We Need Change


A few weeks ago, I had a prostate biopsy. You can click on the blue link to see what’s involved in that. My father and my brother both had prostate cancer, so it’s something I have to be concerned with. So far so good, no cancer. Two days ago, I got a “Claims Summary” from my insurance company. I pay a lot of money every month to have this insurance. The total charges for the procedure were $7,163.40. It took twenty minutes to do this procedure and I had to drive 80 miles round trip to have it done. Twenty minutes with my Doctor costs $7,163.40.

On the Claims Summary there is an interesting column called, “Discounted Balance.” The amount in that column is $3,248.48. Beside this amount it says: “(my insurance company) negotiates discounts with doctors, hospitals and other health care providers.” The interesting thing about this is that even though my medical provider charged me $7,163.40, they knocked off $3,248.48 from the bill. Almost half. And the even more interesting thing about this is that my medical provider is still making money off this procedure. If they wern’t making money, they wouldn’t be doing it. They charged me almost twice as much as they needed to. My insurance paid. $1,747.03 leaving me with a bill for $1,501.45. If I didn’t have insurance I’d have to pay the entire $7,163.40 bill.

Have you ever gone to a “Half price” sale. The store will have big signs all over stating, 50% discount on everything! This is a great time to buy things. But the underlying meaning here is that for the rest of the year they have been charging you twice as much as they needed to. They are still making money off of the sale. They wouldn’t be giving you a 50% discount if it meant the were losing money on it. My medical provider wouldn’t knock off half my bill if they would lose money doing it. This is what capitalism does for you. Sure, it gives you the freedom to start a business and maybe do really well with it, providing the opportunities are there for you. But on the other hand it gives you the opportunity to be ripped off by other people starting businesses who want to charge outrageous prices for their services. Now this may be a controversial thing to say but here goes: Capitalism only works for the few, not for the many. And it is for this very reason that it is not sustainable. Eventually, given enough time, the system will crash.

The problem is simple enough. The lure of money is too hard to resist. If a rich person showed up at your door and handed you a million dollars for free, who would turn that down? “No thanks, my Social Security check each month is enough for me. Keep your million.” That wouldn’t happen. We may not like to admit it, but we all want more. How long can the country, or the world sustain unchecked capitalism? How long before the whole thing crashes? Do I have a solution? Not really. I don’t know that much about other systems to speak on them. But I do know this, any time you put some one in charge, in a position of authority, they need to be watched, closely. Remember the lure of money? It is only exceeded by the lure of power.

A favorite author, Douglas Addams once said this: “The major problem—one of the major problems, for there are several—one of the many major problems with governing people is that of whom you get to do it; or rather of who manages to get people to let them do it to them.
To summarize: it is a well-known fact that those people who must want to rule people are, ipso facto, those least suited to do it.
To summarize the summary: anyone who is capable of getting themselves made President should on no account be allowed to do the job.” Those who seek power are the least suited to handle it. It’s one of the reasons why I get charged twice as much on my medical bill than they need to charge.

So what are we to do? I think we all need to admit that the system we currently have in place doesn’t, for the most part, work for most of us. We need to consider this when we decide who we’re going to vote for and what we’re going to vote for. We need something new. Government needs to be re-done from the top down. It’s time for change. Most people are not comfortable with change, however. We need to get over that. For the good of us all, and the future of our country, we need change.

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Power


Imagine if you will, that you woke up one day and possessed the power of telekinesis. The power to manipulate matter with your mind. Imagine you could lift a car from a pinned accident victim. You could stop the flow of a river, redirect the wind. Stop someone’s heart, break someone’s arm. Empty a cash machine of all its money. All just by thinking it. I’ve been watching the Netflix series, “Stranger Things” where one of the characters has this power. The truth is, we all desire power. All of us. Presidents and governments desire power. A farmer desires power. Even a Buddhist monk, who has renounced all desire, has the desire to control their own desire. We all seek power and control, of one sort or another. So you wake up one day and discover that you have this power. You couldn’t use it without someone finding out about it. In today’s world, that would be impossible. What do you think would happen to you, once people found out about your power?

Have you ever wondered what you would do if you won the lottery? We’ve all seen these multi-million dollar lotteries being won by ordinary people and many of us have daydreamed about what we would do if it was us who won. Pay off all your bills, take trips around the world, give to charities, share it with family and friends. (You notice I said “share it” last!) I’ve thought about it. I’m pretty sure most people have. Why? Because we have desires. So what do you think would happen if you suddenly had telekinesis? People who win huge lottery payouts report that suddenly people from everywhere start requesting money. Thousands of people they don’t know want them to give them money. Winners have had to move. Change their phone numbers, hire security. All because other people desire to have what you have or desire to use what you have to achieve their own desires. The reason I’m focusing on telekinesis is because it represents enormous power. And power and control is the most desirable thing in the world.

You would immediately be courted by your government. And probably other governments as well. And private companies and institutions. All of them of course, would have noble and lofty reasons why you should be their ally. You could end war and famine. Bring rain to drought stricken areas, stop forest fires and hurricanes. Heal broken bones and sickness. While all of these things seem great, the underlying desire would be for power. You would be sought as a weapon. A weapon against cancer? Wonderful, right? But a weapon, non the less. What government doesn’t seek weapons? All countries want security. And most of them see security in weapons of force. I know I’m concentrating on the darker side of human nature but all you have to do is pay attention to world news to see the dark side in action. (Sounds like a Star Wars reference.) Everyone wants power and control. Everyone.

So what would you do, if you had this power? It’s kind of like the question of what you would do if you won millions in the lottery. What would you do? Certainly they would start with appealing to your better nature. Look at all the good you could do, they would say, if you were on our side. We only want to help. We only want to make things better. And if you turned them down, how long would it take before they started to use threats and force? We are human after all. We have desires. Jealousy, envy. Am I being too dark? I don’t think so. I think the desire for power and control by governments is so strong that they would be willing to do anything to secure your power for themselves. Look at what’s happening today. Donald Trump was willing to shut down the government, putting hundreds of thousands of people out of work, just to get his wall. To get what he wants, others must suffer. Look at other governments and how they treat people. Millions suffer every day so that governments and others in power can have more power. And if you suddenly had great power? What do you think they would do to you?