Dr. Lane’s Thoughts XX

Dr. Lane’s Thoughts XX

1) I am amazed at people who have bought into the theme created by Trump that anyone who does not agree with him is ‘fake news’.  This is the first president that I have ever heard of who is measured by the number of lies he has made since his inauguration (as of today, it is 1800 lies).  The news sources are clear to point out that they measure his lies only since his inauguration since if they start earlier they number would be greater (since his election?  since the start of his campaign?  The statement is clear – we know Trump lies constantly so we need a start date in our count). Somehow his team of sycophants has spun Trump’s lies as some sort of a unique part of his charming form of leadership but I can only see it as what it is: an attempt to mislead other people by statements of commission or omission.  There is nothing ‘charming’ about a lie by a person in a position of leadership.

Presidents get things wrong or make misstatements but this President has a team devoted only to softening his statements, stating that he meant the opposite of what he said, used the wrong words, did not mean what he said, and outright did not say what he is seen on video exactly saying – what it is called in media circles is ‘spin’.  Routinely, Trump never apologizes and then finds ways to go before his followers many months later where he proudly trumpets that he certainly did mean the evil that he said! 

2)  Silent Suicide.So what do I mean by a ‘silent suicide’?  This is a health-related death that was preventable by a person who chooses not to take their medicine or get their dialysis or in some way prevent their own certain death.  It is usually painful and it comes with plenty of warning by the body that intervention is possible but the patient ignores them to ‘die by their own terms’.

I have had this happen in my office many times but one story stands out – we can call him John Smith but I recall his name being much more South American.  John had a very bad form of diabetes and high blood pressure.  He used 3 medications for his high blood pressure and at least one for his diabetes.  He was also required to eat a healthy diet but this was difficult because he was a truck driver.  To explain – when you drive a big rig you are limited as to where you can stop and eat so most places have a limited menu of food and none of it is healthy in any way: lots of fat and salt and meat.  The truckstops serve what the guys will eat and what the guys like is the food that tastes good and is filling but with their profession of driving trucks, with hours of sitting, guarantees will kill them slowly.

John must have gotten tired of his wife lecturing him about food choices and the side-effects of so much medicine on his body.  He also knew that he had to drive trucks because it was the only profession he was trained in.  His English was not perfect and in the United States he would have to talk better to get most jobs that paid enough to  support his family.

John could not stand the pressures and inconvenience any longer so he left his wife and went to live on his own.  He also stopped taking his medications.

His body was found by the side of a road going into Florida, behind the wheel of his truck.  Dead by heart attack.  It was suicide without a gun or poison.  I expect that there was a life insurance policy that paid his wife enough to continue to raise their children.

This is what we face every day as medical examiners for  the FMCSA.

3) Years ago before I met my wife I dated many lovely women.  I recall feeling very lucky to be out with a woman who looked incredible in face and body – it was a treat for my eyes and filled me with a sense of pride that I was seen with her.

These women may have looked good but, sometimes, they would talk themselves blue with their list of ‘issues’ and I would never see them again.  Before any of you start to tell me that this was her intention so that she scammed a free meal out of me or something like that, I do not believe this was the story of all of the ones that I had to stop seeing.   Sometimes it was after another date when I did not understand that the first date ‘issues’ were her wholerange of topics – interesting to her exclusively and possibly her other friend, gay buddies, and frenemies.

She would talk
about her worries about her world, concerns about her mental health, her minor health
problems, her anger at her parents, siblings, relationships between
her parents and siblings, her problems with her employer, and so on –
a cornucopia of her daily distresses and her life’s problems up until
the minute we sat down.  To her, this was what she thought made
her who she was, the lovely woman in front of me was not just warning
me of her constant ominous breakdown but was actually informing me of what
she also thought was what made her unique and interesting!

No worries, I ended up with a lovely age-appropriate woman with more good attributes than scary ones.

It has gotten to the point where even if Trump does something
respectable or kind it seems duplicitous and mean.  This is
because of a phenomenon which can only be summed up by a
legal metaphor, ‘fruit of the poisonous tree’ which is used
to describe evidence that is obtained illegally.  The logic of
the terminology is that if the source of the evidence or evidence
itself is tainted, then anything gained from it is tainted as well. 

is poison for every American except for the most uneducated and naive who seem him as some sort of ‘white knight of white people’ and, of course, his family who gain from his malfeasance.  His
only response to anything that happens in the USA is to consider how
it will affect him personally or whether he can personally gain from
it, including his chances of reelection to this position of POTUS. 
Even when Trump does something good (nothing comes to mind as I sit
here writing but I am sure that someone, somewhere, can think of
something good or kind that he has done) it is undermined by his
determination to do bad things and his persona of self-serving

5) We
need to make a clear distinction between ‘socialism’ (good) and
‘communism’ (very bad) so that when people throw these words around
like they are identical you can have a clear understanding that they
are not the same thing.

Communism: ENFORCED equal
distribution of goods and services by government.  This
‘enforcement’ is done through intimidation, police actions, and
terror.  Examples are North Korea, Russia (less so since the
fall of the USSR), China, Albania, and many other former countries of
the USSR.  These are ‘one-party’ governments and there is no
democratic voting.

Services and goods distributed by a government to its population. 
Examples in the USA are Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security benefits, affordable housing (section 8), tax breaks to corporations, the stimulus checks
sent out to all Americans during the COVID-19 pandemic, PPP loans,
and so on.  

of countries with socialism are
Switzerland, Sweden, Germany, UK, Finland, Iceland, and so on. 
There are many political parties and there is democratic
voting. These basic benefits do not preclude the enormous
financial success of their citizens which they are freely allowed to
pursue, which would not be the case in communist countries

those in the USA who are firmly against ‘socialism’ because they see
it as ‘communism’ you are free to return any money you receive and
refuse all Medicare, social services, and Social Security for your parents and for
yourself when you are eligible.  All of these things were paid
for from your tax dollars but no one is forcing you to take them.

making this subject impossible to understand let me just say that
very few people do not earn the right to collect these benefits at
some point in their lives and many people see them as the
government’s obligation to its citizens.  The USA is only
somewhat kind in what it offers its citizens and many other countries
noted are truly socialist and do a much better job of taking care of
their citizens than the USA and include something the USA is truly
lacking: healthcare for all.

6) At the time of this writing we are witnessing  protests about the death of George Floyd.  There is looting going on as well and the police are stuck between trying to allow the protests (which for the most part are peaceful) and stop the violent people and the looters.  

No one will tell you that the looters have a place in the protest about the horrible and unnecessary death of George Floyd.  No one can honestly say that the taking of property of another person is a required and important step in bringing the issue of police violence and death to the attention of the our government. Looting does not reduce the years of systematized racism that the USA must atone for and apologize for.

The people these protests need to reach are never going to hear the message and, furthermore, they don’t think the message applies to them.  The descendants and kin of the people who founded this country and justified racism and Jim Crow laws in the South see themselves blameless with a flurry of excuses from ‘what has this got to do with today?’ to ‘that was then and this is a new day’ to ‘but my people didn’t own slaves’ and so on.  They only see a face of a black man in 2020 and don’t see that this black man protester is fighting a battle that he knows that 400 years of US history tells him he must say something about.

“To be black and conscious of anti-black racism is to stare into the mirror of your own extinction,” Ibram X. Kendi says and he is right.  How do you tell your story to a white America?  There’s no “acceptable” form of black dissent, the historian Kellie Carter Jackson writes: “Throughout history, black people have employed violence, nonviolence, marches, and boycotts. Only one thing is clear—there is no form of black protest that white supremacy will sanction.”  By this it is meant that while the message may matter it is reaching the audience that is the problem – not just white people in general but the white people who can institute change; those that can do something about it..

On the other hand, no one can tell you that the role of a police officer is easy.  Every day it is a balance of knowing when to act with force and when to try de-escalation tactics to bring a situation under control.  Each officer learns his own level of tolerance and his own style every day on the job and it comes with years of experience that you hope will lead to a long career with a pension at the end and not dishonor or death.

I admire the officers who see that their role as a police officer does not have to mean that they are not also a member of the public.  The officers who can admit that they are outraged by what we have all seen on video: a man calmly speaking and asking for the officer to take his knee off of his neck while he is face-down on the street, his arms handcuffed behind him.  Other officers sitting on his back and legs and all of the officers ignoring him until he died 8 minutes into the video.

Just as important are the members of the protests, many but not all of them black, who can receive and accept the officers as humble fellow citizens outraged by their brethren officers who want to join them in grief.  The openness and acceptance must go both ways.

Most of all, the police chiefs who came to their position by being a police officer, rising through the ranks by going through all the same horrors that every officer must witness (some from the public and some from their fellow officers) who must put their esprit du corps aside and make communication with the public just as important as communication with the other officers, trading the role of fellow officer in the manner of the ‘shield of blue’ with their other role of face of the department to the public.

Do you even know why Mr. Floyd was in this position to be held down and die under the knee of the police in Minneapolis? He tried to pass a fake $20 bill.  You can take either side on this next subject but was this attempted fraud worth dying for / was a $20 fraud worth killing him over?

From what I have read Mr. Floyd did not use a weapon or indicate that he had a weapon or use belligerent language.  I wasn’t there to see what transpired before the video of Mr. Floyd under the police officer’s knee but I was a viewer of the 8 minute video of him on the ground and his slow death.

The killing officer and another 3 were fired and face charges now.  Time will go one and maybe they will go to prison or maybe they won’t.  Our future in this COVD-19 pandemic makes all of our lives unpredictable and our country may be in another place by then and this horrific event may not be as bad as it feels today when viewed in a rear view mirror.

7) I am going to just say this once about the black community and the death of George Floyd: even in light of every black family having to give their kids ‘the talk’ about how to act with the police so that you do not die, the first lesson is the easiest: don’t do stupid stuff that will put you in contact with the police.

The first lesson of avoiding death at the hands of the police is be innocent of crime.  Do not give the police any reason to interact with you.  Every black person knows someone who was treated badly and was absolutely not doing anything.  I am sure that this happens every day in the United States,

Let’s address the next group: doing stupid stuff that puts you into the hands of the police.  In the case of George Floyd, he was trying to pass fake money.  Not a reason to die but also it is not a good idea to commit a crime.  Like the game of Russian Roulette, he took his chances and he died at the hands of the police.  He ‘spun the barrel’ and he ended up with a white police officer who kneeled on his neck and he died.  Why did he need to pass bad money?

Avoid the police by not doing anything that attracts their attention.  It isn’t a matter of ‘how much’ stupid you are doing (‘we weren’t that loud’, ‘he was asking for me to hit him by the way he talked to me’, ‘I was just taking a few items when security got me – it wasn’t much’ and so on) it is a matter of which officer will intervene and how much he will do to you.  Stop doing anything that puts you on the wrong side of the Russian Roulette of police versus the black community.  It is very difficult to discuss the death of a black man who was also a criminal who should never have been there in the first place.

8) Just a few tidbits to finish this column:

a) DJT (I usually call him Trump without a title since I think he is a reprehensible human being not worthy of a title) avoided the Vietnam War (evil as it was) by being given the diagnosis of ‘shin splints’ which allowed him the chance to not serve .  He could not serve the US but was able to pass his time while others served playing tennis for the duration of the war.  He had to re-attest to this condition seven times to avoid the draft but he found a podiatrist who would keep him out of harm’s way every time his daddy, Fred Trump, asked.

This is the same Trump who speaks poorly of those who served or were taken prisoner during any war; the Commander-in-Chief of the US Military is a man who does not know the meaning of the word ‘honor’.  Why is the POTUS also called the “commander in Chief’?  This is because George Washington had formerly been the Leader of the Revolutionary Army during the War of Independence.  That is the only reason that we give this largely honoarary title to the POTUS (fact: george Washington was posthumously made a 5-star general to forever be the highest-ranking member of the armed forces in US History.  No other general can ever rise to that rank being limited to 4 stars).

b) I am a pretty tough guy.  it takes a great deal to make me weep but there is a person who does wonderful things for certain children that you need to know about who has caused me to get sweet and sentimental.  if you are as touched as I am by her work then please donate but, most of all, you should know about her work.  Go to her website (now on facebook) at www.adolllikeme.com.  

She creates dolls for children with disabilities and body dysmorphias that look like that child.  If the child is missing a limb or has facial deformities or imperfections so will the doll – she makes a doll for each child so that they can feel special and unique and connected to the rest of the world.  It is amazing work and it needs to be recognized.

We live in a world that can be mean and sometimes feels like it works against us but think about how much worse it is when the way you look is all anyone talks about!

c) Respect the work of truckers and delivery people.  Do what you can to make their work easier.  For most of us, this is the only way we can get food or do our shopping accomplished.  Many of us have used delivery services at least a few times this week!  I work with these people (mostly men but there are a few women) every day and I find them to be the faces of our country: blacks, whites, Latino, citizen and non-citizen. 

d) Despite my suggesting a website that is on Facebook please know that I am not even remotely interested in social media.  What I use is only for marketing my offices but sharing my life with other people?  I do not have an interest or inclination to check on the lives of other people either.  I cannot imagine trying to live my life in a pursuit of ‘content’ to keep my ‘followers’ returning to learn more about me or photoshopping my images to correct my real appearance.

More than that, I feel sympathy for people who have a life only through Facebook. 

Despite his enormous success, I find Mark Zukerberg a reprehensible man with no moral values.  His successes are only based on money and his income and he takes no position on the evil that is spread daily through facebook posts, especially those written to and by hate groups, including but not limited to, Trump.

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