The Trooth

Posted in Culture of Lickspittle, Permanent Fail at 2:01 pm by George Smith

American exceptionalism: Relearning the lost art of home tooth take-outs.

It seems perfect to match my tale of tooth removal with fresh news of the House’s successful vote to repeal and replace Obamacare. Here in California I’m a recipient of that but truth, or trooth, be told there’s a lot that allegedly landmark legislation doesn’t cover.

My Obamacare policy came on the expansion of Medicaid in California. And Medicaid doesn’t cover teeth, really.

I’ll cut to a great relevant quote and bring up a recent NYT piece which ran a day or two after I pulled the tooth, above:

He knew that he needed to. It hurt to chew. A couple of teeth had grown discolored, so he tried not to smile broadly. His daughter kept urging him to get a checkup.

The reason he didn’t: money.

Medicare has never provided dental care, except for certain medical conditions, and California’s Medicaid program covers only some services, at reimbursement rates so low that most of the state’s dentists do not accept Medicaid patients at all.

Many Americans find it difficult to obtain adequate dental care, but the problem is particularly acute among older Americans …

At the West Center, where the average patient lives on $850 a month, “they often haven’t seen a dentist in 10 or 20 years,??? Dr. Becerra said. “They’d end up in the E.R. when the pain got unbearable.??? She has seen patients who have pulled their own teeth.

When I graduated from Lehigh with a Ph.D. I had a pretty good oral record. No cavities at all. All through youth, regular dental care and visits, no problem. It was something pretty much every kid in Schuylkill County, Pennsylvania, received.

However, over the next few years and then permanently, it was all unraveled. If you didn’t latch into a good corporate dental plan through employment, or hitchhike on a spouse’s, you were pretty much fucked as the masters of the United States decided that dental care for everyone was too much of an expensive option.

So if you were a freelance worker, or someone with spotty employment, you could buy one of those worthless health insurance policies since outlawed by Obamacare. If you had one, you found out what it was like. It didn’t cover anything short of catastrophic leading to terminal illness and then not even all of that.

Trips to the dentist were expensive on piece work and freelance incomes. So they didn’t happen.

Are things better? Only sort of. Obamacare remedied some of the problems. No teeth, though. Trooth!

I suspect tens of thousands of people have similar policies under Obamacare, whether implemented by the state or through the still much disliked health insurance sector. Teeth, however, are not peripherals. Which only shows that healthcare in the US is still handled as a rigged market of commodity services.

But back to the story.

If you’d have told me on graduation that some day, not soon but in the distant future, I’d be holding one of my molars in the palm of my hand, posing it for a smartphone pic, I woudn’t have known what to say.

I remember trips to places like colonial Jamestown and Williamsburg where you could walk the old American dirt street and stop in the mock dentist’s office. A person in wig was often there to tell you the dentist was often located close to the bar so the patient could sort of be numbed with some strong drink before getting in the chair for an extraction.

“Har, har!” the parents, now long dead, and us kids would laugh. We lived in modern America. Something that primitive — inconceivable! They believed that thngs would always get better and I was still way too young to know better.

And that’s my story for today’s Obamacare repeal. Selah!


Embrace your infirmity

Posted in Culture of Lickspittle, Imminent Catastrophe, Permanent Fail at 2:35 pm by George Smith

Time waits for no one, least of all, the glands. Embrace infirmity.

You’ve heard it before, from the archives for Old White Coot.


Some arithmetic, not Trumpmatic

Posted in Culture of Lickspittle, Decline and Fall, Permanent Fail at 10:31 am by George Smith

Homeland Security employs a quarter of a million people, the majority of which are not involved in physical strong-arming, not a secret police.

ICE –Immigration and Customs Enforcement employs 20,000. DEA employs 11,000.

Trump spouts nonsense when he says he can deport 2-3 million. Simple brainpower and arithmetic show it’s not a trivial thing. Ya can’t just tell border patrol to get rid of them.

How many people do you need to process and forcibly deport one person, completely disregarding the need for housing, transportation and facilities? Two, three, more?

The domestic national security regime wold immediately have to be expanded by a few million, at least. And, it has to be said, transfer camps would need to be built. Remember, Donald J. Trump doesn’t do back of the envelope calculations; he doesn’t do any serious detail thinking.

Do you think the US will embark on building an infrastructure and security force similar to what — well, what other country? The answer’s on the tip of your tongue. But do you really think that?

This is not to say you shouldn’t be concerned by his nincompoop blather on “60 Minutes.” It is to say what will have to be done if it’s not total rubbish? Who’s going to sign up to join the secret police, to be the force for the loading areas?

A reader points to an article at Bloomberg asserting prison stocks are surging as a consequence of Trump triumphant:

Donald Trump’s victory in the presidential elections helped shares of Corrections Corp. rise as much as 60 percent before paring their surge to 34 percent by 10:14 a.m. in New York, while GEO Group Inc. was trading 18 percent higher by the same time.

Those moves mean the stocks have recouped some of the losses they’ve registered since August, when the Department of Justice said it would start phasing out privately run jails. Analysts say President Trump would be likely to reverse that policy …

This could cynically be described as part of Trump’s jobs program.

However, private prisons are already filled.

Since mass deportation would be a federal project and DoJ was ordered to divest from private prisons that would, as the Bloomberg piece states, need to reverse.

Federal prisons holds 220,000, of which only 30,000 were held by private sector business. Again, the expansion would have to be radical and impossible to ignore.

From the Dept. of Grim Jokes:

Digital copies of The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich and Hitler: Ascent — 1889 – 1939 surge out of Amazon a week after the election of Donald Trump. Two weeks later American readers ask for refunds upon finding both books are over 1000 pages; wish to buy safety pins to assuage guilt over epic fuck-up, instead.

Your song for the day. Fighting involves willingness to take a punch, not posting crap dumpling pic memes on social media.


The US Military: Like an HIV infection

Posted in Bombing Moe, Bombing Paupers, Culture of Lickspittle, Permanent Fail, War On Terror at 11:31 am by George Smith

America’s Wehrmacht continues its press campaign on the new rebombing of the region formerly known as Libya.

You’ll recall that recommending the bombing of Libya, which turned it into a failed state, was HRC’s highest achievement as Sec’y of State. So if you rebomb a failed state can you make it unfailed?

Perhaps the American Wehrmacht has been influenced by the high school science experiment in which you beat a magnet with a hammer which causes it to demagnetize, to be failed, so to speak. But if it it is totally demagnetized, the beating will restore a little magnetism to it. Or maybe not, it’s hard to follow.

Ashton Carter, the Sec’y of Defense, has been fond of using cancer as a metaphor to describe ISIS. The US military must fight the ISIS cancer by removing the “parent tumor” bits of it and to combat its “metastases.”

But if you have known loved ones or friends who have died of cancer, you may have seen the phenomenon first hand in which cancer treatment, chemotherapy or radiotherapy, indeed kills cancer cells but also selects for the most hardy so that, eventually, the cancer doesn’t respond at all to treatment. And the patient dies.

And unlike the US military, often doctors stop treatment because it does no good, making even worse the time the patient has left.

The Pentagon’s treatment of terrorism in foreign countries is never halted, no matter the consequences for the patient.

Ashton Carter is just another high-button apparatchik whose career was in buying weapons systems and writing pamphlets about the MX missile and communications systems for thermonuclear war before becoming Sec’y of Defnse so perhaps another medical definition for the war on terror is in order.

How about this?

The US military is like an HIV infection. If it infects a country in the Middle East or Africa, whether it be by special operations in the night, drone attacks, so-called surgical bombing, the training and equipping of local proxy hit squads or a combination of all these things, all the functions that keep a society together are eaten away and weakened, just like the HIV destroys the body’s white T-blood cells for fighting infection. And eventually your country is so depleted and burned out it collapses, becoming a shell of warring factions that cannot be restored.

By this time the US military, like the HIV, is off working over another country, perhaps a close neighbor, someone with which it normally had relations.

In America today, HIV is a very serious disease but manageable through the use of effective anti-viral drugs and medications to stop secondary infections. However, there is nothing that can be used to make a country survivable once the US military has been turned loose in and on it.


Glass Jaw Day

Posted in Bioterrorism, Bombing Moe, Bombing Paupers, Culture of Lickspittle, Imminent Catastrophe, Permanent Fail, War On Terror at 2:02 pm by George Smith

Fourteen years ago Osama bin Laden showed the world the United States had a glass jaw. After one very hard hit, the world superpower would appear to rise up, united only to see its people and leaders fail in spectacular fashion as they abandoned all principles they thought they stood for.

Fourteen years later, we’re subdued and fearful owners of a combination corporate dictatorship national security state equipped with an armored car-driving paramilitary police force and surveillance apparatus designed for the suppression of civilian participation. Add to that an embedded racial apartheid, one that puts African Americans and the poor in prison for profits, targets of extortion in the way of organized heists disguised as fines for petty infractions and legitimately resentful of their terrible officials.

The largest military and national security complex in world history was erected. And it’s only strategy, with the only exception being the recent agreement with Iran , is attacking much poorer nations with overwhelming force, selectively bombing impoverished regions of misery and lawlessness, launching pinprick military raids/assassinations and creating or exacerbating failed states.

A small example, yesterday, from Fox News and overseas sources (delivered by mercenaries probably on the US payroll, yet), reasonable evidence that ISIS can manufacture small amounts of mustard gas in Syria, for use in mortar shells and improvised bombs aimed at local militias opposed to them.

And who brought it about? We did when an illegitimate war was launched, one that destroyed Iraq and destabilized the entire region, a place where we’re still bombing people, making things worse, stirring the pot, training lousy local fighters who desert, and arming the same with weapons that eventually get turned over to even worse people.

From Fox:

One Kurdish soldier said that of 52 mortars ISIS launched at his team during one attack, three released yellow smoke that caused their skin to immediately water, discharge liquids, blister and create large wounds. Soldiers exposed to the gas vomited and experienced extreme abdominal pain and severe burning and itching eyes. Other mortars discharged a silver glittery substance that stuck to their skin like glue. The Kurdish soldiers said the Iraqi military also said ISIS used these chemical weapons on their forces.

The attached photos, if genuine, show wounds that appear to be caused by a blistering agent.

The nature of the story appears to show that only small amounts, militarily insignificant, are being produced and put into mortar shells, in and of itself a hazardous undertaking. The primary aim would appear to be to cause an additional measure of terror and demoralization.

The incident also appears to describe a failed improvised weapon, I’m guessing — something sticky and flammable — styrofoam or styrene dissolved in an organic solvent until thickened, to adhere. In this case, there was no ignition.

And what are we looking forward to in 2016?

More of the same, almost certainly.

Why, here’s the alleged leading candidate of the Democratic Party, being distasteful and awful, as it turned out, in making what she thinks is an off-camera joke about the killing of Moe Gadaffi.

Hilarious. Failed states and refugee crises.

Still the best song that applies. Shoulda been a contender.

Incidentally, it’s the only rock video to show anthrax mailer Bruce Ivins entertaining in a Maryland bar AND his vanity-pressing white label single, “Pass Me By.”

Ivins’ anthrax mailings touched off the biggest investment in bioterror defense in world history (we’re always number one in these dubious achievements), all to counter a threat, the predicted scope of which has never materialized.

The best and only bioterrorist minted during the war on terror? Our man! Paid for by the US taxpayer.

Also eyeball the video for the “puffer machine.” (We’ll check you now, for purity!) Designed for the detection of explosives at airports, many were bought. None of them worked and it was subsequently canned.


The Best and the Brightest

Posted in Bombing Paupers, Permanent Fail at 2:25 pm by George Smith

The ARVN continues to do well at Tan Son Nhut.


Americans lack necessary skills

Posted in Culture of Lickspittle, Permanent Fail at 1:25 pm by George Smith

Today’s morning hilarity. Big.

Lack skills — in the Google news tab.

The Pasadena Whole Foods job fair imbroglio.

Accidentally perfect.


Seen by appointment only

Posted in Culture of Lickspittle, Permanent Fail at 10:23 pm by George Smith

Yesterday in Pasadena, DD and the WhiteManistan Blues Band were on fire at Artscape. Perhaps it was the unusual sheeting rain but more likely was the Whole Foods “job fair” experience earlier in the week.

There was nothing to do but jeer at the tale of musical cars in the parking deck and a couple hundred job-seekers lined up out the door for two part-time positions. And you needed an “appointment” just to get your resume looked at.

My friend Mark, the drummer, admitted the country was pathetic.
It hardly produces jobs for its people. The majority of those it does don’t pay much of anything.

When you have no more practical chance of landing even part-time work as a dishwasher or someone wrapping and weighing meat in a supermarket than winning the jackpot with a lottery ticket bought at the liquor store, there’s nothing to do but laugh.

The unemployment problem is caused by a skills mismatch! Americans are too stupid to get the jobs the new global economy furnishes! If you want a job bad enough, you’ll have one! Only the lazy and sinful do not!

From the New York Times opinion page:

[Since] 2000, many college graduates have taken jobs that do not require college degrees and, in the process, have displaced less-educated lower-skilled workers. “In this maturity stage,??? [a] report says, “having a B.A. is less about obtaining access to high paying managerial and technology jobs and more about beating out less-educated workers for the barista or clerical job…???

[The future] norm may very well be an economy where even college-educated workers cannot thrive.

Employer demand for “cognitive skills” has waned, adds the Times. Wages are stagnant. Corporate America declines to give raises except to the most well-off.

No need for cognitive skills as a part-timer in the meat department. And certainly there were plenty of college-educated unemployed people in the Whole Foods line and parking garage.

The Times has no answers other than the usual things that can’t happen: raising the minimum wage, bringing back regulation and enforcement of standards in corporate America, “support for union organizing.”

Additional hilarity provided by e-mails from Robert Reich and other progressive organizations asking if I’d be willing to start a petition to raise the minimum wage in Pasadena, or contribute three dollars, if I could.

Two years old, more true every day. The only bit wrong, a minor detail: Cairo, the Seal Team 6 dog wasn’t elected president.

Hey, use Kickstarter and social networking to collect enough money to make it into a record or CD! Make an ad for this video, advises Google!

What a laugh riot.


The state of unemployment in the great nation

Posted in Decline and Fall, Imminent Catastrophe, Permanent Fail at 12:45 pm by George Smith

Whole Foods has two stores in Pasadena. One on the Arroyo and one on the east side of town at Foothill north of the highway. The Arroyo store announced a job fair on Monday on Facebook and a placard at the franchise on Foothill was seen on Sunday by a friend. You were to upload your resume to the corporate website and come by the store between 9 and 1 today.

The store was overwhelmed by job applicants. The three level parking garage was filled and job-seekers played musical cars in the lanes hoping for a lucky break. I got such a break and went into the store.

There was a line of at least 150 people. More were waiting outside. The store had to put up a sign. You would not be seen without an appointment. The drop by/walk-in plan was cancelled. I had no appointment.

The Whole Foods website advertised two openings at the Arroyo store, both for part-time work, one in the meat department and one as a dishwasher.

People milled around as staff tried to organize those in the crowd who did have appointments. As I drove out, a line of of cars snaked into the garage.

There is never that kind of crowd at Whole Foods before noon at the middle of the week.

It’s a good store. So is the one on the east side. It has always seemed a pleasant place to work. The employees have their own unorthodox cool that sets Whole Foods apart from most other places in Pasadena.

The only rival, Trader Joe’s, is equally good, although for a much more frugal job, a niche it fills perfectly.

Excuse please, my mind wanders.

If you like, you can throw a few coins in the misery jar.


Rock & Bluesmen for the Plutocracy

Posted in Culture of Lickspittle, Permanent Fail, Rock 'n' Roll at 4:03 pm by George Smith

In the mail today.

Price: $1250 before tax, per.

Made in low employment density custom-shop America, for the [1 percent and their not-yet-obsolete upper middle class servant] people. Bifurcation of US market into domestic manufacturing for the haves, offshore or nothing for everyone else.

More instruments for corporate fascists, to reference last week.

The virtual tip jar. Micro-payments accepted. Everyone should get used to it, because when you finally get to the Amazon Mechanical Turk model, you won’t be given a choice.

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