. My father made only fifty dollars a week for a time. But my mother never had to go to work. She actually did get a part-time job much later in life for the enjoyment of it. Can anyone today imagine that?
How Much for That House? Ok, Let Me Get My Wallet.
My father never made over a hundred dollars a week until later in his life he actually started his own small trucking outfit…that’s another story about who are the real job creators in America that I get into elsewhere. Yet he bought his home with cash he had saved up. Eight thousand dollars smack on the barrelhead in 1953. He never had to work three jobs to get by either, like some folks have to today. No mortgage on his house and he bought every car he owned—roughly once every five years—also with cash he had saved.
College Educations for Free in the Sixties and Seventies. #occupycollege today
No loans, never in debt and yet five of his six children attended at least some college and two attained at least Master’s degrees. I was talking with my older brother about his college education, which mirrored my own, and we both remember getting by with very little or no debt afterward. We both received enough to cover all college plus living expenses most years just on scholarships and grants—mostly state and federally funded—yet we both attended private, somewhat prestigious, colleges.
I know, millennial generation, but don’t blame us, we’re on your side. #occupycollege.
What’s Health Insurance?
My family didn’t have any health insurance, had never even heard of it. We were not well off, but we like most people could afford to go to the doctor. And similar to others we could even normally pay hospital bills, for maternity and so on. If anything very serious developed that required more money no one ever imagined that they would be turned away at a hospital. The Mercy Hospital in my city, run by a religious order of Catholic nuns and funded by contributions, was a place one could always go regardless of one’s means. Sounds unbelievably quaint, doesn’t it? I know. I can hardly believe it was once that way myself.
Better Off Than Fifty Years Ago? Part Two: Starving for Prosperity
Foolin’ the People About America
There is an abundance of food in America
There is a huge problem with obesity in America because folks actually have too much to eat.
People are overweight because they eat too much.
Starving for Prosperity
“Have Some More, There’s Plenty!”
And my family never starved back in the Fifties and Sixties. The dinner refrain was “Have some more, there’s plenty.” Though we were fairly poor by the standards of that time, I never, ever, ever imagined there being a lack of or limitation on food. There were big restrictions on sweet treats and goodies, but not on wholesome food. So it shocks me to see how much more concerned parents are today about how much their children will eat, as well as how precisely they mete out their gustatory offerings when entertaining.
“You’re Not Leaving This Table till You’ve Eaten All Your … Ketchup.”
When not long ago I worked in a group home for troubled boys I was shocked and distressed to see the controversies over the food portions given and the restrictions on when they could eat. This was a government-funded group home and had to abide by all kinds of minimal standards in nutrition. Still, ever since Reagan determined that ketchup qualified as a vegetable serving, I have noticed this public stinginess about food.
Where I worked, sugared-water drinks qualified as juice, and peanut butter consumption was limited to a thin layer like that of butter that’s spread on bread. Cheap sugar this and thats and nutrient-low, colon-clogging baked goods, noodle dishes, and pizza were the at-hand substitutes for wholesome, more substantial offerings. The resulting blood-sugar swings and erratic, aggressive behavior were handled with drugs and listed within their case histories.
“Please, Sir, Some More?”
There was much more like this but suffice it to say that I could hardly believe the happenings in this Oliver Twist world. My heart went out to those young boys who in this once wealthy land and still surrounded by plenty in this post-millennial, rich suburban California stood near the kitchen with plate in hand, their eyes pleading if they might “please have some more.”
This miserliness about food seems a prevalent thing throughout the culture as it is evident in school lunch programs also. Whereas at the grammar and secondary schools I attended while growing up I enjoyed complete wholesome meals on a par with and sometimes surpassing the enjoyable repasts at home and even seconds were allowed, what is considered a decent school lunch today is shocking. Corporations have taken over as suppliers. Can you believe we had a Joe the Cook in grade school who concocted home-style offerings, which were ladled out by those of our mothers, including my own, who had volunteered?
The Beloved School Cook–Pepsico
Today the school meals are akin to that in fast food restaurants and just as monotonous … pizza, chicken nuggets, spaghetti, greasy burgers, hot dogs, fries. They are not “cooked.” From what I understand, they are taken from freezers, popped in microwaves, and dealt out to pupils like one would cards. The epidemics of obesity and diabetes in our country attest to how much worse is the nutrition for young folks today.
Aren’t America’s “Extermination Policies” Just More Undetectable Than Nazi Germany’s? Starving the “Beast”—That Means You: Your Money or Your Life
Foolin’ the People About America. Better Off Than Fifty Years Ago? Part Three: Starving the “Beast”
Your Medical Payment or Your Life
What else is different now than fifty years ago? Well, there’s people who can’t pay for health care… can’t get health care? …. Now that’s something new for me too. Can’t get health care. Wow. You mean you’re sick, you’re gonna die, but you can’t get help in the medical system? Unbelievable. That used to be unheard of.
I know. You’re thinking, “But we passed universal health care in recent years.” Remember though, we passed universal health care “coverage” … not care. Everyone has to be insured does not mean everyone gets taken care of.
At any rate, none of this “universal health care” has “trickled down” to the very needy as far as I can tell. Now, I don’t know if folks are being turned away from hospitals like they were before it was passed. Folks got refused care for lack of coverage in recent decades. And sometimes they died. (I wonder how many others died while struggling to fill out the forms to apply for health care for the needy? *sarcasm*)
Regardless, health care that is delayed, rationed out, or cut back and denied for certain conditions can be just as much a death sentence as being turned away at a hospital door. Example? After we passed “universal” coverage Governor Jane Brewer of Arizona allowed a change in policy in their state-funded health care to deny organ transplants to those folks who could not afford it otherwise. These were organ transplants needed to save their lives. These people would have received them under some other coverage, but falling through the cracks and being poor—some of them born too disabled to be able to work at a job—they were essentially told, “We can’t afford to keep you alive (we’ve got tax cuts for the rich to pay for).” So they did. They died. Republicans clamored about “death panels” beforehand; then promptly implemented one as soon as they could.
Isn’t this the kind of health care the opponents of “socialized medicine” say we would get if we went to single-payer? Well, we’ve got it folks—delays, rationing, denials, complications … and stress!—without any of the benefits of “socialized medicine.” I’ve watched it take two weeks to get a prescription in Riverside County, California, when it should have taken 45 minutes or less. The folks there handling health care for people who include poor folks on Medi-Cal are so overworked and stretched thin that you need to stand in line, literally stand in line for sometimes four hours or more to get a prescription filled. Think I’m exaggerating? I’m aware of at least one elderly gentleman who collapsed while waiting and was removed on a stretcher. I felt like I was in a scene from the movie Soylent Green, wondering where they were taking this one who had fallen by the wayside.
And the answer is no. No to the other question in your mind: “Don’t they have places you can sit down?” I know of no other place where you have to stand to get your prescription, you’re REQUIRED to stand. But then this is a huge county hospital catering to the poor. It handles many poor people…and it does it poorly. The unwritten rule is, “You’re asking for health care at a discount!? Well, WE’LL MAKE YOU PAY…ONE WAY OR THE OTHER, DAMN YOU!”
You don’t think this attitude trickles down to the masses from policy on high? Well, you tell me what the policy makers of the 1% are thinking when they say they are going to “starve the beast” of government … continually cut back funds for government services…as a back door way of making government smaller. This is the exact wording they have used, since Reagan, for their policies of tax cuts for the rich that require massive spending cuts on services for poor and middle income folks.
But think now: Just who do they imagine is really that “beast”? And why use the word, “starve”? Yes, the “beast” of the masses, the riff-raff, is being “starved”—being made to suffer for lack of sufficient money for systems and workers so folks can be served faster. With money stretched thin for humane processing systems and employees to implement them, people are refuse…”beasts”…having to stand and suffer.
I wonder how this is not simply a more undetectable way of eliminating in America the handicapped, disabled, and/or mentally challenged than the way the Nazis did it to the same sort of “riff raff” when they got to power during the time of the Third Reich.
Universal Health Care in America? Don’t Make Me Laugh… You Get an “Assumed Doctor” and Like it or You Choose to Die.
Foolin’ the People About America. Better Off Than Fifty Years Ago? Part Four: But Do You Get a Doctor?
And Do You Get a Doctor?
Do you get a doctor, though? Not in this decade you don’t. When I was a child we went to the doctor’s office and paid $7 for a doctor’s visit. Even on my Dad’s $50 a week, that was affordable; and that was the least he made. When you now have doctor’s visits that cost a hundred to three hundred dollars if you pay out of pocket (or more), do you realize how much you’d have to make for it to be as affordable as it was for my Dad? Figure $700 to 2 to 3 thousand a week. Some people make that nowadays, but not the poor. Remember, my father was dirt poor, getting by on $50 a week with six kids.
House Calls in the Past; “Pretend” Doctors Today
But we got to see a real doctor. We even got a doctor who made house calls. Today? Well you get a pretend doctor who confers, along with a gaggle of other pretend doctors, with an actual physician, then gets back to you as you wait…and wait some more.
And You Wait
Recently, it took four hours for the visit and another four hours to get the prescriptions at the same hospital in another place…and the prescriptions didn’t all come through until after two weeks and a number of phone calls, as at one point they had to order a common prescription and then lost the order (had no record that it had ever been made; though on several phone calls they referred to it) and had to make it again. And this experience has been common. I’ve experienced it a number of times. I’m trying to acquire health care elsewhere, believe me.
You Get an “Assumed” Doctor
Did I get a doctor? No. Oh, they call themselves doctors. The last one was more honest and announced when he came in that he was so and so who was a “student doctor.” I didn’t hear him correctly. My mind scanned thousands of files in an instant and what it came up with I just had to ask. I said, “Did you say you are an ‘assumed doctor’”?
And You Like It
And being “processed” like a piece of meat this way, you get a different “assumed doctor” every time. There is no continuity. You don’t bother to keep track of their names, for it doesn’t matter. You start all over on every visit. The only thing they know of you is what has been electronically recorded from previous visits; nothing human or relational is carried forward. They will tell you it is because all the “assumed doctors” are equally competent and qualified, so it doesn’t matter. Of course that is a rationalization for a system so “starved” of funding the personal touch has long ago been squeezed out in favor of assembly-line efficiency.
Or You Choose to Die
So what is the upshot of all this. It is that many folks have to weigh getting health care in America—which is claimed to be “available”—against the complications and time of getting it. I don’t have a job, so I was able to persevere. What of folks who have to work full time or more? I was well enough to stand around and coherent enough to make notes and make phone calls. What of folks who are sicker than that?
The Unspoken Costs of Health Care
The upshot is that many folks are weighing THESE costs of health care when choosing whether or not to seek help. And their decision is leaving many of these folks dead. I know of a number of people who have made such a decision; many of you also do.
Some Are Choosing a “Soylent Green” Escape
I know of one instance where it was even done consciously, for the person did not want to spend what might be her last time on Earth struggling with an insensitive and mean-spirited medical system, so she just opted to let her cancer take her in the serenity of her home and surrounded by loved ones. (Why am I thinking of that movie Soylent Green again? Well, maybe you remember that scene as well.)
Others Are Risking It
I know I myself weigh these costs in time and suffering and inconvenience whenever I feel I might need to be looked at for something. And very often…most of the time actually…I put off being looked at. I postpone doing tests that are made more time consuming and painful for poor folks (don’t get me started on that); and I often give up in pursuing the treatments and medications that I am prescribed…figuring that putting up with the suffering of the ailment is better than the suffering incurred in its cure. And I am not alone. Will it cost me my life? Perhaps.
Universal health care in America? Don’t make me laugh..
America—Best Health Care in the World
Now, compare all this with the way it was fifty years ago. A friend of mine on Facebook shared how her brother was treated when he had a life threatening injury. This was that long ago and she relates they were poor. She says, they flew in a specialist from Australia to perform the delicate operation. I repeat, they were poor. But then this was all before Reagan…and Nixon. I’m getting to that.
With the Excuse of “The Game,” Small-Hearted Folks Can Now Flaunt Their Mean-Spiritedness – The Compassion Gap
“Stop War? Now, Don’t Go Gettin’ All Kumbaya on Me!” … Foolin’ the People About America. Better Off Than Fifty Years Ago? Part Five: The Compassion Gap
The Word’s More Important Than The Life
So the word has become more important than the person, and better that people sleep in the gutters or lie out in the park than to lend them a hand. And god forbid when you have children, that one of them get sick, someone have an accident, or someone get killed….
Rules (Made Up to Benefit the Wealthy) Are Now More Important Than Life
Goddamn it. Y’know, here you’ve got Rick Santelli saying, well they must have put in a kitchen or else they wouldn’t have gotten foreclosed on. Where does he get that? That’s not a fact. That’s a made up thing, just to get people angry.
And that’s the game. A game that’s not founded on any facts, only played to be won, and it’s won by making the best argument to arouse the most passions, the most negative passions in people, and to find scapegoats.
Stop War? Don’t Be Silly.
And this is the kind of thing that was brought up year after year over the decades to the point where it became that the things that I heard being valued growing up were laughable: compassion, if you were caring about people, or not wanting people to die.
Say, there was a war or something and there was agony over the loss of life. And all these people would gather together out of their concern. I’m sure you’ve heard about it. People anguished and horrified by other people’s deaths and sufferings…reaching out to help them, help each other, comfort each other, pray together…hope…weep.
Oh My Lord, Kumbaya.
Yea, a great big kumbaya moment! Wow. And I’m sure that’s what you heard, too. So I get it. Ok, so you shouldn’t have any feelings toward your fellow suffering brother or sister. Is it, what, silly? Uncool? Weak? Wussy? Sappy? What?
What is it you’re hiding about yourself?
… What would Jesus have said to that…
It seems more than the standard of living was lowered since those days. And I’m sure they are in many ways connected…. I’ll get into that later.
Health Not-Care: Democratizing the Hate, Humbug for the Poor, and The Middle Class Is the Last Bastion of Who You Can Give a Damn About
Foolin’ the People About America…The Middle Class Is the Last Bastion of Who You Can Give a Damn About. Better Off Than Fifty Years Ago? Part Six: Health Not-Care
Getting back to the change in the physical standard of living that Reagan wrought, though, let’s take for example the increase in health care costs. This is one of the necessities of life, and it’s been climbing out of reach, putting a burden on people, ok? …
Humbug for the Poor
As I explained in Part Two of “Obvious Truths,” Nixon addressed that problem in the Seventies. He was supposedly helping out the people, the poor…. Uh. But, no, he would never say that. He would never say he wanted to help the poor! Previous to him, in Johnson’s time…The Great Society and all that, yes. That was surely a time when you would hear talk like that. There was actually a War on Poverty then.
But by the time of Nixon….
So, I guess that’s when it started happening.
You couldn’t say you were actually going to help out the poor anymore. Because the truism, which I’m sure you all agree with, whether you admit it to yourself or not, is that the poor people deserve to be punished because obviously they’re lazy. Think about that; isn’t that the same stuff that, back in the day, they were saying about African Americans? …
Democratizing the Hate
So isn’t it kind of like that racism has become classism? It’s kind of like a hatred that’s not been eliminated because they’re still saying that about people of color, but it’s been expanded. It includes more people–whites and blacks…and all other kinds of colors. All the poor, they’re all now lazy, deserving what they get.
The Middle Class–The Last Bastion of Who You Can Give a Damn About
So instead what you hear today is like the “middle class”! Well, supposedly the middle class are ok people. They’re not deadbeats; they didn’t put in that kitchen they can’t afford…. Actually they’re the ones who are owning homes so some of them actually are the ones getting those new kitchens.
Nixon Cared About Health…Healthy Profits.
So Nixon’s answer to health care, to help the middle class, he started the move toward HMOs. And remember how it came about. There were actual White House tapes, an actual taped phone conversation of it. You hear Nixon talking to Ehrlichmann. And they are discussing the matter, health care. Nixon is told that Kaiser, and this is the guy who started Kaiser Permanente, one of the top HMOs. He is told that Edgar Kaiser is proposing a “for profit” system of health care.
Now here we have people who can’t afford health care and now you want to have a system that’s going to add to the costs of it. How’s that you say?
Some People Just Wanting to Get Sick Again and Again!
Also, Kaiser pointed out it would discourage “overuse” of medical treatment. Wow! So, here we go again.
So now we see that people who need medical treatment are just like those deadbeats, they’re like poor people, they’re overusing medical care. My god! They’re getting sick too much. And if you had a for-profit system, well, they could deny people coverage. And they could deny people medical treatment, no doubt, because they would naturally want to increase their profits.
GOP-Think. GOP, Think! GOP…Think?
Well not long afterwards, Nixon gives a speech to present his sweeping new health care proposal. What does he say?
Remember, there is this obvious disdain for certain groups of people who might be getting too much health care. On the other hand, Nixon is wanting to see that certain other groups of people will make out big time from profits that will be involved.
But his speech doesn’t go like that. Nixon is recorded giving a speech, proposing a big solution, purportedly to answer the problem of the rising health care costs that are beginning to be felt at that time. He will emphasize that his proposal would be a great benefit to the middle class. [Footnote 1]
Make It to the Middle Base and You Score.
Keep in mind as I was saying in Part Two, there was a time in which influential groups would consider they “had a home run” when they could make a case that their proposal was going to benefit the American people. But by this point, because of the culture war and mean-spiritedness being stirred up in the country by Republicans, it had become necessary to single out the middle class as the only ones receiving the benefit, because, y’know, poor people…they’re not Americans.
Foolin’ the People About America…”Thanks for the Health Care Savings, Dick!” Better Off Than Fifty Years Ago? Part Seven: Hit Men for the HMOs
Foolin’ the People About America: Nixon’s Big Idea—HMOs
Thanks for the Health Care Savings, Dick.
So Nixon says he is going to lower health care costs. Well, you can see how right he was about that. Just look at Michael Moore’s movie on American’s health care system if you can handle knowing how bad it got. The documentary, “Sicko,” lays out in brutal detail how devastating it was to inject the profit motive into health care.
“I Was a Hit-Man for the HMO.”
There is one especially disturbing example of this. A former employee of a huge HMO testified before Congress. Crying and tearful she related how she was rewarded for denying an operation that would have saved a man’s life. It would have cost the HMO a half million dollars. Instead, he died; they increased their profits.
In another situation an HMO employee received bonuses upwards of $20,000 for cancelling coverage on people who were costing the insurer a lot of money. She cancelled hundreds of policies, including for those who were scheduled for life-saving procedures. In one “particularly good” year for this person, she saved her employer $6 million. I don’t know offhand how many folks died in exchange for her dutiful and lucrative actions and am not sure I want to. This is hard to look at, isn’t it?
The upshot is these HMO-persons were rewarded for taking people’s lives; and they are in no way untypical. Linda Peeno, the physician who testified before Congress, admitted as much; she admitted her action amounted to a murder, for which she should have been charged but wasn’t. She pointed out how perverse it was that instead the system rained rewards up her. Now you show me the moral dividing line between theses actions of professionals of the HMO and “professional” assassins…mafia hit men. For I don’t see it.
Pay Us Now. We’ll Think About Covering You Later.
Now you might argue that saving money on costly care means there would be more help for others.
But, no. That’s not the rationale. That’s another part of it. They can deny health care on any basis. They can deny it on any basis but they went out and they found more ways to make even greater profits. If you were going to cost them a lot of money, if what you needed to live was medical treatment that they might consider too expensive, well what they would sometimes do is hire people to look into you. These people would be paid to research your background, to see if they could find something that could be used as an excuse to deny your costly procedures to you.
Michael Moore records in his documentary at least one such researcher who explains, with remorse, what he had been paid to do and how he would go about it. He, and people like him, would pore over your records to look for something, even slight, that they could hang a denial of coverage on. They would in particular look into your childhood for any care that they could say indicated the presence of a medical condition for you at that time.
When they found something, they would be able to say that you had a pre-existing condition and so they were not liable for your care now. They would claim that you lied on your application in not listing such an ongoing ailment so that they could drop you from coverage and let you die.
So people were being left to die, killed in this manner. Does this not amount to more “hits” put out on people by the HMO?
Buuuut It’s Contract Law!!
Did You, At Any Point in the Past, Pre-exist This Application?
Buuut it’s contract law! …dollar laid, dollar played, y’know. And it’s contract law that is stretched to benefit the people with the most money and who have the better lawyers and who can, y’know, twist things better in their favor. Here you have a situation, where, let’s say, somebody is dying and they’re dying of emphysema. I don’t know enough about medicine to know if that would be the kind of thing that could entail very costly care, but let’s just say it did. So this person very ill with emphysema might be informed that it had been discovered, let’s say, that they had a bronchial condition as a child…maybe to them, they were prone to get colds. But they would make the determination that your frequent colds shows a preexisting condition for you. Now you tell me how a person who is dying is going to be able to fight that.
Over Your Dead Body Getting Paid
We’ve all heard Obama’s story about his mother and what she had to go through prior to her death. She spent the last months of her life arguing with the medical insurers over the bills. She was being told they didn’t have to cover her. Are those the kind of final days you would want for a loved one of yours? How does that prospect fit your own view of your last days?
Getting back to Nixon, at the time of his health care proposal he said huge managed care systems, which he touted as being one-stop medical systems, were going to lower health care costs. This was so, he claimed, because cost sharing and lower overhead would rein in the price of providing medical care. He said these lower expenses would benefit the whole system.
Apparently he forgot to mention the for-profit part, which ended up funneling all those benefits, those lower expenses, into the pockets of the owners and shareholders. That is what happens when you put profit-hungry businessmen in charge of care. Gradually, America’s medical needs were primarily the purview of business, big business.
Remember, again, that the health care law that went into effect under Obama was to make sure everyone would receive coverage, not health care. It remains to be seen how effective this health care reform will be in reducing these sorts of abuses by insurers. No doubt it is better than what existed before. But it leaves intact the profit motive in American health care. So any regulation and prohibitions of abuses are likely to amount to tying down a ravenous beast with bungee cords. It is hard to believe this monster created by Nixon will not break free whenever it can and wreak much havoc before being stopped again…but again with piles of dead Americans in its wake.
You Mean You Care…And You’re Not Paid To?? (Oh, Kumbaya.)
Previous to all this with big business put in charge of the life or death decisions of Americans, much of what was involved in caring for the sick had been attended to by religious and charitable organizations. These concerned social institutions might be dedicated to idealistic or religious principles, for example, which included compassion and caring for the sick as one of their values or one of their religious ideals. So, much of health care had been in the hands of charitable entities and people dedicated to the idea of service, caring for the sick, getting them well, caring for your fellow person, your fellow man or woman, and so on; naturally the type of care you received was infused with such ideals.
But with Nixon all that changed. And Nixon loved it.
Corporations Crowding Out the Mom and Pops … HMOs Driving Out the Private Physician, It’s the Same Old Monopoly Game
Better Off Than Fifty Years Ago? Part Eight: The Monopoly Game Again…It’s About Creeping Corporate Insertion Into Every Aspect of Your Life.
The Monopoly Game Again: HMOs Drove Out Private Physicians
So then also, these businessmen with their HMOs are having near monopolies; they’re the only HMO providing health care in many areas. The only alternative is privately paid physicians. And these medical providers have costs that have have gone up because of their reduced client base, their patients having been siphoned off by the HMO.
“Buy One Appendectomy, Get a Second One for a Dollar!”
So private care physicians have the same overhead, and now they’ve got less clientele. In addition to that, now with their making less money and having higher costs, they also have extra costs, of competition, advertising for the first time.
“I Need to Take Two Aspirin…I’ll Call YOU in the morning.”
But that’s only one of the many costs that occur in a situation where you have a small market, with the same number of providers. You have a scrambling with other private small medical practitioners over a smaller pile, which increases not only the competitive costs involved in having to put oneself out there to win clients from competitors and thus further increases the cost of private care, it also increased pressures and tensions on private physicians who now are required to have two jobs. They have to be medical provider and business person. They have to work longer hours because of this too.
Of course you can imagine what a boon this was for medical care in our country. Now you not only have to pay more for private care but also compared to not so long ago it is being increasingly performed by angry, stressed, tense, overworked, underslept professionals. Well what happens when you’ve got those kind of people providing you medical care on the private side?
So, on the one side–the mega-care side, you have them denying you medical care even if you’ve paid. You’ve got them denying you coverage if you have anything wrong, or if you’ve ever had anything in your life and you admit it. You either don’t get covered at all, or you may have paid premiums for years but when you get sick you don’t get treated so you die.
“Take Two Aspirin and Call Me After Tax Time.”
On the other hand, you can pay the higher costs for private care out of your pocket. And these people are overworked, spending much of their time trying to drum up business and trying to take care of all the increasing paperwork of a competitive business enterprise and that of an ever increasing number of payers. So they’re making more mistakes.
And more mistakes equal what? More mistakes in medicine means more people dying, by mistake, or having the wrong procedure done, or having the wrong limb removed. The extra stress will push some physicians to “operate under the influence” of alcohol or the readily available prescription mood drugs glutting the market.
So with all the extra pressure on medical practitioners, we begin to hear more and more about malpractice. So, another cost is introduced. And medical malpractice insurance for physicians has ever increasing premiums. This adds even more to the price of private care.
The Kind of Care That Increases Suffering
So you can see that the suffering of the masses, in both health care systems, is going up. As for the doctors themselves, well now they’re either out of business because they made a mistake or they’re keeping up with the competition and trying to make a living. But now they have these huge malpractice insurance payments. This is a cost HMOs can easily absorb, but for private physicians, it adds even more to their costs of business, their need to increase their fees, their loss of patients, their financial stress.
So what happens? They’re forced out of their professions. Or, they’re minds are filled up with financial considerations and they are burdened with concerns…and now they’re gonna treat you!
Foolin’ the People About America: Republicans Are for Small Business?
Making It So You Need a Car to Do Anything
Well, I’ve been around long enough, I saw this before. It’s a pattern of the big guys gobbling up the little ones. It’s the story of creeping corporate insertion into every aspect of your life that you keep seeing over and over again in America. And it’s changed America.
Back in the Time of Neighborhoods
There was a time when there were no supermarkets in America. I remember that time. You used to be able to walk up to the corner, walk down the street, and you’d see bakeries, drug stores. There were penny candy stores, there were meat markets…. There was a wonderful ambiance of community about it…it was a garden of delights…people smiling and everything.
Drive to the Store, Get a Loaf of Bread.
And now they have these huge mega supermarkets. And I saw the way it slowly changed; it didn’t happen overnight.
Republicans—On the Side of the Mom-and-Pop Walmart
And Republicans say they are for the small businesses, the backbone of the middle class. Well, this is an example of just what a lie that is because, no, supermarkets are not small businesses. It’s all those meat markets, bakery stores and all that–those are the small businesses, they are the mom and pop, those are the average Americans trying to be self employed. Self-employment is not huge corporations.
Continue with Culture War, Class War, Chapter Fifteen: Money Madness
1. For a humorous, hard hitting aside on this callous attitude of Republicans, on behalf of the rich, and as contrasted with Democratic efforts, check out this audio monologue of mine, “You’re Turning Down my Money for ME!…To Stare Down…Who?!!”: Likely Constituent’s Response to Republican Governors Who Turned Down Unemployment Money from Stimulus to “Score Points” Against Obama“ below.
This four and a half minute clip is taken from the longer, 35-minute audio, “Naked Republicans Blue Meanies Fleeing or Looking Foolish.”
“You’re Turning Down my Money for ME!…To Stare Down…?!!…” –Comedy Monologue, audio clip by SillyMickel Adzema
Here is the audio clip of my comedic monologue. Click on the link to the audio site above or click the link to the audio player below. The script for this piece is included below the player, fyi.
About the audio above
[From July 2009] What a riot these Republicans are. There was Louisiana, Alaska, Arizona, South Carolina, and Texas governors refusing stimulus money to “show up Obama.” Then they turn around and ask for it secretly, or as in the case recently with Texas, which turned down almost 550 million in unemployment extension money at the time, only in this last week (7/14-7/18) to ask for a loan from the federal government for about 440 million, get this, to pay for extensions on unemployment. HA!
Well, in this clip, I play a constituent of the Louisiana governor who went nationally to say he was going to turn down the unemployment money from the stimulus. Now, if you’re a Louisianan, and you’re on unemployment…hmmm…just imagine how freaking happy you’d be to hear that! Well, that is what I express in this clip.
Keep in mind this happened just after this governor had given the (horrible) Republican “response” to Barack Obama’s unofficial “State of the Union” address in January. And this governor, Governor Bobby Jindal, at the time was being touted big time as a presidential front-runner for the Presidency in 2012.
You’re gonna love this response to the self-serving “more principles-than-brains” political one-upsmanships at the expense of their constituents by these Republican x@#&%$%#@@# governors.
And the text of the “You’re Turning Down my Money for ME…” audio:
Ok, so now I’m one of those “constituents.” I’m thinking…
Thanks a lot, bastard, you think I got it easy? You jerk! Who the hell you think you are down there in Louisiana, Mr. freaking Governor who don’t need no additional unemployment money. No, idiot! You GOT a job! It’s me that can’t find work and that’s worried about my kids getting sick and, well, now the almost certainty, by the way because of your stupid-assed spiteful action to turn down my money for me. Now, I ‘m gonna lose my house, worry about my kids staying healthy, but you’ve done what? You’ve stood up to Obama (the guy who was gonna give me money?) You’ve said we don’t need no stinkin’ money and made yourself a spectacle on the national stage and, you think (here’s that lying again. You screwed us over and then you’re thinking you can tell us that we were better than that or something of other of a slick confusing fog of insanity.), and you think that this will give you a leg towards the Presidency.
Well, Mr. Jerk-off turning down my money for me like it’s my pride your fighting for, do you really think we are still that stupid, still that happy to be burdened and crushed for your aspirations, which obviously don’t include, you’ve made that damn clear, doing anything for any person, any “constituent, any citizen, no, not anyone” and it’s clear that our burdens are so meaningless to you that you will heap misery on us to do, now what was that again? You “stood up” to Obama? What the fuck, are you in grade school? Do you think I give a shit who’s staring who down? I’m trying to live a life; a life that you have just put a cloud of unhappiness and worry over that will not go away form many many years; in fact I may never own a home again.
But I won’t go on about things that cause your eyes to glaze over. Just let me ask you this Mister, wise-potato? You “stood up” to the guy who’s gonna give me money, and hold out his hand to me. Ok, Mr. more principles-than-brains, what’s your next big plan? Oh, I see, you’re gonna stand up to, well, Santa Claus. Oh, yeah, I hear it all right. Out on the National stage; spoutin out as if you’re talkin our mind; shit, you ain’t even one of us. But I hear you:”
“Nope, Mr. Matthews, you see we’re Louisianans? Not beggars. We don’t need Christmas. We can take care of ourselves. Let you folks out there have Christmas. I mean, if you’re so weak. So you’ve had it your whole life and now you’re kind of like addicted to it. Well OK. I’m not going to talk down any on those who are obviously so weak and needy.
But, you see, Mr. Matthews… Mr. Matthews, well let me put it this way, you ever come down to Louisiana? Ever? To visit or anything? You have? So you’ve met with some of our citizens, have you? You have. Well, then you know what a strong-willed, strong-spirited, and PROUD people we are down here, don’t you? You agree. So you see that’s why. I knew you would agree because it’s so obviously true about the folks that live down here, I didn’t see how you’d miss it.
So that’s OK, let Santa go somewhere else where he’s , you know, where they’re the folks that need to have a handout and can’t get by the year without having a good time. No, my constituents are strong-willed, and they wouldn’t have me letting any squirrely funny-suited guy out here prancin around and lookin foolish. Well, not us. We’re not foolish. We’re PROUD.
The Rise and Fall of “Obvious Truths,” Part Three – an Audio Reading by SillyMickel Adzema
Here is an audio of the author’s impassioned reading of this part. Though it is of the first, unedited and unpolished version, and it does not contain all the detail of its current form below, it does capture the flavor of it all. I offer it here for your listening pleasure. For the reading of this part, “The Rise and Fall of ‘Obvious Truths,’ Part Three,” click on the link to the audio site above or click the link to the audio player below.
Continue with Culture War, Class War, Chapter Fifteen: Money Madness
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