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Reagan overdue for Liberty Medal

Weekly roundup of rants, reactions and random musings from you, our readers

Singer Macy Gray last week called for a new American flag. Should Old Glory be retired, or should we stick with our current flag? Send your thoughts to voices@philadelphiaweekly.com. Image | Samuel Branch

It is time for the annual award of the Liberty Medal at Philadelphia’s Constitutional Center on July 4th. But for fair-minded objective individuals, a hollowness, a chasm of cosmic disbelief will forever tarnish its intrinsic worth and integrity by the failure or reluctance to award this medal to Ronald Reagan for his singular diplomatic and strategic measures that brought about the demise of the former Soviet Union and the freedom of eastern Europe. Tantamount to the raw politicization that denied Ronald Reagan the Nobel Peace Prize.

Mikhail Gorbachev, who had to be dragged into a realistic appraisal of his country’s brutal history, third-world economy, technological backwardness and lack of academic and journalistic freedom, was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize by that crew of myopic hypocritical trolls in Oslo.

Arthur Schlessinger, author of the multi-volume hagiography of Franklin Delano Roosevelt, a man whose very countenance was the incarnation of liberal smarm, was summoned from obscurity by the biased liberal media to trash Reagan’s historical triumph, and seriously, incredulously state that the reluctant communist Mikhail Gorbachev be given the Nobel Peace Prize.

Even the Russians were perplexed by the failure of America’s pseudo-intellectuals to give Reagan credit for that unparalleled diplomatic coup of the 20th century. It can be summed up in two words: Reykjavik and SDI. But as Harry Truman stated: “professional liberals are intellectually dishonest.”

Edmond Morris, in his excellent biography of Reagan, which I would highly recommend to any open-minded college students who can think for themselves, recounts statements made at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Conference held at Hofstra University in 1992, which scholars from the former Soviet Union attended. One Genrikh Trofimenko, former advisor to Leonid Brezhnev and U.S. expert at the Soviet Academy of Sciences, strongly stated that “Ronald Reagan was tackling world gangsters of the first order of magnitude. Ninety-nine percent of the Russian people believe that you won the Cold War because of your President’s insistence on SDI. Yet the greatest flim-flam man of all time, Mikhail Gorbachev, was made the Nobel Peace Prize Laureate.”

Who decides the granting of Philadelphia’s Liberty Medal? Who appoints them? Are they fairly representative of the values and aspirations of the citizens of the United States?

Predictively, in 2008 they gave the Liberty Medal to Gorbachev. Oh really? He would subsequently state that he still considered himself a socialist. His repressive brand of socialism mandated the total control of the life of a Russian, politically, economically and spiritually, etc.; this included the imprisonment of dissidents in mental institutions with no legal redress.                                                      

In 2006, Bill Clinton and George Bush were awarded the Liberty Medal. How vague and insubstantial were the reasons for this bequeathal. They were recognized for their bipartisan humanitarian efforts on behalf of victims of natural disasters in Southeast Asia and the Gulf Coast. Wouldn’t any other president have done the same? What did that have to do with freedom?

In 2003, Justice Sandra Day O’Conner was awarded the Liberty Medal. Only a reclusive hermit in a cave could not grasp this was a political decision based on Roe v. Wade. A prior decision based on a lie. How ironic that this medal was awarded for upholding the denial of the most ultimate freedom of all, the freedom to be born. It goes against the grain of the very soul of a nation.

Did Justice Anthony Kennedy’s “advancement of the cause of civic education” in 2019 in any way approach Reagan’s achievement?

In 1997, they gave the Liberty Medal to the International Cable News Network, CNN, whose political bias and disinformation has risen to the pathological.

No one could reasonably deny the merit of awarding this Liberty Medal to Kim Dae Jung of the Republic of Korea in 1999, Vaclav Havel of Czechoslovakia in 1994 or Nelson Mandela and F.W. De Klerk of South Africa in 1993. Considering the subject matter of this article, only an amnesiac could fail to grasp the irony of that 1993 decision.

Until the surviving children of Ronald Reagan stand in the Constitution Center near Independence Hall and accept this medal posthumously on behalf of their father, it ultimately will not be worth the increasingly corrosive content from which it is being created.

Russell Satterthwait | Lansdale 

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Pushing nurses’ limits affects patient safety

“Thank you, healthcare heroes!” 

That is the sign I encounter from hospitals and businesses on almost every other block in the city. However, these thank yous feel so empty when our hands are still so full. It is difficult to believe these thank yous when hospitals keep expecting overworked and understaffed nurses to take care of more and more patients in one shift.

In a year where nurses and healthcare workers have been acutely overwhelmed by a ravaging pandemic, the chronic issue of overworked and understaffed hospital units remains. Nurses are expected to stick their necks out to take care of a greater number of patients. 

The feeling of being overwhelmed by unsafe patient-to-nurse ratios is more than palpable in Philadelphia’s hospitals. One nursing colleague of mine, C.L., recalls, “There were days after shifts I would get into the car and hope that I would get into an accident so I wouldn’t have to go to work. That’s how bad it was.”

Like so many nurses, C.L. felt that the increased patient load was unsafe for both her and her patients. With the increased demands of a larger patient volume, there was no way to fit in all the checks and balances that ensure safe patient care. “I was scared I was going to lose my license, with all of the corners we had to cut.”

Another nurse I have worked with, O.M. describes his 12-hour shift, “I would sometimes have to take seven or eight patients. My main goal for them was quickly giving medications and making sure everyone was stable. They were being checked on less than eight times a shift!” 

What if your family member developed a pressure ulcer from not being checked on or being turned? According to O.M., “I know [patients] were not being changed. You would get the patient at change of shift, baths and turns weren’t done and no one was afraid to admit it! People were still incontinent for who knows how long!” This nurse’s comment is supported by the numerous studies that have demonstrated that as the number of patients per nurse increases, there is an increased risk of patient safety events, morbidity, and even mortality.

To combat the abysmal nurse-to-patient staffing standards, some healthcare systems in Philadelphia resorted to more extreme measures, such as assigning patients to nurses who have been out of practice for several years. Often, this doubled the workload of the regular nursing staff on the floor. In addition to having to take care of an increasing number of patients in one shift, they also needed to help a nursing supervisor or retired nurse who had been out of clinical nurse practice. 

The most difficult aspect of managing these unreasonable patient assignments is that most nurses do not even realize how unsafe these conditions are. “You don’t realize what you’re doing to yourself until you’re out of it.” If they are aware of these unrealistic patient assignments, they often feel powerless in being able to change them. 

So, it is up to us, everyday people and users of healthcare, to stand up for the nurses who work 24/7 to keep us healthy. Pennsylvania legislators are aware of this issue and have proposed House Bill 106 and Senate Bill 240 to protect nurses and require safe staffing levels. The bill seeks to set a fixed nurse-to-patient staffing standard based on patient acuity levels. The bill also seeks to put protections in place for nurses to contest unsafe patient assignments. 

If we do not take care of our nurses and nursing support staff, who will take care of our most sick and most vulnerable? How can we expect them to take care of our families and friends if these protections are not in place? 

To ensure the health and safety of all Pennsylvanians, we need the Patient Safety Act, as proposed by the Pennsylvania State Nurses Association, SEIU, PASNAP, and Nurses of PA. Contact your legislators and the chairs of the PA House Health Committee, Kathy L. Rapp and Dan Frankel, today and tell them they need to move this bill to vote. 

This bill cannot be tabled. Lives cannot be tabled. 

Melanie Mariano is a clinical nurse on the floors at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania and recent family nurse practitioner graduate from the University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing. 

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