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We've all read "the diary" (you know the one I mean).  I'll bet some of you emailed or tweeted it or posted in on your Facebook page.  I'm willing to bet that some of you who did got responses back that claimed that this was only one person, and just anecdotal evidence (so not worth bothering about).  Or that this story is probably fake (yeah, I got that one myself).  In short, the usual denial regarding the crisis of our jobless economy from certain people who believe that what we have allowed the wealthy and powerful in our country to do to our democracy over the last 30 years is a good thing, and that anything our government does to help people (other than people we help kill and torture in far away lands) is a bad, fascist-socialist-marxist evil that should be eradicated so we can save our freedoms, blah, blah blah.  

Unfortunately for those people, the diary in question does not represent an isolated incident.  In the NY Times on Sunday, Craig E. Pollack, a "professor of internal medicine at Johns Hopkins" AND  Julia F. Lynch, A "professor of political science at the University of Pennsylvania"  wrote an op-ed that demonstrated desertguy is not alone in his suffering.  Far from it.

A growing body of research shows that foreclosure itself harms the health of families and communities. In our 2008 survey of 250 people undergoing foreclosure in the Philadelphia area, 32 percent reported missing doctor’s appointments and 48 percent said they let prescriptions go unfilled, significantly higher rates than others in their community. A paper released last month by the National Bureau of Economic Research found that people living in high-foreclosure areas in New Jersey, Arizona, California and Florida were significantly more likely than those in less hard-hit neighborhoods to be hospitalized for conditions like diabetes, high blood pressure and heart failure.

More than one-third of homeowners in our study had symptoms of major depression. The N.B.E.R. study found significantly more suicide attempts in high-foreclosure neighborhoods. For every 100 foreclosures, it found a 12 percent increase in anxiety-related emergency-room visits and hospitalizations by adults under 50. Losing a home disrupts social ties to neighbors, schools, jobs and health care providers — ties that under better circumstances promote good health. Neighborhoods suffer, not just homeowners.

This story is not one Kossack's battle with depression and despair, for he is only a symbol of thousands if not millions of people who are suffering from lack of health care, shelter, and the associated problems that accompany them, problems that researchers have established are real.  Studies that show disease, depression, suicide and death have increased across the board in America among those who lose their home to foreclosure, are unemployed or both.

I want to personally thank desertguy for having the courage to tell his story, for he is a symbol for millions of Americans just like him.  People suffering stress, high blood pressure, diabetes, depression, other severe mental and emotional disorders including suicidal thoughts and suicide attempts because of their poor personal financial situation, one that was not of their own making.  People are dying to keep the wealthy 1% from having to pay their fair share of taxes or, with respect to the senior executives of Wall Street firms and Biog bank's escape punishment their continued fraud, deceit and other criminal activities.  Is that shared sacrifice, my friends?  

I highly doubt that all the "recognized" organized criminals (Mafia, Gangs, Hell's Angels, etc.) in America have been responsible for 1% of the deaths for which Big Business and the Executives that run them (i.e., Wall Street, Insurance Companies that deny claims and coverage, Pharmaceutical companies that charge far more than most people can afford for life saving treatments, and the fossil fuel industry  and other major polluters that continue make exorbitant profits from polluting the air we breath and the water we drink) have been responsible.  How many people died horrible deaths because the tobacco companies were allowed to perpetrate a lie about the safety of their products?  How many respiratory diseases and cancers are attributable to dirty air and dirty water and lax regulation?  How many people suffer while Wall Street plans its next big scam to steal taxpayer and investor dollars?

And this is not news!  Not in 2011.  Experts have been describing the deleterious effects on the public health of Americans as a result of our economic crisis and lack of job creation in 2010 ("The unemployed commit suicide at a rate two or three times the national average, researchers estimate") and in 2009.  Hell, a 1985 study by the NIH demonstrated the connection between unemployment and poor mental and physical health--during the Reagan Presidency.

The business, media and political elites can't claim ignorance of the consequences of their actions to foster economic policies that have led to this crisis.  They knew what the results would be for those not fortunate enough to be counted among the privileged in their new "Ownership Society."  Knew and for the most part don't care.  Human life is cheap if it isn't their lives in question.  Remember how the people at the Republican debate laughed at the plight of people dying because they didn't have health insurance?  It was an example of the sheer atavistic, sadistic and misanthropic mindset of so many on the extreme right:

This is why Occupy Wall Street began, with a few people and no money, unlike the "Tea Party" which received millions from conservative funded astro-turf organizations like Freedom Works, and millions more in free publicity by our elite media organizations.  This is the result in creating the largest income inequality in our nation;s history, massive unemployment triggered by unregulated Wall Street speculation, millions of illegal foreclosures and millions of Americans who do not have health care insurance.  The result is misery, illness, depression and death for everyone who isn't at the top of the wealth pyramid.  The only surprise is that it took this long for somebody in this country to take action.

So again, thank-you desertguy.  Your diary was vitally important, just as you are, for it reveals why we so desperately needed a grassroots movement such as Occupy Wall Street, and desperately need it to grow and succeed.  Life and health and jobs are fundamental human rights, not commodities to be bought and sold by the plutocracy.  If we want to insure those rights exist and are firmly established and protected for ourselves and future generations we need to recognize that working solely from within the corrupted American political system, as it currently constituted, is an incomplete and ineffective strategy.  We will have to fight for our rights in the streets as well as at the ballot box.  If we didn't know that before, these last two years have shown us that much, at least.

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Comment Preferences

  •  The non-tip jar comment (17+ / 0-)

    in support of desertguy, and everyone else suffering so severely in these terrible times.

    "If you tell the truth, you'll eventually be found out." Mark Twain

    by Steven D on Wed Oct 05, 2011 at 09:33:27 AM PDT

  •  I have to admit (9+ / 0-)

    it's just getting harder and harder.....it takes alot of effort at positive self-talk to keep going.

    The banks have a stranglehold on the political process. Mike Whitney

    by dfarrah on Wed Oct 05, 2011 at 09:50:16 AM PDT

    •  I hear ya loud and clear..... (7+ / 0-)

      I count myself as having had a productive day cleaning and bagging chicken, dusting the family room, and cleaning the family room windows.

      I don't have the energy for anything else, maybe???  There are plenty of things that need to be done.  But, I've run out of energy.

      •  Gosh, you're so (6+ / 0-)

        far ahead of me.  For the last 2 weeks, I have done nothing productive [oh, I did mow the lawn].

        The banks have a stranglehold on the political process. Mike Whitney

        by dfarrah on Wed Oct 05, 2011 at 10:25:02 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  It just sucks doesn't it....... (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          judyms9, sockpuppet, Steven D

          I can't get excited about interviews any longer.  And I know that I've been luckier than others in getting the interviews.

          •  Yep (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            nchristine, sockpuppet, Steven D

            and for some odd reason, I've actually gotten interviews over the past couple of months--but struck out on all.

            Usually, I don't even get interviews.

            The banks have a stranglehold on the political process. Mike Whitney

            by dfarrah on Wed Oct 05, 2011 at 12:06:33 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  I think I may have averaged 2-3 a month (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              sockpuppet, Steven D

              for the last 16 months.  I've been out for 21 months now.  Yet, no offers.  I'm either over qualified or under qualified.  I've even had a few second interviews.

              •  I thought it was my own character-failing (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                nchristine, dfarrah

                that the spouse and I have had so much listless inertia this past summer.   We got stuff done around the house and the yard, but not nearly as much as needs doing.   It's been because we're so discouraged, and sometimes, just like deer-in-the-headlights frozen inaction.

                Late this summer, we started getting some jobs (we're a residential remodeling construction company), only a couple we could sink our teeth into, like the old days.  Others are just nig-nag stuff ("Please come fix our doors/windows/fences/rotted siding, etc."), but we do it because it all adds up.  Hopefully.

                But I hear ya about going on the interviews and not getting the jobs.   We spent many long hours working up intricate, accurate project estimates (and as nice presentations, too) that would've been lucrative for us, and for which we used to charge for the estimate process in the flush days.   Then after we submit, even with stellar references, some other company gets the job.

                I don't know why we are being outbid on the jobs.  We are already working at 1992 prices.   And all of our sub trades are also desperately lowering their prices.  Who is working for even less than this??  We wonder.

                I'm just a little relieved to read that we're not alone in this funk feeling.   It's like waiting for the other shoe to drop.  What next?  

                But then again, at least we still have everything we came into the recession with since October 2008.   An adequately warm house.   Good running vehicles.  Health insurance, sort of (junk policies), our satellite tv and internet connections.  Stuff like that.   Others, as we acutely are aware of, do not and are struggling much worse than we are.   And we haven't had any natural disasters around here this year (earthquake country, however).

                So I guess we're actually doing well just treading water here, so to speak.   We're not circling the drain anymore, but maybe by Christmas, who knows.

                It feels a little better to be able to verbalize all this.  Mostly we have to keep up a "Pollyanna" positivity around our community, because so many of our friends are in dire straits.   I worry what will happen to them in the coming months....

                •  Yes, it's good to get it out. It's so difficult (3+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  sockpuppet, Steven D, dfarrah

                  to keep up appearances.  I've always been a bit frugal in my spending.  So, when the writing started showing up on the walls back in mid 2008, I started saving up as much of my income as I could.  I had managed to keep the majority of my expenses down to what I was getting for unemployment (except things like property tax, car insurance).  But, unemployment ran out in early July.

                  I've put my resume up on the job boards/sites..... I've gotten 'cold calls' from recruiters about jobs.  One of the things that I've seen that bugs the living hell out of me is that there are 'recruiting' companies that are scraping company web sites' jobs/career pages and listing them as their own jobs.  I've seen as many as 30 listings for one 'real' position.

                  I've been talking with a 'recruiter' today.  He's of the opinion I can get my house packed up, sold/rented/something and in Boston in two weeks.  Bite me.  I have no idea if this is a real position or what.  I have no idea what company it is.  I have no idea if it's contract or permanent.  Nothing other than they're looking for a mainframe computer programmer.  I'm going in with the attitude it's practice.  If this is a 'real' job, I'll try for telecommute......  My 'price' would go down cause cost of living here in Iowa is much lower than in Boston.

                  I want the jobs to come back to the US..... thank you very much..... I'm a computer programmer and a damned good one too.  I've been around computers for 40 years (and I'm 46).  There's nothing terribly new about either mainframe or pc programming.  All the languages have the same basic core concepts.  Yes, there are different tools used, but they're not that hard to figure out.  Now, if you wanted me to talk in Assembler and/or binary, we'd have a problem.

                  I need to stop my venting.... sometimes it does help to get it out.  If you want to 'talk' email me at christinenotes at gmail dot com

      •  The energy problem is stress (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        nchristine, farmerchuck, Steven D

        overload. Stress is also the basic cause of all illness. I can pretty well relate to desertguy. I am not quite there yet. But because of the fatigue, I can't stay on top of everything, so I end up missing deadlines.

        A few weeks ago I had all the symptoms of a DVT (deep vein thrombosis) which I have had once before. No way I was going to get the testing or drugs without anyway to pay for them. I'm using OTC stuff (ibuprofen, fish oil, etc) and the symptoms subsided as well as they did on the Coumadin in '08.

        The complications from DVT are: pulmonary embolism, heart attack, and stroke. So far, so good.

        "People, even more than things, have to be restored, renewed, revived, reclaimed and redeemed; never throw out anyone. " Audrey Hepburn "A Beautiful Woman"

        by Ginny in CO on Wed Oct 05, 2011 at 02:34:40 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  And if you don't get the adverse health conditions (13+ / 0-)

    from unemployment or foreclosure; unemployment and/or foreclosure will result from getting the adverse health conditions.

    It's a perfect circle-----.

    Democrats give you the Bill of Rights; Republicans sell you a bill of goods!

    by barbwires on Wed Oct 05, 2011 at 09:53:31 AM PDT

  •  I am living on SS and a small pension and am (7+ / 0-)

    of modest means, but I have been hiring unemployed neighbors to do my yard work, which I could do myself, clean my gutters and repair my 10 year-old car.  Others have done the same just to keep our neighbors going.  We have created more jobs than most companies have.  The pay scale is lousy, yes, and there are no benefits except for our concern, respect and hope that things will go better soon.  

    I have said this in other comments, but I really believe it.  If all our troops were brought home ASAP, including those at 350 bases that could be closed worldwide, the Congress would think twice about playing games with America's future.  Once the GI's returned from WWII we had prosperity because politicians were afraid to screw with the vets.  They used their GI Bill benefits to build the nation.

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