Don’t Silence New Voices

I had someone try to criticize my work a few days ago. Their criticism was something along the lines of, “We have other people already saying this! What is this, some kind of self promotion?”

Yes. As a matter of fact it is.

Here is my problem with that criticism. He is attempting to silence new voices on the Progressive Left. It is most likely that he never actually read the article he was commenting on, so he was intellectually lazy.

Each new voice makes us stronger. Each new voice adds new dimensions, new perspectives, new colors. It takes many voices to comprise a chorus. Each voice is not the same, yet ideally they are singing the same song.

Many of the voices on the Progressive Left are new voices. How long ago was it that you first heard of Jimmy Dore? Aaron Mate? Caitlyn Johnstone?

One problem with the Progressive Left is that often, the material can be based on the same source material. It becomes a matter of one original piece of material with each layer adding commentary. Sometimes it literally becomes a commentary on a commentary on an original piece.

Am I criticizing anyone? No, these are some of my favorite sources. Like I stated above, each voice adds to the chorus, lending depth, strength, volume, new notes. Each is valuable, each is beautiful. Is each voice perfect? Not always but they create beauty in their harmony. Listening and joining in is what strengthens us.

There is a difference in my own material, whether written or video. Most of my material is completely original. When I wrote a 4 part series explaining why and how universal healthcare is best, that was original. Nobody else had or has done that in such detail that I have seen. When I went through the Mueller Report line by line, all 448 pages and dismantled it, revealing flaw after flaw, deception after deception, the entire series was original. When I went through the Trump-Ukraine transcript with the actual transcript in the video, that was original. I may occasionally mention materials by other content producers but it tends to be a short mention with accreditation, not a commentary on that single piece.

Some things that I feel make my content valuable is my own knowledge. Beginning over 30 years ago, I have formally and informally studied economics, management, marketing, psychology, sociology and medicine. I have never really stopped studying any of them in some way. I am continuously trying to learn more on one subject or another. If any content producer claims to know everything (to a degree they no longer have to keep learning) on such complex and interconnected subjects, they are absolutely delusional and should not be trusted. Information and practices change over time. Economies, societies and cultures are evolving directly in front of and all around us on a daily basis as we adapt to a changing ecological environment and technological advances. Medical criteria changes over time while medical technology advances so quickly that medical professionals are mandated to continually take continuing education classes for license renewal. Oh, shit. That’s something I need to do.

One big thing about new voices is that new independent voices rarely have a budget for advertising. If they have financial backers before they gain any popularity, you cannot consider them independent, can you? So we are forced to promote ourselves. For some of us, that’s not how we want to spend our time and effort. It takes away from time for research and writing. Often while we have our own lives to attend to.

Independent content producers don’t mind and often enjoy interacting with our (polite) audience members. If you ask independent producers a question, you typically get a personal response in a short time frame. We recognize ourselves as part of a global community where thoughts, words and actions matter and can have drastic, life saving or life destroying consequences. It is not a matter of ego. We do what we do not for money but because we genuinely care and are committed to our causes.

Try that with corporate media. The most you will get will be a form response by a low level staffer. If you are not ignored completely and after you are attacked by the cultist hordes for questioning the absolute perfection and omniscience of the corporate propagandist who deigns to lower their spiritual standing enough to impart their wisdom through their benevolence to the soiled masses. How dare you imply that their wisdom is not complete and flawless? Be thankful for the improvement in your miserable existence which they bestow upon you from their corporate heavenly throne!

I and other independent content producers truly appreciate the quotes, shares and every single penny of donations which are afforded to us by our audience. We do not feel it is “owed” to us, as our corporate counterparts openly state. We do not feel we are above questioning, we simply insist on valid points being made when we are questioned. If you want to spew hate speech, take it to the corporate staffers. We independents have better things to do with our time and higher goals to reach for.

Seriously, if you don’t have a taste for my content, scroll past it. If you have valid and rational critiques to offer, I am all ears. If your complaint has it that I am exactly like other content producers, you have not read my content, this I absolutely know. If your complaint is that I am too different or not bowing down to the status quo, you are missing the entire point. If you complain that I am not predictable enough, that does not mean I am not consistent. If you wish to attempt to validate your existence through hate speech, I will definitely invalidate your existence when I block you. That’s one of my consistencies. I refuse to argue for the sake of argument.

You Don’t Get A Participation Award

America today is the land of the participation award. Or so many Americans think.

Love Trump/Bernie/Warren/Biden? Hate one or all? Hooray for you. Donate $5 to a campaign? Yeah, that’ll show those corporations. Wear a pink pussy hat on a march that has no defining issue? Great. Vote based on gender? Yeah, that’s what we need. Posting disparaging memes 80 times a day? Yeah, that’s politically educational and informative. Not to mention so unifying!

I’ve said many times and repeat it here that all names are cults. Of course, most people want to be in cults of some kind. It’s not a matter of supporting policies or issues. It’s a matter of branding, nothing more. What do you call yourself? Democrat? Republican? Liberal? Tea Partier?

The one place I do draw a distinction is with the majority of Progressives. Progressives are the most informed voters and citizens. The whole point of being a real Progressive is paying attention to policies. Of course, some people call themselves Progressive yet are willing to ignore specific issues, no matter the danger but think they deserve the Progressive label. In favor of universal healthcare, so call yourself a Progressive? Yeah, let’s not talk about the risk of war with Russia. Hint: Many Republican voters support universal healthcare. Participation award denied.

Look, in 2016 most of us made it clear we wanted changes in our political landscape. That was the whole point of Bernie, Jill, Johnson and even Trump. We are still pushing for change.

Hillary was the exception, promising “more of the same”. Yet ultimately nearly every one of her followers had no idea what her policies were. To the point that I asked them directly and they could not answer. Even today I occasionally encounter one and ask what policies of hers they supported and they cannot answer. Just try and change the subject. “I’m not Trump” is not a policy. Once you establish that, they are lost.

Of course, the change we got is not what most Trump supporters expected. Most are still trying to convince themselves he is playing some 85-D chess game but it’s beginning to sink in slowly that this is not the case.

If we really want change, we have to embrace that change and all that it means. We cannot demand our government do better for us while objecting to government involvement in our lives. Instead, we have to be involved with our government. You know, a government of the people, by the people, for the people? Remember that? You don’t get that kind of government without youbeing involved in it.

Being involved means being informed. It means having difficult discussions which do not happen by censoring some voices or rejecting ideas because you don’t like certain words like Socialism.

Change means we have to let go of some of our fears. Such as ending wars and reducing military spending means we have to accept that we are under no threat. Because we’re not under any threat. Not from outside, any way. It means we have to change our electoral system, which ideally would mean all elections federally funded to eliminate corporate money in our elections. It will mean ranked choice voting.

I understand, change is stressful, even positive change. However, we cannot demand change and then oppose change because we are afraid of it. We cannot demand change without being a part of that change. It’s the same as paying off bills. You don’t pay off bills without either working more hours, meaning less time to relax or cutting back on expenses, meaning you may do without luxuries for a while. We have to decide that long term change is worth some trade.

For us to enact realistic change means we will have to let go of labels and reach across aisles. It means we have to be willing to talk with people we may not always agree with. That can be difficult but has to happen. We cannot always wait for them to come to us. How many times have you changed your mind when you opposed an idea at first?

In true democracy, there are no participation awards. We don’t get the society or system of government we want by just showing up wearing a red hat, a pink hat or a sticker. It takes more than that. It takes information ,education, discussion, protest, phone calls, emails, letters, stress and personal change. Democracy is not “set it and forget it”. It means staying involved. It’s not something we do once every 4 years. If you are not willing to do that, then you have to accept the fact that people with other ideas arewilling to do it. If they are involved and you are not, you probably won’t like the results.

I Care, Therefore I Am.. Arrogant?

This is a phenomenon I began witnessing in 2016 and am seeing it on the rise again. The accusation of arrogance, falsely applied. Often directed toward myself when I post one of my own articles in response to a complex discussion. It is being used by members of both major parties.

I will note that I tend to spend a lot of time, thought and research on each article I write, so if I have already written an article on a subject, it’s a waste of time and energy to rewrite that same article during a discussion online.

The definition of arrogance means having an attitude of superiority. It really comes down to not caring about dissenting opinions. If you do not care about the opinions of others, it literally means you don’t care about other people. Only yourself, your own profit motive. Arrogance in itself is immature, the inability to think beyond yourself.

Basically every article I write focuses on issues which affect millions of people, often in ways which do not include myself. I propose ideas which may cost me personally in some ways but find them beneficial because they would benefit society in some way. The very ability to think beyond yourself, to be able to comprehend consequences, to listen to dissenting viewpoints are signs of emotional maturity. So, if I possess the characteristics and am aware of them, does that make me arrogant? Or does it mean self-awareness?

The defining characteristic of those who direct these accusations against me are that they have either no actual thoughts on a subject or they will post articles written by someone else. Most often a corporate source. They literally do not think or they seek out sources which concur with their own existing bias. They refuse to even discuss any subject enough to address what they feel is inaccurate in any way. They throw tantrums, insults, accusations and refuse to acknowledge possible consequences of their decisions.

Tell me, which do you think is arrogant?

Yes, I have flaws and often admit to them openly. I’m sure as hell not perfect. I will admit to a “flaw” in my own personality. I think about others too much. I am a nurse. I have spent 24 years thinking of others as a career. I consciously chose this profession because I knew this to be a strong characteristic of my personality. While I write prodigiously, in real life I tend to be the opposite too often. I spend a lot of time listening to others, including in friendships and relationships, while my own needs and feelings are forgotten in the process. As a result I’ve lost sleep and money which will never be regained while ultimately feeling alone many times. Do I regret it? No. Am I trying to do better? Yes.

Some people would call me co-dependent. However, I don’t enable damaging behavior. I view society as a system of relationships. Friendships, romantic arrangements, social structures, business, etc are all forms of relationships. Relationships are cyclical, where each member of a relationship contributes in some way. Each gives, each receives, either monetarily or emotionally. The exception to this are hoarders, such as the rich, who give an infinitesimal fraction of that which they take. That’s when it becomes damaging and hence truly co-dependent and unhealthy to continue supporting or defending them. Or in abusive relationships, where one partner takes by force, abuse and neglect. Like political parties. Both political parties. We have to examine the cycles involved to see who gains, who loses and strive to attain balance between the two if we want our society to be a healthy relationship as a whole.

I’ve written extensively about economic systems and the cycles involved. How our own system is unbalanced, how it could potentially become more balanced. I have written about wages, food stamps, universal healthcare, weapons contractors, the stock market and on and on. I have a habit of going into more detail than many people ever attempt to understand while doing so in simple language. To date, I have yet to encounter an opposing opinion which was lucid enough to sway my opinion. Not because my views are set in stone, because I examine things closely and any opposition has always come from an uninformed and/or selfish stance.

I think about, examine and write about things because I care. I care about the victims of US wars, people in poverty, the sick without healthcare, the hungry, the disabled, victims of prejudice, victims of police abuse, people working multiple jobs to make a basic living, people who lose their jobs/savings/homes because of corporate abuse, those who have their human rights trampled on. In short, anyone who is treated as “less than”.

So, go ahead and call me arrogant. Call me any name you like. When you have a rational view which you can personally discuss without resorting to insults and posting thoughts which have been dictated to you, I will happily listen and converse accordingly. As long as you continue seeking corporate, political, religious “leaders” to speak for you while being unable to define your own thoughts on a subject in detail, I will view you as a child seeking a parental figure. As long as you use insults, accusations and refuse to recognize opposing rational views, you have no right to use the term “arrogant”.

Oh, yeah. Another flaw I have is using too much profanity for some people. Another is that if someone offends me (which takes a concerted, intentional effort), I tend to come out of a corner fighting. Just keep in mind, my fight is for a lot more than myself. Who and what are you fighting for?

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I am an independent writer with no corporate sponsors or backing. The only income I make from my writing comes from views. At least I have reached the point where it makes more than it costs me! lol! My writing is done in between full time (and overtime) nursing, shared custody of my brilliant daughter and mundane existence.

Please consider becoming a patron on Patreon. I try and average at least 20 articles a month, so a $1 a month donation would come down to 5¢ per article to support independent, non-corporate writing. My Patreon page is here.

If you care to share articles with those who do not have Medium or Patreon accounts, I also post most of my articles on my own website, which has no advertising and I pay for with income from writing. My website is here and all articles can be shared freely. You can always quote me, no attribution required. My goal is spreading information and awareness. The whole point is building a better, more peaceful, more equitable world for us and future generations.

The Programming of America: Pt II, Selling War

This is part II of my series on how Americans are programmed to think in certain ways without thinking, without questioning. If you missed part I regarding marketing in various forms (not always called marketing and advertising, sometimes called many other things), you can find part I here.

In part II of this series, I focus on war (military adventurism) and how it is sold like everything else in this country, though in a more complex form. We are sold warfare as a positive from early childhood until death. This is something I have written about previously, though often split between different subjects and articles.

Corporate (Military Industrial Complex) influence does not begin with the news media, as far as our life exposure is concerned. It begins in grade school. Think back to history classes and how past US wars were presented to you. Heroism throughout. Never the slightest question that each and every conflict we have been engaged in was justified and ethical. Never a hint that our soldiers and officials issuing orders have committed war crimes, which they absolutely have when you omit “patriotism” as a rationale. Protests against Vietnam barely gain mention and the protests which happened against WWII, Korea and Iraq are never mentioned in grade school. For all I know, they’re not even mentioned in college. Nor is it mentioned that the Nazi and Communist parties had wide support in the US prior to WWII. The Communist and Socialist parties had wide support in the US right up until McCarthyism.

For this, we have to look at the tangled ties between textbook publishers, politicians and the deep pockets of weapons manufacturers who donate to the politicians. Then the politicians set the standards by which textbooks are chosen. This is stage one of selling war to the American public, beginning with childhood.

Then the next stage comes as teenagers. Partly through movies and TV which glorify warfare without showing images of the reality involved. Military recruiters at schools and patriotic displays at sports events. Commercials showing someone in a uniform, then transitioning to that person in civilian life, uninjured, no PTSD from horrors they have witnessed or directly taken part in. They are all smiling, clean, drug-free, no therapy.

Who pays for all those displays and commercials? You do. Who pays for those textbooks? You do. Who acts as consultants to Whollyweird for the movies and TV shows? The military. Who pays for them to act in that role? You do. If a movie tries to show the military in an unflattering light, the military will bring pressure against the studio. That pressure can include coercion by coordinating with local authorities for licensing purposes. The military has “consulted” on tens of thousands of movies and shows over decades. Who pays for their “consultations”? You do. Who pays to prosecute and incarcerate peaceful antiwar protesters? You do.

Only after considering all the above do we reach the point where we can consider corporate “news” media and their paid portrayal of our military endeavors. Try and name a US military conflict which the media has ever opposed. I’ll wait. I’m 57 years old and have never seen the media object to a US military action. Look at the reactions we have seen when it was even suggested decreasing military presence in Middle Eastern countries or any peace efforts with Russia and North Korea.

No, you will never see anything more of the devastation wrought by US warfare beyond a few ruined buildings, blamed on “terrorists”. You will not see children splattered on walls and streets by our bombs. You will not see victims with limbs torn off and open head injuries showing exposed brain tissue. You’re more likely to see video of our missiles and aircraft launching, preferably in low light so it highlights the afterburner effect to make it visually appealing or exciting. You will hear rave reviews about drone warfare which makes warfare bloodless and without physical risk for our soldiers. You will not hear that drone pilots get PTSD too. You will not hear that children in the countries being bombed by drone warfare are terrified of blue skies because that’s when the drones are most likely to strike.

Cue the advertisements for Boeing, Raytheon and Northrup-Grumman. Paid sponsors of your favorite corporate news outlet. Who pays for the ads you see from them? You do. That is your tax dollars at work. Who pays for the drones? You do.

Up next, interviews with high ranking military officials and veterans speaking of how we need more bombs, more guns, more drones, more troops to kill more terrorists (children, mothers, grandparents living in their own countries, sitting in their own living rooms). It’s their own fault for living there. Their existence on top of “our” oil fields makes them enemies. Saying we need to invade another country and another. Never once do you hear a diplomat saying we need peaceful negotiations to end a conflict.

When the media and politicians talk about manufacturing weapons, they consistently do so couched in terms of “creating jobs”. What they fail to mention is that building bridges also creates jobs while not intentionally killing people. Universal healthcare would creates tens of thousands, hundreds of thousands, possibly millions of jobs while improving and extending lives. Yet that we cannot afford. They fail to mention that to keep producing weapons means we must keep waging wars for as long as possible. When one war ends (if ever), another one must be started and another and another. We keep paying for each and every one of those conflicts with money ripped from our social support programs and educational system. We pay with creating more enemies and with trade losses. They fail to mention that producing weapons is only part of the cost. Then we have to pay for shipping those weapons, providing security for those weapons, targeting systems with training and salaries to operate them, and launching those weapons with training and salaries.. They fail to mention that weapons manufacturing frequently does extensive environmental damage long before the damage from using those weapons. Domestic environmental damage which we pay for in dollars, ill health and deaths. Yay, jobs..

Cue ads for oil companies who profit from our seizure of resources in the countries where we murder innocent civilians.

Next up, a report on how we cannot afford universal healthcare but we need to give more money to the VA for their limited socialized medical system which spends tens of billions per year on drugs and medical equipment. Wecan consider those VA costs to be subsidies for the oil companies, military contractors and drug companies who bribe politicians and advertise on corporate media to sell you on the next war. Who pays for the VA, even if you receive no care from them? You do. Who pays for the advertising? You do.

Cue ads from drug companies and medical insurance corporations. Maybe with big flags in the background telling you to support the troops. Yay, ‘Murca.

Up next, a report on the homeless epidemic. Many of whom are veterans. An epidemic, stated as though it’s a disease. As though the homeless are a disease, rather than victims of a diseased system which rapes them violently, bleeds them dry and leaves them to die by the roadside like bags of garbage thrown away by our government.

We have the VFW, the VA, insurance companies that specialize in veterans, magazines targeting veterans, Memorial Day, Labor Day… Have you ever noticed we do not have a single day or nationally recognized organization dedicated to the propagation of peace?

From childhood to death Americans are sold sterilized images of warfare. Shoved into developing minds in between basic math and English, as though mass slaughter is a mere fact of life. As long as it happens in other countries, not our own. Deaths at the hands of our war machine are sold as entertainment. The next war is sold as “humanitarian intervention” yet we are never shown the results when the bombs have stopped. Disease, famine, poisoned water, decimated economies, destroyed lives. Effects which take generations to “recover” from, as if recovery is possible. No reviews of success or failure, just advertising for the next war, the next “threat” which is never actually a threat, the next country we must save from themselves, the next investment opportunity.

Never question the advertising, the programming of your children or of yourself. Cheer for the veterans, pray for the widows, widowers and children of veterans but never ask why the war was fought. If you ask questions or object, you will be branded a traitor, un-American, unpatriotic, a pariah. Maybe a Russian troll.

Asking questions means you are brainwashed, not questioning means you think for yourself. Just believe, have faith, wave your flag and hold your hand over your.. eyes and ears. Keep telling yourself, “We’re the Good Guys©” until you convince yourself. Then keep watching the marketing machine, keep cheering as you act as free advertising for the death machine.

The Programming of America: Pt I, Marketing

This is my first installment of a series regarding how marketing pervades our lives in ways most do not realize and what the negative effects are. Be sure to subscribe to know when a new installment drops.

I continuously see Americans claiming to think for themselves while their words, opinions, attitudes and behaviors tell a far different story. This is no surprise. We live in a society that is ruled far more by marketing (advertising) than most Americans ever grasp. That’s because they fail to understand the very nature of marketing at it’s very core.

If you study marketing, what you find is that the core structure of marketing lies in a distorted study of psychology with the express intent of manipulation. In other words, it’s brainwashing on a massive scale.

If you look at a syllabus or course description of college marketing programs, you find references such as “customer engagement”, “consumer behavior and analysis”, “expanding value” (in other words, exaggerating claims) and so forth. You may have already heard such things as “creating a market”, “identifying a need”. What these things come down to means convincing people they need something they did not need last week.

Yet even that does not go far enough to explain how people are manipulated. One must understand that corporate news and political campaigns are forms of marketing. I’ve said before and say again, follow the money. Look at who is paying for advertising on a network. Look at who is donating money to campaigns.

Marketing is most frequently based on emotion. The emotion used most frequently is fear. Fear of social isolation. Is your breath fresh enough? Is your shirt white enough? Is your cologne as good as the next guy? Does your bra lift enough? (Look at old bra commercials, claiming to lift and separate and compare to push-up bras today.) Fear of pain. New insoles? How much pain medication can your liver withstand? Fear of illness. Fear of depression. In other words, using emotions to make you fear your own emotions.

Political campaigns use many of the same tactics and people with the same training in marketing techniques. That’s a large part of what campaign managers do. Identify “needs” of voters. Identify or manipulate fears to exploit.

The most interesting part of this is that it takes very little effort to convince people to be afraid and immense effort to convince them their fears are unfounded. The vast majority of people are programmed to react emotionally, rather than think critically.

Know who else makes extensive use of the exact same psychological techniques? The “intelligence” agencies. The CIA, NSA and FBI are well known to use propaganda in other countries and to have used propaganda in the US itself. For some reason, Americans think that any such manipulations inside this country are things of the past. Citizens also think they are not prone to being controlled by these techniques, even as they tune in to corporate media and watch people like James Clapper being used as a source of information on major networks. Even as “intelligence” agency veterans run for public office.

There are no Jedi mind tricks at play here. People are actually easy to understand, easy to manipulate. Most people want some authority figure telling them what to do, what to think. More “likes” means something is valid. Bigger is better. More viewers means higher quality. Join the crowd, march in line, buy the most popular items, watch the latest blockbuster on opening weekend, vote for the popular candidate but keep telling yourself how you’re different from all the rest.

Even here on what is supposedly independent media I see articles from major media sources with the highest views, likes and comments. Nothing about those articles are any different from what is published on the core websites of those corporate sources. So, why are readers even bothering to be on independent media sites if all they are going to do is follow corporate media?

Does it make any sense? Or have they just programmed themselves by their own choice?

Some Thoughts On the Anti-Vaccination Movement

For several years now, the antivaxx movement has gotten a lot of attention and gained converts. None of this is based on actual science.

There has been only one study which linked vaccines to autism and that study was retracted by the publication years ago.

What is really concerning is that anti-vaxxers consciously refuse to look at the morbidity and mortality related to the diseases which the most common vaccines prevent. One example-

Measles. Many people think of measles as being nothing but a short term illness, nothing more than an annoyance. Measles are dangerous. Measles can cause permanent damage to skin, lungs and brain, leading to lifelong disability. Measles can also be fatal. In regions with poor access to healthcare, the fatality rate can be as high as 24%. In the US, mortality has been 0.6% for decades. However, that has been during times when the disease has been controlled by vaccines.

More infections, more mutations. One thing most people fail to realize. The more active any infection is in the community, the more opportunity that infection has to mutate. Measles, mumps, yellow fever, polio have not been actively transmitted on a scale which has allowed this for many years. If that happens, then we could potentially see mutations which render current vaccines useless.

Don’t believe online claims. I have encountered numerous people online claiming they have a child damaged by vaccines. The interesting thing is that I have never encountered this in real life in 24+ years of nursing. Not once. Then the question arises as to how this was diagnosed. I find it extremely unlikely that any doctor made such a diagnosis. The exception being if a child were allergic to some component of the vaccine, such as eggs. An allergic reaction is not a condemnation of vaccines as a whole. It does not stop vaccines from preventing the illness and deaths of millions of people. Anyone can have an allergic reaction to any food or medicine they take or ingest for the first time. It cannot be predicted or prevented. It does not condemn the food or medication.

Autism. Most of the people claiming an increase in the rates of autism cannot state what the diagnostic criteria are for autism. Those criteria are primarily arbitrary and subjective. One doctor may state a person has autism while another doctor disagrees. The diagnostic criteria have also changed over the last 25 years. Screening for autism has increased over the last 10–15 years. Those two facts alone account for the vast majority of new cases of autism being diagnosed. Plus the fact that most people had never heard of autism before the same time frame.

Something else to consider about the rise in autism. Who makes money from it? Drug companies and therapists stand to make large sums of money from a diagnosis of autism. How much money do they make saying a child is completely normal? Now you have an answer to the rise in autism.

Drug company profits. Many anti-vaxxers claim drug companies promote vaccines because of the profits involved. Now, stop and think-

Do drug companies make more money from vaccines or from illness?

One outbreak. Endless profits. All it would take is one outbreak of one major disease for which we currently have vaccinations for drug companies to make profits far above and beyond what they make on all vaccines. How much more money would drug companies make from tens, hundreds of thousands of people hospitalized for that one major disease? How much would they make from tens of thousands rendered permanently disabled by such a disease and needing lifelong medical care as a result?

The literal fact of the matter is that if I were a drug company CEO, I would covertly support and fund the anti-vaccination movement. If I had no ethics, of course.

First world privilege. Just the idea of refraining from vaccinating your child is absolutely a first world privilege. Anti-vaxxers are under the assumption that either they/their children will not contract an infectious disease, that any disease they contract will not be deadly/disabling or that they can access treatment in a timely manner. If a large outbreak occurs, that may not be the case. Hospitals may fill up, medications could run out of stock nationally. Globally if we had a pandemic. Your money or insurance will not save you in that case. You even make the assumption that a doctor would diagnose the problem accurately when a disease has rarely been seen in this country for decades. First world privilege will mean nothing when your precious little snowflake is dead, comatose, has a brain injury or is permanently crippled because of a choice YOU made.

More research. Do I in any way suggest that more independent research is not needed regarding vaccine safety? Read back over this if you think I said that. However, until such research is done, there is no sane basis for refraining from vaccinations. Let me repeat that: No sane basis.

So, while so many people talk about vaccines as though they are a choice or which carry so many dangers, these are people who only read what confirms their own bias. They have become complacent by the fact that we have not had a major infectious disease outbreak in this country for many decades. Thanks to vaccines. It’s like saying we need no chlorine in water because nobody has died from tap water that they know of for decades. If you do not understand the subject, learn about it. Until you do, STFU and vaccinate your kids!!!

We’re All Mentally Ill

I’ve said something in the past which I want to repeat here. We are all mentally ill.

That is, according to the psychiatric field. If you listen to the psychiatric field, or at least the way it is portrayed, every human being walking the face of the planet has some form of mental “disorder” which we can be diagnosed with.

Of course, that’s not true. The truth is that the mental health field only considers something a disorder when it impacts your ability to function at a normal level. The truth is public perception, driven by media portrayal and exaggeration. Honestly, the most mentally deranged people in our society work for the media and corporate management. They will push any agenda at all, no exceptions, for profit.

Personally, I have a long string of “disorders” which could be applied to me. Bipolar disorder is one. I genuinely do have this but did not know it until I was in my 30’s, in nursing school. It was later confirmed unofficially by a psychiatrist I went to for voluntary stress management. He asked if I wanted to be treated for it. I said I was already in my 30’s and had not been treated for it up to then, so no. We agreed and it was never entered in my medical file because of the problems such a label can cause. Fact is, many overachieving people who are quite accomplished have been bipolar. One Surgeon general. Many artists like Neil Diamond and Billy Joel. Billy Joel wrote a song about it, “I Go To Extremes”. Listen to the lyrics and you’ll understand. I had someone say, “You just like the manic state.” I looked at them and said, “Yes, I do. I get a lot done when I’m manic. It helped me through nursing school.”

I’ve been called OCD. Then again, name a good nurse who does not have OCD to some level. I know I have ADD but I compensate by maintaining multiple interests at all times. It does suck when I get bored. I have made people quite fearful if I was bored because they had no idea what came next. Especially when I had access to explosives in the military. Nobody got hurt, so I have no regrets.

Only a few months ago I realized I have PTSD. Growing up in a rough neighborhood near a military base during Vietnam, having been beaten, stabbed, shot at, gone through two live shooter events, three bomb scares and being in the Army in Germany the day The Wall came down and they refused to tell us why we were issued live rounds and guarding one of the largest ammo points on the planet all have a cumulative effect over time. Imagine that. Oddly, I remain calm in a crisis. I just avoid loud environments and disorganized crowds. Oh, and never put your hand in my face, you may lose it.

Sometimes it’s not a weakness but a strength. I know many people with PTSD, usually from domestic abuse. They tend to have strong responses to certain triggers but nearly every one I’ve ever known internalized their reactions unless things escalate beyond a certain point. It is abusers who are most likely to escalate situations. Those with PTSD tend to be more rational and attempt to deescalate tensions, talk rather than argue, reason rather than fight.

I know many with bipolar disorder. They are generally highly functioning once they learn to balance.

Those with ADD are usually people most capable of multitasking without becoming overwhelmed.

Is it really a “disorder”? So, I fail to see how these things amount to disorders. They are all different normal human conditions, either by biology or conditioned response. Of course, one can take drugs for these things. Most of the time drugs are not really necessary. Like I said, I was in my 30’s when I learned of my ADD, 40’s when I was called OCD and reasoned out the PTSD at 56 years old. Oh, well. I consider them all means to understanding myself better. I’ve never considered myself “normal”. I look around at what is considered “normal” and will always reject that label.

Change your view. The real fact of the matter is that what may be considered a “disorder” is often not. It all depends on how you, yourself view a condition, whether you learn to balance and compensate for it. Be open with friends and family members. Are they supportive or judgmental? If they are judgmental, it may not be you who has a problem at all. I will be honest and say some people will use their own labels as a crutch for aberrant behavior or substance abuse. Though substance abuse is an issue and illness all on it’s own. It is rare that a psychological condition resolves one of personal responsibility, aside from schizophrenia.

Of special note. Some people use labels as a means to justify emotionally abusive behavior toward others. They try and use labels to make themselves feel superior. In reality, what they reveal is their own apathy and insecurity. Strong people do not have the need to demean others

Stop labeling. One of the biggest problems with any such “disorder” is that too many people define a person by the label. Sometimes they define others by a label, or they may define themselves by a label. I’m not “a bipolar”, I am a person with bipolar “disorder”. Likewise, a person with an anxiety disorder is not necessarily an anxious person, they are a person that has a problem with anxiety. In all cases, what comes first is that each of us is a person. We are human. We have problems, we have flaws, we have individual personalities.

Societal evolution. Over the last few decades, society has undergone an evolution. Where any form of mental problem was once a stigma, many forms of mental or emotional issues have become mainstream. In some circumstances and cohorts, a person may well be considered an outsider if they do not have certain “disorders”. Depression and anxiety disorders have become overly mainstream among young people today. Medications have become trendy. Celebrities use discussing their own “disorders” not as a means of spreading awareness but as a means of gaining more popularity.

Striving for balance. This is the biggest challenge. We all must strive to reach a balance. To accept various aspects of the human condition as exactly that, while reaching for understanding when a condition may reach a critical juncture. Which means we cannot rely on a pill bottle for all the answers. We cannot define ourselves or others by only one aspect of an individual’s personality.

Teams play to each member’s ability. We all have strengths and weaknesses. Not all baseball players are great pitchers, not all pitchers are great hitters. Teams arrange their playbooks according to the strengths and weaknesses of the players. In healthy relationships we tend to seek and accept partners with qualities which compliment our own. If both partners had the same strengths and weaknesses, the relationship becomes unbalanced. Of course, if partners or team members judge and attack one another, then the relationship and performance suffer and may lead to failure.

Medications are not enough. Psychoactive medications have become things used all too often as chronic, lifelong prescriptions leading to dependency. Those medications really should not be used in this way in many cases. Some, yes but not as much as they are. Psychoactive medications are meant to be used in conjunction with therapy. The ultimate goal for most people should be to gradually decrease or even eliminate the need for medication by increasing the coping skills and ability to adapt by the patient.

Self acceptance. The absolute best thing a person can do to maintain emotional health is to learn self acceptance. Though this does need to be in a way that does not cause harm to themselves or others. Abusers can accept themselves, that does not mean they are mentally healthy. Stop seeing yourself as flawed, stop thinking you or others have to be perfect. The day you meet someone who is perfect, let me know.