Monday, May 11, 2020

The Pretenders

The raw truth, the seeping wound, ugly reality is that Americans are all delusional and in denial and it explains the Opioid crisis as those who were living in reality said, "Fuck it, let's just say high and not think about this shit."  The rest of were like the partygoers on the Titanic and the band played on.

Again, I got woke the minute I moved to Nashville and I cannot stress enough that an entire city if not region was affected by Covid fever.    The city had a real problem managing itself, the growth and of course the truth about its history as in the present tense its relationship with a significant portion of its population, African Americans.  And that is how they see themselves and their relationship to the white power brokers (all men all the time all white regardless of what you see/hear different), and they are in turn, Africans, indigent and still enslaved by "giving" them homes and an education and an "opportunity" to work.  Aka, Co-Dependency, because to the Southerner  they are not really Americans whose hyphenated moniker enables many to see themselves as distinct and in turn allows them to deny equality in every sense be it legally, morally or culturally.   Again the Bible defends much of this and is the "good book" across the racial spectrum. But,  it is clever how the white trash that dominate the scene in Nashville are equally ignorant, equally poor, and equally marginalized; however, they are given the belief they are better as they don't rely on public housing, food stamps and public health. Well that is one measure, but access and availability are another, so for all the largess it supposedly provides it doesn't. Just cause its there doesn't mean you are going to get it.. got it? Good.

And the city itself was being run on smoke and mirrors and government largess in the form of flood money, then the new Opportunity Zone bullshit and the rest enabled the white elite to fuel an economy largely funded by debt, and targeting two industries that will not be coming out of this whole - Tourism and Medical - anytime soon.  Couldn't happen to a nicer group of assholes. Honestly the cons and lies I heard there, the bullshit I first hand experienced, witnessed and heard about did not comfort me it just enabled be me to feel empathy and have compassion. Try that next time someone tells you their story. Oh wait "their truths" whatever.the.fuck. that is.

To point out real facts, those things that upset people.  Nashville started its boon with the Affordable Care Act passed in 2008.  That enabled a large group of hospitals, Vanderbilt, CHS (owned by a former Senator, Bill Frist), including a Catholic Hospital complex,  expanded their medical industrial complex to bring in a decade later, 47 billion dollars.   This article in Modern Healthcare explains the history of this industry's growth and in turn,  this article in the Nashville Scene explains the growth, which along with the amount of schools that align the city, that is where "IT"  became much like Pittsburg a city re-invented by "Med and Ed."    But without the ACA that boon would have nowhere been the billion dollar playing field that it became.  And that people is why the Republicans are utter hypocrites as it was two Democrats and one of them Black! who provided the largess to do so.  And here we are a scant two years later and well HCA and CHS is in trouble (as is most of the medical industry) and while we can blame a Pandemic, I think the irony that it is a Republican who contributed to that, and his obsession with the ACA doesn't help. Again irony on top of irony with 33 million out of work and health insurance and medical providers going insane with costs, folding up tents and losing money aka profits.

And that is the industry at large, venture capitalism and corporate buyouts led to the problems we have regarding care and costs.  And my personal favorite is HCS, owned by a former Governor of Florida, Rick Scott, now Senator and his troubled time there.

This editorial in the New York Times does a great job explaining how fucked that industry is right now and they sure as fuck got caught with their pants down with the pandemic. I would like to fuck them up the ass without lube as the medical industrial complex is a nightmare under the best of circumstances and their role in largely murder will of course go unchecked as everyone is sure they are heroes. What.the.fuck.ever.

Until you have first hand experience with anything you easily dismiss that as a one off or as something that the individual did/acted/caused that contributed to this horrendous experience by the wonderful members of the medical industrial complex.  Sure right what.the.fuck.ever.   I learned in Seattle that there were two camps regarding Harborview Medical Center and they believe they are amazing or the others that know the moniker, Harborzoo, is well earned.

What happened to me in 2012 "woke" me to the absurdity of the criminal justice system as well and in turn the bullshit that goes on on the treadmill of justice.  I have laughed now as the shut down on the economy is going to affect that portion of leeches that survive on chasing ambulances, traffic tickets and other largely victimless crimes that have been ratcheted up the punishment sector to generate more income for that industrial complex. Three strikes anyone? Drug laws? DUI? Those are just some examples of how lobbying, private industry and others go out of their way to add layers to already existing laws to make penalties and punishments so egregious that few can pay the penalities and spend much of their lives in debtor's prisons for misdemeanors. Again I hear you go, "But they should not have had a joint/glass of wine/missed child payments/stolen food/been an idiot"  Until it happens to you you have no fucking clue and instead of dismissing them, listen to them and respect them.  Again you think you could be on a jury and fairly hear evidence. No, until you realize that much of that is limited in scope and scale and the actual jury instructions are written in such a way that it makes it impossible to not find someone not guilty then STFU. And don't get me started on how Judges are elected as if we have any reason to do as such regardless. So now you think it is bad in the current system, wait as the cuts are coming your way. White collar suits are feeling the burn and it is Covid fever.  Well unless you are committing white collar crimes that will be a booming business, and again living in Nashville I got it I really did.

One only need to look at the fiasco of the PPP and how badly it was rolled out and in turn the businesses, no industries, that got MILLIONS and until they were exposed no one would have realized that publicly traded companies, companies owned and masked under shell companies owned by Billionaires got the bulk of the cash and was largely diverted to them by the banks who shut doors to actual small business owners. Never mind the way the loan is written so many of them are just sitting on the cash unsure of what to do or how to proceed in which to comply with the restrictions on said money.  Go figure.

But most Americans are ignorant and willfully so for some reason they feel it makes them happier, no it makes you stupider.  But okay what.ever.  When you are that disengaged this is what you have a crazy dopey Grandpa and his crazy family destroying democracy. It is the Munsters meet the Adams family during a massive storm, Tornado, Covid, Hurricane or a Flood. It is the apocalypse and now you are not going to the Good Place, there is no good place.  See you in hell.

Grand illusion: how the pandemic exposed we're all just pretending

Perhaps this crisis will make space for us to acknowledge that our loss and our failures aren’t our individual faults

Lynn Steger Strong
The Guardian
Mon 11 May 2020

When I started this column in February there was no Covid-19. We know now there was, but it wasn’t yet our daily reality.

I am a fiction writer, an Ivy League adjunct professor, a mother to two kids. I was meant to write about all the ways there was no longer space for people like me to make a stable living; all the ways this country’s lack of safety net – it’s merciless adherence to late capitalism, the gig economy, the broken healthcare system – were grinding so many of us down. I wrote, both before and after Covid-19, about my lack of health insurance. I might also have written about our lack of dental insurance, the pain I feel and have for years, each time I chew.

I was meant to write about perception versus reality in what I do professionally. The owner of the New York restaurant Prune, Gabrielle Hamilton, wrote an essay about this recently – describing how, for so long, so many of us have been pretending that we were or were about to “make it”. We had checked all or most of the boxes we were told to check in our professions, even as our lives remained in constant states of anxiety and fear. Work – the ability not only to get it and to do it but to not ever stop it – is the attribute that is perhaps flaunted and celebrated most of all. One of the reasons many of us don’t share the ways we do not have enough money is, I would argue, because we’re ashamed to say we’re struggling. We’ve internalized that our suffering is our fault – that it is because we must not be working hard enough.

I wanted to write about the pervasiveness of this feeling that there are no longer avenues to stability, because I wanted there to be less shame around it. I wanted to explore the ways that, in entrenched and fundamental ways, our struggles were more systemic than just us.

In her essay, Hamilton speaks of talking to others she also thought of as successful who were actually just performing success the same way she did. Hearing them say now that they were one bad week or month from going under before Covid-19 shocked her. She discovered that, in fact, the lot of it has been a ruse for a while.

It’s not just shame that keeps us quiet either. We keep our “failures” close to us because we know, especially in the markets that both Hamilton and I work in – art, books, restaurants – it’s so much about appearance. Is that book or that chef, that artist important? Why should anyone pay for her rent, her studio, her tour? Our pretending we’re not drowning is the proof we have that we might still be worth saving. Our performing stability is one of the few ways that we hope we might navigate the narrow avenues that might still get us out.

A thing, though, about perpetuating misperceptions, about pretending – because you’re busy surviving, because you can’t stop playing the rigged game on the off-chance somehow that you might outsmart it, because you can’t help but feel like your circumstances must somehow be your fault – is that it makes it that much harder for any individual within the group to tell the truth.

In the last installment of this column, I wrote about individual imagination. I wrote that our lives have not been working for a long time and much of that was a direct result of choices we made – I am individually responsible for choosing to be a writer, I am individually responsible for choosing to have kids. I might be able to abscond to rural Maine if we can’t afford our rent in the midst of this crisis. We might be able to find a way to stay put. But that does nothing for the other individuals across this country, who, through no fault of their own, find themselves with no safety valve.

Individual shame and an individual desire to succeed in ruthless systems has kept many of us quiet about this country’s failures. They’re now so blatantly apparent.

One of the things I hope this crisis makes space for is more of us acknowledging and saying out loud that our losses and our failures aren’t our individual faults. I hope we might begin to say out loud all the ways the system has failed us. To admit as a group that we are being slaughtered and exploited, that our bodies are overworked and undervalued, it takes the onus off of any one of us. It can and should make us feel less shame and less fear.

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