January 29, 2019

Shut-down: How come DC’s grimmest operations are still open?

Filed under: Uncategorized — Jane Stillwater @ 4:38 pm

If the federal government is shut down as tightly as we are told that it is, then how come the Feds haven’t shut down their Gawd-awful federal prisons too? And let Leonard Peltier finally go free!

And why is the US trying to force a Venezuelan “regime change” right now — if our government is spozed to be truly shut down? And why is Congress still shipping whole boatloads of $$$ to that (other) war-mongering and corrupt government in Israel?

And why is the US is still attacking and victimizing Syria? And still kissing Saudi Arabia’s bootie? And still playing footsie with Wall Street? And still paying members of Congress? And still keeping the lights on at the White House? Hypocrites. All of them.

And with regard to that recent viral Sandmann-Phillips video, a lot of people are missing two very important points.

First, even though Sandmann was smiling (or grimacing) his heart out, he was still wearing a very offensive Trump hat. Totally offensive. Trump has come to represent the worst aspects of racism, bigotry and greed in America today — including his current heartless and reckless shut-down. Young Sandmann shoulda taken that hurtful hat off if he was doing what he claimed to be doing — trying to make peace.

Second, there were not one but three demonstrations going on at the Lincoln memorial right then. Has it come to this? Where Americans are constantly out protesting left and right? Yep. Our government has gotten that bad.

And why is the State of California now paying its TSA workers unemployment insurance just to keep us civilians safe? No one in Washington seems to care about civilians — but are perfectly willing to keep Wall Street billionaires and Saudi billionaires and Zionist billionaires safe. That sucks eggs. No wonder there are so many demonstrations going on in DC these days.

And why is the Border Patrol still out there murdering babies during this shut-down? Just because said babies come from Honduras or Guatemala? Babies are cute — no matter where they come from or even whether or not they own a MAGA hat.

We average Americans can’t afford to buy our way into Congress, the White House, the Supreme Court or the Pentagon because America is no longer a democracy — but we can vote with our feet.


ER blues: How giant health conglomerates are putting our emergency rooms on life-support

Filed under: Uncategorized — Jane Stillwater @ 4:35 pm

I’m a big fan of Gray’s Anatomy, The Resident, The Good Doctor and all those other exciting television shows involving emergency-room drama — but what really does go on in our emergency rooms these days? It’s not at all like what is being portrayed on TV. I just chatted with an ER doctor about what really goes on in America’s emergency rooms — and apparently it’s far more about greedy conglomerates, mountains of paperwork, lack of supplies, overworked staff and overcrowded conditions than it is about drama.

“Sure, doctors are paid well,” the ER doctor told me. “I’m not complaining about that because basically I’m not in this profession for the money but rather to be able to save lives and help sick people get well. But our workload has gone through the roof lately — yet we don’t get the extra help or resources we need to do all this extra work. .”

And of course the hospital administrators get pay raise after pay raise, right? “That goes without saying,” replied the doc. “Plus we go to school and train for 30 years first — but almost anyone with a BA and a SmartPhone can handle an administrator’s job.”

This doctor truly loves helping people. “But that’s not my job any more. My job right now? To practice medicine the way the insurance companies and the drug industry want us to. And more and more laws keep getting passed that, while well-intentioned, result in our spending much of our time at the computer instead of at the bedside.”

“Then you don’t mind treating broken bones, sick babies and gunshot wounds?”

“No. That’s what we’re here for. We’re doctors. We signed on for that. But that’s not what we do any more. Now we are just one more set of rubber stamps for our ER’s true product — administrative paperwork. Patients line the walls of the waiting rooms, waiting for hours and hours. We don’t have the facilities to accommodate them any more because we are being swamped. And actual hospital ERs are closing, consolidating, being replaced by so-called ‘Urgent Care’ clinics staffed by people with little or no training in emergency medicine.” Oh dear.

“It’s all about money, no longer about health. And because we are expected to care for anyone who comes to us we have become the final safety net for everything that is falling apart in the health care system. Dealing with so many non-emergency issues is delaying our ability to care for the patients who have actual medical emergencies. This is the big crisis. It’s not about money. I don’t care about my salary. And not about the shift to nurse-practitioners for primary care either. I welcome that.” But?

“As more and more hospitals and ERs close, there are fewer and fewer places that are trying to deal with the constantly increasing need for emergency services, the continually more complex health issues we face, an aging population with health issues unique to themselves and the higher percentage of sick people among us. The increasing poverty and homelessness. The increasing number of people addicted to drugs and alcohol. The increasing number of people with mental illness who have no way to care for themselves. We need more help, not more work.

“And the response of health care organizations here in California is to reduce resources, close hospitals and reduce staffing — all in an effort to turn a profit and maintain the salary of the administrators. And the response of our legislators is just to shift more and more extraneous work onto the nurses and doctors already battling to provide the needed care.”

Sounds like a matter of life and death. “Yeah.” Our lives, our deaths.

Slowly the healthcare conglomerate giants are downsizing our American emergency rooms. Will they eventually be reduced to the point where all you’re gonna get when you go to one in the future will be a band-aid and a kiss on your boo-boo from your mom?

What to do about this extreme medical crisis in our ERs? We have two basic choices here. Either we get angry, very angry, and demand better healthcare — or else just plan to never get sick at night or on weekends.

And what is causing even more problems here is a new law that California just passed wherein anyone who is homeless can just show up at any emergency room statewide and demand food and help with housing. It’s basically a good idea to help the homeless, but this law has not been carefully thought out.

“This new bill mandates us to distribute food, clothing and housing assistance, which homeless people are now becoming aware of and we’ve started to have a huge influx of people without any medical problems coming in merely to get a hot meal and a change of clothes, which we have no resources to provide to them.” Yikes!

“And how will ERs ever be able to handle all that when we don’t have the personnel or the space for this extra burden? When we don’t even have the time or space to do what they are asking us to do now,” wondered this overwhelmed doctor — who already had dark circles under his eyes. “And when, exactly, are we supposed to do our actual jobs of taking care of the sick?”

And then he clarified his fears even further. “The main thing I am upset about is that much of what is wrong with the fabric of our society is now falling upon the ERs to deal with: homelessness, drug abuse, mental health issues, lack of access to medical care. The ongoing response of well-meaning legislators is to mandate that the ER staff do more and more things that society itself should be taking care of, such as screening for domestic violence, offering meals, clothing and assistance with housing placement to all homeless patients and testing for hepatitis C and HIV — yet with no accompanying funding or resources.”

I’d probably end up having nightmares if forced to cope with all this. Sucks to be an ER doctor these days.

“But what good does it do to screen for domestic abuse when I can’t offer them safety? How and why is an ER doctor supposed to counsel people about HIV or hepatitis C? What are we supposed to do with all the mentally ill patients who come in, sometimes several times a day, when we have nowhere to send them for help unless they are sick enough to need hospitalization?”

Perhaps we Americans need to reconsider our priorities here. We can either ask — force — our government to put our tax monies toward promoting decent emergency-room care (so we don’t have to die in the street) or we can continue to let our government spend our tax money on promoting endless “war” and making weapon-makers rich beyond belief as they gleefully murder millions of strangers abroad in far away places like Syria, Congo and Afghanistan — and thus by default help murder millions of Americans here at home too.

Plus we Americans also need to put our big-boy pants on and demand that giant healthcare corporations put a cap on how much they can gouge us for when we are too weak and desperate to resist.

Which one of these options would you chose if you were sick?

January 16, 2019

JFK, MLK, Bobby & Leonard: Bad things happen when you color outside the lines

Filed under: Uncategorized — Jane Stillwater @ 8:46 pm
     Did anyone else besides me watch that TV special on John F. Kennedy Jr the other night?  Hmmm.  Not sure what to think about it.  Why are they showing it to us now?  Maybe I’m being a bit paranoid (again) but it appeared to be the ultimate masterpiece of public-relations propaganda — American style.
     The docu-drama went out of its way to make two very urgent points.  First, that JFK Jr was intelligent, energetic, good-looking, charismatic — and could easily be elected to any office in the nation.  Definitely in the White House by 2016!
     The second point was that JFK Jr was a truly lousy pilot, extremely bad, reckless beyond belief.  “Pilot error!”  And yet at some point in the docu-drama they actually showed us a radar-generated diagram of the John-John’s plane suddenly dropping almost straight out of the sky, almost as if it had been hit by a bomb.  Come on, guys.  JFK’s piloting couldn’t have been that bad.
     All this docu-drama achieved was make me want to go back and read several copies of John Jr’s George magazine.  What the freak might he have said in there to piss somebody off?  And if so, then who?
     Of course our wonderful Bobby, Martin and John got assassinated.  We all know that.  Happy MLK’s birthday everyone.  Do you honestly think they would have named a holiday after MLK had he lived?  Hell no.
     He’d be rotting in some federal maximum-security prison like the one that Leonard Peltier has been rotting in for the last 44 years — for a crime he clearly didn’t commit.
     No one in power wants Leonard Peltier out of jail.  “But why not,” you might ask.  “Is it because he is charged with killing two FBI agents?”  No.  It’s because, according to a friend of mine who just visited Pine Ridge, “Things are really bad up on the reservation right now.  Poverty and alcoholism are rampant.”
     The last thing that the elite .001% want is to have a heroic icon like Leonard back on The Rez, trying to make things better.  It’s bad enough that they had all those water-protector demonstrations at Standing Rock, right?  Why add Leonard to the mix.
     And who knows for sure but….  If Bobby, Martin and John hadn’t been assassinated and JFK Jr hadn’t mysteriously died, there probably would never have been that horrifying “war” on Vietnam that murdered 50,000 “American soldiers in defense of a lie, or that ugly “war” on Central America that is even now driving asylum-seekers to our borders by the thousands.  
     There might never have been any debilitating 2008 housing crash, no painful Reagan downsizing, no Trump government shutdown, no sloppy Bush “second Pearl Harbor” and “wars” on Afghanistan and Iraq, no disastrous Clinton NAFTA and no obscene Obama “wars” on Syria and Libya, all of them wreaking havoc on both America and the world and selling us all out.  Plus there surely would have been a Green New Deal twenty years ago, back when we still had a chance to save the human race from extinction.
     The global elite top .001% are terrified of those kinds of heroes.  Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, watch your back.
PS:  I wanna color outside the lines too!  Do you?  If so, then the first small step you can take is to close your bank account with Chase, Bank of America, Wells Fargo, CitiBank, etc. tomorrow morning — and open up an account with your local credit union instead.  The global elite hate stuff like that.

PPS:  Happy Martin Luther King birthday (again).  Now there was a man who knew how to weld a Crayola — outside the lines!

January 12, 2019

Madam Jane predicts: The government shutdown will be an economic 9-11

Filed under: Uncategorized — Jane Stillwater @ 12:49 pm
    Poor Madam Jane — always wearing black, moping around and looking sorrowful.  “You are not your brain,” I keep telling her, me being currently in the process of reading a book by that name.  “You should always be on the look-out for deceptive brain messages,” I say.
     But Madam Jane just turns her sorrowful eyes on me and says, “Beware.”  Beware of what?
     “Beware of the government shutdown, the hate mongers, the mess down on our southern border.  Brother against brother.  An economic 9-11 is coming.  Worse than a stock-market crash.  Instead of invading Afghanistan and Iraq as a result of the Twin Towers 9-11, the Deep State global elite will be invading American pocketbooks.  I will say no more.”
     Oh boy.  Looks like Madam Jane has been reading too much Naomi Klein, wherein today’s global neo-conservatives thrive on chaos?  I would say yes.
     “The government shuts down,” M.J. continues.  “Chaos slowly but surely results.  It will be almost like that infamous stock market crash of 1929 — only worse.  Much worse.  And democracy never thrives when there is chaos.  The next thing you know there will be armored tanks driving up and down every street and road in America.  The Patriot Act will start looking positively democratic compared to what will be coming next.  Beware.” 
     Got it.  When there is chaos, the top 001% have a fabulous excuse to spend (more) money on guns.  Madam Jane might actually be on to something here.  
     “But Madam Jane,” I finally ask her, “How come you never predict anything good?”  Perhaps she will — when Americans start demanding their democracy back?  Nah.  Never happen.

PS:  Most federal offices are supposed to be shut down on January 21 in honor of Martin Luther King’s birthday.  Oops, too late!  They already are.

January 9, 2019

Total fun: Attending an Oakland Raiders game!

Filed under: Uncategorized — Jane Stillwater @ 3:18 pm
          The Raiders’ last game of the season was on Christmas Eve this year.  “I really really really want to go see that game — before they sell out and become the Raiders of the Lost (Vegas) Ark instead.” I told a friend.  “But I just can’t afford a ticket.”  But I got on the BART train to the Coliseum anyway. 
      Everyone on BART was all dressed up in silver and black.  I pulled out my sign.  “Extra free ticket please?”  Then a man sitting next to me actually smiled, nodded his head, searched through his pockets, pulled out a $130 ticket and handed it to me.  Wow!!!  Pure joy.
     But wait.  It gets even better.  The game itself was amazing.  Raiders vs. Broncos.  But far even better than that (and even better than the Raiderettes’ complex dance routine at half-time) was just hanging out in the stadium and doing some heavy-duty crowd-watching.  I’ve never done such serious people-watching in my life.
     The crowd was pure Oaktown at its best.  And at Raiders’ games here in Oakland, Black and Brown men, women and children finally find themselves in a majority for once in their lives, cheering for their home team, big smiles on their faces too.  Pure joy in their hearts as well.  63,132 of them.  I fit right in.
     Best Christmas Eve ev-ah!
     Plus the Raiders won too.

     Maybe we could beg the team’s owners to keep the Raiders in Oakland where they belong?  Money isn’t everything, you know.  Happiness also counts a lot.  Or am I just being naive?

PS:  “But aren’t Black people also a majority in their own ghettos,” some historically-unaware grossly-insensitive person might ask.  Seriously?  Of course Black people are also a majority in their ghettos.  Sure.  Ghettos that they were originally forced into, herded into while practically being tattooed with an IBM number, driven there against their will by Jim Crow himself.  Black people have made the most of their own bits of land, but historically ghettos were designed as racial concentration camps, segregation outposts and economic jails.  America’s greatest shame since slavery.
     And as for Brown people?  They are the very salt of the American earth.  They hold American society together with their ingenuity, humor and hard work.  Yet what kind of gratitude do they get in return?  “Undocumented.  Illegal.”  That’s so unfair. 

     But at a Raiders game?  They are all free.  We are all free (except of course for the ticket prices).  And isn’t that what we all want?  Freedom?  And isn’t that what America is actually supposed to be about? 

     And isn’t that what everyone else in the rest of the world wants too?  Instead of constantly being invaded by America’s robot armies, constantly being invaded by Jim Crow.

Happy New Year a little bit late — plus some good advice on how to write a novel

Filed under: Uncategorized — Jane Stillwater @ 2:52 pm

The easiest way to write a book is to start by writing your very first page on New Years Day — and then write one page a day for the rest of the year. By the end of this year, you will have written a 365-page book. Voila! Yeah, I know. It’s not January 1 any more — but you still have time to catch up. Surely you can write just one page a day? What with computer software, smartphones, spell-check and everything? Spare ten minutes a day? “What else you got going on.”

“But what should I write about?” you might ask. No problem. Just take a look at today’s newspaper headlines for inspiration. At least five instant plot scenarios will be lurking right there. “Raiders may move to Las Vegas.” You like sports? Write about that.

Looking for an evil-villain idea for a possible spy thriller? No-brainer. Look no further than the CIA, Mossad, Atlantic Council, Wall Street and/or any one of those weird Saudi princes with a love of hacksaws. Look what these evil-doers have already done to Syria. Imagine what they are planning to do to you too. Write about that.

Want to write a sweetly heart-warming romance about a woman finding true love? Just check out the nearest grocery-story tabloid and/or the society page of the New York Times. Or google “Happy Ending” (not the massage). Or just check out your very own FaceBook page.

Got an itch to write sci-fi? Get inspired by climate catastrophes, weaponized satellites, paramilitary drones or even all those new bans on birth control, abortion and women’s right to choose. Oops, that one’s already been done.

There’s all kinds of really strange stories out there to write about these days — and there’s probably lots of really strange stories in the background of your own life as well.

But my main point here is that it really is easy to write a book if you just break it down into 365 short segments — and start your first segment on New Years Day (or shortly thereafter. Sorry about that.)

“So what if I did write a book,” you might ask next, “then where would I get it published?” No problem there either. Amazon has a self-publishing app that is totally amazing — and free. They do everything for you. Check it out. You’ll be a published author in no time. Mazel tov! And Happy New Year too.


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