Tag Archives: economics

Do “They” Really Just See Us As Crabs In A Bucket?

Crabs in a bucket

How and why did our country become divided into two such hostile camps? What will need to happen to begin to mend the tears that have occurred in the fabric of our daily lives?

Some days I give in to the urge to turn on the television in the morning to take the edge off the silence of the house. This morning I tuned into CNN during the discussion of the Romney victory in New Hampshire.

Some spokesperson was being interviewed. He was talking about the number of people who are jealous of those who are “successful”. He said many Americans are against achieving success. I assumed he was saying too many people have a sour grapes attitude.  I didn’t listen to the rest of the interview because, as is often the case, my mind was already reeling with what could be a rebuttal.

If those who are “successful” feel that the only reason they are being singled out is because the vast majority are envious or jealous, I think, to a certain extent with a few exceptions, they are not right. The great majority, I believe, do NOT have a crabs in the bucket attitude as he seemed to be saying.

However, I think they are missing the point and trying to fool themselves. I don’t agree that Americans are against success. Many children in today’s classrooms are still hopeful of achieving that status. By success, I am assuming this spokesperson was referring to monetary success.

“They”, the successful, are resented when the success is achieved through fraud, greed, and manipulation of laws. I don’t think many would resent someone who gained success simply because of honest hard work without the exploitation of others. After all, that’s the American Way…or we believed the fairy tale that it is.

“They” the successful, feel attacked when the rest resent that the amount contributed to the upkeep of our country is not their fair share. One of the things I remember learning in church is Luke 12:48  “From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked.” That adage has been around at least 2,000 years. Why is there so much resentment among the successful that they are still being reminded of that fact?

Yes, among the successful, there are those who are very philanthropic. Their gifts to the public are very beneficial. Some do it for the reason stated above….much has been given to them so they give. However, I would love to be a tiny mouse in the offices of their tax accountants who tell them how much to give in order to avoid x amount of taxes, thus avoiding their fair share of the fair share they should be paying.  I was reminded of that when the minister on Sunday commented on the increase in giving the last week of last year stating how grateful we are for such contributions. We are grateful. They money is sorely needed. However, how much tax is avoided by those who gave for such reasons?

It is sad that we are, or are rapidly becoming, a nation of haves and have nots. It is even sadder when the majority only want the minority to gain their wealth honestly and pay their fair share. Namaste  Attic Annie

I found this article about Romney‘s interview on the Today Show this morning. Evidently the talk of envy is coming from him.

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The beginning of my bucket list to change the governmentt

If you could heavily influence the running of the United States government, what would you change?

Ever since I started blogging, I’ve become much more interested in what is happening in the world around me. I’ve paid more attention to the military and political situations than at any other time in my life. If there is truly a moral law that allows for righteous indignation then I am claiming that state of mind many times as I read what is going on in this world.

If I had the power, I would act on a bucket list of changes before I leave this plane of existence and move to a higher consciousness. These are just some of the things I would consider changing.

I would instruct the military to stop telling the young privates, airmen, seamen recruits, ensigns, and lieutenants in our armed forces that they are fighting for America’s freedom and our Constitution. I would make them completely inform these men and women concerning the purpose of their missions. “To make the world safe for democracy” is a cover up for the real reason we are engaging in conflict about 99% of the time.
There have been very few conflicts since the Revolutionary War that make that a righteous claim. I would scale back the U S Military to where it was a defensive force only. If we are not being attacked, we do not join in any one else’s wars. I would stop the aggression of our forces and the major bullying we do. Eisenhower warned of the military industrial complex a long time ago, but the American public has allowed an all out expansion ever since his presidency and made it seem like it was for  the good of the people. I would make service to our country mandatory for all young persons for two years to rebuild America’s infrastructure, roads, schools, hospitals, etc. instead of sending them out of our country to destroy.

I would set term limits to our Congress and our Supreme Court. I do not believe the framers of the Constitution EVER visualized the length of terms that some of those senators, representatives, and judges  have achieved. I would ban all inclusions in a bill that do not pertain directly to the bill. This to me is an insidious, heinous practice that has led us down the wrong path to pay offs, vote buying, and corruption.

I would end the parade of lobbyists that have mushroomed into an army unto itself with their deep pockets and one sided corrupted information that is harming the American public in so many ways. I would also change the law that allows corporations to be counted as people with the privilege of using money to buy our government. I would change the tax structure to be more equitable getting rid of all loopholes and ways of hiding extra income. All persons would pay according to their ability, if not in money then in service to the community.

I would force all those who deal with our health to give us all information for us to make correct decisions. The pharmaceutical companies would have to conduct unbiased tests on the drugs they force on the public. I didn’t realize until recently that if drugs are expected to cause negative side effects, the companies just don’t test for those effects or they don’t test long enough to discover effects over time. The idea that drugs should be sold until enough lawsuits for damage force them off the market is pathetic. I would stop the insurance companies from selecting only to cover the young and healthy. I would make hospitals and health personnel charge reasonable and fair prices for their services to stop bankrupting those who are least able to pay even with insurance.

I would do whatever necessary to clean out the vipers in the corporate world who put massive profits over the health and safety of our citizens. The food that we eat, the air we breathe, the water we drink, the cleaning products that we use in our households and on our clothes and body all contain chemicals that are known to cause cancer or are producing super infectious organisms, weeds, etc. as a byproduct.

There is so much to be done to get us back on the path I feel we should be traveling. These few paragraphs are just the beginning of what I would do if I could influence the United States government. Which way would you lead us? Namaste Attic Annie

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We Make the Angel Tree Project Successful!

I have participated in our church’s Angel Tree Project for the past five years. I’ve gone from buying presents for my particular angel to wrapping presents to working at the table where the parents hand us their numbers so we can bring out their gifts.

Over the years, the situation has become ever more streamlined. The parents were in and out in five minutes or less yesterday. A waiting area is set up with coffee and cookies if a whole bunch come at the same time. Everything is run like a machine. One family comes into our room at a time. The parent hands us the number they receive at the first table, we double check at our table (my job), we call out the number and “runners” walk behind the screen to where the packages are all bagged and numbered in order. They bring the presents out from behind the screen, the parents pick them up and go out the back door.  1 – 2 -3.

It is all over in three hours. Any clients who are unable to come to the church on Saturday can pick up their presents at the agency with whom the church partners for this project. It is one church and one agency. It is manageable and much more personable.

Some of the parents have to bring their children because there is no one to care for them. The younger children don’t really understand what is going on. The older children get a sneak preview of what “Santa” will be bringing a week from now. There’s no way that bicycles can be hidden. The smiles are from ear to ear.

More than one parent broke down crying when they received the presents. These are people who have no way of buying anything for their children. Someone in the family, father or mother, and sometimes father and mother, are chronically and in many cases, seriously, ill. They are in survival mode. There’s no money for extras. One young woman hugged each one of us to show her gratitude. She was so relieved her child would have something under the tree.

Our team leader makes certain that every child has something. Every year all the angels have been taken from the tree. This year there were ten left hanging. I started last year to donate money instead of taking one angel to insure that everyone gets what they wished for. Several others have taken to doing the same thing. The leader and the co-chair see to it that they personally shop for all those who were not chosen. If all angels are chosen, she shops for those who don’t get much to give them a little more. She is determined this project will be a success for all the children.

It was not a surprise that there were angels left on the tree. Our church has been experiencing a loss of members. Couple that with the economic situation, not every member of the congregation can afford to participate as in years past.

Our leader tells us there are families in our congregation that for them, this is their Christmas. Instead of exchanging presents among the family members, they contribute to the children in this program. Now THAT is the Christmas Spirit.

The children who accompany their parents never complain about the size of the bundle for them. There’s no whining, no temper tantrums, no, “Is that ALL”?  My Christmas is very small now that I do not live anywhere near relatives and my son is half a world away. In many ways, the three hours at church on a Saturday morning being a part of such a team IS my Christmas. I leave at the end feeling a warmth that I consider my true present. Namaste. Attic Annie

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Will an Honest Lawmaker Please Stand Up?

Over the past few months I have become involved with sharing news items I find interesting with friends on Facebook. I have resorted to being incensed several times but I limit my frustration to sharing the actual site with the addition of a sentence or two instead of devoting time to blog about it.

I do  find blogging a great way to vent my frustrations. Back when I was writing every day I realized I was starting to have a following. It was small, but people were actually responding. Then life got in the way and I stopped blogging on a daily basis.

There is so much happening that I have an opinion about, I’ve got to start talking again.

This is the article that captured my attention today in the New York Times. I posted it for my friends on Facebook saying

“Is there ANY management ANYWHERE that isn’t milking Medicare and screwing the workers who actually provide the service?”

It is the story of part-time workers in New York who “go into the homes of developmentally disabled people to teach them simple tasks, like grooming or how to take a bus.” Since they do not need any particular credentials, they are paid $10 to $15.00 an hour. The non-profit agencies who employ them, bill the state three to four times that amount for their services. According to the article, the agencies are swimming in money from this enterprise. The head of one of the agencies is drawing a salary of $400,000. The article states that the agencies which are doing this are sitting on multi-million dollar surpluses.

The agencies are designed to serve those children and adults with disabilities such as cerebral palsy, autism, and Down’s Syndrome. The workers teach them life skills which allow them to live outside state financed group homes.

And who is providing all of these funds? Medicare, of course: public funds.  And who is overseeing these agencies? Nobody, although people have started to pay attention and investigate. I am 100% positive similar events have been happening throughout the United States for as long as there have been safety nets set up.

In Congress, our illustrious leaders are debating cutting funding to Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security. There is rampant abuse of finances in the companies who dip into the public funds. There is probably enough misappropriation of public funds to provide insurance to those who can’t afford it.

We know if they cut funding, it will be the patients, the senior citizens, the least able in our society who suffer. It won’t be the executives who have lined their nests with silks and gems. These organizations have already helped thousands or more of people across the United States to commit fraud.

This summer, in a related event, I had two sleep studies. I am now on Medicare with secondary coverage through another insurance company. The first test had to be repeated another day because there was another patient in the same testing facility who kept me from getting an adequate amount of sleep the first night. I was supposed to sleep half the night and then be hooked to a C-Pap machine the second half the night. I only got about four hours of sleep the entire night and not all at once. The test involved having leads placed in various areas of my body to monitor my brain and other organs during sleep. I was monitored by one technician. The hospital charged for both studies.The hospital said the cost was close to $12,000. This did not include a physician’s report which was extra. Of course Medicare had a set agreement with them and did not pay full price but they did pay a significant amount. With my secondary insurance, my part of the bill for both nights was somewhat over $100.00.

A couple of months ago my primary care physician ordered a urinalysis. The hospital lab said that the cost of this service was $900.00. This involved spreading a drop or two of urine on agar plates and letting the bacteria grow for a couple of days. They did not send the bill to Medicare but to my secondary insurance who denied payment. That’s how I know the charge. That’s one technician, one or two agar plates, and one incubator using electricity. $900.00! I have no concept of hospital accounting, but I think the hospitals are allowed to “write off” costs that are not covered thus lowering their tax bills.

The ones who are yelling the loudest about cutting government spending are many of the same people who are participating in the bankrupting of America for their own greed. Of course they want less government intervention. These are just two examples of what is happening in this country. I’m wondering if there is any hope left for our morally bankrupt country. Patients go without services while hospitals are being built to rival the great temples and grandest hotels in the world. The cost for one night is not even being questioned. It is sometimes more than a week’s stay at a five star establishment.

When are we going to wake up and start challenging these agencies and rein them in? Where are the Congress persons who will stand up and see where the cuts and oversight REALLY need to be?  Is there any hope?  Namaste Attic Annie

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Why abuse “evil” corporations?

I  have  become quite interested in the Occupy movement on my FB page. There are several people constantly posting pictures, quotes, stories, etc. of the people who are doing the occupying. There are those who shout “Nothing is free”, “Get a job”, “Go home” “I paid for my college education, you pay for yours”, “Dirty Hippies”, etc. They delight in reporting the number of tampon and condom wrappers as if that debases the people who are there.

This morning, this picture was posted.

The message that I glean from this poster is, “You are all using products made by the ‘evil’ corporations you are attacking. You are all hypocrites. See how much better life is with all these wonderful corporations providing all those things which you now feel are necessities in your lives. Now just go home and shut up.”

I will admit that I use many of the products corporations produce as mentioned in this picture. I drive a car, take a train, ride a bus, and fly. I do not grow my own cotton or wool or dye them with natural dyes like beet juice. I buy manufactured clothing. I use cardboard boxes, a cell phone, and a camera. I correspond by using my computer. I stop at stop lights and am thankful they are there. That does not mean I have no right to expect the corporations that provide these material goods and services to be fair and ethical.

No one disagrees that corporations make products which consumers buy. The disagreement is whether these products are of good construction and are safe for the consumer and for the environment, whether they were made by workers making a living wage or in sweatshops, whether the corporations paid fair taxes. All of these positive  conditions can occur if the corporations have their customers, their neighbors, and their workers first in their minds rather than how large a house (or houses), how big a yacht, how extravagant their parties, and how many zeros appear in the bank accounts of the CEO and major stock holders. Some people just don’t get that message.

It is possible for business to be conducted with a fair profit. I haven’t heard of anyone saying all corporations should be non-profit. But when companies poison the earth with their toxins, fix prices, nickel and dime customers (that should probably be $50 and $100) with all kinds of fees, etc, etc, etc, ad nauseum to the point of destroying entire lives and lifestyles, it is time for people to rise up and voice complaints. No company needs to make billions in profits on the backs of the lowest 99%.

I do not know where this will end. I feel it would be a good step to start with eliminating the idea that a corporation is a person. Another step would be to turn out every person in Congress to run again without any payments by the lobbyists who currently own them. Yes, there are some good people in Congress. If they are honestly good, let them be re-elected but hold every Congress person to a limited term. A Congress person should not be allowed to “serve” longer than any president. A third step should be to limit the time served in courts. The life time appointment idea was made at a time when life spans were in general half of what they are now. We need leaders who will hold these corporations responsible to the earth and the people they serve. Paid off Congress and judicial persons will not do that.

I support the Occupy movement. I support the idea that banks should work with people whose houses have been foreclosed. I support banks releasing the trillions of dollars they are hoarding until after the election in an effort to get people to believe it is entirely the president’s fault that the economy is as it is. I support honesty and fairness. I guess I’ve been on the wrong side all my life but I like my side.

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Why doesn’t Santa stay in stores year round?

I try to start my day with positive uplifting information. Today was not one of those days. I read in our local paper about Santa arriving in Hurst this weekend.

Really?

When I was really young all we had was a parade when Santa came to town. He then sat on his “throne” in the department store and we stood in line to see him. I remember gazing at the wonderful window displays downtown. My Christmas in Illinois was not unlike Ralphie’s Christmas in Indiana.  A few years later when I was in third or fourth grade I could watch THE Parade on Thanksgiving Day on television. By that time I was no longer taken to the parade but it was still a thrill to see Santa arrive at the end in his big sleigh.  Thanksgiving Day ( or a day close to it) meant the start of Christmas to the children.

Now stores are putting up Christmas decorations before Halloween and sometimes immediately after the Back to Schools sale. And Santa is arriving earlier than ever. November 5? Really? The stores say “they are starting early because there is a demand.” Really? It’s not from mothers who are hassled and harassed every day by young children who demand to know how much longer. It’s not from fathers who traditionally wait until the last day to shop any way. Who is actually causing the demand?

This event is taking place at Bass Pro Shop,  which features “fishing tackle and equipment, hunting, camping, marine, and outdoors supplies, plus clothing”. Firefighters are going to pick him up at the “remote sleigh parking area” and drive him to the food court. I’m curious as to who is picking up the tab for this ride.

The shop has a Santa’s Wonderland on display with a crafts section and a train display. The columnist who wrote the news article called it “Occupy Stores event.”

I have accepted the fact that Christmas and commercialism go hand in hand. After all, Macy’s first parade in New York was way before my birth. It was done to draw people to the Macy’s store instead of Gimbel’s. I guess maybe it was in answer to Gimbel’s parade in Philadelphia. I don’t know. Maybe I have that backwards.

That’s not the point. Actually, today I am not certain as to what my point is. Other than Americans have allowed their children to be persuaded and manipulated by mass media and mass commerce from the time of their birth. Little girls no longer are allowed to be little girls. They are bombarded by clothing and behaviors that were once reserved for mid teens. Babies before they can walk are entered into beauty contests. By the time they are three, they are sexual objects.  They all want to be like teenagers even when they are as young as kindergarteners. The milk they drink is laced with hormones that start their puberty by second and third grade. Little boys? They have their pressures too.

What does that  have to do with Christmas? Santa to me is the spirit of giving. Christmas is a time of wonder for little imaginations. We have turned it into a season of me me me. Parents go into debt trying to satisfy the greed they nourish in their children that so often starts with early Christmas.

Almost two months is an awfully long time for children to have to wait. Seven weeks is an eternity. If Santa comes the first weekend in November, by Christmas all the joyous feelings will long be gone. Attention spans are just not that long. Anticipation will be replaced by apathy. Either that or the stress caused by the unending anticipation will cause their little bodies more harm.

My argument has nothing to do with the birth of Jesus which is well known to not have occurred on December 25. So responders, if any, do not have to go into the real “reason for the season”.

It has to do with the insatiable desire to hook customers at a younger and younger age. It has to do with robbing children of their childhood. It has to do with stores like Bass Pro Shops baiting children to try to get their fathers to shop early. OK that’s sexist I know but look at what they sell.

America has gone crazy with Christmas. I think it’s time to restore the sanity. I’d love to hear that this event was a big bust. Not that I have anything against the store. My beef is with stores like them who are like the Grinch who stole Christmas! Let’s keep the Christmas season at least confined to the month before the actual date. That’s long enough for any child to have to wait. Otherwise, let’s just keep Santa in stores year round and he can become an ignored fixture that kids pass by without paying any attention. We can then admit that there is no longer a “season” for joy and GIVING!

 

 

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Things we own can be taken away in a heartbeat

This letter arrived yesterday in my inbox. It was sent by a man in Joplin to his sister who was a friend of a friend of my friend who forwarded it all the members in our Sunday discussion group. News travels much more quickly these days.

I have temporarily given up volunteering at the hospital for health reasons. I cannot imagine what it would be like if that hospital had been hit the way his was. I don’t know how often they have emergency preparedness drills. I hope it is often. Being prepared is the best way to handle any disaster of this proportion. My heart goes out to everyone in Joplin. Every time the tornado siren sounds in my neighborhood, I know what could possibly be the result. One never knows. This man certainly did not. Please pray healing for all those affected by this storm.

I just received this letter which was passed on by a man named John, who works at Freeman Hospital in Joplin.  What a horrific tale John tells.  Sharron

xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

Date: Tuesday, May 24, 2011, 3:21 PM

ok everybody.  here we go.. what a ride it has been.  I just woke up from crashing finally..

I was at work at Freeman hospital when the tornado hit.  I was the ONLY mantanaince man on the evening shift.  the alert sounded.  said it was a warning for carl junction which is 10 miles north of where we were.

I started all the generators.  10 of them.  just in case… when the storm hit  we did  not realize what had happened only 1/4 north of us at St Johns.  not until the caravans of people started coming in.   St Johns took a direct hit.  blew out all the windows, then had a gas leak and an explosion.   the tornado was about 8 blocks wide and went through Joplin.  west to east.. never left the ground.  residential… business… residential… main business.. residential.

we had people coming in pickups with wounded.. cars with all the windows blown out.  people on boards, doors, tables.  we emptied 4 conference rooms of the rolling chairs .. about 100.. to use as wheel chairs.  we had 4 triage areas going full blast.  one at each entrance.  people were lined up for 10 blocks or more just to get to our driveways.  we had just gone through an earthquake drill last week, so every one knew their supplies were.  it was calm chaos.  hundreds of wounded,  covered in blankets, sitting in chairs, lying on the floor in rows.  blood every where.. new chairs coming now for sure…. the nurses and doctors were great.

our phones were out instantly… the cell towers were inundated, couldn’t get out.  we couldn’t call for reinforcements.. they just started showing up.  from every where.. emt’s, nurses, doctors, local and even from out of town.  the few in the kitchen started making sandwiches,  we brought out all the blankets we had, brought up rolling supply carts of bandages, cases of bottled water.

formed small groups of volunteers to manage traffic so the ambulances could get in and out.  school buses of injured started coming it.  truckers were bringing in semi loads of injured.  no lights in joplin, we have a six story tower and all you could see were blue and red lights everywhere.

I personally took the 1st six bodies and started a temporary morgue.  The stories people were telling were beyond belief… we had probably 10 or 12 dogs running somewhat loose in the hospital that people had brought in with them.  smoking in the hospital on a no smoking campus. cries of pain, sorrow and yes even joy when people would find loved ones.

The situation in town is way WORSE  than you see on tv.  I came home in the dark and did not know where I was because of the destruction, untill I came to a round about in the road and realized I had gone a mile too far.  I couldn’t get through to Sandy on the phones and people started coming in from the area I lived in with horror stories of total destruction.

the home depot you see on tv is just blocks from us… finally another employee came in and said his mom was ok.  and she just lives two blocks from us.  the tornado just missed my son by two blocks as well.  My daughter in law is a therapist and has no office building to go to anymore.  her father is a dentist who has no office building to go to anymore.

Joplin will take years to rebuild.  kinda like the twin towers.  you can actually see all the way through town, end to end.  the high school is gone.  a major business street, going east and west on the east of town is flat on both sides of the street for two miles.  nothing left standing.  thousands of people have lost their homes, and their possessions, AND  their income because their places of employment have vanished off the map.

on the other hand, THANK THE LORD,  I have my home, my possesions and my job.  I never had to serve in combat, but surely this has to be somewhat similar in relation of chaos.  I kinda know what the Japanese must feel like after the sunami now.   yes I know some of the dead in joplin personally.

Freeman hospital still looks kinda like it did that night.  we still have STUFF everywhere.  the floor is still dirty because joplin has virtually no water pressure. we barely have enough water to run our sterilzers for instruments.   only two bathrooms work in the hospital.. don’t know whey they do… the water company has SO MANY broken pipes in houses that are gone, that they can’t get the pressure to come up.  a large area of the roof blew off and the rain collected and ran down inbetween the layers of roofing and into the areas full of pipes and wires and is still dripping and of course the rain won’t stop so we can fix the roof.  we have buckets all over the halls and even have a couple of areas of rooms we can’t even use because the water keeps coming out of the ceiling area.  we have removed hundreds of ceiling tiles that have gotten wet and were coming down anyway.

the fire alarms keep going off all the time because the  wiring system is getting wetter and wetter with all the leaks.  we have to check each alarm to make sure there is no fire and then silence it.

PLEASE PRAY FOR US.  A LOT OF PEOPLE’S LIVES ARE CHANGED FOREVER.
MINE IS. AND I AM ALRIGHT.  THANKS FOR ALL THE CALLS, SORRY THE PHONES STILL DON’T WORK VERY WELL.  WE ARE ON A CURFEW DUSK TO DAWN WITH NATIONAL GUARD AT HUNDREDS OF INTERSECTIONS.  A 15 MINUTE DRIVE TO HOME  TOOK  ME AN HOUR.  ONLY MY FREEMAN BADGE LET ME THROUGH.  MAYBE I  WILL WRITE MORE LATER.  NOW I’M GOING BACK TO SLEEP.  JOHN

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