Saturday, September 28, 2013

Bill Maher's California

Bill Maher. Reading his piece at HuffPo yesterday, "New Rule: Conservatives Who Love to Brag About American Exceptionalism Must Come Here to California", I was reminded how much of a hero he was for me in my first few years on this side of the Big Pond. As sometimes happens with infatuations, my previous fan-worship of Maher has gradually worn from thin to non-existent. His donating $1 million dollars to the Obama 2012 campaign was the last straw. Hadn't he got Obama's number after 4 years? I feel certain there were Green or other candidates on the ballot for him, to whom his dosh would have meant far more than it did to our Deceiver in Chief.

We still watch Bill Maher's weekly Real Time show, to hear the views of his guests rather than his own.

Anyway, forget about my naïveté when it comes to TV stars and politics - back to Maher's piece published yesterday, and used in his show last night. He extols the virtues of his now home state, California, contrasting them sharply against red states' blinkered idiocies. I've never visited California, other than overnight stops in Los Angeles, close to the airport, on a "once in a lifetime" trip to Hawaii back in 1984. From what I've read, we wouldn't be able to afford to live in California, no matter how idyllic the political scene there. One pays - high price or bargain basement - for what one gets, in a variety of ways in life.

The benefits Bill Maher describes somehow result in sky high property prices, and I'm sure that's just a start. That'll be fine for multi-millionaires like Bill, of course - for the rest of us, not so much. Cost of living in general will be much higher in California than in Oklahoma, Texas, Kansas and other red states. In my old homeland, England cost of living was much higher than here. Property prices, hotels, gas, utilities eating out are all expensive there as compared to Oklahoma. Part of this is due to the fact that staff in some occupations are better paid (restaurant, fast food, hotels) and, though unions are less common than they once were, they are still more prevalent than in the USA.

Now, for the benefits of living in a nice house in a nice area, owning a decent (if aging) car, the ability to afford occasional road trips with motel stops, I have to live among people whose politics disgust me, needed to give up the UK's National Health Service and instead pay through the nose for Medicare supplement and a further supplementary medical insurance, and for all medications, in order to to get me anywhere near to the same level of protection healthcare-wise I'd have enjoyed for free if still living in England.

Swings and roundabouts.

I hope Bill Maher is right, in that California's political flavours might eventually bleed out and affect other states, if not in total, then in ways which could begin to bring balance.

That well-known old quote of Will Rogers, like my earlier fan-worship of Bill Maher, also seems to have worn thin over the years: "When the Okies left Oklahoma and moved to California, they raised the average intelligence level in both states."


28 comments:

♥ Sonny ♥ said...



I have always loved Bill and I still do. He has his finger on the pulse of reality far more so than I ever could becuase he is rich and on the Inside of circles in the KNOW.. If he had thought for a second a green candidate could win, thats where he would have put his money- but even I know they cant- not yet anyway. If he ever thought on could- thats where he'll put his money and he surely choose the lesser of the 2 evils. just my opinion of course:)
I too hope what he said last night comes to fruition all over the country..

Twilight said...

Sonny ~ I respect your point of view, but have to add my own : that the attitude you describe "if he had thought for a second that a Green candidate could win....even I know they can't"
is why the Greens (and other alternative parties to the duopoly)never seem to make progress.

This is exactly the attitude those in power, behind the curtain (bankers, corporate bosses, the oligarchy) want us to keep up.

Change has to begin somewhere. People, like Bill Maher, with big chunks spare money to donate, could do a lot to begin a change in public consciousness.

I know he's keen on environmental matters, he mentions it a lot, yet he didn't offer any support those who could, eventually change things.

LB said...

Twilight ~ Thank you for posting this. What's Bill Maher talking about? California may be better in *some* superficial ways, but where I live (Northern California's Bay Area) it's still mostly illusion for many lower and lower to middle income folks who are struggling to hang on, despite a higher minimum wage, slightly better access to healthcare for uninsured folks and better-than- average recycling (in *some* areas). I've lived and worked here all my life and can't afford to buy even a modest home, nor does our shrinking modest income -which hasn't kept up with the rising cost of housing- allow us much (if any) wiggle room, and we're not the only ones.

Small businesses (retail is one example) are having a tough time too. Both my husband's and my former long-time employer's had to close their doors because they could no longer afford to do business. And for those smaller businesses managing to remain open, you can imagine the negative impact it's had on wages and benefits. I could go on, but you get the point.

Here's a link: "California’s disappearing middle class: Is the California dream viable for middle class families? The growing disparity between rich and poor."
http://www.doctorhousingbubble.com/california-middle-class-dream-middle-class-income-california-real-estate-market/

mike said...

Maher's donation to Obama's campaign doesn't concern me...realistically, it's donate/vote for a Dem or a Repub. Squandered on the other parties, whether one wishes the other parties a higher profile or the desire for a more level playing field. The choice was Mittens or Barack...not the best of decisions to make, but I certainly didn't want Mittens! In retrospect, I suppose they were equal.

My previous address prior to eight years ago was in Ventura, CA...what a wonderful place. I transitioned to Perryville, because I had a mother to attend, hence this part of the country...boo hoo hoo, sob.

I had a comparably priced home (upon purchase) in CA as I do here in TX. CA taxes property at 1% of purchase price per year and home value can only increase by that amount. Here in TX, my property taxes are double that of CA!!! Property value here appraises at market value and the tax is a little over three percent of value. CA has a 12% income tax, TX has no income tax...TX is a wonderful state to shelter your earnings, if you make a lot of dinero...terrible if you are on the low-end of income. Low income earners pay a disproportional rate of total taxes here in TX, unlike CA.

Oddly, rents in CA were about half of what a person would pay for a house if they had a mortgage for that same property. I could have rented my house in CA for half what I paid INITIALLY in mortgage, but over time, about ten years, the rent caught-up to my mortgage payment. Rental prices for a house in my current city in TX is the same as paying a mortgage.

The quality of life in CA is way, way, way above that of my TX location! Farmers' markets abound and the food selection and quality is excellent. CA is beautiful, everywhere...beauty is planned into all construction projects and city-county zoning prohibits derelict projects. Politics is much more above-board there and not much gets under the radar and is corrected quickly if it does...vastly more political savvy in CA. CA is a reulated state, which is OK with me...the regulations benefit the citizens in many ways and averts much potential corruption. The environment is highly regarded and regulated in CA. The weather in CA is PERFECT.

What can I say about Perryville-Cruzville? It's comparable, maybe worse than Oklahoma...tough call there in the comparison to your state. TX is very unregulated and it shows. The main highway through town to Padre Island and the gulf coast is a horrid mish-mash of unregulated, ugly strip malls and trashy looking. The TX motto, "Don't mess with Texas"...and it's a mess, but I call it home now...boo hoo hoo, sob.

I've lived all over the United States and life is what one makes of it, where ever one is. There is good in everything, even if it takes longer to discover and enjoy. I love the fall-winter-spring here...all three months of it!

I'm always "California Dreaming".

“You can check out any time but you can never leave.” The Eagles, Hotel California

LB (again) said...

I have relatives sprinkled across the state, so it's not just where I live. Wow, what is Bill Maher thinking? Maybe he should talk to some of the people running our homeless shelters or food-banks.

According to something I just read this morning, 6.1 million Californians live at or below the poverty level and 7 million are uninsured. "Medical-out-of-pocket expenses are among the largest drivers of poverty under the Supplemental Poverty Measures."

Here's the link citing "Poverty rates in California": http://homelessinla.com/2013/01/10/poverty-rates-in-california/

LB (again) said...

As far environmental issues go, in the uber liberal town I'm in, it's mostly politics as usual. I have a good friend who became very disillusioned while working for environmental causes here. There's muck at the bottom of the lake. All is not what it seems.

People mostly see what they want to see. It's the invisible ones who live with the reality.

mike (again) said...

LB, Bill Maher reputedly lives in Beverly Hills, CA...sheltered life there...his income shelters him, too.

Texas has slightly more in poverty than CA, but a much higher un-insured rate. Texas doesn't really fund much for homeless and food banks...these needs are generally funded through private donations. Medicaid is a joke here in TX.

I can understand your disenchantment with the Bay area...much like LA or San Diego. I didn't like visiting those bigger CA cities and I wouldn't consider living in or around them. Ventura is 60 miles north of LA and very much not like LA. Virtually ALL large cities in America have the same fate, however.

Twilight said...

LB ~ I had a sneaking feeling that California might not be all that Bill Maher proposed - at least not for everybody. He lives in a bubble of wealth and celebrity - his bread is buttered, on both sides!

Thanks for adding your own real-life experience. It puts things into better perspective.

I guess the same kind of spin could be put on any state if it suited the purpose of the speaker/writer. I see a TV commercial for Bank of Oklahoma sometimes which makes me wonder if I must be living in some parallel dimension....or maybe I'm just not doing it right. ;-(

Twilight said...

mike ~ Yes I think we've mentioned Bill Maher's donation before and disagreed about it. :-)

Thanks for telling of your experiences in both California and red state Texas. You are in a good position to compare the two.

I'm surprised about property prices in CA - it obviously depends which city, which area etc - as it does everywhere else, always. CA's a big state, too. Location...location....the realtors' litany.

I can understand your "California Dreaming". I still do a bit of "Canary Islands Dreaming" from time to time, but it was never in the cards, and probably rightly so.

mike (again) said...

Twilight, the Republican and Democratic parties in the USA have been historically homogenous on each side. Just in the past decade, major splits within each party have occurred...more in-fighting within each party, too. The Republicans are currently on the precipice of greater divides than the divide experienced with the Tea Party introduction. I think these divisions may eventually lead to a split within the Repub party, much like the third party introduction in Britain experienced (Britain went from two primary parties to Conservative, Liberal, and Labor?). Maybe the USA will do the same soon.

Most of America has historically voted for the two major parties, because their parents and grandparents voted that way...much like religion is handed down through the generations.

The 2000 election drew more votes for the Green Party's Nader (wow...5%) that was said to have been taken from Gore and spoiled Gore's victory. That put a pall over future hopes for other parties' success in elections (not that there was that much hope prior!).

And I don't think that other parties have been successful in recruiting striking leaders to showcase as potential presidential material. I remember that Ron Paul was a high profile candidate in the 1988 presidential election, Libertarian Party, but he had just quit the Republican Party the year prior and was considered too liberal and risky...he lost at a time of a conservative mood in the USA. I think that an aspiring politician presidential wannabe with credentials will avoid the other parties in favor of the mainstream Dem or Repub parties. Until a very strong contender decides to go with one of the other parties, there really won't be a choice for the voter. The contender better have some deep pockets, too. It would have been interesting to have tested Obama as an independent party contender in 2008...he was able to inspire the voter and may have pulled it off.

The current legalities regarding campaign financing need to change to level the playing field, too. Good luck!

Change does have to happen somewhere, but it has to be cohesive and at the right time and involve all sides of the process (voter, presidential hopeful, funding, rationale). There is a time for everything.

mike (again) said...

Twilight, if you have the time, please give me a couple of paragraphs explaining now Britain's two parties evolved to three. I know there were a couple of hiccups in between, too. Thanks.

Twilight said...

mike ~ In Britain there were once two main parties, Liberal and Conservative, then the Labour Party arose and gained strength during the 1920s, came into its own after World War 2. Liberal party has just about withered away, far as I know, or survive (just) as Liberal Democrats.

Labour party is supposed to be centre-left, but in the USA, in its original form, it'd be looked on as Marxist, socialist, etc. It has been gradually watered down, as has the Democrat Party here, until it's not even a shadow of its former self.

Something happened at some point I can't quite identify, both here and in the UK. A hijack or secret coup of some sort must have taken place.

As Chris Floyd wrote in a piece I saved from last year:

But the fact is we have only one party, the Imperial Bloc. You may find one faction more distasteful than the other, but both fully support the moral insanity of the militarism outlined above. Whichever faction wins, more people will die horrible deaths -- and no one will answer for it, no one will be prosecuted. And the firestorm of hatred and blowback that both factions of the Imperial Bloc keeps stoking against our country will continue to build. So be clear: if you vote for one of these factions, that is what you are supporting. Perhaps you may feel that such a dreadful moral compromise is necessary; that's your choice. But if so, you should know -- and feel -- just what that choice means.

http://www.chris-floyd.com/component/content/article/1-latest-news/2276-bloc-party-pantomime-and-power-in-the-imperial-system.html

If the Democrats were truly of the left, along the lines of Eugene Debs, back in the day, or Paul Wellstone - I'd support them.
They are not, and I will not, no matter who is their figure-head president. It's all a front for the handlers behind the curtain.

I hope you're right and that when the time is right, change will come. I'll probably be long gone by then - but I hope not. fingers crossed!

LB said...

mike ~ This morning after reading what Bill Maher had to say, I tried to google where he lives . . . would've guessed Malibu, but Beverly Hills fits too.:) Thanks.

To be fair, there are a few things I still love about the Bay Area, not the least of which is our transportation system and walkability, something other ares of California don't have (we're somewhat unique). I volunteered today, took the bus to work then walked the 4 miles home, something I'm only able to do because of our moderate weather - which is one of the other things I love since I don't drive. And we're a little further along than most of the country when it comes to issues involving gay and lesbian rights.

Twilight ~ You know, your post really had me going this morning. I've never lived anywhere else so I have nothing to compare it to, but if California is the ideal, then we're all in BIG trouble.

Bill Maher's reference to our " . . . clean air, the modern, first world infrastructure, the functioning social safety net, and bread that doesn't taste like powdered glue." is kind of an exaggeration, if not downright misleading. It's true we have some beautiful scenery but functioning social safety net? I'm not so sure. I managed my elderly mom's care for many years before her death (paid for out of pocket by my husband and me so we could keep her near us) and often had to advocate for other residents in the facility she lived in due to a serious shortage of Ombudsman -and that was before the budget cuts! I became so familiar with their issues (and the abuse) the director even tried to recruit me. It's been a couple of years since I've spoken with anyone there, but last I heard they were still understaffed - don't know if it's any better now or not. I doubt it: http://www.canhr.org/newsroom/newdev_archive/2009/CANHRstatementOmbudReport.html
http://www.californiahealthline.org/insight/2012/do-long-term-care-patients-need-a-stronger-advocate

Like I said before, right now I know (and know of) so many people who are barely getting by here, yet for a variety of practical reasons they remain *stuck*, without resources, and without safety nets (unless you count Meals On Wheels, which is one of my favorite charities). I even quit charging clients -and now only accept donations- because so few of them could afford it. Some of the ones on Medicare or Medi-Cal (California's Medicaid program) can't even get in to see a doctor, let alone pay what it would cost them to see one privately. This is why I continue to advocate for genuine healthcare reform (HR676): http://www.californiahealthline.org/insight/2013/changes-on-horizon-for-california-safety-nets-care-of-undocumented-indigent

Thanks again for posting this. It's good to know what people out there are thinking.

mike (again) said...

“Best way to live in California is to be from somewhere else.” Cormac McCarthy, No Country for Old Men

Maybe CA is best appreciated when viewed from a transplant's eyes! I met quite a few CA natives that truly desired snow, vivid autumnal colors, and the feel of seasons. Vagaries to me!

LB, some of your comments remind me of the concept of "poverty". I grew-up pretty darn poor...I'm sure my parents didn't exceed the defined income for poverty at that time. I've met a number of individuals over the years that say they grew-up "poor", but when I inquired what they based that definition, I would surely consider it middle-class.

On one of the recent nightly national newscasts, a segment was shown regarding the legislative decrease in food stamps and the much higher use of food banks. A middle-aged couple with no children at home and a paid-for house were showcased. He had lost his job and they were dependent on her earnings of $30,000 a year. They found themselves dependent on their local food bank. I was dismayed that they could make that much and feel they couldn't survive without the food bank. Our local news has shown some of the same type situations...families that I would think could get by, but are dependent on food banks. Several have been interviewed in their homes: big-screen TV (cable connection?), cell phones abound, kids playing with expensive digital toys. Most, not all, of these families had incomes around $40,000...entitles them to food stamps, too.

Like you, LB, I cared for my mother for nine years before she could enter a nursing home. I used a tremendous amount of my own money in doing so. When she finally could be admitted to a nursing home, I was broke...truly broke. There were no options for me here in TX. TX Medicaid does not cover men here unless one has underage dependents. No food stamps, either. Sliding-scale health clinics require verification of income...one cannot be treated without having an income...insane...the truly impoverished without income can't receive care!

I survived on next to nothing for three years until I was old enough to receive social security. I did not visit food banks. I am considered just under poverty level income, but I feel rich now. I do not go to food banks now, nor do I receive any additional income other than SS.

I don't want to sound Ayn-Randian or like a curmudgeon, but there are many people sucking-in benefits that probably shouldn't. That would leave a lot more money for those truly in need.

Twilight said...

LB ~~ I'm sure Bill Maher has had numerous tweets, e-mails and messages of all kinds saying much the same as you about California as experienced by ordinary people.

mike~~ It shouldn't be like this - sometimes I want to shout it from the rooftops - and I'm one of the lucky ones, with, so far, enough to fund a comfortable existence - though if the pound/dollar rate were to dip a lot I'd be facing a few problems (my 2 pensions come from England) once old age catches up and we might need to find alternative an place to live.

I feel for those with severe problems, I really do.

LB said...

mike ~ Somehow it doesn't surprise me to learn you cared for your elderly mother. She was lucky to have you.:)

So many assume once an elderly parent becomes institutionalized they'll be well cared for, which sadly, is rarely if ever the case. Also, in terms of costs, there can be unexpected, out-of-pocket expenses until private resources finally run out and people begin to qualify for Medicaid - if someone has anything at all, the system can be tricky and get complicated. Medicare and Medicaid also don't cover dental and sometimes vision.

Though everyone warned me not to, we declined the offer of a nursing home that was over an hour away and instead moved my mom to a smaller licensed residential facility, a Board and Care only a block away from our apartment. Except for a *portion* of her medication costs, we paid for EVERYTHING out of pocket, including her monthly rent, Depends, Ensure (which, after a point, was the only source of nutrition she'd take), the bed coverings, visits from the podiatrist (they wouldn't cut her toenails, which we weren't told and didn't know until several years had passed when we *accidentally* saw what was going on!) and more things I can't remember right now. But, we were fortunate in that back then, both my husband and I had relatively good jobs and a little money in the bank. The point is, I'm not at all surprised you ended up broke after caring for your mom. I get it, since it's not much different here in California.:(

One thing I will say about some of those receiving supplemental aid (like food stamps or food bank services, which thankfully, we don't), is that sometimes income can be deceiving. Out of pocket costs towards either health care or health insurance can be significant, making it easy to end up in the hole. For instance, my husband and I pay around $700.00 a month for our health insurance coverage and have *no* dental or vision. Paying for those things takes a BIG chunk out of our modest income, more than we can comfortably afford. Cost of living (especially rent) in our area is higher too, even for our very small garden apartment, yet our income hasn't kept up. We've tried to cut back (I was willing to give up on basic cable but the hubby nixed the idea because lack of reception in our area would also mean doing without any TV) but our phone bill to maintain our computer connection is another big cost and since it's kind of a necessity these day, if not a life-line, it's one of those "luxuries" we're not willing to give up. I have a couple of older friends who can't afford cable or a computer and it's not only extremely isolating, but often impractical.

Another older couple I know are renters, living in an older house with a leaking roof, black mold and roommates - all they can afford. Now the wife is seriously ill and unable to get the diagnosis and care she so obviously needs. Yet they have clean clothes on their backs and food in their bellies, and for now, even manage to run a struggling small business out of their home. There are those who might not be considered poor by other people's standards, but they're still having to make do with a lower quality of life than most Americans would find acceptable.

It's easy to fall through the cracks. There are a lot of different ways it can happen. I'm sorry for the tough time you once went through and glad you made it to the other side and now feel "rich":) There was a time when I wouldn't have understood. That was before I knew.

Compared to others, we're blessed and I'm grateful - which doesn't mean I don't continue to believe our country could do better. People shouldn't have to prove (or earn) their worthiness and neither should our value as human beings be based upon how much we earn or can afford.

Twilight said...

mike & LB ~ Re caring for elderly parents, I was (Dang I cannot possibly say "lucky") but my mother found out about her lung/brain cancer too late for me to be of much assistance other than hospital visits. She had (I now suspect) refused to face up to what was happening, and soldiered on quite well at home not letting people know, not allowing herself to know. She had always been strong, mentally and physically.

But my husband was in a similar situation to mike - his mother was diagnosed with Parkinson's Disease, and by that time living alone in Kansas, a half day's drive from husband's home in OK. He gave up his job and went to care for her during her last years. Which led him into a health difficulty of his own. With no medical insurance, a short time after his Mom's death, he was told that he must have a stent inserted in an artery (or is it vein - I'm never sure about such things). He asked if he could wait until he'd be on Medicare in under a year, but the answer was "you can if you want to die". So he had to re-mortgage his home to pay a portion of the extortionate cost, then put most of the rest on a credit card. He had been unable to find any kind of stop-gap medical insurance due to his age.

Back in England, before I met husband, I used to chat to another guy on line sometimes. He had suffered kidney and eye cancer, had one of each removed and had had to sell his home and some land to finance the operations and care. He had previously been fairly well-off, but was living in a rented trailer,with nothing to live on. He refused to go to the authorities for any kind of help, but I nagged and nagged him (he wouldn't accept a loan from me), he eventually did get something - don't know if it was Medicaid or welfare, but at least some money so he could eat.

Those experiences warned me of what to expect in the USA - but I fell in love and here I am.
:-)

LB said...

Twilight ~ So many people, so many untold stories. Your husband too. Hope he's made it to the other side and never has to go through anything similar again. Don't wish it on anyone.

It's sad how so many of us here in this country remain unaware or unconcerned.

Twilight said...

LB ~ He's doing fine now, thanks - needed a pacemaker a few years ago, but was under Medicare by then, so it was less of a financial worry.

mike (again) said...

My mother just had her 92nd birthday last week...she's been in the nursing home since late 2009 and has severe dementia. She must have some cognition, as she often asks to be euthanized!

Her story starts in 2000 when she was 79. Her washing machine required repair...the repairman was to arrive between 10 AM and noon. A knock at the door shortly after 10 and she answered the door to a home-invasion robbery!

She was held hostage for about four hours, knifed, beaten, dragged around. My mother was able to call the police...swat team arrived...the guy used my mom as a shield. Shoved her into her car over to the passenger's side and he drove off...my mom opened the door and took a dive for it.

She recovered, went to court as a witness numerous times during the guy's trial. He received seven years in prison, but out after four years.

Mom went completely insane about six months after the invasion. She wasn't sleeping at night and was drinking over 20 cups of coffee a day...lost over 60 pounds. She quit eating.

We children didn't have power of attorney nor durable power of attorney. Very little we could do, as long as she didn't hurt herself or others. We were able to get her into a medical hospital for a complete evaluation, then transferred to a psych ward, but they couldn't hold her against her will for more than 30 days. She was in three psych wards afterward, but always out after 30 days. Each time made her more paranoid and delusional. She became very hostile to anyone trying to help her. She heard voices that would tell her what to do.

I'll just skip through the years and say that there really wasn't much that could be done without her cooperation. She trusted me, so I was the delegate for her caretaker. I was constantly involved with her and various agencies, mainly adult protection services and the police department (she was always being picked-up late at night trying to get cash out of ATMs!). She eventually lost all concept of money, cash, checks...she didn't understand them! She refused all help from agencies, due primarily to her paranoia.

Her freedom came to an end when she went to a local grocery store, lost her purse, and began threatening customers and employees.

LB said...

mike ~ What a terribly sad story, but what a fighter your mom sounds like! I have to ask, other than wanting to be euthanized, does she ever have good days where she recognizes you and knows she's loved?

Brings back all kinds of memories about my own mom's dementia/paranoia and my overwhelming sense of helplessness. The years pass slowly when you're watching someone you love suffer. The end was ugly and I was very relieved when she finally passed. Not long after, she came to me in a dream, young and beautiful, riding on a bus on her way somewhere, smiling and waving.

LB adding said...

My larger-than-life dad had the right idea. He passed away New Year's Eve, found on his living room floor with a martini glass still in his hand, as if he'd been on his way to make another and had decided to lie down for a while before continuing.

Twilight said...

mike ~ Oh! That must be very hard to take, mike! So very sad; she much have a very strong constitution too! What a dreadful experience she had!

Dementia is far worse for those having to watch than for the demented person isn't it? My Dad had senile dementia after several strokes. His personality changed completely, worse at some times than others. I hate to remember him like that, he was such a sweet man, always.

I cared for my late partner of 33 years as his mental health slipped away, during the early years of my retirement. He was not suffering from dementia exactly, but again strokes left him debilitated mentally and physically, and just unable to hold a conversation or remember anything. Broke my heart, as he'd been such a bundle of enthusiasm and drive all his life.

I try to not to dwell on those sad times for my loved ones and me and to concentrate on remembering them as they were at their best and brightest. I hope you'll be able to find comfort in doing so too, mike, and LB.

mike (again) said...

LB, we are a bit confused about her cognition, but it doesn't matter. I've changed quite a bit...older and gray-haired...I slightly resemble her father now. My younger sister used to have red hair and colors her hair now...mother's mother had red hair, too. When Mom sees me, she asks about momma and when Mom sees my sister, she asks about daddy, but she never calls us by name. She tells us that she loves us and misses us...but we assume she thinks we are her parents. She's usually sleeping, so it's rare to have any interaction.

Twilight, I think the most disturbing portion of this period of time is that one criminal jerk was able to inflict such sweeping, permanent changes across my family...AND he only received four years for it. He was in his late 20s...his mother was about my age. His mother was so aggrieved by his actions...I think she paid a much higher price that her son, the criminal.

The USA's declared war on terrorism a couple of years after the home-invasion and all of the money spent and sweeping privacy changes that have beset this country...yet, we have home-grown, mini-terrorists right here that have killed more people than the original 9-11-2001 incident and caused so much destruction on many levels.

Twilight said...

mike~ Yes, indeed. There's a definite cruel irony in it all - as well as a communal sickness of mind and spirit in much of what goes on nowadays. Maybe it has always been so, but we can judge only by what we know ourselves.

I do hope that there will be peace for your mother, at last - and sweeter times for you and for the rest of your family.

LB said...

mike & Twilight ~ For me, the worst of it was watching someone I loved suffer through a never ending series of indignities, some worse than others, often at the hands of those entrusted with her care. I was involved in a very hands-on way and witnessed first-hand serious incompetence, carelessness, apathy, even cruelty and abuse. I saw my mom almost every day, sometimes several times a day and we took her to all of her appointments. Doctors and nurses (the good ones) used to tell me how lucky my mom was to have me - one very stern doctor said she wished she had a daughter like me, though it wasn't really about me. My take-away was that they *knew* how the system worked and how it regularly let vulnerable people like my mom down.

It's hard enough dealing with the inherent emotional, psychological and physical/neurological aspects of degenerative dementia without adding abuse and neglect into the mix. As the disease progressed, my mom's dementia was nothing like the gentle slipping-away, in and out, as depicted in the movie, "The Notebook".

mike ~ I really do get how frustrating it is to witness the terrible aftermath of someone's inhumanity towards your mom, and how frustrating it is to live with the injustice.

One of the most difficult things about my mom's illness was living with the knowledge (and also the constant reminders) of what so-called 'normal' human beings are capable of. While the original owner of the facility my mom lived in lost her license (and was investigated and fined numerous times after I complained, resulting in them being forced to change some of their procedures), in the end nothing much changed and I had to live with that. It took a long time for me to forgive everyone, including myself for the many ways in which we all let her down. In the years before my mom's death, I spent quite a bit of time in a number of different facilities and saw similar things going on in *most* of them.

There were good things to come out of it too. For one thing, I'm much more compassionate and aware now, fiercer in my advocacy. And my mom and I grew a lot closer and found a certain peace in our relationship with one another - if nothing else, at least my mom knew how much I loved her. Hope both of you found that to be true in your relationships as well.

mike (again) said...

CA just banned indefinite detention and a NO COMPLIANCE with 2012 NDAA of enemy combatants! Hooooooray for CA!

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/10/02/california-ndaa-ban_n_4031685.html?icid=maing-grid7|main5|dl1|sec3_lnk1%26pLid%3D385482

Twilight said...

mike~ Well -jolly good show CA!Hope it infects other states soon.

PS..Eventually found a way into my Blogger account!