On Technically Enhanced Man by James V. Schall, S.J.

James V. Schall, S.J. on the “progress” towards the integration of machines into humans. This seems very much a case of something we can do but shouldn’t.

Whether a technically enhanced Schall would be an improvement over the original version is probably something that I, though admittedly equipped with battery-powered hearing aids, do not have to worry about. But most other folks do. A nephew sent me a list of “The 50 Smartest Companies.” I did not quite know what to make of it.

So I sent a query to a friend who is up to speed on these things. He noted that a remarkable number of these “smartest” companies work on the human condition itself. The human “instrument” that is man’s body and mind can be radically improved.

Death of the automaton Talos, c. 350 B.C. National Archaeological Museum, Puglia, Italy.

Here is my friend’s summation:

“I think the big trend relative to tech innovation is technology as intertwined with human beings. And I don’t mean humans using technology. I refer to having technology inserted into our bodies – and brains – and even being directly connected with computers.”

People already have heart-pacers that need recharging every so often. Doctors today deftly perform operation with hand-extending robot devices. Presumably if a baby in the womb is diagnosed with a low IQ, some chip can be inserted into the little tyke to get him into Harvard when the time comes. We have watches that tell us how many miles we walk, calories we eat, and the vagaries of our blood pressure.

Computer mechanisms have become so small that they can be inserted anywhere from the brain to the big toe silently to perform the function for which they were designed. Soon, we can recharge our batteries by walking near an outlet. Batteries will last for decades. I had a watch battery that lasted five years.

Descartes thought that, while we could know nothing of reality outside of ourselves, we could construct even the human body so that we could not tell the difference between the real one and the one that was his own manufacture. How could he compare what he did not know with what he made?

Click here to read the rest of Father Schall’s column . . .

James V. Schall, S.J.

James V. Schall, S.J., who served as a professor at Georgetown University for thirty-five years, is one of the most prolific Catholic writers in America. Among his recent books are The Mind That Is Catholic, The Modern Age, Political Philosophy and Revelation: A Catholic Reading, Reasonable Pleasures, and, new from St. Augustine’s Press, Docilitas: On Teaching and Being Taught.

4th Annual Female Veterans Retreat

The 4th Annual Female Veterans Retreat will be held from September 14th to September 17th, 2017 at Day Spring Episcopal Conference Center, Ellenton, Florida.

This year’s retreat is being sponsored by Gold Coast Eagle Distributing Company/Budweiser, The Home Depot (Sarasota Store #0255 & Venice Store #0273), and BMW of Sarasota.  Without their assistance, our female veterans would be unable to attend this retreat for FREE!  If you would like to assist them in making these annual retreats and reunions happen for female veterans.

Please go to their GOFUNDME page (https://www.gofundme.com/femaleveteransunite) and donate or you may write out a check to FVU, P.O. Box 5403, Sarasota, FL  34237-5403.  All donations are tax deductible.

The founder of this event, Ms. Georgie Alfano-Cronk said that she is thrilled that the applications have recently come pouring in for this very important event. This retreat is a FREE event that is held annually at Day Spring Episcopal Conference Center in Ellenton, Florida in September for 4 days and 3 nights for our Women Warriors.

BMW of Sarasota

During this retreat, the women will do various projects and activities that will allow them to build the bonds of trust with other women veterans who have also “walked their same walk.”

Ms. Elizabeth Cereska, (Army, SP4), is now the secretary of this unique 501C3 corporation and became directly involved with these ladies after attending one of their retreats in 2015.  She said, “I have come such a long way myself.  I attended the retreat and I was amazed at how the facilitators were able to bring me out of my shell so quickly.  When I arrived at Day Springs for this retreat, I was very introverted.  I stayed to myself.  I turned my name tag around, and did not want to be in any of their pictures.  In looking back at the experience, I was probably a little bit angry.  I was angry that the VA had been unable to reach out to me and to resolve my individual concerns and I figured that these people would not be able to help me either. Boy; was I wrong.  Female veterans certainly are a different breed. We trained and served alongside the men, and then came home to become caregivers, wives, mothers, employees, and students.  Somewhere in that journey of a difficult and challenging transition, many of us lost our inner selves.  We have a tendency to be relentless and we want to be good role models within our communities…but where do we really fit in?  The “Vietnam Veterans” are truly the forgotten ones.

Dr. Jason Quintal

Dr. Jason Quintal & Associates, located at 5460 Lena Road, Suite 103, Lakewood Ranch, FL 34211 (941) 907-0525 provided me with better resources that I ever had access to within the VA system.  Female Veterans Unite gave me the opportunity to become a whole person again and that is why I have become a volunteer for this very rewarding corporation for women veterans.”

Ms. Georgie Alfano-Cronk, the founder of FVU, has been a volunteer in the Sarasota/Manatee community for over 17 years in many different capacities.  It was only during these last 8 years that Georgie has stepped up to the plate to focus all of her attention on “female veterans” and “homeless veterans” issues.  She is the “pit bull” behind the scenes.  She knows many of the issues that women veterans want to discuss because she herself served in the U.S. Army during the Vietnam War.  “It has been extremely difficult for me.  When I got out of the service with my Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) in 1976, there were no counseling services available to me.  I was 21 years old and knew that I had to step up to the plate in order to “survive and thrive” because if not, I was going to be left behind.  I had my entire life ahead of me and I had no idea how to face it while suffering from a major disability.

Because I did not want to just give up on my life, so then began my many trials and tribulations.  I absolutely know all of the various subject matter that female veterans want to discuss in our groups.  They include domestic violence, military sexual trauma, post-traumatic stress, substance abuse, healthy relationships, and VA benefits/resources.  And this is just some of what we cover at our retreats and reunions.   We want to be able to explore these topics in depth and to brainstorm solutions to our problems too.  Our veterans want to be able to have these discussions freely and to know that their issues will not be placed anywhere in their medical records!  Plus more times than I care to admit to; errors have been made in many of our VA medical records which just adds salt to our wounds.  Female Veterans Unite has strived to provide our attendees with a safe platform in order to address these sensitive issues.  Yes, we do expect to shed a few tears during our journey back home in September.   But I can guarantee to these women, that we will do more laughing and joking around, plus sharing lots of supportive hugs to get us through the rocky times!  Women Warriors are just that…we are surviving warriors who just refuse to give up.”

Left to right: Sponsor Hugh Shields, G. Alfano-Cronk, and Sponsor John Saputo

Ms. Jennifer Seybold, a former retreat attendee and Army veteran herself, is a volunteer who heads up the ladies Quilting Committee. Because of her dedication to the FVU cause, she makes each female veteran feel the “warmth of community love” by providing enough quilts so that each woman warrior will receive a quilt free of charge.  “It is important that our women military heroes feel important and appreciated by the community.  Along with the male soldiers, we also made that commitment to protect and defend our Country, and for many of us, we have paid a very high price for our years of enlistment.  Back in the earlier days, many of us women did not serve in combat or travel overseas as our younger female veterans are doing today; however we were the “support teams” back here in the States. Every day is a real challenge for me, but by being around other women veterans, I have more of a chance of continuing to build strong bonds that will last a lifetime for me”.

Patty Maybray, a former Air Force Veteran and the head of Human Resources at The Home Depot store in Venice (#0273), facilitates a special project that she chooses for the women each year. The Home Depot totally supplies all of the materials for her class, and because Patty is also a female veteran, she is able to get the women to open up and discuss their individual concerns while she teaches her DIY project.  The Home Depot (both the Sarasota & the Venice Store) has provided countless cases of water to keep the ladies completely hydrated during the retreat.  The Home Depot Stores are big supporters of our military personnel and the veteran organizations in our communities and can always be counted on to pitch in and help out our veterans!  If you have any questions about this event, please call (941) 266-2769 or (727) 807-6458.  And in the meantime, find a Women Warrior and thank her for her service to our Country.

This year’s retreat is being sponsored by Gold Coast Eagle Distributing Company/Budweiser, The Home Depot (Sarasota Store #0255 & Venice Store #0273), and BMW of Sarasota.  Without their assistance, our female veterans would be unable to attend this retreat for FREE!  If you would like to assist them in making these annual retreats and reunions happen for female veterans; please go to their GOFUNDME page (https://www.gofundme.com/femaleveteransunite) and donate or you may write out a check to FVU, P.O. Box 5403, Sarasota, FL  34237-5403.  All donations are tax deductible.

Trump Threatens to End Obamacare Bailouts

This past weekend, President Trump vowed to take administrative action to end two Obamacare bailouts if Congress doesn’t quickly repeal the failing healthcare law.

The first bailout is the exemption that President Obama helped give to Members of Congress and the second bailout is the subsidy program Obama created for health insurance companies.

And the best part about President Trump’s threat is that short of passing a new law, Congress can’t stop him.

Please show your support for this decision by sending a letter to President Trump urging him to end these bailouts.

There is no reason why Congress should have a special Obamacare exemption and there is no reason why the insurance companies that lobbied for Obamacare should get a taxpayer bailout.

If the DC establishment won’t take action to repeal Obamacare and provide true relief to the American people, then they should have to live under the law they passed and share the pain.

Many Republican lawmakers are afraid of what the Democrats and media will say about them if they repeal the law, but that pales in comparison to what the voters will do to Republicans at the ballot box if they allow it to continue.

Senator Ted Cruz was right when he said, “No party can remain in power by lying to the American people.” 

Please thank President Trump for being willing to end the Obamacare bailouts and urge him to make it happen.

These policies are unfair and should be terminated immediately.

Thank you for standing strong for freedom and for doing your part to make your voice heard in Washington.

RELATED ARTICLES: 

How Trump Could Force Congress and Its Staff to Live Under Obamacare

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Drug and Alcohol Addiction in the LGBTQ Community

30%

As much as 30% of the LGBTQ demographic abuse substances, compared to 9% in the heterosexual population.

In most cases, drugs and alcohol are a way for a person to deal with problems in their lives. The fact is – many people within the LGBTQ have to deal with way more problems than the average person. They for one can experience higher levels of stress, social stigmas, and discrimination. Therefore, this leads to much higher substance abuse rates compared to heterosexual people.

The Alarming Statistics Of LGBTQ Substance Abuse

As previously mentioned – substance abuse is a huge problem within the LGBTQ community and is much more common than in any other demographic. In fact, it is thought that around 20-30 percent of the LGBTQ demographic abuse substances, in comparison to about 9 percent that of the regular demographic.

Here are some more addiction statistics regarding the LGBTQ:

Tobacco

  • 200%
  • People within the LGBTQ are 200% more likely to use tobacco than heterosexual and non-transgender people.

Alcohol

  • 25 percent of people identified as LGBTQ abuse alcohol, in comparison to about 5-10 percent of the regular demographic.

Drugs

  • Men that have intercourse with men are over 3.5 times more likely to use marijuana
  • These same men are also 12.2 times more likely to use amphetamines than men who do not have intercourse with men.
  • They are also 9.5 times more likely to use heroin.

From the statistics shown, we can come to grasp that there is an obvious problem within the LGBTQ. From alcohol to drugs the issue is there, but what are we doing about it? If a person needs help for addiction, they usually go to rehab. However, for people within the LGBT, it can be a bit more difficult. Sometimes they’re denied treatment, and sometimes they might feel like an outcast and relapse. Fortunately, there are specific rehabs designed for LGBTQ people.

Why Are LGBTQ People More Likely To Become Addicted To Drugs And Alcohol?

Stress triggers that lead to addiction in LGBTQ people may include any or more of the following:

  • Fear of persecution which leads to living a stressful double life in order to conform
  • Isolation that arises from public ridicule and rejection
  • Emotional trauma caused by abuse by other people especially family members
  • Internalized homophobia, a deep self-loathing, feelings of shame and of being damaged
  • Religious intolerance and inability to join a particular faith
  • Social discrimination that prevents them equal access to healthcare and job opportunities
  • Frustration from an inability to pursue a love interest
  • Feelings of loneliness and lack of intimacy or someone to confide in

A fear of persecution leads to isolation, hiding who you are from all around you is a huge reason for someone to have a substance abuse problem.

Rejection from regular society is a big issue – not everyone is on their side, and discrimination can lead to a lack of chances with job opportunities. Taking the jump if the person on the other side of the table is for or against you can put much pressure on someone, leading again to substance abuse.

It is not always the public that contributes to substance abuse with someone within the LGBTQ community. Self-worth is also a big factor, always judging yourself, self-loathing and even shame of who you are can once again lead to abusing a substance.

Studies have been conducted in this area and their findings are:

  • LGBT youth is up to 300% more likely to succumb to drug addiction
  • A quarter of LGBT people abuse alcohol whereas the fraction is less than a tenth for the general populace
  • A larger percentage of LGBTQ people have experimented with harmful drugs: 63% have experimented with Ecstasy, 63% have experimented with marijuana, 48% have experimented with amyl nitrate and 45% smoke an average of more than 10 cigarettes daily.

Other Problems Caused By Drugs And Alcohol Addiction In The LGBTQ Community

Addiction is not only a problem in and of itself. It is also a cause or escalator of other psychological or health problems. The mental processes of people suffering from addiction are often clouded which leads them to make bad choices. It is also very probable that an addict will mostly interact with fellow addicts making it even more difficult to overcome the addiction as they are constantly surrounded by enablers. Their decision making is usually poor, especially while under the influence. Trying to cope with life’s issues by drug or alcohol use will likely cause even more life issues, and so the self-perpetuating vicious cycle goes on and on.

People who are addicts are often highly susceptible to:

  • Depression
  • Eating disorders
  • Suicidal tendencies
  • Health risks such as liver cirrhosis or lung cancer
  • HIV contracted by sharing needles
  • Sexual dysfunction

Having a problem with an addiction usually leads to having even more problems. Depression is a big issue in the LGBTQ and can lead to an eating disorder. LGBT men are actually 3 times more likely to have an eating disorder. Not only that, an addiction to certain drugs could even lead to HIV when sharing needles or other drug use equipment.

Helping LGBTQ People Suffering From Addiction

Recognizing issues associated with addiction is quite important, for gay or transgender people getting help is a little different than a regular person suffering from addiction. For one, LGBT individuals can find help in specifically designed rehab centers just for them. There are treatment centers catered to the unique needs of lesbian women, bisexuals and even LGBTQ youth. Overall these individualized treatment options make a big difference in the ability for them to recover from an addiction.

Some issues treated at LGBTQ treatment centers are:

  • Managing discrimination from others
  • Dealing with depression, anxiety, and guilt that stem from sexual orientation or gender identity
  • Handling peer pressure
  • Guidelines for accepting their identity and coming out

The Advantage Of Specialized LGBTQ Rehab Centers

As more and more help centers spring up with more understanding of the specific needs of LGBTQ. Going to such rehabilitation centers will make the patient feel more at home and assist in the recovery process. Being around other people with the same struggles in itself is a great therapy which can tremendously help the patient’s feeling of self-worth and self-esteem. These people need to be cared for in a warm and welcoming environment where they do not feel the alienation that drove them into addiction in the first place. Rehabilitation in these types of places takes into account other disorders, whether they are innate or they have been developed over the years.

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Trump was left with no middle ground on transgender issue

EDITORS NOTE: This column originally appeared on AddictionResource.com.

The Sordid History of Eugenics in America

By Christine Niles, M.St. (Oxon.), J.D. on ChurchMilitant.com.

“Three generations of imbeciles are enough”

During the so-called “Progressive Era,” the United States became the first country in the world to implement wholesale compulsory sterilization laws with the aim of weeding out “inferior stock,” i.e., eugenics, in order to produce a more “perfect” race.

Multiple states passed laws requiring forcible sterilization of inmates, with the American Eugenics movement gaining traction among intellectual elites in the early 20th century. The American Eugenics Society was founded in 1926 with the aim of “improving the genetic composition of humans through controlled reproduction of different races and classes of people.”

The American Birth Control League, headed by one Margaret Sanger, founder of Planned Parenthood, worked out of the same office as the American Eugenics Society, and pushed the same eugenic goals.

The American Eugenics Society published propaganda to persuade Americans that the “unfit” must be breeded out. Among those deemed “inferior stock” were individuals suffering from blindness, deafness, mental defects, disease, physical deformity and “feeblemindedness” (i.e., low IQ).

Image

U.S. eugenics propaganda

Sometimes promiscuous women, including women who got pregnant out of wedlock, were sent to homes for the feebleminded, where they could be subject to compulsory sterilization. One such woman was Carrie Buck, placed in a home for the feebleminded after she was raped by a neighbor, ending up pregnant. Under Virginia’s Racial Integrity Act of 1924, Buck was sterilized.

Even worse, the U.S. Supreme Court upheld the compulsory sterilization as constitutional. In an 8–1 vote, Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes, writing for the majority in Buck v. Bell (1927), found:

It is better for all the world, if instead of waiting to execute degenerate offspring for crime, or to let them starve for their imbecility, society can prevent those who are manifestly unfit from continuing their kind. … Three generations of imbeciles are enough.

The women most affected by forcible sterilizations were from ethnic minorities, including Native Americans and African Americans. One study showed that 60 percent of African American women in Sunflower County, Mississippi were sterilized against their will or without their knowledge, some of these procedures taking place unbeknownst to them during childbirth.

American eugenics practices went on to influence the Nazi eugenics program, which ended up with about 350,000 compulsory sterilizations from 1934–1945, paving the way for the Holocaust.

Watch the panel discuss this dark history in The Dowload—Today’s Eugenics.

To learn more please visit ChurchMilitant.com.

EDITORS NOTE: Readers may sign up for a Premium Membership by CLICKING HERE.

7 Republicans voted to keep Obamacare — what they said then and did now

Seven Republican senators voted against Obamacare repeal this week after previously pledging to support it. Here’s a list of the seven senators along with their previous quotes supporting repeal.

Please help us replace them with true conservative leaders by making a contribution to the Senate Conservatives Fund.

Here are the seven Republicans who voted to keep Obamacare

LISA MURKOWSKI (R-AK)

THEN“This law is not affordable for anyone in Alaska. That is why I will support the bill that repeals the ACA and wipes out its harmful impacts.”
NOW: Voted Against Repeal

DEAN HELLER (R-NV)

THEN“The repeal of this law will not only reduce federal spending, but it will also allow Congress to address problems within the current health care system.”
NOW: Voted Against Repeal

SHELLEY MOORE CAPITO (R-WV)

THEN“I have consistently voted to repeal and replace this disastrous health care law, and I am glad that a repeal bill will finally reach the president’s desk.”
NOW: Voted Against Repeal

LAMAR ALEXANDER (R-TN)

THEN“Obamacare was an historic mistake, and should be repealed and replaced with step-by-step reforms that transform the health care delivery system.”
NOW: Voted Against Repeal

SUSAN COLLINS (R-ME)

THEN“I believe that we made – that Congress made – a real error in passing Obamacare, we should repeal the law so that we can start over.”
NOW: Voted Against Repeal

JOHN McCAIN (R-AZ)

THEN“It is clear that any serious attempt to improve our health care system must begin with a full repeal and replacement of Obamacare.”
NOW: Voted Against Repeal

ROB PORTMAN (R-OH)

THEN“[Obamacare] is fundamentally flawed. I do think we ought to delay … and then we’ve got to repeal this thing and start over.”
NOW: Voted Against Repeal

RELATED ARTICLE: John McCain and the Swamp – 1, the American people – 0

EDITORS NOTE: This column is based upon information provided by the Senate Conservatives Fund.

Would Baby Charlie Have Gotten Death Sentence if Not a White Male?

Would baby Charlie have gotten his death sentence were he not a white boy? It may seem an odd question, but there’s a good reason to pose it.

The poor child at issue is Charlie Gard, a British infant thus far denied medical treatment by the U.K. government — even though his parents can pay for it themselves. So much for death panels being a myth.

Charlie has a serious genetic condition called mitochondrial depletion syndrome, which causes progressive muscle weakness and brain damage. The details of it aren’t important here, however. What’s significant is that the boy’s parents, Chris Gard and Connie Yates, have raised $1.7 million via crowd-funding and can pay for travel and treatment themselves; this would allow them to bring Charlie to the U.S. for a novel therapy offered by a Dr. Michio Hirano.

“Would” is the operative word because the British medical establishment, bureaucracy and courts have, again, thus far said “No, you may not seek further treatment for your son. It doesn’t matter that you’re paying the piper; we’re calling the tune and say he must be allowed to die with ‘dignity’” (as if these statists have even the foggiest idea what that is).

And we’ll have to wait to see if it matters that, according to Dr. Hirano, the new therapy would give Charlie an 11 to 56 percent chance of meaningful improvement, which, even under Common Core math, is far better than the zero percent chance offered by Oceania. (Note: British authorities just recently granted Charlie an 11-day “stay of execution,” so to speak, so that Hirano can travel to the U.K. to evaluate him.) But on to my opening, eyebrow-and-doubts-raising question.

To illustrate why I ask it, here’s a little background. It was revealed in 2014 that British authorities had ignored Pakistani Muslim child sex-trafficking rings for 16 years — even though the perpetrators were responsible for the abuse (and sometimes torture) of at least 1400 girls, some as young as 12. In fact, when complaints were made, the girls were often dismissed as tramps to justify the inaction.

Of course, they were only white girls.

And this abuse is still occurring, we hear.

The reason for turning this blind eye has been absolutely established: The authorities, from police to bureaucrats to social workers, were afraid that pursuing Muslim criminals would get them branded “racist.”

In fact, some of the girls who went to the police “were told they were being racist,” reported The Federalist. And a Home Office researcher attempting to blow the whistle was warned by a colleague that she “must never [again] refer to Asian men” (“Asian” references Muslims in the U.K.). She also was forced into diversity indoctrination to raise her “awareness of ethnic issues.”

You see, better to allow young girls to be raped and brutalized than to, as one British politician put it, “rock the multicultural community boat.”

That is, in today’s (formerly) Great Britain — one of the more politically correct places on Earth.

Now back to poor Charlie. Would the powers-that-be have denied the opportunity for life if he were, let’s say, a Muslim female?

I believe the likely answer is no. They’d be too afraid of accusations of racism (yes, I know “Muslim” isn’t a race, but leftists use “racism” as synonymous with “bigotry”); they’d be worried about their reputations and careers. Their whole mindset would be different. Remember, again, the U.K. is a place where the rape of little white girls is preferable to the implicating of swarthy men.

Yet it’s not just fears of labeling, but also something far darker. In today’s world of identity politics — where we hear about mythical “white privilege,” “dead white males,” “the problem of whiteness” college courses, and prohibitions against whites expressing opinions — white males are lowest on the totem pole. They get the most grief and blame and the least consideration and charity — and compassion. Hey, given group voting patterns, Charlie could grow up to be a Tory or, perish the thought, even a Brexit supporter.

To be clear, I’m not saying the biases in question here are generally conscious. They are mainly, if not completely, those unconscious biases (you know, those things you leftists ever warn about but always get wrong). Man has a great capacity for rationalization, and Charlie’s grim-reaper judges have no doubt convinced themselves they’re acting in the “best interests of the child.” And were the baby a Muslim female, I suspect they would’ve rendered the opposite decision and deferred to the parents without prodding, again convincing themselves of their righteousness.

To those taking offense at my speculation, realize it’s similar to when activists respond to the shooting of a black criminal by claiming it wouldn’t have happened had the miscreant been white. The only difference is that they’re wrong — police are actually more likely to shoot white criminals than black ones — while my suspicion has a basis in today’s social reality.

And this reality is that with the current group spoils system, race and sex can determine one’s chance of enjoying college scholarships, good jobs, justice in court and, perhaps even, life itself.

Contact Selwyn Duke, follow him on Twitter or log on to SelwynDuke.com

RELATED ARTICLE: How Britain’s Surrender to the UN Led to Charlie Gard’s Fate

VIDEO: Florida Senator Marco Rubio on what’s really going on in Washington, D.C.

In an email Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) sent out a video on what is really going on in our nations capitol.

Senator Rubio states:

I just recorded a short video for you to make certain you know the truth about what’s happening in Washington.

Right now we are seeing a large increase in false media reporting – everyone is quick to jump on what they think is happening in our government, and fast to point fingers/accusations.

Our country is on a path towards prosperity and success, but the left has put a target on my back with hopes of defeating OUR conservative voice. They hate how hard we are working and how determined we are to restore our nation and undo the damage done by Barack Obama.

Costly Dentist Visit: Some Ways to Save

At some point, everyone needs dental care. Millions of Americans are delaying their dental care for fear of having an appointment with the dentist or simply because it’s expensive. Avoiding dental chairs to save some penny will just cost you even more in the future.

If untreated, it can lead to bigger problems. Will you sacrifice your tooth over a small cavity? Will you just turn a blind-eye on your abscess and just let it become a major infection?

According to the 2013 US Survey of Dental Care Affordability and Accessibility, findings show that 56% of Americans without dental insurance get no preventive care at all. Additionally, 18% have been to the dentist only once or not at all in the past ten years.

Because of the lack of preventive care and dental visits, oral health is starkly poorer among those without dental insurance – 67% have at least one major unmet dental care need (e.g., missing teeth, bleeding gums, toothache). Even among the insured, a majority (57%) currently has at least one unmet dental need. The expensive costs of care and cost transparency are the top two factors that lead patients to withhold from a dental visit.

Nevertheless, if you are one of the millions of Americans keeping his or her dental care on hold out of fear of the cost tied to proper dental treatment, there are some solutions. Follow these tips for a cheaper dental trip.

Brush Your Teeth Regularly

Maintaining a proper routine in taking care of your oral health is essential to being healthy and at the same time money-wise. It may sound cliché, but it’s undeniably efficient in preventing tooth decay and other dental problems. Brushing your teeth is simply sweeping off the food debris left between the teeth. But by forcefully doing this, it will cause cavities, tooth decay, and gum disease.

Even though the enamel, toughest tissue of the human body, covers teeth, it can still be weakened and damaged by brushing staunchly. And once the damage happens, the body can’t fix it.

The recommended way of brushing your teeth is to position your toothbrush bristles at a 45-degree angle to the surface of the teeth and brush gently in small circles.

Also, be cautious when cleaning your gum line since tartar, plaque, and bacteria tend to accumulate in the area. Rinsing with a mouthwash and finishing with floss can be of great help too.

Compare

The cost for a particular dental treatment can vary by several hundred dollars or more. Try checking the average prices in your area, like dental billing in Houston or other states, for similar treatment by calling local dentists and see how much they charge for the treatment you want or you need. You can use websites like Fair Health to check online the average prices of dental procedures in your area.

Get Insured

Finding a way to balance your costs versus savings is possible as there are now more dental insurance options available than ever before. While dental insurance coverage does typically require a monthly or annual premium, and some upfront costs or co-payments, in most cases dental insurance lowers a person’s overall dental costs.

Average dental insurance policies usually operate on a basic 100-80-50 plan: 100 percent coverage for annual routine care; 80 percent of costs for initial procedures including fillings and extractions; and 50 percent cost reduction for major services like crowns, bridges, and others.

However, insurance plans normally have a spending cap. It means that you are only covered for a certain maximum dollar amount each year. A cap of $1,500, for instance, means that any charges incurred after the insurance carrier cover $1,500 in dental costs that year would be your responsibility entirely.

Try a Discount Plan

Another popular option is dental discount schemes. Designed for individuals, families, and groups, It is best when saving some penny on the dental care needs. Members of such plan can save 10% to 60% on the standard cost of dental care and treatments at a network of more than 100,000 dentists nationwide.

Some of the benefits of a dental discount plan include no deductibles, no co-pays, no waiting periods, no paperwork hassles, no restrictions on getting immediate treatment for pre-existing or expensive procedures, and no annual limit on how often you can use your plan to save at the dentist. Exclusions may vary per program.

Schedule Regular Cleanings and Exams

Just because you brush your teeth regularly and thoroughly, it doesn’t mean that you have fully cleaned your mouth. You might have missed tartar between your teeth, in tiny chips and cracks or just below the gum line. The plaque that has formed can result in oral infections if it remains untreated.

Removing plaque shouldn’t be forcefully done. Professional assistance and care are necessary to avoid undesirable consequences later on.

Recently, research shows that annual cleanings for an average dental patient are just as effective as visiting the oral doctor every six months. Moreover, this single appointment is essential as it aids to identify problems before they get serious and pricey. High-risk patients, like those with periodontal disease, may need additional frequent visits.

Ask Your Dentist for A Cash Discount and Negotiate

Image result for dentist

Discount plans aren’t insurance plans, but they are an affordable alternative to the uninsured. Many dentists out there are willing in giving discounts for cash customers. Some pay visits automatically discount up to 5% depending on the clinic. It can be pulled down further for an agreed specific plan.

Ask Questions

Communication is the key. Dentists are highly trained and are well-rounded in their field of expertise, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that your dentist will get to decide solely for you.

Ask questions about the purpose of any procedure that isn’t quite clear to you. Don’t hesitate to ask if the suggested action needs execution. For example:

  •    Is that operation medically compulsory or purely cosmetic?
  •    Is there a cheaper option that would work just as well?

Consider Going to a Local Dental School for Treatment

Dental students need exposure and hands-on practice especially those who are nearing their graduation. Under the supervision of the instructors, they perform cleanings and other procedures for the public at a steeply discounted price compared to those of dental clinics. You can check on the American Dental Association’s list of all the accredited dental schools across the country. Many of them offer services at an affordable price.

Be Part of Clinical Trials

Gray Metal Framed Red Dental Treatment Chair

Some institutes like universities and the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research here and then need volunteers for their research. These study participants are often given free or low-cost dental services in trade for their voluntary involvement.

Takeaway

Taking into consideration all the major purchases and health care expenses; it will surely cost you several green bills. But by doing some research, comparing local clinics, getting insured, asking for discounts, etc. can make a huge difference in saving money. Well, you might be provoked to skip an appointment whenever you have a minor toothache, but this isn’t entirely a valid choice.

Dental care isn’t cheap, but the ways above will somehow help you in keeping your mouth healthy along with saving money. Remember, prevention is better than cure. Spending a few bucks is more worthwhile than waiting on dental problems over the long run.

Obamacare Is Dying. Let It. by John Tamny

The alleged failure of Republicans to repeal the misnamed Affordable Care Act (ACA) predictably has the conservative punditry up in arms. “Why Can’t Republicans Get Anything Done?” was one of many frustrated headlines lamenting the GOP’s lack of legislative success.The politics of repeal would have been worse than doing nothing.

One editorial asserted that Republican failure to ‘do something’ about the ACA “is one of the great political failures in recent U.S. history, and the damage will echo for years.” Really?

Implicit in all the conservative ranting about the need to repeal, or worse, fix the ACA, is that health care was a wholly unfettered, dynamic source of free-market driven innovation before President Obama was elected. Let’s try to be serious for a moment.

Letting Obamacare Fail

Repeal of the ACA would have been an impressive headline, but the short and long-term politics of repeal for Republicans would have been worse than doing nothing. That is so because expectations about a looming nirvana would have been created, only for health care to, at best, return to its less-than-stellar-self that existed before passage of the ACA in 2010.

Importantly, none of what’s been written so far should be construed as support for the ACA. It was foolish legislation, and evidence supporting the previous contention is that the ACA was already dying before our eyes. No surprise there. Legislation meant to give some Americans a lot for a little, with a lot taken from others in return for very little, was bound to fail.

The ACA was plainly imploding as the constant rush of insurance companies out of ACA exchanges revealed in bright colors. Why abolish what the laws of economics were already abolishing?The half-measures offered by Republicans were plainly worse than simply doing nothing.

And that’s why the half-measures offered by Republican compromisers were plainly worse than simply doing nothing. Why legislate away one central plan in return for an allegedly improved central plan; essentially exchanging bad legislation for bad legislation on top of what already wasn’t working before 2010? The politics of repeal or partial repeal spoke to the horror of Washington doing anything to legislate a right to what was and is a market good like any other.

Not discussed enough by either side is that it’s impossible to invent a right to a good or service of any kind to begin with. This is certainly true with regard to health care when we remember that it didn’t realistically exist until the 20th century. Lest we forget, in the 19th it was a death sentence if you were shot in the abdomen. If you broke your femur, you had 1 in 3 odds of dying. Broken hip? Dead. Cancer? Forget about it. You were going to die.

Legislation didn’t reverse the previously mentioned odds as much as trial and error in the area of healing led to healing advances such that a market eventually formed. The shame here is that politicians discovered health care in the first place. Imagine how much more advanced we’d be had they left what was advancing alone.

We Don’t Have a Crystal Ball

All of the above has seemingly been ignored by Republicans ever eager to prove they’re as compassionate as their reliably hysterical opponents on the other side of the aisle. And there lies the problem.

Much as health care didn’t broadly exist when the 20th century dawned, so were automobiles the microscopic exception to the horse rule. Imagine if politicians, sensing what few did about the car’s potential, had legislated broad access to what very few people owned. If so, it’s safe to say that the American automobile industry would never have taken shape, mainly because politicians can’t possibly divine what we want, let alone need. The car evolved into a common good thanks to relentless experimentation that occurred alongside a 99% percent failure rate for American car companies.

Thinking about the computer, while few could get by without one today, as late as 1943, IBM Chairman Tom Watson confidently asserted that the market for computers wouldn’t expand beyond five total computers. Decades later, and billions of dollars worth of failed companies later, the computer is the can’t-live-without rule, including the supercomputers that increasingly line the pockets of rich and poor alike.

At present, politicians in both major political parties are thinking about ways to spend trillions in tax dollars on enhanced roads, just as entrepreneurs like Jeff Bezos are aggressively thinking of ways to deliver us goods and services by air, care of drones. Yet conservatives are comfortable allowing Republicans to add more laws to an already over-controlled health care market?

Despite the historical truth that the present rarely predicts the future of goods and services, politicians in both parties pretend that they know what the market for health care should look like. But how could they?

For Republicans and Democrats to legislate a right to medical services in the present is every bit as lame-brained as it would have been had they legislated access to specific kinds of cars, computers, and smartphones in 1900, 1950 and 2000. Whatever they would have dreamed up for all three would have been a fraction of what intrepid entrepreneurs divined through feverish trial and error.

What Is and What Will Be

Seemingly forgotten by Republicans is that legislation is the absolute worst way to solve any problem, real or imagined, particularly one involving goods and services created in the marketplace.

Lawmaking by definition deals with what is while thriving markets are all about sleuthing out what will be. We’ll only arrive at what will be in the health care space insofar as individuals and businesses are free to experiment without limits, yet Republicans and Democrats in their infinite confusion are trying to create rights for people with what already is.

Ok, but that’s cruel. It’s the hypothetical equivalent of politicians legislating access to the cars, computers, and smartphones of today at a time when all three were likely on the verge of rapid evolution. Health care is no different. If the goal is that everyone should have access to it, the only response from Congress should be that it will cease legislating access to what it can’t give, and more important, what it doesn’t understand. If so, watch health care markets evolve in amazing ways that redound to us all.

Reprinted from Real Clear Markets.

John Tamny

John Tamny

John Tamny is a Forbes contributor, editor of RealClearMarkets, a senior fellow in economics at Reason, and a senior economic adviser to Toreador Research & Trading. He’s the author of the 2016 book Who Needs the Fed? (Encounter), along with Popular Economics (Regnery Publishing, 2015).

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VIDEO: Health Care Is a Mess… But Why? by Seamus Coughlin and Sean Malone

You probably know a couple who both work full time to support their children, but even with their dual incomes, they’re finding it more and more difficult to afford health insurance.

Everyday incidents like sports injuries, asthma, and blood pressure, combined with their anxiety over rising premiums, are turning their American dream into sleepless nights.

Why can’t people catch a break? It wasn’t always this way!

Everyone wants health care, but there’s only so much to go around.

According to the Consumer Price Index and Medical-care price index from 1935 to 2009, the health care spending crisis didn’t start until the mid 1960s, around the same time when Medicare and Medicaid were signed into law, and at the same time that we began requiring doctors to go through all sorts of expensive licensing procedures beyond medical school.

Since then, health care spending has doubled, even adjusted for inflation. Why? Well, there are a few reasons.

Everyone wants health care, but there’s only so much to go around. And short supply leads to high prices. Normally what happens in a marketplace is that when prices are high, entrepreneurs try to profit by finding more affordable ways to provide goods and services.

The more people become involved in providing these services, the less scarce they become and the lower the prices drop, so that over time, more and more people can afford them.

This is what happened to televisions, microwaves, computers, cell phones, internet service, delivery services, food, shipping, transportation/air-travel, entertainment, home security, fitness, yoga, massages, and even all the medical technology, like LASIK, that isn’t as heavily regulated or controlled by government.

Can’t government drive down the price of goods and services like the free market?

Let’s look at what happened with Medicare and Medicaid as an example. In 1965, these two single payer health insurance programs were instituted in the US. These programs made the unfortunate less dependant on impartial private charities and more dependant on political institutions and pharmaceutical companies.

On top of that, these programs constantly require tax increases, and because they function more to satisfy the health care industry than the worker, they continually lead to more expensive and wasteful ways of treating patients.

As a result, prices shot up, making it even more difficult for people to afford health insurance. Not only that, but in 1965, government took over the training of new doctors, and in 1997 they limited the number of new doctors they would train at 110,000 per year – and the number hasn’t changed since!

Even worse, our government won’t let migrant doctors from developed western countries practice in the US without undergoing this training. So, not only do experienced doctors from other countries not want to practice medicine here, but the ones who do are taking up 15% of those few 110,000 slots, limiting the supply of doctors even more.

Won’t Obamacare solve these problems?

Unfortunately, Obamacare suffers from similar problems. It eliminated the pricing structure by seriously restricting competition because all providers have to offer the same kinds of plans at the same price. And because that price isn’t really determined by the market, providers can charge the taxpayer way more than they could otherwise. It’s basically just a handout to big insurance companies.

But it doesn’t have to be this way! If we get the government out of health care, more people like those you know will be able to get the care they need.

Seamus Coughlin

Seamus Coughlin

Seamus Coughlin is a comedy writer and animator with a deep interest in politics and morality. A good deal of his work can be found on the FreedomToons YouTube channel.

Sean Malone

Sean Malone

Sean Malone is the Director of Media at FEE. His films have been featured in the mainstream media and throughout the free-market educational community.

New Secrets Unlocked: Know The Curse of Sleep Loss to Alzheimer’s

Sleeping less than seven hours makes you tired, woozy, and grumpy. Long-term effects of sleep loss become more dangerous than you ever expected. Scientific findings link sleep deprivation to obesity, heart disease, mood swings, diabetes, sleep disorders, and other kinds of health issues.

You may already know the risks written in a long list, and now you have to include Alzheimer’s disease. Sleep disturbances make you look and feel old. As a neurodegenerative form of dementia, Alzheimer’s disease is a neurological disorder wherein demise of neurons stimulates recession of memory and cognitive functions.

For the past years, no one was able to carry out a study proving the significance of sleep and dementia to each other. Just recently this month, Dr. Yo-El Ju together with her co-researchers in  Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, Radboud University Medical Centre in the Netherlands, and Stanford University finally found the link of dementia to sleep deprivation.

What the study proves

The researchers examined 17 experiment volunteers at home. They also underwent controlled sleep procedures in the lab of Washington University. They divided the volunteers into two groups and let the half of the sample get into a deep sleep while others were in a shallow sleep.

Dr. Ju stated that “As soon as they got into slow-wave sleep, they got a beep. And the beeps got louder and louder and louder until they came out of the deep sleep. It went on for the entire night. The volunteers did not realize their sleep had been interrupted.”

The volunteers use beeping monitors which disturb their sleep patterns. The sleep monitoring device measures their quality of sleep at home. As a result, those who slept poorly show a significant relationship between sleep and higher levels of the associated brain proteins.

“We were not surprised to find that tau levels didn’t budge after just one night of disrupted sleep while amyloid levels did because amyloid levels normally change more quickly than tau levels. But we could see, when the participants had several bad nights in a row at home, that their Tau levels had risen,” Dr. Yo-El Ju said.

Increase of brain protein levels

Health: Forgetfulness in Men

Forgetfulness in Men

Sleep deprivation for consecutive nights can cause an increase of dementia-related protein levels in the human brain. A good night’s rest prevents too much synthesis of proteins called Amyloid-beta and Tau which causes Alzheimer’s and other memory-related diseases.

When deep sleep interruption happens, Alzheimer’s disease-related proteins increase in the cerebrospinal fluid as new research suggests.

Disruption of slow-wave sleep

A study published in Journal Neurology shows that higher levels of amyloid-beta and tau are due to poor sleep. In fact, they found out that two proteins cause obstruction called plaques in the brain of Alzheimer’s patients.

According to Dr. Yo-El Ju of Washington University School of Medicine, “When people had their slow-wave sleep disrupted, their amyloid levels increased by about 10 percent. I don’t think people should worry about Alzheimer’s disease after one bad night. I do think chronic sleep disruption increases the risk of Alzheimer’s disease.”

This study tells us that getting enough sleep helps reduce the levels of amyloid and tau.

Treatment contingencies

Five simple tips for reducing forgetfulness.

As recorded, there are approximately 5 million Americans who have Alzheimer’s disease, and the figures continue to grow. Mental-related disorders are hard to cure, and it requires long-term health scrutiny. There is no silver bullet to cure these health issues.

As of now, medications don’t work as what the diagnosis requires. It only serves as sustenance to patients who continue to experience the most common symptoms. Cholinesterase inhibitors namely donepezil or Aricept, galantamine, and rivastigmine are drugs used to avert and slow the dementia-related disorders.

As researchers and medical experts continue to fill the puzzle and unlock its’ secrets, humanity is one step closer to understand this phenomenon completely.

Dr.  Ju’s Theory

File:Characteristics of AD.jpg

Characteristics of AD

Releasing of amyloid-beta is a natural function that human brains perform. It happens whenever brain cells fire its synapse. “It may be that interrupted sleep leads to increased brain activity and increased amyloid production.”

She comes up with an assumption that as people sleep, amyloid secretion stops and regulates the excess protein levels. “When people are in a nice and deep sleep, they get a period when, with the normal clearance mechanisms working, the levels of amyloid decrease. If levels increase over the years, they are more likely to cause the clumps called plaques, which don’t dissolve.”

According to their previous study using mice as a sample, a 10% excess of amyloid can be a source of plaque formation.

Takeaway

Dr. Yo-El Ju, the head of the study, stated that “When people don’t sleep well, their brain cells don’t get the chance to rest.” The guaranteed means of treating Alzheimer’s continues to be half a mystery.

But prevention is still an amicable sheath to safeguard ourselves from health issues, chronic or not. Proper nutrition, sleep hygiene, and brain training can make a difference. Take action before it gets progressively worse. You can browse Focus On Furniture to help you look for the right bedroom design which can help you feel more comfortable while sleeping.

 

VIDEO: Repeal and Don’t Replace Obamacare

Obamacare has led to higher costs and fewer health insurance options for millions of Americans. The 2010 healthcare law has brought the American people rising premiums, unaffordable deductibles, fewer insurance choices, and higher taxes. President Donald J. Trump promised to repeal and replace this disaster, and that is exactly what he is working with Congress to achieve.

VIDEO: Government Can’t Fix Healthcare

Why is the government so bad at health care? Why did Obamacare make health insurance costs go up, and access to medical services go down? The short answer, as six-term Congressman Bob McEwen explains, is that when bureaucrats and politicians spend other people’s money for services they won’t themselves consume, only bad things happen. Watch our new video to understand why.

Tomorrow, we’re releasing a very special feature-length video with Dennis. Click here to receive a text message when we post the video. You won’t want to miss this.

VIDEO: Obamacare’s ‘People Will Die’ Canard by Charles Blahous

Passions are high in the national health care debate. Some supporters of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) have taken to asserting that hundreds of thousands of “people will die” if it is repealed or significantly altered. These claims do not withstand scrutiny, and those who wish their policy arguments to be taken seriously would be well advised to avoid them.

These sensational claims rest on fallacious reasoning, which I’ll describe later in this piece. But first let’s acknowledge that neither I, you, nor anyone else has any idea how many Americans will live or die under alternative federal health care policies. It’s an inherently fruitless exercise to attempt to quantify these effects. However, if one seriously wished to attempt it, one would not do so via the methods now being employed to promulgate the “people will die” claim.

Effects of the ACA

The claims are based on extolling a single effect of the ACA: increasing health insurance coverage, which is said to reduce mortality. Of course, the ACA didn’t magically produce its coverage increase out of thin air. To finance it, the law included several features that likely have countervailing effects on mortality.

Below is a partial list of such effects, provided with the caveat that it would be just as silly to charge the ACA with killing people as it is to attribute deaths to its possible repeal:

  • CBO also found the ACA to reduce workforce participation. Although there is a fierce national debate over the effects and causes of unemployment, there is broad understanding that unemployment correlates with worsened health.
  • The ACA imposed substantial taxes on medical devices and drugs, inhibiting their development and use. We do not know how many lives these products would otherwise have saved.
  • Most of the ACA’s coverage expansion occurred through Medicaid, which has a limited supply of providers and services. Those who gained Medicaid coverage via the ACA gained access to subsidized health services. But unless the number of providers, facilities and services accessible through Medicaid grew at least as fast as enrollment did, there has been a corresponding reduction in health service availability to people previously on Medicaid.

What Studies Show

But even a balanced attempt to weigh the ACA’s net effects on longevity would be inherently problematic under the methods currently being employed to estimate them.

The widely-circulated figures for deaths supposedly caused by replacing the ACA are extrapolated from a study of the Massachusetts health reform experience. That study found that post-reform (2007-10) mortality rates in Massachusetts improved relative to pre-reform (2001-05) mortality rates more than was the case in other US counties after controlling for demographic and economic conditions.

The study is credible, interesting, and suggestive, but does not offer any generalizable proofs of the effects of national health policy on longevity. To the contrary, the authors state that “Massachusetts results may not generalize to other states.”

The study merely shows that longevity improved within Massachusetts after health legislation, more than can be accounted for by economic and demographic trends. This indeed might plausibly have happened because of Massachusetts’s particular health reforms but as the authors acknowledge, it could also have arisen from any of countless factors specific to Massachusetts.

Indeed, a similar study of Oregon’s experience with Medicaid expansion “did not detect clinical improvements other than depression reduction.” In any case, the Massachusetts study only tells us what didn’t cause its longevity improvement; it cannot definitively explain what did.

Killing Your Credibility

But the biggest problem with the “people will die” claim is that it rests on a fundamental logical fallacy. It is related to the familiar “Fallacy of Composition,” which any discerning interlocutor will call you on if you commit it. An oft-cited example of the fallacy is that just because a standing spectator can see a baseball game better than the patrons seated near him, this doesn’t imply that everyone will see better if they all stand up.

The application of the fallacy to health insurance is straightforward. One cannot leap solely from the observation that “having health insurance. . . results in better health” to the conclusion that “the more we expand health insurance, the healthier we all will be.”

Health insurance reduces the out-of-pocket costs individuals face when they buy health services. Expanded insurance coverage increases health service consumption which, considered by itself, should improve health. But it also increases cost growth, an effect widely recognized in health expenditure forecasting. People with insurance feel this cost growth through rising premiums, but the cost inflation is felt especially keenly by the uninsured, who must pay more whenever they buy health services (or receive less care for what they pay).The observation that the insured are relatively healthier doesn’t by itself imply that expanding coverage will save lives.

Thus, even if health insurance did absolutely nothing to improve national health outcomes, we’d still expect the insured to be healthier than the uninsured. Thus, the observation that the insured are relatively healthier doesn’t by itself imply that expanding coverage will save lives.

There are countless potential examples of the fallacy in operation. For example, consider the current tax preference for employer-sponsored insurance (ESI). Those who receive health insurance through their employer enjoy an advantage in these benefits’ exemption from taxation. This tax preference steers additional health benefits to these individuals. However, this does not mean improved health for the nation as a whole. To the contrary, the ESI tax preference is widely recognized as a driver of health market inefficiency, reducing the value of health services relative to dollars spent.

An even simpler example: the government could easily add to the wealth of ten individuals by sending them each a million-dollar check. It is a non-sequitur to infer from this that the national wealth would be increased by the government’s sending a million-dollar check to every American.

In short, the “people will die” argument is premised on an easily-recognized logical fallacy. Don’t use it if you want to convince others to adopt your health care policy views. If you do, the only thing certain to die will be your credibility.

Reprinted from Economics 21.

Editor’s Note: Check out this hilarious video, parodying the “people will die” argument.

Charles Blahous

Charles Blahous

Charles Blahous is a senior research fellow for the Mercatus Center, a research fellow for the Hoover Institution, a public trustee for Social Security and Medicare, and a contributor to e21.