Category Archives: parents

How to Buy Travel Medical Insurance, the ‘Other’ Travel Insurance

Travel SERAPH

No one wants to imagine being sick or injured on vacation; but if the worst happens, it pays (literally) to be prepared. Medical travel insurance can save you considerable hassle, time and money, and offer you peace of mind if you encounter health problems while traveling. But it’s also somewhat separate from most standard forms of travel insurance. While most common—and commonly needed—travel insurance is trip-cancellation (TCI) protection, you should certainly consider medical risks when you’re looking at your travel insurance options, up to and including emergency medical evacuation (also called “medevac”) assistance.

Who Needs Travel Medical Insurance?

The quick answer to that question is: Anyone who isn’t covered by their regular medical insurance when they’re traveling. More specifically, that means:

  • Anyone whose regular health insurance/HMO doesn’t pay for services outside the U.S. There was a time when most private health insurance—and most HMOs—covered you (and emergency medevac assistance) wherever you went, but that’s no longer the case. With relentless cutbacks in benefits in recent years, many standard health insurance programs will no longer cover medical bills in foreign countries. And most do not cover medevac.
  • Any senior dependent on Medicare. Medicare will not pay for anything outside the U.S. Even if you have a Medicare supplement that nominally covers foreign travel, benefits are so meager that you might need additional insurance.

Everyone should check their health insurance and travel insurance’s overseas medical benefits before leaving the country for a trip. If coverage is either slim or nonexistent, you likely need travel medical insurance.

It’s also worth noting that the medical benefits in many travel insurance policies are secondary, which means the insurance pays only for what you can’t claim from your regular health insurer/HMO. On the off chance that you already have good foreign-country coverage, additional travel insurance is probably a waste of money.

Bundled Medical Coverage

Almost all travel insurance bundles include a combination of TCI and medical benefits. For example, for a two-week trip to Europe the least expensive bundled policy might be a few hundred dollars (total) for two people. This usually covers a few thousand dollars in TCI plus somewhere around $50,000 in medical/dental emergency costs per person, and $50,000 in medical evacuation expenses per person. That’s about the minimum coverage: If you think you need more, you could buy a policy providing TCI plus $100,000 in medical emergency and $500,000 medevac per person for slightly more money.

But if you don’t want the TCI, you can buy just the medical coverage, and adjust according to your needs. On a sample trip I tested, I could buy greatly reduced coverage ($5,000 medical, $25,000 medevac) for about $100 total. Or, conversely, I could pay $195 for $100,000 in medical coverage, per person, plus unlimited medevac costs.

For travel to developed countries, my opinion is that $50,000 in medical and $50,000 medevac would more than cover any foreseeable risks. Travel to less developed areas, however, might call for slightly higher limits. It’s ultimately your call.

Yearly Medical and Medevac Coverage

If you travel a lot, you might consider buying medical/medevac insurance by the year (or per six months) rather than per trip. A low-benefit policy for frequent travelers offering about $10,000 in medical and $25,000 in medevac on each trip can cost about $100 per year (for one person). A more generous travel medical insurance policy covering $100,000 medical and unlimited medevac per trip costs about double that for one year (for one person). These policies are designed for travelers who make several short trips each year; policies for long-term overseas trips or extended business assignments might be priced differently.

Medevac: The Fine Print

Most medevac policies I’ve seen call for transport to either the nearest appropriate medical facility or back to the U.S., depending on the circumstances. Typically, that means you start at a local or regional hospital. The insurance pays for transport back to the U.S. only when, in the opinion of the attending physician, local/regional facilities are inadequate.

When you need medevac, the insurance company calls all the shots. That means you must, from the beginning, make all arrangements through the insurance company or its local agents. If you jump the gun and make your own arrangements, chances are the insurance company won’t cover them.

Can Your Credit Card Help?

Several premium credit cards provide lesser travel medical insurance in an emergency in a foreign country. Although the language in the card literature might seem to promise a lot, what you typically get is a referral to file claims, and not any genuine assistance.

The fine print for the AmEx Platinum card, for example, says, “Whenever you travel, have peace of mind knowing that you have 24/7 medical, legal, financial, and other emergency assistance while traveling more than 100 miles from home. We can direct you to English-speaking medical and legal professionals and arrange for a transfer to a more appropriate medical facility, even if an air ambulance is required.” Note that it says “arrange for,” not “pay for.” What you get is help in making arrangements; the cost of those arrangements goes right on your credit card bill, unless moving you is deemed “medically necessary.” As far as I know, most other cards operate the same way.

How to Choose Travel Medical Insurance

The medical risks you face when traveling outside the U.S. are hard to quantify. Basically, the chances of facing a major medical problem are small—very small, for medevac—but the financial consequences of a serious event are potentially quite large.

Fortunately, travel health insurance prices are not bad. As with all travel insurance, my suggestion is that you check with one or two of the online travel insurance agencies, enter your personal details, trip details, and the coverages you want, and select the least expensive policy that meets your needs. Some of the major agencies include InsureMyTrip.comSquaremouth, and QuoteWright.

Consumer advocate Ed Perkins has been writing about travel for more than three decades. The founding editor of the Consumer Reports Travel Letter, he continues to inform travelers and fight consumer abuse every day at SmarterTravel.

Anti-natalists: Don’t Like Babies And Want You To Stop Having Them!

NOTE: Many of these people suffer from mental health issues, radical – even violent ideas.

Many highly educated leadership type people in the U.S. and EU are childless by choice. This is not only unhealthy but a dangerous trend. Dale Yeager

They believe humans shouldn’t have children. Who are the anti-natalists – and how far are they willing to push their ideas?

“Wouldn’t it just be better to blow a hole in the side of the earth and just have done with everything?”

Thomas, 29, lives in the east of England, and although his idea of blowing up the world is something of a thought experiment, he is certain about one thing – humans should not have babies, and our species should gradually go extinct.

It’s a philosophy called anti-natalism. While the idea dates back to ancient Greece, it has recently been given a huge boost by social media.

On Facebook and Reddit, there are dozens of anti-natalist groups, some with thousands of members. On Reddit, r/antinatalism has nearly 35,000 members, while just one of the dozens of Facebook groups with an anti-natalist theme has more than 6,000.

They are scattered around the world and have a variety of reasons for their beliefs. Among them are concerns about genetic inheritance, not wanting children to suffer, the concept of consent, and worries about overpopulation and the environment.

But they are united in their desire to stop human procreation. And although they are a fringe movement, some of their views, particularly on the state of the earth, are increasingly creeping into mainstream discussion.

While not an anti-natalist, the Duke of Sussex recently said he and his wife were planning to have a maximum of two children, because of environmental concerns.

Philosophical chat

Thomas hadn’t heard of anti-natalism before someone used the term to describe his views in a YouTube comments thread a few years ago. Since then, he’s become an active member of an anti-natalist Facebook group. It provides him with intellectual stimulation and a place to test his debating skills.

“I think it’s awesome, you’re discussing real life problems,” he says. “You’ve got an idea – let’s say humans do go extinct. What if humans then evolve again? Then you haven’t really solved the problem.

“There’s a lot of discussion, some of it gets quite touchy.”

But his passion for anti-natalism isn’t only theoretical. Thomas believes all human life is purposeless and has tried, although not succeeded, in getting a vasectomy on Britain’s National Health Service (NHS). NHS doctors can refuse to perform sterilisation operations if they believe the procedure is not in the best interests of the patient.

Non-violence and consent

Despite some of the nihilist rhetoric in anti-natalist groups, there’s no indication that they’re a violent threat. When they do talk about extinction it often feels as though it’s a debating exercise. No-one in their online communities is threatening murder or violence.

Thomas’s idea of blowing a hole in the side of the earth – he imagines a big red button that would end human life and says he’d “press that in an instant” – is actually highly controversial because of a key anti-natalist principle: consent.

Put simply, it’s the idea that creating or destroying life requires the consent of the person who will be born or die.

Kirk lives in San Antonio, Texas. He says he recalls a conversation with his mother when he was just four years old. She told him that having children was a choice.

“This doesn’t make any sense to me, to voluntarily put someone who has no needs or wants prior to their conception into this world to suffer and die,” he says.

Kirk says that even at that young age, he became an anti-natalist. He opposes the creation of human life because none of us were explicitly asked if we wanted to be here.

“If every person gave consent to play the game of life then I personally wouldn’t have any objection to that,” he concedes. “It hinges on the consent or lack thereof.”

The concept also works in reverse. The problem with that big red humanity-eraser button is that plenty of people enjoy life – and not everyone would consent to it all coming to an end. Instead, Kirk and most anti-natalists want people to volunteer to stop giving birth.

A finger hovering over a end humanity big red button

Mental health issues

There’s another distinct theme common in anti-natalist groups. Posters frequently share experiences of their own mental health, and occasionally condemn those with mental health problems for having children.

One post included a screenshot of a post from another user that read: “I have a borderline personality disorder, in addition to bipolar and generalized anxiety”. The anti-natalist added their own comment: “This individual has two kids. I feel bad for the kiddos”.

In another group, there was also a comment where someone was clearly contemplating suicide.

“I’ve had schizophrenia and depression,” Thomas explains. “Depression does run in my family too. I think if I have kids there’s a high likelihood that they’re going to be depressed and they’re not going to like their life.”

But he also says the community is often wrongly labelled by outsiders.

“People start labelling us crazy psychos,” he says. The truth, he says, is much more complex.

A man holding his head

Saving the earth?

Fuelling anti-natalist arguments in recent years is an increasing focus on the environment and the potentially devastating effects of climate change.

Judging from posts in the anti-natalist groups, there’s clearly a large overlap between their ideas and environmental activism.

“I feel that it is selfish to have children at this time,” adds Nancy a vegan, plastic-free, animal rights enthusiast and yoga instructor from the Philippines.”The reality is that the children being born into the world are creating more destruction for the environment.”

In a Facebook group called “very angry anti-natalists” a petition is being shared which they hope to send to the United Nations. Its title is “Overpopulation root of the climate catastrophe – worldwide birth stop now.” So far it has 27,000 signatures.

The idea of refraining from having children to benefit the environment isn’t a new one. In Britain a charity called Population Matters has proposed this for years – although they are not anti-natalists. In fact, they argue in favour of the sustainability of the human race rather than its extinction.

“Our aim is to achieve harmony between the human race and the planet we’re fortunate to inhabit,” says Robin Maynard, the group’s director. “If we have fewer children across the globe and smaller families we can achieve a much more sustainable population.”

But will an increasing population necessarily lead directly to environmental disaster? According to the BBC’s Global Population Correspondent Stephanie Hegarty, it’s hard to say, because the future is so difficult to predict.

“According to scientific projections, due to economic development and dropping fertility rates, the population of the world is likely to plateau at about 11 billion in 80 years,” she says. “Whether the planet can sustain that or not – we do not know.

“It’s also very difficult to predict how many people the planet can sustain because it’s all about consumption. And that means everything from air, water, food, fossil fuels, wood, plastic – the list goes on and on,” she says. “Clearly some of us are consuming a lot more than others. A family of 12 in a country like Burundi will consume less, on average, than a family of three in Texas.

“There are so many factors that are going to be changing over the next decade and the next century that we can’t predict right now.”

A crowd of people stood outside a factory

Insults and criticism

Among the intense philosophical and ethical debates going on anti-natalist groups, there’s a darker and less edifying undercurrent. Some routinely insult parents – calling them “breeders”. Other slurs are directed at children.

“Whenever I see a pregnant woman, disgust is the first feeling.” wrote one user next to a picture that said: “I hate baby bump”.

But that doesn’t mean that all anti-natalists hate children, according to those who spoke to the BBC.

“I would say I personally like children and it is because I like them that I don’t want them to suffer,” Nancy says. “Maybe bringing them into the world would give me some pleasure but the possible threat is so huge I’m just not sure it’s worth it.”

Media captionGoing childless for the environment

But that’s not the only criticism. In some anti-natalist groups, users allude to the notion that babies shouldn’t be born in war zones, if there is a high chance of disability, or even to low-income parents. At times the rhetoric sounds like selective breeding – or eugenics.

The anti-natalists we spoke to had mixed feelings about those ideas.

“What are their motives behind having a kid?” says Thomas when asked if he’s concerned about children being born in war-torn areas. “In such a country there’s less hope that things are going to turn around.”

He’s more relaxed about children being born into low-income households.

“Obviously I’m against having kids… but I think you can be happy and in a low-income area.”

“My anti-natalism is across the board,” states Nancy. She opposes eugenics. “Why are we picking and choosing some groups because they are in a position of disadvantage?”

So is there a general anti-natalist life philosophy?

“Do the best you can,” says Kirk. “Be kind – and don’t procreate.”

Blog by Jonathan Griffin

Mass Shootings: Millennials’ Loneliness Plague

A third of US millennials feel lonely, per a recent YouGov survey, and a fifth say they have no friends, notes The Week’s Matthew Walther.

And while “we can make facile jokes about avocado toast and baristas with degrees in cultural studies” he is “not sure we should find them amusing.”

The crisis of modern loneliness is but one facet of an atomized, soulless society: “We cannot concentrate on anything. We don’t go anywhere, not even to buy food or diapers. . . . The richer we happen to be, the less likely we are to take time off to enjoy ourselves, despite generous vacation allowances.

The poorer we are, the more likely we are to kill ourselves with drugs, alcohol and guns. Even fornication is boring — we have porn for that.”

Ohio Shooter Extreme Leftist – Texas Shooter Extreme Right Wing: Mass Shootings Not About Politics Something Scarier

Connor Betts / Patrick Crusius

For political types the recent mass shootings in Ohio and Texas are about ideology, sadly they are blinded by their own dogma.

Let’s look at the facts:

Dayton, Ohio – Shooter Connor Betts

  • He wore a mask, Ballistic vest and ear protection.

ASSESSMENT He was not a suicide shooter, he planned on escaping and concealing his identity. This is unusual for this type of crime.

  • He came to the event with his sister in the same vehicle but ended up killing her.

ASSESSMENT This means that there was a personal element.

  • He was a Sexual Sadist.

A classmate told the Daily News that Betts had “fantasized about tying her up and slitting her throat” and he told her he was scared he had those thoughts. She said she was included on a hit list, but her concerns weren’t taken seriously when she reported them.

“found a notebook where he reportedly wrote a list of people who he wanted to rape, kill and skin their bodies.”

  • He classified himself on social media as:

“leftist”

“i’m going to hell and i’m not coming back.”

he would happily vote for Democrat Elizabeth Warren

praised Satan, “#selfie4satan #HailSatan @SatanTweeting.” 

was upset about the 2016 presidential election results

“I want socialism, and i’ll not wait for the idiots to finally come round to understanding.”

  • He was a psychology major.
  • Suspended during his high school years for compiling a “hit list” of those he wanted to kill and a “rape list” of girls he wanted to sexually assault.

ASSESSMENT while the police investigated, and the school system suspected him. He was not charged allegedly with a crime and after a short time, school officials allowed him back to the school.

  • Graduated From Bellbrook High School, Where Students Considered Him a Bully 

El Paso, Texas – Shooter Patrick Crusius

  • He was a loner.

ASSESSMENT This type of behavior is not healthy or biologically normal. Humans seek connection with others.

  • Manifesto on 8chan was unusual.

Stated his Ideology predated Trump.

MESSIAH COMPLEX “I can no longer bear the shame of inaction knowing that our founding fathers have endowed me with the rights needed to save our country from the brink destruction. 

USES MARXIST TERMS “Our European comrades don’t have the gun rights needed to repel the millions of invaders that plaque (sic) their country. People who are hypocrites because they support imperialistic wars that have caused the loss of tens of thousands of American lives and untold numbers of civilian lives. 

“My death is likely inevitable. If I’m not killed by the police, then I’ll probably be gunned down by one of the invaders. Capture in this case if far worse than dying during the shooting because I’ll get the death penalty anyway. Worse still is that I would live knowing that my family despises me. This is why I’m not going to surrender even if I run out of ammo. If I’m captured, it will be because I was subdued somehow. Remember: it is not cowardly to pick low hanging fruit. AKA Don’t attack heavily guarded areas to fulfill your super soldier COD fantasy. Attack low security targets. Even though you might out gun a security guard or police man, they likely beat you in armor, training and numbers. Do not throw away your life on an unnecessarily dangerous target,” he wrote. “If a target seems too hot, live to fight another day.”

ASSESSMENT He moves from fatalism about his life to regard for life.

  • LinkedIn Page, Cruscius Says He’s ‘Not Really Motivated to do Anything More Than What’s Necessary to Get By’

ASSESSMENT This type of personality trait is common in children who come from overprotective parents who create a codependency in their children or parents who have an emotional disconnect and no accountability for their children’s behaviors. Parenting from the extremes.

Conclusion

In my experience mass shooters have three things in common:

  1. Dysfunctional families. Codependency, lack of accountability and / or abuse.
  2. Mental health issues that are not dealt with by family and school officials.
  3. Isolation.

These shooters are created not born that way. Adults who should act in a mature or professional manner failed these people when they were children.

The use of child welfare laws to hold parents and caregivers accountable will go a long way towards reducing these crimes.

Dale Yeager

Sources:

https://heavy.com/news/2019/08/connor-betts/amp/

https://www.foxnews.com/us/dayton-ohio-shooting-suspect-hit-list

How to Get Through Airport Security Faster

Travel safely with SERAPH

When you’re late for a flight⁠—or trying to make a tight connection⁠—getting through airport security as quickly as possible is key. Beyond enrolling in TSA Pre-Check, Global Entry or Clear, you can get through an airport security line faster by booking your flight at the right time and organizing your carry-on.

Research waiting times in advance

Before you head to the airport, try researching security waiting times to avoid long lines. Apps like MyTSAhave crowd-sourced reports of waiting times at most airports; because they’re crowd-sourced, however, they may not always be reliable. Still, it might help you better assess when to arrive at an airport—it also uses historical data to make estimated waiting times and includes information on airport delays, as reported by the FAA.

Some airports, like JFK and LaGuardia, also have real-time estimates on their websites, too, though you’re less likely to find these stats from smaller airports. You can also do an online search for your airport’s estimated wait times using iFly.com, which uses flight volume data and “predictive modeling” to make make best guesses (though it doesn’t account for real-time reports); just search for your airport and “security lines iFly” and the relevant times should appear in the first page of results.

As USA Today writes, you might want to schedule an early morning flight when airports are likely to be less busy and long security lines might be easier to avoid. As we’ve written before, early-morning flights are alsoless likely to be delayed. Or you can opt to fly out of quieter airports than major ones; in California, you might choose smaller airports like John Wayne Airport or Long Beach to avoid long wait times (and traffic) at LAX.

It also doesn’t hurt to look up your airport’s map if you’re unfamiliar with it to find the security line itself, which is particularly useful for tight layovers.

“I’m LAX based, and the entire airport is divided into separate terminals,” u/PlaneShenanigans, a pilot, wrote on a recent Reddit thread. “… It’s amazing how many passengers flying through LAX leave 30 minutes to make a connection when they’ll have to change terminals, which essentially guarantees you’ll miss your flight. Just a little planning ahead will prevent things like this from happening.”

While on a recent trip through Tokyo’s Narita airport, I also found a number of different security lines spread out throughout the terminal and was able to locate one with a particularly short line.

Compartmentalize electronics and liquids and dress appropriately

Perhaps the easiest way to expedite the security process is to properly compartmentalize any electronics and liquids you’ll have to remove from your carry-on. I always keep my laptop in a removable sleeve and all liquids (under 3.5 ounces, of course) packed in a clear plastic, quart-sized bag toward the top of my carry-on so I don’t have to sift through my belongings at security. As SmarterTravel writes, keeping any liquids or gels deep in in your carry-on might only delay the security process.

Also be sure to remove any liquids larger than 3.4 ounces as well as rechargeable lithium batteries you might find in carry-on bags like Away suitcases; you can place them in a bin, too, so you aren’t held up at security.

The Points Guy has another good recommendation: Dress appropriately. Wear a jacket with pockets for your phone, Passport, ID or wallet, so you can quickly remove them and place them together in a single bin. Also, wear shoes that can easily be slipped off and remove any belts while you’re in line; in other words, do everything you can before you reach the end of the security line.

If you want, you could check your bag to avoid the extra hassle at security, but that’ll only mean another wait at baggage claim at the other end of your trip.

Personally, I’ve also found that lines for full body scanners generally seem to take a much longer time than those with walk-through metal detectors; if you have the option of choosing one, I’d go with the line with the metal detector.

Book a trip with someone who has TSA Pre-Check and download Mobile Passport

While not an official rule, for the most part, you might able able to use someone else’s TSA Pre-Check status (and the privileges that come along with it); for this to work, the passenger with Pre-Check will have to book both flights under the same itinerary. When you check in, both tickets should show up with the Pre-Check status. We should re-iterate: It’s not fail-proof, but it’s worked a handful of times for me in the past. Some credit cards like Chase Sapphire Reserve may also offer TSA Pre-Check registration for free as a perk, so be sure to look up your own card’s benefits.

Lastly, if you’re traveling overseas and want to avoid long customs lines, don’t forget to download Mobile Passport; you can submit your information via the app in advance and easily breeze through customs at a number of U.S. airports.

Josh Ocampo

UK Style Acid Attacks Begin in U.S.

acid-attack NYC

A teen badly injured when she was doused with acid at an East Village party in May is calling on cops to catch the person who left her with debilitating third-degree burns.

Ava Aldrich, 18, spent two nights in the ICU at Weill Cornell Medical Center and underwent skin-graft surgery in June after she was among a dozen teens burned when drain-clearing sulfuric acid was thrown at them during a party at a NYCHA development.

“It was extremely painful,” the young Manhattan woman told The Post. “I felt like my legs were burning. I saw holes in my jeans, and it was eating into my skin.”

Aldrich and more than 100 other teens had shown up at the First Houses on East Third Street on May 4 for a party advertised on social media when paint and a caustic substance — later revealed to be an industrial drain cleaner — started raining down on them from above at around 10 p.m.

Witnesses said it came from a fourth-floor apartment which overlooks an outdoor entrance to the basement where the party was held, according to law-enforcement sources.

At least 10 teens between ages 15 and 18 were hospitalized with minor burns — but Aldrich was severely injured. 

She suffered third-degree burns to her legs and will have to wear compression bandages 23 hours a day for at least the next nine months.

“I’m obviously frustrated because they can’t arrest who did this,” said Aldrich, a recent Eleanor Roosevelt HS graduate.

She plans to attend the University of California Santa Cruz next year, and will spend her first year of college in the bandages.

Detectives from the Ninth Precinct have talked to several people who were in the apartment at the time, but they denied throwing anything, law-enforcement sources said.

A 911 call came from the same apartment, they said. But without someone identifying the attacker, it will be hard to make an arrest.

“It’s hard to not think about it all the time,” Aldrich said. “I just try to deal with it, but sometimes, I’ll get upset or angry.

“I’m not really the person to be like, ‘Why did this happen to me?’ I was in the wrong place at the wrong time,” she said.

Her mom, Amy Aldrich, praised her daughter’s bravery but said the past three months had been “really terrible” for the family.

“Just about every medical professional, when they see her legs, say, ‘Why hasn’t someone been caught?’ ” the mom said.

Crime Stoppers is offering a $2,500 reward for information on the assault. Anonymous calls may be made to (800) 577-TIPS.

By Ebony Bowden and Larry Celona

The Heart of Darkness: The Sexual Predators Within America’s Power Elite

Hollywood Child Abuse

“As political and economic freedom diminishes, sexual freedom tends compensating to increase. And the dictator (unless he needs cannon fodder and families with which to colonize empty or conquered territories) will do well to encourage that freedom.”—Aldous Huxley, Brave New World

Power corrupts.

Anyone who believes differently hasn’t been paying attention.

Politics, religion, sports, government, entertainment, business, armed forces: it doesn’t matter what arena you’re talking about, they are all riddled with the kind of seedy, sleazy, decadent, dodgy, depraved, immoral, corrupt behavior that somehow gets a free pass when it involves the wealthy and powerful elite in America.

In this age of partisan politics and a deeply polarized populace, corruption—especially when it involves sexual debauchery, depravity and predatory behavior—has become the great equalizer.

Take Jeffrey Epstein, the hedge fund billionaire / convicted serial pedophile recently arrested on charges of molesting, raping and sex trafficking dozens of young girls.

It is believed that Epstein operated his own personal sex trafficking ring not only for his personal pleasure but also for the pleasure of his friends and business associates. According to The Washington Post, “several of the young women…say they were offered to the rich and famous as sex partners at Epstein’s parties.” At various times, Epstein ferried his friends about on his private plane, nicknamed the “Lolita Express.”

This is part of America’s seedy underbelly.

As I documented in the in-depth piece I wrote earlier this year, child sex trafficking—the buying and selling of women, young girls and boys for sex, some as young as 9 years old—has become big business in America. It is the fastest growing business in organized crime and the second most-lucrative commodity traded illegally after drugs and guns.

Adults purchase children for sex at least 2.5 million times a year in the United States.

It’s not just young girls who are vulnerable to these predators, either.

According to a 2016 investigative report, “boys make up about 36% of children caught up in the U.S. sex industry (about 60% are female and less than 5% are transgender males and females).”

Who buys a child for sex?

Otherwise ordinary men from all walks of life. “They could be your co-worker, doctor, pastor or spouse,” writes journalist Tim Swarens, who spent more than a year investigating the sex trade in America.

Ordinary men, yes.

But then there are the extra-ordinary men, such as Jeffrey Epstein, who belong to a powerful, wealthy, elite segment of society that operates according to their own rules or, rather, who are allowed to sidestep the rules that are used like a bludgeon on the rest of us.

These men skate free of accountability by taking advantage of a criminal justice system that panders to the powerful, the wealthy and the elite.

Over a decade ago, when Epstein was first charged with raping and molesting young girls, he was gifted a secret plea deal with then-U.S. Attorney Alexander Acosta, President Trump’s current Labor Secretary, that allowed him to evade federal charges and be given the equivalent of a slap on the wrist: allowed to “work” at home six days a week before returning to jail to sleep. That secret plea deal has since been ruled illegal by a federal judge.

Yet here’s the thing: Epstein did not act alone.

I refer not only to Epstein’s accomplices, who recruited and groomed the young girls he is accused of raping and molesting, many of them homeless or vulnerable, but his circle of influential friends and colleagues that at one time included Bill Clinton and Donald Trump. Both Clinton and Trump, renowned womanizers who have also been accused of sexual impropriety by a significant number of women, were at one time passengers on the Lolita Express.

As the Associated Press points out, “The arrest of the billionaire financier on child sex trafficking charges is raising questions about how much his high-powered associates knew about the hedge fund manager’s interactions with underage girls, and whether they turned a blind eye to potentially illegal conduct.”

In fact, a recent decision by the Second Circuit Court of Appeals allowing a 2,000-page document linked to the Epstein case to be unsealed references allegations of sexual abuse involving “numerous prominent American politicians, powerful business executives, foreign presidents, a well-known Prime Minister, and other world leaders.”

This is not a minor incident involving minor players.

This is the heart of darkness.

Sex slaves. Sex trafficking. Secret societies. Powerful elites. Government corruption. Judicial cover-ups.

Once again, fact and fiction mirror each other.

Twenty years ago, Stanley Kubrick’s final film Eyes Wide Shut provided viewing audiences with a sordid glimpse into a secret sex society that indulged the basest urges of its affluent members while preying on vulnerable young women. It is not so different from the real world, where powerful men, insulated from accountability, indulge their base urges.

These secret societies flourish, implied Kubrick, because the rest of us are content to navigate life with our eyes wide shut, in denial about the ugly, obvious truths in our midst.

In so doing, we become accomplices to abusive behavior in our midst.

This is how corruption by the power elite flourishes.

For every Epstein who is—finally—called to account for his illegal sexual exploits after years of being given a free pass by those in power, there are hundreds (perhaps thousands) more in the halls of power and wealth whose predation of those most vulnerable among us continues unabated.

While Epstein’s alleged crimes are heinous enough on their own, he is part of a larger narrative of how a culture of entitlement becomes a cesspool and a breeding ground for despots and predators.

Remember the “DC Madam” who was charged with operating a phone-order sex business? Her clients included thousands of White House officials, lobbyists, and Pentagon, FBI, and IRS employees, as well as prominent lawyers, none of whom were ever exposed or held accountable.

Power corrupts.

Worse, as 19th-century historian Lord Acton concluded, absolute power corrupts absolutely.

It doesn’t matter whether you’re talking about a politician, an entertainment mogul, a corporate CEO or a police officer: give any one person (or government agency) too much power and allow him or her or it to believe that they are entitled, untouchable and will not be held accountable for their actions, and those powers will eventually be abused.

We’re seeing this dynamic play out every day in communities across America.

Abuse of power—and the ambition-fueled hypocrisy and deliberate disregard for misconduct that make those abuses possible—works the same whether you’re talking about sex crimes, government corruption, or the rule of law.

It’s the same old story all over again: man rises to power, man abuses power abominably, man intimidates and threatens anyone who challenges him with retaliation or worse, and man gets away with it because of a culture of compliance in which no one speaks up because they don’t want to lose their job or their money or their place among the elite.

It’s not just sexual predators that we have to worry about.

For every Jeffrey Epstein (or Bill Clinton or Harvey Weinstein or Roger Ailes or Bill Cosby or Donald Trump) who eventually gets called out for his sexual misbehavior, there are hundreds—thousands—of others in the American police state who are getting away with murder—in many cases, literally—simply because they can.

Unless something changes in the way we deal with these ongoing, egregious abuses of power, the predators of the police state will continue to wreak havoc on our freedoms, our communities, and our lives.

And powerful men (and women) will continue to abuse the powers of their office by treating those around them as underlings and second-class citizens who are unworthy of dignity and respect and undeserving of the legal rights and protections that should be afforded to all Americans.

As Dacher Keltner, professor of psychology at the at the University of California, Berkeley, observed in the Harvard Business Review, “While people usually gain power through traits and actions that advance the interests of others, such as empathy, collaboration, openness, fairness, and sharing; when they start to feel powerful or enjoy a position of privilege, those qualities begin to fade. The powerful are more likely than other people to engage in rude, selfish, and unethical behavior.”

After conducting a series of experiments into the phenomenon of how power corrupts, Keltner concluded: “Just the random assignment of power, and all kinds of mischief ensues, and people will become impulsive. They eat more resources than is their fair share. They take more money. People become more unethical.They think unethical behavior is okay if they engage in it. People are more likely to stereotype. They’re more likely to stop attending to other people carefully.”

Power corrupts.

And absolute power corrupts absolutely.

However, it takes a culture of entitlement and a nation of compliant, willfully ignorant, politically divided citizens to provide the foundations of tyranny.

As researchers Joris Lammers and Adam Galinsky found, those in power not only tend to abuse that power but they also feel entitled to abuse it: “People with power that they think is justified break rules not only because they can get away with it, but also because they feel at some intuitive level that they are entitled to take what they want.”

We need to restore the rule of law for all people, no exceptions.

Here’s what the rule of law means in a nutshell: it means that everyone is treated the same under the law, everyone is held equally accountable to abiding by the law, and no one is given a free pass based on their politics, their connections, their wealth, their status or any other bright line test used to confer special treatment on the elite.

This culture of compliance must stop.

The empowerment of petty tyrants and political gods must end.

The state of denial must cease.

Let’s not allow this Epstein sex scandal to become just another blip in the news cycle that goes away all too soon, only to be forgotten when another titillating news headline takes its place.

Sex trafficking, like so many of the evils in our midst, is a cultural disease that is rooted in the American police state’s heart of darkness. It speaks to a far-reaching corruption that stretches from the highest seats of power down to the most hidden corners and relies on our silence and our complicity to turn a blind eye to wrongdoing.

If we want to put an end to these wrongs, we must keep our eyes wide open.

By John W. Whitehead

8 Things to Know About Travel Insurance

Travel SERAPH

Will you regret not buying travel insurance? Sometimes costly and often confusing, travel insurance coverage might seem like a trip-planning technicality that’s all too easy to ignore. But Murphy’s law is Murphy’s law, and a good policy could afford you priceless peace of mind. Below are a few things to know about travel insurance before you purchase coverage, including which policies might work best for your type of trip, which policies could be completely useless, and how to shop for the best plan.

You Might Need It

Is travel insurance worth it? That’s the big question for any traveler considering travel insurance. Here’s my general rule: If you’re taking a long, expensive, or ambitious trip to a far-flung destination, travel insurance could be a smart choice. If a natural disaster or sudden illness were to ruin your travel plans, would you lose a great deal of money? Is this the trip of a lifetime? Have you been saving for this getaway for years? Are you traveling to a place with poor local healthcare facilities? Are your accommodations and plane tickets costly and nonrefundable? If you answered yes to one or more of these questions, you’d do well to seriously consider a plan.

Policies generally cost 5 to 15 percent of the total cost of a trip, depending on the age of the traveler, the level of coverage, and your trip details. If a good policy fits within your budget, it certainly can’t hurt to guard your health and your wallet against calamity.

Your Homeowner’s or Renter’s Insurance Might Offer Sufficient Coverage

If it’s simply your valuables you’re worried about, travel insurance might not be your best bet. Although many travel insurance policies include coverage of stolen or lost items, your belongings may already be covered by homeowner’s or renter’s insurance.

Most homeowner’s and renter’s policies will cover your belongings even if they’re off premises, though you may be limited to 10 percent of the total value of your coverage. If you have a policy like this, travel insurance policies that include coverage for baggage or personal items could be unnecessary. Consumer advocate and SmarterTravel contributor Ed Perkins advises, “Buying a bundled policy is clearly overkill if you just want property coverage.”

Your Credit Card Might Be Enough

Check your credit card’s travel protections, too. According to Ed Perkins, “Several premium credit cards include baggage coverage, provided you pay the entire trip cost with the card. The American Express Green Card, for example, covers replacement cost, not just depreciated cost, and it even covers up to $1,250 for carry-on baggage. This is a no-charge extra. Many Mastercard and Visa credit cards also offer similar benefits, depending on the issuing bank.”

Trip Cancellation Insurance Only Covers Select Reasons

Trip cancellation insurance is a good coverage option when you’ve paid a substantial amount of money for a getaway and wouldn’t be able to comfortably absorb the financial loss if your trip fell through. If things don’t work out, you’ll at least get your nonrefundable, prepaid travel costs back.

It’s important to note, though, that you’ll only get a payout if your travel plans are canceled for reasons listed in the policy. For example, the OneTrip Cancellation Plus plan from Allianz Travelcovers trips canceled for a range of reasons, including illness or injury to you or a travel companion, the loss of your job, and a natural disaster that prevents you from getting to your destination. Not on the list? If your family member has a baby, if you get a new job voluntarily and can no longer take the time off for vacation, or if your pet falls ill.

You can protect yourself against any conceivable reason for cancellation with a cancel-for-any-reason policy.

Read the Fine Print

This one’s a given, but it’s one of the ultra-important things to know about travel insurance: Read the fine print. In the unlikely event that you’ll have to use your travel insurance policy, you want nothing to come as a surprise. For example, depending on the policy, hurricane coverage doesn’t apply if you buy the insurance after the storm in question has been named; that’s a bit of (seemingly arbitrary) fine print that could essentially nullify a policy purchased too late. Take the time to read the details of your plan and become familiar with the documentation you might need when submitting a claim. Take note of coverage limits and exclusions.

Many travel insurance plans come with a review period; this is a grace period during which you can look over your policy and make adjustments.

You Might Be Covered Under Your Current Health Plan

Check your health insurance policy to see whether you’re covered for medical care in a foreign country. Some plans offer full coverage abroad; others offer spotty coverage; and still others, such as Medicare and Medicaid, don’t provide much medical coverage outside of the U.S. at all.

If you lack adequate medical coverage overseas, consider a travel insurance policy with primary or secondary medical coverage. A primary policy will function as your go-to coverage in the event of accident or illness, whereas a secondary plan can be used as a backup to a health insurance policy that offers limited overseas coverage.

An Evacuation Plan Could Be a Good Idea

Various firms offer Travel Safety Planning and training such as SERAPH. Some insurance plans are evacuation plans; that is, in the event you need medical care, your insurance provider will pay for the costs of getting you to a hospital. If you suffer a serious illness or accident while abroad in a remote location, the most expensive component of treatment will likely be evacuation. Depending on where you are, it could cost hundreds of thousands of dollars to fly you to a hospital or your home country for emergency treatment; an evacuation plan will cover these costs.

There are two things you should know about this benefit: First, evacuation policies may only cover the costs of transportation to the hospital—not your medical expenses. Second, you may not be able to choose your hospital. While some policies offer a “hospital of choice” option that allows you to pick a preferred hospital, others don’t and will simply take you to the nearest facility deemed appropriate by the insurance company. As always, read the fine print.

Aggregator Sites Can Help You Shop

An easy way to compare plans when shopping for insurance is to use an online agency that functions as an aggregator. On such sites, you’ll enter details about yourself and your trip and get a results list of suggested policies. Check out sites like InsureMyTrip and Squaremouth, both of which allow users to perform side-by-side comparisons of different travel insurance plans and to read customer reviews.

CAROLINE COSTELLO