Sunday, April 28, 2013

I would say I hate to say I told you so except I don't...

Soon after the New Town murders,  I said that Obama would waste all his time and energy on another effort at controlling gun nuts which would fail.  I also predicted that in wasting all his time there, he would lose the battle over the economy to the real nuts.

Scroll down to the highlighted paragraph.

First the gun nuts.  I'll start out by saying anything more than hunting rifles and a defensive weapon in the home is redundant.  Personally, I am against killing animals for sport but I'm not normal, I guess. Also, personally, I have a two inch Smith and Wesson revolver that I have kept since my law enforcement days. I like to have it, fully realizing that it is virtually worthless.  I know this!  I'm not guessing. Most firearms discharged in the home have resulted in a suicide, murder of a spouse, accidental shooting; or they have been taken in a burglary.  I know, I've written the reports or approved the reports for 13 years as a patrolman, detective, patrol sergeant of watch commander. I have read in the papers of an occasional defense of a home intruder with a gun but rarely.

Let's tall about the 2nd Amendment; probably the most anachronistic, useless and over-hyped amendment of all:

A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed. 

In parsing this one sentence, what it is saying is that people can keep arms and carry them as part of a well regulated militia in order to defend the state from outside governments. In this case,inferentially the loose federation of states that was coming together as a nation to fight for independence from England. It is true that cases have been brought before the court referring to the English law giving right to keep arms for self protection, but the English law was for the purpose of preventing the Catholic King from disarming protestants without authorization of the newly formed parliament.  Parliament still had the authority of maintaining regulation or disarming.

There is no inherent right for people to keep guns for any purpose other than participation in the militia, most of which today have been made subject to the United States military.  Most of the so called militias have served at the command of the Department of Defense in the oil wars. Still, a reasonable person, and that includes me, would not deny the right for someone to keep hunting weapons and defensive weapons in the home. There is nothing in the 2nd amendment assuring the right to keep machine guns, mortar, rocket launchers or nuclear weapons in the home.  You don't need an ammo clip to shoot a deer.

Not lets talk about the democrat nuts who are going to fixate on this again, and put the republicans back in control.  Will they never learn??? We lost this war, this war is over.  For one thing, our arguments are somewhat specious.  Domestic shootings are not done with assault weapons. Those would continue.  A complete ban on the possession of assault weapons would not have prevented Columbine, the theater shooting of the most recent one in Connecticut. If someone wants to shoot up a classroom, they can find the weapon. They're not going to be worried about breaking a gun law...neither are they going to be worried about a teacher carrying a gun.  Teach will duck and cover with the first shot, if he/she is not taken out with the first shot. The only way to stop the shooting is to eliminate all guns and that isn't going to happen.

The real problem is not the guns anyway, it's the nuts who want the guns. Even more of a problem is the guy, Wayne Lapierre who wants everyone in America to carry a gun, concealed or not, automatic or not. A nut who wants a cop (apparently, this cop wouldn't be working for the government) on every school yard and every citizen in the USA "carrying" and, apparently shooting it out in the bar like men, or women now, instead of invoking the sheriff who works for a tyranical government. LaPierre would have us believe that the fact that he works for an association bribing legislators with money from a $12 billion a year gun industry, selling assault weapons to the gun nuts, has nothing to do with his patriotism and fervor in encouraging the nuts that their government is communist/fascist; and will inexorably use the UN and black helicopters to enslave them by removing the machine guns from their homes.

Getting back to the fundamental nut factor.  They cherry pick the constitution, They ignore the fact that gun regulation has already stood the test of judicial review.  They claim that judicial review is itself unconstitutional because it is perfect as written by the framers and needs no review...whoops that is except for just the 2nd Amendment. Having the self-defense rug pulled out from them, the nuts have fallen back on the "minuteman" argument.  Were it not for the weapons that they had in their homes, we would still be slaves under the tyranny of Great Britain; ignoring the fact that the weapons they had in their homes were woefully inadequate and they would have failed had they not been armed with guns purchased by their new General -  George Washington and  with guns and cannons purchased by money borrowed by the Continental Congress - government!  It wasn't the minutemen with their home muskets fighting off the British, it was an organizized (somewhat organized, anyway) army, organized through the Continental Congress and aided by foreign governments, without whose help we most likely would not have prevailed. And the cold hard facts are, that with a few exceptions, our soldiers were not totally committed to the war and did not fight so heroically. The exception being their leaders, the ones who actually held land and had a dog in the fight. The very ones who became the new government.

The gun nuts like to use the Declaration of Independence to justify their fear of a tyrannical and despotic government which necessitates their squirreling away all these lethal weapons in their attics, basements, storage units and trunks of their cars so they can run through the woods in camouflage pants, jump boots, blackened faces waving their weapons and shouting hooyah. They are totally unaware of the nature of the Declaration of Independence which was one government pulling free from another government with a specific and lengthy list of grievances, none of which are applicable to this government or likely to be. So modern day minuteman wannabe heroes, will have to look elsewhere for a a justification for their phallic symbols. James Yeager, who has threatened to start murdering people if Obama takes one more dictatorial step toward gun control, is typical of the danger of people in love with guns.  If his freedom was in danger, he would be in jail right now for these remarks.  But never fear, gun lovers won't have to justify it, the deep pockets of the gun industry and the greed of those in this government you call corrupt who actually are corrupt will keep your toys safe.  Guns don't kill people, people who make the guns available kill people. But the true nuts, or more accurately and fairly foolish ones, because their intentions are good, are the ones who will elevate this argument above the real danger.  Our real danger today is the nuts in the Teaparty who want to destroy the government. They are as logical and approachable as those who have convinced themselves that they must have rocket launcher on their pickup truck. Those are the nuts, the ones in congress, we should fear; and obfuscating the problem we can resolve by obsessing on one we cannot resolve will only result in losing both fights.

These unholy alliance of 51 members of the Teaparty caucus campaigned on the only two issues they could agree on, we hate an African American in the White House and we don't think government works. Once elected their goal has become to make sure that government doesn't work so they can blame it on the African American in the White House. The competition in house races has been virtually eliminated by gerrymandering. Today, only 35 of the 435 seats are competitive. Consequently, most or at least many, of members of the House look more at local election results than at the needs of the nation.  Unfortunately, 51 of these seats are held by members of the Teaparty caucus. Although there are members from many states, the membership comes primarily from Texas, Louisiana and Florida.  Members from other states comes from districts carefully gerrymandered to eliminate any democratic competition.

Their announced agenda is the "fundamental principles of fiscal responsibility, limited government and strict adherence to the Constitution" but that never stopped most of the members from voting for the Bush tax cuts and the invasion of Iraq.  Fiscal responsibility certainly is not refusing to pay debts that have already occurred, debts that they approved. Their frugality in government is more concerned with taking benefits away from lower classes and favoring government assistance to oil companies and lower tax rates for the wealthy.  Of course their official agenda is mother hood and apple pie unless examined in the context of what they do and say.  As said earlier, two issues they agree on is hatred for Obama and government.

There is nothing anyone can say or do to get their cooperation in raising the debt ceiling. Unfortunately, they are joined by a few in the Senate who share their hatred for Obama and obligation to international corporations like the Koch Brothers and the FreedomWorks foundation.  Obama cannot let them destroy the world economy by defaulting on the US debt.  He has sworn he will not but he also swore he would not compromise on the fiscal cliff. It's time for some nuts to show up in the White House.

Good reading.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

A visit to Casa Colina - or frantic pursuit of the Medicare money tree.

The United States is one of the few "civilized" countries that doesn't provide universal health care. In other countries the right to health care - access to modern medicine -  is taken for granted nearly as much as the air they breathe. In this country access is controlled by greedy profit seeking insurance companies such as CIGNA.  One of the arguments of health insurance companies and the masochistic voters who are ready to fall on the sword for them is that government health care is inefficient and corrupt.  The example they are forced to use is Medicare.  Medicare care is a government program where the sole responsibility of government is to pay for services provided entirely in the private sector.  I can speak from experience of the value of Medicare as a consumer. My wife and I would be bankrupt or dead - or both - without Medicare.  Recently, I discovered that there is abuse of the system which would make the costs go up. But guess what, the abuse is in the private sector combined with inadequate supervision by the government sector. So when Obama says they can reduce the cost without cutting services, he is spot on. 

My wife suffered a stroke on Saturday, April 13.  She was treated at San Antonio Community Hospital (SACH) in Upland.  As a result of the stroke she had mild aphasia which is a problem getting her thoughts from her brain to her mouth.

Sunday night, April 14, I was told that she would be released the next day and was eligible for outpatient speech therapy or resident speech therapy.  I was contacted by a doctor at SACH; a doctor who would put a used car salesman to shame. He informed me of, and convinced me to take her to, Casa Colina Rehabilitation Center in Pomona.  The next day, after a four hour wait at SACH while Casa Colina found her a bed, I drove her to the Pomona facility. I left her in the car and contacted the main desk. After a twenty minute wait, she was helped from the car to her room.  This was about 5 PM.  We were briefed. Among other things we were told the visiting hours but not to worry, they weren't enforced. And they aren't!

I left about 6 PM and my daughter and her husband came to the hospital and stayed with her until after 8 PM.  She couldn't sleep because the visitors of her roommate were so noisy.  She uses a C-Pap for sleep apnea and they never got it hooked up properly. I returned early on Tuesday and she was confined to her bed unless accompanied by a nurse.  She got two hours of therapy on Tuesday. I left at 6 PM on Tuesday and my daughter and her husband stayed with her in the evening.  The nurses let them take her for a walk in the hallways.  My daughter said she walked about a quarter of mile.

Wednesday, they told me she couldn't go to the bathroom without a nurse and couldn't return from the bathroom without a nurse. I told them that my daughter had been permitted to walk her the previous evenint and they replied simply that they shouldn't have been permitted to d so - which was hardly the point. The point is that she was capable of doing so safely. It was obviously overly restrictive under the guise of protecting the patient but actually covering themselves. I objected and told them their restrictions were unreasonable and she was going to go home. They asked me to wait for an evaluation by a physical therapist.  I agreed.  The PT, when she first arrived told me that I could walk her for short distances. I then accompanied her to the therapy room where the PT put her through some movements that were way below her capabilities. When we returned to the room the PT told me I could only walk her in her room, about 20x20 with two beds.  She said that when we were walking together in the hallway, we nearly walked into a wall.  This never happened.  I told her I was going to walk with her to the car and we were leaving. The loss prevention team swung into action.

The PT supervisor walked with us to a room where she showed her how to get into bed, sit on the toilet, get into the shower and walked us back to the room, all the time telling us of the danger.  Back at her room, the head PT agreed to let me take her on walks and accompany her to the toilet.  I said OK but my wife, who up to this point had been treated, by me as well, as a piece of meat, interjected and said I WANT TO GO HOME!  That was enough for me.  She had already been cleared for that by San Antonio Community Hospital. 

The doctor on duty, Dr. Lawrence, came to the room and told me how dangerous it was and gave me the pitch that they were only interested in my wife’s well-being.  I told him we were going home and he conceded finally to transfer her to outpatient therapy.  It occurred to me that SACH had the same services 15 minutes from our home so I asked for the referral there.  They agreed. Shortly, a hospital rep came in and said that Dr. Jamal Badday, apparently the doctor in charge, would not process her release and would not refer her to anyone for outpatient therapy.  They told me that I would have to sign a form saying she was leaving against medical advice in order for her to leave.  IMO, Dr. Badday was unhappy with losing the 24 hour bed and meals but was overwhelmed at also losing the outpatient revenue. I admit that I stopped being courteous.  I told them where they could put the form and I took my wife home.  It is ironic that their concern for her safety ended and a wheel chair was not offered to take her to the car.  She walked without mishap.

She is home now, has had two nights of sleep and is started therapy on Friday and again this afternoon, April 23, 15 minutes from her home and the government will be charged for the therapy but not for her bed and meals.  The bottom line for Casa Colina and for others facilities in similar settings is that they make more profit on a patient who they can warehouse at no risk by restricting them to an uncomfortable bed for 24 hours while providing, perhaps, 3 hours of therapy.  It's interesting that my wife arrived at 5 PM on Monday and was not bathed or given a shower until 9:30 Wednesday and the government was charged for the shower as occupational therapy.  Sure Medicare costs can be reduced and services not cut but the private sector won't like it.