Monthly Archives: July 2008

Health Insurance, Bankruptcy, And The Power Of Community

HCAN Rapid Response Columbus 7/22/08Everyone thinks that health insurance is there to keep them solvent should they get sick, but it doesn’t work that way. I’ve talked to far too many people who got seriously sick and could no longer work and when they lost their jobs, they lost their insurance. My friend with the brain tumor is starting to figure this out: The system is stacked against people who get sick, especially if they have health insurance through an employer.

The Statistics

It’s pretty sad, but statistics in a Harvard study published in Health Affairs, pointed to half of all bankruptcies in 2001 coming from medical debt. Of those that went bankrupt due to medical bills, three quarters were for people who at one time had health insurance. If that’s not enough to make you sit up and take notice, nothing will. Health insurance is really no insurance that 1) You will be able to pay all your bills, if you get seriously ill, and 2) That they will cover all the medicines and treatments that you need.

Opt For Community Support To Help Meet the Shortfall

That’s where local community based programs in your area and getting informed on any financial programs for your particular disease become highly important. We’ve decided to work with a program called Project Compassion, here in NC, to establish a support team of volunteers for my friend. Along with that, we are beginning to look over some of the financial assistance available for people with brain tumors. I found a comprehensive list here: Financial Assistance List from The American Brain Tumor Association . I’m sure there are other such lists for different diseases, depending on what you have.

Your Neighborly Experts

And, a network of people who have gone through the system helps too. Right now, we have one person who has gone through the process of collecting disability with the Social Security office for a member of her family who also had a brain tumor. Her understanding of the system will be invaluable. The way I found out about Project Compassion was through another friend who had to set up a support team for a friend of hers who had a stroke and had some cognitive deficits and needed round-the-clock care. He was uninsured when he had the stroke, yet they managed to take care of him and he is doing quite well in the community now. We can’t rely on the government programs, the health insurance system, or any other profit-oriented system to help in these types of cases. It really requires community support, since the United States refuses to put a national health care system into place that will make these types of cases the exception, and not the norm.

Contact Professionals, If You Need To

Yet another friend told me that when he got into a car accident and his wife became ill, he applied for disability and it took over four years to get it. They amassed over $200,000 in medical debt, in the meantime. He eventually hired a lawyer to submit all the proper paperwork, in exchange for some of the back pay on the benefits they were refusing to give him. He said he was later told that 99% of all Social Security disability claims are automatically rejected UNLESS there is an attorney who submits them. Then, they go into a different pile where they are given the attention they deserve. Is that true? I don’t know that we can doubt it at this point, seeing how incredibly callous our governmental policies and health insurance companies tend to be. I think that where something demands compassion, the care should never be organized nor implemented by profit-driven companies or agencies. It’s absolutely nuts.

Build Community Now, Don’t Wait Until It’s Too Late

So, build your network of friends, a loving community, now, because when times get tough, you know that’s what it takes to get you by. And, if you can’t be bothered to participate to help someone else when they are in dire straits, that sort of thing eventually changes when you’re the one in dire need. It’s a good thing to cultivate compassion now, while we can be thankful for all the good things in our lives – like perfect health.


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We’re A Culture Of Snoops Now

Persiana AmericanaNot that I mind, but I think it’s kind of funny (as well as a bit scary). Yeah, so now if we’re trying to figure out what someone else is up to, you can check them out on some social networking site like MySpace or Facebook. I’ll even go so far as to admit that I snoop on my daughter’s profile that she granted me permission to view one time, and I visit it to make sure she’s doing okay and not getting into trouble. But, I suppose prospective employers are looking over my shoulder too and I’m wondering how they figure out which person with my name is me. I mean, there are multiple people with the same name and some are nitwits and others aren’t. If you happen to have the same name as a famous porn star, or something like that, I guess you’re just plain out of luck when prospective employers check the Internet.

Anyways, here are some clever ways in business to snoop on your competition online:

  • Check out Alexa.com and find out their traffic ranking and sites that link to them. You
  • Download webceo from http://www.webceo.com and find out what keywords your competitors are targeting and then put the same ones up on your web pages.
  • Use Google Alerts with your competitors name to find out news about your competitors.

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Unrealistic Real Estate Agents Contract Forms: Earnest Money Proving A Fraud Among Buyers and Realtors

Online FraudSo, I called my lawyer and asked if she thought it was a good idea to offer the back-out buyer half the earnest money, in exchange for releasing half back to me without going to small claims court. I heard that this is sometimes done and it would make up for the loss on the townhome deposit, which I had put down due to her conditions to move out in less than 3 weeks time. The real estate attorney said to go ahead and have the real estate agents draw up a letter to that effect and she would review it. So, I called my realtor and told her that’s what we were doing.

Why Earnest Money Is A Fraud

I get a call back later that this offer that I intend to make is not correct because the real estate agents are saying there is wording in the contract forms now that give half the earnest money to the real estate firms should a buyer default. I was like:”What?! What good is earnest money if it isn’t protecting the seller?” She was adamant that they got half the earnest money, which of course, is unrealistic in the extreme. I said to her:”Give it all back, then.” From what I understand, small claims courts will divide the money anyways. If the seller gets half, and I get half (which goes to the realtor), I end up with zero and a whole lot of trouble for nothing. If my option is to give it all back or take her to court for the realtors benefits, she gets 100% of it back.

My Liability Is Their Gain?!

Think about it folks, these real estate agents believe that because they put wording in a contract giving them a piece of the seller’s pie, that we’ll go to court for them and make ourselves liable for them! I said:”What possible incentive can I have to go after money that isn’t even mine? And, if you think that I am going to take on all the liability while you take the money, it doesn’t work that way! Give it ALL back.”

Shame, Shame, Shame!

She was stunned, and kept saying:”Oh my, oh my! But, she’s in the wrong!” And, I said I didn’t care because either way it was a loss to me and it wasn’t right to put me in that position as a seller. The earnest money was supposed to protect me. What did they do to wriggle their way into that money? Absolutely nothing! Yet, they think I’m going to court to collect what amounts to their money for them? I say, let the real estate agents sue the buyer if they think it’s their money. I’ll just stay out of it and next time I will make sure this clause is not in the contract when I sign. She said it was a standard clause now. PURE GREED on their part, I’m sorry, but true. Are there no honest people out there anymore!!! It’s downright SHAMEFUL.


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What Wal-Mart Does Right

Wal-Mart, natchI’m pretty sick of green groups singling out Wal-Mart like the poster child of big, bad, corporate, exploitation bullies. Green people for years talked about the big consumerism and Wal-Mart monster that appealed to that mass consumerism and a throw-away society. Liberal people snub Wal-Mart for its employment practices. Wealthy people snub Wal-Mart because they’d rather shop at Whole Paycheck. Don’t get me wrong, there is a little truth to all these statements. But, I’ve also noticed there are many things that Wal-Mart does right.

For instance, they hired Adam Werbach to help them become more environmentally friendly. Mr. Werbach had spent 17 years before that working on environmental activism through his leadership in the Sierra Club and other notable environmental organizations. Shortly after that Wal-Mart started offering the new CFL light bulbs and organic food.

The fact that Wal-Mart does provide employment for many people shouldn’t be overlooked either, in an economy that is hemorrhaging jobs everywhere. While I’m not keen on some of their noted unfair practices, the fact is – a job is a job. You get paid and it helps put food on the table for your family. That’s a HUGE benefit these days.

Now, another fellow blogger is noticing that Wal-Mart is also starting to not offer products that consumers are finding to be to be unsafe, like items that are products like baby bottles and infant formula cans that have a chemical called BPA. This chemical is approved by the FDA, but consumers are much more aware these days that not everything that’s on a store shelf is safe – no matter what government agency approves it. So, now Wal-Mart is being attacked for usurping the role of the FDA. It’s never ending the kind of criticism this company gets.

And, no one remembers that it was Wal-Mart’s beautifully efficient distribution system that ended being the most help in getting needed items into the New Orleans area during Hurricane Katrina, before and after the storm.

Honestly, I like Wal-Mart and I think they are doing many things right and are willing to change and evolve as they learn what works in our capitalistic economy and what doesn’t. It doesn’t hurt either that your money goes a whole lot further with the groceries there than other supermarkets too.


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Holy Inflation Hikes, Batman, Cracker Barrel Cheese Is More Than $6

Don't touch meHey, I haven’t seen the movie, but hear it’s great. I think the economy is playing a mighty joke on us, and Robin would be proud of all the cool sayings he could utter as he goes to the grocery store. Help me, Batman, my local grocer is blackmailing me!

Imagine it…Batman and Robin going grocery shopping since Albert has been laid off due to poor economic times…*

Batman: “We’re out of gas, Robin. Did you forget to fill up the Batmobile?”
Robin: “Well, call Triple A since we need the money to do grocery shopping and they’ll fill our tank for free.”
Batman: “Good thinking, Boy Wonder! (Hey, am I in the wrong cartoon?!)
They march into the local Kroger’s store, which is a store here down South. Nobody stares because Southerners are too polite to stare.
Batman:“Okay, let’s see…Mayonaisse, over $4…”
Robin: “Holy priceless mish-mash of eggs and oil!”
Batman (his lip twitching): “Milk…, over $5”
Robin: “Golly gee willikers Batman! How are we ever going to fight crime with this budget?”
Batman (his lip twitching more): “Of course, Robin. Even crime-fighters must eat. And especially you. You’re a growing boy and you need your nutrition. Just think of it this way, even Joker has to pay more for his make-up.”
Robin: “Holy costume party, Batman!”
Batman: “Tin foil, $10”
Robin (smacking his gloved fist into the palm of his hand):“Holy heart failure, Batman! It looks like the crooks have gotten into the grocery stores! How will we ever be able to maintain the Bat Cave and all our fancy toys, fight crime, dress up in weird outfits, and rehire Albert if everyone’s going criminally insane?”

Just then the joker pulls up and fills his cart with stolen food and drives away laughing and yelling:”Suckers!!!”

Stay tuned for the next exciting, heart-stopping visit to the grocery store…Same Bat time, Same bat channel.

*Prices similar to a recent visit to my grocery stores, some actual sayings taken from Batman movies, and yes, you have to find your chuckles somewhere in drastic, economic, times.


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The Theory of Wealth Relativity

Little unfair the young girl at the back is doing all the workI’ve noticed something interesting about the way my losses and gains are manifesting. I used to lose a few dollars here and there and gain a few dollars here and there. Who doesn’t have the story of getting a rebate only to have a bill for the exact same amount show up unexpectedly? It always seems the debt is exactly equal to the gain. Recently, I’ve been losing thousands and it’s downright scary. My only hope is to gain thousands to even out the ledger. So, I was discussing the loss of the buyer’s earnest money and my friend said:”A thousand dollars is a lot of money to lose.” And, I replied:”No, it’s not. It’s not even 1% of the purchase price.” I was thinking about the $4,000 approximately I lost at the beginning of the year because of car troubles. Relatively speaking, I’d be jumping for joy if all I lost was $1,000. But, the same is true about the gains now too. If I only make $1000 that’s not very much. I want to make many thousands and I really should manifest many thousands to pay off the debt on the car. My idea of how much money is a lot has gotten skewed. I now think in many thousands and that’s being reflected in my losses, and hopefully in the future in my gains too. I remember when the idea of working with many thousands would have been completely inconceivable to me. I didn’t have that much to lose nor that much to gain either.

How Much Do You Think You Can Afford To Lose?

That’s how much you’ll ever be able to gain in your lifetime. It made me think of Donald Trump gaining millions and losing millions, then gaining them all back. Most of us would have a complete heart failure the moment we lost the millions, especially if they were Daddy’s monies. But, if you’re working with millions, that’s probably just the way it works in that stratosphere. You can’t hope to handle millions, if you’re not willing to risk losing millions. People may view you as filthy rich, but to you a million is like a thousand to someone else. It’s all relative.

When I figure out how to use that change in relative value to my advantage, I’ll let you all know. I have a few thoughts on it right now, that I’ll share below, but I think there might be a goldmine of information in this one little creation. There have been occasions where I manifested many thousands and that, incidentally, was the time when I started losing thousands too. Prior to that, the income had been relatively stable with no major surprises either way. Now, I’ve been in this “thousand” loop of gains and losses for about eight years now. So, if I shift to a higher income, I assume I will probably have higher risks of losses too. It’s downright weird. So, I’ve been contemplating this theory of wealth relativity and finding out how to use it to my unfair advantage.

The Belief In Fairness

One of the key beliefs that could be influencing this creation in my reality is the belief in fairness. I read somewhere that if you believe in fairness, you can never expect to get rich. The reason for that is not that you have to be immoral to be rich, but if you want to be on the side of the cashflow quadrant that uses other people’s time and money to gain you wealth, well, that’s perceived as a bit unfair isn’t it? But, really, it’s all about choices. Some people choose to work for other people all their lives and never invest. Their payback is security. Their gains and losses are never traumatic. Others choose to build businesses and hire people willing to work for them. They assume larger risks and they can have huge losses, but also huge gains too. The only person that judges it as fair or unfair is the person making that judgment. Is it fair that millionaires make money off other people’s sweat? Is it fair when someone does all the work and another reaps the benefits? Is it fair if they make huge gains in an investment? To the average person, they might suggest it is unfair, or at least due to luck. It’s not. It’s due to skillful direction of their energies to create that which they want, regardless of the impediments. The same belief that makes life fair is the same belief that keeps you poor. Now, you can start appreciating that life is COMPLETELY UNFAIR because that’s what’s going to eventually make you rich.

In fact, I’m thinking I’m mighty pleased I lost a downpayment on a townhome on that deal. It was not a good deal and relatively speaking, it’s peanuts. It’s completely unfair that she pulled out, but I can appreciate that this may lead to an even better deal with someone else. So, keep your wits about you when life becomes unfair and learn how to appreciate the downs in life too. In fact, I think that’s typically how people get rich in the stock market: they appreciate a low asset and then sell it to someone. They never buy high and sell low. They always buy low and wait for it to appreciate and then sell high. The same can be done in our creative energies of manifestation, I think, if we learn the art of appreciation and gratitude, even in our losses. Then the absolute value of something diminishes in your mind as you focus on only appreciation of that asset and it manifests. That’s what I think so far, but I will let you all know how my experiments in changing my beliefs and installing appreciation works in the end.


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My Appreciation And Gratitude Experiment

Giant spider strikes again!I guess I’ve been doing the gratitude journal a few days now, and I have some interesting things to report. I’m beginning to think I’ve stumbled on the key to the universe.

Noticing A Change In Taste

A very peculiar thing happened while I was fixing my food recently. I have a very picky diet because I love good food. I am always grateful for having food to eat, but I have a preference for really high quality meals, partly because I am a very good cook. It’s hard to appreciate food that you know you could have cooked better. But, due to the hit on my pocketbook recently with the real estate issue, I have been attempting to reduce my food budget so that I can make up some of the shortfall. So, I am buying things I don’t normally buy to eat. I bought some potato salad recently and shared it with some friends in a meal of fried chicken, cole slaw and potato salad. It was truly awful. I mean, awful because it was all store bought food that tasted like it too. Store bought potato salad – yuck! I remember eating it and thinking:”Gosh, I hope I’m the only one who thinks this is awful.” But, I was grateful that my friends had come over to help me with some hornets in the lawn and I had bought this food in appreciation for their work and friendship. One of my friends did say that next time I had to cook (so I think it was pretty bad overall), but it’s hard to tell when you are spoiled on your own cooking what is truly awful and what is just plain ordinary.

Today, I decided to have some more of that potato salad and appreciate it in my newfound experiment to appreciate all the awful things in my life. It was very strange because today the potato salad tasted really good! I was like:”What?! How come today it tastes good?” I half suspect it was due to my insistence on appreciating it before I ate it.

The Spider Surprise

Oh, yes, I hate surprises – almost as bad as I hate spiders. I used to be quite phobic of spiders until I had a dream that suggested I had died of numerous spider bites in a past life. Since then, I am no longer phobic, and I even took the trouble to learn to appreciate spiders for all the good they do. But, they are not my favorite creatures, regardless. So, I am taking a bath this morning and concentrating on the water droplets on the stopper and the pattern of the water to deepen my appreciation of What Is and then I notice this big black thing that has suddenly appeared in the water. I reach over for some spectacles and when I put them on I had quite a shock. There was a big, black, spider right between my toes wriggling in the water! I got out of there fast and then realized I was hugely relieved not to have been bitten. It even looked like a black widow, one of only two poisonous spiders in North Carolina. Boy, was I GRATEFUL that spider had landed in the water instead of on me!

So, are bad and awful things still happening? You bet. The only difference is I am perceiving them a bit differently now and maybe that’s all that’s necessary to shift our reality.