For the uninitiated, Charlie Gard is a baby boy in the United Kingdom with a rare genetic condition known as mitochondrial DNA Depletion Syndrome. The hospital he was being treated at decided they were going to withdraw medical care for the boy, thus causing him to die. The parents wanted to explore further treatment for their child because a couple of American doctors believed further treatment was possible, while the parents also raised the money for treatment in America via crowdsourcing. The hospital refused to release the boy and the parents then sued the hospital and the case went through numerous UK courts, and an EU court with all of the courts deciding in favor of the hospital.

While the court cases were going on, Charlie Gard became somewhat of a cause célèbre for Americans on the right side of the political spectrum, stating that a panel had decided Gard would die and that the hospital was holding him hostage while the court cases were being argued allowing his condition to further deteriorate as time went on to ensure that Gard died. The right argues that this is what would happen if socialized health care came to the United States.

Wesley J. Smith, who seems pretty knowledgeable on the subject, notes earlier in July:

“This is where Charlie Gard’s case is breaking new and even more authoritarian ground. Not only are doctors and judges forcing Charlie off life-support; they are also declaring that their ethics rule over Charlie’s life, even if the parents—Chris and Connie Gard—find alternative care. As far as I know, this is unprecedented in futile-care controversies.”

Everything I’ve read so far indicates that the Republicans and conservatives who are harping about the Charlie Gard case are…wait for it…entirely 100% correct. The first indication that the right was probably legitimately on to something was the initial complete blackout of coverage of the Gard case from the [extremely left] mainstream media. But, that’s not conclusive. The second, and critical piece of information to me, is that the parents did indeed raise the needed 1.2 million pounds via GoFundMe by the end of April. So, at any point during the three months from the end of April through the end of July, the hospital could have released the baby boy to the parents for treatment without fear of it costing the United Kingdom.

By July 24, the parents of Gard withdrew their request to fly Charlie to America and their challenge to the removal of ventilation because the American doctor who was going to treat Gard believed Gard now had irreversible damage from the disease. On July 28, 2017 Charlie Gard died in hospice after the judge denied the parents’ request to allow Charlie to die at home.

So, Charlie Gard was held hostage by the hospital and his condition was indeed allowed to further deteriorate when there was no legitimate reason to allow it to happen. The July events also showed that the parents of Gard were OK with ending treatment after going through all of the available options, something that apparently the hospital, and by extension the United Kingdom, felt that Gard’s parents were incapable of doing on their own. The July events also showed that the state continued to believe it owned the boy in his last days, even after his parents agreed to withdraw treatment.

Back in 2009, the left harped on Sarah Palin’s comments that “death panels” would decide to “euthanize grandma” if socialized health care came to America. It seemed at the time it was obvious scare tactics on Palin’s part and fully warranted at least some ridicule, but now that a socialized health care death panel from one of our biggest allies has decided to kill a baby boy, it doesn’t seem so worthy of ridicule now. This comes a few years after Palin was proven correct about Russia becoming more of a problem during the Obama administration and doing things such as invading the Ukraine, something she had predicted and was ridiculed for too.

Tack on the fact that Senate Republicans universally denounced Obamacare back in 2009 stating it was simply a step towards single-payer and Democrats universally sang the “Republicans are paranoid” song, then later admitted that Obamacare was meant to simply be a step towards single payer and you have the Republicans looking like they were speaking closer to the truth about what was going on with the bigger picture of health care in America.

This 2009 image was supposed to be satirical.

In the final weeks of Gard’s life, the judge in the Gard case has gone out of his way to address a couple of times the social media furor from the American right over the Gard case claiming the state is killing him by stating that the state is not killing him.

The “Honourable” Mr Justice Francis has in one of his comments from July 24, 2017 addressing this notion:

 Our judges are fiercely independent of the state and make decisions, having heard evidence and having considered the law.

It’s been maddingly stupefying reading his comments – where do the “fiercely independent”  judges in the United Kingdom courts get their law from? Is it not the United Kingdom? Am I missing something here or is Francis full of shit?

I’ve seen numerous others from the United Kingdom that don’t see what the problem is here either. What’s going on here is a fundamental difference in ideology between the United States and the United Kingdom. People in the United Kingdom are so entrenched in their culture lacking some freedoms that they don’t know or understand what those freedoms are. It’s no different from the incompatibilities between Western ideology and Islamic ideology that produces Sharia law. Now I fully and truly understand why America fought a bloody revolutionary war to get away from the British ideology. While they’re our friends, their treatment of their people is obviously shit and has occurred for so long that many in the UK consider it completely normal.

America, FUCK YEAH!

This case also does indeed highlight problems with socialized health care. I will be the first to admit that I don’t know the intricacies of United Kingdom health care. Shit, I don’t even know or understand American health care – Obamacare, the insurance companies, politicians and the media have done a more than adequate job of obfuscating everything related to health care law here in the states. But, the United Kingdom’s health care system has been advertised as a “gold standard” of single-payer health care. The parents of Charlie Gard took him to the hospital after being born healthy, but not gaining much weight after a couple of months. Then, the hospital held him hostage. So, the hospital, and by extension, the state, did believe it owned Charlie Gard under whatever health care system it has. While there’s a debate as to whether single-payer healthcare truly constitutes socialism, states believing they own someone is a very strong indicator of socialism. If it’s not technically socialism, it’s certainly socialism in practice.

Here in the states, anyone with common sense (and I know not a lot of people have that) knows that when a doctor lays down some heavy news, a second opinion is always warranted, no matter how much you like the doctor or how knowledgeable they appear to be. Doctors don’t always know what they’re talking about either, like at all, even within their own specialized field. For me, I was told my headaches were obviously the result of allergies and sinus issues for nearly FORTY FUCKING YEARS before it was discovered there was a slow growing cancer in the middle of my brain that was likely there since early childhood. Doctors missed the tumor on CT scans of my sinuses that included my brain in the mid-2000s and it could have been treated then, instead it was 2016 before any sort of treatment could begin. Gard’s parents not being allowed to explore the second opinion under their health care system, that they were ready and willing to pay for, is astonishing. Apparently if they wanted the ability to have a second opinion on a major health issue, the parents shouldn’t have taken him to a UK hospital from the start. But how would they have known that, or why would they be thinking that when all they were doing was trying to figure out why he wasn’t gaining weight at the moment?

The Charlie Gard case never passed any smell test and the more one whiffs with their nose, the more the nasty stink of socialism sets in. The right appears right on this one when it says this is an example of socialized health care being about big government control over the individual first with health care coming second, perhaps a distant second. As a father of two children, I can’t imagine being told one or both of them has a terminal disease, told they are going to be entered into palliative care and not being allowed to obtain a second opinion. Technically Sarah Palin was wrong about socialized health care euthanizing grandma; socialized health care euthanizes the grandchild.

***

Speaking of Obmacare, Republicans somehow, and almost unimaginably, now fully own it and all of its myriad problems. Voters have asked Republicans to repeal it for 7 years now and it’s clear that it will never be repealed given the latest antics with McCain making a dramatic entrance in the meeting to vote yes to set the next meeting then voting no to a repeal in the next meeting. Once again, this proves to me that there is no actual difference between the two parties when it comes to Congress and that it is just one large establishment party, a sentiment I’ve held for 15 years. Many voters who voted in Trump fully own Obamacare now as well given that the entire point of the “Trump Train” they all jumped on was that Trump was a master negotiator and would finally be able to work with a Republican Congress to get it repealed.

Gonna repeal Obamacare! WOO WOO!

The reported reason some Republicans voted no was because they didn’t want to simply repeal it without another option in place. Well, I’m not even a Republican and would rather have had a straight repeal than a system that is a step towards death panels.

***

Not to stir the pot any further or anything, but when I was reading up on the Gard case, a little voice in the back of my head briefly piped up and spoke a couple of times. It said “Charlie Gard may be being denied treatment because he’s a white male.” It’s no secret that the left in the west is currently waging a war on both men and white people. It does make me wonder if the hospital’s decision would have been different if Charlie was named Charlene or if they would have made the same decision and then buckled under the pressure of being called misogynist from everyone on the left. Add to that a bonus for the left if Charlene was black and we may have even seen the UK pay for her treatment in the United States to avoid being called both racist and misogynist. No doubt the judges in the case would have ruled differently if it even came to the courts.

The UK, like much of the rest of Europe, has been busy purposely importing every race and culture out there because it’s politically correct to do so. That’s no secret either. If you have a backwards mentality of owning people’s lives while all this importing is occurring, I suppose you can also have a mentality that believes you can’t have white people babies screwing things up.

***

Speaking of the UK and political correctness, Paul Joseph Watson has an excellent video out discussing just this. I haven’t watched him in a while, but I think I’m going to have to watch him more given the amusement I felt watching this one:

This was the best thing I’ve seen all July.

***

Further Reading:

https://www.firstthings.com/web-exclusives/2017/07/whose-baby-is-charlie-gard-anyway

http://www.americanthinker.com/articles/2017/07/charlie_gard_is_the_face_of_singlepayer.html

http://www.nationalreview.com/corner/449781/high-cost-charlie-gard-coercion

https://www.judiciary.gov.uk/wp-content/uploads/2017/07/gosh-v-gard-24072017.pdf

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2017/07/24/charlie-gard-mothers-full-statement-sorry-couldnt-save/

http://www.washingtonexaminer.com/grim-defeat-for-one-child-his-parents-and-every-family/article/2629547

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2017/07/28/charlie-gard-dies-babyslife-support-withdrawn-hospice-parents/?WT.mc_id=tmg_share_tw

 

Everyone who knows me knows and my work knows, but I need to publicly come out and state that a moderately large and inoperable tumor was discovered in my brain about a year and a half ago. I say this because I want to give my thoughts on McCain’s glioblastoma and older politicians in general (not that anyone reads my blog).

First, my tumor. A very long story short, the tumor was discovered in my right thalamus after an MRI was ordered due to sudden idiopathic hearing loss in my left ear. Technically, the tumor was considered an incidental finding, although that is debatable, and my hearing was restored by going on a high dosage of steroids for two weeks. The tumor directly caused hydrocephalus, nearly killing me, in April, 2016. A June, 2016 biopsy was aborted after two hours of me being under anesthesia due to high chances of me going blind, having memory loss, left side paralysis, a combination of all three, or death just by sticking a needle through my brain into that spot to take a small sample of tissue. Radiation therapy likely would not kill me, but would significantly impact my quality of life so neurosurgeons and radiation oncologists are recommending against doing anything with it…for now.

My tumor as it was first discovered. This is an axial FLAIR scan from an MRI and I have circled the tumor in red so that there is no confusion with other parts of the brain.

As for what my tumor is, nobody knows because a biopsy is unable to be performed. But, statistically, there’s a very high chance that it is a form of glioma (mine is a rare location, but two studies of thalamic tumors in adults identified ~95% of them were gliomas), and that’s what neurosurgeons finally came out and said they thought it was after 10 MRIs and 4 CT scans over the past year and a half. Since it has grown only slightly, it is definitely a low grade. The World Health Organization (WHO) states that all low grade gliomas in adults should be considered malignant, even though the higher grades of gliomas are the ones that are truly malignant. This is because low grade gliomas in adults are likely (80% or so) to transition through the higher grades as they get older. Thus, my tumor is likely to ultimately turn into a glioblastoma. So, there’s an argument there to be made that I likely have brain cancer and not “just” a brain tumor.

The shunt that was put in place for hydrocephalus. The black arrows note calcification in the tumor picked up by the XRay.

I am in no way shape or form a neurosurgeon, but over the past year and a half, I’ve done a lot of research on brain tumors and brain cancer. A lot of reasearch. In legitimate medical journals, not in places like the anti-vax public forum for inbred internet users (not that I think something like big pharma is always acting in the best interests of people, I know they’re not and that’s a topic for another day). Nothing I read suggested that brain tumors or glioblastomas present themselves as a blood clot, which is what McCain and his hospital initially reported he had. Sure, some tumors present themselves as having a lot of blood in them or being made up of almost entirely blood vessels, but not as a blood clot or hematoma – those are remarkably different in presentation on an MRI.  If McCain was going in to have surgery on a blood clot, then the tumor was found incidentally during imaging for the blood clot and a biopsy of the tumor was done at the same time the surgical procedure for the clot was performed. The far more likely scenario, however, is that McCain and the hospital lied about the procedure and were aware there was a tumor for a time and were going in to take as much of the tumor out as possible while simultaneously saving tissue for a biopsy. Not that anonymous users on the internet are a quality source, but I don’t appear to be the only one who believes this among people educated about brain tumors:

The fact that the mainstream media didn’t immediately question the blood clot turned glioblastoma scenario given by the hospital is yet another example of the media not doing their jobs for decades. Also, having done my prior research, I know pathology coming back as glioblastoma is very bad. A glioblastoma is universally considered a Grade IV and the worst type of brain tumor to have. The odds seem very high McCain will be dead in a year, as only a few percent of people live for a few years beyond that. Some die within weeks or months. If his glioblastoma was indeed in his left frontal lobe, that’s actually a very good location for it, all things considered, because it would be almost entirely resectable with his brain being able to recover given time if it were a lower grade. But glioblastomas always send out strands of malignant tissue well beyond the borders of the visible tumor and new glioblastomas are certain to appear even with chemotherapy. Also on the negative side of things when discussing brain tumors, McCain is 80 years old.

A lot of people have been remarking about how McCain has seemed confused in recent months. A notable example came during McCain’s questioning of James Comey at Comey’s hearing because a lot of people were confused by McCain’s line of questioning towards Comey asking him about the Hillary Clinton investigation, which is not what Comey’s hearing was about. I listened to this live on the radio during a work trip in the car going up north and the funny thing is, I understood McCain’s thought process at the time, or at least I thought I did at the beginning. I thought the point McCain was trying to make from the start was that Comey was very quick to close the Clinton investigation when there was enormous amounts of material to investigate, whereas Comey keeping notes on Trump when there was virtually nothing there, seemed odd and/or partisan. Except McCain got bogged down when Comey became confused by McCain asking about the Clinton investigation, then McCain allowed his time to run out before making his point.

Regardless of whether or not that’s what was going on in McCain’s mind at that time, there seems to be a number of other instances of McCain becoming confused. This allows for a question to come up that isn’t usually discussed, except seemingly in a partisan manner: Should older politicians be allowed to serve out their terms if they show consistent signs of mental confusion? I think it’s a legitimate non-partisan question, especially given the gross hyperbole that politicians use to get themselves elected to office. According to politicians, the very future of America, not to mention the world, is at risk unless they’re given their seat at the decision-making table and all the perks from the American taxpayer that come along with it, when actually doing nothing most of the time except sitting there with their thumb up their butt.

When McCain ran for president in 2008, the fallback argument against McCain from Democrats was that he was too old to be President. My personal opinion on the subject was that while he was indeed advanced in age, if he wasn’t showing any signs of mental health issues, then it wasn’t a problem. Denying someone an opportunity simply due to their age is the same as denying someone an opportunity solely based on their race, sex, religion, etc. It’s discrimination.

Fast-forward to the 2016 election and all three of the major candidates (Trump, Clinton, and Sanders) were “advanced in age”. At the time that the potential candidate would take office, Trump would have been 70, Clinton would have been 69, and Sanders would have been 76. Given the advanced age of Clinton and Sanders, that largely negated the Democrat’s argument that McCain was too old to be President in 2008. He would have been 72 at the time.

But the advanced age of politicians is now becoming a problem. With some focused on McCain’s mental confusion in recent months, Nancy Pelosi’s mental confusion, which frankly, is much worse than McCain’s, has largely been ignored. Pelosi sounds as though she’s borderline-alzheimers, or has some other significant brain damage, and continues to mistake Bush for the current President. The likelihood of an extreme gaffe and spectacle from her is high and is that really how America wants to remember the woman who became the most powerful woman in American history? The mainstream media can hide her gaffes and mental confusion all they want by continuing their fake Trump-Russia collusion drumbeat, but in this age where everyone has a camera and access to youtube, an embarrassing video of Pelosi going viral is a high risk, just like what happened to Clinton prior to the election. Pelosi is 77, by the way.

Voters don’t seem to be fazed by any of it, however, because they keep voting these politicians into office. So is it time to for voters to take a serious look at the candidate’s age when going to the polls? Given what’s going on with McCain and Pelosi, I think that answer is yes, especially since McCain and his medical staff were likely lying about his problem. There’s no doubt in my mind that something is going on with Pelosi and that she’s either lying about a condition too or medical staff is shielding her from it.

One example of someone being floated as a Presidential candidate for the 2020 election where age should be considered is Maxine Waters. While I have serious issues with her as a candidate in general based on things she’s said and done in the past, she would be EIGHTY-FUCKING-TWO when entering office in January, 2021 if elected President and NINE-FUCKING-TY when leaving office in 2029 if elected to a second term. I’m sorry, but at some point people need to retire and Maxine Waters is at that point and should not be considering a run for President in my mind. I believe there’s a reason why retirement age is in the mid to late 60s (if you’re fortunate enough to be able to retire) – it’s so that you can live out the remaining years of your life peacefully without the hassle of working before you die at age 76, on average, if you’re a man and 81, on average, if you’re a woman (or are we not doing this whole man/woman thing and saying we’re all one sex now?). If you have a desire to be at a new job throughout your 80s until your 90 years old, I’m thinking that you’re thinking that the job is cake or that you’re not going to take the job seriously.

Keep in mind, my mind may be off-kilter thanks to brain cancer, but many career politicians are becoming advanced in age, are likely keeping quiet or are outright lying about health issues, and I think it’s time for voters to start seriously looking at the age of these politicians.

For the record, I didn’t have any strong feelings towards McCain one way or the other prior to his diagnosis. Some Democrats hate him simply because he’s a Republican, and some Republicans hate him simply because of his feud with Trump, but I’m neither here nor there. I do think the things Trump said about McCain were very wrong, but unfortunately, that’s the way politics is now and that type of behavior by politicians is fully condoned by voters on both sides. I do think the fact that he fought in the Vietnam War made him a better candidate than some others given he experienced the horrors of war first-hand. Even if I despised McCain, I would say I wouldn’t wish brain cancer on anyone. I personally feel it’s among the “worst” cancers one can get because it robs the body by robbing the mind and is thus completely devastating in nature. Out of all the immediate reactions to the news of McCain, I liked Barack Obama’s the best:

Also, many democrats have floated the idea of Trump being forcibly removed from office because he’s somehow mentally incompetent. People who voted for Trump knew exactly the mentality they voted for, and the Democrats being incredible sore loser crybabies of an easily winnable election had they not forcibly nominated Clinton leads me to say that the Democrats don’t have an argument there and are muddying the waters for when real age and mental issues of people in office occur.

The description of the film To the Bone, which stars Lily Collins as Ellen, is that Ellen is an anorexic who crosses path with an “unconventional” doctor played by Keanu Reeves. Reeves is the first-billed actor and he’s hardly in the movie and the most “unconventional” thing he does as the doctor in the film is to tell Ellen to tell the voice in her head to “fuck off”. I say fuck off a minimum of a dozen times a day, so I must be pretty fucking unconventional if you follow that logic.

Despite the false advertising, the movie is still a watchable one, albeit with problems. I had heard about the movie and had opted not to watch it, but an A- review by Chris Stuckmann got me wanting to watch it. I have no idea whether or not the film accurately portrays anorexia and people who have it. Some people say it doesn’t, others, like Stuckmann, say it does.

The performances are very good. Beyond Collins as Ellen is Alex Sharp as Luke, the only real guy in the film, and Sharp should be the second billed actor, instead he’s the FOURTEENTH down on the list on imdb. It’s his performance of goofy Luke having an interest in Ellen that actually carries the film. The writing is good too and Ellen’s dysfunctional family group therapy scene stands out as a notable example.

But, there’s also a feel-good artsy fartsy scene that feels very obligatory and one of the characters having a miscarriage shortly after a baby shower for her was the most unsurprising event in movie history. If you have a problem with me spoiling that for you, fuck off, it was obvious it would happen from the moment it was known she was pregnant early in the film.

The movie’s third act gets odd, Stuckmann calls it “transcendental”, for lack of a better word. There’s supposed to be a deeper meaning there, or something about finding a will to live, but it doesn’t work. Had it not been for the movie’s third act, it would have gotten a B.

Grade: C+

The evening before last, I came down with a sudden sore throat and nasty malaise. I was able to get some sleep and when I did, fever dreams were occurring. I knew what it was even before I went to bed, though; it was the flu. This despite getting the flu shot later last December.

How I felt day 1.

First thing yesterday morning, I went to MedStar PromptCare in the hopes of trying Tamiflu for the first time ever. The doctor ran both a strep and flu test and both came back negative. But, in one of the most surprising things to ever happen to me, the doctor immediately agreed that it was the flu despite me having had a shot and the test coming back negative. Apparently the fact that the flu shot partially missed the mark this year, the fact that the flu is still going around my area, and the fact that my symptoms all screamed flu, led her to agree with me. Doctors and I have had different opinions about things my entire life, so this was noteworthy. She was also genuinely concerned that if I had any indications of a heart or breathing issue with it to go the ER immediately. I guess those are the hazards of getting older now.

Day 2 even worse.

So I got a prescription for Tamiflu and took the first pill around 11am yesterday. The symptoms only got much worse after that and now 36 hours after taking Tamiflu, I can say with certainty that this is going to run its course on par with the other times I’ve had a nasty flu. Which is to say not being able to do anything except feeling like I’m going to die for four days followed by a week of still feeling like a shit sandwich while working.

Going into day 3. Yep, still the same.

Now, you’re probably thinking that it isn’t the flu given I had the vaccine just over three months ago and the virus I have is not responding to Tamiflu. I 100% support your logic. I can also say with 100% certainty that you’re wrong. Given that the flu vaccines have missed the mark in recent years, it does make me wonder what the point of getting a flu vaccine is. As for Tamiflu, I’m going to continue taking it since there’s no difference between it and a sugar pill, but I won’t bother with it again. In fact, I went back last evening to my tried and true method of flu symptom relief – gargling a quarter shot of El Dorado rum once an hour, as needed. I strongly recommend trying it if you never have. I’m sure your decent liquor of choice can be substituted.

fuck yea