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17 Jan

Pity the Poor Doctors

By Walter

I recently received an email from a friend who forwarded the following rant from a doctor:

“Dear Mr. President:
During my shift in the Emergency Room last night, I had the pleasure of evaluating a patient whose smile revealed an expensive shiny gold tooth, whose body was adorned with a wide assortment of elaborate and costly tattoos, who wore a very expensive brand of tennis shoes and who chatted on a new cellular telephone equipped with a popular R&B ring tone. While glancing over her patient chart, I happened to notice that her payer status was listed as “Medicaid”! During my examination of her, the patient informed me that she smokes more than one costly pack of cigarettes every day and somehow still has money to buy pretzels and beer.
“And, you and our Congress expect me to pay for this woman’s health care? I contend that our nation’s “health care crisis” is not the result of a shortage of quality hospitals, doctors or nurses. Rather, it is the result of a “crisis of culture”, a culture in which it is perfectly acceptable to spend money on luxuries and vices while refusing to take care of one’s self or, heaven forbid, purchase health insurance. It is a culture based on the irresponsible credo that “I can do whatever I want to because someone else will always take care of me”. Once you fix this “culture crisis” that rewards irresponsibility and dependency, you’ll be amazed at how quickly our nation’s health care difficulties will disappear.
Respectfully,
STARNER JONES, MD”
I felt compelled to respond, as follows:
16 Jan

Remembering Martin Luther King

By Walter

On this day when we celebrate the life of Martin Luther King and mourn his death, it is at once encouraging that so much progress has been made in terms of racial discrimination and disheartening to realize that so much more remains to be done.  1968 was a traumatic year in many respects, but for those of us who were alive at the time, it’s a bit disorienting to realize that more than half of the present US population were not yet born at the time of King’s assassination. That was a year when Bobby Kennedy was also assassinated. But it was also a year when people rose up, not only to fight against racial discrimination, but also to resist the Vietnam war, to fight for women’s rights, to resist the oppression of gays and lesbians. Will those who were not yet born

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15 Jan

Challenging the Rules of War

By Walter

I keep reading and hearing about “rules of war.” Talk about an oxymoron. Call me naive, but I believe there should be only one rule of war: Don’t do it! Sure, people have been doing it since time immemorial­, but that doesn’t mean they should. One rule of war that makes no sense is that the bodies of the fallen should not be desecrated­. That body has already been desecrated­. It’s dead!

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07 Dec

To Reform or to Replace: That Is the Question

By Walter

To reform, or to replace–that is the question:Whether ’tis nobler in the mind to suffer the slings and arrows of outrageous greed and political control, Or to take arms against a sea of troubles and by opposing end them.

The worldwide movement toward the social coalescence of the human family was recently struck by a lighting bolt of positive energy with the spectacular appearance of the Occupy Wall Street movement which in a matter of weeks spread around the world as an effective vehicle for the expression of discontent on the part of people everywhere. Of particular value was the brilliant evocation of the “99 percent” meme which has served as a spectacular educational device, so much so that the principle it represents is accepted as valid by an overwhelming majority of the population. This puts the movement at a crossroads where it has become necessary to consider the question: Now what?

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02 Dec

Which Way For The “Occupy” Movement?

By Walter

John Heilemann, writing in the December 5 issue of NEW YORK magazine, offers an excellent account of the differences among the leaders of the ‘leaderless’ movement called Occupy Wall Street, or OWS, which occupied Manhattan’s Zuccotti Park for several weeks before being forcefully removed by the New York City Police Department. Heilemann observes that the core group was split between the reformists who were aiming to improve the present system and the radicals who were out to remove it. Now that winter approaches and the movement is likely to desert the streets, the question arises as to which of those views will be ascendent when the movement stirs from its winter hibernation and begins to take to the streets again come spring. 

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01 Dec

A Panicked Move by Desperate Central Banks

By Walter

“Money is not a force of nature. It is a concept, an idea, a figment of the human imagination. And it is real only to the extent that we allow it to rule our lives and our relationships with one another.” — TCGC

Right now, money — the most lethal concept every coughed up by the human imagination — has become the central cause of the world’s dysfunctional economic system. While money is supposed to act as a facilitator of economic activity, in a competitive capitalist society it has facilitated the concentration of wealth instead, thereby slowing demand and decreasing economic activity. Since the capitalist Ponzi scheme requires constant growth, the only way to keep the game going was for the haves to lend money to the have-nots so they could continue to spend while going deeper into debt. When the debt load of individuals became so great that it became clear that it could never be repaid, the only way to keep the game going was to lend money to governments so they could become the spenders of last resort. But now government debt has become so great that there is growing fear that countries defaulting on their sovereign debt could trigger the final collapse of the global financial system, thereby finishing the job that was started when homeowners began defaulting on their home mortgages four years ago. An indication of how serious the situation has become

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30 Nov

Living in a Material World

By Walter

Black Friday has exceeded all expectations! On what has become the most important shopping weekend of the year, at a time when the world financial system is on the verge of collapse and the US economy is suffering from malnutrition, there were 6 percent more shoppers than last year and each shopper spent an average of $400, which was an increase of 9 percent. What is the meaning of this? I see the long lines, the crowds, the pushing and shoving, the mad search for bargains as a result of two troubling factors:

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