Sunday
Feb112018

Trump Showed Us the Way.....

     and we are now happier.  Maureen Dowd, the New York Times columnist, wrote this week a scathing editorial chronicling and berating the Trump Image.  Quickly, the impassioned right countered with their standard "Deutschland uber Alles" defense.  One commentator, posting under the moniker "Lover of the Right Truth", provided the following "meme-gem".

     For eight years we had a far left, American hating, monarch. Now we have a flawed, America loving, fighter.  Get used to him, he IS after all, a man who stands before the bullies of the world and screams to them just how much America Is RISING and SHINING.  Better America soars under a flawed man than drowns under a closet commie.

    
     This Machiavellian "self above all" meme runs so deep in the human psyche that it is hard to imagine that, somewhere over the rainbow, we will not, in the normal course of human events, simple obliterate our species.  Yes, I know that Steve Pinker keep pointing out how much more enlightened and civil the world has become, but....there is no denying that there has settled in, at least in America, an ominousness about each new tomorrow.  My sense, is that the post script which "Lover of the Right Truth" would liked to have added to his above Trump Defense,  would go something like:

     My mommy and my daddy taught me to protect what is mine.  I will not yield to the muslims, the blacks, the jews, the commies, the gays, the elitist, or any new identity group that my feeling deem a threat.  Further, I will consider it morally justified, given the danger, to put forth my best defense...  spontaneous preemptive attacks. 

     Further, I speculate not

 

 

 

 

Friday
Jan262018

Money Follows Persons (CBA)

    Back in the '90s, noting the rapidly expanding FedDebt required to fund Nursing Home Care, both red and blue politicians saw opportunity.  Not that "Community Based Alternative" CBA was fiscally significant but politically it served both sides well.  The Blues promoted returning frail elderly constituents to their nurturing communities by allowing dedicated Fed Dollars committed to Medicaid to support their sustainment out there...anywhere but in the Medicaid supported Nursing Home NH. The Reds talked possible percentage cuts in entitlement causing deficits.  Yes, it was kind of a win-win, politically, but as to improving the well-being of the nation's most vulnerable, not so much.

    For most Nursing Home patients, their mandatory 90 day In-Facility Stay was so debilitating that they were functionally unable to re-enter the community.  This was particularly so when the state & fed bureaucracy extended approval periods well past patient's life expectancies.  In some States, when even then, the Per Diem NH cost was $3000, to $6000,  assuming these funds were really reallocated to Community Based Residency options, it made a few Congregate Care Developers rich.  Mostly, however,  CBA was a second rate political spin game.

      So why mention it?  Well mostly just to conceptualize that Trump's past, present, and future fuckups are nothing new. Social engineering is almost always screwed up almost always.  Anyway, I wanted to example how one dubious program like CBA has survived and morphed over the last 25 years.  I don't know,about all States, but I do know a little about how it has been adapted to the Missouri political will.   Our States CBA initiative is called "Money Follows Persons".  It is alive and well under the Missouri Social Services Agency.  It has enabled a small staff of well educated but low apparitional persons to get steady employment for a couple of generations, and perhaps it has sent a few of our States poorest home......although only those who preachingly had been Medicaid Eligible, which by law meant that they could have no more than $936 monthly income and no more than $2000 in assets, and of course they had met the States "damn near ready to die" medical qualification test to have gotten admitted to the NH to start.

      How are these fortunate few awarded the CBA status going to make it out there in the community.  Other than their own diminished resources fullness, Missouri Department of Health & Aging will give then $2400 plus a few hours a week of In-Home support, specifically by an unlicensed and untrained, bottom of the labor pool, $10 hour, aide.  The State cost for this alternate care program is of course not the $6000 to $10,000 the State had been paying for skilled nursing care, but closer to $600.  This is astounding in it's immorality, but wait.... that's not all folks.

     If you didn't know the Missouri Medicaid Program that pays for virtually all NH care receives typically 60% of their cost in contributions from Washington.  Would you believe that when the "Money Follows Persons" group sends someone home from the NH, the Feds not only continue to pay Missouri Treasury, but they increase their payment by 30+ percent.  So when Orville goes home, the State gives him $2400 in cash, which is likely more than he has had in his life.  He spends it almost immediately and then again relies on his $800  SS or SSI check to survive.  Meanwhile Gov.Geitner picks up about $5000 for Orvills having been discharged.  GovIFightGeit can use the $60,000 a year however he pleases.  I guess he could use it to support, at the current Tax-emplt Bond rate, about $3,000,000 in debt which would be enough loose cash to buy a couple of Stinger Missies.

     The only light in this dark story is that the $60,000 that Washington will send to Geitner is money Trump has borrowed from the Chinese who can't stop loaning us money for fear we will make our own smart phones. If we can continue to screw China over for another couple of generations, without the great push-back, we may make America so great again that we can properly care for the vulnerable.....nay, let's just euphonize them.

 

Thursday
Jan252018

Controlled Hallucinations

     The Consciousness Community is forever talking about the "hard problem" and the "easy problem", generally referring to inquire about how the human brain directs complex phenomenal experiences (easy), and how this molecular process could possibly explain why humans have this subjective experience called consciousness (hard).  It is, as most agree, the most important question in the world. It has preoccupied humanity unceasingly since the beginning.  The Neuro's, the Philo's, the Theo's, the Psycho's, the Bio's, the Physio's, the IIT's,  and virtually every other academic discipline, is hot to be a part of the answer to this ultimate question.

     For most of us, reflecting on the wide range of Consciousness Commentary,  produces little more than a headache. However, recently I came across a simple phrasing that, at least for me, (whoever and or whatever that me is) yielded a spark of clarity, I think.  Again presuming that there is a me, the insight that the reality which surrounds me provides only very fundamental sense information, i.e. sight,sound, touch, etc., that which I experience as consciousness is my  cumulative and evolving memory, priotized as to relevance, by current sensory input.... hence the "controlled hallucination" characterization.

     Although, I do not know that I experience hallucinations, nor has anyone suggested that I appear to hallucinate, I have experienced a lifetime of dreaming, and the occasional remembrances of dream content.  It seems palpable that the dream state and the hallucinatory state are very similar except for the obvious "navigation engaged/sleep walking" attribute of what we call hallucinating.    If then hallucinating is a state in which memory being accessed randomly, with little sensory input, then normal waking consciousness, it seems,to follow, is the same, but just more structured. Specifically, the consciousness state seems to be when sequencial memory is selected, cohered and constrained by my changing sensory field. 

     Yes, I am a zombie, just wandering around all day remembering memory vignettes of memories of previous memories. Fortunately these memory vignettes are being sensory played according to a "real time playlist" being imposed by external events in my sensory field.  In this, for now postulate, for sure I have to add that these external events include sensory input from the body most comprehensively remembered by my brain...."the body me"  What turns on and off this memory loop and where in time/space this memory loop can be located is too hard to think about.  Long ago, I came to  conceptually understand "emergent phenomena", as in "where the hell in this piano is that chord?"  Further, me sayeth not, except to acknowledge that I do enjoy this ongoing fantasy minimally influenced by whatever is really out there.

 

Monday
Jan082018

Is & Ought

     Across the consciousness spectrum, humanity generally agrees that "we is".... but as to what "we ought", well, not so much!  Indeed in today's entitlement culture the "ought spectrum" seems to have as many unique points as the human sample.  We are now no longer catholic, nor polarized, nor really even tribal.  We are approaching maximum divergence as to what "oughts" should mandate/constrain virtually every imaginable human initiative. The resulting complexity has produced a kind of "destiny gridlock". This gridlock is significantly slowing the evolutionary progress of what we commonly believe is the highest intelligence in the universe.

     So is there a trick to achieving enough coherence to move the "enlightenment index" forward without undermining the consciousness freedom from which genuine enlightenment must arise?  Likely no!  Yes, there are, as always, proponents of the two perennially contending schools, i.e. God and Reason.  It is generally accepted that, during the most recent few hundred years, the Reason protocol has gained favor as the more likely cohering strategy, but just look at the "is"....it "is" less coherence than ever before.  Harris, Dawkins, Pinker, et al are convinced that the "sacred" arose within the "ancient is" and is long overdue for an overhaul.  They argue further that "ought systems" naturally arise in the "is" without a progenitor, such that religion is either superfluous, or at least redundant  Shapiro, Peterson and to a less  palatable degree a thousand Theologians maintain that there "would have been no "ought in the "is" except for "divine revelation" This conviction is followed almost to the absurd conclusion that had Zeus, Yahweh, Krishna and Jesus not actualized, these same Theologians would have, no doubt, lived there lives as rapists and ax murderers.   Oh well, I guess we are lucky they arent our political leaders......ohmygod!

Wednesday
Dec272017

"Live-Well" Senior Support

     For too many years I have noted instances of how Senior Community aides, aid supervisors, and their supervisors are negligent in providing the "live well support" needed by the elderly. The older I get, the easier it is to see the obvious shortfalls in job description requirements. What most facility residing seniors get is compliance with a generic list of "to do tasks", which by definition, exclude all tasks/courtesies not on the list. As such, senior's "live-well support" is almost entirely dependent on the sociological profiles and personality attributes of the individuals composing the care team. 

     Caring for Seniors, unlike caring for children where adults having experienced childhood and are instinctively more discerning, no adult has directly experienced advanced age.   They simply have no personal experiences stored in memory to trigger  senior need recognition.  Compounding this unavoidable disconnect, most low paid care givers have sociological histories woefully deficient in general compassion and communication.

     Consider how perplexing, disturbing and frightening it would be for the typical job seeking caregiver to be  told that their job would be to, for 40 hours weekly, share residential space with 12 advanced age persons during which time they had no task assignment except to help the women and men "to be the best they can be".  Likely, not a successful recruiting strategy.  I have tried.....they just run out the door as if I had asked them to sign up for a 50 year mission to Mars