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Mr. Scorpio

Mr. Scorpio's Journal
Mr. Scorpio's Journal
March 28, 2012

In America, general consent is that insurance companies are entitled to profit from your illness

They're betting that you're going to get sick. And since just about everyone gets sick or hurt at anytime in their life... That's a sure bet that's guaranteed to pay off big time.

Most other industrialized countries understand this as well, and put a premium in minimizing the financial risk accrued from individual illness by making access to healthcare a right, not a paid privilege. The burden is shared collectively, because of the universal nature of illness and the capacity of the greater society to handle it. Also, cost is minimized, because it takes away the middleman who's sole purpose is to be a gateway for the expense of healthcare. Middlemen who are motivated, not by providing more efficient and effective care, but by profit alone.

That profit motive incentivizes the insurance company to withhold, delay and diminish care at the very crucial time of need. Such delays can only serve to exacerbate life threatening health issues and can endanger the life of the person seeking care. These delays frequently override the wishes of patients to get care and the ability of medicine to provide it.

Thereby the person paying insurance premiums is liable to find him or herself bearing all the cost and all the risk from their need of care for the sake of propping up an entity that puts the importance of its own coffers above the needs of the individual that they're supposed to be serving.

Insurance companies cherry pick what kind of care that they will pay for. Always eyeing their bottom line, determining the risk to their own profits over the need of care for the patient and the requirements of actual medicine to provide it.

They're looking out for themselves, when they're supposed to be looking out for YOU.

So, I ask:

- How is this freedom?

- Isn't this actually nothing more than vulnerability to the whims of private insurance companies?

- Since all health insurance companies are capable of being simular barriers to care, isn't the freedom of choice of picking any insurance company merely an illusion?

- What is the benefit of depending on a profit driven entity to determine whether care will be provided, or when, above the requirements of the health care providers?

Frankly, we need to change our belief that companies are entitled to profit from illness, without any the beneficial provision of actual care. All they're doing is funneling money.

We pay more per capita for healthcare than any country using a single payer system, whereas all of their citizens are covered and a sizable portion of the people living in the United States is not.

Americans are at risk of losing their ability to access affordable healthcare if they lose their jobs, whereas the people who live in single payer countries have access to care whether they're employed or not.

In America, there's a greater financial burden placed on family units, increasing incrementally in relationship to size and for those who are self-employed, whereas in single payer countries the bursen of cost is shared more evenly.

Lastly, the obscenity of profitting from the illness of others is sacrosanct in America, whereas the needs of the general welfare comes first through the use of a single payer system elsewhere.

It's clear that those use the language of condemnation of single payer, cost cutting and universally provided health care as being a danger to "freedom" and "liberty" are, in fact, defending the freedom of insurance companies to rob premium payers blind when they're in need of care.

Our priorities need to change. In this debate over whether the ACA wil be upheld or struck down by a politically polarized Supreme Court, the bottom line comes down to whether and/or when we evolve our healthcare system that values access to care OVER access of insurance companies to their profit from selectively restricted care.

Will we change for the benefit of everyone, or for just the benefit of the greedy few?

One last thing, this private profit vs. shared public access question really comes down to a matter of morality... What's more important, fealty to greed, or the greater good? Why is the commodification of illness called "freedom"?

Can anyone answer that?

Again, I'm just agonizing over things that I don't understand about this country. You really don't have to pay any attention to me.

So, I leave you to return to your regularly scheduled General Discussion.

March 26, 2012

If you're honest, you'd realize that Trayvon Martin was an "All-Amercan Boy".

You usually don't see that phrase applied to young black males in this country unless, of course, it's as an athletic title. And I don't need to sit here and defend that particular classification of that slain young man, because no matter what, it's a well established fact that he was an All-American Boy and there is nothing in this world that can prove otherwise.

But instead of perceiving that a young man like Trayvon was part of "The Norm" on that rainy night… Instead of looking at him and having a visceral reaction that it was perfectly ordinary for him to be seen walking down a sidewalk, that there was a person who made a very concerted effort to target him for being out of place.

And that, my friends, is what it means to be a black male in America.

The truth is that notion of a young black male being out of place in America can happen anywhere here in this country, even (and especially) in an area predominately populated by other young black males. The NYPD's Stop and Frisk program in Brooklyn and The Bronx is a good example of this.

To be a black male is to constantly think of ones very presence, body movement, language and dress in relationship to the immediate environment. The possible presence of other people who would viscerally perceive you as "out of place" and to know that you can never change the very thing that sets you apart from "The Norm", which is your very skin. I should point out that setting you apart as a young, black male doesn't require the person setting you apart to actually require that the person doing the setting apart to declare themselves as a bigot. Bigots have lots of plausible deniability in America, because they represent "The Norm", right? They are "The Norm" and you are not… That's all that's needed.

It is to know that you could, at any time, represent even an unspoken ideal of the existential threat of young black males, as long as you walk the streets in America. That you have to go out your way to prove that you are not a predator. You have to try to get a cab that you hail to stop for you, or to avoid giving someone else that extra special concern for their own purses or wallets. Will a smile do it? Perhaps. Take the risk anyway.

There are times when you ask yourself, "Why I do have to make this special effort? I didn't do or say anything." But, there it is.

But, it's not like you haven't noticed these things, in spite of the fact that you haven't said or done anything at all to elicit such reactions except for being in someone else's line of sight. Not if you were anyone, of course, other than a young, black male.

It is to know that, as an individual young, black male, it is YOU who's actually the vulnerable person here. You could be out of place anywhere. It's like walking around with a target on your back. Most other people never have to consider this, but you can NEVER, EVER forget that for you it's really there. That you know that it is the ideal of you as a person which makes up the reason why "good, law-abiding people" buy and carry handguns to ostensibly protect themselves.

It is to know that you are to be set apart… No matter who you are and no matter what you do, or say, our even how you say it.

I'll tell you a secret: Whenever young black males seem to behave and dress in ways that could be construed as "Ghetto", what they're actually doing is sending a message of defiance to the greater society in which they live. They're saying that, it really doesn't matter how they talk, walk, dress, act, or even breathe within that society… In America, their otherness will never be in question.

Well, since that's going to be the case anyway, they think, let's run with that and be that "other". They're expecting someone to come up to them and demand that they conform to the well established parameters of the greater majority. They are daring you to tell them this. They are trying to force you to realize that, in spite of whatever conformance which may be demanded of them, this society will take pains to not classify young, black males as "The Norm".

There are other counter-culture groups, both white and non-white do the same, of course. Willingly make it plain that they are rebelling against restrictive conformism… But if you're white in America, you can simply cut your hair, cover up your tats and wear respectable clothes and no-one will make an effort to classify you as anything else other than "The Norm". You can blend in with the best of them.

But not if you're a young, black male. That that target will never leave your back. Ever.

To be black in America is also to know that, no matter what you do or say or dress or achieve, there is someone who is willing to tell you that you're not good enough. To know that you have to be twice as good as your counterpart in the majority to even be considered half as good. That to know that someone is always looking at you and thinking that you could be a "problem". That equality is something that can easily defeated in the eyes of another.

That to know that you can never make the mistake of NOT remembering that the police is not your friend and protector.

Or, that even the lack of black presence in any American environment can speak volumes about what kind of place it really is.

Or, that you are a game-changer, even if you're trying not to be.

When you first hear a description of someone being the generic "All-American" or someone who's from "A Good Neighborhood", what does this person look like when they pop into your head?

Now this not to say that just because that the person initially visualized may not be anything other than a clean cut white male, it does speak to the way that we've all been conditioned in this country to think about matters of race and identity. If you do not question at all the classification of young Trayvon as "All-American", then you are evolved.

An evolved person does not need to be reminded of the basic humanity of others. An evolved person does not describe another human being as "an animal", no matter what the person being described may or may not have done. Evolved people know the difference between right and wrong.

During my time in the military I've had the opportunity to travel outside of the country. I have to say that it was indeed refreshing to be perceived as merely an "American" first and foremost aside from any other description. I've even found this to be the case for me in Canada.

It may be shocking for someone who's not "the other" to consider the fact that I had to actually leave America to even be considered ordinary. And yes, it's true that I have an extended family who are citizens of another country… But my normality was never questioned there. It was a burden that was lifted from my shoulders. Unfortunately, it didn't last… I had to come back.

Only in this country have I've been made to feel out of place and it is in the country of my birth that I know that know I can be perceived as being out of place at any given time. It doesn't matter where you are in America, it could even be in your own home. You can ask Skip Gates about how that works.

As Barack Obama is perceived to be "out of place" by almost half the country.

As Trayvon Martin was made to feel while he was walking down a sidewalk.

Lastly, I am not trying to diminish the extent to which anyone is depicted as being "out of place" in America. That sort of thing is our national past time.

Our friends on the right have this notion that we, as liberals and progressives, are going out of our way to homogenize America. We're the ones, they think, who wants everyone to be the same. That there is no room for "socialism", because that's the antithesis of "freedom" and "individuality". Well, we know what they're actually saying, right?

That white, Christian maleness is the default position in America. We are all equal, of course, but some are more equal than others.

And yet they demand that their ideal American fit a restrictive conformist mold of non-urban, Christian, white, heterosexual, maleness, who is perfectly willing to swear unwavering faith to an authoritarian ideal. That no matter what, if you step outside of this preconceived notion of what it means to be "All-American", you will be forever classified as something other than "The Norm".

If you're gay and you want to marry the one you love, then you're trying to have a "gay marriage". If you have a Spanish surname, if spite the fact that you are and ALL of your ancestors have been native born Americans, you are an "Hispanic American". That you as a woman has to work diligently to establish that same level of achievement as any man.

This is a way that many of us can empathize with being something other than "The Norm". However, for others of us, we can't easily project that image of normality at first glance.

We take our skin with us no matter where we go.

March 24, 2012

Invasive ultrasounds are rape… And how do I know this?

Well, this is what a rapist actually sounds like:


So, how is that any different from this?

Republicans, stop your War on Women.

March 23, 2012

The very last thing that Trayvon did before he was killed was cry and plead for his own life

Crying and pleading for HIS own life… Then his life was snuffed out by a 9mil round to his chest.

Hearing and seeing his pleas, Zimmerman still shot him, using an excuse that HE himself was the one who was in fear of his own life.

He was the ONLY one with a gun. No law should allow an unarmed person to be murdered without justice being served.

Zimmerman is a coward, that much is for sure. Cowardice demonstrated by way of his investment in a fear of young, black males.

If justice does prevail, little did he know that rainy night that, the greatest danger to himself from this young, black male named Trayvon would be the consequence from the taking of his life. May it prevail.

In a civilized society, that should have been the PRIMARY threat to Zimmerman… Repercussions for the taking of an innocent life.

If Zimmerman does not face justice itself, how can anyone say that justice exists at all?

Repeal Stand Your Ground.

March 23, 2012

Belvedere Vodka Unveils Horrific Ad Acting Out Rape Scene

Is this the most offensive ad in your recent memory? Questions like that rarely serve much purpose, but I’m genuinely asking — because this is the most awful piece of promotional material I’ve seen published in the last several months, if not years.

The ad I’m referring to, which Jezebel first spotted, was unveiled and then quickly recalled by Belvedere vodka. The ad, as you can see, reads, “Unlike some people, Belvedere always goes down smoothly.” Hah, see, because vodka sometimes doesn’t “go down smoothly!” Just like this woman here… who looks like she’s being sexually assaulted.


The War on Women goes Commercial.
March 21, 2012

American Politics is Broken

Since American government operates under our two-party federal/legislative system instead of the parliamentarian system of government that most other Western Democracies operate under, it falls on those two parties to act as moderating forces on our body politic.

Ideally, The Democratic Party is not supposed to act as a far left political party, but as a CENTER LEFT party, as is the job of the Republicans to serve as the proper CENTER RIGHT party.

For our government to operate, in spite of which party holds power, it's actually the consensus of each side which is required for its proper functioning. Without this consensus, government is gridlocked. Gridlock is never a preferable state of affairs. It falls on democratic representation to guide the operation of our government, that's why we have ELECTIONS… To allow our government to operate under the consent of the governed.

Unfortunately, our system of government is not proceeding, either in the best interests of all the citizens, nor at their behest.

Although Democrats are doing their level best to continue to play by the rules, the Right Wing has coerced the Republican Party into giving up their responsibility as a proper moderating force.

The dependency on great wealth to affect the policies and laws in our country, which can traced back to alterations of the tax code going back thirty years, through to planned irregularities heaped onto the way votes are counted and up to the present scheme to repress the voting rights of vast segments of society has exacerbated the breaking of our political system.

The mainstream media induced meme of Mitt Romney representing the moderate element of the Republican Party is a false one. From the stances that he has taken on well established civil rights issues, economic realities and just plain old common sense, he has gone out of his way to appeal to the Right Wing forces that now rule Republican ideals. The impending exit of Senator Olympia Snowe is a clarion call, signaling the death of Republican moderation. She has seen the writing on the wall and has said as much.

Seeing all of this a person should ask, why would any decent thinking person vote Republican? The GOP is apparently at war against both decency and common sense in their quest to appeal to the worst aspects of American politics. A lot of people are asking this question: Women, minorities, moderates… People who aren't stupid, racist or so hateful of President Obama and the Democrats that they'd vote for a ham sandwich if it had an "R" next to its name.

The biggest problem is that there is a large segment of Americans who are not aware that the Republicans have all but abandoned their proper role as a moderating force on the political right. These people are not demanding that the GOP correct itself. Look at any gathering of the Republican base and you'll see madness reign supreme:

What is going on here?

I have no idea how we're going to have a proper general election this coming November if one side has abandoned any semblance of sanity, but I hope that the Republic survives the process.

The partisan side of me hopes that Democrats will win, not only the White House again, but also that the Far Right becomes marginalized and out of power in Congress and state and local offices. Perhaps this will give the Republicans to reset and come to their senses.

The American people are going to have to take this bull by the horns and rein it in, or you might as well spell the doom of the United States as a properly functioning society if this cancer in our body politic is allowed to kill the patient.
March 19, 2012

I could have been Trayvon Martin.

Black males in America are looking at that slain child and are thinking, "There but for the grace of God, go I."

Justice For Trayvon.

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