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106. Health Care for All

30 Jul

It is already a basic USA value to help everyone with at least some types of health problems. If a homeless person is lying in the street with severe injuries, he will at least get minimal care. Covertly, Republicans might not agree with this, but on the record they would have to support it or be castigated.

Given this premise, that in practice, everyone will get health care if needed, then it does make sense to require everyone pay for it. The simplest and most agreeable implementation is Medicare for all. Remember that our POTUS promised health care for all at good rates, in his campaign.

I suggest that we greatly increase taxes for rich folks by having higher rates and by closing tax loopholes. If you are extremely rich, then your taxes will be extremely high. If you have no income, then no tax. If you have a small regular income then you could have a very small increase. As income increases, then the percent allotted to health care expense also gradually increases. Lower and middle class people will pay a little more and wealthy people a lot more. Why should wealthy people pay a lot more: because they use a lot of resources and because much of their wealth has been gained by unfair influence on Congressional financial (tax, subsidies, IRA’s, etc.) legislation.

Note that I am not against people who become rich through hard work and intelligence. It is extreme wealth and wealth unfairly gained that bothers me; particularly when there is substantial poverty in our nation. Many very wealthy people have stated that they would not object to increased taxes.

Countries with universal health care include: Austria, Belarus, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, Malta, Moldova, the Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Romania, Russia, Serbia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Ukraine, and the United Kingdom (see Wikipedia).


60. List of Blog Titles

6 Jul

The following is a list of all my Blog Titles:
————-  2012 ————
1. Some Major Principles (Mar
2. Voters Beware (Mar
3. Big Governmentfor Women (Mar
4. Consciousness (Apr
5. Social Dawinism (Apr
6. Self-defeating Votes (Apr
7. Voter Education (Apr
8. Psychotherapy and Science (Apr
9. Vote Democratic (Apr
10. Vitamin C and Colds (Apr
11. The “Private Sector” solution (May
12. Bain Capitalism (May
13. Health and Educaton: rising costs (Jun
———–  2013  ————
14. “Wealthyvolution:” A new word (Sep
15. Debacles: costly and ubiquitous (Oct
16. Political Morality (Nov
———— 2014 ———-
17. Mouthwash Blues (Jun
———— 2015 ———-
18. Energy, Food, Water, and our Survival (Apr
19. American Lazy Slackers? (Apr
20. Mr. Jones Saves Capitalism (Apr
21. Simple Political Re-wording with Dangerous Consequences (Apr
22. Back-pain and calf-tension (Jun
23. Treatment for common back-pain (Jul
24. Republican poll misinterpreted (Jul
25. Bernie Sanders Interpretation of “Socialism” (Aug
26. Approve the Iran Nuclear Agreement (Sep
27. Trump can’t be bought? (Sep
28. Bernie Sanders on the Mark (Oct
29. Hilary Clinton: outstanding (Oct
30. Stretching program for back pain (Nov
31. ISIS Hysteria (Nov
32. Who supports Trump? (Dec
33. Jihadist attacks vs auto accidents (Dec
———– 2016 —————                                                                                                        34. Climate change: Simplified (Jan
35. POTUS Proud (Jan
36. Capitalism corrupted (Jan
37. Careful Voting (Jan
38. Trump’s Wall (Jan
39. Dem Dual Debate (Feb
40. Hindu NASA astronaut (Feb
41. Politics of Fear (Feb
42. Questions for Trump? (Feb
43. GOP Tax Nonsense (Feb
44. Is Trump a spoiler? (Feb
45. Trump as “Statesman”? (Feb
46. The Candidates 2016 (Feb
47. A Republican Policy of Revenge (Mar
48. Morning Joe “Trickles up” (mar
49. Is Cruz better than Trump? (Mar
50. Trump, Torture, and Aging inhibition (Mar
51. Flint water and GOP Policy (Mar
52. Ingested Lead Detox (Mar
53. Global Dysfunction (Apr
54. Free Public College (Apr
55. Why do they hate us? (May
56. Why: Not-Trump? (May
57. Secret of Trump (May
58. Deranged Murderers who Happen to be Muslim (Jun
59. Email Issue vs Policy Disasters (Jul                                                                                60.  Title List                                                                                                                       61. “Extreme” FBI Attacks  (Hillary Emails)   (Jul



32. Who Supports Trump?

9 Dec

People describe Trump supporters in various ways, but I think I see something that most others overlook.  Here is my logic.  Above all, the supporters are conservatives, and of course, Republicans.  This identity is key to understanding them and the first thing to understand.  This rigid identification can be inherited, based on community sentiment, or simply results from a powerful fear of change.  “Liberals will take away my money, make me support poor people, take away my doctors, family life, debase my marriage, etc.  And I know all this because important people on TV (Fox) say this, and my friends believe this.”

I really did not understand this type of thinking until I moved to a very conservative neighborhood and made friends there.  I had many discussions with them but when talking about politics, I always bumped into a brick wall.

So, given this powerful conservative identity factor, the rest is easy.  These Trump supporters know that things are not going well in the Middle-East, home economics,  jobs, salaries, etc.  Even Republicans admit that the very rich are getting richer and the rest of us are stuck at a losing level.  So in order to improve things, they see the  need for new ideas and strong new leaders — and leaders that cannot be bought by the billionaires.   And who best fits the profile: Trump.  He is strong, bold, self-supporting and is willing to present ideas that satisfy at a very crude visceral level.  And given the inflexible and unshakable identity factor, it is almost impossible to change their thinking.

Meanwhile, Democrats and Independents are growing more confident as Trump continues his serious political errors.

29. Hilary Clinton: Outstanding

23 Oct

After watching the recent Democratic debate and the House hearing on Benghazi, I saw a person who is articulate, logical, reasonable and in great control.  As I listened to her answers I was reminded of our past President Clinton, who I thought was one of the best speakers I have ever heard.

I admit that for a while I was enchanted with Bernie Sanders because I loved his message.  At first I thought he became a candidate to emphasize a point, but as his popularity increased I began to take his candidacy seriously.  After the two events mentioned above, however, I tend to favor Hilary because she seems most competent, knowledgable and strong. Even her emotion was balanced and appropriate.  She laughed when Republican Martha Roby asked her if she slept alone (all night) on the night of the event.  She was slightly annoyed, angry, amused, tired, happy, ernest, patient, and mostly calm.  Her strength over the 11 hours of badgering during the House hearing, is amazing.

Bernie has provided a wonderful service in pushing the entire party more to the left, forging a path towards real economic equality.  I now have restored my original analysis of Bernie’s candidacy, someone who is trying to shift policy and emphasize his (great) ideas.  But I think that Clinton, if nominated, is more likely than Sanders to win the presidential election.



24. Republican Poll Misinterpreted

29 Jul

In several recent polls related to Republican presidential candidates, voters have given the most votes (around 20%) to Donald Trump.  It seems that many people interpret this as Trump being the “leader.”  However, this type of poll can be misinterpreted.  About 20% goes to Trump and the remaining 80% is spread out to the others.

But if there was only one other candidate, that other candidate might get the entire 80%. Since Trump seems to be in a category of his own (radical and provocative), a new type of poll should be considered.  Trump could be compared to each of the other candidates and this might show that Trump is actually less popular than some of the others. It is for this type of situation that some elections have run-offs, if no one reaches a majority.


16 Jun

Postural muscles are those that help maintain standing and other positions. Important examples are in the lower back, calves, and hip. Since these muscles must be tensed for long periods to maintain our balance, they are often strained and become painful. My experience with very severe back pain and calf tension has inspired me to do a considerable amount of research. I suspect that most people really do not understand these disorders and that doctors often avoid explanations and/or do not fully understand the physiology. I have listed below some of my observations in this area.   Since this information is not presented as a substitute for medical advice, it may best serve to stimulate beneficial discussion. This information was developed from writings by reputable doctors, physiological psychologists, and other therapists. Some of it may be speculative.

It is often the case that tension in a muscle may persist long after necessary for its function. Sometime postural muscles are tensed when the tension is not necessary for support, or greatly tensed when only moderate tension is needed. Inflammation often results from excessive muscle tension, and may build up slowly. In my case, I suspect that the build-up has taken several days or maybe weeks. There is no pain during the build-up, but after a certain threshold is reached, a sudden sharp pain may appear after an ordinary movement. Perhaps at some point, the inflammation is so great that a ligament or tendon slips out of position triggering pain receptors.

Tension may be prolonged by psychological stress factors, chronic anxiety, and/or other reasons. There is tendency for medical doctors to ignore psychological factors, and more specifically, to attribute lower back pain to the spine rather than to muscle.  (This happened to me with disastrous consequences.)

One of my muscle-tension cases is instructive in this area.   I was referred by a doctor, a lady patient with right leg pain.  She had consulted with several physicians to no avail.  After an extensive interview and some tentative relaxation work, it became apparent that her pain was caused by the stress of driving many hours a day for her business.  We worked on a program of general and specific-muscle relaxation and her pain problem was quickly solved.

Prolonged tension in a muscle can lead to pain and in the worst case, cramping. Cramping can be identified by sharp pains, hard muscles, and often a brief collapse. If you have experienced a common calf cramp while playing tennis or other sports, you know what this feels like. What I find interesting is that you can also get similar cramps in the back muscle.

Sometimes the pain prevents beneficial stretching, as this temporarily makes the pain worse. For example, working with a computer for long periods, can lead to calf tension and if not relaxed can strain or damage the achilles tendon. If you are making precise computer mouse movements or are writing about something upsetting, many muscles may be over-tensed.

With regard to back-pain,  it is noted by experienced physicians that CT   and MRI scans may indicate serious spinal defects, but these may not be   the cause of the pain.  The source of pain must be determined by also considering physical examination,  history, and interview.

Treatments. There are a variety of treatments for postural muscle pains, including surgery, nerve blocks, physical therapy, etc. Since my education and practice is in physiological psychology, I am emphasizing that aspect.

If the cause of pain is excessive muscle tension, then the following is helpful. Awareness of tension often leads to a natural regulation. Awareness can be developed by focusing on a muscle, then repeatedly tensing and loosening it. What does it feel like when it is tense and loose? The simplest procedure to directly reduce tension is stretching. For back pain,  my personal experience is that bending over and touching the toes 30 or more times per day, is the single most effective action. For tension in the calf, standing and pushing against a wall to stretch the gastrocnemius muscle (like before running track) is best. You can also get benefit from massage, vibration, heat or cold, and inversion (hanging by feet) for backache. Biofeedback equipment can help with general and specific relaxation. I have successfully used this method with many patients.

Since inflammation is often involved in the pain, NSAID drugs, such as Naproxin can help, but may not be necessary. Inflammation itself can cause damage so it must be reduced.  If you use medication, you may need to consult with a doctor regarding drug interactions. If you use any medication it’s best to terminate when when the pain has abated — and you should terminate gradually.  If the pain has a cramp-like characteristic, one could consider taking mineral supplements, such as calcium and magnesium.

Generally,  it is important to avoid situations that promote inappropriate muscle tension. For example,  immobilization for a long period should be avoided. Just moving around is helpful. If you are sitting in a chair working with a computer you could get up periodically (say, every half hour or less) and walk around, or just sit there and do some arm, leg and back stretching movements. If anxiety or nervousness contributes to the tension, then psychotherapy could also be helpful.

Final thought: I am most concerned because some doctors over complicate a common pain problem and do not recommend an effective simple solution.  For lower back-pain, the patient could be instructed to stretch the back muscles (carefully) many times per day — and to be aware of what the muscles feel like and what activities may be causing tension.  For knowledgeable patients, scans and/or PT may not be necessary.  Many years ago, I went to an orthopeadic doctor at Henry Ford Hospital, for a severe achilles-tendon pain problem.  After an examination, his only recommendation was to stretch my calf muscles many times per day — a perfect and correct simple solution. How many doctors today would provide this simple answer?

19. American Lazy Slackers ?

25 Apr

Bloggers that want to support the rising wealth of very rich people, love to find ways of distorting statistics to justify their goals.  Based on government surveys, one such writer states that 172 million persons in the United States are not working.  This may well be true, but he goes on to say that these 172 million are lazy slackers.

There is a long history of surveys being misinterpreted. He goes directly from the “number not working” to the conclusion that most or all of these are lazy.  The blogger does not cite any survey that explores slacking or laziness.  To make this conclusion, you would have to do a costly major investigation to find out which people are actually lazy and which have good reasons for their unemployment.  But, you can’t make such a survey, because few will admit to being lazy. We don’t even know what type of survey questions were used to arrive at the original “number not-working”.

Over interpretation of data is a device often used to justify political agendas.  “Not working” could include housewives raising children, disabled people, people who don’t interview well, children, retired people, students, unskilled and inexperienced persons, convicts, people in rehab, people who have large monetary resources, handymen doing odd jobs, volunteer workers, victims of identify theft, floods, drought, etc., etc.  Many informal studies have shown that most of those able to work would prefer to do so.  To penalize the many for the lazyness of a few is unjust.

It is sad that there is such a need in some to attack those that are less fortunate.  And even ironic that fair tax code and fair tax collection just for the wealthy could substantially benefit those that need help.