Posts Tagged With: health

THE HEALTH CARE BAMBOOZLE

Much of the friction and divisiveness among the U.S. electorate is often the result of most Americans choosing to be either uncaring, uninformed, or uninvolved. For example, in the 2016 presidential election only about 135 million Americans bothered to vote out of an adult population well in excess of 200 million. It’s now estimated that for the upcoming 2018 Congressional elections there will be a 40% drop-off from the already weak numbers of 2016. In the computer age when a wealth of information is literally at ones finger tips, most people can’t be bothered to access such data that’s often critical to their lives and well-being. Instead they prefer to make crucial decisions based on trite slogans written on a baseball cap or a hand-made sign sticking out from a crowd. Back in the day, when I was actually young, one had to literally trudge to the library and search out hard-copy (if it existed) in order to become informed. Now that the process has become so much easier, most people are too busy with other stuff to really care. Yet, even though political and social ignorance and uncaring is so prevalent, the actions of our elected officials often have profound consequences for all too many people.

You want proof. In the presidential election of 2000, George W. Bush supposedly carried the state of Florida ( a fact still being disputed) by a few hundred votes out of millions cast, thus giving him the presidency. His opponent, Democrat Al Gore, won the popular vote nation-wide only to lose access to the White House because of the idiocies of our Electoral College system, and a disputed vote count in Florida. (Sound familiar regarding our 2016 election?) The primary difference between the two men? In 2003 Bush decide to invade Iraq in order to depose Saddam Hussein, admittedly, a really bad tyrant and despot. That war continues in one form another to this day 14 years later. Al Gore, had he become president, would have never initiated such an invasion. During the Iraqi war 6000 U.S. military and civilian contractors lost their lives, and about another 25,000 Americans were so severely wounded that their lives were effectively over. Brain damage, blindness, loss of limbs, that sort of thing. Ask a veteran of that war  who’s blind or a quad-palegic whether elections have consequences.

The relevancy of an uninformed and generally uncaring public will once again rear it’s ugly head when Congressional Republicans, for the umpteenth time, try, once again, to repeal and supposedly replace Obamacare, as the nation’s health care system. It’s once again time for the Republican health care bamboozle. In the Senate, the Republican effort is primarily based on lopping off over 20 million poor from Medicaid, in order to provide tax cuts for the rich. It’s Reverse Robin Hood time, as I wrote in a previous piece. And, of course, the proposed legislation has the solid backing of Donald Trump, who really doesn’t care what’s in the details, as long as he can claim that his administration did away with the supposedly despised and socialistic Obamacare. Good for the ego and that sort of rot. Especially for a pathological narcissist like Trump. So, since Republicans are so adamant in their opposition to socialized medicine, I thought it would be useful to cite some relevant facts in that regard, that dispute the fact our medicine is un-socialistic.

The reality is that we already have a large degree of socialized medicine in this country. Here are the facts. TRICARE, a comprehensive medical plan that’s available to active and retired military and their families for a nominal fee, already has 9.5 million participants. The Veterans Affairs system, also for the military, is free, for those that don’t participate in TRICARE, and counts another 9 million members. Medicare, a type of socialized medicine with nominal premiums for seniors, has about 55.5  million members, while Medicaid, which is free health care for the poor, adds another 76 million to its membership rolls. Throw in CHIP, which is Medicaid for poor children, and you have another 4 million participants on the governments dime. Call me crazy, but my math is saying that about 154 million Americans are already receiving subsidized or socialized health care support from the government. It’s true that for Medicaid participants, the quality of the health care they receive is often poor or low-grade, but that’s because of government stinginess in reimbursing doctors for health care services provided to poor people.

It also should be considered that another 156 million Americans receive their health care coverage from their employers. This is also subsidized by the government since those same employers are then allowed to deduct the costs of providing that benefit  from the income taxes they owe the government. So, although the various health care arrangements in the U.S. may be convoluted, there’s little doubt that the government participates in providing socialistic type coverage to about 310 million Americans. That leaves about 15 million people in the U.S. that are left dangling in the wind when it comes to protecting their most valuable asset, namely their health.

The sane solution to all of this would be to scrap all these various arrangements, and institute a universal, single payer health care system that’s prevalent through the rest of the world, especially those with advanced economies like ours. But, of course, that’s way too sensible and would not allow our Republican President and Congress to demagogue the issue as they plan to do this week. It will probably take another couple of centuries of evolution before the sanity of universal health care will be allowed to prevail.

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Categories: A malfunctioning psche, Brexit, Donald Trump, Alan Greenspan, Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders, Ted Cruz, John Kasich, presidential polls,, Economics, human affairs, Joe McCarthy, McCarthyism, World War II, Viet-Nam, Anti-Communist Witch Hunts, Army-McCarthy hearings, Islamic Jihadist terrorism, Soviet Union, Red China, politics | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

GENETIC PREDISPOSITIONS: PART II

When I was young, (yes, electricity had already been discovered and was in general use) there was term often used by newspapers and other media to disparage or otherwise shame certain members of society. That term was “being on the dole” and it came to signify those unfortunates that were having a tough time financially and required governmental assistance to get thru the transactions of day-to-day living. That phrase originated in England in 1917 and was in reference to benefits being “doled” out by the government to generally poor souls that couldn’t otherwise provide for themselves. Since the U.S. at the time, had a hard-core, laissez-faire, capitalistic type of thinking ingrained into most people’s psyches, having to receive government assistance was considered especially shameful. The mark of a slacker, one too lazy or otherwise too indolent to provide for themselves. Indeed, according to newspapers that were published in those days, no criminal’s deeds were as heinous as that of someone “being on the dole.”

With the advent of FDR’s New Deal, however, the use of that term began to lose it’s luster. It turned out that with the creation of Social Security and Medicare legislation, virtually all seniors were eventually “on the dole,” so to speak. More social programs regarding veterans benefits, student loans, housing and other government assistance came into being, so it seemed almost everyone “was on the dole” at some point in their lives, and that inglorious phrase was eventually tossed into the dustbin of history. It was to some degree revived in a new form during the Ronald Reagan administration in the 1980s. The term “welfare queens” suddenly came into existence as racist code to denote single black mothers who were supposedly having babies out of wedlock in order to receive larger government welfare checks. When it was pointed out that the preponderance of welfare payments were being made to white people, that derogatory phrase also faded from the public forum. But the on-going efforts of the fortunate to stigmatize the unfortunate in some shape or manner continues on unabated.

This is kind of a long way around to come to the main point of how genetics is often the determining factor in the way our lives will unfold and the destinies in store for all of us. Some time back I wrote a piece called “Genetic Predispositions” which still receives “views” years later, and I thought I would update the original with additional insights. In the original, I cited some extreme examples of how one’s genes are often the determining factor of the life being led. How, due to genetic malfunction, some fetus brains are bathed in an overdose of serotonin while in the womb. Hence, when these individuals grow into adulthood, they cannot derive pleasure or comfort from those activities that normally satisfy most of us, and thus, are often likely to turn out to be brutish rapists or serial killers to satisfy their lusts. Even when the brain develops normally, genetic make-up is usually the name of the game.

Those whose DNA is formed with a talent for fiscal matters often do the best in our capitalistic society. Bankers, Wall Street brokers, hedge fund managers, entrepreneurs etc. often accomplish the most financially, and are able to lead the most luxurious materialistic lives. Not that such bountiful materialism necessarily translates into lifelong happiness and serenity. Just ask those who knew Elvis Presley, Marilyn Monroe, Michael Jackson or Whitney Houston for starters. All four of whom had not only acquired immense riches, but, also millions of adoring fans and worldwide fame; but still managed to kill themselves at a fairly young age. On the the other hand, those whose DNA thrusts them into the artistic side of human performance usually receive the short end of the stick from a capitalistic oriented society. Very few writers, artists, musicians, etc. receive just compensation for their efforts and often live in poverty throughout their lives. This could also result in early demise. Think Vincent Van Gogh or Edgar Allen Poe, neither of whom caught a break as far as public recognition of their talents while they were still alive, and who also died at an early age

Most of the rest of us are somewhere in the middle, living anywhere from relatively lower middle class, to reasonably comfortable lifestyles, depending on the talent programmed into our DNA. But what I didn’t mention last time are the environmental factors that one grows up with, that also have a huge influence on our future lives, and must be considered along with genes as one of life’s determining forces. An Irish poet put it best when he wrote that “They fuck you up your Mum and Dad; they fuck you up real good.” Those coming from abusive or dysfunctional homes where parents might be alcoholics, druggies, or child molesters, hardly have a chance in life, no matter how strong their genes may be. Some hearty, brave souls do manage to escape an horrendous upbringing, however, and go on to thrive in life.

It the end it virtually all comes down to a matter of genetic inheritance and environmental upbringing. I think, though, that genes are more of the determinant factor. As for me, at this stage of my life, I’m quite content to be “on the dole” and receive my government benefits.

Categories: A malfunctioning psche, Economics, Health Care, Obamacare, human affairs, politics, Ronald Reagan, the Depression | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

THE UN-TRUMP

As the Trump Administration lurches from one pending disaster to the next, the latest being the ill-conceived firing of FBI Director James Comey, one would think that the Democrats would have at least several young, ambitious, potential candidates to challenge The Donald in the next scheduled mud-wrestling challenge. Sadly, the Democrats appear to be too demoralized and apathetic to even enter the arena. They’re truly in a state of shambles. There seems to be no Young Lochinvar to ride in from the west on his trusty steed to save the country from the machinations of a demagogic president and his henchmen. But if there were such a bold, brazen Democratic senator for example, he or she might want to pursue the following path to a likely victory come the next election. He or she could start out by visiting college campuses and deliver the following speech.

“Good evening fellow students of LSU. I say fellow students because I am an alumni of this fine institution, being an under-graduate not that many years ago. Let me start off by saying that I am the Un-Trump. I live in a state of reality and sanity, rather than in a parallel universe of delusional paranoia. I don’t indulge in pathological narcissism, and I don’t try to cover-up wrong-doings that might of occurred on my watch with serial mendacity. I don’t indulge, every other day, in Twitter tirades against perceived critics or enemies, with all the fervor of an adolescent teen-ager whose ego has been absurdly bruised. I would not continue on the campaign trail long after the election is over, in a pathetic attempt to boost my sagging poll numbers. I would not enlist the help of Russia or any other country to hack my opponents computers or otherwise spread false news to assist my election effort. I would not attempt to bar peaceful citizens of any country, or nationality or religion from entering the U.S. for legitimate reasons. And if I am elected your president, I would not have members of the Alt-Right white supremacist movement as my closest advisors in the White House. To the contrary, I would employ the strongest of civil rights advocates. As I’ve said, I am The Un-Trump.

“And one other matter above all else. I surely would never build that hideous 2000 mile monstrosity on the Mexican border that will become known as the Trump Wall, if it does become a reality. Erecting such a barrier would not only be the biggest boondoggle in U.S. history, costing tens of billions of dollars in taxpayer money, its effectiveness in keeping out criminals or terrorists would range between negligible to non-existent. And that’s one of the reasons I’m appearing before you tonight. I need your help in assuring that the Trump Wall never becomes a reality. If, in fact, it appears that construction is about to begin on this fiasco, who among you will join me at the Mexican border to stand in the way of the tractors and earth-movers. In civil protest and disobedience, Ghandi-style. If a few thousand of us come down to the border and stand in the way of construction crews, this wall will not be built. Perhaps, if as many as 10 or 20 or 50 or even 100 thousand people show up to block construction, this hideous wall will never see the light of day. They couldn’t possibly lock up that many protesters. But remember, this would be an act of civil disobedience, with emphasis on “civil.” There can be absolutely no violence on our part, which would only serve to discredit such a protest. It must be 100% civil, the way Ghandi employed such tactics to free India from British colonial rule.

“In coming weeks I plan to visit more college campuses and other venues to elicit as much support as I can to block this impending insanity. So I ask, one more time, who will join with me in this act of conscience. Let me see a show of hands. Ahh, good. I see most of you are willing to support me in this crusade. It bodes well for the resistance. If it keeps growing, we can end all this craziness within a few short years. Remember, above all else- I am the Un-Trump.”

Alas, it appears, however, that there is no such young Democrat on the horizon that has that kind of energy and inventiveness. You might say Bernie Sanders; but he would be about 78 come next election, which really is too old. Elizabeth Warren is a possibility, but she’s not exactly a spring chicken herself. Lacking a Young Lochinvar, all you young people are faced with the bleak likelihood of enduring the Trump insanity for 8 long years.

One other thing. The crude vulgarity that Trump employed to fire James Comey was beyond comprehension, even for Trump. Comey had to learn about being dumped from a third party source as he was about to give a speech. It was obviously in retribution for the ongoing FBI investigation into the Trump team’s collusion with Russia to alter the final election results. The unceremonious firing was ironic also, since it was Comey that handed Trump the election victory on a silver platter. It was Comey, who 12 days before the election, stated that the FBI was re-opening it’s investigation into Hillary Clinton’s emails processed on a private server in Clinton’s basement. If Comey had kept his mouth shut, Hillary would now be sitting in the Oval Office. And for that, the thanks that Comey received from the president this past week was to be sacked as if he was the janitor in the J. Edgar Hoover building in Washington D.C.

Categories: A malfunctioning psche, Brexit, Donald Trump, Alan Greenspan, Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders, Ted Cruz, John Kasich, presidential polls,, Economics, Health Care, Obamacare, human affairs, Israeli-Palestinan Relations, Joe McCarthy, McCarthyism, World War II, Viet-Nam, Anti-Communist Witch Hunts, Army-McCarthy hearings, Islamic Jihadist terrorism, Soviet Union, Red China, politics | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

THE FRENCH CONNECTION

No, I’m not writing about the excellent movie, a few decades ago, that dealt with drug dealers and won numerous awards. Instead, this piece is about the recently concluded presidential election in France, and its remarkable similarity to the U.S. balloting concluded last November. The only thing different about these two elections is the role reversal of the major candidates. In France the female candidate is the white supremacist, xenophobic candidate while her male challenger is the voice of reason, moderation, and sanity. The irony of these 2 electoral predicaments  couldn’t be more stark.

France has a slightly different method of voting than the U.S. In their first round of balloting held this past Sunday, 11 candidates ran for the office of the presidency. With so many choices it was predictable that no one would receive the 50% threshold level needed to avoid  a run-off. So on May 7, a second round of voting will take place pitting the 2 highest vote-getters, Marine Le Pen of the National Front far right wing party against Emmanuel Macron, an independent moderate. One could rightly view Le Pen as a female version of Donald Trump, as she is running on a platform of anti-immigration, white supremacy, withdrawal from the European Union, demonizing minorities, and cozying up to Russia while abandoning relations with other Western countries. She wants to withdraw from the euro as France’s currency and reinstate the franc. Macron, conversely could be considered a male version of Hillary Clinton as he seeks to strengthen ties to the EU, as well as strengthening France’s famous safety net for the poor and disadvantaged. He would keep the euro in French circulation. Right now, political pundits in Europe are claiming that all French citizens that are not neo-fascist will coalesce behind behind Macron and give him an easy victory in the May 7 round of balloting. Trouble is, these are the same pundits who predicted that Clinton would coast to a sure victory over Trump. London bookies were giving 5 to 2 odds on Clinton being the next president.

Marine Le Pen, aged 47 and twice divorced mother of 3, inherited the mantle of the National Front party from her well known father, Jean Marie Le Pen, who got the ball rolling on the far right of the political spectrum in France in the early 1970s. At first considered a fringe lunatic, Le Pen and his party has slowly gathered steam over the ensuing decades to the point that his daughter is now on the threshold of becoming the next French president. What held Jean Marie himself back from achieving that goal, was his openly virulent brand of anti-semitism. He would often pooh-pooh the fact that the Holocaust ever occurred in the first place, or that 6 million Jews perished in Nazi concentration camps. He stated that a 500 page book on WWII would hardly devote 2 pages to the gas chambers, so inconsequential was their existence. It appears that there was still enough decency in France to not allow that type of rhetoric to occupy its presidential palace.

Marine Le Pen, learning from her father’s mistakes, has down-played the National Front’s overt Jew-hating. Instead she focused her bigotry on the surge of Muslim immigrants trying to flee to Europe from the nightmare wars and acts of terror on-going in the Mid-East, especially Syria. As Trump attempts to slam the door shut in the U.S. to any further Muslim immigration, Le Pen campaigns on enacting the same Muslim prohibitions in France. As Trump’s demagoguery against Muslims (and Mexicans) gained big-time traction in the U.S. among white voters, Le Pen’s anti-Muslim rhetoric has found favor among a large chunk of the French voting populace. (At least she hasn’t expressed any anti- Mexican sentiments thus far.) While it’s true that France and Germany as well as other European countries are being swamped with immigrants from the Mid-East, it must be remembered that these people are fleeing for their and their family’s very lives; and to deny them safe refuge exhibits a special type of heartless disregard.

Some years ago, a movie called “Ship of Fools” was produced based on a real life occurrence that took place shortly before the out break of WWII. It told the story of a group of German Jews attempting to escape Nazi persecution, and hiring a cruise ship to transport them to a safe harbor in some foreign country where their lives would not be in jeopardy. They literally sailed around the world looking for a safe port of debarkation but every country refused them entry. Including the U.S., which then had Franklin Roosevelt as president, supposedly a great friend of the Jews. In the end, they were forced to return to Germany where they were then slaughtered in the Nazi Holocaust. Such was the mindset of their fellow human beings around the world.

So, it will be interesting to see if Marine Le Pen, like her fellow demagogue, Donald Trump, can parlay French fears of being overrun by Moslem foreigners, into the presidency of her country. If she does, it will have huge adverse consequences not only for Europe, and the EU, but for the U.S. as well. But perhaps this time around, the French will exercise better common sense and sanity than Americans did last November, and elect the candidate of decency and humanity to their highest office.

 

 

Categories: A malfunctioning psche, Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders, Ted Cruz, John Kasich, presidential polls,, Economics, human affairs, Isis terrorist attack in Paris,, politics | Tags: , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

FOOD FOR THOUGHT

A little while back I was in the supermarket picking up some stuff. Ahead of me, on line, was young woman who was noticeably obese. There was no way of hiding the fact that she had a very serious weight problem. She was buying some makeup items that were laid out on the counter in front of her. As all of you know, when you get up near the cashier, the stores have racks of sundry items, including various forms of candy, and “newspapers” blaring forth the news of some movie star’s latest affair, or how aliens from outer-space are destroying the planet. ( I think these “aliens” have now come out into the open, and call themselves- Republicans.) Store owners hope that as people wait on line, some will impulsively add a few of these sundries to their shopping carts. In any event, the obese woman ahead me, as she waited for the guy in front of her to pay his bill,   picked up a candy bar from from the rack behind her and put it on the counter. I think it was a Milky Way or something similar. She stared at it for awhile as if contemplating the wisdom of that decision, and then put the candy bar back on the rack. Then, she retrieved the candy bar a second time and laid it on the counter; and then, a second time thought better of it, and returned it to the rack. Finally, as it became her turn to pay, she grabbed the candy bar a third time, and kept it for good, as she included it among her other items; even though it was obvious that purchasing that candy bar was the last thing she should have done.

Of course, I don’t know what stresses, turmoil, or unhappinesses the young woman was experiencing that led her to conclude that the few moments of relief gained from devouring that sticky sweetness, was worth the resulting cost of adding to her obesity. However, she certainly isn’t alone. Everyone knows that a major problem in this country is the continual upward trend in rates of obesity. Multi-billion dollar industries devoted toward losing weight, or weight-loss supplements have continued to thrive. Yet, we as a people, continue to get fatter. Gyms with high membership fees, continue to proliferate so people can work off the extra calories that are consumed daily. And still we get fatter. In addition, obesity is considered by society to be a much more serious problem for women rather than men. I mean, men are dogs or slobs anyway; so it’s considered no big deal if they have a beer belly gut to go along with their general unsavoriness in the first place. Right? Women, on the other hand, are always more severely judged for any sign of overweight. And the advice often given to women, that even if they are overweight, they should learn to accept themselves and their bodies as they are, and not be self-judgemental. What a crock. I don’t believe that anyone that has ever been seriously obese, would ever be content living out their lives in that manner.

A big part of the obesity problem is that alongside all the gyms and the weight-loss centers, is, of course, the fast food industry. Nothing will put on the pounds faster than the fatty, sugary fare offered at such reasonable prices by all the fast-food restaurants located in virtually every neighborhood. And while it’s usually young people with higher rates of metabolism that frequent fast-food joints, their incidence of obesity is also rising. They are by no means, immune. Couple that with a growing culture of never having to experience self-denial, and the obesity trend marches on. Couple that with all the yummy fast food commercials we see on TV and elsewhere, and the fact that eating junk food is so much cheaper than eating healthy, and you have the perfect storm in creating a nation of over-eaters and obesity. Like everyone else, I used to eat my share of junk food and had weight problems all my life. Now, in my senior years I eat stuff like berries and red grapes, greek yogurt, fish and other seafood and various other types of fruits and vegetables. Not nearly as much fun as pepperoni pizza, or cheeseburgers and fries. And a lot more expensive. But, I figure, that if I want to continue observing the green side of the grass, I need to do this. And, also, go to the gym every day, which is obviously no fun at all.

I have always admired the small number of people in our society who ate only because they were hungry, and once fed, didn’t give food another thought. They were blessed in that they never had to deal with a weight problem. For most of the rest of us, however, food is a major issue. A major form of entertainment for many people is dining out. And we all know how hard it is to stick to a diet when eating in restaurants. Yes, some people can eat only a salad when in a restaurant, but for most, that’s not the case. The more we eat in restaurants the more overweight we tend to become. And for all too many people, food becomes a source of numbing the pain, stress, dysfunction, and general unhappiness that exists in their lives. Some people turn to alcohol or drugs in dealing with these conflicts. But many more people cope by overeating the wrong kinds of foods. Like drugs and alcohol, however, a continual pattern of bad eating habits will often lead to various diseases and shortened life-spans.

Our relationship with food often goes to the very heart of the human condition. Vast chunks of Africa, Asia, and Latin America suffer from hunger and malnutrition. In the Sudan, for example, large numbers of people die from starvation. Yet in this country, food is so abundant at such reasonable prices, that we experience the opposite malady of obesity. And we can’t figure out a way to even out the world’s food market so that both conditions could be alleviated. Life sure isn’t fair, is it?

 

 

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FOOD FOR THOUGHT

I like eating at least as much, if not more, than the next guy. Food has been my one constant companion since the day I was born, and I would sort hate the idea of giving up the habit of eating. I also have the type of appetite that is never satisfied. I can no sooner end one meal when I’m anxious to start the next. Of course, health and practicality considerations preclude me from this type of overeating, although I do overindulge from time to time.

I am not proud to admit that we buy a lot of our food at a local Wal-Mart. We go there to meet the high-class clientele the store attracts and for the wonderful ambience. Just kidding, of course, as both those factors are sadly lacking at any Wal-Mart store. The simple fact is that we shop there to save money. I have this thing about paying significantly higher prices for identical items at other food stores. I could afford to shop at other super-markets, but I can’t mentally get over the hurdle of paying a lot more for the identical box of cereal. We also shop at Trader Joe’s where prices are also relatively cheap, especially when compared to say, the upscale Whole Foods markets.

Which brings us to the topic of the foods we eat. When one is young he or she can eat virtually anything with little consequence . A young person can eat tupperware without feeling ill effects. Of course there are always those, even in youth, that have a weight problem, and trying to keep their weight under control is a constant and ongoing battle to almost the day they die. So it was with me. With my prodigious appetite, I constantly fought a mostly losing battle of the bulge. My weight would go up and down continually, the good old yo-yo effect. Then about 3 years ago I made a few changes, and started working out more intensely in the gym, and my weight came down almost 25 pounds, and thus far has stayed off. I won’t go into the myriad of psychological and other reasons for obesity, but for some people it’s a war they can never win.

Which brings us to the health considerations of our food choices. When one ages, his or her food choices start becoming more and more limited. That is, if they desire to stay healthy and maintain a decent quality of life. For example, Johns Hopkins, the Mayo Clinic, and other medical groups have put out numerous studies that show that cancers grow much more rapidly when fed by sugar intakes. Cancer loves sugar, and cancer cells metabolize sugar intake at 8 times the rate that normal cells do. Everyone, at any one time, has cancer cells in their body according to what these studies show. Usually, the body’s immune system fights off these cancer cells, but the immune system starts to weaken the older one gets. That’s why the leading cause of cancer is not smoking or obesity, it’s getting old. If you live long enough, you have a 50% chance of developing cancer. But as I’ve said, nothing abets the proliferation of cancer cells in the body like sugar, which also is a leading factor in other diseases such as diabetes and gout. Yet Americans love sugar, and the yearly intake of sugar for most people is often enormous. About a year ago, the Wal-Mart I mentioned that we shopped at, redecorated the store. As part of that effort, they expanded the size of the area that contains bakery products while reducing the area that contains fruits and vegetables. Of course, everyone knows we’re not getting enough white flour, sugar and trans-fats into our diets. It’s all those fruits and vegetables that keep screwing everything up.

Which brings us to the topic of the rising costs of health care. When the Democrats finally passed the frankenstein known as Obamacare, one of the predictions made was that new law would help reduce soaring medical costs. What nonsense. Of course medical costs will continue to increase rapidly as the population grows, as people live longer, and as new, highly expensive drugs and therapies are developed. But there is one way to dramatically lower the cost of health care, and that would be to force people to live healthier life-styles. Yes, I said force, similar to the way the Government forces you to pay income taxes. This would include a total ban on smoking, and requirements that people, for the most part, give up refined sugars, refined grains, and saturated and trans-fats. A requirement to eat more seafood and only lean, low-fat meats, and fruits and vegetables. And a requirement for everyone to have a daily and fairly rigorous exercise regimen. But you can already hear the screams and howls of protest if such requirements were foisted off on the populace.

I mean what would the crowd do that likes to chow down on bacon-cheeseburgers with fries, or pepperoni pizza, topped off with a hot-fudge sundae or two. To say nothing of the estimated 24 million Americans that still smoke. (You seem to see most of these smokers in Las Vegas casinos, where they’re puffing away as they keep shoveling more money into the slot machines.) As it is not likely that anyone, or any governing body, will be able to dissuade people away from their dysfunctional life-styles, don’t hold your breath waiting for that to happen. In the meantime, we all pay the price in higher medical bills and higher insurance rates.

 

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