How Has Corruption Affected You?

Every one of us is impacted by our corrupt political system. Here are stories shared by people across America about how corruption affects them.

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"If we'd had universal healthcare there is a good chance he'd still be alive today. "

Wyn Taylor
Fort Worth, TX

My husband had a massive heart attack at 40. It ruined us financially and we couldn't afford the follow-up care he needed, or the over $400/mo. in prescriptions he was given.

In sheer desperation, we tried alternatives to the meds, natural blood thinners and supplements. I was prepared to sell our cars and our house, to sacrifice anything to get him the care he needed but he wouldn't hear of it. The damage to his heart was so extensive that it wasn't pumping blood to his brain efficiently after the heart attack. As a result of long term hypoxia, he developed a condition called vascular dementia, which we didn't understand until much later.

But in his declining mental state, all he could see was that we couldn't afford health care, so he refused to go back to the hospital. As his brain slowly suffocated, he appeared to slowly go crazy and he became a man we didn't recognize. Six years later, his heart just stopped. He'd had insurance his entire career, but in an effort to spend more time with us and less time on the road working, he'd started a landscaping business.

We'd lost his insurance coverage just months before his heart attack. If we'd had universal healthcare there is a good chance he'd still be alive today. This traumatic series of events and catastrophic losses led me to have to start over completely. My children and I lost him and we lost everything we'd built together. Well over ten years after his heart attack, I'm still trying to rebuild our lives and to recover. Our children's lives have now been shaped by these losses. And the devastating truth of the matter is that access to healthcare may have been all we needed to avoid the tragedy that unfolded for our family.

"If we'd had universal healthcare there is a good chance he'd still be alive today. "

Wyn Taylor
Fort Worth, TX
Deirdre Gilbert
Missouri City, TX

On Valentine's Day 2011 I lost my heartbeat, my daughter.

My daughter Jocelyn was the victim of medical malpractice, a politically corrupt secret. This secret changed the course of my life. On that fateful day I picked up my daughter from school because she had a piece of corn dog lodge in her esophagus. When I picked her up she was breathing and crying for help. This wasn't unusual for this had happened before and she always came out like a charm.

This day however would be different, for we encountered doctors and a hospital that we had never seen before in her 22 years of life. What's so amazing is that my daughter was special needs and had over 120 surgeries where she overcame every obstacle. Doctors stated she would never live passed infancy and leave her in the hospital. I brought her home with a breathing tube, feeding tube, unable to cry because her vocals cards were scarred, unable to eat by mouth, leaking stomach acids. After overcoming all of those obstacles, she learned to walk, talk, eat and no longer had a breathing tube or had to be fed through a feeding tube.

Jocelyn entered a hospital to only die within 20 minutes of the endoscopy, but the problems came when the doctors and hospital decided that my family and I did not need to know that she was already dead and that they placed her on mechanical vent, pumped her with Propofol so we would not know she was already deceased. Not only that but the hospital and doctors planned a second surgery to make it look like they were helping my daughter to only complicate things for during the surgery my daughter began to bleed profusely. They stopped the second surgery and rolled her into the ICU and left us to watch blood flow from my daughter's eyes, ears, nose, and every puncture wound. she bled out for 7 hours until blood was all over her bed and floor. The hospital stated her cause of death was she choked and they verbally told the coroner the same thing, only to find out that my baby had sustained three perforations, had sepsis, peritonitis, had six blood soaked sponges in abdomen and was totally brain dead. The coroner placed on her death certificate that she choked knowing that she died from the perforations.

Not one doctor, hospital or entity told the truth about her death, in fact they hid the truth by falsifying her medical records and obstructing justice until her statute of limitations ceased. They covered up her death so that they would not have to pay for her death. My daughter's life did not mean a thing because she was special needs and in their mind she had lived long enough. They covered up for a doctor who had a 10 year history of drug and alcohol abuse and who had harmed others in the past. The medical community to this day will not acknowledge that medical malpractice is the third leading cause of death and that doctors can practice even with a history of drugs and criminal behaviors.

The corruption in the medical community is running rampant and no one will talk about it. I lost my daughter to it, and millions more are dying and no one seems to care. After trying every avenue to get to the truth I knew it was going to take a road less travelled and so I founded National Medical Malpractice Advocacy Association to help others who have been affected my medical malpractice. This is an issue that affects the young, old, rich and poor. A subject never spoken of and it is my hopes that I, that we can become the voice for the voiceless.

Deirdre Gilbert
Missouri City, TX
Eva Aceves
Buckeye, AZ

How has corruption affected me? This administration thus far has proven to be so uninformed and incompetent that I have developed a fear about their failed attempts to “make America great again.”

Even the phrase “make America great again” doesn’t make any sense to me. Yes, we are a superpower but that doesn’t mean we were “great.” Being great is abiding by our constitution, yet we still have a long way to go before all are created equal. I don’t ever remember feeling this way about an elected president. I have come to the realization that our current administration is not interested in helping the middle class, much less the poor.

The American people have been misled by Trump's bombastic rhetoric and promises. This administration’s only concern is with their continued wealth and prestige. Everything the republicans are undertaking is mind boggling and iniquitous! Their corruption has incited hatred and racism.

Let’s talk about healthcare. In the last 25 years, the republicans have not been able to come up with a comprehensive healthcare plan. When Obama submitted the Affordable Care Act, it was widely scrutinized and rejected by many however, let’s not forget that the republican administration did not want to assist the Obama administration with anything at all. The republicans could have had their say in producing a healthcare plan that would conceivably be beneficial and interrelated with everyone involved, but they refused to engage. Even under those circumstances, Obama nonetheless attempted to do right by the people.

Presently the administration is in a rush to pass a healthcare act, along with tax reform before the 100-day deadline and people are not liking the results. However, the republicans and die hard supporters, cannot bring themselves to speak up and resist his inexperience. I am disappointed with the Trump administration and their use of cronyism tactics to try and run the government.

He is causing chaos around the world without the viable concern of congress and the senate. I think our worry is that the President is causing disruption with our ally’s, provoking other countries (except Russia) and putting our American citizens in harm’s way. The president has shown no disinclination for his lavish spending of government money for his needs and pleasures. Yet he gets away with it. Trump deports immigrants even if they have no criminal record. He proposes to revamp the tax code, allowing the very rich and corporations big tax cuts, which will not be accessible to the middle-class person.

There is no fairness in this administration, yet they get away with it. There are so many areas of government that the current president has attempted to change or do away with, but my concern is that he is not aware of what he is doing. He doesn’t belong in the White House, yet the republicans let him get away with it. Why?

Eva Aceves
Buckeye, AZ

"I needed a hysterectomy but did not have insurance."

Julietta Raby
Chesterton, IN

I needed a hysterectomy but did not have insurance. I was told it would cost $30,000, but the hospital said they would split the difference and charge me $15,000. This is probably the most common surgery, most women over 50 have it done. In Mexico it was $4,500, including air fare, limo service and hotel. Everyone there treated me with such kindness, the hospital peaceful and comfortable. I finally got Medicaid in 2014, thanks to the Affordable Care Act.

"I needed a hysterectomy but did not have insurance."

Julietta Raby
Chesterton, IN
Mary Alice
Portland, OR

The doctor found a large mass in my abdomen last year. It was a scare, but I dodged the bullet, no cancer was found, I just had to recover from the surgery.

The pain was temporary and completely controllable with regular doses of Tylenol. I did not need or want anything stronger. I do live alone and have Medicare. I was in need of some support during recovery for bathing, cooking and cleaning. The doctor felt that a “Recovery” facility was called for. I ended up in a Medicare “Body Factory”. The bed I was put into sagged to within 3 inches of the floor, and the frame was bent out of shape. There was no way I was able to climb out of that pit on my own.

When I asked for a rail on the bed to help me get up, I was refused and told it was counter to policy. I kept refusing the pain killers. No one ever put a note on my chart or respected my requests for Tylenol. My roommate had sleep apnea that was not being treated. Between the noise or worry when she was quiet it may well be that she had died and the untreated pain I was enduring, sleep deprivation quickly became a problem.

Back pain from a bent and saggy bed frame compounded each day. Call buttons were ignored for hours on end. A friend came and rescued me which turned out to be a life saver. I’m on blood thinners. I had a bad reaction to the new prescription given after the surgery and started bleeding internally. On my own, I was free to call my doctor and ended up back in the hospital getting the care I needed; rather than the institutionalized neglect of the body factory.

These medicare body factories need to be inspected, cited and licenses pulled regularly and unannounced. The idea is to keep people who worked and paid taxes all their lives healthy, not to milk Medicare for every dime until the patient dies.

Mary Alice
Portland, OR
Anne Lawrance
Portland, OR

Oregon is a beautiful, wild and politically unstable place. We are home to tech giant Intel and shoe mogul Nike and they set policy more than the citizenry. The state of Oregon ranks dead last in Corporate tax rates.

Measure 97 would have changed all of that and would have forced huge corporate entities to pay their taxes and close loopholes that allow them to pay virtually nothing in state tax at all. But it was defeated and now the state can't balance the budget, their solution? More cuts to education, that is corrupt Oregon, screw the people.

Anne Lawrance
Portland, OR

"Private Insurance Companies and Pharmaceutical Companies own the decision-makers in government, so all decisions are to their benefit"

Katrina
Hillsborough, NC

In spite of carrying and paying for excellent insurance coverage, my family has absorbed $20,000 in out-of-pocket extra medical expenses. I have nerve pain resulting from a c-section nearly 5 years ago and the money spent is in addition to the cost of premiums.

Very little has actually been covered by insurance. I cannot work full time because of the pain. Private Insurance Companies and Pharmaceutical Companies own the decision-makers in government, so all decisions are to their benefit, not to the benefit of we the people.

This is called corruption. Medicare for All and Campaign Finance Reform would be a great start to getting out of this mess! #WeDemandBetter

"Private Insurance Companies and Pharmaceutical Companies own the decision-makers in government, so all decisions are to their benefit"

Katrina
Hillsborough, NC
اكرم الشاطري

قصتي مع فساد المنظومة الحاكمة في جنوب اليمن بيئة/تعليم /مشاريع تنموية منعدمة بنهب مخصصاتها

From Google translate:

My story with the corruption of the ruling regime in southern Yemen Environment / education / development projects not looted their allocations

اكرم الشاطري
Renee
Atlanta, GA

When the 2008 crash happened it took my life long savings/investments.

The big bankers kept their jobs with no penalty and NO ONE even whispers how we're supposed to recoup & survive in retirement. There is no way I'll ever be able to save that amount again. Sure keep pushing back the age of retirement because we'll all be on the street homeless.

Who hires 60+ when they can get college grads for 1/2 the salary?

Renee
Atlanta, GA

"My choice would have likely been lose my home or die... I would have chosen to die."

Susan Cochran
New Albany, IN

Before Obama Care became law and when I was in my early 60's I started my own business. I had a decent living for a lone entrepreneur. I had some non-life threatening health problems such as degenerative disk disease or arthritis of the spine and a thyroid deficiency, both of which are not uncommon in a person of that age. I tried to get insurance through Humana, but they said I was high risk and would not insure me. Because of their refusal, no other insurance company would consider giving me a policy, even though I could afford to pay a normal policy amount. I tried to get a doctor but was continually met with the same information, that if I had no insurance, they could not see me.

I offered to pay cash but that did not open any doors to healthcare. I had no doctor and no healthcare so I had no choice but to go to the ER if I needed a prescription or do without medication. I was told to check out the great state of Indiana's "high risk pool." This type of policy would, in fact, probably accept me but the cost and benefits were out of sight. The premium, as I understood it, would be about $1,000 a month and for that, I would have a $3,000 off the top deductible and no medication coverage at all. So, to be seen, in the case of an emergency, it would cost me $4,000.

I said I made a decent living and could have afforded a typical premium but I could not afford this policy. I lived in fear every day of what could happen if I had a serious illness. I am a medical social worker and I have seen the hospital where I worked take people's homes for nonpayment of bills. My choice would have likely been lose my home or die... I would have chosen to die. Obama Care removed pre-existing conditions and would have insured people like me and saved our homes.

Shame on governments for not caring for the working poor and poor...Shame on them....

"My choice would have likely been lose my home or die... I would have chosen to die."

Susan Cochran
New Albany, IN
Herman
Clayton, NC

People are outraged about illegal immigration, but as someone who became a naturalized citizen just over a year ago, I can assure you that the journey - and it is a long journey - of legally immigrating gives a clear picture of just why people would do that. Since I married a citizen, I only had to wait 2 years for permission to legally get a job.

How absurd that in the information age, one has to wait 2 years for permission to become a contributing member of society! If you want to address illegal immigration, take a better look at the available legal immigration process.

Herman
Clayton, NC

"My brother had the best brain surgeon in our area involved in his care but the system failed and severely limited the options available."

Corey E.Olsen
Delafield, WI

Several years ago, my brother Jon suffered a stroke while in Wisconsin. He had been a police officer in Riverside, California for many years and then retired. His health insurance was through a company in California. That company refused any care beyond the bare minimum until they could transport him back to California.

He was in the hospital here in Wisconsin for three months and since my daily business can be conducted out of my briefcase, I was able to be with him by his hospital bed virtually every day. We worked hard to get him walking and communicating as best he could. We saw considerable improvement in him sans an aggressive hospital rehab regimen, but then the insurance company came and took him to California.

I'm told that he never walked again and he died about five months later early on a Sunday morning. I'm a church musician and during the hour that it took him to give up and pass away, I knew that something very wrong was occurring somewhere. I got the call as soon as I got home. I miss my brother Jon very much.

It is my understanding that the first couple of months after a stroke are most important for rehabilitation of stroke patients. My brother had the best brain surgeon in our area involved in his care but the system failed and severely limited the options available. Jon's ashes were brought back here where he was born and are buried just a few miles away next to my sister, my mother and my maternal grandparents. 'We the people' need universal health care before any more beautiful people die unnecessarily.

"My brother had the best brain surgeon in our area involved in his care but the system failed and severely limited the options available."

Corey E.Olsen
Delafield, WI
Susan
Topanga, CA

Remember the 2008 economic collapse? ... I'm sure you do. We all do; some more than others. I can tell you that it took 9 years of my life to re-balance and lose bitterness.

The bitterness wasn't that I wasted so much of my time and life jumping through the hoops of lies that Wells Fargo presented to me to try to get me a loan modification, the bitterness was from finding out how corrupt our banking system is. I never saw myself as naive but after the collapse, I realized I was.

I thought the "institutions" meant what they said when they sent letters saying "we're here to help you", instead, they systematically broke promise after promise and attempted to steal my home while breaking numerous laws in the process. The bitterness was that no one was holding them accountable and it appeared there was nothing anyone could do to stop them?

After declaring a bankruptcy as a last attempt to save my home, I was able to hang on to my home, but the bankruptcy hurt and it wasn't needed. I had perfect credit prior and I suffered the bankruptcy ramifications and still am.

Was Wells Fargo held accountable by the government? No. Yet, there is some satisfaction in the fact that numerous employees became whistle blowers and finally some news has been shedding light on their unethical practices. Sure, the board of directors was re-elected but the 'share holders' had something to say too. They were miffed, they lost money.

We, the people, also lost. We lost our credibility in big banks. Maybe this is a good thing, we can see things for what they are now and create new systems that work for us, for All of Us ... We the People ... in order to form a more perfect Union... remember?

Susan
Topanga, CA

"They cheat the system to keep themselves in power. They shut out voices of dissent. They seem to be interested only in lining their own pockets and those of their rich corporate friends"

James Miller
State College, PA

Corruption has basically removed any faith I had in our government to take care of the people of this nation.

They cheat the system to keep themselves in power. They shut out voices of dissent. They seem to be interested only in lining their own pockets and those of their rich corporate friends. Nothing they do benefits the people, only corporations. I feel that a government for the people by the people is a thing of the past.

I have no faith in our government, I feel that they don't care one bit about someone like me. And frankly that is terrifying.

"They cheat the system to keep themselves in power. They shut out voices of dissent. They seem to be interested only in lining their own pockets and those of their rich corporate friends"

James Miller
State College, PA
Joshua Kimball
Phoenix, AZ

Three years ago, I came home from a trip to Europe with a very large blood clot in my leg. When I went to the emergency room and had it identified, they didn't seem to think that I had the insurance to cover the treatment that would have helped me to get better.

So they immediately offered blood thinners only. It would have kept me out of work and most likely lead to the permanent loss of the use of my leg. I have since met those who have lost the use of their leg due to blood clots, or who have become vegetables from a stroke.

Basically, my wife and I had to argue that my insurance would cover better treatment. So the hospital admins checked and then they got back to us with a little more of a helpful attitude, but they only offered a suction treatment and they made it seem that adding a vena cava filter was just an option. We had to argue with them that we want every option available. At the end of the procedure, they had completely cleared the clot from my leg. But the vena cava filter had stopped a clot from getting through to my heart and either killing me or giving me a stroke.

Just 3 years earlier, I did not have insurance and if that had been the case, I would be paralyzed, a stroke victim, or dead today.

Joshua Kimball
Phoenix, AZ

"We no longer have a democracy because the rich people buy our government"

Nancy Roessel
Fort White, FL

The fact that so many of our citizens, especially children, have been slaughtered by people with guns and nothing is done to stop it.

A majority of people want gun control but the gun industry owns our government, along with the oil industry, so we cannot prevent the collapse of human life on this planet due to CO2 pollution. Tax breaks for the billionaires and corporations make the middle class the sole support for this country and that is because the billionaires and corporations own our government.

We no longer have a democracy because the rich people buy our government

"We no longer have a democracy because the rich people buy our government"

Nancy Roessel
Fort White, FL
Andy Norman
Pittsburgh, PA

Political corruption has many hidden costs. Countless personal tragedies are the clearest examples, but it is important not to overlook the fact that political corruption robs us of common purpose.

When a nation has a sense of purpose that's squarely centered on advancing the common good, it's people experience a motivating pride and resilience. Decades of worsening political corruption has robbed us all, and robbed our nation, of shared purpose, and this too is a tragedy.

Andy Norman
Pittsburgh, PA
Christina Smith
Richmond, VA

Our newest big highway was built two miles further west than the plan originally called for because the head man on the committee, who had all of the power in the final decision, owned the land further west.

His land is now worth nearly 2000 times what it did before the road was built.

Christina Smith
Richmond, VA

"3 years ago my wife left the family, quit her job and thereby left us without medical insurance. "

Joel
Stillwater, MN

I'm a single father of two teenage girls. I'm also a self employed carpenter that makes about 50k a year. 3 years ago my wife left the family, quit her job and thereby left us without medical insurance.

Thanks to the great state of Minnesota and the ACA we have medical insurance we can afford. The ACA needs to be expanded not repealed!

"3 years ago my wife left the family, quit her job and thereby left us without medical insurance. "

Joel
Stillwater, MN
Scott
Chicago, IL

I live in the City of Chicago. Already, added up, Chicago residents, and Illinois residents, in general, pay some of the highest taxes in the nation. It's well-known that the State of Illinois is going broke, its pension obligations are sky-high, and corruption runs rampant.

The City of Chicago is in no better financial shape. From the former Governor, Blagojevich, whom is now in prison in "pay for play" scandal trying to sell Obama's old U.S. Senate seat. On Sept. 22, the largest property tax increase in history was voted in on Sept. 22, 2016.

Both House Speaker Madigan and a Chicago Alderman named Ed Burke stand to profit immensely off of the scheme of property tax appeals, as both own law firms with tremendous power and connections to work this system.

In addition, Illinois is proposing an overall income tax hike and hikes on taxes on food, drugs, and medical supplies. As the last income tax hike proved, in 2011, this only results in a flight of wealth and revenue to the State. How does this affect me?

For one, I really already cannot afford the cost of living in Chicago. If ANY of these tax hikes takes effect, it seals the deal, and I will be forced to leave. I have a well-paying job, so I cannot imagine the impact to those on more limited incomes. Something must be done.

Scott
Chicago, IL

"Social services cut my food stamps off because if I was able to go to college I was able to work. "

DeeAnn
North Brunswick, NJ

I was unemployed going through a rough patch and applied for food stamps to help put food on the table. I was sick of going from one dead end job to the next so I took the plunge and enrolled in college so I can start a career path & find a job that had potential for growth.

Social services cut my food stamps off because if I was able to go to college I was able to work. Meanwhile they had no problem giving me $200 a month to sit on my butt doing nothing with myself.

The system is supposed to help people get on their feet but instead it's set up to keep people from bettering themselves. It's very sad.

"Social services cut my food stamps off because if I was able to go to college I was able to work. "

DeeAnn
North Brunswick, NJ
Ginny Schneider
Portland, ME

Corruption is all around us. The fact that US law allows corporations to underwrite our elections means that candidates and elected officials are beholden to those corporations and not to the constituents in their districts.

Every facet of our lives, whether or not we recognize it, is impacted by this system. Just look at the federal budget where about 50% of our tax dollars buys us the military-industrial complex while children go hungry. Look at the financial policies that funnel money upward like a twister to the 1% from the low income. Look at the prison-industrial complex that jails people of color and forces inmates to work for private companies for a few cents an hour, legalized slavery.

Ginny Schneider
Portland, ME
James Hooker
Birmingham, AL

I chose to have a hip replaced during a break in employment - a hip that had been deteriorating for 10 years from avascular necrosis - and had begun to increase in pain.

My Orthopedist who had treated me 10 years before the onset of AN is legendary in the Southeast and I had become his patient 30 years ago when he was beginning his practice - had performed the hip decompression procedure and a Torn Rotator Cuff repair. I trusted him. I contacted his office to set up the evaluation in preparation for the procedure and was informed that my Dr. was no longer performing hip replacements but had turned that part of his practice over to his son. I accepted his recommendation feeling certain that he would not recommend an incompetent surgeon - even if he was his son - and the hip was replaced in mid June 2009.

By nature I am an overachiever, so by two weeks post procedure I was cleared to walk and drive a car - my results so pain free - (even though the replacement leg was 3/4 of an inch longer than it's partner) that I became very active, driving a car - having shoe heels increased on the old hip side - so that I could walk and run without appearing afflicted. One month post surgery I awoke with a hotdog bun sized hematoma along the incision line and it was quite painful to touch, and very warm. I drove directly to the emergency room in the hospital where the procedure had been performed and presented to the intake nurse. I was evaluated and prepared for surgery and soon found myself in recovery where it was explained to me that the site of the wound had filled with fluids and blood forming the hematoma - but that the surgical site had been reopened and flushed to remove the blood materials - and that because they wanted healing to occur from the inside out - the new incision had been loosely basted shut. Deep culture swabs were taken and sent to the lab for evaluation.

Two weeks later I awoke to a wetness in the bed - and discovered that the wound had reopened so I returned for another cleaning and closing procedure - again under full anesthesia - with deep culture swabs prepared and sent to the lab. Healing began again but after two weeks I felt something to be amiss - I was experiencing a pain deep inside the groin of the new hip side of my body. I had requested and was receiving physical therapy and as the Therapist would work with me I would respond bitterly about the extreme pain now coming from the inside of my groin on the new hip side.

By the second week in October the pain had progressed so steadily that I was now in a wheelchair to get to and from the Dr's office - and my surgeon agreed to go back in to find the source of the pain while putting in a second hip replacement On October 20th we did that - replacing the prosthetic - noting that there had been little incorporation of the prosthetic to my body, and giving me two weeks of relatively pain free existence. And then the pain returned with a vengeance - and continued to increase in intensity through the holidays and the month of January - with me returning every other week for more and stronger pain killers - until it became apparent that I was gaining a reputation as a drug seeker - since the surgeon was insisting at every visit that I had no infection and they just could not figure out what was going on.

They offered and I happily accepted nerve blocks in my back - which perhaps would deliver 12-24 hours of relief - and I was back to pain pill seeker. I was begging to be admitted to an outpatient recovery center so that I would be under the care of a doctor who could observe and confirm my deteriorating condition - but the catch was that you could not check into a REHAB facility without being sent there from a hospital . So on February 25th I checked in to the hospital where the hip had been implanted the two months ago.

James Hooker
Birmingham, AL
Kori Hudgins
Ohatchee, AL

I am a disabled veteran diagnosed with Crohn's Disease. I was prescribed a medication the VA doesn't cover, it's $1000 a month.

I can't afford it, so I have to try and manage day to day by watching what I eat and drink, staying moderately stress free, and attempting to maintain a healthy lifestyle.

The VA doesn't consider this debilitating enough which anyone who knows the pain cramps and peeing from the anus knows is crap as it is horrible to deal with, yet ultimately no one cares about the healthcare issues that is affecting veterans like me daily.

Kori Hudgins
Ohatchee, AL

"Corruption and lies pervade the US medical system, it is beyond outrageous."

Archie
Newbury Park, CA

Several years ago my 90 year old mother was hospitalized with what Oregon doctors told us was a heart attack. My wife and I immediately jumped in our car and drove the 750 miles to her home and went directly to the hospital at 4 am.

There she was all hooked up to various machines and comatose. The specialist came in and advised us that she had not aged well and that she was being kept alive artificially by the machines. He suggested that we take her off all of them as there was no hope for her survival and she would be gone within three hours of being detached because 60% of her heart had been destroyed. After a gut wrenching family discussion, we agreed.

The machines were removed and she lay there without waking. We stayed by her bedside the whole time and 24 hours after turning off the machines, she was still with us, although the nurse said her kidney function was shutting down. I thought to myself, "of course when she has had no liquids in 24 hours". The doctor finally came in and I confronted him. I requested to know why my mother was still with us, when he had said she was artificially being kept alive. He had no valid response, so I demanded a second opinion. He reluctantly agreed.

As soon as he left, I ran down the hall to find the doctor on call and told her we wanted every machine my mother was on to be reconnected immediately, until the second doctor had a chance to review her condition. That was done and later that evening the second doctor came in and told us that whatever had happened to my mother was over and that she had not had a heart attack and would be fine. We later found out that she had experienced something called heartbreak syndrome which mimics a heart attack. My mother is still with us today and quite well at 94 and still living at home.

My anger knows no bounds when it comes to the doctor and the hospital that just wanted my mother to die so they could use her bed. Corruption and lies pervade the US medical system, it is beyond outrageous.

"Corruption and lies pervade the US medical system, it is beyond outrageous."

Archie
Newbury Park, CA

"It seems that our legislators need a reminder that they Represent Us and not just Koch Industries!"

Rachel
Lawrence, KS

Living in Kansas, I'm only a few short hours away from the heart of Koch Industries. The Koch brothers have so much political power in this state that their interests have more impact than the interest of everyday Kansans.

Its through that imbalance of power that we now have an 800 million dollar deficit, no school funding plan, failing infrastructure, and limited access to health care. Especially in our rural areas. It seems that our legislators need a reminder that they Represent Us and not just Koch Industries!!!!

"It seems that our legislators need a reminder that they Represent Us and not just Koch Industries!"

Rachel
Lawrence, KS

"End the war on drugs. Demilitarize all domestic police forces. Close all privately operated prisons."

John and Martha Stoltenberg
Elkhart Lake, WI

At the minimum do the following before the sociopaths in the ruling fascist capitalist oligarchy start World War Three:
(1) Repeal the Patriot Act of 2001.
(2) Repeal the Military Commissions Act of 2006.
(3) Repeal the Military Commissions Act of 2009.
(4) Repeal the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2012 (NDAA-2012) , Title X, Subtitle D.
(5) End the wars of fascist capitalist aggression in the Middle East and Africa.
(6) Remove the entire fascist capitalist war machine from the Middle East, Africa, South America, Europe and the Western Pacific.
(7) Close all 900+ foreign military bases.
(8) Outlaw and disband all private fascist armies such as Academi, DynCorp and Blackhawk. Academi is the new name for Blackwater.
(9) Dismantle the huge and growing fascist state security apparatus. This includes ending the use of drones in America.
(10) Shut down all of the illegal prisons operated by the CIA.
(11) Shut down the US Army's notorious Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation (WHINSEC). Formerly known as the US Army School for the Americas.
(12) End all federal faith-based initiatives.
(13) End the military build-up for wars with Syria, and/or Iran, and/or North Korea, and/or Venezuela, and/or China, and/or Russia.
(14) Disband the United States Northern Command (USNORTHCOM). The sole purpose of USNORTHCOM was/is to suppress working class unrest!
(15) End the war on drugs.
(16) Demilitarize all domestic police forces.
(17) Close all privately operated prisons.
(18) Defend and preserve the Second Amendment! This is because all fascist states confiscate all privately-owned guns at the earliest possible date. Which means no fascist gun registration, no fascist gun owner registration, no fascist gun licensing, no gun owner licensing, no fascist gun control, no fascist gun confiscation.
(19) Reverse the Supreme Court’s disastrous pro-fascist pro-capitalist Citizens United Decision. Money is not speech. Do this with either new legislation overturning Citizens United, or with a new decision by the Supreme Court overturning Citizens United.
(20) Disband the Special Operations Command (SOCOM). SOCOM has become a death squad to suppress American working class unrest!
(21) Repeal the Regulations from the Executive in Need of Scrutiny At of 2016, REINS Act.
(22) Repeal that part of the National Defense Authorization Act of 2017 (NDAA 2017) that creates a federal department of propaganda!
(23) Get the Department of Homeland Security out of our national elections.

"End the war on drugs. Demilitarize all domestic police forces. Close all privately operated prisons."

John and Martha Stoltenberg
Elkhart Lake, WI

"Only the top bureaucrats have been getting rich off the poor."

Mike
Camden, NJ

Corruption at work has decreased morale and kept wages low for the majority. Corruption has kept the same people in power for too long. This is why the residents lack education, stability and real transformation. Only the top bureaucrats have been getting rich off the poor.

"Only the top bureaucrats have been getting rich off the poor."

Mike
Camden, NJ
David Frank
South Bend, IN

Here is my story
https://m.facebook.com/story.php?story_fbid=10213155632193218&id=1467271658

David Frank
South Bend, IN
Edward Manougian
El Cerrito, CA

I'm a physician who worked for the California Department of Rehabilitation. I learned that people who had a certain degree of pain were unable to keep a steady job. I studied pain, and found the stages of pain.

The FDA asked for a report from me to present at the FDA meeting 2/7/2013. It is on youtube under the title "Dr. Edward Manougian". I treated these patients until D.M. Jolly, while head of Medi-Cal, stopped their medication causing disaster, including marked increase in cost to Medi-Cal. Jolly was promoted to management of Obamacare under Peter Lee, instead of being fired. There is much to this story. I don't know that you will give me the time.

Edward Manougian
El Cerrito, CA
Hillary Colby
Aurora, IL

I had a career as a medical social worker until a stroke at 33 made me permanently disabled. As a person who used to help others with the system, I am now struggling to navigate the system. Thanks to gridlock in Illinois my medical benefits pay less leaving me with high medical bills and more expensive prescription drugs.

Hillary Colby
Aurora, IL
Valerie
Las Vegas, NV

My son was away at college when he was diagnosed with testicular cancer. They did surgery the very next day. He needed further treatment and a team of oncologists and radiologists at UCSF were conferencing to come up with the best possible treatment plan for my son.

It required my son to take a medical leave of absence from school but he would at least still have his health insurance till the end of the school year. His school loans were on hold. As it turned out his treatment was more lengthy then expected. He was unable to return to school prior to his insurance lapsing and his student loans due and payable.

At this point this was not number 1 worry on his or our family's list. Maybe it should have been. My son is now over a quarter of a million dollars in debt for cancer treatment and thousands and thousands more for student loans. He is very distraught over this as he wanted to finish his education and can't because of the default on his loans due to cancer! His depression lifted just enough to get a job bussing tables in a restaurant. And, then what happens? His wages are garnished on behalf of the Department of Education. My son can not even make his rent never mind do what normal 25 year olds do. Does this young man have a fighting chance?

Valerie
Las Vegas, NV
Sydney Ross
Washington, DC

I went in for routine STD testing when I suspected my sexual partner was active with other people. I was fine and am glad I played it safe by testing myself for STDs, but I received a medical bill for over $700! After I had my private insurance cover some of the expenses, I still had to pay over $400. As a student, and a person living in the modern economy, this is ridiculous! It makes me grateful for organizations like Planned Parenthood that help provide important health services such as STD testing for people who cannot afford to pay the outrageous bills I have been dealing with as a result of our messed up medical system!

Sydney Ross
Washington, DC

"There has been little or no income growth for the bottom 70%"

Steven Howard Johnson
Annapolis, MD

I'm a researcher, and I recently finished a book - Getting America Unstuck. What I learned from the numbers is this: The American economy has two identities, not just one - an output identity, and a wealth identity. It can be optimized for prosperity, or it can be optimized for enrichment, but it cannot be optimized for both at the same time. From 1945 - 1980 our economy was optimized for prosperity and everyone gained ground. But from 1981 to the present, it has been optimized for enrichment, and there has been little or no income growth for the bottom 70%. The Big Picture challenge is to blow the whistle on Enrichment Economics and get it turned off. And to revive Prosperity Economics. Till we make this shift, the poverty problem can't be overcome; once we do make this shift, real progress for everyone can be revived.

"There has been little or no income growth for the bottom 70%"

Steven Howard Johnson
Annapolis, MD
Phyllis Babila
Los Angeles, CA

When HUMANA was my medicare insurance provider I realized I did not have enough blood pressure meds to cover me when I was going out of town, as my prescription was always automatically filled for 30 days. There are more than 30 days in some months & if you drop/loose a pill you are short as I was when I counted ALL my pills. I called HUMANA explained and asked for 2 more BP pills, because the pharmacy required it. HUMANA refused me 2 pills...and some male person in charge argued w/me in a long conversation that upset me & made me sick... so I went to the pharmacy and explained to the pharmacist in charge... she was in disbelief. ..and gave me the 2 pills...

Phyllis Babila
Los Angeles, CA
Herb
Grant, AL

I'm in my 70s and am a lung cancer survivor. One warm day I overdid it by mowing the lawn and could not catch my breath. My healthcare is through the VA. My wife called the VA's toll-free hotline to find out what we could do. We were advised to get me to Huntsville Hospital right away (30 miles from where we live).

When we arrived, we informed the hospital that the VA sent me to them and to bill them accordingly (at the time the VA clinic was located across the street from the hospital. I spent several days in the hospital getting much-needed help in restoring my breathing and my electrolytes.

When it was time for me to return home, I again pointed out that the VA would pay the bill. It always has in the past. But I started getting bills from the hospital. I called to say that they needed to contact the VA. I was told that I signed a paper saying I would be responsible for payment. The copay was around $2K. Since I live only on a small fixed income, I said I would pay not less than $20/month. 90 days later they turned me over to a collection agency. Huntsville Hospital was not at all cooperative on the matter, and the VA told me that I waited too long to contest the billing.

So now I pay the collection agency not less than $20/month.

Herb
Grant, AL

"My wife and I combined make as much adjusted for inflation as my father did when he started his blue collar working career."

Ben
De Witt, IA

Corruption hurts all of us, some more dramatically than others. Most are harmed by corruption in many small ways, whose sum is a large burden, but whose parts are largely only seen as inconveniences.

I am of the latter group. I would have liked to have gotten a PhD, but I didn't because I couldn't bear the thought of more student loans. Student loans meant my wife and I both have to work to afford to be on our own and we have to delay having a child. I just went to the doctor and dentist for the first time in years because I felt I couldn't afford the luxury. I would inherit my parents house and farm if it weren't in the most corrupt state in the nation.

My wife and I combined make as much adjusted for inflation as my father did when he started his blue collar working career. These are all slights but taken together deeply affect and touch all corners of one's life.

"My wife and I combined make as much adjusted for inflation as my father did when he started his blue collar working career."

Ben
De Witt, IA

"Their lives should not be put at risk because someone needs to make even more profit selling life-saving medications."

Angela Mogin
San Mateo, CA

I am 71 years old and have some minor health problems, such as high cholesterol and osteoporosis. Because I am allergic to Statiins my doctor prescribed a new biologic which, while it lowers the numbers of bad cholesterol, has yet to be proven effective in reducing the risk of heart attack or stroke. The medicine costs over $200 a month.

I am currently undergoing a procedure for dental implants requiring bone grafts in my jaw. For this reason, I cannot take most of the medicines available for osteoporosis since they interfere with the grafting process. Again, a biologic is available at a cost of $900 per month.

Neither of these prescriptions are covered by Medicare or our supplemental insurance because they are deemed "experimental." Since I can't afford to pay $13,000 a month for 2 prescriptions, my doctor's advice was don't fall.

If the FDA approves the medication, why is it still experimental? Why am I paying for supplemental insurance when it doesn't do more to the cover the overage between what Medicare pays and what the drug companies charge? Americans are being royally ripped off. In my case, the drugs are not vital to life but my granddaughters both have severe allergies and must carry epipens at all times. The cost of those pens was raised by many hundreds over their original cost, simply because the company could do so. This is a matter of life and death to my grandaughters. Their lives should not be put at risk because someone needs to make even more profit than they originally did by selling life-saving medications.

"Their lives should not be put at risk because someone needs to make even more profit selling life-saving medications."

Angela Mogin
San Mateo, CA

"This is another form of indentured servitude where the wealthy keep control of the masses using financial leverage."

Ken
Erie, PA

My wife and I are college graduates and went through school back when it was reasonably affordable. It seems that part of the American Dream was making higher education accessible, so that we could benefit ourselves, our communities, and the country.

Our parents were not expected to mortgage their future and retirement so that we could earn a college degree. Due to the corruption that has been allowed in our political system by our elected officials, higher education has become nothing more than a very lucrative business for the schools and lenders at the expense of the rapidly disappearing middle class.

My three children may never escape the financial hole that they have descended into while trying to earn their degrees at public Universities. Our retirement is also in jeopardy due to the amount of debt that we had to cosign to allow them to follow their dreams.

This is another form of indentured servitude where the wealthy keep control of the masses using financial leverage. It is an absolute shame that our elected officials allow big business to profit obscenely at the expense of the everyday citizens of this country!

"This is another form of indentured servitude where the wealthy keep control of the masses using financial leverage."

Ken
Erie, PA

"Wake up America! Your life may depend on It."

Ronald Knight
Las Vegas, NV

I can't believe that the American people have allowed our politicians to completely take it's population for granted almost as if we don't exist as citizens the Trump administration has put into place a group of billionaires that which is counter productive to our democratic ways and places all the power into a few very rich people's hands.

I see countless people around me who were once doing well and could pay their family bills with minimum problems, homelessness no doubt is increasing and squatters are beginning to infest properties that don't even belong to them. Yet I witness citizens become none the wiser. Do the American people think that it's really going to get better before it gets worse? Health has been and still is a issue in this country and needs emergency help but I doubt there will be any change anytime soon as long as we as a people continue to let greedy huge corporations, Wall Street, Politicians and Lobbyists dictate our needs.

Unfortunately the present government intends to use the Supreme Court to make sure that the rich obtain absolute Power. We demand Is a great idea but can it be implemented? Wake up America! Your life may depend on It.

"Wake up America! Your life may depend on It."

Ronald Knight
Las Vegas, NV

"The little care I did receive was from doctors that worked for the insurance companies, not their patients"

Fred St Clair
Ann Arbor, MI

My story started in 2004 when I was hurt at work in Florida. Jeb Bush had the insurance companies write the workers compensation laws, so I did not get the medical care I needed.
The little care I did receive was from doctors that worked for the insurance companies, not their patients. The last thing the doctor told me was "you can answer a phone, so you can work, and you won't get any social security disability money either." He was right. My mother took me in, and we helped each other until she died last year.

I don't know what I am going to do now: I have sold the few possessions that I had, and I have no credit left.

"The little care I did receive was from doctors that worked for the insurance companies, not their patients"

Fred St Clair
Ann Arbor, MI

"It is NOT confined to simply One issue"

Bob Leonard
Mahwah, NJ

It is NOT confined to simply One issue - this Administration / White House is Terrible on @ Least a Dozen Issues. Trump's wealth, its source & his "creditors" - which, if Russia / Russian, only contributes further to the Obvious Conflict/Emoluments element. We have @ Least NINE Campaign, Transition & Administration members, up to their asses in Russia & other International "entanglements", with Flynn & Manafort & Page "leading the pack"! Then, just for good measure, it appears that @ Least 3 of the Trump "team", are also guilty of Perjury Flynn, Manafort and America's "top cop", Leading in this area. I am no longer sure how to refer to this man, and his "tribe: Monkees screwing a football - Treasonous b******s, incompetent Imbeciles... I assure you of this, I am most certainly @ Least as scared now, as I was during 1974, or worse, October of 1962, when I was nine and every adult appeared Petrified. God Bless & Help us ALL!!

"It is NOT confined to simply One issue"

Bob Leonard
Mahwah, NJ

"Now I may have to return to work at age 65!!"

Tracy Lipinski
Muskego, WI

I retired at age 55 with almost 40 years of working for the State of WI. That was before Trump was put in the WH by our electoral college. Paul Ryan now wants to change the Medicare age and there is threat of the GOP dismantling Obamacare, Social Security AND Medicare. I paid into the latter two and already have carefully planned out my retirement based on these being there for me. Now I may have to return to work at age 65!!

"Now I may have to return to work at age 65!!"

Tracy Lipinski
Muskego, WI

"My American Dream is dead. "

Brian Driggs
Glendale, AZ

On my 40th birthday, I made a $350 student loan payment to Navient, formerly known as Sallie Mae. It's my second monthly student loan payment. Combined, I pay $600/month toward my student loans.

I originally borrowed $42,000 to get a Technical Management degree, a combination of computer programming and business management. My last $350 payment put me over $39,000 paid back. Remaining principal on those loans? More than $72,000. The fact that our society effectively brainwashes each generation into thinking college is required to get ahead (while middle class incomes continue to drop, adjusted for inflation), only to lock us into a lifetime of debt--serviced by predatory lenders apparently above rebuke--is simply indentured servitude under the guise of "education."

I've been giving serious thought to leaving the country and renouncing my citizenship for a couple years now. If you're not a big bank, big pharmaceutical, big oil, or Big 3 player, you clearly don't matter to the United States anymore. My American Dream is dead. I'm going to suggest my daughter use her "college fund" to emigrate. Hopefully I'll have enough money scraped together by then to go with her.

"My American Dream is dead. "

Brian Driggs
Glendale, AZ

"I thought when you make payments towards your child support it decreases not increases. Please help"

Justin Burns & Juanita Holloway
New Baltimore, MI

Me and my fiancé are going through a corrupt system which is Friends of the Court.

I was done paying my child support for my two children, but when I called, it said I owed and extra $3,000. They sent me to my local FOC office, then sent me to MISDU to find out what the hell was going on. Then they told me to call the IRS and check that my children's mom was retrieved back to IRS, but they're saying I still owe this debt.

My fiancé Juanita Holloway has been paying for children's insurance through the state of Michigan since August of 2016. She paid $88 twice, then in October she was ordered to pay just $64 every month. She thought she didn't owe any money and was all caught up. Then she receives a letter from the disbursement unit in Michigan, saying that she still owes $655! They took part of her tax money, but when they took that and all the money she has been paying since August, mind you she has all the receipts that she made payments, MISDU said that she still owes the $655.

I thought when you make payments towards your child support it decreases not increases. Please help

"I thought when you make payments towards your child support it decreases not increases. Please help"

Justin Burns & Juanita Holloway
New Baltimore, MI
Jeremy
Montgomery, IL

Corruption exists in the educational system, with Privately-owned corporations parading around with ties to governmental support as if they were colleges or universities.

Westwood College (subsidiary of ALTA Group) is a corrupt institution: They lure in unsuspecting high school kids (and their parents) as well as adults looking to re-educate or start a new path in their lives. Westwood promises a job in an industry directly related to the field of study, stating that all their instructors have connections, contacts, and back-stage access to said employers. The company promises free re-education for life - if the technology, techniques, or requirements of the career change in any way. Every student who signs on the bottom line with Westwood is forced to get a private student loan for every individual semester/term of classes. The college will not accept any student who is wealthy enough to pay out of pocket, unless that student signs for a Student Loan. This is how the Alta college profits are made. They profit outright by promising a degree and guaranteeing a career to everyone, only to stab them in the back with debt and lies about their capacity for employment post-graduation.

My specific experience left me with no job opportunities, no support from the college in finding a job or launching my career, and over $90,000.00 in Student Loan Debt, which can never be paid off. The minimum payments demanded by Navient - another privately-owned for-profit conglomerate that holds the purse strings of almost all Student Loan Debt in this nation - are untenable. Due to each of the 12 loans from Westwood, I receive a bill for $3500 per month as a minimum payment amount. After years of fighting to convince a single person in the Navient mob that such amounts are unreasonable and completely impossible for anyone who makes less than $3500 per month (as do I and millions of American College Graduates), they finally relented and offered me a FULL INTEREST 12-month delay on making payments. This means that -12 months from now - another $4500 in interest will be tacked on to the already $90,000+ I owe to them. The corruption is atrocious and prevalent and no college debt is allowed to be charged off or negotiated down. It cannot be discharged through bankruptcy and affects the livelihoods, health, and potential for innovation and entrepreneurship of these adults with knowledge and ambitions who are unable to borrow in order to create a business or have a free, happy life.

What it did to me was bring an end to my marriage - my wife and I divorced because of the inability to afford paying this debt as well as the stress when Navient calls at 1pm and 1am every single day asking for money we did not have. This student debt left my family and home in ruins, deprived life to any child my wife and I could have brought into this world, and continues to storm and rage with deafening thunderclaps over my soul. Whenever Navient calls me anymore, assuming they have somehow discovered my new phone number again (I've gone through 16 phone number over the years), I calmly and coolly explain the situation and tell them this: "Please contact Alta Colleges Group in Denver, Colorado for your money. They committed fraud on the both of us and thus they are the ones to whom you must reach out to in order to receive reimbursement for the money drawn against the promises made and the UNACCREDITED education I never received. They sold me a 7"x9" slip of paper for $80,000 that is not worth the tree slaughtered for said paper to exist."

Jeremy
Montgomery, IL
LuQman AbdurRahman
Ann Arbor, MI

The position for No objection(s) from Administrative Office of the United States Courts to a Public Hearing before the United States House of Representatives for Merit of Stop Government Waste And False Records Keeping is not required.

Begins with no protection for LuQman AbdurRahman being wrongfully convicted and unjustly Denied Rights of a Certified Crime Victim. On January 24, 1981, LuQman AbdurRahman was wrongfully arrested, and March 26, 1982, LuQman AbdurRahman was wrongfully convicted. LuQman AbdurRahman has a Public Record filed in the Michigan Supreme Court proving the Fraud of Patricia J. Boyle., a once Detroit, Michigan Federal District Court Judge, and an Associate Justice of the Michigan Supreme Court. Moreover, he, LuQman AbdurRahman, has a Judgment from the Michigan Attorney Discipline Board validated on the Embezzlement of the Attorney Donald L. Correll who stole the Documents proving the Fraud of Patricia J. Boyle. To dig the footing for Innocent Organizations not protecting all Innocent People, and Officers of the Court not protecting all Crime Victims, and Officers of the Court actions to keep Crimes under Concealment; then, LuQman AbdurRahman has a Ann Arbor Police Department Police Report on the Forgery of the Judgment of Sentence to Prison that explains the Forgery of the Warrant to Prison: The illegal payment of the Fraudulent Check paid for LuQman AbdurRahman to illegally reside in the Washtenaw County Jail; the Fraudulent Check to illegally pay the Washtenaw County Sheriff to take LuQman AbdurRahman to Prison.

No Honest Professional, that is, reported this Concealment of Crime. To uphold the cause to protect the Innocent not protected by Innocent Organizations, protect Crime Victims victimized by Crime committed by Court Officials who keep Crimes under concealment. When the American Bar Association reads this, then, ask this organization of Attorneys to separate themselves from the Attorney James C. Thomas who said his dog destroyed the Federal Removal Petition that cause Patricia J. Boyle to commit Fraud of the Court, and cause John P. Mayer not to report Patricia J. Boyle, and cause Baylee Reid not to report Donald L. Correll, and report Patricia J. Boyle to the Attorney Grievance Commission and the Judicial Tenure Commission. (That is, no one in the Michigan Supreme Court ruled on the Public Record proving the Fraud of Patricia J. Boyle.)

LuQman AbdurRahman
Ann Arbor, MI
Morgan
CA

The moment I first realized money was affecting political outcomes was Prop 8 in California when outside groups spent money to defeat marriage equality, which was extremely personal since I have two moms.

The larger scale realization was working with a local open space advocacy group started by my grandpa, who has worked his entire life on climate change, and seeing special interest - from developments to pipelines - dump in money for political outcomes here in my community. Now I see it everywhere I look when our political system produces outcomes so obviously counter to the will of the people - from Dakota XL, to the internet service providers selling browser histories, to private prisons, to net neutrality and on and on.

Until we fix this issue of corruption locally and at the state and federal level, our government will continue representing only those who can afford for their voices to be heard.

Morgan
CA
James
PA

My dad was an engineer. He made good money and always made sure to get the best insurance possible because of an ongoing health condition. He became very sick and ended up in the ICU for a few months. The doctors knew that he had an illness, but couldn't pinpoint exactly what the problem was. After 2-3 months of being in the ICU, his insurance company told the hospital that he had hit his lifetime cap and the hospital sent him home. My dad died three days later. Obamacare now prevents this from happening, but it came too late for my dad. Insurance companies had lifetime caps in order to prevent financial losses and even now, they spend big money lobbying the government to get loopholes and policy changes that pad their bottom line. It's pretty messed up that there is a price tag on human life.

James
PA

"Corruption has stolen any sense of financial security we could have had in our old age. "

Nick
WA

Corruption has stolen any sense of financial security we could have had in our old age. My husband is 49 and I am 45. We will be working I am sure until the moment we cannot anymore. I cannot afford to send my daughter to college here, so she is going overseas where it is free- which is great, but who can afford a $1,600 plane ticket? So I won’t see her very often and that is heart breaking to me. We have bought a home here finally, but because of corruption we pay for a loan in which we pay mortgage insurance to protect the investment of those lending the money. It is not to help protect us in any way. I am on an income repayment plan for my student loans, but I still had to include them in figuring out what we qualify for.

It is all connected and it is all linked. It is a story like so many others. I seriously cannot think of one important aspect of my life that has to do with health or security that I cannot connect with the protections our government gives corporations over the welfare of their constituents. There are a ton of people my age who are in this boat. It’s not because we don’t work hard. Are not educated. Asked for it. The system is set up so there is no way of really moving forward towards financial and health security for the majority of our population.

"Corruption has stolen any sense of financial security we could have had in our old age. "

Nick
WA
Peter Ouellette
Wilkes-Barre, PA

In NEPA we dealt with the "Kids for Cash" scandal. A private developer built two juvenile detention centers and offered their use to the juvenile justice system. In an effort to keep the beds at the centers full, he bribed two judges in Luzerne County to sentence children to those facilities. The juveniles were often unrepresented or poorly represented in court, and sentenced to serve terms at the facilities, in some cases for extremely minor offenses.
Search "Kids for Cash" for more information.

Peter Ouellette
Wilkes-Barre, PA
Jenny Landon
MA

I came into political awareness during the bank bailout in 2008, and it totally provided a frame for my perception of politics. The way that big banks influenced the housing market and financial sector was deeply corrupt and led to people losing their homes and savings. No one was held accountable and the banks were bailed out.

As we know, no one bailed out the tens of thousands of Americans who lost their homes. Understanding the financial collapse was my lightbulb moment when I realized that the system was designed to help the profit margins of giant corporate entities instead of everyday people. I was young when I realized this and it made me really sad to 'get' that our country was bought.

Jenny Landon
MA
Rob Booth
MA

In 2008, I had been loaned out to the largest independent expenditure campaign that supported Barack Obama's run for president by the environmental non-profit I had been working for.

I uprooted from Maine and between August and November of 2008, I traveled to 25 states, working up to 80 hours a week registering voters, talking to them about Barack's environmental policies and why he was better for our country than John McCain.

Early in the debates -- I think the second night -- I found myself at a bar with several other staffers, all who had just come off long shifts talking to voters. Midway through the debates, he said something that elicited a loud groan that slowly turned into an angry boo -- from us, some of us most ardent supporters!

This candidate, who I had literally moved across the country to support did a complete 180 on many of the policies I had been loaned to his campaign on in the first place. Suddenly he was for off-shore drilling for oil and he talked about a need to develop "clean" coal technology and safe ways to store nuclear energy.

In some cases, direct contradictions to the talking points I had been trained to share with voters! Did he suddenly have a change of heart on these issues? Of course not. But in order to get elected, he made a dramatic shift from his values and I suspect the $117,946 that his campaign was given from Exxon Mobil may have softened his resolve.

If not, it may have been the $77,875 from Chevron.
Or the $71,051 from BP. Or the $64,661 from Shell.
... This could go on for a while. Either way, that was the last time I worked a candidate campaign.

Rob Booth
MA
Rachel Brewer
MA

My 'lightbulb' moment, when I realized that corruption is the root cause of so many problems that we're facing, came when I realized how many of the people in my life were suffering because of our corrupt government. When the student loan industry was prioritized over my sister's education, when the sugar industry was prioritized over my father's health - I've learned too many times that people and voters aren't at the heart of our democracy. My 'lightbulb' moment came when I realized that serving money and special interests, not voters, is the norm.

Rachel Brewer
MA
Jack Noland
MA

If I'm to select a personal identity most clearly affected by corruption, I think I'd land on "recent college graduate." It's a big group - one that's largely unified, maybe, by a dismal economic future. More than anything else, debt looms over us. We're told that college is our ticket to a brighter future, but for many of us that path comes with tens (or hundreds) of thousands of dollars of loans, each with sky-high interest rates. It doesn't have to be this way. Several countries in Europe, for example, graduate the vast majority of their students without substantial debt, pushing them forward for their future without pulling them back with decades of bills to pay. Deep-pocketed special interests stand in the way of the US going the same way, and a broken political system stymies change all over the board.

The corruption that undergirds our society keeps that from improving. Striking back at corruption - fundamentally changing the way we govern ourselves - does more than keep politicians honest, I think. I'm willing to bet it would make everyday life better for just about everyone.

Jack Noland
MA

"We received a multi-thousand dollar bill from numerous departments"

Jackie
MA

My nephew who lives with me has healthcare through Vermont Medicaid. (which in itself is rife with the effects of corruption) a few months ago he broke his hand playing soccer at school and needed an emergency room visit, a cast (actually 3 separate and increasing expensive ones) and Physical therapy.

None of this was covered by his health insurance as the services were received in Massachusetts - none of which we were informed of before the bills began arriving. We received a multi-thousand dollar bill from numerous departments. As I was fighting for his insurance to cover the costs, we were referred to a collection agency. Now we are fighting on multiple fronts for our rights as citizens.

"We received a multi-thousand dollar bill from numerous departments"

Jackie
MA

"...no matter how many times she tries to get help, she's met with people who want to take her children from her. "

Amanda Bass
Longmont, CO

I was born and raised in deep poverty. I grew up in absolute fear that I could be taken away from my (single) mother at anytime. The state threatened to take me because I liked to eat veggies, we didn't have cable tv, my brother's went to school with bruises from fighting with each other, or any other reason they could think of. One of my brother was accused of starting a fight on a day that he was home sick.

My mother tried as hard as she could to keep us off social services, working 4 jobs at a time for quite a few years. We would afraid to go to the doctor, because it just might cost more than we could every afford this time. When the floods of '93 took out our basement wall, we received FEMA money to fix it, but the amount was so small that the only people who would fix it was the city. We lost half of the room the wall was in, cause they fill it half way up with concrete.

We had months where we didn't have a working furnace, water heater, and clothes washer at various times, because no matter how hard my mother tried to find a resource to help, none could do found. But you can bet that when I state found out about not having a washer (after we kept the other two tight to our chest) another worker was at our door wondering if we need to be removed from our home once again. And again when two of us developed a bleach allergy. My mother would have/did do almost anything to make sure we ate, had a roof over our head, and clothes on our back.

I am 36 now, uneducated with a high school diploma because they would teach a dyslexic, living just on the edge of poverty, knowing that even though I have worked as a retail manager, I well always have to start each new job at minimum wage, even when they tell me the pay is based on experience ( one has so far ). That the paycheck I get from there is not likely to be much more then the cost of a babysitter and gas. My other choice is to watch my husband over stress himself by working every chance he can get.

I know this doesn't seem to many to be a story about corruption. But think about how we got to a point where a woman leaves an abusive husband with her four children, and no matter how many times she tries to get help, she's met with people who want to take her children from her. Think of how bad that same system must be, to keep such a tight hold, that even her children can't quite escape poverty.

"...no matter how many times she tries to get help, she's met with people who want to take her children from her. "

Amanda Bass
Longmont, CO
Heather
Murrieta, CA

My wake up moment was when I began getting bills that totaled $18,000 for 3 hospital trips- and these were AFTER our insurance already paid. Turns out that in the state of California, hospitals can charge you whatever they want if you go to an "out of network" hospital. Our nearest "in network" hospital is over 50 miles away. So, when my appendix decided to take a swan dive on Christmas Day, we ran to the nearest hospital. Big mistake. It was a horrific experience- being parked in a hallway in nothing but a paper gown for an entire day, then being "misplaced" for another entire day while my appendix slowly ruptured and blew up inside my own body. The kicker though was the surgeon yelling at me and telling me to "suck it up" for 4 more hours till he was off shift bc otherwise he'd have to stay late. He even offered to give me double the typical amount of dilautid and make me "super comfortable" if I'd just stop crying about the pain until shift change. I was in the hospital less than 12 hours after my appendix finally came out because they "needed the room", even though the new surgeon expressed concerns about sepsis and recommended I be there for several more days. The nursing staff said I'd "probably be fine" and booted me. I ended up getting sepsis, had to go back to the hospital 2 more times, and it took me almost 8 weeks to recover. Which was around the time the billing calls started. My insurance paid almost $30,000 to this hospital, but they only paid what was "fair and reasonable", and we are now stuck with the rest. When I called the hospital and asked why there is another $18,000 above what is "fair and reasonable" I was told that, because we are out of network, that is just what they charge, and if we don't pay in 30 days they will take us to collections. We've spoken to several lawyers who agree this is terribly corrupt... and they'd be happy to represent us for a $10,000 retainer "to start". I've never felt so helpless and hopeless. We already spend $800/mo for insurance that we can barely afford to avoid things like this. It's now become a full time job trying to contact resources or sit on hold with hospital billing staff trying to resolve this. There are days when I have to choose between ignoring my 3 year old and searching through mountains of paperwork in an attempt to get all of this handled before we are taken to collections. Our hope of owning a home or hell, even buying a bigger car that our family can actually fit in, seems like a fantasy. I'm terrified to go to the doctor for anything anymore, even though I'm still weak and sickly almost 4 months later. I've called dozens of phone numbers, spent, at last count, almost 30 solid hours on the phone over the last 2 months, and haven't found a single scrap of help. At 30 years old my husband and I are having to debate bankruptcy because $18k on top of all of our other bills is just too much. We've spent the last 5 years building our credit only to lose it all over something we had no control over, and I blame myself constantly for. When does the corruption stop? When do we ever slow the tide of greed and gluttony? Sometimes I honestly wonder how anyone can even afford to live in this world anymore.

Heather
Murrieta, CA

"We can't afford to look at things like health care and cancer as just statistics. These are real stories. Real fears. Real lives. "

Rebecca
Goleta, CA

My parents got divorced when I was in first grade. Before that my mom had just been a stay at home mom. After that, she was a single mother with very little money of her own. My dad always covered my expenses, but there was suddenly no one to cover hers.

Over the years my mom got a job and a little bit of money of her own. But she was always spending it on mortgage or groceries or me. She would have healthcare and then she wouldn't, and even if she did it wasn't great. One day, she broke some pretty big news to me; she got diagnosed with breast cancer.

Now, before then I knew that both her sisters had been diagnosed with breast cancer too. I guess I just figured that my mom was the lucky one. The day she got diagnosed, I was pretty scared. I was worried about her expenses, and the effect that would have on her mental state on top of the horrors that come along with being face to face with cancer. Luckily, just like both her sisters, she made it through. I have to be honest, she didn't talk much about how this would affect her financially, so I can't quite tell you everything that went on behind the scenes with insurance. However, I do know that she got a new job not too long before her diagnosis, and I believe it came with some better coverage.

What I can tell you is how truly important it is to know that you're not alone in dark times. Even with me and my sister and a few close friends around, how much could that truly mean to someone trapped beneath thousands of dollars of medical expenses to solve a problem she couldn't prevent? Maybe she got lucky she got a new job with better coverage. Maybe she's lucky she was able to heal so fast. Maybe she's lucky she caught it early.

By the way, that brings me to a new problem. the defunding of Planned Parenthood. Planned Parenthood is a great resource for breast cancer screenings and finding doctors who can help. My sister and I have a very high, nearly certain possibility of getting breast cancer. I know Trump is only in power for 4 to 8 years and by the time he's come and gone, Planned Parenthood may have the government's support again, or maybe a new resource will arise that can help as well.

Or maybe if or when the time comes that my sister and I get diagnosed with breast cancer, another man will come into power and strip away our chances. Or maybe my sister and I won't be the only ones then. Or maybe we aren't the only ones at risk now. I can't stress enough how important health care is to every single person in America. We can't afford to look at things like health care and cancer as just statistics. These are real stories. Real fears. Real lives. And we demand better.

"We can't afford to look at things like health care and cancer as just statistics. These are real stories. Real fears. Real lives. "

Rebecca
Goleta, CA
Dawn Lasky
Lake Worth, FL

In 2009 I had a very routine hysterectomy. 3 days later I had a fever of 104 and spent a week in the hospital before I was diagnosed with MRSA. I was cut in half and lost 40% of my abdominal wall. 3 weeks in the hospital isolated from my children and another 6 weeks at home with a wound vac. I nearly died.

Total cost of this PREVENTABLE infection was $320,000. BCBS paid $280.000. And I nearly died. I found out hospitals across the country make an estimated $200B on preventable infections. It would cost appx $21B to clean up the hospitals so people would stop getting these infections. If THAT'S not a corrupted system, what is?

Dawn Lasky
Lake Worth, FL
Rita Guill
Naperville, IL

My son was diagnosed with poor truncal core muscles, poor eye coordination read from the board to paper. He needed occupational therapy as this diagnosis would impact learning in school. We only were able to get services for him for a month because insurance wouldn't pay. They said since he was born with this condition, that it wasn't covered. Each session was over $300 for a weekly appointment.

Rita Guill
Naperville, IL
Patti Martin
Spring Hill, FL

I simply can't afford anything. I don't go to the Doctor and Obamacare was a rip off for the working class. We foot the entire bill because the ELITE can't seem to pay. THEY ARE TRAITORS TO THEIR OWN COUNTRY.

Patti Martin
Spring Hill, FL
Jeremiah
Shawnee Mission, KS

In August of 2016 the DEA announced it was going to ban another plant besides marijuana called Kratom. I had just recently found out about it and it had changed my life as someone who has suffered from depression, ADHD, and anxiety which I was taking multiple medications for with terrible side effects.

Through the impending ban I found out this plant actually helped thousands upon thousands of people to quit heroin and painkillers which I had no idea about.

It turns out that this impending ban was due to the lobbying of the pharmaceutical industry to ban kratom because it was getting people off of their addicting drugs like oxycontin, percocets, etc. Anyways, a large portion of the millions of kratom users in this country came together and called congress members requesting they sign a Dear Colleague letter started by two Congressmen, one of which whose niece used the plant. With tens of thousands of calls to them and the DEA's office the DEA decided to suspend the ban indefinitely after 51 members of Congress signed the letter.

Ever since then I have become more active in trying to help out in fighting corruption in other cases that didn't personally affect me because I was almost deeply impacted myself by the corruption of parts of our government. One example is the refusal of the DEA to reschedule marijuana so that people everywhere can get access to it at least for medicinal purposes.

Due to the corruption though, the DEA and FDA just approved a synthetic form of marijuana with reportedly terrible side effects not seen in natural marijuana. Just one of many examples of money influencing policy.

Jeremiah
Shawnee Mission, KS

"...she was prescribed was 8,000/month out of pocket! {...} in Canada, the same medication went for $300/month!"

Dee Collins
Cameron, NC

This isn't for me personally, but my mother is very sick. On disability. She has to have antibiotics year around. Medicaid doesn't cover many because they are tier 3 and 4. The one that they do cover was recalled. The new one she was prescribed was 8,000 a month out of pocket!!!!

I checked around in Canada the same medication went for around $300 a month! Quite a difference if you ask me. I googled pharmacies in other countries same results, even cheaper in some. Talk about greed and corruption, there it is!!! Big pharma is a bitch!! If it weren't for the fact that I'm relatively well off by most people's standards and have been able to afford buying her a home (her was foreclosed on because of medical bills), and medications, my mom at 52 years old, prob wouldn't be here today because she'd have to stop her treatments and that would kill her.

"...she was prescribed was 8,000/month out of pocket! {...} in Canada, the same medication went for $300/month!"

Dee Collins
Cameron, NC

"In 1976 we averaged 6,364 dollars per person. In 2016 we average 2,758 dollars per person, quite the enormous gap"

Timothy Edward Clarkson
Wailuku, HI

As with every problem, there is an equation which leads to the problem. The problem here with this social issue falls entirely too simply to be put, easy to fix.

With each of us we are caught between the pickles of our everyday life of having money or not having money, this is the uncanny sad but true moment to our equation. Hold on to your jaw as it is about to fall permanently open upon further reading.

In 1976, our Federal Government of which we one hundred percent Americans completely own, spent an equivalent of 1.4 trillion dollars towards the welfare of our nation with a population at the time close to 220 million.

Press the fast forward button and with a population increase of nearly 110 million in 2016 reaching 330 million Americans, we are only spending 900 billion on the welfare of our nation. 310 million of which they have to say it falls under welfare assistance yet truly the number falls at 690 billion going to the welfare of our nation. That is mind blowing to say the least when you consider the amount of crime that is engulfing our inner cities. I’m just saying that when a quality man such as Colin Kaepernick takes a knee at a football game it was not to embarrass the country, rather to tell the country it’s time to huddle up America, something is not right.

Well, here in lies the problem. If we were to ratio the population in 1976 to the population in 2016, versus dollar spent per American in welfare, you would get the fact that we are 1.1 trillion dollars away from equaling the amount of welfare spent on an American citizen in 1976.

In 1976 we averaged 6,364 dollars per person. In 2016 we average 2,758 dollars per person, quite the enormous gap, and that is really digging for it as well. If this does not open your eyes to the true solution, I do not know what will. We have an annual gross yearly produce of 14.4 trillion dollars, of which at times we tend to lose a couple trillion of it mistakenly(heavily sarcastic). To say that we are unable to gift one seventh of our yearly output is an embarrassment to say the least.

Hey America, take a knee I think it’s time we huddled up and thought this play all the way through.
References US Census Bureau. (2017) US and World Population Clock. Retrieved from https://www.census.gov/popclock/ US Government Welfare. (2017) US Government Spending. Retrieved from http://www.usgovernmentspending.com/welfare_spending US Department of Labor. (2017) CPI Inflation Calculator. Retrieved from https://www.bls.gov/data/inflation_calculator.htm

"In 1976 we averaged 6,364 dollars per person. In 2016 we average 2,758 dollars per person, quite the enormous gap"

Timothy Edward Clarkson
Wailuku, HI
Robert Stolpmann
Daytona Beach, FL

Were do I even begin?

Well my Facebook is a good start, but the fight we are in is about Renewable Energy. Little did we know that the Political will was so far in opposition. Our Governor Rick Scott is a climate denier and has made the paper for instructing the Department of Environmental Protection to redact "Climate Change" from the official record. Combine that all the way down to local politicians and you have a powerful force of corruption. Transportation Oriented Development is Very Political. Mariam and her brother Mori run this town with an iron fist. This Iranian born land baron holds sway over a lot of powerful Coalitions. https://www.google.com/amp/s/wftv.relaymedia.com/amp/news/local/former-daytona-beach-city-manager-takes-plea-deal-in-prostitution-sting/486411676
http://www.news-journalonline.com/article/LK/20141214/News/605079957/DN/ https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=4DLnYickXDk https://www.google.com/amp/s/wftv.relaymedia.com/amp/news/local/daytona-beach-commissioner-arrested-charged-batter/106811906

It goes on and on and on! We have an active ethics complaint with the state against Carl Lentz IV, City is under investigation by the FBI, Multiple lawsuits and complaints. It's so deep a rabbit hole you get lost.
They need some illumination.
Robert Stolpmann 386/212/9119

Robert Stolpmann
Daytona Beach, FL

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