My old hippie friend Maureen, vacationing in Kathmandu, is safe, according to her daughter. The last I heard from her on Facebook, she sent a photo of her breakfast. Nutritious and balanced and helping her to stay slender, she wrote. I hope she can get out of there OK. I was just reading some other things about her that her daughter posted on Facebook. Apparently she was the Jane Fonda of Portland, Oregon, loved by some, reviled by others. She is a complex person and has come and gone in my life as her whims and fancies have dictated. We are pretty dull folks, compared to her.
I could not believe that people would build structures of unmortared brick and wood in earthquake country like Nepal. Of course they fell down and crushed people.
I worry about our house, built in 1960, which is on unstable deep soil and is single wall construction. We do have a full basement and a concrete slab foundation which has no cracks. Last time there was an earthquake in Hilo, part of our retaining wall fell out, and that shaker was nothing compared to the one in Nepal.
Here is the a.m. scene at the "assisted living" facility across the street, as I sit here at my computer. This happens every day and usually more than once a day. I'm wondering if it isn't really a hospice. I've been reading that some of these places are taking terminally ill people, although they are not really set up to care for them, so the minute something goes wrong they call 911. This is speculation, of course, but it seems to me that even a facility for old people should not have emergency vehicles showing up constantly. Maybe this is the result of a combination of very sick people there along with underqualified staff.
From a 2009 article by Vicente Navorro, Obama's Mistakes in Health Reform:
Ideologues such as chief-of-staff Rahm Emanueal (who , when a congressman, was the most highly funded by Wall Street) and his brother, Ezekiel Emanuel (who did indeed write that old people should have a lower priority for health care spending) are leading the country along a wrong path.
This belief is what must have led to the talk about "death panels." But it's more the idea of stiffing elders by cutting back on services, penny pinching at their expense.The essay also goes into considerable detail about the mistakes of Obama and his team, the most glaring of which were refusing to educate themselves about successful programs, such as the Canadian health system, and not simply extending Medicare to cover everyone, which would have been the best solution. I think this book is a good read for people on all sides of the ideological battles going on now.
I guess I'm still considered young enough to have my basic health needs taken care of, which I pay for, after all. I just put down a $50.00 co-pay at Kaiser for 15 minutes with an ophthalmologist. He was very good, actually examining my eye, but half of his time was taken up with data entry. This is something I have always objected to about Kaiser, even before the advent of big data on everything. If you are on Kaiser, you will be a guinea pig in their studies unless you object, which I often do. When I die they will have reams of information anyway. So maybe on the basis of being a useful subject I can continue to get medical care, even though I am an otherwise useless old person over age 75! I'm very glad we have some money in case we ever need anything beyond basic care. Everyone can see the point of money, whereas caring for people isn't always understood as necessary.
Every time we leave, something happens on the home front. Yesterday, not long after we had gone, a sailboat capsized right off Honolii Beach, and there was a daring helicopter rescue, complete with people in the water and sending the basket down to get them. I am overjoyed that the victims survived. They don't always. Life certainly hangs by a thread!
Here is the news item from West Hawaii Today:
Two women were rescued Wednesday after their sailboat capsized in waters off Honolii.
Hawaii County Fire Department rescue personnel responded at 3:23 p.m. to find the women, identified as visitors, sitting on the underside of a 14-foot Sunfish sailboat, which had overturned about 400 yards offshore of Honolii Beach Park. Rescue personnel used Chopper 1 to transport the women to awaiting medics on shore who then took the women to Hilo Medical Center.
The department said the incident was caused by a lack of sailing experience.
It can look easy and fun to sail on the Bay, but then the winds come up. My neighbor's young granddaughter got a dramatic vid of the rescue, but my neighbor posted it on Facebook in such a way that I can't share it.
The volcano is getting more and more dramatic, too, although it seems no longer to threaten the village of Pahoa. But it's really pumping at Halemaumu, the main crater.
We got to the condo after 11:00p.m. local time. The flight was totally uneventful. The way we like it. We had a beer at the Hi-Life, a short walk from here, best beer we've had in ages, and are turning in now. Finished Toni Morrison"s newest, God Help the Child,and enjoyed every word of it. She sure has got the stories! She's 83, think of that. More tomorrow.
Not really willing to talk about the candidates, but Hillary Clinton's declaration of candidacy has set off a perfect firestorm of sexism and ageism. Women, and in particular older women, need to pay close attention to the nature of the attacks on her: the kind of people who make them and how these attacks affect their lives.
It's not Hillary Clinton per se that I'm worried about so much as the desire to destroy her through ridiculing her for her age and her gender. This has a chilling effect on all women who might be dragged down this way.
To me, the big issue these days is the trade deals being made with TPP (Trans-Pacific Partnership) and TTIP (Trans-Atlantic Trade and Investment Partnership). I just found out about TTIP when I watched a German newscast. There are protests going on against this agreement, in Germany. It is obviously related to TPP. All these possible huge economic deals are being made with very little public input. It's one of those open secrets. We won't know much about them until we start feeling the consequences. NAFTA is the trade deal we know about and it's been around long enough for us to predict the consequences of extra-governmental partnerships like these.These deals are the result of long-term planning, as I'm discovering, and are based in neoliberal thinking.
The British economy is run from the City, that one square mile in London, ie by and for the international rich. That will be the fate of the U.S. too. We have more leeway, but the trends are the same. So much is already in place, and now it's going to be supported with an infrastructure of rules, regulations, courts that override local laws, etc.
This is of particular concern in a place like this, the Big Island of Hawaii, where a small population is confronted with giant megacorporations, the federal government, the military and a few rich men making the major decisions about development here. In the past there were some successes, or rather, local protests, which may have caused prospective investors to think twice about coming here, but I don't think they have had much lasting effect.
On Saturday, driving over the Saddle Road from Hilo to Kona I saw a Native Hawaiian group demonstrating across the road from the turnoff to the big telescopes on the Mauna Kea summit. They were objecting to the huge Thirty Meter Telescope project going in there. This has been getting some media attention, but no discussion of the real story, except here, thanks to moi.
The story is being played either as natives against usurpers or know-nothings against scientists. Both of these ways of looking at it are beside the point. No one says, " Why this huge facility? Could astronomy, a fascinating area of inquiry, admittedly, be done in a more modest way? " This false polarization leads to attempts at comity on the part of the usual middle of the road types who want to have nice non-threatening civilized discourse about these matters . All the women I was with on this drive thought I was a Luddite for questioning the wisdom of such a huge, gung-ho project. They believe in the march of science. Me too, up to a point, but asking a few questions and demanding clarifications is in order, especially about how this is financed and who will benefit. At the very least, I believe people would not enjoy being played for suckers!
There is so much denial about the way things are trending, and it's not until people are up against it that they start reacting. My friends are totebaggers. One of them even said she is waiting for a hero to show up to lead us on the right path. Gawd.
Getting back to Great Britain: When Blair replaced Maggie Thatcher, his liberals saw the necessity of accepting the marketplace while providing some underpinning of social programs for the masses so as not to seem as cruel as Maggie. Their main concern was with holding on to political power from a center-left position. They could not be seen to favor the working class over the middle class, especially not the trade unions (in spite of being the Labour party, now just a label, as astute British voters realized long ago). They were the servants of the upper middle class and the international rich. Neoliberalism took somewhat different forms in the U.S. during the Clinton administration, and we got NAFTA and the giant sucking sound of jobs disappearing, as Ross Perot called it, as capital moved to cheap labor countries in Latin America.
Have a good week, everyone! And watch out for those totebaggers. Rocking out to the smooth sounds of David Brooks. Ha ha!