McCamy Taylor's Journal
Member since: Tue Nov 9, 2004, 06:05 PM
Number of posts: 14,669
Number of posts: 14,669
Here is my fiction website: http://home.earthlink.net/~mccamytaylor/ My political cartoon site: http://www.grandtheftelectionohio.com/
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There is no gray area here. Medical professionals are bound by an oath to "do no harm." When they devise ways to rape prisoners via "rectal hydration", when they supervise torture to make sure that it does not result in death or a prisoner who is too permanently impaired to serve as CIA witness or operative, when they interrogate prisoners under guise of providing mental health services, they have done harm. Massive harm. They have done harm using the skills they were taught during their medical training.
If a doctor or nurse or psychologist decides that he or she can best serve the country by participating in torture, then that med professional must be willing to give up his license to practice on anyone else. Ever. Because who among us would trust a doctor or nurse or therapist who knowingly tortured?
Each state has a medical board to keep us safe from quacks, hacks and criminal doctors. We have a board to make sure that the ICU nurse taking care of Grandma does not have a drug problem. Our therapists are licensed, and we demand that our states make sure that they follow certain ethical guidelines. If a psychologist uses info she has obtained in sessions in order to get close to a client and start a sexual relationship, she loses her license. Shouldn't a psychologist who uses info obtained in sessions in order to devise better ways to torture a prisoner get the same treatment?
This is not merely a matter of punishing the guilty. Our government has been entrusted with the job of protecting the public health. They check food to make sure that it is safe to consume. They check medications to make sure that quality control measures are being followed. They examine hospitals to ensure that facilities are safe. They license health care providers to protect us from harm.
We are oh so very vulnerable when we seek health care. We tell our doctor everything---about our drug use, our mental health issues, our sexual infidelities. We give our trust to---and place our lives in the hands of strangers when we go to the hospital emergency room.
A doctor who has committed a felony completely unrelated to medical practice is very likely to lose his or her license. Can we allow those who have committed war crimes to keep them? Whether or not you think that these folks are patriots, you must admit that they have shown a massive lack of human empathy. They have basic character flaws which make them unsafe as medical practitioners. Do you want to take the chance that one day you might (unknowingly) walk into the office of a doctor who used to torture for the CIA? Do you?
Do you want your son or daughter's life in the hands of a doctor who has proven himself willing to violate basic medical ethics, because a superior told him to? A professional does not answer to a "superior". A professional answers to his or her own conscience. Someone who once tortured because a superior told him to might recommend a surgery you do not need because a hospital administrator told him to. She might deny you a test you need because an insurance exec told her to. A health care professional who pleads "It wasn't me. I was just doing what I was told" is no longer a professional, because she is not there to serve you, she is there to serve someone else.
Posted by McCamy Taylor | Sat Dec 13, 2014, 02:56 PM (9 replies)
Funny how Banksters are allowed to use words like "labor" and "capital", but when folks like me try to talk about the same topics, we are called "commie" and "red." Well, I am about to get red in the face here.
'Blankfein said that we have to accept these technological shifts and adjust to them. “I wouldn’t want to regret it, no sooner than I would want to curse the tides,” he said.'
Goldman Sach's CEO is talking about the tides that are taking the wealth of the laboring classes---the middle class, you and me--and handing it to the wealthiest folks on earth, the investors who sit on their butts all day making deals that make them some extra money that they can never spend---at the expense of the jobs that are the life blood of American workers.
Back in the old days, they had names for the guys who waited on the shore for ships to crash, so that they could plunder the goods that were washed onto the beach. And they had names for those who did not want to wait for nature to do its worst. These criminals would put up fake "lighthouse" lights in order to lure unwary ships into dangerous waters in order to engineer a wreck so that they could "salvage" (read "steal") the cargo.
The Banksters are doing the same thing to our economy. They are engineering the Shipwreck of the American Dream, costing millions their jobs, their homes, their health, their families---all for a few more bucks. What do you call someone who makes the entire ship go down with its crew in order to turn over a little profit? I call them short sighted, since without the consumer and the worker, there is no ship.
Posted by McCamy Taylor | Thu Dec 11, 2014, 03:21 PM (0 replies)
We didn't rape and torture prisoners. We didn't allow a man to die of hypothermia in custody. We didn't start a warrantless domestic wiretap program before 9-11, or use 9-11 as an excuse to fulfill the plan set out in the Project for the New America Century, namely the "liberation" of Iraq's oil.
But fellow Americans did.
We didn't shoot an unarmed young man for the crime of wearing a hoodie while being Black. Or choke the life from a middle aged man for the crime of being overweight and unhealthy while being Black. We didn't blow away a child for the crime of holding a toy gun while being Black.
But fellow Americans did.
We didn't do this:
And we didn't do this:
And we certainly didn't do this (because it happened before we were born):
But fellow Americans did. And if we shelter those who committed these crimes, if we give them aid and deny their victims justice, then we really are no better than they are. And all those words about "inalienable rights" and "all men created equal" are just words with no more meaning than the latest slogan for a diet soda. And the rest of the world has every right to condemn us all as war criminals and mass murderers.
If you think you are better than "this" ask yourself why Henry Kissinger is a free and very wealthy man while Trayvon Martin is dead.
Posted by McCamy Taylor | Thu Dec 11, 2014, 02:44 AM (10 replies)
I don't think I need to say more. Do I?
And, if I do need to say more, what does it say to us about our country and our party? Do you think that the fact that a member of our party is in the White House at the moment means that we should not rock the boat? That's treating politics---the lives and well beings of our fellow human beings---as a team sport. Sure, the Republicans will blame the Democrats for the blowback---violence aimed at Americans in Muslim countries. Sure, the press will tell us that Obama and the Democratic Senate are responsible for every US flag that gets burned, because the torture report was released on their watch. They will urge us to put it all behind us and Move On. They will warn that trials will uncover more atrocities and fan the flames of third world anger and violence, and we don't want that, do we?
Do we want Cheney and Bush held liable for what they condoned? Yes, I know that the report absolves them of guilt. That's because the CIA worships the Bush family. They are willing to take a bullet for George Sr. and his brood of pampered children. The report is, in itself, a whitewash of the war crimes committed by the Bush/Cheney White House. Unless we get someone outside of politics as usual, an independent prosecutor to investigate, we will never uncover the truth---
And, when Brother Jeb finally steals his own presidential election, the war crimes will start all over again. Which is the real reason that we have war crimes tribunals. The dead are beyond helping. The victims do not magically forget their ordeal once the guilty are brought to justice. We hold war crimes trials, like those at Nuremberg, so that it will Never Happen Again.
In 1973, Noam Chomsky warned us what was going to happen under Bush/Cheney. He did it in a piece called "Watergate: A Skeptical View"
But it is likely that the major long-term consequence of the present confrontation between Congress and the President will be to establish executive power still more firmly. Nixon's legal strategy is probably a winning one, if not for him (for he has violated the rules), then for the position that the Presidency is beyond the reach of the law. Kleindienst, Ehrlichman, and Nixon's lawyers have laid the issue out squarely. In spite of their occasional disclaimers, the import of their position is that the President is subject to no legal constraints. The executive alone determines when and whom to prosecute, and is thus immune. When issues of national security are invoked, all bars are down.
Welcome to the future that Chomsky imagined in 1973, a world in which baseball players are subject to Congressional investigation and federal prosecution for using steroids, but those who commit war crimes are treated as patriots---good team players. Enjoy your stay in 1984---or do something about it.
Posted by McCamy Taylor | Tue Dec 9, 2014, 02:59 PM (43 replies)
Worst headline ever.
Posted by McCamy Taylor | Sat Dec 6, 2014, 03:30 PM (66 replies)
Capitalism deliberately marginalizes certain workers in order to keep them trapped in low wage, no benefits jobs. This pool of low income workers allows employers to cut wages for all workers, even the so called "empowered" white heterosexual males.
This is all you need to know about the various -isms in the US---and it is what we need to know if we are to fight it. The communists were right. Note that the communists were also the only folks to take a stand for the Scottsboro defendants. That's because once you see the economic forces working behind the scene to create myths about gender and race, the myths themselves cease to have meaning.
Michael Brown was killed, because the Koch Brothers need low wage, no benefit workers for Dixie Cup.
Posted by McCamy Taylor | Wed Dec 3, 2014, 01:06 PM (4 replies)
and that stories like these are Stories (i.e. something that people read and discuss) because they are about a Black man and they further the Big Lie that all Black men are hypersexed subhuman animals who must be controlled, denied an education, slapped with drug use convictions and kept in minimum wage no benefits jobs for the protection of society and the greater good (i.e. profits) of their employers. That is my belief. And here is my evidence
1. J. Edgar Hoover's efforts to sexualize MLK in order to end his career as a political activist.
2. Jack Johnson, boxer. They could not knock him out in the ring, so they filed Mann Act charges.
3. Brian Banks
Years later, Banks said that his lawyer advised him to take the plea deal, saying, "When you go into that courtroom, the jury is going to see a big black teenager and you're automatically going to be assumed guilty."
4. Tiger Woods
5. Michael Jackson
6. Scottsboro Boys: That was such a Great Story that when one of the accusers recanted in court, the white jury voted to convict anyway. They liked the Story better than the truth.
Oh, and Black women are portrayed as hypersexual, too.
Posted by McCamy Taylor | Sun Nov 23, 2014, 01:39 PM (42 replies)
---while the privates collect premium checks from those of us who do not use our insurance. And the privates set the premiums and we are forced to pay them.
For decades the private insurers have counted upon the government to take over the care--and cost for the health care of all the truly sick folks. They do this by tying your insurance to your job. Too sick to work? Congratulations, you now go on Social Security disability or Medicaid.
In the US we spend twice as much per person per year on health care as any other country. Half of that money is federal (i.e. comes out of our tax coffers). Half is private. Basically, we have two health care finance systems, one a socialized system just like the ones in France and Canada and the other a massive for profit system.
The private insurers make money by cherry picking healthy members. Now that they can no longer exclude those with illness, they stand to lose money (or at least make less). But they can not just come out and say "We don't want to insure the sick and needy." That would make them sound like mercenary bastards.
So, instead, we will be told "We would love to write you a policy for affordable insurance. But that nasty old Congress told us that we have to write a policy for your neighbor with congestive heart failure (CHF) and that is going to cost us a a lot of money, so you have to help pay for your neighbor's care with higher premiums."
This being America, the predictable response is "Hey, don't make my private insurer write a policy for my neighbor with heart failure. Then I can pay less! His heart failure is not my problem. Why should I pay for it?" Except...
...you will pay for it. The way the system works now, the guy with CHF will eventually get on Medicare. Or Medicaid. Or both. And you, the taxpayer will pay for his care.
No problem, you say. I don't pay much tax. The rich folks will pay for his CHF care. My premiums will be small.
That is exactly what the privates want you to say. Then, you will pressure Congress to remove the portion of the ACAs that forces insurers to accept all applicants at more or less the same rate. Except there will still be a mandate for you to buy insurance---and you may get a nasty case of sticker shock when you see just how much the privates want to charge you for health insurance once they discover that you have existing acne.
Be glad we have a Democratic president to veto any legislation that comes out of the next Congress. Because the private health insurance industry is going to be hard at work trying to pervert the ACA so that they can use it to force you to buy their insurance---and force you off their insurance when you start costing them money. And they will start by astro-turfing---by enlisting a bunch of folks to say "Hey, my premiums are too high! My insurer would charge me less if he could exclude those with pre-existing conditions."
Posted by McCamy Taylor | Mon Nov 17, 2014, 02:38 PM (1 replies)
(And yes, there are still a lot of them, thanks to the states that refused the Medicaid expansion like my own state of Texas)
All health care for the poor is not the same. There are two, almost opposed rationales for indigent health care in this country.
Indigent Health Serves the Poor
There are two missions of any publicly funded endeavor to improve the health of the poor. One is a humanitarian goal---help those who are less fortunate than ourselves with their health problems which cause them pain, disability, loss of enjoyment of their family and lives and premature death. This aspect of public health is especially popular when it comes to children and the elderly and is probably why we have had Medicare for so long and why SCHIP was passed a decade before we tackled health care for working adults. As LBJ said back in the 1960s (more or less) it ain't right when Grandma has to suffer needlessly after she spent her life taking care of us. And no one wants to see a child suffer from medical neglect.
In between the helplessness of childhood and the golden years, there are working poor, many of whom are poor precisely because they have inherited diseases such as asthma, arthritis, heart disease, diabetes, sleep disorders and other problems that caused them to be raised in poverty, missed education opportunities, forced them into low paying, no benefit jobs at early ages to support their ailing parents and then struck them in the prime of their life when they had no insurance either, leaving their own families vulnerable. These folks are another excellent reason why bleeding heart you know what's like me believe that we should care for the health of the poor.
And there is a side benefit of showing compassion for those who are poor in an affluent society. Wealth disparity is a health problem in itself. If you tell poor folks "You don't count" their burden of certain stress related illnesses---including mental illness and substance abuse and domestic violence---goes up. Compassion that is true compassion---not crumbs tossed down from on high but a helping hand offered in a sense of brotherhood can go a long way towards showing those who have had some bad breaks in life that they still have something of value to offer. We saw a lot of this during the Great Depression, when the photographers of the WPA showed us a Poor America that looked just like ourselves--- with a family, with a farm, poor through no fault of its own. We held out our hands. We got through the hard times. We created Social Security. As a nation, we got stronger. And richer. The fifties and sixties were times of prosperity for all, thanks to the compassion we showed one another during our worst of times.
Indigent Healthcare Protects Society Against the Poor
Then, there is the other argument for public health. We pay for public health to protect hard working, tax paying citizens from the consequences of the diseases of the poor. Infectious disease is at the top of this list. Those who espouse public health as self-protection want all those breeders and their "little nits" immunized. When they get diseases such as Tb, they want them treated so that they do not cough and spread it at the mall. They want the mentally ill to have a place to go to be treated so that they do not exercise their right to buy a gun and shoot up the mall. They do not want to see people die on the streets of heart attacks---it might disturb our kids. They want to make sure that their minimum wage workers without benefits will be healthy enough to go in to their jobs (think Wall-Mart). These people begrudge the poor anything that is "given" to them---but they realize that if the poor do not receive at least a few crumbs of health care, we could all go down in a big epidemic of drug resistant Tb.
They believe that the poor should be content with second rate health care delivered by doctors in training. If a resident or medical student makes a mistake---ah, who cares? It's just a poor, uninsured undocumented immigrant who should not be here anyway. And the student has learned a valuable lesson that he will carry with him when he treats real hard working insured Americans later. Since people learn from their mistakes better than they learn from being told, this type of health care system is not too cautious. Let them learn is their motto. If something really bad happens--say, a patient dies needlessly, due to a system wide failure---then a new policy is put into place. This is called being reactive. But since mistakes in and of themselves are ok as long as you are treating an undeserving population and no one actually dies or suffers permanent harm, there is no need to be proactive. That's for paying patients at private hospitals.
The poor should be grateful for whatever scraps they get and not even think about asking for more. Or for the same standard of care that folks with real insurance get---you know, like access to the same tests and treatments for diseases, say transplants or sleep apnea treatment or home health or hospice, because rationing of health care resources is unethical when it comes to you and me but it is the rule of the land when it comes to the poor.
The members of this second group of health providers are the ones who have screaming fits when they discover that public health dollars are being spent to pay for pain medication for poor folks. In my own state of Texas, the Medical Board has decreed that patients in pain have a right to have their pain evaluated and treated with effective medications and other therapies. However, at some public health facilities the poor are not extended this right, because "The poor are not good candidates for treatment with opiate pain medications. They may be tempted to sell their meds." Real quote--one that led me to question my place in my current place of employment. How can a public health worker espouse this value? Easy. This is "protect the public from the poor" type thinking. If the poor are treated for pain, some of them may sell their drugs---oh, to buy milk or cereal for the kids--at which point society as a whole has a prescription drug problem. So, the poor lose their right to be treated for pain, because they are statistically more likely to need money and opiate pain medications can be sold for money.
There are, of course, flaws with this reasoning. People in pain are unlikely to sell their pain pills. They need them. The poor are no more likely to break the law than people with money. Real drug dealers are seldom poor. The doctors who will not prescribe pain meds to the poor probably have any number of "dealers" that they see and for whom they prescribe opiates--they just do not imagine that the sweet little white haired grandmother could possibly be a dealer. Because they are convinced that only members of certain racial minorities sell their pills.
Members of group two are especially enamored of "Bio-terrorism" public health spending, because it protects us and diverts resources that might otherwise be squandered on the poor. Remember what the Puritans knew and many Baptists know---the poor are poor because God assigned them to the ranks of the damned before they were born and their poverty in life is a mark of their damnation and any attempt by the rest of us to alleviate their physical suffering is 1) unGodly and 2) like spitting in the wind so why bother? If God wanted them to be born free of genetic disorders in an affluent suburb with access to good schools with a skin color that would not get them shot dead for making a poor fashion choice, He would have arranged things that way. Note, you do not have to be a Baptist American to look down upon the American poor. Physicians from other countries sometimes see poverty in America and they roll their eyes and tell you that poor people in their home country are much more poor in an absolute sense, but they do not drink or smoke. People from countries which have a problem with poverty but not with wealth disparity do not understand that being poor in a country that is wealthy is a disease in and of itself---one that scars you from a very young age.
If you are going to toss down some crumbs of health care to the poor, make sure that they have to scramble for them. Make it clear that they are getting these crumbs because you want to give them, not because they deserve them---otherwise, they might get a false sense of their own importance, in which case they might demand the right to start dictating how all those public health dollars are being spent---and we all know that public health administrators have a God given right to play with all that money any way they want, including awarding contracts on the basis of nepotism rather than the ability to deliver quality care. Which is more important? Keeping poor people healthy or doing a favor for the guy you play golf with?
Oh, I almost forgot the most important function of publicly funded indigent healthcare--to keep the uninsured out of private hospitals and doctors' offices. Why are rural hospitals closing in red states? There are no county hospital ERs. Big cities---which have big medical centers---feel the economic pressure to create county hospitals for the poor. If they don't, they face losing all their big private hospitals and doctors to the suburbs.
Is There a Happy Middle Ground?
Probably. Somewhere. But it may be hard to find in a state like Texas that refused the Medicaid expansion. A state that Just Said No to billions of dollars of free federal money that would have saved urban taxpayers a bundle on health care for the urban poor and kept rural hospitals open---that is the kind of state that feels pangs of remorse every time it spends even a dime taking care of someone whom God has declared must suffer in this world before he or she suffers in the next.
If we are going to eliminate the disease that is called Being Poor in an Affluent Society, first we need to recognize that everyone has the same right to basic preventive health care services that they do to an education. We educate on the grounds that universal education gives us a work force that can fill necessary jobs, keep the economy strong and raise the next generation of workers. Preventive health care accomplishes the same thing. A worker who can read and write and operate a computer but who is blind from a preventable disease such as measles is not as useful as one who has full vision.
If we maintain two separate health care systems---one a gold plated Cadillac system for "Hard working Americans" on the fast track to heaven and the other a lead lined, grudging, "I will trust that you are a drug abuser and a drug dealer until you prove to me that I can trust you" system---then the poor folks will have very little incentive to get preventive services until they are so sick that they can no longer work. No matter how many health care "metrics" you pile one on top of the other to "prove" that your organization is delivering quality care or how many sick patients you turf to other providers to "prove" that you are a cost effective doctor who achieves good outcomes, if your clients can sense that you do not trust them and are not treating them with respect, your efforts are not just doomed to fail. Worse, you have personally, deliberately chosen to make them fail, though you may not realize it. You may even wonder why those ungrateful, selfish little bastards are not snatching up those crumbs with beaming smiles and "Thank you! Thank you!" pouring from their lips. You may be secretly convinced that the reason their diseases are not getting better is because they want to spite you, they want to be sick---and not because you are doing such an extremely bad job of taking care of their health. Which is just another way of saying "Hallelujah. I am among the elect and the patients that I treat are nothing like me, so I can do whatever I want."
Want to understand love? Follow the advice of Rumi: "Don't turn your face away."
Posted by McCamy Taylor | Mon Sep 8, 2014, 10:09 PM (4 replies)
Is It Possible to be TOO Clean Living? Random Thoughts on Autoimmune Disease and Infectious Diseases
Sometimes, I like to pull up Ovid and just start skimming journal articles and see where they take me. Here is where they took me today:
1. Do We Have Autoimmune Diseases Because We Evolved an Automatic Defense System Against Tuberculosis that Reacts Against Other Tissue if We Do NOt Get Tb?
About the effect of Tb on human evolution---one in four of us that did not die of something else, died prematurely from Tb before the modern era with antibiotics. That is probably true for the entire history of humanity, not just the last few hundred years. Recently, they discovered that the human HLA genes were picked up as moderns left Africa and bred with Neanderthals. The HLAs encode built in immunity and resistance to disease----as opposed to the strictly learned kind that you get when you are exposed to a new antigen and your B cells make an antibody (IgM then IgG for lasting immunity). The HLA genes gave moderns built in immunity to lots of things that they would encounter as they spread out across the world including, presumably the various types of mycobacteria which include Tb and leprosy (note that only a small portion of people can even get leprosy). HLAs also influence autoimmune disease, like rheumatoid arthritis, Crohns disease, reiter's syndrome. Some people think that we have so many autoimmune diseases in industrialized countries because the HLA portions of our genes that are supposed to be fighting Tb and other mycobacteria have nothing to do so they start attacking our own tissues instead. Which raises the question---are there less food allergies and allergies and asthma in third world countries because people there get the Tb. And, if they do not get Tb, they get the BCG vaccine (a bovine mycobacterium vaccine designed to prevent Tb infections)? We do not take it in the US for public health surveillance reasons, because Tb is so rare that it is easier just to test for Tb exposure with a Tb skin test and if you test positive you treat. The BCG gives you a positive Tb skin test whether you have Tb or not, so if you take the vaccine, you can not take a Tb skin test. However, there is a new blood test, the Tb spot that can be used instead of the Tb skin test and which is reliable even if you have had the BCG vaccine. So, should we be vaccinating with BCG both to reduce the incidence of Tb and to calm down our HLA genes so that they have something to do besides give us allergies and autoimmune diseases? And then use the Tb spot blood test to screen for Tb infection? It is worth considering.
2. Did Running Around Barefoot as Children Help Prevent MS?
Second random medical thought of the day. You know how they always used to say that no one who grew up in the South would ever get Multiple Sclerosis? This is back in the 70s and early 80s. And how it is no longer true. People from the south now get MS. They can give rats MS and if they give them a dose of BCG, their MS gets better---as if the immune system stops attacking the nervous system because it finds something better to fight. Here is my theory. What did people used to do in the South back before 1970? We used to run around barefoot all summer. We got chiggers, ticks. We got hookworms. Some of us had outhouses. We were exposed to all kinds of infections that people up north who wore their shoes and clothes when they went out to play did not get exposed to. I am wondering if all those infections that southern children were exposed to kept their immune systems so busy that they did not have time to start attacking normal body tissue. Now that kids in the south stay indoors and play video games and wear shoes if they go out and use bug spray--maybe now they are so sterile that they do not get enough infections to keep their inherited immunity busy.
Posted by McCamy Taylor | Fri Aug 22, 2014, 07:40 PM (11 replies)