Socialized medicare: a true story

BlazingCatfur has been the advocate for his Mom, as he tries to stop our dismal, ironically called ‘health-care’ system, from killing her:

The attentive care of the paramedics was replaced by – nothing.

We waited nearly an hour for a resident to finally stop by and enquire what the matter was. Appallingly, she had no prior knowledge of why my Mother had been admitted. My shock increased after she asked, in all seriousness, if the angioplasty had been a success. I can only assume that the look on my face caused her to retreat and summon the physician on duty. Exhibiting Solomon like wisdom, the attending doctor suggested that a physical examination was in order. She then disappeared with the resident in tow. A nurse was dispatched who informed us that my Mother would have to be undressed for the examination. Since this Angel of Mercy made no offer to assist, I took it upon myself to undress my bedridden mother in a public corridor, in full view of the passing parade of visitors, patients and staff.

Aside:  his mom was bleeding from an incision in her femoral artery, which was not properly closed following an earlier surgery…you know, the very same femoral artery one can bleed to death from within minutes…

Words just fail me!

It is difficult to understand how so many people just don’t ‘get it’:  life-and-death situations cannot be handed over to bureaucrats, who perform a cost-analysis to decide which medical treatment they will approve – and from whose dictum the medical personnel cannot deviate!

This set of procedures is the basis of ‘socialized medicare’ – and it puts bureaucrats and their ‘due process’ above the well-being of any patient and gives the bureaucrats the right to approve – or not – any and every treatment a medical professional (nurse or doctor) deems best for the patient.  It is this ‘submission’ to the ‘process’ (with its inherent delays in treatment) dictated by the bureaucrats which grinds medical professionals down and turns them from motivated people into automatons who just want to punch in, punch out and not get noticed by the bureaucrats for ‘special assessment’ in between…

The bigger an organization is, the more ‘rules’ and procedures’ have to be put into place to ensure that people do not make ‘biased’ decisions which might, potentially, not be in the best long-term interest of the organization.

Unfortunately, this also becomes true when the medical system is ‘bureaucratorized’. And, health-care becomes bureaucratorized when it is run by an organization so large, the patients become statistics instead of individuals:  that is when ‘charts’ become more influential in a person’s medical treatment than the doctor’s opinion does.   It really does not matter if this is a huge private insurance company (with no fear of competition) or some level of government ….except that, it is much, much harder to sue a government if its actions cause the death or crippling of a loved one!

This is the point when bureaucrats have the final word on what resources a doctor may or may not use to treat a patient….and when the patient becomes nothing more than a liability which costs money!

It is no longer the doctors who are allowed to conduct a procedure they think will help their patient, prescribe treatment – however costly – which will save her/his life – now, it is the bureaucrats whom the doctors have to ask permission before initiating a treatment (and who take their time assessing the risk vs. benefit to their careers if they deny treatment).

Instead of the best interest of the patient, it is now the best interest of the medicare system (or individual bureaucrats who control portions of it) which is the priority.  Even if they are willing to pay (oh, that is just wrong!), a patient will be denied ‘unjustifiable treatment’ – you know, when the cost to the system is so great, saving one life is just not justifiable to the taxpayers…

The result when treatment is deemed ‘financially unjustifiable’ is, of course, the death of the patient.  You have GOT to ask yourself just what factors are considered in THAT assessment!

In Britain today, their ‘socialized medicare system’ is more and more costly, and currently contains more bureaucrats who oversee the medical personnel (to ensure they adhere to government-decreed rules of what medical procedures are ‘warranted’ under specific conditions) than they have doctors and nurses combined!

Hat-tip on the video:  Walker

Best wishes to Blazing Catfur and his mom!  Our thoughts are with you!

Giving medicine to a cat

This is Bo-Bo:

His full name is ‘Snowball’ – but he usually responds to the diminutive ‘Bo-Bo’.

This past weekend, my neighbours (and friends) went away for a 4-day trip.  As I am the local animal-lover, they asked me to look after their cats (Snowball is one of 3 felines in that family).  At the last moment, Snowball (he is a little dominant…) got into a fight with another cat in the neighbourhood and the vet said he must get 2 antibiotic pills a day… could I handle the challenge of giving Bo-Bo his medicine?

I agreed to give it a try – my friends deserved a break!

Snowball was happy to see me when I came in and fed him – the first time.  Then he got annoyed that I would not let him out (he was to stay indoors while recuperating).  When I gave him his medicine – he got really, really mad at me.

The next medicine time, he was ready!

There was no way he would allow me, an outsider, to come in, hold him down in a chair and shove a pill down his throat!  His family may be away, and he may not be feeling his best and I may have taken him by surprise the first time… but – no more!  He would fight against this indignity!

Bo-Bo put up a mighty battle…

I did learn some things:

  1. Cats can – and do – growl.
  2. If you do NOT allow the cat to ‘have the last word’, the ‘next time’ will much easier.

Yes, I am glad to report that now, Bo-Bo is all well and healthy – and he does NOT growl at me any more.  Not even when I put him into the ‘medicine chair’, make him wait till I get the pill, sit beside him, open his mouth and pop the pill in!

Quite a change of attitudes!

And I did not do anything other than outlast his ‘bitching’ and ‘have the last word’.

One could say, I suppose, that I have learned how to ‘out-bitch a cat’!

Omar Khadr is NOT a ‘Child Soldier’ – as per UN laws

Just about everyone has heard of Omar Khard:  the one Canadian languishing in Guantanamo Bay detention camp.

Most people – whatever their views and opinions are on the circumstances that lead to his current predicament – agree that his situation is quite tragic.  The kid never had a chance to grow up ‘normally’.

Born into a family which was legally in Canada, emotionally in Pakistan and philosophically in 8th century Arabia, his childhood could not be considered ‘normal’ by any standards.

Both his parents were religious fanatics (his mother still is, his father gave his life to conduct violent jihad).  He was physically bumped around, from living in the ‘Secular West’ at some points to a Muslim school in Pakistan to terrorist training camps.  His sister was given in marriage at the age of 15 to an Al-Qaeda buddy of her father (the wedding is said to have been attended by Osama himself), his brothers actively conducted violent jihad (not all survived), and so on.

It really is a sad story.  I can understand why it pulls at all our collective heartstrings!

Currently, the public debate is focused on what is to be done with young Omar now?

This is a very, very important decision:  whatever action is taken (on not taken) on behalf of Omar Khadr will set THE legal precedent for future situation that are similar.

So, let us get it right!

In order to make the best possible decision, we must objectively examine what Omar Khadr is – and what he is not.

This is an essential step, because it will define under which circumstances the legal precedent set by the ‘Omar Khadr case’ will be applicable.

The most common description of Omar Khadr one hears in the MSM (mainstream media) – as well as one often repeated by his defense lawyers – is that Omar Khadr is a ‘Child Soldier’.

So, let us examine if this is the case:

Is Omar Khadr a ‘Child Soldier’?

The definition of ‘Child Soldier’ has two parts:  ‘Child’ and ‘Soldier’.

First:  is Omar Khadr a ‘Soldier’?

No, he is not.

At least, not according to the UN laws on the matter (or any other law I am aware of which defines who is, and who is not, a ‘soldier’).

The UN laws were written in order to protect the innocent civilians who get in the way of a war first, then the protection of legitimate soldiers second.  And, they are very clear on who is and who is not a ‘soldier’ (again – basic Wikipedia search provides clear answers – but much more material confirming this is easily available through any major search engine…):

‘To qualify under the Third Geneva Convention, a combatant must have conducted military operations according to the laws and customs of war, be part of a chain of command, wear a “fixed distinctive marking, visible from a distance” and bear arms openly.’

Omar Khadr, unfortunately, does not satisfy these qualifications.

Not only was he not a part of a recognized military ‘chain of command’, and not wearing any ‘badges’ or ‘distinctive markings’ that could, even remotely, be construed as ‘uniform’ or ‘fixed distinctive marking’:  the crime he is accused of having committed is against the laws and customs of war.  ( I can expand on this, at length, if asked, in the comments sections.)

Therefore, Omar Khadr DOES NOT satisfy the qualifications of having the status of a ‘soldier’.  Therefore, he cannot be treated as a ‘soldier’:  a ‘Child Soldier’, an ‘adult soldier’, or any other kind of ‘soldier’.

But, even if Omar Khadr were a ‘Soldier’:  would he qualify as a ‘Child Soldier’?

This is a more difficult question – but there is a legal answer!

Omar Khadr was aged 15 when he was detained by UN troops and when the premeditated murder of a UN non-combatant medic, which he is accused of having committed, occurred.

Different people mature at different rates:  at 15, some people really are still children while others are quite adult.  Both individual maturing rates and cultural influences are important in determining if a 15-year-old is ‘an adult’ or ‘a child’.  What does the law say?

Omar Khadr straddled two cultures:

  • In Canada, a 15-year old is, legally, a child.
  • Still, 15-year-olds are able to become emancipated, and legally become adults.
  • Under some circumstances, non-emancipated 15-year-olds are charged with crimes as adults – so the ‘legal precedent’ can be applied both ways:  it is a bit of a legal ‘gray area’ in Canada.
  • In Islamist culture, a 15-year-old is considered to be an adult, without any reservations.
  • The Khadr family certainly considers 15 years of age to be ‘adult’ – that is the age at which their daughter was given away in marriage!

It is obvious that in his own eyes, as well as according to the culture of his family, Omar Khadr is ‘an adult’. And, in our multicultural society, would it not be offensive to dismiss Omar Khadr’s minority cultural view of his status at that time?

OK, ok – so, the ‘multiculturalism’ thing is kind of messed up – and we all know it.  Let’s look elsewhere:

What does the International Human Rights Law have to say on the subject? (The following is a cut-and-paste of what Wikipedia has to say on this:  I usually like to paraphrase things, but I could not hope to make it more clear than they had…)

International humanitarian law

According to Article 77.2 of the Additional Protocol I to the Geneva Conventions of 12 August 1949, and relating to the Protection of Victims of International Armed Conflicts, adopted in 1977:

The Parties to the conflict shall take all feasible measures in order that children who have not attained the age of fifteen years do not take a direct part in hostilities and, in particular, they shall refrain from recruiting them into their armed forces. In recruiting among those persons who have attained the age of fifteen years but who have not attained the age of eighteen years, the Parties to the conflict shall endeavour to give priority to those who are oldest.’

Well, that seems rather clear:  once a person has reached the age of 15, he/she cannot be considered to be a ‘Child Soldier’ – even though it’s better to recruit people who are over the age of 18…. 15-year-olds are ‘regular soldiers’!

Omar Khadr HAD ‘attained the age of fifteen years’ – so he IS, according to international law, ‘regular soldier’!

In other words, legally, Omar Khadr CANNOT be considered a ‘Child Soldier’, because he is not a ‘Child’:  he would have had to have been FOURTEEN years of age or younger in order to be considered a ‘Child Soldier’!

OK – so we are nowhere closer to the answer of what Omar Khadr actually is:  but, I have (hopefully) demonstrated that whatever he is, he is NOT a ‘Child Soldier’!

I know – the facts of the situation are unlikely to affect the direction of the public debate…. I have no illusions about it.  People who point out the laws and the rules are nowhere near as interesting – and nowhere near listened to – as people who play on our emotions…

But, we MUST TRY, mustn’t we?

A few banal observations…

Rabbits may be reluctant swimmers, but they are very, very fast swimmers.

rabbits are very fast swimmers

Also, they have an incredibly keen sense of direction!

If you are ever stuck in the middle of some body of water, and you need to figure out which direction the closest land lies in – and you need to figure it out really, really fast – just put your rabbit into the water.  He’ll immediately and unerringly begin to swim towards the closest land.

Hip Hop swims to shore

And, they look cute in a little ‘jacket’:

A handsome rabbit with his wet dog

Another, completely unrelated observation:  if you tell your kids to turn the oven down by 25 degrees, it is very important to specify that you mean 25 degrees in temperature (naming the scale would not hurt!), and not 25 degrees as in the angle through which to rotate the temperature dial….  Not being clear on this will, at times, result in the oven being set to the wrong temperature!

More photos from ‘The North’

It is difficult to describe just how awesome the nature in Canada is.  It is bautiful, stunning, and any other totally complimentary word you’d like to use!

Every year, for our holidays, we go a little bit north:  only a 3-4 hour drive but a world apart!

The nature – both the fauna/flora and the physical formations – are completely breathtaking.  There is no other word for it, except, perhaps, ‘paradise’!  And, while I enjoy the sights and ‘feeling’ of the places we go to (we have our favourites – and we explore at least one new place each year), I try to take pictures I can look at later, when I am back home, and I need to ‘recharge my batteries’.

Please, don’t get me wrong:  I am not one to rough it.  My standard little joke is that I love camping – as long as the giftshop downstairs is good….

I cannot understand why, when we have spent millenia developing running water (flushing toilets), electricity that comes from a plug (and the appliances it runs), houses that are (relatively) bug-and-other-pests-free – and which have nice dry, un-lumpy bed, why we should snub all this which our ancestors have worked hard to develop and invent, and sleep on the lumpy ground, protected from the elements by nothing more than a flimsy bit of cloth stretched over some sticks!

That just seems like dissing all our ancestors have done for us!

Still, looking at nature (as long as one does not overdo it) is a balm to my soul….

So, here are some more of my favourite pictures:


Boating boys!


shiny rocks

more shiny rocks


'Life of the rocks' (as opposed to 'The Madonna of the rocks'...)

Recharging is exhausting work!

Evening boat-rides,

Evening boatrides

morning sunrise,

Morning sunrise

sandy islands,

Sandy islands

rocky islands,

Rocky Islands

active pets,

Active pets

resting pets,

tired pets

resting feet,

resting feet

What can I say?

In order to truly ‘get away’ and re-charge, we were isolated from the news, the internet, and everything else that was not within a boat-ride of where we were. So, it is taking me a while to catch up on what happened…

Somehow, my brain does not want to get back into the ‘old tracks’!

In surroundings like these, it is easy to ‘get philosophical’ – and we did (as we do every year).

Last year, we got into the whole ‘if a tree falls in the forest…’ thing – and decided that the answer will vary, depending on what is meant by the words ‘hear it’ and ‘sound’.  Though these are ‘simple’ English words, they can be interpreted in so many different ways that they alter the nature of the question:  the very essence of what is being asked about!  (As in, measurability vs. perception/relevance of reality…)

This year, we discussed much different things – no less philosophical, but certainly more ‘practical’.  At the core was the concept of the diaspora (not the ‘capital ‘D’ diaspora’, which refers to the dispersion of Jews once they were exiled from Israel by the Romans, but the ‘little ‘d’ diaspora’, which refers to any group of people who immigrate not as individuals,  but as a society which does not integrate, but rather enforces its own separate cultural and/or religious norms) and its effects on host societies and vice versa….and the reasons for these effects.

I’m sure I’ll be writing this all up, just as soon as I can formulate it from ‘discussions’ and ‘debates’ into a more tidied-up prose.

Still, it is difficult to discuss – and write about – the diaspora in a way that does not send people screaming and calling the thought police and shutting their minds to the very human qualities which are at the core of all the prejudice against the people who immigrate into a land and snub that land’s culture…  not because of the end-concepts, but because in order to discuss this subject, one has to address many topics which are taboo to even mention, much less dissect and debate, in our politically correct society. And, one has to use language that ‘points stuff out’, instead of ‘normalizing’ things and hiding their true meaning.

Yet, I am convinced that unless we understand what is happening inside us, unless we discuss it openly and without reservations, we cannot begin to fix some of the systemic prejudices inherent in our society!  And, reducing (even a tiny bit) some of these ‘barriers’ is a good thing for our society in the long term, even if right now, discussing it openly may feel like pulling a band-aid off…

After all, unless we recognize our prejudices and understand their roots, we cannot hope to overcome them!  It’s just too bad that in our society today, even raising the subject is taboo… yet I intend to not just raise it, but to examine it and the very things which produce visceral reactions in us, human animals.  Politely, of course….  ;0)

At the same time, there is so much which is happening now that I ‘ought to’ be writing about and screaming about…. that I feel pulled in so many directions, I keep hopping from one draft of a post to another, not finishing any!

Yet, I am making progress and I hope to be posting some thought provoking ideas soon.  In the meantime, please, enjoy these pictures!  And, if you’d like to see more, please let me know:  I took a few thousand shots over those days, and some of them have managed to capture the ‘mood’ of the North!

Summer holidays

For the next little while, I will be away for summer holidays…far enough North that no internet signal is available nearby.  In he meantime, please, enjoy reading these fine blogs:

The Lynch Mob

Blazing Catfur

The Reference Frame

Just Right

Speak Out on Copyright

Stubblejumping Redneck

Tea and Politics

The Blog of Walker

John Robson Online

Dvorak Uncensored

In the meantime, I’ll be enjoying views like these:

Big skies

Rocky shore

Long evenings...

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