We Live in A Sick Society

W.J. Astore

I have a brother who’s mentally ill.  When you deal with mental illness in your family, you come to realize that local, state, and federal resources are limited.  Funding is iffy.  Expertise is dodgy.  Facilities are often disappointing.  And systems and bureaucracies can seem heartless.

I take nothing away from the dedicated doctors, nurses, and other staff I’ve met who’ve helped care for my brother.  Considering the resources available to them, they often do a fantastic job.

It soon appears my brother will be assigned to a nursing home, though he does not yet require that level of care.  The system, however, has virtually no other options available between a halfway-house-like setting, where a nurse isn’t available 24/7, and a nursing home, which does have nurses 24/7.

My brother was in a smaller group home where he had his own room, but a series of minor medical issues caused him to be “re-leveled” beyond the care provided by that home.  He was rather unceremoniously dumped into a private, for-profit, nursing home, where he remains as he awaits a much-delayed court date.  Indeed, his “temporary” assignment to the nursing home expired last December, with various agencies finger-pointing and blaming each other for the delay in reviewing my brother’s case.

Mental illness is such a devastating thing.  It can be far worse than physical illness.  When my brother had his first serious breakdown in 1973, we certainly didn’t understand what was happening.  Back then, there was far more stigma attached to mental illness, and few people talked about it.  It’s a shattering experience, and my brother had the worst of it, including ECT or electroshock treatments and powerful drugs like Stelazine and similar anti-psychotic drugs.

I was writing to a sympathetic attorney about my brother’s case today, and I thought maybe I’d share a little of what I wrote.  My brother’s situation, I wrote,

speaks to a larger point about how our government cares for the mentally ill, the lack of funding and so forth, something that’s not going to be fixed by an email by me.

Still, it’s a system that tends to see my brother as just another client, just another case file, just another court date, even just another billable moment.

Wouldn’t it be nice to have asylums in the true sense of that word for those among us who needed them?  But our government chooses to fund more F-35 jet fighters, more nuclear missiles, more police forces, and so forth.

The poor and mentally ill have no power because they have no lobbyists and very few advocates.

It’s a sign of the sickness of our society that we care so little for the sick.

That poor attorney got more than she bargained for.  But I truly believe a society can be judged by how it treats the poor, the sick, the unhoused, the desperate.  Our society tends to treat them like dirt, like losers, like a nuisance, even as the government gushes money for more police, more weapons, and more wars, whether internally or externally.

This is ultimately why our society is so sick.  Because we care so little for the neediest among us.

I’m sorry this is so depressing, and I plead guilty as well for not caring enough, for not acting instead of just blogging away about it.

Jesus healed the sick and dying and attracted society’s outcasts.  He praised the poor and railed against the rich.  Is it any wonder He was crucified?  So, we Americans invented our own Jesus, one who showers money on his believers, one who rewards them with happiness and health, a Santa Claus Jesus who gives out gifts to good little girls and boys.

And if you’re not “good”?  I guess you get to be homeless or dumped in a nursing home.  Next time, pray harder, loser.

We live in a sick society.

88 thoughts on “We Live in A Sick Society

  1. I am sorry to hear of your brother’s, and your family’s, struggles with his mental illness. No matter how far people believe we have progressed, it is often too evident it’s not far at all. And, we seem to be heading backward more all the time.

    There is way too much truth in all you post, every day, on the relative inability of America to attend to aspects of life that are truly important in our society but also that we fail to acknowledge the shortcomings in what we glorify. “Oh, no, don’t look over there and see our failures. Look here at the great things we do. We have the greatest military in the civilized world. We help so many countries fight for or retain democracy. We have good healthcare systems. We have freedom of speech that so many do not. We have freedom of religion. We have the right to bear arms, and so many countries don’t allow them….”

    Abysmal health care stats compared to many other countries–about to get worse with the Supreme Court ruling, homelessness, food inadequacy in many demographics, almost daily mass shootings, book banning/burning, freedom of religion–as long as “we” agree with which one it is, issues with sex trafficking, and on and on, the deficiencies in our society are certainly not hidden but are right out in the open every single day.

    How to fix those deficiencies? That’s hard to do if we (collective) wear blinders to avoid seeing them or feel that those experiencing the problems just aren’t good enough/worthy enough to warrant the concern.

    It doesn’t just take a village to raise a child. It takes the village (society) realizing the child (i.e., those who need the help) is there to begin and providing the needed assistance so that the child can carry on for the future. I shake my head more every day.

    Liked by 4 people

  2. My son is heading for that reality unless we can find a better stop gap. But it all so temporary. Folks like you and I need a community lobby or something.

    Liked by 4 people

  3. Lt Col, when I was a teenager in New Zealand our town had a mental hospital for those unfortunate to be severely mentally ill. Run and funded 100% by the government. It used to attract a lot of derision and the locals cruelly called it the “looney bin.” One Xmas, I as University student, got to work their part time as a way to pay for my education. It was a real education for me. I learned that all of the inmates were happy there and were really well cared for by a loving staff. With full time nurses, doctors and psychiatrists who were dedicated to meeting those peoples needs. And that there was no way these poor souls could survive out in the outside world. Yes, it was an asylum, and the patients were institutionalized – but I saw that it worked very well.

    A few years ago I went back to my town and saw that the facilities with their beautifully maintained grounds were abandoned and overgrown with weeds, vines and trees. A right wing conservative government had closed it – because they said it was better that these patients go live with families! Anybody who has had to deal with having a really retarded and mentally person in their family can tell you that it is soul destroying, and not fair on the person or the family. An impossible task to do justice to. And many times wrecks havoc on the whole family, especially the mother. And many of those people who would have had happy lives in that mental hospital have been thrown under the bus to save the government a few bucks. I don’t agree that these mental hospitals were looney bins.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It saddens me to hear that NZ is becoming a bit more like the USA. Truly.

      State hospitals for the mentally ill in America were of wildly varying quality. Since this is America, we tend to model our “asylums” on prisons, so you can imagine the abuses.

      So, under Reagan, if not before, deinstitutionalization was pushed. Close the (often) bad hospitals! Return the mentally ill to their communities and families! Save money! Hooray!

      What that meant in practice was more and more people living on the street with various mental illnesses.

      But who cares, right? Heck, we’re better than the Nazis, who simply executed them. Well, I’d better shut up…

      Liked by 2 people

      1. And the stupid part about it – many people in that town lost great well paying jobs working at Kimberly Farm. And all the services, like providing vegetables, meat etc and maintained the buildings etc – those jobs were lost to the townsfolk as well.
        Out town also had a government funded institution for miscreant teenage boys. With vocational training. Saving those kids from a life of crime. They closed that too. Now those borderline criminals are chucked into adult prisons and go downhill from there.
        The great egalitarian socialized society of the 40’s and 50’s New Zealand has sadly been thrown into the dustbins of history. Institutions are old fashioned and to be frowned upon.
        As MISCELLANY51 says above – heading backward more all the time.

        Liked by 1 person

    2. thank you for this eloquent ululation for the neediest among us, wja, and tnx to you, den-mer, for your repining of the once-honourable compassionate, and socially responsible govt of NZ’s admirable past. i do also ululate for what is dead or disappearing in NZ’s once socialist ambit.

      i too was dumped into a “‘looney bin’ in syracuse, NY, for an extended vacation after a catastrophic “brain-breakdown” [as sue kliebold defines it; she is the mother of mass-murderer dylan]. this followed on the heels of my re-patriation to the US in 1965~’66 from teaching in mitaka-shi and musashino-shi in japan. we who were not yet 25 [at which nexus a patient would be ‘eligible’ for electro-shock tortures that the staff labelled as ‘therapy’] were forced each day to sit in the ‘common room’ and bear witness to the electro-shock tortures of our consociate looney-bin patients who WERE over the age of 25. i was drugged to the eyeballs for manic depression, but understood that i was soon to be thus tortured.

      being sufficiently terrified and aware of my impending predicament, when the nurses made their drug-round deliveries [primarily to maintain control over their doped-up patients] i pretended to take and swallow the brain-benumbing drugs. instead, i held the capsule between my back teeth, quickly looped it out as soon as the male nurse turned to the next patient, and surreptitiously slipped it into the dirt surrounding a behemoth potted plant, one of several disporting themselves throughout the common room. i also began eating again, which was the primary condition upon which my release was based to prove i was no longer suffering from anorexia nervosa [tho’ that medical terminology was not in vogue back then]. i was released 8 months later.

      so, what does this suggest? terror tactics work? suffering as a helpless eye-witness to torture works? long-term vacations in loonie-bin resorts work? i jest, of course, but at least my 5’8″ frame packed on sufficient flesh that i went from a skeletal 87 lbs to 110 lbs, and the psycho-staff saw fit to release me!

      Liked by 1 person

        1. me too, wja… lest i be deprived of the inimitable opportunity and pleasure of your supernal BRACING VIEWS!

          Like

      1. Wow Jeanie your account of your “brain – breakdown” therapy in the “loony bin” is chilling. One thing I left out of my account of my short period of employment at the “loony bin” was seeing two inmates, both young women, committing suicide. The sight of that young girls’ dead body hanging out the window has remained with me until this day. And while we on the gruesome stuff, I will always recall with horror being shown my duties in the wards at night by a male co-worker. Who told me the first thing to learn on the job was to carry a condom so that you could have sex with the female inmates. He was a disgusting piece of work!

        But I want to tell you that this was not the norm. 95% of the staff were loving and caring of those poor souls. But, like any institution, there are the serial abusers. I learned so much about human behaviour in those two months. Reading your post bought back good and bad memories.

        Yes, and having left socialist NZ as a teenager in the 60’s and retiring back here 4-years ago it has been a big shock for me to see the destruction of the great egalitarian society created by our forefathers. Income inequality, poverty, homeless, drug abuse, and crime have all run amuck in this age of neoliberal capitalism destroying the foundations of the Kiwi society. NZ has become a dog-eat-dog world that even the Americans would be proud of. If you are rich in NZ nowadays you will do well. If you are poor, or God forbid mentally ill, onto the scrap heap you go. I sing the praises of NZ on this site, but it is but a shadow of what it was when I went to University free in the late 60’s. When I was at University, yes we drank way too much beer, but drug use was unheard of. Now drug abuse in NZ is rife amongst the kids.

        Take care my dear. I really enjoy your posts.

        Like

        1. They neoliberal capitalists have shortchanged the great socialized hospitals of NZ, and ran them into the ground. But people keep voting for these conservative politicians promising that everybody is going to get rich under their administration. Voting against their own self interest. Its really distressing for this old timer.

          “Nurses, readying themselves for a 12-hour shift in a busy emergency department, will on the first day of the new health system walk into wards as chronically short-staffed as they were a day earlier.

          Maybe their email signature has changed. “Maybe, there might be a newsletter that announces what’s going on in their area of work,” Kerri Nuku, Kaiwhakahaere at the Nurses Organisation, said.

          Health New Zealand starts officially on Friday. Its major aspiration is to reduce the “postcode lottery of care” where the quality of treatment depends on where you live.”

          https://www.stuff.co.nz/national/health/129130851/doctors-and-nurses-fear-health-new-zealand-will-preserve-the-status-quo

          Like

        2. as i do yours, den-mer; please maintain the pulse of wja’s blog, not only the optimistic, but also the pessimistic, funereal, and pithy pyrrhonistic perceptions from your in-situ experiences and textual discernments. i suspect your beloved NZ is inexorably marching toward the banausic, materialistic, uber-consuming social fabric that seems to be applauded in the US, particularly by the MSM and its worshipful acolytes.

          Liked by 1 person

  4. Can I bore you with one other thing about the disappearance of great NZ egalitarian socialized society of times gone past. My father, a high school drop out, with a job as a local carpenter, built our family with four kids and a stay-at-home wife, a brand new house for NZ$15,000 with a 2% Government loan repayable in 30-years. He did it in the evenings after work. While I went to University 100% free.

    Now a young man in New Zealand is looking at paying an average of NZ$600,000+ for a poor condition old house with a 6% loan, having to be refinanced every two years at an unknown rate – at risk of what happens with the big banks. His $848 weekly pay on the NZ $21.20 minimum wage totally consumed with house payments, food and petrol at $12 per gallon. His wife has to have a job for them to survive. Tertiary education is to be paid for now in NZ at the same rip off rates as the US. And they are pushing to abandon the great free healthcare and going for-profit healthcare like the US.

    Tell me the kids nowadays have it easy eh! We live in a sick society as you say Lt.Col
    End of old fogey rant!

    Like

          1. Actually Denise I have a little more positive take on that. Life is better now if you get cancer. Life is better I think if you are a minority. Life is better, despite SCOTUS, if you are a woman. And life is better because we can communicate with our fellow humans all over the world through the wonders of the internet. And life is better because we live longer.
            As for non-humans. My wife had appaloosa horses in the States. Treated like royalty. And the vet told us that there were more horses now in the States living pampered lives than there were back in the day when they were treated as our slaves.

            Like

            1. as the perspicacious den-don descried, better for some, worse for others, particularly for our beleaguered planet’s hypaethral species whose habitats are being increscently decimated, which renders them more than homeless; it renders them dead.

              Like

              1. Jeanie, your extensive vocabulary continues to blow my mind!
                Nary a comment of yours goes by without me having to get out my dictionary.

                Like

                1. oh dear; given the plethora of sesquipedalian, archaic, and abstruse palaver i’ve exposed you to, your benighted dictionary must be looking rather tattered and bedraggled by now. my chunter is more cryptic than my favourite crustacea invertebrates, the ‘hymenocera elegans’ and the ‘hymenocera picta’, which used to be regnant across northern australian waters and remote islands north of new zealand, such as the kermadec islands and norfolk island [apologies for my off-topic divarications again, wja].

                  Liked by 1 person

              2. The great atheist philosopher Christopher Hitchens, and my idol by the way, used to talk about the extinction of the species often in his discussions about the existence of a great God who created everything.
                He wondered how great this God actually was, given that 100’s if not 1,000’s of the species he created have gone extinct. And of course it begs the question – in Gods overall plan is the homo sapien species the next on the list to go extinct?

                Liked by 1 person

                1. God gave us free will it is said. The free will to create atomic bombs and destroy our species.

                  Like

                2. ‘hitch’ has long been my cynosure as well, den-mar. he was a phenom of clarity, sensible sentience, and provocative intellectual challenges to the risible bible-beating devotees who, for example, absorb the nescient balderdash that every bairn is birthed in a state of satanic sinfulness and must spend her/his entire lifespan prostrate before the jealous, vindictive god-daddy-in-the-sky, endeavouring to expatiate those sins in order to compensate for his/her congenital and vile evil [luv that anagram!].

                  Liked by 2 people

                3. en effet, den-mer, 99% of all species, including both prokaryotes and eukaryotes, have disappeared into the molecular gallimaufry of what is erroneously referred to by most taxonomists as ‘extinction’. i prefer to refer to those molecular end-state machinations as molecular reconfigurations or transference, aided by the fungible pluripotence of virions.

                  a group that offers us magical music is called BEAUTIFUL CHORUS, notably, their album entitled HYMNS OF SPIRIT. 2 of my favourite pieces are “pachamama” and “peace like a river”. another is “there is so much magnificence” by the duo miten and deva premal.

                  Liked by 1 person

            2. PS: ….but thanx for the uplifting positives, den-mer; the sun on mindoro’s horizon appeared more brightly hued this morning.

              Like

              1. a corrigendum, den-mer: i meant to type EXPIATE, not expatiate. presbyophrenia and presbiopia prevail!

                Like

            3. Advances yes in some ways Den. child mortality, public health– and sanitation, the germ theory of disease, we’ve probably added 35 yrs. to our lifespans, drone technology for peace & commerce and more, but still a long way yet to go…! Appaloosa horses too my faves.

              Like

        1. Be wary of imagery.

          The 50’s were good for white children like me because nobody else existed, they were out of sight. The world was 100% white. Russians were evil and the rest of the real world was seen only in the pages of National Geographic.

          Blacks, not really welcome anywhere, were definitely not welcome in the middle class paradise of Levittown shown. Conformity was supreme. If you needed a psychiatrist you were careful to keep it top secret. Even more likely was you’d refuse to admit you needed help and not seek it out no matter how desperate the situation. Appearances were everything.

          Things were not wonderful behind the scenes, but every effort was made to make it appear as if they were and that your home and car and clothes were at least as good if not better than those of the neighbors. Anything not considered respectable was suppressed, not denounced because it was enough never to mention it.

          Unwanted or out of wedlock pregnancy, homosexuality, rape, Jesus H. Christ, let nobody know about it. Capital punishment was not controversial. A woman was a homemaker, seen in no other way in this video. Divorce was almost unspeakable and a woman in trouble had few ways to escape married life and support herself, being looked down on if she did. The pressure to live the acceptable image of the male or the female was intense and quite cruel in the way any odd ducks were treated. Self-righteousness derived from acting and looking just like others rode a high horse. Unsurprisingly, alcohol and tobacco were heavily used.

          The way things looked, the result of so much effort, is exactly what we see when we look at video of that period. But, as with an iceberg, we do not see what was hidden. Those left out and behind by the white male have since upset his apple cart. The white right wants desperately to go back to the kind of community where every man felt comfortable only if he wore a fedora. I don’t. What this video shows is the light and perky presentation that masked the suppression of so much humanity, not excepting whites who deliberately did so by ignoring a good part of their fellow citizenry as they reveled in the novelty of accessible materialism.

          Liked by 2 people

          1. Great post CLIF. Very well written and all true.
            Did I mention two other things that are why our modern life is better?
            You can get your McDonalds meal delivered by door by Door Drop – if you know how to work an iphone!
            Likewise, you can get your adult diapers from Amazon real cheap!

            Like

            1. CLIF, here in New Zealand if you are the top academic student at high school you are crowned as the “Dux”.
              I don’t think that term is used in US high schools.
              Anyway, Mary was the Dux that year.
              And I, the champion f#@k-off drop out of the school, got her pregnant! Oh dear!
              Was I popular at that high school and in our little conservative bible-thumping town? Not!
              We got married – in a Church!
              And divorced 19-months later. Forcing us to get married was dumb.

              Like

          2. yours is a realistic and devastating portrayal of life in that era, clif9710. the ambit occupied by the darker complected and disdained was a dystopia unimagined and unimaginable to us privileged whites in the 1940’s and 1950’s. our country club in skaneateles, NY, proscribed membership to jews, negroes, and latinos, no matter what fine, outstanding, and capable people they were. the guilt overwhelms.

            Liked by 1 person

        2. Seeing the card catalog system reminds me of what a near miraculous thing Google is. It was such a pain to use the card catalog and the Readers Guide to Periodical Literature to find anything that I dreaded any assignment that required it. To think of a citizen of his/her own free will using the system was something I couldn’t imagine. The irony is that now there is no reason to remain ignorant on any topic and yet so many are ignorant and refuse to change.

          Like

        3. I really like that Video. Idyllic times eh? Early Space Age, Early Rock N Roll, Rocky Marciano Heavyweight Champion. The Dawn of Plastics. Being a Boomer “1955” I can relate. Now coming up on the 246th. we’ve come a long way yea. in many ways, but still a long way to go…! More than 800 human visits to Space. We need to go there more.., and forget about this destructive Arms Race. Only use Nuclear bombs to avert a possible asteroid, cometary, or meteor strike ! So grab a hot dog, and your fave. adult beverage and lets hope we live to see the 250th.

          Like

  5. Plenty of money for funding more F-35 jet fighters, more nuclear missiles, more police forces, and so forth.
    But in the US sick society, veterans are short changed and billions squandered through inefficiency.

    “After years of inaction, lawmakers and advocates in 2018 rallied around an ambitious plan to modernize the sprawling, government-run health-care system for veterans, which still treats many patients in hospital wards built before World War II.

    A commission, mandated that year by Congress, was tasked with weighing recommendations from the Department of Veterans Affairs for each of its 1,200 hospitals and clinics across the country and holding hearings in affected communities…..The VA would finally catch up to modern private hospitals, saving billions of dollars from its spending each year to shore up its aging health-care facilities……

    ……was killed this week by bipartisan political resistance through a short news release from 12 senators who said they would not approve the nine nominees up for confirmation to establish the Asset and Infrastructure Review (AIR) Commission.

    ….“Veterans are going to lose,” said Chanin Nuntavong, the group’s executive director of government and veteran affairs. “Old infrastructure needs to be repaired or replaced. Veterans’ care will be degraded by a lack of technology and unsanitary conditions while construction costs go through the roof.”

    https://www.seattletimes.com/nation-world/senators-kill-sweeping-plan-to-reshape-sprawling-va-health-care-system/

    Like

    1. I read today that the federal school lunch program is said to be spending way too much money so Dems and Reps have come together to reduce/limit it.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. A rhetorical question: Is the US a sicker society than China?

    “In May and June two milestones were passed in the world’s battle with Covid-19 and were widely noted in the press, one in the US and one in China. They invite a comparison between the two countries and their approach to combating the pandemic.

    The first milestone was passed on May 12 when the United States registered more than 1 million total deaths (1,008,377 as of June 19, 2022, when this article was written) due to Covid, the highest of any country in the world. Web MD expressed its sentiment in a piece headlined: “US Covid Deaths Hit 1 Million: ‘History Should Judge Us.’”

    Second, on June 1, China emerged from its 60-day lockdown in Shanghai in response to an outbreak there, the most serious since the Wuhan outbreak at the onset of the pandemic. The total number of deaths in mainland China since the beginning of the epidemic in January 2020 now stands at 5.226 as of June 19, 2022.

    To put that in perspective, that is 3,042 deaths per million population in the US versus 3.7 deaths in China due to Covid: 3,042 vs 3.7!”

    Clearly China put the saving of lives above the advance of the economy with its “dynamic zero-Covid policy.” But contrary to what was believed in the West at the time, saving lives also turned out to be better for the economy….”

    http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/57101.htm

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Sadly, Dennis, many in the United States believe China is drastically under-reporting its numbers–especially since it was (allegedly) responsible for the pandemic to begin with. Regardless of the cause, the U.S. death total is horrible and, in many instances, needless.

      Like

    2. Sadly, Dennis, many in the United States do believe China is drastically under-reporting its numbers–especially since it was (allegedly) responsible for the pandemic to begin with. Regardless of the cause, the U.S. death total is horrible and, in many instances, needless. Whatever the source of the statistics, it won’t be believed here.

      Liked by 2 people

    3. Last night I was watching a documentary about Mao’s “Great Leap Forward”. An estimated 35 million people died, many if not most of starvation, largely due to Mao’s efforts to mobilize the populace against his opponents in the leadership. Mao still graces the front of China’s banknotes, of every denomination. So I think I’ll opt out of any China praise. Maybe when they change their banknotes I’ll consider it a good sign.

      Like

      1. dark humour here: look on the cheery side, alex; that’s 35 million fewer of us to insouciantly maculate, contaminate, and otherwise blight our selcouth planet, a singularity found, as yet, nowhere else in the known universe!

        Liked by 1 person

  7. I can certainly emphasize with you LtCol as my first wife suffered from Paranoid Szhizophrenia shortly after we were married in 1965 while I was stationed in Germany with the US Army. She was granted a visa because she was a British citizen but in order to get her back to the states I had to learn how to inject Thorazine in her butt. Life was definitely difficult at that time with the “thorazine shuffle” part of our life. She had a number of breakdowns along the way especially whenever she stopped taking her medicine because she knew she was “ok”. In and out of numerous psychiatric hospitals with Electro Shock Therapy the norm. I survived 7 years of marriage before calling it quits after she threatened suicide from a rooftop while visiting her sister in London. Today we “treat” the mentally ill by tossing them in jail or if your health insurance will cover it into a private mental health facility if available.

    Liked by 2 people

  8. I recently read an article about the “new thinking” that became prominent a couple decades ago, to the effect that most people with mental health issues were better off staying with their families. Psychology/psychiatry has trends, like everything else, but this one was so misguided, it’s caused untold harm, both to the mentally ill and their families. And, coincidentally, of course, has resulted in the closing of many public mental health facilities, as you outlined, Bill.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Here in our town we have a former hotel being used as a home for the mentally ill that are able to get about on their own. It is a five story building so it must house quite a number of people. I pass it frequently on my bicycle. It is across the street from a city park and I commonly see many residents simply sitting and taking in the day. It has been operating for decades now with community acceptance. But I admit this town is a lib-tard bubble, sometimes called a people’s republic. Our local and state politicians return to office again and again because they place the good of the community as their top priority. I often feel like I need not vote because it will be for all the people that I approve of, that I have met personally and that will win re-election effortlessly regardless of my vote. Our state rep and our federal rep are both town residents and a former state senator is now mayor.

      Like

        1. Sounds a lot like the “Peoples Republic of Cambridge, Ma.” J.K. if you’re a dyed in the wool Liberal!

          Like

  9. @MISCELLANY51
    From the same Consortium News article by John V. Walsh, until recently a professor of physiology and neuroscience at the University of Massachusetts Chan Medical School…

    “When confronted with these numbers, the response of the Western media has all too often been denial that China’s numbers were valid. But China’s data have been backed by counts of excess deaths during the period of the pandemic as The New York Times illustrated in a recent article. Actually, this is old news. The validity of China’s numbers, as shown by counts of excess deaths, was validated in a February 2021 study by a group at Oxford University and the Chinese CDC. This was published in the prestigious BMJ (British Medical Journal)”

    Like

  10. While readily acknowledging the flaws and faults of the United States, I can’t help but wonder: for all the stated superiority of the Chinese and the avowed righteousness of Mr. Putin (are the anti-Russian neo-Nazis out of Ukraine yet?), has any contributor to this blog’s comment section actually packed up and relocated to China or Mother Russia, or are they doing everything in the abstract by posting an endless series of links to podcasts/blogs/articles that support their point of view? How deep does your conviction run?

    Like

    1. America: love it or leave it!

      Seriously, I don’t think yours truly has been singing the praises of Russia or China.

      A few readers have taken positions that are, I suppose, sympathetic to Russia or China, but I don’t think they’ve argued that these countries are beacons of democracy and freedom.

      Being critical of America in a thoughtful and informed way is what patriotism is all about. Patriotism must have its eyes wide open. See no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil “patriotism” is simply jingoism of the worst sort.

      That said, those who do take positions that are pro-China or pro-Russia should do so knowing that of which they support. The same is true of pro-American positions.

      Like

      1. Indeed. I have zero tolerance for the “my country right or wrong” so-called patriotism that has never gone out of style (in my own family, I have a 22-year old nephew, recent graduate of The Citadel, a newly-minted killing machine who exists only “to kill people who hate America”). And I’ve yet to shy away from being critical of the US policies (both foreign and domestic) that have led to so many lively exchanges here at Bracing Views. I do, however, find it hard to accept the notion that the U.S. is the sole source of evil deeds in this year of grace.
        That said, my remark about leaving the U.S. was not made in the sense of “love it or leave it” and I apologize to anyone who may have interpreted it as such. I used China and Russia as examples because they currently dominate much of the commentary. But I was serious in the sense (unstated, my error) that if it is such a vile place, leave. There are other places to live. And I know this because at a rather advanced age (65) I said goodbye to The Home of Bacon Cheeseburgers, Bob Seger, and Drag Racing because I no longer recognized what my country, its government, and to a large extent its people had become. This was not an easy thing to do, but what other option is there when you no longer feel at home in the land of your birth? Run for public office? “Think globally and act locally?” Join a militia group?
        It’s been three years now, and it is actively painful see what continues to happen “at home,” let alone in its “foreign affairs.”
        I remain grateful that Bracing Views is here and for all those who contribute to it, because without lively discourse and dissenting opinions, there can be no hint of democracy.

        Like

    2. I have exactly the opposite view, why the obsession with how bad Russia and China are instead of placing one’s view on one’s own country and letting Russians and Chinese do the same with theirs. The Guardian newspaper, US edition, continues to feature Ukraine as the top story though it is addressed to Americans. Americans have at least some leverage on what happens in America.

      Like

  11. A comment in this YouTube video comment section.

    “He can build highrises, have actors everywhere tourist are allowed to go to and display a beautiful world in the capital but when there are almost no cars on the roads, almost no people on the pavement or in store, we know something ain’t right. And this is just one city. The richest city. So imagine how people live in that huge country outside the capital where no tourist is allowed.

    What we westerners know about China, Russia and North Korea is 100% through a western lenses where we have been taught to that these countries are absolute shit and inferior to us. It’s not true. Anything we are shown about them that is good we reflexively say is bullshit.

    Like

    1. Until people can come and go there freely and look around without “minders” on their tails why shouldn’t we consider what the government says as bullshit? During WW II Nazi concentration camps would host Red Cross personnel. Selected inmates would be told to talk about how good conditions were and how well they were being treated and they would dine together at a fine meal etc. etc. Then when the Red Cross people left it would be back to normal.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. All governments lie, Alex. Did you know that Israel, the country that until very recently has received nothing but fulsome praise in Congress, deliberately deceived US inspectors who were sent to find out if Israel was developing nuclear weapons? They built an entirely phony nuclear power plant control room at their nuclear development site at Dimona, claiming that it was simply a nuclear power plant. They also stole nuclear triggers, called crytrons, from America thanks to Hollywood producer Arnon Milchan who openly brags of his efforts. Julian Assange must be brought to justice, but no investigation has resulted from Milchon’s boasting nor will it, even as everything Iran does regarding things nuclear is suspect and Congress would never dream of making Iran a recipient of US foreign aid (Israel is the #1 recipient of US foreign aid). For details see Seymour Hersch’s book The Samson Option

        Like

        1. log-on to JUST VISION to be apprised of what the duplicitous israeli politicians, media, and military ‘bête noirs’ are enculcating in the western ‘cantus firmus’ in order to dispossess, disenfranchise, even eliminate the palestinians from their own lands.

          Like

    2. As I.F. Stone said, “All governments lie.”

      A dictatorship like North Korea has much to lie about.

      So too does an empire like America. Consider the Afghan Papers, the Pentagon Papers, Iraq and WMD, and so many other officially-sanctioned instances of lying.

      Liked by 1 person

    3. insuperable observation and argute comment den-mer. we are such a tribal and myopic species, eh? a few months’ exposure working in a looney-bin, as you did, might help transmute our myopia to long-range sight.

      Like

  12. @Alex,
    Many many foreign visitors come to the US with one expressed purpose. To go to Disneyland.
    They do not have “minders” on their tails – but the effects are the same.
    And then fly home telling their friends how great the USA is.
    I can’t tell you how many arguments I get into with New Zealanders who have only been to Disneyland, and want to tell me all about America

    Like

    1. Not at all the same. Once in the US they can go wherever they want to. If they want to confine themselves to Disneyland that’s their choice. Seems a bit odd to me but I guess that’s New Zealanders for you. Ha ha.

      Like

      1. I put my point poorly Alex.
        My point was that they might as well have had “minders” – they self-imposed what they wanted to see.
        Anyway..not my best post on Bracing Views.

        Like

  13. “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest” the 1975 American psychological drama film directed by Miloš Forman, starring Jack Nicholson and Louise Fletcher is an incredible piece of film making addressing institutionalizing the mental impaired. Extremely powerful. The interaction between Murphy and Nurse Ratshit was fantastically acted.
    Considered by many to be one of the greatest films ever made.
    If you are not moved by this….well….there is no hope for you.

    Like

    1. it was too agonistic a challenge for me to view the entire film, despite what a preternaturally moving film it was, den-mer. the memories of my own incarceration in the loonie-bin a decade earlier were still too intense. a 16-yr-old italian boy on my ward who had convinced himself he had killed his mother still haunts my cauchemars. he wandered around all day in confused, directionless meanderings, wailing in plaintive cries while masturbating through his thin pajamas, “mama, i’m so sorry i killed you. please come back.” i discovered his backstory later: his mother was dying of cancer and her husband had released her from the hospital so she could die at home. the boy, his older sister, and his father spelled each other to maintain vigilance throughout her final days. during the boy’s watch, his mother cried out, “please, my baby, go fetch your father. i need to see him now. this is the end.” her son remained rigid in a fugue of emotional algidity. he threw himself over her body until she inspired her final breath. in his distorted brain he had failed in his mother’s final wish to see her husband one last time. the conflated trauma was so agonizing for him that he had convinced himself it was his fault she had died, and he could not forgive himself. he was a mere lad of 14 when his beloved mother died.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. The frailties of the human condition eh Jeanie! Why we all need to help each other. Especially when we are young and vulnerable, and old and vulnerable.

        Like

        1. your 2nd declarative, den-mer, should be the newell post around which we all wrap our stabilizing straps. eleemosynary contributions, not necessarily fiscal, to those in need is the most salubrious ‘modus vivendi’ for this atheistic nullifidian’s soul.

          Liked by 1 person

        1. lugubrious indeed, den-mer. it would appear that seattle is at least endeavouring to provide professional services for their afflicted children, which is laudable given the lion’s share of US cities is unable to do so due to exiguous fiscal resources or unable to do so due to an anaemic, debile commitment to expending what resources ARE available on those most in need. in the mid-’60s, even children like the 16-year old on my ward, whose family had the financial resources to place him in a private facility, was left to his own devices, drugged to the welkin, wondering about the ward in a systemic fugue of perpetual anguish. most children in state-run facilities were simply tossed onto the trash tip of human horror until they died.

          Like

  14. I’m so sorry to hear of the long-standing difficulty your family has faced in getting the appropriate care for your brother. It’s hard to disagree with your conclusion either. We seem to have limitless resources for the military and for the increasingly militarized police forces in our communities. Yet, every family seems to have to face this struggle alone. Whether it is long-term mental illness or addiction or just ordinary aging— getting care for the ones we love is a dispiriting journey through labyrinthine bureaucracy. Obviously, it is much better if you have some resources — but even then, it’s terrible. Many of the caregivers, and even the people who answer the phones, seem so overwhelmed that I feel bad for them. We are of an age where many of our contemporaries are faced with trying to find care for aging parents which is dignified, appropriate, safe and affordable- might as well look for a unicorn.
    My son broke his arm on the job (wildland firefighting)more than a week ago. He was instructed to seek care from an orthopedist with 5 days. None so far have been willing to take a Workman’s Comp claim. So, he is an employee of the government of the richest country that has ever existed on earth doing some of the most thankless and dangerous work there is, and he can’t get care.

    I don’t think you needed more evidence for your claim that we live in a sick society. I hope your brother can be settled somewhere soon. I’m sure the upheaval makes everything worse.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks, Katie.

      I should know this, but what is the issue with a Workman’s Comp claim? Is it because the government will pay those doctors a lot less than a “normal” claim?

      Like

      1. All employer’s have to have Workmen’s Compensation Insurance to cover on the job injuries. The last thing any employer wants is to lose a workmen’s comp claim (speaking from experience) because just like real folks, the moment they do, their premium goes up. So, they’ll fight a WC claim to the bitter end. Just as they do with unemployment benefits claims (again, speaking from experience).

        Like

        1. Sorry, I’m not sure I follow. Who’s fighting against the claim? The employer and their insurance company? So are the doctors afraid they won’t get compensated?

          This is something I have no experience of.

          Like

  15. Great comment Katie. Thank you for sharing that in our thread.

    But its not only the US. I lived in Seattle for 41-years, but 4-years ago, at 74-years old, I moved back to my country of birth, New Zealand, with the goal of taking advantage of their socialized healthcare to help me with my ongoing mental challenges, illnesses and increasing difficulty dealing with the world.

    It has been 4-years of striking out with every agency and caregiver I have called. They are all overwhelmed and do their best, which for me has sadly been nothing. I am struggling in my old age. I really need to go to the doctor – they can get me in on July 18th. And the last time I went by ambulance to the hospital emergency room I sat in the waiting room for 10-hours! The fantastic services provided in these areas in NZ in the 50’s and 60’s have been destroyed by neoliberal capitalist politicians ransacking the system to save a few bucks.

    But New Zealand is gearing up to spend more than $2.3 billion on four new maritime submarine surveillance aircraft. Which we need like a hole in the head!

    I hope your son finds a doctor who will take a Workman’s Comp claim. Take care.

    Like

    1. I was unsuccessful in getting a Social Worker to come to my apartment to show me how to make and receive a call on my new iphone. I’ll be damned if I could figure it out. There is no instruction manual. Its all on the internet they say – but my computer skills are marginal. I felt dumb, useless, helpless and like I was being discarded from society. And I desperately need a cell phone because you cannot get a landline in NZ anymore. I felt dumb, useless, and like I was being discarded from society.

      Like

      1. Why don’t you get a simple flip-phone? Big buttons on a standard numeric keypad that you can push, no touch screen and very simple to use. My wife and I each have one. I’d think they’d be available in NZ.

        Like

        1. Yes CLIF, I had a little flip phone for years. And it croaked. My kids in America convinced me to get an Apple SE 2022 Gen 3. Latest and greatest. I went and purchased one for NZ$800 (!) only to find when I got home I could not figure out how to operate it! I have finally worked it out, but initially sitting here in this apartment all alone, with no 14-year olds to help me, I felt dumb and useless. I am feeling proud of myself this week because I’ve figured out how to get Siri help me send a text!!
          Take care my good man.

          Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s