Politics

23 Sep

I hate politics.

It strikes me that party trumps country, state, county, or city.  That’s wrong!  Politicians can play party UNTIL elected, but once elected the standard ought to be what’s in the best interest of the country, state, county, or city … and party be damned.

Congress sits divided: the Democrats on the left and the Republicans on the right.  This shouldn’t be!  It fosters group think … and party conformity.  Perhaps state delegations should sit together.  (Or, maybe, the elementary school paradigm should be adopted and the legislators should sit in alphabetical order.)

On Constitution Day, a speaker asked, “How many believe that our elected officials represent you?”  No one raised his or her hand.   (Isn’t that why our elected officials were chosen to begin with?)  That’s wrong!  Why do we keep re-electing them?

It’s wrong to play politics to disenfranchise voters such as voiding registrations because the registrations are not on the “proper” weight paper.  (Ohio tried it.)

It’s wrong to deny voting rights because of a physical or mental disability. (Poll workers have refused to allow citizens with disabilities to vote.)

It’s wrong to accept money and gifts to vote a particular way.  (It’s all that special interest and lobbyist money.)

It’s wrong that elected officials respond to inquiries by simply spouting the party line and failing to address the questions presented. (My representative did.)

It’s wrong that the media continue to identify our elected officials by party instead of simply by office.  Too many people turn off when the party designation is revealed.  (Sadly, I must admit that I turn off when politicians speak.  Politicians lie.  Politicians can’t answer questions.  Politicians always try to tell me what the pollsters tell the politicians what the pollsters think I want to hear. Politicians only seem to really care about me when it comes time for re-election’ otherwise, I’m a nuisance.)

Is it at all surprising that I hate politics?

Misinformation

18 Sep

Wasn’t it obvious?  An African-American had been elected president; wasn’t it time for a woman?  It was “Her Story.” She was entitled!

The nomination process had been successfully choreographed.  It didn’t matter what other candidates might do; the nomination was in the bag.  Let the people choose whomever they wanted, the super delegates would deliver the nomination to her!  It was her turn!

How much better could it have been?  The other party nominated a buffoon!  Who, in their right mind, could even consider voting for the fool?  This election was truly wrapped up! What ever happened on November 8 would simply be a formality.  After all, she was entitled!

The campaign droned on.  Biased surveys and polls reinforced the candidates’ philosophy.  Speeches presented.  Positions remained flexible to accommodate the audience while each candidate (and party) craftily created their own version of reality depending upon the spectators.  Analyses made.  She had to win; it was her turn!

Everyone made mistakes. Faux pas happened to all parties. All candidates and parties applied spin to tell the voters want the voters wanted to hear.  Objectivity, if it had ever been present, vanished.  She was entitled!

All suffered delusions.  Every party and every candidate spread misinformation.  Was there tampering?  Of course, there was.  All the candidates did it; it’s a characteristic of the political process.  Internally, yes.  Externally, yes.  The truth cannot survive a political campaign; just watch any political advertisement or read any campaign literature; it’s pure spin to either play upon the ignorance of the reader or scare them into voting a particular way.  But … it was her turn!

How could anyone vote for the ass?  It’s inconceivable!  Wasn’t she entitled to the presidency?

Oh, there had been corruption in the process.  Tampering?  Outside influence?  Misinformation?  It had been arranged.  She had played with the process.  She employed people, organizations, and associations from inside and outside the country to sway the vote.  She spread lies.  She distributed money – political money, soft money, hard money, Citizens United money, foundation money.  It had been arranged.  The other party did everything she did, but she did it better, didn’t she? Damn it!  It WAS her turn!

Then came the dawn on November 9.  She carried the urban areas; they loved her.  The religious communities were not so embracing; there must be something about telling people that the government’s values supersede those taught in churches, synagogues, mosques, and temples, and on a loving mother’s lap even if you ARE entitled.  The forgotten rural areas were even less so.  While the popular vote resides in the big cities, the rural areas generally determine how the electoral votes are cast.  She should have been beware of the stupid, ignorant, uneducated deplorables even if it was her turn.

It really was “her story.”  It was a story of manipulation.  It was a story of entitlement.  It was a story of misinformation.  It was a story of outside influence.  It was a story of choreography.  It had worked previously.  However, people need to believe that they are part of the process and that the message resonates with them. This is politics; it isn’t the second grade playground, and no one cares whose turn it is.

Yesterday, I Saw the Devil

19 Aug

Yesterday, I saw the devil.

Although the calendar said August, the temperature dipped.  After days in the high 80s and low 90s, it seemed cool although, frankly, if this were April instead of August the university women would be preparing to worship the sun. Patchy fog developed and gathered in the troughs among the hillocks.  The soybeans, alfalfa, corn and the weeds growing in the wheat stubble hung heavy with dew.

I was bound for Findlay, Ohio, from my home in Upper Sandusky.  My immediate route took me north on Mifflin Township Road 97, just one of those meandering, one-lane country highways that require the utmost courtesy when meeting a traveler headed the other direction.  (Sharing the road takes on a new meaning when the right side of your vehicle is on the berm instead of the asphalt.)  It would be preposterous to even consider passing a vehicle going the same way while patience is developed when following farm machinery.  It’s the kind of byway that my father would have enjoyed; his father’s eye would assess the corn, soybeans, and alfalfa. I still hear his admonition to “slow up” so that he could take it all in.

As I rounded a bend on Township Highway 97 about thirty-two hundred feet from State Route 294, there stood the devil about fifty feet from the road on my right in the soybean field.

Just his head was visible.  Our eyes met for a fleeting instant.  He stood immobile.  He appeared just like my Sunday School teacher described him with horns … dark skin … bulbous nose … black eyes.  Cloven foot?  Probably, but I couldn’t see because the lower part of his body was hidden by the soybeans.  Involuntarily my right foot pressed the accelerator; I sped away … all the while that voice in my head — my father’s voice — urged me to “slow down.”  Thank you, no.  I wanted to escape.

The image haunted me throughout the day.

Brother Chuck

26 Jun

I … am an only child with brothers and sisters.  My parents were both married before.  They both had children.  When I came along they were between the ages of 14 and 23.  Consequently, I don’t have a recollection of growing up with brothers and sisters.  (Yes, I know.  Technically, they are my half brothers and sisters while they are steps to each other.  But they’re all that I have.)

The family story included Brother Chuck.  He left school early to join the Navy.  I always heard that he was a Seabee and was headed for Japan when the atomic bombs were dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki.  I never heard how close he got to seeing action during World War II, but I do know that he made the acquaintance of a malaria-infected mosquito somewhere in his travels.

CE Fisher Navy

After being separated from the Navy, he joined the Air Force and became a military policeman.  Mother always thought that this would be his vocation until some incident occurred in England and Brother Chuck came home.

SSGT Charles Earl Fisher USAF

He had a variety of jobs.  He was a police officer for a while, then the trucking business, and eventually he owned a service station. He was active in the American Legion and the Jaycees.  I think he held offices in both organizations.

There were 23 years between us.  We didn’t have many conversations.  I do, however, remember one.  It was during Vietnam. It wasn’t a popular war.  There was draft dodgers … war protests … Kent State … civil rights demonstrations … riots … and the Democratic Convention in Chicago.  Brother Chuck didn’t talk about these things but about his military service and life in the United States.

Much of this conversation, I don’t remember.  I was 18 and knew everything; e was my brother from a different generation.  But one theme continued to repeat in my head.  He wasn’t philosophical; he just made a simple statement.

Brother Chuck mentioned the rights, privileges, and benefits of living in the United States and added that each of us are obligated to do something for the country in exchange for those rights, privileges, and benefits.

It got me thinking.  Eventually, I followed his lead and joined the Navy.  It continues to haunt me.

Today it seems that those rights, privileges, and benefits are taken for granted.  They are just freely given.

Just think about it!

Managed Health Care

4 Jun

I don’t think I like managed health care.

“Managed [health] care is any method of organizing health care providers to achieve the goal of controlling health care costs and managing the quality of care” (Tobin, January 1997).

It strikes me that the medical profession is no longer concerned about getting the patient well but rather managing the illness.  Each entity must get their “pound of flesh” (Shakespeare):

  • the doctors;
  • the physician assistants;
  • the nurse practitioners;
  • the billing networks because physicians, since the Affordable Health Care Act, have generally affiliated with health networks for billing purposes;
  • nurses;
  • technicians;
  • the labs;
  • the pharmacies;
  • the pharmaceutical companies; and
  • the health insurance companies[1].

The system encourages providers to keep patients within the system instead of getting the patient well.   I just don’t understand.  Perhaps the following examples will explain.

  1. An acquaintance had a mastectomy. Before she could be fitted for a prosthesis bra, she needed a prescription from her general practitioner and not the oncologist which, of course, required a visit to the general practitioner.
  2. An acquaintance is diabetic. The family doctor made a referral to a podiatrist because of some recurring foot problems.  The podiatrist recommended some special shoes for diabetics; however, the podiatrist could not write a prescription for the special shoes.  (Why not?  Who knows?) My friend returned to the family doctor for a prescription and referral to another podiatrist who handles the special shoes.
  3. I’ve had both knees replaced. Before the replacements would be approved, there were X-rays, MRIs, and CAT scans.  Anti-inflammatories were prescribed; blood work ordered.  Fluid drained.  Cortisone injected.  Fluid supplements to help lubricate and cushion the knee joint were tried.  Physical therapy ordered. I can’t recall how many appointments there were before the knee replacement was approved, but each and every one required a fee.
  4. I’ve had some reactions to medication. Fortunately, these reactions have just been minor irritants.  Instead of wanting to address the underlying problem, the physician was eager to write another prescription to address the symptoms associated with the drug reactions. Why take two medications when adjusting the strength of the first addresses the problem?
  5. An acquaintance had edema. A hospitalization addressed the condition but not the underlying cause.  After discharge, the problem reoccurred.  Now, there are four or five doctors involved.  They seem to admit that Lasix should have been continued when he was sent home from the hospital.  There seems to be no idea of the underlying cause as each doctor continues to poke, probe, and order tests.

Why don’t doctors work on getting people well instead of just managing the disease or condition?  Oh, I forgot, as they sang in the musical Cabaret “money makes the world go around” (Kirk & Mallinder, 1998).

Just think about it.

References

Kirk, R. H., & Mallinder, S. W. (1998). Money [Sang by L. Minilli, & J. Gray in the musical Cabaret].

Shakespeare. Merchant of Venice.

Tobin, C. (January 1997). What is Managed Health Care? AADE News.

 

[1] These are probably in inverse order since the health insurance companies like to call the tune.

My Criminal, Part 2

29 Apr

About ten days after the gun thieves visited me, I was again the target of crime.  These were different criminals; the gun thieves had been caught and were in jail.  My second visitors got a Kindle, about two thousand dollars in money, and my passport.

The Kindle had been a gift from a friend.

The money … ah, that’s a different story.  The older coins were passed from grandfather to father to son, and I had planned to pass it along to my daughter and grandson.

1876 Half Dollar

This half dollar was minted the same year that the Sioux, Northern Cheyenne, and Arapaho tribes were attacked by LCOL Custer and the 7th Cavalry at the Battle of Greasy Grass aka the Battle of the Little Big Horn aka Custer’s Last Stand.

1881 Liberty Dollar

This silver dollar was minted the year that President Garfield was assassinated.  This is just one of probably twenty silver dollars that were stolen.

1895 Indian Head Penny

This 1895 Indian head penny was one of the first coins I recall receiving.

I had spoken with professional coin collectors about these coins; but, because they were neither proof nor uncirculated coins, their opinion was that they were only worth the value of the silver and/or face value.

Silver Certificate

A dollar from when paper money was backed by silver instead of just a promise by the federal government.

There were also baggies of half dollars, quarters, Mercury dimes, and various Canadian coins that my father had accumulated during his life.

I was not optimistic when I reported the theft.  Cash is easier to dispose of than guns.

A theft report has been made to the State Department when I obtained a replacement passport.

It’s been four months.  I haven’t heard anything.  The money, the Kindle, and my peace of mind are long gone.

 

My Criminal, Part 1

21 Apr

I have spent too many hours representing criminal defendants.  While on active duty at Great Lakes, I represented sailors who were charged with

  • wrongfully using of a controlled substance,
  • being absent without leave,
  • having deserted,
  • appropriating property of another sailor or the United States government,
  • failing to obey a lawful order, and
  • assaulting another sailor.

My civilian legal career as a defense attorney concerned traffic violations, assault, and drug cases.

My criminal practice focused on damage control.  Given the potential sentence, what was the minimum sentence that I could achieve for my client.

Personally, I am fortunate. It’s taken over 60 years to become a victim of crime.  In early December an individual entered my home and stole three .22 caliber rifles, a .22 caliber revolver, a .410 shotgun, and a .38 caliber revolver.  All of these firearms had been inherited from my father.

The perpetrators were caught.  The story I heard was that an older man was teaching his perspective son-in-law the business.

I have frequently made the argument that my client shouldn’t be severely punished because of his or her circumstances (damage control).  However, hearing that argument being made for the person who stole my firearms, i.e., the perspective son-in-law, irritated me.

  • Yes, it’s too bad that two months before entering my house to commit a theft offense you had made friends with heroin, and it had taken control of your life.
  • Yes, it’s too bad that your two daughters under the age of 5 will be without a father for a while.

Perhaps those are things that should have been considered BEFORE committing these offenses.

For some strange reason, incarceration and restitution just didn’t seem appropriate … it wasn’t enough.  I wanted more.

When the victim’s advocate asked what I wanted to happen, a number of options flashed through my head:

  • pillory
  • branding
  • lashes
  • loss of right hand

In the end, I admitted that I had many thoughts about what would considered an appropriate punishment; however, all of my thoughts would have violated the 8th Amendment to the United States Constitution.

Have we become too soft on crime?

Just think about it!