104 Days to the End of this Wretched Year

Coping with change is not easy.  Coping with change that involves every aspect of your life, from health to finances to family and friends is almost life threatening.

I started this year on an up note… I was going to attack my health problems head on, starting with an exercise program I could live with.  As usual that fell through about a month into the process.  Partly it was my own damn fault because I could have/should have chosen to go ahead and keep swimming on my own when Joe became unable to go swimming because of his problem with his foot.  But I didn’t because it had been one of the few things we did together out side of sitting at home watching TV or going to the doctor.  So the first resolution to take care of myself went out the window so early in the year it was hardly a memory when along about the 1st of March, I thought I was having a heart attack.

Yep.  That is what I thought.  Chest pain — like an elephant foot pressing into my chest… shooting pains down my left arm.  Jaw pain and neck pain that didn’t want to quit.  I put up with it silently and then one day some talking head on TV in a red dress said “You might be having a heart attack if…” so I made an appointment to see a doctor.  Now this in and of itself was a horrible decision to make.  You see, I have no health insurance.  I have not had health insurance since my husband became disabled in 2009.  We had to give it up at the beginning of 2010 when I was no longer covered by the University’s health insurance policy that we had to pay for to keep Joe alive.  Had I wanted it, the price would have doubled and at the time I thought 57 and more or less healthy — I’ll be fine.

Don’t believe you will be fine without health insurance — especially if you are in your late 50s.  Your chances are not good.  Even if you are relatively healthy, anything can happen.

I blithely went to the doctor, thinking that I was probably going to get an EKG and a scolding for being too fat.  No.  When I walked in and told them my symptoms the Nurse Practitioner, who had started her nursing career in our local hospital’s  Emergency Room, turned me right around and said “Go, NOW to the ER. Do not go home and get your husband, do not go anywhere else, go straight there and tell them what you told me.”  So I did.

I spent the next two days in the hospital having tests on what is called a “step down unit”.  This unit is a one-off from the Intensive Care… your telemetry can be transferred immediately to the Intensive Care unit (conveniently located on the same hall, within steps of your room) if need be.   Ultimately they decided that I had some coronary blockage but not bad enough for bypass just yet, and, worse, anxiety. Severe anxiety.  No kidding… And just to make me more anxious, they sent the social worker by to talk to me about the bill… one that has after a second hospitalization for more chest pains in June, has now risen to the $35000 range.  Hell, if you had my life you’d be anxious too.  But then everyone with anxiety feels that way, or we wouldn’t be anxious, right?

And we’re only up to June.

Why am I anxious?  Well, I am unemployed since September 14, 2009.  I have applied for 97 jobs since then and I have 97 form letter rejections to go with each of those earnestly written cover letters for each of those 97 positions.  With each rejection comes just another tightening of the throat, a little more pressure on the chest and pushes me just a little closer to the acceptance of the inevitable.

What, you may ask in this case is “inevitable”.  Now, this is something I must accept and yet, the first time I wrote these sentences, I used conditionals like “most likely” and “probably”.  I have edited those words out… Here is the inevitable truth that I must accept before I can move on to the next phase of my life:

The inevitable truth of my condition of unemployment is that it is permanent.  I will never work for another person again as long as I live.

Not because I don’t want to, but, because of the length of time the economy will take to recover from the depression that the main stream media and the powers that be refuse to call anything but a “recession” and then only on the darkest days.  This, combined with my age and education makes me the least desirable possible employee.  Another inevitable truth that is coming out of this “depression/recession/downturn” is:

Someone who is old, over-educated and unemployed for over 2 years is UNDESIRABLE.

Recently I read about a petition being circulated to urge Monster.com (and other job websites) to ban advertisements that tell applicants not to apply if they are currently unemployed.  It would seem that some employers have an interesting “policy” that if one has been unemployed for 6 months that one may not apply for the jobs being offered to the general public.  Some how this seems discriminatory — but of course isn’t because “unemployed” is not a protected class.

So what does one do when one finds that she must give up the idea of being an employee and become what? Self-employed? (because I love to work at nothin’ all day?) With all due respect to Bachman Turner Overdrive, I liked going to work…even when I was annoyed.  I find it annoying that there is no work for me, a well educated, hard working, literate human being who actually wants to be in an office or somewhere, productively creating for the good of humankind and receiving remuneration for same.

But, I’m told, I must learn to cope with this change.  The inevitables that aren’t going away.  The lemons that must be made into lemonade.

I used to work for a corporation that arrogantly published the “core values” and then made us all wear them on our name tags so that we could remember what the corporation was trying to accomplish.

Well, I have core values too:

I expect to perform meaningful work for the betterment of humans.

I expect a living wage for the performance of that work.

I expect high quality medical care that keeps me alive and healthy and will not send me to bankruptcy court.

I expect decent housing that is affordable, manageable and maintainable.

I expect city/county/state/federal services that provide sanitation, good roads, clean water and air, and ensures my safety in times of danger.

I expect to pay for these services with reasonable taxes.

I expect honesty from all levels of government.

I want to go on, write a manifesto, a constitution, a declaration… but the very interesting thing is that those things have been written.  We don’t need new ones we need to respect the old ones.

Oooops.  Did I use that word “old” as in “too old” or “outdated” or “unemployed for more than 6 months” … Our world is a dangerous place.  Is it any wonder I am….





Naomi Wolf Scared Me Again

Do you remember the old War On Drugs PSA that said “this is your brain… this is your brain on drugs” and there was something about a frying pan and an egg frying?

That was what I was reminded of when I read Naomi Wolf’s most recent piece in the Huffington Post.  She scared me two years ago – that was my brain – now she’s scared me again – that is my brain on the drug of complacency.

We have to snap out of it NOW.  Otherwise, we will find ourselves living scared constantly.

Several things in the past few weeks have sent up red flags if you are paying attention.  None of this stuff “started” here – but it all will finish We the People if We don’t wake up.

Several weeks back we had the scan and grope by the TSA begin in earnest.  This did offend people.  BUT the mainstream media went out and found plenty of people to stand up in front of a camera for their 10 seconds of fame and say “Oh if it keeps planes from blowing up, I’m for it.”  Does anyone not think this is the modern day equivalent of Hitler keeping the trains running on time?

Earlier this week there was the announcement that Walmart would be running PSAs on behalf of the Homeland Security asking you to report “anything” suspicious.  Other little hotspots in the news on the ‘net have included a woman whose child was asked questions about her blogging activities by Child Protective Services.

I am feeling the Fascist state approaching here – unless of course you want to consider that it is already here.  Websites shut down, watch lists formed –

Just so you don’t have to go back and re-read it, I am going to list Wolf’s ten steps to a Fascist State here.  If you failed to react to them then, perhaps you will now.

The ten steps:

1. Invoke a terrifying internal and external enemy.

terrorism? Wikileaks? North Korea? Iran? Take your pick.

2. Create a gulag

run a Google search on domestic detention camps – much of the stuff was written in the past 4 years but as recently as July 2010 there was an article in a blog on internment camps hiring – see it here.

3. Develop a thug caste (Blackwater USA)

Remember Blackwater?  Well it changed its name to Xe.  Rebranding always works right?  Who would think “Blackwater” with a name like Xe.  Let’s just call it Xe – The thug caste formerly known as Blackwater.

4. Set up an internal surveillance system

Big Brother is everywhere – never forget it.

5. Harass citizens’ groups

Even the Tea Partiers have been listed by TPTB, taking down license plates and photographing people at the rallies.

6. Engage in arbitrary detention and release

Let’s see – how about the radio personality who was detained for hours in a Florida airport because she refused body scanning and pat down?  Just for a start.

7. Target key individuals

When you begin to see “big names” targeted for their activisim, begin to worry – Who?  Oh don’t you remember when Ted Kennedy was placed on the No-Fly list – guess he finally got off the list since his passing.

8. Control the press

Remember you’re reading blogs for news now – don’t depend on MSM for anything but happy talk.

9. Dissent equals treason

One word:  Wikileaks

10. Suspend the rule of law

President Bush suspended Habeas Corpus in 2006 – President Obama may – or may not have reinstated it with his actions regarding the Guantanamo detainees.  Regardless of the status of Habeas Corpus in 2010, the fact that the President of the USofA has a pen that can sign off on any Executive Order he can dream up is enough to keep you awake at night.  Whether it will be this President or the next one remains to be seen.

What is needed RIGHT NOW is for the people of these United States to realize that freedom is theirs if they can keep it and to keep it we must work for it.

Your reading list:

Declaration of Independence

Constitution of the United States

Give Me Liberty: A Handbook for Revolutionaries, Naomi Wolf

The End of America: Letter of Warning to a Young Patriot, Naomi Wolf

© 2010

In a Perfect World…

In a perfect world, especially one we left behind a couple of years ago, one believes in important political “stuff” and continues to believe that “stuff” until one dies.  This is the “My Daddy was a Democrat, my Daddy’s Daddy was a Democrat and my Daddy’s Daddy’s Daddy was a Democrat” line of thinking.

I was that.  My family had always been Democrats.  My parents were invited to the Inauguration of Lyndon Johnson because of their hard work campaigning, donating and generally being “good Democrats”.  I was, at one time a Democratic Precinct Chair in Houston – fifteen years, until I moved from Houston to Kansas.  I was proud of my service then and I am still proud of that service.  I worked well with my Republican counterpart – we made sure that, according to the rules, each party was represented equally when the polls opened their doors every single time there was an election – big or small – National or Local – we were there – donuts and coffee in one hand – poll lists in the other  – figuratively, of course.

If you have ever read any of my previous posts, particularly those before the Presidential election, you may well and rightly assume that I was a Democrat during that election.  I am also proud of that – I believed in what we accomplished – the election of the right person for President.

And today?  Well.  I am sad.  I believe that someone somewhere along the way from then – 2008 – to now – 2010 – someone hijacked the President I believed I elected.  I know there are those who would say that he wasn’t hijacked – this was who he was all along.  Maybe. Maybe you are right.  In one sense, that really doesn’t matter – what matters is that right here, right now, he is doing some things that most of us – We the People – don’t want him and the rest of the government to do – and more importantly, some of those really important promises made when talking about Change We Can Believe In, didn’t happen.

Oh change happened all right.  Change that has caused a huge problem in the financial world, the economic world, and at my front door.  But it is NOT the Change I thought I was signing up for way back in 2008.

I wanted something different – a better version of the USofA – an upheld Constitution – honoring our Declaration of Independence – honesty in government – jobs.  Not billions in cash printed and handed out to corporations and institutions deemed “too big to fail”.

I have big news for all the Minions out there — we’re all “too big to fail” even the minimum wage earners – why? because if We the People don’t have jobs, and thereby earn money, we don’t spend money and then, after a while, no one has a job – we’ve all failed.

The shock of all this is that I used to believe that our President and our Congress and our Supreme Court could and, more importantly, would do something right and for US – We The People –  and now I don’t.  I am not sure we can recover from this.  The shock is too great.

Many still say that 9/11 was a wake-up call for America.  That we came out of our long sleep and realized that “they” were out to get “US”.  Perhaps for The Powers that Be, it was – I mean – TPTB took us to war over it.  But for the rest of We the People – well – we went back to sleep – hopeful that TPTB would take care of things as they always have – and they did.  Only now that we are awakening once more, we are seeing that TPTB’s new clothes are, well, not there. We are beginning to understand that the way “they” take care of things are not the way we WANT them to take care of things.  Unfortunately, along the way, they took away some of those inalienable rights that our Declaration of Independence talks about -abrogated rights afforded by our Constitution.  Many of the liberties we assumed were ours are going, going or gone.  We could make a list of the ones most important to us – like the right not to be touched in public by a uniformed person wearing latex gloves – or better – the right not to have our minor children touched in public by unformed persons wearing latex gloves.  Everyone in that little scenario is a victim.  Us, the kids, and even the uniformed person (remember, our ire at their action creates a hostile work environment for them – and if you think they’ll make a difference by refusing to grope us, well there are others to step into their jobs after they are fired for not doing their job – personally I’d rather have the person who doesn’t want to be searching me or my kid doing the searching over the one who does want to do it.)

So now what?

I have more to say – you knew I would – but for now, I will refer you back to a couple of articles I wrote when that Other President was in charge and things seemed so scary:

Naomi Wolf Scared Me


Habeas Corpus

Years ago, in a political science class I took, at night, at University of Houston, the professor required a particular book of us called The People Shall Judge it was a good book – the fact that I still remember a textbook used so long ago just speaks to that – but more importantly, every time she would finish a discussion of some right of the government to govern us – We The People – she would say, “Who shall judge?” then pause for dramatic affect and finish with, “The people shall judge.”

Let us remember that We The People have freedom only when we work to keep it.

© 2010