Blog Catalog

Friday, August 30, 2019

Money Is Crushing Our Nation

I think we Americans love the fact that we are supposed to be the wealthiest nation on the planet, in the world. A "nation among nations" I think we believe ourselves. Partly in what is--or was supposed to be--our "democracy" or "Democracy" and then, too, in our success, our money, our wealth. I think it's a pretty widespread and common thought and assumption.

Ironically, though, we've come to a time where, in at least several ways, our money is crushing us. It's crushing the people and so, the nation. I'll give examples.

First, there is our healthcare. The evidence:

  • We are the only nation that ties health and healthcare to profit and profits
  • Ours is the most expensive in the world
  • Our citizens, lots of them, go bankrupt, due to healthcare costs and expenses
  • We are the only Western, industrialized nation whose citizens do go bankrupt due to healthcare costs and expenses
  • More of our citizens go bankrupt due to these healthcare costs than any other reason or source of expense
  • Some, far too many, of our citizens die, actually die because they can't afford healthcare

Second, next, is higher education--colleges and university study. We did and do the same with it we did with healthcare. That is, we've made it outrageously expensive, just because we don't limit corporations over-arching need and goal to make money above all costs, students and citizens be damned.

The U.S. Leads The World In Tuition Fees

Then there's what we call defense, military defense of the nation. No one even remotely comes close to what we spend on bombs and tanks and bases around the world. It's crushing us.

Meanwhile, our schools and roads and highways and sewage treatment and all we need the nation over, goes wanting so we, the people go wanting. And let's all keep in mind, it was military spending the world over that bankrupted the now-former USSR. We learn nothing. (And under the "We Learn Nothing" file, look at Vietnam and Afghanistan as just two perfect example).

And this, ladies and gentlemen, is why we let business ruin us, ruin the nation--we legalized bribery of our government representatives, most specifically in Congress, in the nation's Capitol.

Image result for money buying government

And this is the result.

We have to take our nation back. We have to take it back from the money, back from the big money, back from the corporations and already-wealthy. We have to take it back, honestly, from the Republicans and their political party.

And it's got to come from us, people.

Monday, August 19, 2019

Immigrants Are Bad For America, Mr. Trump?

Immigrants are bad for America? Bad for our country? Our nation? Really, Mr. Trump? Republicans?

Forget that we're a nation of immigrants, of course, this article points out exactly why we, uh, actually NEED IMMIGRANTS?

A bit from the article:

“The disconnect between Maine’s aging population and its need for young workers to care for that population is expected to be mirrored in states throughout the country over the coming decade, demographic experts say. And that’s especially true in states with populations with fewer immigrants, who are disproportionately represented in many occupations serving the elderly, statistics show.

Care workers in Maine were paid about $11.37 an hour in 2017, according to an AARP report, with a 2019 minimum wage of $11 an hour. As Kristi Penny, who has cared for Honey for four years, noted over the phone: ‘Even Dunkin’ Donuts pays you more.’

So actually, folks--this is especially to the anti-immigrant crowd--AMERICA COULD USE AND IN FACT, NEEDS IMMIGRANTS.

You racist rocket scientists.
Image result for nation of immigrants

Quote of the Day -- Pertinent Edition

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"The dogmas of the quiet past are inadequate for the stormy present. The occasion is piled high with difficulty and we must rise to the occasion. As our case is new, we must think anew and act anew. We must disenthrall ourselves, and then we shall save our country."

--Abraham Lincoln

Sunday, August 18, 2019

Chiefs Rightly Get Some Great Press This Weekend

I saw this Associated Press article in today's New York Times. I had to search it out. Turns out, it was all over multiple media sites.

Patrick Mahomes

A bit from the article:

The Kansas City Chiefs needed a playmaking safety and signed coveted free agent Tyrann Mathieu.

They needed help at cornerback and signed Bashaud Breeland and Morris Claiborne.

They had to address the pass rush and extended the contract of defensive end Frank Clark.

That aggressive approach to roster turnover speaks volumes about the job Chiefs general manager Brett Veach has done in Kansas City. But it also speaks volumes to the fact that the Chiefs, for years a franchise that struggled to lure top talent on the open market against higher-profile teams, has become a destination for players seeking playoff glory and Super Bowl rings.

"I wanted to come to a team that had great talent, great core players," explained Mathieu, who signed a $42 million, three-year contract in March. "Any time you can play for an organization that has a great history and obviously a great quarterback that's really going to take this league over, really by storm — really this was a no-brainer for me and my family."

In fact, that may be the biggest reason everyone seems to want to play in Kansas City: the unique combination of an innovative players' coach in Andy Reid and quarterback Patrick Mahomes, whose record-setting debut as the starter portends postseason success for years to come.

"They've got a good ball club and the best offense in the league," said Claiborne, a former first-round draft pick who signed a $3 million deal late last week.

It goes on.

Yes sir, it's great. We're sitting on the doorstep of what could and maybe should be one stellar football year here in town.

Sure, they lost last night. 

They played their B string, at least. Mahomes played the first half only. The first half of the first quarter.

Stay tuned.

For anyone out there, KC blogger or whomever, who wants to poo-poo this team needs to stay tuned.

They'll likely be eating crow soon enough.

Wednesday, August 14, 2019

All the Ways America Is "Exceptional"

That last "American Exceptionalism" post here yesterday got me thinking. In fact, I've been thinking about it for some time. So on that thought, let's have a list of some of the biggest things we're "number one" at, America.

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  • We pay more for health care as a percentage of GDP than any other nation
  • Only nation wherein people go bankrupt for healthcare costs
  • Only nation with the highest amount of bankruptcies due to healthcare costs
  • More guns than any other nations, per capita
  • More shootings than any other nation
  • More killings, homicides than any other nation
  • Spend more--far, far more--than any other nation on guns and bombs and weapons, calling it "defense." We spend 7 times more on the military than any other nation on the planet. Worse,  U.S. military spending is greater than the military spending of China, Russia, Japan, India, and the rest of NATO combined
  • We have more foreign military bases than any other nation; Empire much?
  • We have more citizens incarcerated, in prisons, than any other nation
  • We have the highest percentage of the population that is obese
  • We have the highest divorce rate
  • Highest rate of illegal drug use in the world
  • More reported murders than any other nation
  • More total crimes committed in the US than anywhere else in the world
  • We have more student loan debt than any other country and finally, at least here and now, 
  • We have the most complicated tax system in the world
  • Biggest Weapons exporter in the world
  • We kill more people with drones, presently, than any other nation; Some of what our big "defense" budget gets us, I'm sure
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But wait. There's more. There's more of our positions in the world and these are things we're not number one at:
  • The U.S. ranks 23rd in gender equality
  • The U.S. ranks 33rd in internet download speeds
  • The U.S. ranks 46th in freedom of the press
  • The U.S. ranks 26th in child well-being
  • The U.S. ranks 24th in literacy
  • The U.S. ranks 19th in perceived honesty
  • The U.S. ranks 27th in leisure and personal care
  • The U.S. ranks 17th in happiness
  • The U.S. ranks 9th in retirement security
  • The U.S. ranks 99th in peacefulness
  • The U.S. ranks 24th in freedom from corruption
  • The U.S. ranks 16th in manufacturing compensation costs
  • The U.S. ranks 29th in intellectual property protection
  • The U.S. ranks 23rd in wage distribution
  • The U.S. ranks 10th in purchasing power of minimum wage
  • The U.S. ranks 11th in minimum wage
Don't get me wrong.  I like this place America. There are some things, plenty, I guess, we're doing well or right at. But the fact is, we need to take a good, hard, long look at ourselves and maybe, hopefully, work on changing and improving.

Let's do this.


The Myth of American Exceptionalism

One Is The Loneliest Number - America Is Number One At Things We Shouldn't Brag About

Tuesday, August 13, 2019

Here's That "American Exceptionalism" For You

Here you go.

Just one more way we are "exceptional" as a nation.

There is an article out just now on countries with the best life expectancy.

Slide 1 of 51: People live notably longer in some parts of the world, and research suggests that diet, climate, social class, and overall happiness play a significant role in boosting lifespan.

While Japan has been at the top of the life expectancy list for several years, research published in October 2018 by the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation suggests that Spain may overtake Japan's life expectancy by 2040. Analysis from Bloomberg's 2019 Healthiest Country Index also revealed Spain to be #1 out of 169 countries in terms of factors contributing to overall health.

After analyzing life expectancy data from the World Health Organization's World Health Statistics 2019 report and total population data for each country from the United Nations' World Population Prospects 2019 report, Stacker ranked each country by life expectancy. In the event of a tie, countries with lower under-five mortality rates were favored.

WHO's annual report compiles life expectancy data and health-related sustainable development goals to determine life spans in each country. In total, 194 countries were included in WHO's 2019 report, but only 181 of these countries were ranked and analyzed since 13 had no life expectancy data.

The total population for each country was taken from the United Nations' Population Division—World Population Prospects 2019. The report released in 2019 involves data from 2016. However, data concerning the percent of government spending going to public health come from 2014, data involving maternal mortality ratios come from 2015, and data involving under-five mortality rates come from 2017.

While no countries on this list have reached supercentenarian status in terms of life expectancy, many nations seem to be getting closer to seeing more of their citizens live to 100 years old.

Click through to find out more about the top 50 countries with the best life expectancy.

You may also like: What the world was like when your grandparents were born

And get this.

The top countries are all Democratic Socialist nations…

And they all have universal healthcare.

We, the US, are at---wait for it--the number 34 position.


Cuba is in the number 33 position. They live longer in Cuba, freaking Cuba, than we do here in the States.

We also have a worse life expectancy than Slovenia.

Coincidentally, Israel, to whom we give millions of dollars, has a far higher life expectancy than we in the US. They are #14 on the list. And yes, it really is true they have universal healthcare, too. We don't but they do.

People in the Republic of Korea have a longer life expectancy, at number 9.

Singapore is number 4---number 4---on the list. Far better, far higher than the US.

This, ladies and gentlemen, is what lots of guns and money and zero universal healthcare gets us.

Enjoy that exceptionalism, folks.

Sunday, August 11, 2019

This Is How Insane, Obcene and Immoral Our US "Healthcare" Is-- And How Overpriced

This is how insanely expensive US healthcare is.

There is a fantastic, eye-opening article in today's Sunday New York Times that spells it all out and that every adult American should read or at least be aware of.

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This patient, this woman was flown to Mexico, to Cancun, from here in the States, Wisconsin, specifically, along with her surgeon in order to get a full knee replacement.  That's one thing. You'd think that would be crazy by itself, right? After all, we have the "best healthcare in the world." don't we?

But wait, there's more. A lot more.
  • The cost of her flight was included in all the costs and charges
  • Her doctor was also flown there for the surgery
  • Her doctor's flights down and back plus a hotel room for him were all included in these costs
  •  Her doctor was paid 3 times--3 times--what he would have earned here in the States doing the same surgery
  •  She received a check for $5000 to do it and then the kicker---
  •  It still cost less than it would have here, in country
"The hospital costs of the American medical system are so high that it made financial sense for both a highly trained orthopedist from Milwaukee and a patient from Mississippi to leave the country and meet at an upscale private Mexican hospital for the surgery."

Repeating, this is how monumentally stupid, insane, obscene and immoral our for-profit healthcare is here in America.


God, we're stupid.

I say again, we are the only, the only industrialized nation that does this, that ties health and healthcare to profit.

Saturday, August 10, 2019

The Many Dangers of Donald Trump

What we have is a problem, a person, who attacks or wants to attack virtually anything and everything--all institutions, virtually all nations, including our allies, everyone and everything, as i said except some dictators like Russia's Vladimir Putin, North Korea's Kim Jong Un and the Philippines' Duterte.

This article, coincidentally, just broke yesterday from Bloomberg.

Trump Continues Destruction of the U.S. Government

Think about it. Think about all the people and organizations and nations this man, this Republican President has verbally attacked. The list is stunning.

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  • Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi and that simply because she doesn't agree with him completely, as he attacks everyone who doesn't
  • Robert Mueller, a Republican, simply because he, Mr. Mueller, was doing his job
  • "The Squad", four Congresswomen who happen to also be of minorities (besides just also being women) because, again, they disagree with him
  • Member of the House of Representatives Frederica Wilson, D-Florida, because her recollection and description of a meeting and conversation with a widow of a fallen US soldier
  • He famously and horribly attacks the media and repeatedly, First Amendment be damned
  • In fact, he infamously attacked a reporter with a disability (see link to video below)
  • China, and repeatedly, over trade, keeping in mind they are one of our two largest trading partners, second only to the UK
  • Members of NATO, our allies
  • the G20, again, our allies
  • The UK's Prime Minister Theresa May, one of our biggest and oldest allies
  • Fox News. Yes, he even attacked Fox. They didn't agree with him totally so he went after even that lapdog of his
The New York Times rather famously compiled this list. Because it's now dated, it's no longer complete.

Here's what just one of the results of his attacks has resulted in and cost the nation.

So, questions.


I mean, besides a 3 year old, who does this? 

Worse, what leader of any nation does this? And can you believe this is OUR leader? Or at least, he's supposed to be.

And then, how do you lead by attacking all the time? And how does one lead by attacking virtually everyone that doesn't already agree with you completely?

How is this productive? 

How is this good for the nation? Good for the people? Good for our futures, both the peoples' and nation's?

If this were the average person on the street, if it were, say, someone at our office we were supposed to work with, we'd certainly avoid them, at least, if we didn't also think they were crazy, legitimately.

Then, how is this good for our nation? It can't possibly be argued it's good for us in any way. 

I ask again, now, as others have rightly asked, what kind of a precedent is this for our nation and for our government? There's no way this is good.

All I can say is, as ever in the last two years of this nightmare, 


Bad as all this is, as bad a President and leader as this man has been, this is what concerns me most.

Vote, folks.

And may God, if there is one, and common sense and logic and intelligence and education and maturity and anything and everything good, one day rule again.

And very soon.

Additional links:

Monday, August 5, 2019

One More Time On the Guns

How long, America?

20 children--children, for God's sake--were slaughtered in a school, as we all know.

We did nothing.

59 people gunned down from a high rise hotel in Las Vegas.


Now, 30 people gunned down in two separate incidents, 13 hours apart.

Sure, we're outraged.

Saddened. Disgusted. Repelled. Revulsed. Sickened even.

Will we do anything about it?

And to the gun-lovers and NRA supporters and Right Wingers and Republicans, heck, even Libertarians who say the government should stay out of it and again, do nothing? I give you data, the following from Harvard University studies.

1. Where there are more guns there is more homicide (literature review)

Our review of the academic literature found that a broad array of evidence indicates that gun availability is a risk factor for homicide, both in the United States and across high-income countries. Case-control studies, ecological time-series and cross-sectional studies indicate that in homes, cities, states and regions in the U.S., where there are more guns, both men and women are at a higher risk for homicide, particularly firearm homicide.

Hepburn, Lisa; Hemenway, David. Firearm availability and homicide: A review of the literature. Aggression and Violent Behavior: A Review Journal. 2004; 9:417-40.

2. Across high-income nations, more guns = more homicide

We analyzed the relationship between homicide and gun availability using data from 26 developed countries from the early 1990s. We found that across developed countries, where guns are more available, there are more homicides. These results often hold even when the United States is excluded.

Hemenway, David; Miller, Matthew. Firearm availability and homicide rates across 26 high income countries. Journal of Trauma. 2000; 49:985-88.

3. Across states, more guns = more homicide

Using a validated proxy for firearm ownership, we analyzed the relationship between firearm availability and homicide across 50 states over a ten-year period (1988-1997).

After controlling for poverty and urbanization, for every age group, people in states with many guns have elevated rates of homicide, particularly firearm homicide.

Miller, Matthew; Azrael, Deborah; Hemenway, David. Household firearm ownership levels and homicide rates across U.S. regions and states, 1988-1997. American Journal of Public Health. 2002; 92:1988-1993.

4. Across states, more guns = more homicide (2)

Using survey data on rates of household gun ownership, we examined the association between gun availability and homicide across states, 2001-2003. We found that states with higher levels of household gun ownership had higher rates of firearm homicide and overall homicide. This relationship held for both genders and all age groups, after accounting for rates of aggravated assault, robbery, unemployment, urbanization, alcohol consumption, and resource deprivation (e.g., poverty). There was no association between gun prevalence and non-firearm homicide.

Miller, Matthew; Azrael, Deborah; Hemenway, David. State-level homicide victimization rates in the U.S. in relation to survey measures of household firearm ownership, 2001-2003. Social Science and Medicine. 2007; 64:656-64.

5. A summary of the evidence on guns and violent death

This book chapter summarizes the scientific literature on the relationship between gun prevalence (levels of household gun ownership) and suicide, homicide and unintentional firearm death and concludes that where there are higher levels of gun ownership, there are more gun suicides and more total suicides, more gun homicides and more total homicides, and more accidental gun deaths.

This is the first chapter in the book and provides and up-to-date and readable summary of the literature on the relationship between guns and death. It also adds to the literature by using the National Violent Death Reporting System data to show where (home or away) the shootings occurred. Suicides for all age groups and homicides for children and aging adults most often occurred in their own home.

Miller M, Azrael D, Hemenway D. Firearms and violence death in the United States. In: Webster DW, Vernick JS, eds. Reducing Gun Violence in America. Baltimore MD: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2013.

6. More guns = more homicides of police
This article examines homicide rates of Law Enforcement Officers (LEOs) from 1996 to 2010. Differences in rates of homicides of LEOs across states are best explained not by differences in crime, but by differences in household gun ownership. In high gun states, LEOs are 3 times more likely to be murdered than LEOs working in low-gun states.

This article was cited by President Obama in a speech to a police association. This article will hopefully bring police further into the camp of those pushing for sensible gun laws.

Swedler DI, Simmons MM, Dominici F, Hemenway D. Firearm prevalence and homicides of law enforcement officers in the United States. American Journal of Public Health. 2015; 105:2042-48.

And again to the weapons supporters, I say we're only asking--now demanding--3 things:
  1. Required background checks, coast to coast, for mental stability
  2. Required background checks, again, coast to coast, for criminal history
  3. Ban on all purchases of assault style weapons. They have zero place on our streets and/or in our society.
No one who otherwise wants or feels they need weapons will be effected so please don't pull that desperate, pathetic, pitiful "They're going to take all our guns" on us. It's nonsense. Patent nonsense.

For hope today, I point out this article from Uber Right Wing, very Conservative Rupert Murdoch and his Right Wing rag, The New York Post.

Murdoch’s New York Post urges Trump to ban assault weapons

We can do this.

We must.

And it has to come from us, from the people.


KCPT Does It Again. Some More. Seriously, KCPT, How Long Are You Going To Keep This Up?

Yes sir and ma'am, another week, another couple of local news programs from KCPT, having only or largely only white people save us all.

Very white, Nick Haines and his show, "Week in Review" loaded up just one more all white panel to do just that, save the city with all the answers they--the white men folk--have for us.

Yes sir, there you go. Four white guys and--oops!--they let in a token woman! How did that happen?

Not one person of color.

Not one black person. Not one Hispanic. Nada. No one else. Just lily white people, there to save the day, praze Geezus.

And then uber white, Right Wing, Conservative, Republican Mike Shanin, there, with his show, "Ruckus", later in the week and, wow! This time THEY LET IN ONE BLACK PERSON! Stunning! Not only that, they let 3 women, AT ONE TIME, be on the show with the white guys! Wowzer! They may get this one day yet, huh? Maybe? If we all live long enough?

Poor Woody Cozad looked downright uncomfortable, what with all those wimmin folk sittin' 'round him. And a cupla' them m-eye-noritees, too, at that.

Look, KCPT, we've talked about this before.

You load up your money-begging commercials with people of color and women. You're all the time asking for money from them, from minorities.

How impossible for you all is it that you would have, say, one Hispanic and one black person, EVERY WEEK, on your programs? This city is not tiny. How tough would it be to stop loading us up with what only white people in general but also only white, old, conservative men and their thoughts and answers on local, state, regional and national answers and possibilities?

Who knows, you might even get, oh, I don't know, more viewers and more support, financial and otherwise, for your programs?

How y'all aren't embarrassed by this, personally and professionally, I can't even imagine.

What did they teach you in journalism school, anyway?