What the Health – Documentary

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I don’t know if any of you have watched this documentary.  It’s been on my list to watch, and on June 16th Netflix started showing it.  So, on Sunday afternoon I watched it.  This documentary is all about how the American public is being lied to by the food industry along with our own government, pharmaceutical companies, and the medical profession regarding a healthy diet.  I know, I know, “them be fight’n words”.  However, I advise you to watch this documentary and make up your own minds.

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Over the next few weeks, I’ll be posting some more information regarding our “healthy diet”, and what it does to your body, what ingredients there are, and how this affects your health.  Go and watch What the Health and let me know what you think.

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What is Wage Theft, and Are You a Victim?

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Wage theft commonly refers to workers illegally not being paid their full wages.  Usually this refers to low-wage workers who are denied full pay for a variety of reasons.  Some of these include:  refusing to pay the legal minimum per hour wage, not paying for all hours worked and/or not paying over-time pay.  This is a wide-spread problem, and costs the workers in the U.S. approximately $8 billion per year.  Obviously, this is another social issue that effects the poor more than others, since earning a minimum wage is not really a sustainable wage.  To steal from people like this is particularly nasty.

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However, there is another kind of wage theft that also happens.  Frequently people are told that their health insurance costs a certain amount and that amount is withheld from their paychecks by their employer to pay their portion of the health insurance costs, only to find out later that what was being withdrawn was a higher amount than the insurance actually cost.  This is particularly hard to prove, since (at least in my state) the insurance company will decline to tell you how much your employer-offered health insurance actually costs.

Another type of wage theft is when a “salaried” employee routinely works many hours of overtime, but is not paid because they are considered “salaried”.  The usual answer for not paying salaried workers is that they will be “given” the same number of hours as extra time off.  However, trying to receive any of that promised time off is difficult, to say the least.

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This whole concept is particularly evil, since you have a right to be paid for the work that you do, and you should have the right to find out exactly how much your own health insurance costs.  Has any of this happened to you or to anyone you know?  If so, let me know in the comments below.  I’ve included some links below that give you more information regarding this issue.

http://www.epi.org/publication/employers-steal-billions-from-workers-paychecks-each-year-survey-data-show-millions-of-workers-are-paid-less-than-the-minimum-wage-at-significant-cost-to-taxpayers-and-state-economies/?utm_source=Economic+Policy+Institute&utm_campaign=f46b5aacc2-EMAIL_CAMPAIGN_2017_05_17&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_e7c5826c50-f46b5aacc2-58297025&mc_cid=f46b5aacc2&mc_eid=d8e2a8427b

http://www.nclnet.org/wage_theft_six_common_methods

 

“Fight Club”- FOAK and What it Means

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The Southern Poverty Law Center tracks such things as hate crimes, terrorism, and white supremacists.  They are a well-respected organization and committed to dealing with facts.  As most of us know, there are a lot of white supremacist organizations throughout the U.S.  What a lot of people don’t know, is that there is a lot of talk within these organizations about military operations against various groups of U.S. citizens.  All a person has to do is look at some recent events to see that this is true.

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However, the specific issue at hand is the formation of a new group, by Kyle Chapman (I am leaving a link below where you can see who and what Kyle Chapman is) which will be a “highly masculine” group called the Fraternal Order of Alt-Knights (otherwise known as FOAK’s) which is going to be formed for the express purpose to “bring the fight to the streets”.  Recently we have seen an uptick in the violence that protestors are being met with, not only from the police, but also from these groups of the extreme right-wing.

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I am not going to regurgitate the links that I’ve provided.  Instead I am encouraging you to read them, and educate yourself.  With the fear of being seen as a lunatic conspiracy theorist, my thoughts are leading to this:  What if, with all the new violence, the President declares Military Rule, Democracy is suspended and we have a dictator?  I know, it sounds insane, however, don’t these various groups vowing to “fight” against protestors (and others) sound a lot like the Nazi Brown Shirts?  Let me know what you think.

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http://nypost.com/2017/04/27/alt-right-group-tries-to-build-small-street-army/

https://www.adl.org/education/resources/reports/state-of-white-supremacy

http://www.salon.com/2017/03/24/white-supremacist-who-traveled-to-new-york-to-murder-black-men-followed-extremist-racist-online-groups-who-support-trump_partner/

http://www.cnn.com/2017/03/26/opinions/white-supremacy-is-terrorism-ifill-opinion/

 

The Effects of Constant Criticism

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I live with two people who are free with their criticism.  Some of this criticism includes such things as the way the spices are organized to the way I do my laundry.  If this was constructive criticism I wouldn’t be so upset.  However, it is not.  This is done specifically to make me feel “less than”. It takes a toll on a person, and I decided to do a little research into exactly what kind of effects this has on the person being criticized. One notable effect is that being constantly criticized can really affect your self-esteem and sense of self-worth.  This is true, since after I’ve been criticized I really feel sick, whether it’s a headache, upset stomach, or both.  Then I find that in the days following such an attack I just want to curl up in my bed, hide under the covers and do nothing.  It takes every ounce of energy I’ve got to continue on my path to change.

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When I looked up information on this subject, there was a lot of information regarding parents being overly critical of their children.   My parents were overly critical.  If I got a score of 100% correct, I was asked why I didn’t get 101%. When I graduated college with a double Major in four years, my Mother was upset that I didn’t also have a Minor.  My achievements were not recognized, only my “faults”.

So, I’m now struggling with this issue in my life, and either the attacks are getting worse, or I’m not dealing with the after-effects as well as in the past.  Being told to grow a thicker skin is not helpful, and not something I’d recommend to other people.  However, I try to look at the problems of the person who is attacking me.  As far as I’m concerned, the only reason they are attacking me has to do with them, not me.  If the criticism is valid, I look for the truths in it.  However, when the criticism is generally about how I do something, or say something, or in some cases just the very act of my being is the object of the criticism, then I try to remember that it’s not valid.   So, look into the critical statements, see if it’s valid and if it isn’t , consider the source.

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http://www.huffingtonpost.com/donna-labermeier/negative-impact-of-criticism-_b_3829346.html

 

Why is Science Important?

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This past weekend there was a march in Washington, D.C., along with other marches around the world in support of science.  We actually needed a march to support science.  I still can’t wrap my head around that fact.  The marches were in support of evidence, fact-based and peer-reviewed science.  This is needed since the administration in Washington is against both science and peer-viewed research.  Research needs to be peer-reviewed, since anyone could claim to be a scientist, publish a “study” and claim anything.  We already can see that happening, so it needs to be stopped.  Science is actually one subject that can be proved correct.  Just because someone doesn’t like what is scientifically proven doesn’t mean that they have the ability to claim it is false.

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For those people who think that we don’t need science, do you like using your technology?  Phones, laptops, t.v., all are science-based.  Should funding be cut, so will your technology.  How about “cutting-edge” health care?  All those new life-saving surgeries are based on science.  Do you like your new medicines?  Those too come from science. If funds are cut so will your health, since there will be less money spent on keeping you healthy.  Science is life-saving.  It affects all of us in every part of our lives.  Support science, your life may very well depend on it.

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Your Attitude Affects Your Life

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In a way, that statement, your attitude affects your life, can be a little intimating. No one wants a bad life.  We all want to be happy, joyful and successful (however it is that we each measure success). When we want to change our behavior, we need to first change our attitude.  I’m pretty sure that everyone has heard all about an “attitude of gratitude”, and “thinking good thoughts”.  Yes, those are clichés, however, as with many clichés there is some truth to them.  If someone were to get up in the morning and think to themselves, I’m going to have a horrible, terrible no good day today.  We would think that they were crazy.  Who in the world would do that to themselves?  See, you do believe in attitude affecting behavior and change.

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So, today why not try something new.  Get up and think I’m going to have a great day.  Nothing is going to put me in a bad mood.  Whatever happens, I’ll deal with it and move on.  I’m going to try this, since I need an attitude adjustment – just like many other people.  Let’s give it a go and see if it works!

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Individualism

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In school, we learned all about “individualism” which according to Webster, is a doctrine where the interests of the individual are paramount, and the individual is totally self-reliant.  I was taught this theory by way of understanding that those who went west (“Go West, Young Man!) were the living symbol of this theory, since they were supposedly self-reliant, made it on their own, and were self-made men.  Except this never made any sense to me, because as a child I read the Little House books by Laura Ingalls Wilder, and was aware that no one who went west “made it” on their own.  Houses were collectively raised, crops were collectively brought in and help was there even if it was ten miles away.  Yes, the Laura Ingalls Wilder books were a fiction, however, the fiction was based on facts.  And, the facts proved this theory as a fiction.  Read Laura’s autobiography Pioneer Girl which tells a much different story regarding the help that these pioneers gave each other.

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So why is this myth so popular and enduring?  My cynical thoughts on this are that it’s convenient to use as a way to insist that Americans historically “pulled themselves up by their bootstraps” by themselves.  However, even our first colonies were created by group effort – otherwise they all would have starved.  Individualism is a lie of massive proportions as shown by our elected officials insistence that: education, health care and a living wage are not rights of citizens.  They often insist that our ancestors were all self-made men, and in order for anyone to succeed, all we have to do, regardless of background, education or opportunities, is to work hard. That way, when people don’t make it, we can blame them.

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Therefore, even though plenty of people work two jobs, it’s still their fault when they need government assistance.  That way, we don’t have to have a conversation regarding the fact that low minimum wages are that no one can live on them, poor education, and lack of opportunities.  This blame-game is used for a variety of problems.  Welfare, food stamp and fuel assistance recipients can all be blamed, and that way we can avoid any conversations regarding why working people need so much help.  Meanwhile, CEO pay has increased a staggering 340 times that of the average worker and the poor often pay federal taxes at a higher percent than the rich.  Do you believe in individualism?  Let me know in the comments below.

 

https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2016/may/17/ceo-pay-ratio-average-worker-afl-cio

http://www.economicpopulist.org/content/poor-pay-more-taxes-5660