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A creative blog by Jim Kalin on The Whole 9

Novelist Jim Kalin lives in Los Angeles, writes a monthly column for Amateur Wrestling News, and has traded in his speargun for a banjo. His wife and son sing harmony.

SAD STATE

SAD STATE

We sit together tonight, but work together tomorrow…

State of the Union Address, President Obama

That’s not exactly true. In President Obama’s recent State of the Union Address, the networks were very careful to let the television audience see that all attendees were sitting together, Democrat with Republican, which apparently meant they have finally put aside their differences, are united, and are ready to roll up their sleeves (after the 24-caret gold cufflinks have been removed of course) and get down to work solving the country’s financial woes. I saw Barbra Boxer sitting with John McCain for god’s sake. They must be serious!

Right.

This was the most chilling, deceitful, and ultimately revealing State of the Union Address I’ve ever watched. It was truthful, too, if one understood how to listen and decipher Obama’s message. This speech was not to you and I, but it was about us.

First of all, the Republicans and Democrats are indeed together. They have been a team a long time, but their foe, the mutual opponent, is you and me, the common people. I just couldn’t help feeling depleted whenever the cameras panned the audience of politicians. Every angle was a different view of millionaire louts, thugs, and thieves.

DO NOT BUY IT ANYMORE! The political parties are the same, working together against one another for the same goal. They want nothing to change. They demand a stalemate so that they, the rich, remain comfortable and in control. If you doubt me, think about the ridiculousness of a filibuster, or about the promise of a Democrat-led healthcare bill. The Clintons never intended for one to pass, nor did Obama. All presidential candidates receive too much in campaign contributions from the health insurance and medical industries for them to ever seriously pass something that would shrink the huge profits of those entities.

Obama (I now think of him as Obummer) stated that ‘The future is ours…’ indeed! The ‘ours’ he referred to includes only that small audience he stood before in the capitol and those with equal bank accounts. Obama also claimed that paychecks are bigger. I personally don’t know a single person who is making more since the recession (depression) began. He must have meant the paychecks of his fellow politicians, the CEO’s, and bank presidents.

The State of the Union Address was a three-ring circus. I wondered why there was a court stenographer recording the event. Wasn’t the thing recorded on video and film and a thousand other devices? And what about Joe Biden jotting whims on scratch paper while the President spoke; what in the world could have been that important, especially for a man who holds a fairly meaningless office?

What did you think of President Obama’s State of the Union Address?

  1. In a lot of ways I don’t disagree with you, but you are sounding just a tad paranoid here, imho. I do not believe there is some sort of conspiracy among politicians or between the parties. I do believe Obama is sincere in his desire to see health reform enacted in a way that would guarantee basic health care for everyone. But it’s a very complex issue with a lot of legitimate points of contention and unknowns when it comes to implementation. Creating a plan that will actually work is hard enough, navigating the political process required to get it passed is even harder. It takes someone exceptionally skillful both behind the scenes and in front of the cameras to accomplish it. Although he’s smart, Obama doesn’t fit that description. Clinton was much better at it but was tragically brought down by his own personal weaknesses.

    Obviously there’s a lot of graft, chicanery, greed and downright corruption among politicians. The political process of our republic and of democracies in general will never be perfect, but it’s still better than any number of other types of government one can find around the world. Politics will always be a process of compromise and negotiation. There’s no getting around it if you want anything to get done. That’s as true in socialist countries as in capitalist ones. In many European parliamentary democracies, with their numerous parties that must reach an agreement to create a ‘government’, the process is even more complicated and prone to backroom deal-making.

    Personally, I think that the bigger problem with most large governments and bureaucracies is that of inefficiency, waste and bad management rather than collusion and criminal fraud. So what’s the solution to ‘cleaning up’ politics? For one, there are plenty of ways to make the ‘contribution’ process more transparent and regulated. Get rid of gerrymandering. Make politicians (both elected and appointed) more accountable and assign them legal fiduciary responsibility to the public. That’s just to start.

    As to the address itself: Like most political speeches, I’ve heard it all before and will hear it many times again. You could probably create a mad-lib template for these type of speeches. Why even watch? There’s virtually nothing to be learned, much less anything newsworthy. At best you can get a sense of a politicians ‘leadership’ qualities and capacity to communicate articulately (Bush: D, Obama: B-, Clinton: A). Unless it’s a declaration of war, They’re all pretty much grandstanding for the masses.

  2. ah, nice comment, and thanx. but not a bit paranoid here, nor conspiracy-tinged. just a removal of the ‘give them the benefit of the doubt’ blinders and switching it to our side.

  3. HECK…I’d like to have some sort of a system to pay for my medical bills when I get sick….The problem is INSURANCE COMPANIES…they are bigger than banks…they run this economy!….who would have thought that hundreds of years ago… when someone came up with the idea of charging people for insurance….
    The whole concept of insurance: paying for ‘what if this happens..?’ is deceiving. I remember when car insurance was optional…now it’s mandatory. If insurance companies had their way, a person would have to pay for crossing the street. And life insurance……..a person pays every month to the insurance company to pay for……benefits after he’s dead…..
    and then there’s lawyers…………

  4. Just curious…after this post, do you think our phones will be bugged, Jim? Someone once did a search for “Jim Kalin” and came up with a full statistical print out of him including his Political Views which were listed simply as “Loose Cannon.” : )

  5. aren’t they already bugged? oops! look out. there goes a cannonball.

  6. “And I wouldn’t trust cell phones, satellite dishes or helicopters… (yeah, I finally rented and watched “Red”; lots of fun and a great role for John Malkovich, along with the rest of them).

  7. Dangerous Red was great yes? I loved it. As far as the State Of The Union…this is the first one I’ve missed in years…why? Mostly because it’s like a raccoon with his hand stuck in a trap. Grab the shinny silver and just sit there. I think that’s where we’ve been for a while. Unfortunately, any change that will really make a difference for the masses will take a natural disaster.
    I agree that what we have here beats out anywhere else but it sure would be nice to get rid of the insurance companies as a whole. My step-father called them just another mafia. They scare you into spending money that you yourself could do better investing for yourself.

  8. Im curious what you would do differently than the republicans and democrats. Not in theory but in actuality what would you do to save the people?

  9. I do not understand how the United States fails to implement a simple social reformation as a health guarantee. All civilized countries with a reasonably economy takes care of its own citizens. It feels like Darvins evolutionary theory very much pervades the United States with an undesirable result, only the most brutal and unscrupulous who steal everything for themselves and leave nothing for the weak and vulnerable. I would rather pay the tax than is sponsoring an American system of alms to the poor through charity galas and various campaigns. – I would never be able to live in the USA and I am happy and proud to live in Scandinavia. – There is no democracy if you only have two parties to choose from; Democrats and Republicans.
    Sometimes you get the impression that the only thing that the United States is about the arm and the arms industry, extreme Christian sects, health insurance, attorneys, and to make money at others’ expense. – Not honest income.
    I hope the American people demand responsibility from their politicians to implement the political promises that gave them power; eg. Obama. It is not only with empty promises. And if the election participation rates in the United States is under 50%, so one can hardly call it a democratic country ??

  10. In Finland, the state guarantees health care within reasonable cost from the insurance fund. Tex. medical consultations costs: $ 36 and a ceiling of $ 771 a year; beyond it one gets free medicines regardless of income. It is much the same in all Scandinavian countries. FPA replaces including
    loss of income in the form of sickness allowance associated with work disability.
    *part of private doctors’ fees and costs for examinations and treatments as prescribed by a private doctor.
    *part of private dental and mouth hygienist fees.
    *part of the cost of prescription drugs and recoverable.
    *some travel expenses to medical care and rehabilitation in both the public and private sectors.
    *part of entrepreneurs’ expenditures for health care in the companies.
    * Travel expenses for companions
    If your doctor or healthcare staff believes that you need a companion with you during the trip or during treatment may FPA also reimburse travel expenses for a companion or accompanying family member involved in your care. If you have a companion with you at the same address and using car or taxi arises not reimbursable travel expenses for companion.

    Reimbursement for overnight
    *If you are due an examination, treatment or traffic conditions are forced to seek quarters for the night, you can apply for overnight money from Kela. Then you need to account for the costs of payment receipt. Overnight allowance is a maximum of 20.18 euros / day.

  11. Anni- how much does the government pay for the really costly health issues; surgeries, oncology, transplants, physical therapy, etc.? Does one have a choice of doctor? Are the waits for treatment exceptionally long due to demand or lack of doctors and facilities? Who decides if a patient is qualified to receive treatment and what the limits of that treatment are? Are most of the best doctors and dentists private or part of the government sponsored health system and insurance? Just curious.

  12. - I had surgery four years ago (a major procedure) and I paid a daily charge of 28 euro per night at the hospital. The surgeries are free, you only pay for 28 euro/night. I usually visit a private gynegolog but the state pays about half the cost of 120 Euros= 60 euro that I pay myself.

    The service charge: Maternity and child welfare clinic visits, a nurse, laboratory and X-ray examinations; free of charge

    Vaccinations: No fee is charged, when they belong to a nationwide vaccination program.

    Doctor’s: One-time payment of up to EUR 14.70. Along with the health center fee may be charged up to three times per calendar year.

    Alternatively, you can charge an annual fee, which amounts to a maximum of 29.30 euros per calendar year. If the customer fails to pay the annual fee, he may be charged 14.70 EUR one-time payment useammaltakin than three appointments.

    Emergency Visit: Up to 20.20 euros after time.

    On-call fee may apply weekdays between 20-08, as well as on Saturdays, Sundays and public holidays. Payment may also be charged an annual fee of liver or a person who has already paid the three-time fee.

    Unused and canceling missed:
    * doctor’s reception time,
    * dental care time
    * specialized outpatient or
    * expensive imaging such as X-ray, ultrasound or magnetic resonance imaging time.
    * Payment up to 36.20 euros and it may be subject to 15 years of age. The fee may not be charged if you cancel the submission is an acceptable reason.

    Medical certificate:
    Driving license required to obtain a medical certificate to pay up to 43.60 euros.
    Other medical certificates pay up to 36.20 euros.
    No fee is charged when a certificate is associated with the treatment started, such as sick leave certificate to the employer.
    No fee will be charged for the health of young people, which is a school and student health care visits, the data collected based on the health certificate.

    Hospitals maximum rates 2014 – 2015
    Outpatient Fee: Up to 29.30 euro.
    Outpatient: Up to 96.40 euros.
    Daily hospital fee: Up to 34.80 euros a day.
    Day Care Psychiatric Hospital Payment: Maximum of EUR 16.10 per day.
    Day or night in the hospital to pay: Up to EUR 16.10 per day.
    Unused and cancel the remaining service .: Up to 36.20 euros. Fee may be charged only 15 years of age. The fee may not be charged if you cancel the submission is an acceptable reason.

    A series of treatments, including continuous dialysis, radiation or cytostatic treatment and medical rehabilitation. Series Treatment cost no more than € 8 treatment sessions. The fee can be charged up to 45 to start the calendar year. The Health Centre of hyposensibilisaatio-, speech and voice disorder treatment as well as radiotherapy and chemo is, however, free of charge. Under the 18-year-old series of treatment is always free of charge.

    Rehabilitation of the treatment may be charged a maximum of EUR 12.10 day of treatment, when the handicapped or mentally retarded receives rehabilitation treatment plant. Less than 18 years of health center or hospital operating unit of the treatment fee is payable only for the first seven treatment sessions per calendar year.

    Long-term institutional charges:
    Fee for a month can not exceed 85 per cent of the net income to be treated. If institutional care is the higher income of the spouse, the payment is not more than 42.5 per cent of the couple’s total net income per month.

    The affected person must remain in vv. 2014-2015, however, the use of at least 105 euros per month.

    * The patient may choose the health center, which corresponds to his primary care services. Health center choice can be changed by written notice up to one year apart.

    At a time can be only one client health status. If the person stays longer periods of time outside their home municipality, for example, the summer cottage, he can get the treatment plan treatment according to the temporary residence of its health center.

    The health exchange shall inform both the new and the old health center in good time, at least three weeks prior to visiting.

    From 2014 onwards, the patient has the opportunity to choose a health clinic and specialized medical unit of all Finnish public health centers and hospitals.

    Specialized daycare selected together to provide a referral to a doctor or a dentist.

    The patient has a care place as far as possible within the limits of the right to choose the attending physician or other healthcare professional.

    Sick of access to treatment periods: First aid and emergency care must be provided immediately the patient’s place of residence. Urgent treatment clinics and hospitals have emergency receptions.

    Paramedic:-urgent care provided residents with health centers. Access to treatment is guaranteed by certain deadlines. If the health center or hospital can not provide treatment within the prescribed time, they have to obtain it elsewhere.

    Health Centre: urgent cases are handled in municipal health centers.
    On weekdays, the health center during opening hours there is instantly available to the phone, or there must be able to go to visit.

    Running time: If the assessment requires a visit to the health, there must be within three working days of contact.

    First Aid: Treating on a health center within the next three monts. Dentalcare, may exceed three months without endangering the patient’s health status.

    Specialized health care: an unhurried treatment of a hospital or health center to carry out specialized medical care will require a doctor’s referral.
    Assessing the need for treatment must begin within three weeks referral.
    Required to evaluate the studies and specialist assessment must be made within three months referral.
    If the tests show that the patient requires hospitalization, it has to start within six months of treatment necessary checks.
    Children and young people in mental health services (under 23 years) required to evaluate the need for treatment studies and specialist assessment is carried out in six weeks referral. Treatment must be provided within three months of treatment necessary checks.

    First Aid: If the tests show that the patient requires hospitalization, it has to start within six months of treatment necessary for the assessment.

    Care else: If your health center or hospital is unable to treat within the time limit, it shall organize the patient to get treatment elsewhere, either in another hospital district or the private sector.
    The patient does not incur this extra cost.
    The patient has the right to refuse treatment.

    If the Hospital is unable to provide specialized medical care prescribed maximum period in Finland, it must give the patient’s request prior authorization for the hospital to seek treatment at free of expense in a another EU-country or EEA country or Switzerland.

  13. I have never had a private health insurance, I do not understand the necessity for it. There are plenty of good hospitals, clinics and so on. both private and state owned. Waiting times are short and the skills are good. If you are not satisfied, you can report the matter to the authorities and seek compensation for the neglect. Personally, I have not had problems with the health care and waiting times have been short example. surgery (fee’s free). Medical services are paid by taxes from the income of individuals and corporations. – I pay 32% taxes to Sweden (from my Swedish income) and 20% in Finland (my Finnish income) because I get my pension from two different countries.

  14. Thanks, Anni. Very comprehensive explanation! Sounds like you get excellent care at extremely reasonable costs. Wait times for diagnosis and/or treatment sound like they could be a bit long for some things (if the doctor/hospital went to the maximum amount of time they’re legally allowed). If the Federal taxes you mentioned are the total taxes you pay in the respective countries, they do not sound much higher than in the US, and are frankly less than many pay once you add in local taxes. Out of curiosity, are these “flat” taxes (ie: with no reductions for such things as mortgage interest, expenses associated with practicing one’s profession, etc. as there are in the US)?

  15. Yes; I do get reduction on mortgage intrest and for my studies. > I used to get reduction for transportation to work ( but I not working any more). I used to live on Åland Islands (part of Finland) and most part of the healthcare costs were helicopter transportation to Uppsala in Sweden or Turku in Finland. It depends what kind of healthcare was in case. -Mostly trafic accidents were transported by helicopter to Uppsala. The hospital in Mariehamn (Åland Island) is very little and there are only 8000 people living in the city so it is more cost effective to use helicopter transport to the nearest or best hospital. But it might sound odd that as a patient you are tranported to a another country for healthcare.
    I would personally never want to need to visit a Russian hospital (it is only 300 km from Helsinki to St. Petersburg Russia and a taxi fee from Helsinki to St. Petersburg is 25 euros = 31 dollars). As it is so cheap to travel to St. Petersburg many visit Russia ( the train is more convenient and it is also cheap; 29 euros at the moment because of president Putins mad actions. The trafic has gone down since conflict in Ukraina. He is dangerous och unbridictical.
    – There are things that I consider wrong: I can take the boat to Estonia for a medical treatment or to visit a private dentist and then the finnish coverment pays the cost of my healtcare treatments. Madness.
    - At the moment there is a military exercise in the Gulf of Finland Tero territory and I have seen finnish airforce flying over my house. Russia violated Finnish airspace three times in one week and there are new type of Russian submarines and regular tourists have photographed and filmed submarines from boats.
    Putin scares the hell out of me!
    And I’m afraid that the older he gets and senile: the more dangerous the situation will become.

  16. Finland and Sweden are not a member of NATO and possesses no nuclear weapons. If the Russians decide to take over Finland militarily, I have very hard to see any other solution than that there will be a guerrilla war that never ends. I do not think the Finns are able to adapt to a Russian government and our military has very little funds to put against Russians. There is a new diktator in Russia; president Putin. – And he is insane.

  17. I seriously doubt that Putin would invade Finland or Sweden or any of the Scandinavian countries. There would be no international excuse for it (as there is in Ukraine where there is a large Russian speaking population who would like to break away from the current Ukraine and join Russia). Furthermore, I can’t see that Russia has anything to gain from it.The rest of the world wouldn’t accept such an action, and although I doubt anyone would initiate a nuclear confrontation over it , he would face extreme economic sanctions (virtual isolation) and massive military support for the Finnish/Scandinavian opposition forces. Although I think Putin is making some serious and unhealthy mistakes (both for him and the Russian nation) with his current nationalistic policies, I don’t think he’s “insane”. I think he’s quite calculated in his actions (reinforced by bad counsel from his staff and advisors who are afraid to contradict anything he proposes) and unlikely to do anything irrevocably crazy. Has there been any official explanation from Russia for their intrusion of military planes and subs into Finnish air and sea space?

  18. Russia has not explained Airspace violations. They test and äventuellt will do something ???
    There is no freedom of speech in Russia. They have already started a propaganda war.

    - There are approximately 300,000 Russian speakers in Finland / enough for Putin to be able to claim the right to interfere in Finnish politics. It has gotten worse. A mixed marriage, a Finn and a Russian got divorced while living in Finland. Since the mother was russian and suffering from skizofreni and they could not take care of their children the finnish socialcare decided temporarily put the children to a another home. -Then russian media,Putin and the russian public + Russian authorities decided that the case should be decided by the russians authorities. Totally crazy! Finland can not let russian authorities take over as if Finland is part of Russia. The whole discussion was taken to the highest level: Putin sat with Finlands presindent Halonen to solve the issue.
    Putin is an old KGB agent, is fluent in German because he has been working as a spy in Germany. I have a friend in St. Petersburg, who has a studio next door to the Winter Palace and President Putin owns an apartment in the same house as my friend. I was told that there is a underground tunnel from the same bulding to the winterpalace, but I have not seen it.
    I think Putin is dangerous, just as Hitler was.

  19. http://www.iltalehti.fi/uutiset/2014090718638420_uu.shtml
    According to Pravda, russian propagande Media: Finland wants to join Russia.

  20. http://therussiantimes.com/news/12541.html
    Some coments on the artictle:
    Karo Liina
    Are you insane? Finnish people and real politicians would never support integration to Russia.
    Ответить · Нравится · 8 · Подписаться на обновления · Вчера, в 11:36

    Sami Heikkilä · Лучший комментатор · Oulu, Finland
    Never. Never. Never. We would fight with heart and passion against any intruder. You should know it. Some finns are pro-Russia but they are small group.

    Eemeli Nalle Maijala · Лучший комментатор · Med Student в Koulutuskeskus Salpaus
    Welcome to Finland.. I presume you folks wanna share same grave with your ancestors.. we still have in near border over 1 000 000 dead russians and I think there would be more space after 70 years.

    Jenny Ginger Rostain · Подписаться · New York, New York · 135 подписчиков
    WE IN FINLAND DO NOT WANT TO JOIN THE RUSSIA – EVER! WE NEVER HAVE EVEN DISCUSSION ON THE MATTER. AND EVEN I AM MORE POPULAR IN FINLAND THAN THESE SO CALLED PUBLIC FIGURES THEY REFER HERE. PROPAGANDA SHOULD STOP!

  21. I will vote for the referendum in NATO membership. It is better to be a member of NATO than to live under Putin’s reign of terror.

  22. russia. no bueno.

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