On April 1st we learned a 51 year old friend, Duane Jarvis, died of colon cancer. I knew him for years before his girlfriend told me he had a terrible, painful case of scoliosis and had spent much of his life in bad health and in pain. Yet, he was a gentle and sweet spirit who relished life and took every opportunity to be and do what his heart dictated. About eighteen months ago he was diagnosed with colon cancer. We found this out because his ex-wife in an effort to help him sent out e-mails to all his friends to help him with his mounting medical bills.
Now this man was no slouch. He worked all his life as a professional musician. But of course being a musician is not like working at Starbucks, there are no 401k plans with health and dental added. Yet, he contributed to the lineage of art so many of us love. He was Lucinda Williams guitar player and co-wrote some songs with her, played with Frank Black, Dwight Yoakam, Dave Alvin, John Prine, Michelle Shocked and many more. http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/music_blog/2009/03/duane-jarvis-in.html http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/music_blog/2009/04/duane-jarvis-dies-at-51-la-roots-music-singersongwriter-and-guitarist.html One could say he made his mark in the music world and on all who knew him. Yet because the life of an artist is feast or famine, up, down and a hustle, he did not have adequate health care. And I’m sure with his medical history even if he wanted to purchase it, it would have been out of his ability to pay for it.
His friends pitched in to help save his life. But he lost his battle at 1:30 in the morning at a hospice with an ocean view, with a smile on his face. He never complained about his pain, his disease or his troubles.
Not only was this poor man fighting a horrible, painful, aggressive form of cancer, he had to worry about the financial cost to him and the loved ones he knew he would leave behind. It has been proven that cancer is made worse by stress and chances are good that if he had good medical care to begin with his colon cancer never would have gotten so out of control, claiming his life at the early age of 51.
For all out there who still believe each one of us should think only of ourselves, and not come together as a nation and take care of each other through a universal healthcare system, I ask do you listen to music? Do you read books, enjoy art, read magazines, watch movies or enjoy any form of art as a release, a way to wind down to reflect on your life in a different way? If you answered yes to any of those questions, then I’d like to burst your illusion that those in the arts, even the people you on the outside would deem successful, have the financial stability to pay for their healthcare. Yet we all enjoy the fruits of their work. Art attunes us with our soul, the universe, God, our spirit and each other. It aides compassion, encourages self-reflection and produces self-discovery. It is actually one of the only things we as Americans still make and export. Yet for more than 90% of professional artists of all kinds there is no safety net in this country (unlike other democratic, civilized places.)
Republicans will belly ache about personal responsibility, yet it costs more for us to foot the bill for radical treatment that could have been avoided due to prevention then footing the bill for radical treatment when someone cannot afford their care. And is it fair that after years of giving to the world these individuals and their families should be punished with outrageous bills because they don’t work for a corporation that gives them health insurance?
Our health care system is absurd. There is no reason corporations should pay for our health care and there is no reason people who are self-employed, whether in the arts or otherwise, should be punished with outrageous costs they often opt to avoid.
More than half of all Americans walk this tight rope every day, hoping and praying they don’t get sick because they can’t afford a trip to the doctor’s office let alone several hundred dollars a month to an insurance company who will then, often fight to make sure they pay as little as possible.
Our country has the highest infant mortality rate of any industrialized nations. https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/rankorder/2091rank.html
And our life expectancy is at #50 of all countries in the world, ranking well below all western European countries, Canada, Hong Kong, South Korea and Bosnia for God’s sake.
How could it possibly be that we are the wealthiest country in the world and yet we let ten percent of our population control about 70 percent of the wealth? How can anyone who is not in that top echelon actually abide this? Why is it that any rational human being who works and pays taxes is not absolutely outraged by this? And how is it that the Republicans have managed to sell us on the idea that our system is fine?
Oh, yeah, the amplified fear of communism (aka more aptly dictatorship) which is actually just faked for the benefit of those who don’t understand why there would literally have to be a civil war in our country for a dictatorship to occur although we did get just about as close as we could with the Bush administration with their tactic of not counting the votes. According to the Limbaugh’s of the world it appears going back to the tax code of 1993 which was a 36 percent tax for the wealthy 10 percent to a 3 percent increase at 39 percent is a communist plot and of course so is universal health care. Hmm, I wonder who benefits most from that position. Oh, yeah the rich like Limbaugh. So he’s basically arguing from an entirely selfish point of view but trying to sell it as some sort of great American ideal when it’s nothing but more money for his private planes, which by the way he has, I know someone who was picked up and taken to his mansion in Florida by one of them. (Yes, I do have all kinds of friends.)
As I pointed out in an earlier post, communism is not the same as democratic socialism. In communist countries where they took Marx & Lennon’s ideas and ran with them they all ultimately turned into dictatorships because there was no accountability written into their ideology. The notion that a group of people would take everyone’s stuff and then divide it up among all the people evenly is insane and of course was an open invitation for graft, power hungry dictators, and greedy buerocrats. This was beyond psychologically naive, it was ideologically irrational, unsound and irresponsible. No checks and balances, no elections, hell, with all of Marx’s good intentions of lifting up the poor, he may as well have slapped a “rape the people of this country here” sticker on whatever flag adopted those ideas.
As out of whack as the US has gotten with capitalism swallowing our Democracy through corporate lobbyists and special tax laws and loopholes for the wealthy who could pay their way into the halls of power, we still have the power to pull back the reigns on this out of control buggy. And as a people we obviously have started yelling, “whoa!” by ousting the Republicans who have for the past 30 years aligned themselves with corporations, big money and lobbyists in a much more extreme way than Democrats.
But Democrats have to start really pulling the reigns back before we leap off the mountain here. And let’s get real; they aren’t all that much better than Republicans. They take money from special interests, lobbyists and play all the same games. There is just a bigger percentage of people who identify with the working/middle class in the Democratic party but that’s been drifting away over the past 20 years as well. Which is why Obama was and is such a breath of fresh air. He actually seems like he has, can you believe it, IDEALS! It’s been a long time since we’ve seen that in a politician.
In my humble opinion this form of out of control corporate capitalism is at odds with Democracy at this point in our history. There are laws that need to be put into place, such as, if you are an American company, your product should have to be made in America. As a private citizen if I wanted to go live in France I couldn’t because I’m not French. I’m American. So why is it that corporations started by Americans and incorporated here, can make their crap in China, and then put an office in Guam and avoid paying American taxes? If you ask me this behavior is anti-American and one of the big dark roots of the economic disaster America is finding itself in. All that talk about how unemployment wasn’t that bad during the Bush administration was B.S. Besides changing the rules on how unemployment statistics were reported to only reporting people on the unemployment rolls in the unemployed statistics and cutting unemployment benefits back to 6 months, I hardly think working part-time at Wal-Mart for the minimum wage while being taught how to get food stamps and welfare by the corporate douche bags at Wal-Mart qualifies as the kind of good manufacturing jobs we shipped overseas. You know, the ones where people actually got paid a living wage, one they could feed and clothe their families on.
Another point I’d like to make here is the big mistake of the 1970s when women entered the work force and ERA was not passed. What people didn’t get was paying women 70 cents to the dollar a man would make for the same job drove down wages to the point where now both parents have to work in order to support a family.
It’s the very same principle Lou Dobbs complains about with the Mexicans driving down wages and taking away jobs because they are willing to work for less. Well, guess who relaxed the boarder laws for this very reason? The Reagan administration. Yes, that’s right folks. Allowing illegal people to stream across the boarders was a way to modernize indentured servitude. Again the goal was to make the rich, richer without any consideration of the other 90% of Americans. I’m in no way blaming the Mexican people who have come here in search of a better life. Our country is a hodge-podge of people from all over the world who came here for the very same reason. As a matter of fact the way the Mexican people have been exploited and then demonized is very much akin to what happened to the Irish who came here as indentured servants. Their pay was a ticket on a ship to America and they spent years as slaves until working this off only to find there was tremendous animosity for them because they were poor, and often in desperate straights.
Enough of my blabbing. I just want to point out that history repeats itself. It mutates and grows new claws, but there are patterns. Unfortunately, these facts are not pointed out or even noted for people to consider. I hope to at least try to illuminate those who have been seeing things through the lens of FOX news. By the way I want to note here that numerologicaly FOX = 666 for those who are of the Christian faith.
Here’s how that works:
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9
A B C D E F G H I
J K L M N O P Q R
S T U V W X Y Z
This is standard western numerology. As you can see FOX is spelled out under the number 6. Each letter has the value of 6.
I always wondered if Rupert Murdoch knew that and thought it was ironic or funny or if he saw himself as being in league with Mr. Satan. Or perhaps it’s all of the above. All I know is it’s dang ironic.
Best wishes and many blessings,