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First ebonypearl wrote an entry about health care, more specifically health insurance and the cost of it and what it pays (or doesn't pay) for these days. Then inmyblueheaven posted about a battle of a mom and pop farm dealing with the possibility of getting forced out by some food conglomerate.

As Michael Moore pointed out in "Sicko," the health care system we now have in the United States was, in fact, brought into being via Richard M. Nixon. It was a plan to make medicine into big business, and the pharmaceutical companies, various hospitals and a lot of the insurers wound up making quite a bit of money from it.

Nixon did some pretty terrible things in his 1.5 terms in office, but this, as we look at it today, was likely the worst thing any president had done in the past 65 years. See, representatives are supposed to be there to represent people. Not corporations. Not special interest groups or lobbyists. And people associated with those organizations don't need representation anyhow. You're not supposed to harm the people that have nothing so that those that have plenty can get more. And yet, that is the system that has been created.

When you turn the issue of health care into a business, then it becomes all about making money, not giving proper care to everyone. So, drug manufacturers are looking for ways to cash in at every turn. They produce a drug that doesn't do what they wanted? So they test it to see what it can do, and just sell it for that! Forget the fact that it has a laundry list of side effects that could create even bigger problems than the drug claims to correct; it's a chance to cash in!

They just keep creating more and more drug products, and charging people to use them, and what is the result? the coffers of these manufacturers are sky high, and people aren't well.

Likewise, as we fund these major food corporations that are squelching the small local farmers, we are destroying our very own food system. We should be eating more local products! Stuff that's grown where you are doesn't have to travel, doesn't get picked before it's ripe so it can go a long distance in a truck, train or plane to get to you. It's all so bass ackwards it makes me wonder if George W. Bush was somehow involved.

But, really, these are the two issues that will be major factors in the next ten years. All of the Baby Boomers will be at least 55 and many of them over 65 in the very near future. So health care will be an issue. And with the issues of the honeybees still totally unresolved, there is a nagging thought that maybe there will be a food shortage in America down the road. Don't shrug this off; that honeybee "colony collapse disorder" issue will, in a best case scenario, cause the price of food to increase. In the worse case, we might have a famine in the land, and one that won't end quickly.

The fact that we seem to be backing corporations in both of these cases is the ultimate "cut off your nose to spite your face" scenario. How do we constantly wind up voting against the very things that can benefit us?

I know it's too late to go back and undo the Nixon plan for health care. And with medical being a business, and a hugely successful one, how do you convert it back into a program that actually cares for the patients and their families, and keeps these people from going into unspeakable debt? And why do Republicans get to just shout "socialism!" and get away with that?

I was thinking about whether the United States would still be around in a century. Ten years ago, that thought would never have crossed my mind. Now, I seriously am not certain that the USA will still be here in 2111.

But I know I won't be, so, eh.

And, really, it's that attitude that has gotten us to this place! There's no concern for a future that you won't live to see, so grab for everything you can now, and future be damned (and it will be)!

The problem is that these issues are easily pointed out and discussed, but actually attempting to fix them, with all of the elements that are in place to maintain them and all of the money that's in the system bankrolling them? This may require a revolution.


( 10 comments — Leave a comment )
Apr. 18th, 2011 03:31 pm (UTC)

Further compounding the CCD issue with the bees:
1) Just this past year we banned imports of bees from Australia. In years past we've made up losses by importing queens or even entire colonies for the pollination seasons. Since their colonies are full strength when almonds bloom (the start of the season and best paying crop for pollination services) they were perfect were buffering our numbers if local guys couldn't get their hives healthy enough by the unnaturally early February start. The ban is based on health issues - we didn't allow bees from anywhere else, quarantine reasons, so logically there was no reason to give Australia a pass, especially after they started showing contamination with Asian bee pathogens

2) our second best bet for healthy year-round queens/colonies was Hawai'i. They weren't suffering from varroa mite, hive beetles, or half of the viral and fungal infections we cope with on the mainland. Well, in the past two years that's changed. And with the Aussie ban, they're SERIOUSLY over-committed to raise queens for the rest of us out here. They can't keep up. They've got brand new diseases they're learning how to cope with/manage, AND their demand just more than doubled. They're swamped.

3) SoCal/Southwestern beeks can't raise their own queens because of the local Africanized bee influence. We've been dependent on NoCal and other regions for years now to provide guaranteed genetics, and there is no way to eradicate the Africanized feral population, so folk in my neck of the woods are currently obligated to import genetic stock from other regions. While some of the locals are maintaining largely feral colonies, they're harder to work with, tend to produce less honey, and the only way to reliably eliminate the hyper-defensive tendencies is to kill off queens/colonies that exhibit aggressive behaviors. Sadly, those kinds of colonies are the kind that swarm more often and multiply most quickly in the feral environment. Realistically, breeding the aggression out of the wild population is kind of like trying to control feral cat populations... it's a never-ending battle.
Apr. 20th, 2011 05:12 am (UTC)
This "Killer Bee" issue has been around since the 1970s and it's interesting how it is manifesting itself today in a way that couldn't be predicted then.

They always said that these bees would get less and less aggressive as they bred with more docile hives, but they were wrong about that as well.

It really seems like there's very little they got right!
Apr. 18th, 2011 05:35 pm (UTC)
I agree with everything you said, so, bravo.

A. In response to:And, really, it's that attitude that has gotten us to this place! There's no concern for a future that you won't live to see, so grab for everything you can now, and future be damned (and it will be)!

...For a long time now, I've understood this attitude to be what's behind much of this shit. But, the part I still haven't figured out is, don't these people care about the well-being of their very own kids and grandkids???!

B. Do you know that Coke (probably Pepsi too) and many chewing gum companies intentionally put ingredients in their products to seriously damage your teeth over time, because they are paid to do so by the dental industry? They disguise these ingredients by listing them as various colorings. My boyfriend met a man at a bar in Washington state, who was a chemist for Coke, and he told him this. He also told him that he wanted to quit but could not, because the company had threatened physical harm to both him and his family members. And he showed my boyfriend an identification card. He really did work for Coke. This shit needs to get out there--people need to be willing to listen to it, and get informed.

C. This may require a revolution. Yes, it may. And the revolution is now.

Cheers, Dean. Keep writing. . . .
Apr. 20th, 2011 05:20 am (UTC)
A. I'm guessing that they hope to pull a money grab and that somehow having a huge pile of cash is going to spare their families from the fate of the rest of the population. This is how the super wealthy are hoarding up their funds for that rainy day that will be a monsoon for pretty much everyone else.

B. I heard rumors about this, but I never saw anything that gave definitive proof of it. And certainly Snopes is always a good place to check about such stuff.

But yes, soda isn't exactly the best stuff to drink, even without worrying about the dental issues. There's actually a series of ads in the subway that says stuff like drinking a 20 ounce bottle of soda is like having 10 packets of sugar, and that sort of thing.

C. It all feels a bit like the chickens coming home to roost, and no one can eat them. Between medicine only interested in profit and the food system turning the land of plenty into a desert, there's a lot to worry about ahead.
Apr. 24th, 2011 06:39 pm (UTC)
A. How sick.
B. Corn syrup (which is GM) is the first ingredient on the list in all Pepsi and Coke products that I know of. That means they have more corn syrup than any other ingredient. Also, their root beer has no roots and their ginger ale has no ginger. Nice!
C. Fasten your meatbelt. It's the top reason my boyfriend and I are considering not having kids, which is so sad.
Apr. 18th, 2011 07:43 pm (UTC)
And why do Republicans get to just shout "socialism!" and get away with that?

Because the Dems (and anyone else) don't take the time to lecture them on definitions, meanings, and ethics. The usual Dem response is to sit there and go "oh those silly Reps" and go on with their business, but they fail to consistently make the case to the people that there is a role for government, and whether one likes it or not, there are plenty of socialist ideas in our current society, and have been for many decades. It's hard to instill common sense in a society when only one side is vocal, if utterly misguided.

As an aside, Glenn "cries on demand" Beck went on a rampage at CPAC a few years ago about how he was not college educated (because that's somehow bad), but yet he learned everything he knew from... get this... public libraries. He then *in the same breath* went on to denounce Socialism. It was as hilarious as only hypocrisy can be.
Apr. 20th, 2011 05:25 am (UTC)
Well, the real lectures need to be for the masses... this is an Emperor's New Clothes situation, and we need that little kid to speak up. Yesterday!

Did Fox News hand Beck his walking papers yet?
Apr. 19th, 2011 06:22 am (UTC)
the locally grown food issue is a bit more nuanced than that - if you happen to live in a green belt you are 100% correct, but there are quite a few fruits and vegetables with a significantly higher resource cost to grow locally here in the desert than to grow where it makes sense and to import. to be truly effective, you have to combine "eat local" with "grow and ship smart;" moving toward either extreme in terms of importing or locals-only unbalances the system.
Apr. 20th, 2011 05:27 am (UTC)
Well, I didn't think I needed to state that if it can't be grown where you are, you have to grow it elsewhere... but if you need me to say that, I will...

But the point is to get it from as close to your location as possible. Or eat foods that are local, or both! Clearly we can't get everything locally, but we can do a lot better than we are, and any improvement we can make in that area will help.
Apr. 20th, 2011 07:07 am (UTC)
I make the point only because you wouldn't believe how many people get that one wrong - Britain's ministry of the interior, for instance, is doing actual damage to their soil to grow some warm-climate fruits that do better in places like Spain rather than import them, and don't even get me started on some of the eco-idiots here in LA...
( 10 comments — Leave a comment )

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