Saturday, December 19, 2009

common decency. That is what is missing in the health care debate

A government, for protecting business only, is but a carcass, and soon falls by its own corruption and decay.
-Amos Bronson Alcott; Teacher, Writer and Philosopher

Howard Dean is still rocking the Democrats health care boat. He has pointed out that the health care bill is flawed and punishes older people especially if they have a pre-existing condition. They can be charged up to 300% more than younger healthier people. This virtually shuts them out of health care as it will come down to food or insurance. A public option would have made the difference. The fact that the bill has "protectionist legislation" for the health insurance companies makes it a bad bill.
What it all comes down to is common decency. That is what is missing in the health care debate. The Republican's mean spiritedness is obvious as is the attitude of the Tea Baggers. To want to deny millions of fellow Americans the opportunity for health care at a reasonable price and not to want to improve the quality of life of those Americans is shameful. To support the interests of the health insurance companies who funded the whole Tea Bagger movement and bought off half of the government to protect their interests is clearly a disgrace.
It is sad that so many Americans were brainwashed with the collusion of Fox, made up white man, News into acting against their own self interest. What they don't understand is that they will be the ones that will be eventually victimized by those health insurance companies.
The health insurance companies have no shame or conscience when it come to health care. When it comes to health care all Americans should be covered and no one should be denied. Every life is precious and to deny people when they are in need, for the sake of profit, is criminal and immoral.
Health care should be part of a social contract with society and maybe we don't need a health insurance industry that only cares about the billions in profit made on the backs of the sick and needy. Maybe it is time to eliminate the profit motive. Total nationalized health care. The cry would be socialized medicine, which is bull shit, in truth it would be human decency. You could still have a private plan if you want it but in fact everyone would be covered and it would be totally democratic. Everyone would be covered and everyone would pay a fair rate. But who am I kidding, it's a pipe dream. Our government has been bought and paid for by big business, they own it lock stock and barrel.
Dr. Howard Dean has stated the facts and called like it is. He is not running for office, he is wealthy and has no worries so he can tell the truth. The truth that the Democrats, the Republicans, the lying despicable Fox News, Tea Bagger hypocrites and the health insurance companies don't want you to know. That truth is that we have the most inefficient and the most expensive health care system in the world and it ranks behind almost every country in the western world. As pointed out in my November 21st post "Statistics from the CIA World Fact Book lists the United States at 50th for life expectancy, behind such countries as Japan, Canada, France, Sweden, Switzerland, Israel, Spain, Norway, Germany pretty much all of Europe. We also rank 44th on infant mortality behind such countries as Cuba, the European Union, Italy, Greece, Ireland, Canada, U.K., New Zealand, Netherlands, Austria, Denmark, South Korea, Slovenia, Spain, Switzerland, Germany, Czech Republic, Norway, Finland, Hong Kong, Japan, Sweden and more.
The Commonwealth Fund in a survey of health care costs by country found that "while American health care is the most expensive it constantly underperforms", when compared to other countries such as Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Japan, Norway, Sweden, and the U.K."

Embarrassing but true, it is time for a real change but is there the will?


They debate and fiddle about health care but they don't care about Americans who die, go bankrupt or are denied health care coverage.

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Lieberman Socks



Science and Environment


Climate Progress

Energy and Global Warming News for December 18


Wash Post A Section

Climate deal falls short of key goals




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Crooks and Liars (Can't make this shit up)

Senators Attend 'PrayerCast' to Pray for Health Care Bill Defeat


Crooks and Liars

O'Reilly and DeMint Play Concern Trolls for Grandpa McCain


News Hounds

Beck's Fear of A Communist Book, "The Coming Insurrection" . . . But He Promotes the Teabaggers' Anti-Government Agenda?


News Hounds

Fox & Friends Interview "Fair And Balanced" - Chyrons Not So Much


Media Matters for America - Latest Items

O'Reilly promotes misinformation to attack Franken-Lieberman exchange as "disrespect[ful]"





End Post

Friday, December 18, 2009

To those gallant few who truly make a difference.

"A hero is an ordinary individual who finds the strength to persevere and endure in spite of overwhelming obstacles."
-Christopher Reeve, Actor

Courage Award

The Courage Award goes to the American service men and women who go in harms way in service to their nation. They unselfishly stand on the frontiers of our Democracy to defend our freedoms and allow us to sleep safely in our beds. They deserve the Courage Award for their sacrifices and commitment to America. They are each ordinary Americans who do the extraordinary.







***


Man of The Year

Bill Moyers an ordained minister and former presidential aid to Lyndon B. Johnson, is our Man of The Year for his commitment to the the truth and journalistic excellence. Moyers has spent his life examining issues that effect America and the world. He has been critical of the make believe media that has arisen in America that twists the truth for it's own agenda. He has stated that the press must be free to question and probe the issues and ferret out the true facts. One of his concerns has been the closure of news papers and the weakening of the fifth estate. Essential to a Democracy is a robust free press. He has been criticized and attacked for his honesty and unfailing dedication to what journalism is and should be and he has been critical of both the left and the Right. He is a voice that America needs and voice that speaks with a deliberate clarity to the issues.


***


Woman of The Year

Dr. Aung San Suu Kyi is our woman of the year. Dr. Aung San Suu Kyi holds a PhD from the University of London and received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1991, was elected prime Minister of Burma in 1990 but was subsequently detained by the military authorities before taking office and has remained under house arrest for more than fourteen years out of the last twenty. She continues to suffer at the hands of the military junta that rules the country without a mandate from the people. Aung San Suu Kyi remains a symbol to her people of resistance and courage in the face of a totalitarian dictatorship with their tanks and guns.





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Book of the year

Max Blumenthal's Republican Gomorrah, Inside the Movement That Shattered The Party. Blumenthal's book is an inside look at the evangelical movement that has take over the Republican Party. The movement that forced John McCain to accept evangelical Sarah Palin as his running mate and pretty much sabotaged his campaign. Blumenthal examines the beginning of the evangelical Right movement, its growth and its take over of the Republican Party. He names those Republican politicians that have sucked up to James Dobson, John Hagee etc, and bought into the evangelical agenda of intolerance and hate and made it their cause-celeb in congress. For anyone trying to make sense of where the Republican Party, the party of Lincoln, has gone this is the book to read.



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[C]haracterized by the Anti Defamation League, America’s “fearmonger in chief,” Glenn Beck now seems to have taken on the role of “pastor in chief” as he frequently references God in his nightly homilies.






End Post

Thursday, December 17, 2009

This health insurance reform bill will become a hated bill by both the Left and the Right

"It isn't health care reform. It's not even insurance reform. Take, for example, this -- there's a lot of talk about people who have preexisting conditions can get health insurance. Well, not exactly. The fine print in the Senate says about health care industry -- the health care industry gets to charge you three times as much if you're older than if you're younger."
-Howard Dean, MD, former DNC Chairman and Governor of Vermont

Kill the mandate or kill the bill
The health insurance industry has been called a by Dylan Ratigan an "unreformed predatory monopoly" which clearly it is. It is clear from the proposed health insurance bill before congress that the Democrats are serving the needs of the health insurance industry and have betrayed their constituents. People will be forced to buy insurance from monopolistic health insurance companies with no competition from a public option. The health insurance industry now loves this bill that forces thirty million new customers, who have no choice, to buy insurance from them at eight to seventeen percent of their income. It is virtually another tax, which will be enforced by the IRS, and be a windfall profit for the insurance companies. Keith Olbermann's piece on the health insurance mandate was spot on. It was a call for sanity from the Obama administration on the health care bill. To mandate that everyone who has no coverage buy coverage or face a penalty or presumably jail if they refuse to pay is a god-sent for the health insurance industry. This health insurance reform bill will become a hated bill by both the Left and the Right. All the really meaningful provisions have been stripped from the bill and what is left is the dreck. The capitulation by the Democrats to the Blue Dogs, Republicans and Joe Lieberman is a failure of will and leadership. To support a health insurance bill with a mandate is next to criminal and may, I hope, be unconstitutional.

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Ben Bernanke must go
Ben Bernenke the chairman of the Fed and the best friend a banker ever had continues to aid and assist the banks in fleecing the American people. The banks have created the financial crisis by gambling with investors funds and then were bailed out by the Fed when they lost it all. Under Bernanke banks that were too big to fail are now even bigger. Banks who used tax payers money to get bailed out have raised interest rates on credit cards to between 20% to 30% saying virtually all their customers "fuck you". Bernanke could have done something about this but he didn't. He refused to disclose how much and to whom the tax payers money was going to when asked by the congress. He has become a law unto himself. Small businesses are struggling and the banks are not helping by withholding loans that would stimulate small business growth. Why should they, they get money from the fed and invest it in government bonds and make free money with government money while paying themselves exorbitant bonuses. Ben Bernenke needs to be gone, now.




Reader Comment
1. I've been doing a lot of reading about these high deductible health plan lately as Im about to obtain one through my job. I admit, at first it seems like alot to pay for, but there is a chance for some big savings as well. These plans are usually accomodated by a HSA, HRA, or FSA, into which you put a certain amout pretax, and said money can be used to pay for medical expenses, or go towards your deductible. It saves the company money, which in the long run, lets you keep your job, which is nice in this economy. And even though you have to pay everything up to your agreed deductible amount, everything after is covered, with perameters of your plan. Another bonus is that, if you use the Doctor infrequently, the money in HSA, is your money,and it accumulates. If you leave the job, that money is still yours. There are pros and cons to every situation. I have posted a couple links I found to be very useful. I hope they help in your search for info.
http://highdeductiblehealthplan.blogspot.com/
http://www.youtube.com/highdeductiblehealth

2. You said
"Moving the detainees from the Guantanamo Cuba detention center to an American prison will insure that there will be no violation of human rights no matter how veil the individual".
From what I understand the USMC and the USA are guarding the enemy combatants in GITMO. Are you saying that only American solders on American soil are honest and care about human rights? I think these murders are well taken care of just where they are. They don't need the rights on US citizens, for they are not. And don't continue to berate our new military leadership, and solders working at GITMO by making statements that only on US soil will human rights be protected.
Gene



End Post

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

The current health care bill is a farce and will not serve the needs of the people

"It is also noteworthy that spending billions on turning brown people into a fine red mist (a.k.a. the Afghan war) is acceptable, but health care (a.k.a. saving actual American lives) is something which can't cost money. What an interesting--and clearly evil--set of priorities that reveals. I guarantee that real healthcare reform would save more American lives than the entire war on terror—assuming said "war" hasn't cost more American lives than it's saved, which is almost certainly the case."
-Ian Welsh, Article in Crooksandliars.com


Health Care Fiasco
Former Governor, Dr. Howard Dean says that the Democrats should scrap the current health care bill that is before congress and seek reconciliation and then pass the best bill they can. Not to pass the public option is to give the health insurance industry a financial windfall. It is not in the best interest of the American people. A public option would provide competition to the health insurance industry and help to lower health care costs. Howard Dean is an expert on health care and he has upset the apple cart. His point of view is totally correct. The current health care bill is a farce and will not serve the needs of the people. The Democrats have conceded to the Blue Dogs, Republicans and Joe Lieberman and have for the most part gutted the good out of the health bill. It is becoming clear that the Democrats are useless and incapable of passing a meaningful bill that will benefit anybody but the health insurance industry. If the Democrats fail to pass a meaningful health care bill they will be swept out of office because they will have shown the people that elected them that they are worthless.

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Torture
It seems that there is a segment of Americans besides the evangelical Right that supports torture. It is an angry response to terrorists and terrorism. America has never endorsed torture until the Bush administration. The problem with endorsing torture for a supposed moral right is that it is a violation of all the principals of our democracy. We are a country of laws. To do anything else is anathema to all that America stands for. Torture has always been what the bad guys did to people, the bad guys we criticized for human right violations, not Americans. Moving the detainees from the Guantanamo Cuba detention center to an American prison will insure that there will be no violation of human rights no matter how veil the individual. We are not them and we do not do what they do, because if we do, we become like them.

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Modification
Try and get a modification from a bank. The stories are out there and they are not pretty. The very banks that precipitated the financial crisis by gambling with the consumers money and had to be bailed with American tax money now deny to help the consumers they have fucked. Thanks Citicorp, Bank America, etc.

*****

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we are engaged in a war in Afghanistan, and the fear is that it may be another un-winnable war. There is no army to fight...

"The first casualty when war comes is truth."
-Hiram Johnson, Politician

This is a reprint from a previous post but I feel it is important to restate my concerns and to show the attached video. Are we in the right place doing what is right or are we making a strategic mistake with lives of Americans?
The VietNam war was my generations war and it was a war that split the nation to it's core. It was a war that was un-winnable in the political environment of the day. America was unpopular around the world and the war was fought in the national and world press as much as it was on the battlefield. The questions asked was, why were we there? Shouldn't a country, VietNam, have the right to decide it's own form of government? Were we there for all the wrong reasons? Were we supporting a corrupt government in Saigon?
All the time young Americans were fighting and dying in the jungles of VietNam, and the politicians knew it was a war that they could not win. To win it we would have had to use the same tactics we had used in World War Two. Massive bombing and invasion of the North, in other words, total war. Would we have won? Most likely, but we would have been seen by the world as an aggressor nation. The politicians of the day had no stomach for it, so we failed and it was seen as a defeat for America. The victims of that war, the American fighting men bore that stigma. They fought and for the first time America lost a war, but in truth they were betrayed by those that sent them into hell. The legacy of VietNam was 60,000 American dead including my 19 year old cousin. A sorrow and pain that all those who lose someone can understand, added to that pain was the fact that President Johnson knew that the war couldn't be won but persisted out of sense history and not wanting to be the first American President to lose a war. It took a Democratically controlled congress' refusal to fund the war under President Richard Nixon that ultimately ended the debacle and brought the troops home.
Today we are engaged in a war in Afghanistan, and the fear is that it may be another un-winnable war. There is no army to fight, no army to bring to the negotiating table. It is an insurgent war. A war that slowly bleeds men and material. We went there to destroy Al Qaida following the 9/11 attack, and also to defeat their supporters the Taliban. Unfortunately President George W. Bush allowed Afghanistan to languor while he invaded Iraq in pursuit of mythical weapons of mass destruction. Al Qaida is no longer hiding in Afghanistan but believed to be hiding out in the Bad Lands on the border of Pakistan. While Al Qaida has mostly left Afghanistan, the Taliban has been resurgent aided by the fact that the government of Hamid Karzai is corrupt, militarily impotent and in most parts of the country barely in evidence.
Afghanistan is a land locked, mostly mountainous, country that is only slightly smaller than Texas with a population of close to 30 million people. The question is; what will it take to win and is it winnable? How long will it take, another five years, ten or even twenty years? Is it worth the cost and do the American people and congress have to will to do what must be done? It is easy to sit back in an armchair and say we have to win. It is another thing to win. There is the financial cost to the nation. We scream that we have no money for this and that social program but we have money for war. In this case how much money will be enough. Another problem is that there is a reluctance on the part of NATO including Canada and Great Britain to continue their support of the war. Can we go it alone if they all withdraw? If history has any lessons for us it is that Afghanistan was a defeat for British Empire, who in the 19th century, was the mightiest military power on the planet, and a defeat for the Soviet Union a, 20th century, super power. These are important lessons and it should cause us to consider other options. It may be that we need a different type of victory. Military men see military solutions, politicians see political solutions. There are no simple solutions to the war in Afghanistan, the the solution may not lie solely with a military approach. There may be a middle ground. To just abandon Afghanistan could be a costly mistake and to pursue a purely military solution may be cost lives and resources that stress the resources of the United States. A new strategy is needed one that engages the regional states actors to help bring about a greater dialogue and a greater support for a stable government with greater emphasis on the social infrastructure of the country giving the people a greater say and investment in their country. What we don't want is a repeat of the failures and pain that was the experience of VietNam.

This makes me wonder what we are doing in Afghanistan?


***

The subprime student loan racket. An inside look at the fleecing of those who seek to improve their lives through education by the very institutions they turn too. The story of the for-profit educational institutional rip offs. Any parent or individual thinking about beginning or going back to school needs to know the dangers. From the Washington Monthly

***

I have to pay my taxes or I'll be put in jail. But those scum bags the banks, specifically Citigroup gets a tax break from the Obama administration. This is heaping hypocrisy on hypocrisy. The sons of bitches at Citigroup should be prosecuted and jailed not forgiven taxes. This is not why we elected Obama, to benefit the very institutions that gouge the American public and helped create the crisis that they are now getting paid back for. Mr. Obama this is wrong and it sucks.
"The federal government quietly agreed to forgo billions of dollars in potential tax payments from Citigroup as part of the deal announced this week to wean the company from the massive taxpayer bailout that helped it survive the financial crisis.
The Internal Revenue Service on Friday issued an exception to long-standing tax rules for the benefit of Citigroup and a few other companies partially owned by the government. As a result, Citigroup will be allowed to retain billions of dollars worth of tax breaks that otherwise would decline in value when the government sells its stake to private investors.
While the Obama administration has said taxpayers are likely to profit from the sale of the Citigroup shares, accounting experts said the lost tax revenue could easily outstrip those profits." For the full report.


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Another industry that is screwing the American public is big Pharma. While the rest of the world pays reasonable prices fro drugs and the drug manufacturers still make a profit, they want to continue to gouge the American public. Check out this piece on the Capital Eye Blog. "JUST SAY NO TO (CANADIAN) DRUGS: Drug makers spending a bazillion dollars to lobby the federal government? Shocker! The pharmaceutical and health products industry is only the year's top industry, in terms of lobbying dollars spent, among the 121 different industries we track. (Check this out.) But as the Washington Post's Dan Eggen notes, Big Pharma is padding its unprecidented spending output in attempting to kill a proposal by Sen. Byron Dorgan (D-N.D.) that aims to "allow pharmacies and wholesalers to import U.S.-approved medication from Canada, Europe, Australia, New Zealand and Japan, where drug costs are far lower because of price controls."

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Science and Environment


Scholars and Rogues

Two new studies point to significant ice melt-driven sea level rise this century


Climate Progress

Snow in Copenhagen: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly


Solve Climate: Daily Climate News and Opinion

Civil Society Groups Squeezed Out of Climate Talks in Final Days


***


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News Hounds

Beck’s Latest Anti-Health Care Argument: Football Helmets Cause Reckless Behavior So You Should Have Less Health Care Protection



Readers Comment


1. Mr. Mullin,

You must get a better understanding of the "Investment Banking" system. You mentioned:
"Citigroup gets a tax break from Obama’s administration" Well yes, our much beloved President felt that taxing the corporate profits, of a company owned by our beloved President Obama and US taxpayers would be counter productive. And besides, the more money the bank makes, theoretically they faster the "loan" would be paid back to the President and the taxpayers.

The article quoted " Citigroup will be allowed to retain billions of dollars worth of tax breaks that otherwise would decline in value when the government sells its stake to private investors. While the Obama’s administration has said taxpayers are likely to profit from the sale of the Citigroup shares" This clearly states the additional profits would be used to pay back the "Presidential Loan to the FATCATS on wall street"

And since that statement, Citibank has decided to offer $17.5 billion in common stock and $3.5 billion in equity in order to buy back the trust preferred securities that were purchased by the US government as part of the loan program. By paying back this last $20 billion, and with an agreement with the Treasury that it will sell back the rest of its common stock in the next 6 to 12 months, the bank hopes it will be able to no longer be classified as a recipient of “Presidential Loan to the FATCATS on wall street” by the end of the first quarter of 2010.

And for this kindly loan, our beloved President made something in the neighborhood of a 30 million in profit for the taxpayers, enough for one Democrat earmark for 3 jobs in Florida building cement shelters for endangered Christmas Elves. Thanks Mr. President, mission accomplished.

Gene


End Post

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Occasionally one runs into someone who confirms ones faith in ones own personal beliefs

"Bigotry or prejudice in any form is more than a problem; it is a deep-seated evil within our society."
- Judith Light, Actress

Occasionally one runs into someone who confirms ones faith in ones own personal beliefs. I guess it is a reaffirming experience but an unpleasant one. It happened to me. I do meet decent people people with whom I disagree and who have intelligent arguments. Then there are those with whom I disagree with because they are opinionated racist, bigoted and intolerant. It was just such an experience as this that reminded me that there are people out there that think this way. This individual stated, among other things, that Obama was not born in America, a fallacious birther argument, Obama is President and had there had been serious questions of his legitimacy he would not have been able to run. He also claimed that Obama was a Muslim, as if being a Muslim is some kind of automatic disqualification.
While it is a fact that we are at war with Islamic terrorists it does not mean all Muslims are terrorists. Because a deranged American Muslim Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan committed mass murder, it doesn't mean that all Muslims are murderers. We have a propensity of putting everyone in the same pot in America. There have been other acts of mass murder in America and we don't characterize these people or all members of their race or religion the same way. We do it to Muslims because they seem different. In truth they are different, but so are Jews, and Italians, and Indians, and Chinese, and everyone else in America. We are all different and yet we are all the same, we are Americans.
I am offended when I hear someone say Obama is a Muslim. I am offended because; so what if he was. Does it make him anything less? Unfortunately in some minds it does. Those that don't like him won't like him no matter what he is. "He's a Muslim, he wants to destroy this country, he wants to make us socialists". This is the language of ignorance and fear. Fear that 'I won't be on top of the food chain'. It is the 'I am white and on top' argument. It is the argument of mean spirited little white men who are afraid of "them".
I keep hoping we can get past that and get to the real discussion but it has reminded me that there is still is a long way to go and maybe we can never really get there or at least some can't.

***

SCIENCE AND ENVIRONMENT

Ocean Acidification testimony and demonstration by Dr. Jane Lubchenco of NOAA


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exxonsecrets

Revealed: Exxon Secret Funding of Global Warming Junk Scientists



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Glenn Beck Compares Himself To Galileo, Gets Galileo’s Significance Wrong


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Psychiatrist (Or Voyeur) Bill O’Reilly Says Lindsay Lohan Needs “An Intervention”