Inhumane Humanity

Of all the preposterous assumptions of humanity over humanity, nothing exceeds most of the criticisms made on the habits of the poor by the well-housed, well-warmed, and well-fed. --Herman Melville

Friday, January 21, 2011


All change requires, to use a worn out phrase a “paradigm shift.” In order for America to rise again we need a change in focus at the very foundation and what better place to start than with the educational process in the U.S?

As for me, I think there’s far more to Shaw’s message than what we get on the first pass; “Youth is wasted on the young.” I am completely convinced that the same is true for education, it is wasted on the young, not because they don’t want it or because they’re lazy, in the U.S. education is NOT education rather a mass communal attempt to teach conformity in preparation for production and contribution to the GDP.

For those of us who have had an opportunity to carry on conversations with a person who has been educated in another country, the difference is not only noticeable, it’s stark and it’s not a simple matter of being better in the sciences, math, etc., it’s knowledge literally of global proportions. People in other countries understand the roles they play in the massive community of Earth and they understand it far beyond the warped perspectives we’re taught in our schools. In essence, the United States IS NOT “the most important,” “the best,” “God’s chosen,” “the shining light of democracy.” We’re part of a picture much larger than “ME,” me being the U.S. and until we educate our citizens for the sake of knowledge rather than production, we’ll remain isolationists by design, whether or not we wish to be isolated.

First: The extreme nationalism shoved down our throats should never enter the picture in our education, yet it permeates the very air we breathe from day one of our education. This is indoctrination of epic proportions NOT education. Our history lessons are a scam, intended to blind us with hegemonic lenses so dark, we can't see beyond the noses that hold them to our eyes, our schools are bastions of political discourse absorbed through surreptitious, perhaps even sinister efforts.

Secondly, consider this: Our educational system as we see it today was developed (coincidentally????) in conjunction with the Industrial Revolution. Both are products of the mid 19th century. Coincidence? I think not! Our system was designed to mass create producers to fill the frenzied development of factories. It was the new tool for the corporate elite; human capital at their disposal, people who were once very independent and self-sufficient, a type of people that DO NOT work well in factories, offices or production lines. Orwellian robots, mass-produced to in turn mass-produce.

In the late 19th century when our current “system” of education was being developed, many very well educated people were adamantly opposed to the direction the system was being designed. Ralph Waldo Emerson, for example: “We learn nothing rightly until we learn the symbolical character of life….I believe that our own experience instructs us that the secret of Education lies in respecting the pupil. It is not for you to choose what he shall know, what he shall do. It is chosen and foreordained, and he only holds the key to his own secret. By your tampering and thwarting and too much governing he may be hindered from his end and kept out of his own. Respect the child. Wait and see the new product of Nature. Nature loves analogies, but not repetitions. Respect the child. Be not too much his parent. Trespass not on his solitude.”


Emerson understood the connection between successful, effective education and individual interests. He feared, rightfully so, that we were heading down a path of mass production; an assembly line mass-producing human Model Ts rather than an effort to turn out human Bugattis.

In the U.S., our propensity towards mediocrity is a harsh representation of our failed education (and it has NOTHING to do with failing teachers, but with our singularly designed system); our wide-spread intolerance, social class position and indifference are results of missing pieces of the knowledge puzzle, because we’re guided towards conformity and confusion rather than individualism and confidence.

Who truly enjoys “education” at a young age and why do we not enjoy it?

From day one, we are force-fed disconnected groups of “stuff.” We’re expected to digest that stuff from what the education bureaucracy assembles and in turn, we assemble what the bureaucracy wants, in factories, offices and assembly lines. Many children are not pre-disposed to be assembly line workers, accountants, finance advisors, etc. yet they’re forced into a mass of producers much in the way George Orwell envisioned in his novel 1984. We have become exactly what he wrote of, an oligarchical, collectivist society with two interests in mind – produce and consume. And the sad thing is, the vast majority of Americans don’t even realize that we are now his vision come to life.

I was a product of our “wonderful” educational system. I learned absolutely nothing from school; until I was ready, in my mid 40s. It was then that I understood the correlation between life and education and that education is not a means to an end or for production, but a means to a better world on the whole. Connecting life’s experiences and an understanding of the purpose of education comes early for some and later for others, but in our system, we ignore the individual’s propensities and give him/her what we want them to have. And how convenient it is that it fits so well into the game of the powered elite and the corporations in which we produce the wealth for them!

We don’t enjoy education because it is forced upon us in a manner that many, many children are not predisposed to learn or accept. Later on that subject in a moment.

Post-traumatic Stress Disorder:

We all know what that is by now; we all know that many combat veterans suffer from it; we know that people who have been subjected to horrific incidents suffer from it: 9-11, airliner crashes, tornadoes, hurricanes, earthquakes, etc., but there’s another cause of PTSD.

“Posttraumatic stress disorder is more prevalent than previously believed, and is often persistent. Progress in estimating age-at-onset distributions, cohort effects, and the conditional probabilities of PTSD from different types of trauma will require future epidemiologic studies to assess PTSD for all lifetime traumas rather than for only a small number of retrospectively reported "most serious" traumas.”

PTSD is not simply a symptom of “major trauma,” often people experience PTSD who are placed into situations for which they are not psychologically "wired' to handle and that can include situations as seemingly benign as an artist forced into a highly structured, repetitive environment, i.e. processing the millions upon millions of parts for machines sold in mass across the world, or processing mail. Getting the connection here? Some people “go postal” because they cannot handle the stress of a highly structured and monotonous process when their propensity is towards something else. We’ve all been there, mostly unknowingly so. School!

Why don’t many of us enjoy the educational system? We’re forced into a highly structured, monotonous situation designed for one thing and one thing only – production. An artist is forced to grasp algebra when all he/she wants to learn is how to be a better painter, sketcher or sculptor. A philosopher is forced to learn how chemicals interact. An anthropologist is forced to learn poetry and a scientist is forced into literature, etc…..

I firmly believe that our very educational system is the root cause of our social disorder, just as in Orwell’s 1984, we are rebelling against a society in which we don’t matter, against an unseen force, the oligarchy of the elite corporatists, who need producers, not individuals. Gun violence is not about guns anymore than violence committed with a knife is about knives it’s about a social illness that is so prevalent in our culture that our culture is on the verge of destruction.

Soldiers are forced to act against the most basic human level of decency there is, to preserve life, by killing others and most often doing so without apparent reason in the individual’s mind and sadly, PTSD is often manifest as a result. People who go through the mundane routine of turning the alarm off at 6:30 AM, taking a piss, brushing our teeth, shaving, showering, dressing, grabbing a donut on the way to work to perform for 8 to 10 hours, returning home to make an attempt towards normalcy for a couple of hours, only to restart the process over and over experience the same phenomenon. “Going postal” is PTSD created by a routine in which we must participate in order to survive in a society built around mass consumption and many of us are simply not predisposed for what this oligarchy is forcing us into.

In John Taylor Gatto’s “The Seven Lesson School Teacher” he enumerates exactly what teachers do today:

  1. Teach confusion  
  2. Reinforce class position  
  3. Promote indifference  
  4. Create emotional dependency  
  5. Force intellectual dependency  
  6. Instill provisional self-esteem  
  7. Create paranoia 
Everyone who reads this blog should read Gatto’s essay on this matter and you too will see the reason as clear as the air you wish you could breathe, our society is imploding upon itself and it’s not because we’re born to be violent, we’re taught to be violent through total disregard for our conscious selves, our metaphysical lives and it begins taking place the moment we walk through the hallowed doors of our educational institutions.

Can America rise again? 

Certainly, but we must start at the very foundation and rebuild. Simply placing bandaids over the sore spots do nothing but hide them from view, they will remain sore regardless of how many bandaids we apply. Starting over is going to be a necessity and one very basic block of laying that new foundation is education. 

Teaching children to contribute to the world in a manner that is best suited for them will ensure success, reduce violence and will surely make them better world citizens through understanding beyond our own borders. Our democracy will thrive, for we’ll be a nation focused upon people rather robotic producing and consuming users with no regard for others. Teaching one to be a human being of their natural choice is far simpler and much more important than forcing a human being to be an object of absolute obedience and conformity, blind to all but the needs of the "machine."

IMAGINE! What we could do if all our educational efforts went towards a better world rather than a fatter wallet.


Monday, January 17, 2011


The old advertising slogan ‘Guinness is good for you’ is actually true it seems.

While Diageo, the manufacturer, makes no health claims for the product, scientific research shows a pint of Guinness a day is actually good for your health.

Indeed it may work as well as a low dose of aspirin to prevent heart attacks.

Researchers at the University of Wisconsin made the discovery recently.

The Wisconsin scientists gave Guinness to dogs who had narrowed arteries. They found the Guinness worked as well as aspirin in preventing clots forming.

The researchers told a convention of the American Heart Association in Orlando, Florida, that a pint of Guinness taken at meal time had the best impact.

They believe that antioxidant compounds in the Guinness are responsible for the health benefits because they decrease harmful cholesterol gathering on the artery walls.

Science is my hero! And it tastes sooo much better than aspirin.

So here you go - have a couple.

Thursday, January 06, 2011

RW005s Trojan Horses

Trojan Horses are not only inserted into bills as they’re developed, the “horses” are very often developed later as a result of those bills too.
To fully understand the health care system in the U.S. today, one must understand, or at least see the history of health care in the U.S.

Sick smileMy very encapsulated history lesson for you today:

Major advancements were made in medicine in the world in 19th and 20th centuries, most of which we all know about, but prior to these advancements, doctors, in particular, surgeons  were  typically barbers (hence the red and white striped barber poles – representing bloody bandages.  The Catholic Church saw surgery as a sin against the sanctity of God’s creation), herbalists and alchemists.  Cocaine and opium were not only legal, they were common household remedies.

As the practice of medicine changed and improved, doctors were no longer expected to provide their skills as a public service and began charging patients.  The change was not a particularly welcome change among the less fortunate; we had begun our trek towards health care for those who could buy it.

Most don’t know it, but health care reform was born as early as 1910 as the labor unions and progressives became keenly aware of the pending social imbalance, but even then, special interest groups, especially the blossoming of a very prestigious group - doctors with their newly formed AMA were of course deeply opposed to any reforms.  Those special interests and WWI derailed all reformation attempts.

The Great Depression resulted in the passage of the Social Security Act and yet, health care insurance was but a ramrod idea taken on by Blue Cross in a few states, for those who could afford it.

WWII began and in order to entice those left at home to join the workforce in the massive U.S. war industry, employers began offering employees health care benefits.  After the war President Truman proposed a national health program. Guess who came to the party with a bad attitude – the AMA.  Some in the House of Representatives even called the concept a Communist plot.

15 short years later, in the early 1960s, there were in excess of 700 insurance companies selling health insurance policies, doctors had long become the new class of wealthy, hospital costs doubled and doctors were becoming high-cost specialists.  The health care industry was becoming an out-of-control concept as the industry sold themselves to those who could afford the coverage or the care. Suddenly, we became a nation of very sick people and using the new, massive and very powerful industry to make ourselves well was, well a must.

As with any resource, the growing consumption creates a need for better products and higher volume.  Advances in pharmaceuticals, technology (pharmaceutical and high-tech companies even began advertising campaigns directly to consumers), education and the smell of vast profits was sweet-smelling chum in the water and demand drove the industry into a feeding frenzy through the 1970s and 80s.

In an effort to control rising costs, payments to hospitals are changed by Medicare to "Diagnostic Regulatory Groups” (DRGs) wherein hospitals are paid by diagnoses rather than an all-out free-for-all treatment and private insurance industries follow suit.  Capitation of payments are created to control the high expenses of doctor visit.

To combat these infringements upon their fair share of profits, hospitals began to incorporate into huge health care conglomerates and in a conflict of interest that would be obvious to most over the age of 3 years old, insurance companies, doctors and hospitals began partnering, creating a hybrid industry of doctor and insurance-owned hospitals and health care became a frightening dragon on the horizon, but the feds all but ignored them, until that is, they begin committing Medicare fraud faster than Leisure Suit Larry could pick up chicks at the discos.

Enter the feds “to our aid.”

Regulatory Agencies:

Regulatory agencies have a major propensity to increase costs, precisely due to what RW005s post illuminates – Trojan Horses, or regulatory capture. The Wiki article very effectively provides a bit of insight into the impacts of these “regulatory agencies” and suddenly, health care is now, arguably, the most regulated industry in the nation.  The only industry that can boast similar regulatory efforts is the financial industry and we’ve recently witnessed the effectiveness (or truly the lack thereof) and the impact those  “regulations” have had on our lives.

Just as with international policy and affairs, domestic policies often create blowback and we’re witnessing major domestic blowback in the form of health care and now government is trying to appease the goliath insurance and health care industries while presenting the consumers with smoke and mirrors.  Again!

A major contributor to health care costs are the COLASSAL bureaucracies created within and for the government.  Our political officers have learned all too well how to generate fiefdoms from our needs related to health care.
Just try to comprehend of the “depth” of this name alone “United States Department of Health and Human Services, Health Resources and Services Administration, Bureau of Health Professions, National Center for Health Workforce Analysis.”
There are literally scores if not hundreds of agencies, most of which either compete with one another, or carry out their frequently overlapping agendas, at a very hefty price to you and me.

AND these agencies don’t begin to scratch the surface in comparison to the cost of; “support” industries generated to “aid” the host industry (in this case, health care) with compliance.  Plus, the vast requirements of manpower within the industry simply to manage the mandates of regulatory agencies is incomprehensible to many.
Some examples:
Although not directly employed by the feds, The Joint Commission (TJC) (formerly “Joint Commission on Accreditation of Health Care Organizations, or JCAHO) supplements the fed’s ability to regulate the industry and, in theory, is a voluntary membership for hospitals designed to monitor and improve care within hospitals (however, I can attest to the fact that patient care has NOT improved since the creation of TJC).  There are multiple “voluntary” organizations related to health care organizations including NCQA, ACHC, etc.…. and it can vary from state to state.  Membership is voluntary, however, any hospital that does not pay the required membership fees will not receive payments from Medicare or Medicaid, a vital source of revenue for all hospitals.  The average cost to a hospital for a TJC “survey” is $43,000.00, fees are based upon the size of the hospital.  Surveys are now conducted in cycles ranging from 18 to 39 months, 18 being the least amount of time between surveys, 39 the most.

In 2008, the Joint Commission collected $165 million in revenue, mainly from the fees it charges U.S. health care organizations for evaluating their compliance with federal regulations. Its expenses during this period were $162 million. TJC lost $27 million.  And who pays for those losses?
The list of regulatory agencies and acts in health care is very long and tedious (FDA, TJC, AHRQ, CMS, CDC, HIPAA, OSHA, EPA, HRSA,…….) and impacts literally every function of a hospital’s activity, form purchasing supplies to mopping the floors, yet; has our health care truly improved in the decades following the healthcare upheaval begun in the 1980s?   I can assure you, regardless of what the industry leaders and our corporate-biased government tells us, it has not.  Just take a look at some comparative health care information.

Due to CMS and Medicare HCPCS, I’ve seen staffing in hospital billing offices swell to biblical proportions just to capture all charges possible from Medicare and even private insurance companies.

Due to HIPAA, I’ve seen scores of people hired in medical records departments or consulting firms contracted simply to ensure that HIPAA requirements are met.  Very large software corporations have developed in response to HIPAA requirements.
IT departments in hospitals are growing at twice the rate of health care providers such as nurses, med techs, etc. just to keep up with the IT requirements of government.

Administrative departments have grown in the number of executives and their support personnel.

The ONLY areas of health care I haven’t seen grow are the front line caregivers – nurses, medical techs, etc.   In fact, those areas are under incredible strain as a result of very high stress levels of caring for patients under new regulations that place bureaucratic functions on the shoulders of those caregivers, taking their attention and time away from caring for patients.

Medical errors, especially medication administration errors, as a result of nursing staff’s inability to manage patients and the absurd mountains of paperwork required by all this ‘government coming to the aid of Joe the Public” are reaching epidemic proportions.  Front line caregivers are no longer there to care.

And now you know why your care is substandard and even deadly in hospitals.  It is not the fault of the caregivers, they are simply too overwhelmed with the real functions of hospitals - conducting business to care.

As of 2007, the U.S. spent 16% of its GDP on health care, yet we stand alone in the world in being the only developed nation not providing UNIVERSAL HEALTH CARE (this is vastly different than, to coin the phrase “Obamacare,” wherein the political machine merely constructed the usual smoke and mirrors to keep the public placated).

In 2007, 15.3% of the nation had no health care benefits at all, that was 45.7 million people.  These are GOVERNMENT statistics!  Believe them if you wish, but like unemployment figures, there’s more than what they like us to see and I suspect the numbers were much worse than those published.

And these figures are from 2007, PRIOR TO THE ECONOMIC MELTDOWN!

Is the U.S. truly looking for healthcare for all?  Or is it BUSINESS AS USUAL?