Global Awareness: A Growing Problem

English: Logo of the .
English: Logo of the . (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Article by: Scott Hall (scotthall.cnj@gmail.com)
            In the last few months, our nation and the global citizenry have seen several infractions of human rights, questionable behaviors and serious law and political goof ups; in the muck and mutter of it all, had bills pass through our elected officials hands that are going unread, campaigns of hope and prosperity about how to change things and “stop Obama-care”, debates over economy and hearing rumors of “sequesters” and of things where it’s the left vs. the right or the reds vs. the blues and even the have’s vs. the have not’s -  including how best to deal with our food problems, who are the experts, such as what is really going on with genetically modified foods and why suddenly this push for “organic” grown items, I personally have yet to eat anything not seemingly organic and definitely not anything plastic or at least not noticeable to the naked eyes.  Debates of proper punishment for heinous crimes, television personalities with more influence than a court of law and hosts of other items that have this author shaking his head and wondering if anyone is using critical thought when approached with problematic systems or items of interest, are we ignoring our growing problems or are we seriously trying to deal with this whole hot mess?    Time for our truth glasses to look at a few of the things going on in our society, it is not this author’s intention within the confines of this article, to say that this way of thinking is the most accurate nor the only opinion that should be voiced, it is my intention to open Pandora’s box of critical thinking and apply it to those items that should (or do) have us all shaking our heads.
The Wounds
            First up, a look at “Obama Care”, which is the single most important part of our history ever, regardless of likes or dislikes, the legislation in the world of health care has never had a precedent of the same proportion and several years after its initial introduction our televisions are filled with commercials of how to discover the loopholes within its context, if you are smart and order the book online, you can save about 15 dollars, otherwise it’s a twenty dollar book.  Before I get into some of the realms in question, I want to point out one item of interest, any book that sells for as low as 5 dollars just because it is “online” should clue us in as to its worth in the words that created it, it is my bet that some persons who got outraged decided to point out the items that were stricken or not included and applied simple tax codes to help the disadvantaged, that is great, but I have to question the sources or the accuracy, good chance it isn’t a worthy read or has little input to help.  Okay, back to our focus of health care (PPACA) that was put into motion, lots of persons are upset that a nearing deadline is approaching for us all to have some sort of health coverage, I myself did an complete overview of the final draft once it was made available a few months back and taking from a portion of the report that was filed for Criminology & Justice Digital Media, the following was discovered:
1) – PPACA was signed into law on March 23 of 2010.
2) -- These items became effective immediately: The FDA is now authorized to approve generic versions of biologic drugs and grant those manufacturers 12 years of use before generics can be developed (A Biologic drug is naturally synthesized and not chemically compounded such as vaccine’s, blood or therapeutic medicines and the like), Medicaid drug rebate is increased to 23%, The Indian Health Care and Improvement act is reauthorized, The FDA must come up with a standard that causes Chain style restaurants to display caloric, fat and nutrition content on packages, walls, vending machines and their associated places across the USA to name a short list of immediate implementations (in full effect by 2014).
            High lights and time line of what is: Effective July 2010 a 10% tax on indoor tanning facilities and a council set up for preventative health and promotion where the Surgeon General will oversee or chair the Board and if you were denied coverage based on preexisting conditions, insurers can no longer consider those parameters. Effective September 2010 enhanced methods of fraud detection are implemented, Medicare is expanded to include small or rural hospital facilities, companies who have employees in the 55-64 range of age can have those early retirees enroll in a temporary program to reduce premium costs, The Medicare part D coverage gap is set to be eliminated by 2020 and starts its reduction as of September.  Effective January 2011, Flexible Spending or Health Savings accounts no longer can be used to pay for non prescription items excluding insulin.  Effective January 2012, Employers must now list on the W-2 Tax forms the benefits they provided to their employees (this was postponed by the IRS by one year).
            The future provisions (highlights): August 2012, all new plans must cover certain preventative 
Ritalin (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
services (mammography, colonoscopy) without a deductible, co-payment or co-insurance.  Women’s Preventative Services such as wellness visits will also be covered without cost sharing. January of 2014 discrimination of benefits based on preexisting conditions where rate increases may be acceptable become are prohibited, Insurers are prohibited from establishing annual spending caps, children under 19 who have preexisting conditions no longer restricted to coverage. January 2015 doctor’s payments are adjusted according to quality of care and not volume of patients.  2017 states are encouraged to rewrite a health mandate that allows them to receive the benefits of savings in federal money and assistance.
            Just from this stand point alone, seems as though the benefits are spot on for an economic upturn and benefits citizens of all types and income levels, so why are we seeing “find the loopholes” ads?  Because free enterprise and a bit of tom-foolery can lead us to believe just about anything, especially if we don’t already understand its basics, thank heavens Congress actually read that proposal and did something unique – they hammered out a compromise and bingo, even if debatable, it passed and is a part of our United States history.  This leads me to another point (or counter point if you will) about a few recent items making it through our elected leaders that are being reported as “not fully read” or “hasn’t been read”.  This type of infraction against the people should never go unpunished, if a big business was say involved in insider trading, you can bet congressional hearings may take place, so why not put the shoe on the other foot, so far I have yet to see one congress person say, “a group of us missed that one, we should step down” or “congressional hearings will take place to find out why congress persons didn’t read legislation before it passed”, instead we are seeing pictures of empty chairs while congressmen enjoy a beer at the president’s expense;  critical and expanded thinking about these things makes me question why we are paying salaries with hard earned tax money to people who are obviously too inundated to do their jobs correctly. 
            Touring through the headlines of our world, whether or not you use “Google” or “Bing” will likely yield a few news stories (some included in reference links below) about congress failing to actually read the items that get voted on, I will pause while you calm down a bit and then move on to a couple of examples of highly paid elected leaders who are making a mockery of our Constitutional system.  In an article posted online by Fox News in December of 2004, an admittance of one Representative Brian Baird, Democrat Washington, revealed two things: Congressional persons often rely on a summary of what the paperwork holds and that the vast majority of them do not read the summary nor the legislation at all, in part because they are only given about 48 hours to investigate them prior to voting, only two days, which according to their work schedule isn’t really a lot of time, so these same elected officials rely on trusted “agencies” to summarize them to give them a good understanding of what the paperwork contains – this was stated in 2004 when nearly a trillion dollars was spent through 2900 pages of legislation and the issue was a provision inserted into a spending bill that allowed a Republican finance committee to look at ANY AMERICAN’S TAX RETURNS.  Think about this Bush Fans, your beloved and embattled party leader as well as the party itself, didn’t even glance at it, not the Majority Leader Bill Frist nor the finance committee chairperson had any idea those words which did get signed into law even existed until the civil outcry that followed.
            These past few years, our elected representatives and officials have been dubbed the worst congress ever, that being the 112th congress to be precise.  Fast forward from our 2004 example to 2012, when a list of items was revealed by the Washington post in another online article bringing light to our Capitalist society, according to the first graphic table listed within the article, the number of public laws passed from 1947-2011 swelled way over the range of a “busy” congress in the 112th Congress (2012).  To be more correct, this congress was ¾ through their year when this statistic was released.  I am in awe of how much they haven’t done just in the news stories of their vacations before a budget passing and other questionable things, but until this article shed some light on my own truth glasses, I was truly as in the dark as a few of our readers as to how much “do nothing” is really going on.  It shows in their popularity ratings as well, a whopping 9% favorability rating and yet anyone who speaks of our president at a rating of say 54% as bad should actually be proud, that is 600 times greater than the congress who is supposed to be working FOR the people instead of burning up tax payer money and slowing the people down on items that surely need attention, such as our own countries credit rating and continuing job crisis, let us not forget the showdown that congress had over our debt ceiling.  We can say that at least they are die-hard at their job, I mean they did manage to attempt to repeal the PPACA by voting on it a record 33 times, I will say it again, 33 congress wide votes where NO ONE could muster enough steam or majority interest to even punch a hole in it, thinking back to the advantages lots of citizens will receive and are receiving, this example looks as though congress wants us to fail and struggle.  Pardon me while I wipe the water from my own truth glasses, the steam from the crazy wasteful spending and mockery of helping the people has fogged the lenses; I am hoping our citizens will ask of your leaders, just what did my tax money really go toward, the likely answer will be, “making our fat pockets fatter without using lobbyists” or “remember that pay raise we passed”.
            Lobbyists make me laugh inside as these are the persons who, try hard to have things inserted into legislation or to influence what legislation comes and goes through, some call this pork belly spending, this author calls it a pathetic attempt to deceive the American citizens and to keep us guessing and stirring over items while the real secret and upsetting stuff gets slipped in unnoticed.  Verbiage like “sequester” sounds good, but until we learn that the Sequester doesn’t affect Government Officials such as Congress in total as they are exempt from it, we can be mislead to thinking things are business as usual.  Take for example the one thing besides money that makes the world go round, food and a well known name, Monsanto. Then think about the “Monsanto Protection Act” that was “overlooked” in a recent legislative push. Genetically Modified Foods are just one of the many facets to avoiding global hunger, or so we are to think; question:  if we produced the same number of seeds that they have without all the hype and modifications, we would have to deal with weeds and insects and similarly the same number of crops would grow as expected and who knows, maybe even the industry of agriculture could create some much needed jobs or we could find “green” ways to eradicate insect problems or combating drought conditions without DNA splicing in plants, my mind is open to any new horizon, just not those whose side effects could be costly or deadly and if we are not careful will offset the healthcare system to include what to do when a food breaks the blood brain barrier because its DNA didn’t like human consumption either, never mind the insects. 
            If I were to tell you that Kraft Macaroni and Cheese was made with Yellow Dye #5 and #6, most of us would think, no big deal, it’s just food coloring.  What if I told you that those two items are derived from coal tar and that coal tar is found in lice shampoo, would you still be likely to eat that brand of macaroni and cheese or possibly wonder what else contains the same ingredients or maybe we could be looking at a popular soft drink like 7up who a few years ago had as one of its ingredients - lithium, yet now it isn’t included in the formula due to its adverse health effects in some persons.  Let those items not surprise you much, however, let these items open your eyes somewhat:  Cows, Pigs, Geese, Squirrels, Elk, Deer, Raccoons, Mice and Rats all refused to consume any GMO food or by product.  Those that consumed them during testing of the products effects ended in these results:  Rats that were fed Potatoes that were resistant to pests through GMO, received digestive cancer as a reward for its consumption, though I am sure many of you right now are thinking good, rats need to die anyway - you are missing a critical point - that these same animals are what we are using as a measuring stick for the very products we’re using daily, so if it hurts a Rat, it will likely hurt us, is our food chain an acceptable risk for this type of danger?
            Next up, Corn - this American favorite is used in cookouts and gatherings, popular in restaurants and can even be used to produce alcohol or fuel, they are the result of many beautiful corn field photographs and 35% of the world’s supply comes from right here on US Soil.  In 2003 after inhaling corn pollen from MON 863 corn plants, several persons had a serious respiratory attack as well as suffered skin or intestinal reactions.  Sheep who wandered into genetically modified cotton fields died after eating some of the plants, pigs and cows being fed grain from these plants became sterile and the list goes on and on.  I applaud free enterprise and the success stories it has produced, I applaud our innovative thinking into new ways to deal with growing and agricultural issues, I cannot and will not condone our government (or our people) allowing any type of wording in favor of a company (which also has former Monsanto company persons in elected or appointed office) that produces a product that we can “eat at our own risk”.  Keep in mind corn alone is used in many things, such as corn starch, many medicines and a host of cosmetic materials; we are not just eating this stuff but practically taking a liberal bath in it as well.  Genetically Modified crops have also shown a reduced amount of common cancer and disease fighting nutrients within the plants being grown, the verbiage is called, transposons, or a process that happens when genetic mutations exist as a result of modifying the gene of the plant, note:  This process also releases toxins as well as other allergens that can affect the consumer, facts that have been court battled by Monsanto in dispute, which brings us to the Monsanto Protection Act.
            The disputed section in the “hidden agenda” is section 735 of HR 933, to which the following is written:
Sec. 735. In the event that a determination of non-regulated status made pursuant to section 411 of the Plant Protection Act is or has been invalidated or vacated, the Secretary of Agriculture shall, notwithstanding any other provision of law, upon request by a farmer, grower, farm operator, or producer, immediately grant temporary permit(s) or temporary deregulation in part, subject to necessary and appropriate conditions consistent with section 411(a) or 412(c) of the Plant Protection Act, which interim conditions shall authorize the movement, introduction, continued cultivation, commercialization and other specifically enumerated activities and requirements, including measures designed to mitigate or minimize potential adverse environmental effects, if any, relevant to the Secretary’s evaluation of the petition for non-regulated status, while ensuring that growers or other users are able to move, plant, cultivate, introduce into commerce and carry out other authorized activities in a timely manner: Provided, That all such conditions shall be applicable only for the interim period necessary for the Secretary to complete any required analyses or consultations related to the petition for non-regulated status: Provided further, That nothing in this section shall be construed as limiting the Secretary’s authority under section 411, 412 and 414 of the Plant Protection Act.
            Key item to point out, nowhere in this section do the words Monsanto protection act prevail, what is prevailing in this section are two things, first the Plant Protection Act and the wording specific to the cultivation or growth of agricultural items and the secretary’s role.  Taking a look inside this section, in relation to the crops in question, it does state that the Secretary can grant temporary deregulation status, to allow growers to continue cultivation of biotech crops that had previously been approved by the Department of Agriculture and while legal challenges continue, it prevents the courts from interceding in the review process, from this whole basis is an outcry that this is unfair as the courts cannot intervene on food safety issues, never mind it is the agriculture and food safety divisions to insure this anyway.  The provision in essence insures that growers of these crops may continue to grow them; it basically gives the growers peace of mind knowing that a judicial order cannot disrupt their livelihoods, even if we do not agree on their safe consumption or practices in achieving the desired output from the seeds. 
            Make no mistake, this provision has very little to do with the growers, it is a protection of sorts for those who develop those crops preventing the USDA from saying anything more than yay or nay in the realm of potentially dangerous foods.  Here is the kicker: To date, no farmer has had to have their crops destroyed, the USDA already has provisions in place similar to this that the agricultural department uses, making this particular section totally unnecessary and over used to protect us from potentially dangerous foods, however, since no long term data has been accepted as actual proof, based in part on the law suit answers companies like Dow, Monsanto and Bayer have made, who knows what the long term effects will be on our ecosystem or on ourselves, especially with provisions that prevent the public from doing anything from ill gotten health items, this makes me wonder if these big businesses are trying to avoid what happened in tobacco, where years ago it was somewhat accepted, then Cancer lawsuits and proof in a court of harmful effects cost that industry billions in settlements, just some food for thought.
            So far in our journey through the muck, we have seen our Congress asleep, corporations with their hands in the bottom of a cookie jar and the stench of collaboration as well as misguided thinking.  These are only a small fraction of our growing problems within the communities of our land and it’s not just the adults and leaders who are reeling from society, our children (now out of school) have also got their own pressures to deal with.  Caution, what follows will contain strong language, not for purposes of being crude or overbearing but to bring to light some of what is going on in our society.  I am a proud parent of two very talented children who participate in school activities and belong to band and chorus respectively.  The final concert of the year for this fine group of students was done on cue, with professionalism and accuracy, along with the performance certain awards were given out to those who improved greatly, took on extra and etcetera and as the parents were assisting in clean up, suddenly the band director was called away, as I went to see where the crowd of people were heading, I heard that one of those student performers was attacked, to the point that he went into seizures.  The assailant - one of his classmates who left the scene as the fire department and ambulance pulled into the school lot to assist the child who was assaulted.  This appalled me to great ends, such a wonderful night of music to be disrupted by a needless and senseless act and I have no further information as to this child as I am not their parent and privacy laws prevail, however, quite a few other band students witnessed this event happen, and only one ran to get help. I learned about 3 weeks after school that this student recovered fully. The time for this type of behavior to not be tolerated on any level is beyond now; it was yesterday quite a long time ago, and in this section, I will attempt to hit hard on some areas that yes, America, you need to be aware of for more than our future, but for ourselves as a whole.
            I could speak at great lengths about the many articles I have written on bullying and how it affects the psychological growth of both adult and children and it is not the intent of this author to “beat a dead horse” as I am sure the readers of my articles have a good idea about the rebellion, depression and suicide rates that are associated with it, however, in light of this past school year and the letters sent home from the school my own children attended over the past 270 plus days; this is what has entered into the school: weapons, marijuana, alcohol, bullying and assaults and on more than one occasion as well as threats against other students; note: I am glad the school was able to intervene on a few of these occasions, however I still have to question where are the kids getting the items in the first place?  Stopping to ponder this and having the experience of being a parent of a bullied child, my mind opened up to several possibilities, most of which point back to the same erratic and extreme behavior going on across our very nation and in truth that equals a whole lot of ugly and tons of unnecessary influences.  I want to present a short list of words that I have heard in this “middle” school being used by other children while waiting for their rides (over heard while my window was down): Bitch, Slut, whore, Mother F**k, swag fag, fat ass and shit head, this doesn’t include the things shared with me by my own children who tell their parents exactly what names or items they themselves were called throughout their day.  Words, only words are what I have heard a few others say, “Words cannot hurt you”.  Okay, if this is true, using a combination of words that come out of these kids mouths, how about this one, “Fuck you fat ass whore, you aint about shit.”  That was said to my oldest child, to the point she heard this almost daily and the girl saying it to her also threatened to “Beat her ass” almost daily as well, even while filing “reports” on the child and others who bullied my daughter daily, the attitude and behavior still went on seemingly unopposed, so, if words don’t hurt then why does my daughter complain about being called such items?  Words that carry a threat of violence, provocation and personally taken would that do it, absolutely!  Thinking in context to the young man who was assaulted and went into seizures, wonder what words were said before that occurred, more importantly what will be the true cost of those actions and words, who is ultimately responsible?
            We live in a society now that has actually contemplated placing an armed guard in every single one of our schools to help “prevent” or deter some of the extreme items taking place where shootings are taking teachers, administration and children’s lives.  In this author’s opinion, yes our schools needs securing, but not just from outside intruders, they need securing from ourselves as well, look around you especially if you are a parent with a child enrolled in school, think how many letters are sent home, what items do you see in your own neighborhoods and how much of this is now making it into the news you watch or hear? Are you worry free or do you wonder about them while they are away, not to mention what things go on while riding the bus. Children don’t just sit around and think, “hey maybe today is a good day to try some alcohol” or “I got lunch money I can use to buy a joint” or even “I am bringing this gun to school” they must have influences of environment and persons in their lives to show them how, where, what and who. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, from July 1, 2009 to June 30, 2010, a total of 33 school associated violent deaths occurred, among students 12-18 there were 828,000 non-fatal victimizations at school, 470,000 victims of theft and 359,000 victims of violence, keep in mind this is over just ONE year.  Look at our own United States and examine your own regions, do the numbers parallel in smaller amounts, if so then use your eyes and look around you, the root of the problem is likely right down the road from you and if no one speaks up, then the problems will continue to grow, the violence will become worse, the death tolls of innocent children will spike and society as a whole will be spiraling out of control trying to figure out where to start looking for answers….oh wait, we are at that point now.  Staggering statistics of hate, violence and unnecessary pressures keeping our most brilliant students out of the lime light because the problem was ignored is and should be unacceptable.
            During that 2009-2010 school year, 85 percent of all schools recorded that one or more crime incidents happened at school that year.  850 out of 1000 schools and us as a society are struggling with making laws against this behavior or investing in those students with home issues while continuously being shocked over mass shootings, education struggles in poorer neighborhoods and growing concerns over our children’s safety, bullying and all the crime associated with it, this author says it starts at home and ends with headline news.  It’s about time we stopped tolerating this in total and it’s not just the kids being affected either, also during that same school year of 2009-2010, 3% of those teachers said they were verbally abused or physically threatened, 39 percent of secondary schools and 33 percent of primary schools reported that student misbehavior and class cutting interfered with their ability to teach, food for thought: Middle school students are around 11-14 years old…and if they are cutting class, threatening teachers and staff  and the parents are not intervening then yes America it is those same concerned (or not) parents who are causing this acceptable basis, however, if the discipline is there and even working with  the schools are not able to change things, that is when you step up the pace with outside help from professionals and institutions who can and do help change lives and yes, I realize that means money but isn’t our children’s futures worth the investment, if not what about grand or great grandchildren who may never know what it means to write in cursive writing and might think calligraphy is some sort of ancient alien print, who really is at the core of this paradox of grime and grit, is it society, is it the parents or their financial health or maybe it’s “uncle jimbobarine” who happens to drink a lot, is it video games or iPod’s…I think if we seriously reviewed ourselves, lots of truths would be uncovered. 
            Sandy Hook, how many of our readers instantly upon seeing those two words thought, “terrible tragedy due to a psycho with a gun” or maybe even, “so many kids suffered terribly due to this unnecessary violence”, but how many persons actually thought, “we need to stop this by finding a way to control guns” or even “that person should have gotten help way earlier”.  That answer, may never truly be known but one thing is for certain, lots of tragedies like this could have been avoided, but not by controlling the guns that were used to accomplish what the entire world has witnessed (yes, I am wondering about the statements from the NRA as well as a few pertinent others).  I myself was in awe of the total destruction caused in this one, small area of our planet that will no doubt be the catalyst for large change; no child should go to school in fear for their lives.  Changes that should and will include controlling the weapons (called guns) and the ammunition that goes ‘hand in hand’ with those same guns, but will this change help those who may have mental health issues?  This author has witnessed, through the vast media outlets the tragedy, the outpouring of support, the debates and a chance; a solid avenue for actually intercepting or even preventing things from possibly happening in larger or more impactful areas which now includes paying attention to those who are suffering (or confused) in silence.  I am not a therapist nor will I attempt to take away from those persons who go to work every day to help heal the Mentally Ill, I am however in total support of their work, it is needed, necessary and now more than ever, warranted and not just for the ever important children of our world, but for everyone, the key to success in these endeavors is not just persistence alone, it will take years of study, years of diligent progress (even if in small steps) and more importantly, a union of professionals.
            From foul politics to pressures on children, we have covered a variety of items that are growing like a bad cancer upon our society.  Faults of judgment, finance, economy and a host of others are being hammered out daily in our society.  One of the infractions, though it is a part of society, is the debate of life or death in the Jodi Arias trial, where she stabbed, shot and outright violently murdered her husband, at the end of the trial, found guilty of Murder but upon sentencing a hung jury as to life or death.  Any professional, in the fields of criminology who has inkling into procedure felt their heart drop when that verdict came around.  The evidence though long and boring proved beyond the shadow of a doubt that she was guilty of the things she was charged with, solidly convicted and yet we could not decide whether or not she should live or die.  I love this country, I love the debates and people who fight for the rights of the innocent or of the guilty, but in this case, boy howdy did someone seriously drop the ball of justice that is unless something else gives or prevails on the retrial in the sentencing phase beginning July 18th of this year.  This is truly sad as the victim’s families will have to relive once again the largest part of that trial only to see if she lives or dies, will either sentence satisfy the victim’s families or bring out some hidden items, doubtful, but it will produce several made for television movies, and once again, free enterprise and the gullible will meet on the fields of truth and justice.  In partial conclusion, our growing problems need more critical thought, they need more input and less Hollywood or media sensationalized hype, we need deeper understanding and less cartoon rhetoric, we need real doctors and less “Dr. Phil” shows where the good doctor has had weeks to analyze how to get ratings and focus’s not so much on truth, we need to look at ourselves, our government and their elected officials as well as all the items that plague our society.  As a last thought, let us look at the time of Noah, biblically speaking.  The world was so corrupt, so much evil and malpractice going on that our world was flooded, sparing only a select few, I shudder to think how much worse it will get before the Lord comes back and says, “okay, enough is enough, time to clear the pool” so to speak.  With our eyes open and truth glasses in hand, let us hope that critical thinking coupled with slowing our lives down enough will prevent any type of disaster. All of this while we sit back and believe whatever is put in the spotlight in front of us, while we do that and close on this note, consider the last paragraph, then decide are we slipping or are we thinking critically (an excerpt from a report filed in California):,
The complaint against Dr. Phil was filed with the California Board of Psychology. It is a felony to practice without a license in California. Dr. Phil previously gave up his license in 2006. Notably, when they go on his show, participants sign a contract that includes a provision that he is not medically treating them. Notably, when his show began in 2002, the Board investigated whether he was practicing without a license. In what would be an insult to most true doctors, the Board found that Dr. Phil was not in violation because he was acting as an entertainer, not as a psychiatrist, however I have heard on many occasions where the general public believes that he is the resident expert on everything.
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