First Do No Harm

A Day in the Life of Joe Conservative
or
Joe's Gonna Die

Joe gets up at 6 a.m. and fills his coffeepot with water to prepare his morning coffee. The water is clean and good because some tree-hugging liberal fought for minimum water-quality standards. With his first swallow of water, he takes his daily medication. His medications are safe to take because some stupid commie liberal fought to ensure their safety and that they work as advertised.

Actually, Joe’s water is no longer safe. Conservatives for decades have been knocking holes in safe water regulations to the point where more than half the chemicals detected in our water supply are unregulated. Since 2001, our federal government has not set one new standard for drinking water. The New York Times recently published on their front page that there are no longer any federal laws that require tap water to be safe for long-term consumption. [http://www.ewg.org/tap-water/home]

As for the safety of Joe’s medications, perhaps 40 years ago Joe could safely assume that his medications had been thoroughly tested, but today the FDA is more interested in attacking small businesses selling vitamins and supplements than protecting the public from dangerous medicine.

Since 1993, seven FDA approved drugs have been taken off the market because they’ve caused deaths and severe side effects. [http://www.drugawareness.org/articles/seven-deadly-drugs] Vioxx killed over 50,000 people and is still on the market. So, watch out Joe, those crazy liberals just haven’t been able to protect you from your medications yet.

All but $10 of his medications are paid for by his employer's medical plan because some liberal union workers fought their employers for paid medical insurance - now Joe gets it too.

Sadly Joe doesn’t work for a union anymore. Since Ronald Reagan was elected, membership in unions has dropped to just a fraction of what it had been in its heyday. Reagan appointed anti-union individuals to the National Labor Relations Board and collective bargaining went out the window. He fired all striking members of the air traffic controllers union effectively destroying that union. It had once been illegal to fire striking union workers and replace them with “scabs” but Reagan set a precedent that has led to the destruction of over 85% of our unions.

Joe has to pay full price for his medications, if he’s uninsured. If insured, he’ll have a hefty co-pay to cover.

And should Joe ever wish to fly somewhere using commercial airlines, he should keep in mind that the pilots, mechanics, and air traffic controllers are now underpaid and overworked, and not protected by any union. Have a safe flight, Joe.  

He prepares his morning breakfast, bacon and eggs. Joe's bacon is safe to eat because some girly-man liberal fought for laws to regulate the meat packing industry.

Not any more. The USDA’s own website warns us that ready to eat meats—cold cuts—if not thoroughly cooked are a risk to anyone whose immune system is not up to par, pregnant women, the old, the young, and people with cancer.

Under the Clinton administration, stricter laws were passed concerning food safety that looked pretty good, and the USDA’s own Food Safety Inspection Service got bolstered with additional funding. New regulations concerning Listeria (a deadly bacteria found on meats and some milk products) were all but printed up in the Federal Register. However, when George Bush Jr came into office, all this was put on “indefinite” hold. Just weeks after his inauguration, a Listeria outbreak sickened forty-six people, causing three miscarriages and killing seven. Before Bush left office, over 100 Americans had died from Listeria.

Food borne illnesses are the norm now. Under the Bush Administration, we had the tomato scare (turned out to be jalapeno peppers) that left 1,294 people sick; the e-coli tainted spinach, and the salmonella-tainted peanut butter (that the manufacturer knew was tainted).

The Bush administration even went so far as to end funding the monitoring of all data needed by scientists to create policy concerning public health. [http://www.environmental-expert.com/resulteachpressrelease.aspx?cid=27289&codi=40747]

The CDC estimates that today, foodborne diseases cause approximately 76 million illnesses, 325000 hospitalizations, and 5000 deaths in the United States each year.

Joe’s on his own now. There are no laws requiring meat recalls if a batch is found to be tainted. It’s all voluntary and up to the discretion (or caprice) of the meat packing companies.

Now Joe, do you know where your food comes from? You see, your government subsidizes a lot of farming, but mostly huge factory farms. Family owned farms and smaller organic farms don’t get much from the government if anything at all. These smaller farms raise their livestock humanely and work the fields using sustainable farming methods.

Odds are, Joe, your food comes from a factory farm, where chickens are raised without ever going outside, in just enough space to poop and lay an egg. Pigs are raised in unsanitary conditions and are horribly abused. The feed, chemicals, and drugs pumped into factory farmed animals are cheap substitutes for sunshine and exercise. The grains they are fed are raised on huge farms spread over miles and miles, using farming practices that will eventually turn that land to desert. Then where will you get your food, Joe?

In the morning shower, Joe reaches for his shampoo. His bottle is properly labeled with each ingredient and its amount in the total contents because some crybaby liberal fought for his right to know what he was putting on his body and how much it contained.

In fact, Joe knows more about what’s going on his body, than what goes in his body. Pressure and money from the food industry have influenced laws concerning the labeling of Joe’s food. One perfect example is that the nutrition section of the label can tell you there are no trans fats inside, but looking closely at the list of ingredients you can find trans fats.

If one ingredient is actually a product made by another company, the label need only mention that ingredient without telling you what went into making that ingredient.

And if you’re looking for MSG you’ll need a thesaurus to find out all the different names for MSG these days, such as Sodium Caseinate, Glutamic Acid, Textured Protein, Hydrolyzed Vegetable Protein (HVP), and even Vegetable Protein Extract.

But those crazy liberals are at it again demanding that labels inform the consumer of possible allergens and foods consumers might be sensitive to. Specific foods that cause problems for many consumers like soy, gluten, peanuts and milk now must be posted in large print on the package. There those liberals go again, trying to keep your family out of the hospital.

Joe dresses, walks outside and takes a deep breath. The air he breathes is clean because some environmentalist wacko liberal fought for the laws to stop industries from polluting our air.

Again, the last administration, that conservative one, kicked the crap out of clean air regulations, quit funding organizations that monitor air (and water) quality, and gave it all the wonderful name: Clear Skies Initiative.

From George W. Bush's first day in office he worked against the Clean Air Act and the New Source Review by weakening the requirements and exempting thousands of industrial sources and coal fired power plants from this law that are certain to lead to dirtier air. President Bush is the first president in three decades to weaken these federal environmental laws and side with big business. He has taken the control from the states and placed it into his hands allowing for prior violators to use unmonitored discretion of when to apply the law. He has continually been critical of the New Source Review and worked hard to undermine the progress they have made with regard to cleaner air since the laws inception. (http://dc.indymedia.org) [http://www.useless-knowledge.com/1234/new/article300.html]

He walks on the government-provided sidewalk to subway station for his government-subsidized ride to work. It saves him considerable money in parking and transportation fees because some fancy-pants liberal fought for affordable public transportation, which gives everyone the opportunity to be a contributor.

Yes, you guessed it. Federal funding for public transportation under the last conservative administration was slashed. [www.sierraclub.org/sprawl/report04/sprawl04.pdf]

Joe begins his work day. He has a good job with excellent pay, medical benefits, retirement, paid holidays and vacation because some lazy liberal union members fought and died for these working standards. Joe's employer pays these standards because Joe's employer doesn't want his employees to call the union.

Joe’s job sucks. He’s lucky to have it, since tax breaks were given out to companies that moved jobs off the shores of this country.

Since Ronald Reagan came into office and cut the taxes on the wealthiest below the fifty percent mark, wages have stagnated. Joe’s pension is now gone. He has to work two jobs just to make ends meet, and when his wife came down with breast cancer, her insurance was cancelled because she hadn’t informed the insurance company that she’d been treated for acne while in high school.

Joe would like to form a union, but the laws protecting his right to join or form a union have been abandoned, and if he tries, he’ll be fired.

If Joe is hurt on the job or becomes unemployed, he'll get a worker compensation or unemployment check because some stupid liberal didn't think he should lose his home because of his temporary misfortune.

Thank God the conservatives haven’t been able to remove this blight on society.

It is noontime and Joe needs to make a bank deposit so he can pay some bills. Joe's deposit is federally insured by the FSLIC because some godless liberal wanted to protect Joe's money from unscrupulous bankers who ruined the banking system before the Great Depression.

All those laws and regulations put into effect to keep the banks from ever failing again and avoid all that terrible depression stuff have been (since Ronald Reagan’s presidency) slowly whittled away, bit by bit, piece by piece, until once again America’s economy collapsed.

Joe had better deposit some money, because he now owes $6,500.00 to help bail out the industry that got wealthy while the rest of America went broke.

Joe has to pay his Fannie Mae-underwritten mortgage and his below-market federal student loan because some elitist liberal decided that Joe and the government would be better off if he was educated and earned more money over his lifetime. Joe also forgets that his in addition to his federally subsidized student loans, he attended a state funded university.

Joe will probably die before his student loans are paid off. His father went to school back in the day when a college education was affordable. Joe’s an indentured servant now. Because he needs to make his payments promptly, he can’t complain about his job, can’t take off time to look for a new one, and tries desperately not to make waves.

Under Eisenhower, who taxed wealth upwards of 90%, our colleges were well funded, and enrollment climbed higher and higher each year. Today, the only thing climbing higher and higher are enrollment costs and tuition.

While state funding to colleges and universities has dropped, special interest funding has increased. Drug companies are the largest source of funding to our medical schools, which in turn grants them the right to influence curriculum and text books. You can bet your newly graduated doctor knows all about the pharmaceuticals that truly matter, but is clueless as to the nutrition needed for proper health. His/her education cost your doctor dearly, and if while sitting in your doctor’s waiting room the thought should hit you: Do I really need this procedure, or does my doctor need to pay his college loans? well, you’re not alone. In the fifties, the procedure that helped pay off your doctor’s educational loans was the tonsillectomy.

Joe is home from work. He plans to visit his father this evening at his farm home in the country. He gets in his car for the drive. His car is among the safest in the world because some America-hating liberal fought for car safety standards to go along with the tax-payer funded roads.

God bless you, Ralph Nader.

He arrives at his boyhood home. His was the third generation to live in the house financed by Farmers' Home Administration because bankers didn't want to make rural loans.

The house didn't have electricity until some big-government liberal stuck his nose where it didn't belong and demanded rural electrification.

He is happy to see his father, who is now retired. His father lives on Social Security and a union pension because some wine-drinking, cheese-eating liberal made sure he could take care of himself so Joe wouldn't have to.

Bush didn’t have a majority in congress his entire time in office, but he sure got what he wanted majority or not. The only thing he didn’t get was his wish to privatize Social Security. It’s a system that works, and people on it know it works. Social Security, when Roosevelt proposed it, had been called “a slippery slope that will lead to a communist takeover of America.” Medicare was also vilified in this same manner. But now that both Social Security and Medicare are available to Joe’s parents, they’re ready to kill to keep them.

Joe gets back in his car for the ride home, and turns on a radio talk show. The radio host keeps saying that liberals are bad and conservatives are good. He doesn't mention that the beloved Republicans have fought against every protection and benefit Joe enjoys throughout his day. Joe agrees: "We don't need those big-government liberals ruining our lives! After all, I'm a self-made man who believes everyone should take care of themselves, just like I have."

The myth of the self-made man: What hogwash. Every person stands on the shoulders of someone standing on the shoulders of someone standing on the shoulders ….

We live in a “we” society, not a “me” society. No one can accomplish anything in society without the protection and services of that society. You cannot maintain wealth or own property without the protection of that society. The more you have made and accumulated because of the society you live in, the more you owe back. It’s that simple. But sadly, to a lot of misinformed Joe’s, we don’t need the great society that has protected our interests for over 200 years; we need less of it. Joe’s learning to say no to things he needs and wants because Joe has been brainwashed by the people who have enough money and power to do it.

Way to go, Joe. Good luck in the next 200 years. You’ll need it.

 


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