about being liberal or conservative anymore y'all. That is a hype offered by the fascist whores who want to confuse the people with lies while they turn this country into an aristocratic police state. Some people will say anything to attain power and money. There is no such thing as the Liberal Media, but the Corporate media is very real.
Click here for a New
Times article on the topic.
The problem is that private health insurance really only benefits those who are healthy. Those who are not healthy, or who are
seen to have a pre-existing health condition, are effectively priced out of health insurance. Then when these people get sick,
they get very sick and have to go to a hospital that has to legally treat them, and then the astronomical health care bills put them
in the poor house for the rest of their life.
Even those with health insurance discover that their private health insurance company gets to decide what it doesn't want to pay
for, and also forces doctors not to do certain operations because the private health insurance companies are too busy worrying
about spending money. The result is that patients really don't get the health care they need unless they are either fortunate to
never have health problems, or they are wealthy.
Furthermore, those who get slammed by the enormous bills they can't pay, force the private hospital network to raise their rates.
cancer patients are dropped by their insurance companies, or force those who have insurance to pay some of the bills out of their
Then there are the bureaucratic games the insurance companies play in the hope that their patients will just give up trying to get
that $1500 bill paid, and just pay it themselves. If you don't get that form in by 15 days, they don't pay. Filling out forms and
unnecessary delays are part of the business model that
large corporate insurers use to pad their bottom line because they expect a certain percentage of their clients to just give up
rather than go through expensive legal proceedings in order to collect on a bill that can be a few thousand dollars.
Private firms are efficient about making money, but this efficiency comes at the expense of the health of the clients, who really
don't have much of a choice. The private insurance companies externalize as many costs as they can get away with, and people
who don't have an elastic budget get stuck with difficult decisions like whether they should buy food or cut back on their
When I busted my finger, I couldn't get my insurance company Kaiser-Permanente to do ligament repair work, because in their
mind, it was an expense they didn't feel like paying for. Since the injury isn't life-threatening, the surgery was deemed optional.
Was it worth taking them to court over a period of 2 to 4 years, paying legal fees that I can't afford? Maybe, but like most people
that didn't happen, so now I have a bum middle finger on my right hand.
And I have what is considered very good health insurance.
We are all paying for this atrocious health care system, one way or another, and we don't really get the quality health care
coverage because the system as it is now is just a profit-extraction machine for CEO's and share-holders. It's not about
health care at all.
It would be a whole lot cheaper if everyone was in the same insurance pool, and we taxed ourselves to pay the total bill. People
would get their minor health issues dealt with early before they become major (and expensive) health care issues years later.
Doctors could focus upon caring for their patients instead of worrying whether the insurance companies will pay or when they
will pay. The overhead of 25 to 35 percent profit margins would shrink to 5 percent.
The court system would also not be clogged with the endless legal maneuvers of insurance companies trying to avoid their
contractual obligations. The cost of malpractice insurance would come far down because the insurance companies would be
taken out of the equation. Medical decisions that need to get made are a lot easier to make when doctors and patients don't have
to concern themselves with who pays. Medical decisions would be a cooperative effort to heal the sick and improve the health of
the patient, rather than a cost that might get debated and second-guessed.
Malpractice is also more effectively handled by hospitals and county health commissioners. Hospitals should have to pay
the costs of malpractice suits rather than insurance companies anyway. It is the hospitals who hire bad doctors, or who force
doctors to skim on their health decisions to cut corners because of the stress on the system due to the uninsured patients they
have to treat. Doctors who are outside the hospital system nevertheless have to work with the hospitals, and are also themselves
subject to laws that should get enforced by the legal system, not by the astronomical cost of malpractice insurance.
At one time, it was illegal for hospitals to be run on a for-profit basis. My personal opinion is that health-care is a right, in
addition to being in the best interest of everyone. We only create an unhealthy social system when we ignore the many small
costs of an unhealthy population based on ability to pay. Non-diagnosed mental illnesses alone create a lot of people who
suddenly just blow-up and do crazy things that cause harm to a lot of innocent people, either due to violence, crime, or murder
-- especially when you consider drug-addiction an undiagnosed mental illness.
There isn't a market-based solution in which someone gets to make a lot of money for every aspect of society. However, if we
persist in trying to put this square peg in the circle, we create the dysfunctional, unhealthy society that we currently have.
Friday, 4 July 2008 at 11h 30m 51s
I must say that I am astonished at Obama's support for this FISA capitulation that he says is a workable compromise. I
however defer to another Constitutional lawyer.
Click here for
Glenn Greenwald's analysis.
Also, did you notice that the LA Times published an opinion From Torture-boy Alberto Gonzalez -- the man who resigned from
Attorney General in disgrace when he blatantly lied to Congress as they were investigating the arbitrary firings of Federal
Attorneys. This man produced memo's which called the torture techniques okay as long as someone didn't die, because the
Geneva Conventions are "quaint" . This is the man who permitted and abetted the creation of partisan hiring practices and
turned the department of justice into a partisan masquerade in which trials were pursued in order to eviscerate the political
opposition : the total lack of evidence or justifiable purpose was irrelevant. There is an overwhelming case that the
issue of voter fraud is miniscule (maybe a total of 5 cases, and less then 10 votes,) but the department of Civil Rights pursued
cases for over 2 years in an effort to foment partisan attacks and reduce the ability of people to vote who happened to be
Yet this man is allowed to publish an opinion in the Los Angeles Times about the importance of the Hispanic vote? Why is this
criminal given any credibility at all? He should be in jail.
Are the editors at the Los Angeles Times completely clueless? Mind you, these are college educated individuals who are
supposed to be professionally aware of contemporary history. And yet torture-boy gets to publish an opinion.
The corporate press is just a public relations arm of the elite agenda. They create issues and then hire corrupt assholes to
promote opinions that serve that agenda.
What other reason can there be?
Wednesday, 2 July 2008 at 9h 54m 46s
Interrogation techniques from Chinese Communists
Did you know that Guantanamo soldiers were being trained to use torture techniques that were lifted verbatim from
manuals in 1957?
WASHINGTON — The military trainers who came to Guantánamo Bay in December 2002 based an entire interrogation class on a
chart showing the effects of “coercive management techniques” for possible use on prisoners, including “sleep deprivation,”
“prolonged constraint,” and “exposure.”
What the trainers did not say, and may not have known, was that their chart had been copied verbatim from a 1957 Air Force
of Chinese Communist techniques used during the Korean War to obtain confessions, many of them false, from American
The recycled chart is the latest and most vivid evidence of the way Communist interrogation methods that the United States long
described as torture became the basis for interrogations both by the military at the base at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, and by the
Central Intelligence Agency.
Senator Carl Levin, Democrat of Michigan and chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, said after reviewing the 1957
article that “every American would be shocked” by the origin of the training document.
“What makes this document doubly stunning is that these were techniques to get false confessions,” Mr. Levin said. “People say
we need intelligence, and we do. But we don’t need false intelligence.”
Shane | New York Times | 2 July 2008]
Which is what I've been saying all along? Using torture is not meant to extract intelligence. Torture is used to intimidate and to
force the tortured individuals to say and do what you want them to say and do.
The whole point of the secret torture camps was to
create show trials and extract false confessions. It was never about extracting useful intelligence, because you only get useful
intelligence from assets that have infiltrated the groups and organizations from which you want information. How much useful
intelligence was extracted from American POW's? Exactly. But tortured American POW's were used in propaganda efforts, and
that's why we tortured these lower rung "enemy combatants," half of whom were not even members of Al Qaeda.
Monday, 30 June 2008 at 10h 7m 6s
Hold on tight, the worst is yet to come
The McCain corporatists are about to get upset about General Wesley Clark's statement on FACE THE NATION:
CLARK: He has been a voice on the Senate Armed Services Committee. And he has traveled all over the world. But he hasn't held
executive responsibility. That large squadron in the Navy that he commanded — that wasn't a wartime squadron. He hasn't been
there and ordered the bombs to fall. He hasn't seen what it's like when diplomats come in and say, "I don't know whether we're
going to be able to get this point through or not, do you want to take the risk, what about your reputation, how do we handle this
publicly? He hasn't made those calls, Bob.
SCHIEFFER: Can I just interrupt you? I have to say, Barack Obama hasn't had any of these experiences either, nor has he ridden in
a fighter plane and gotten shot down.
CLARK: I don’t think getting in a fighter plane and getting shot down is a qualification to become president.
Being in the military doesn't automatically qualify you to be president, especially when you participated in anti-American
propaganda as a result of torture by the North Koreans, and then divorced your first wife on return to the states so you could
marry a young rich pretty woman.
A lot of folks are getting mesmerized by the corporate media's urgent attempts to turn people sour on the Obama campaign.
However, this election will be different than the 1992 election that ushered in Clinton, not the least of which is that there is no
viable third party candidate like Ross Perot soaking up 16 to 20 percent of the vote. The Ron Paul "revolution" may be strong, but
(unlike anti-NAFTA Ross "giant-sucking-sound" Perot) Ron Paul is no longer actively running for President.
First: Obama will not be what you want or think he should be, and remember that anyone running for President has to
take a somewhat centrist position. Harry Truman and Franklin D. Roosevelt did not presage their Presidential results during their
campaigns. Roosevelt was an aristocrat in a wheelchair. Truman was a little known Missouri politician who made his name
investigating military contractor corruption, but who was himself seen as part of the Missouri political machine.
Second: the face of the supreme court will change if a Republican becomes president. It's really that simple people.
Quit your whining about what Obama says or does not say, hold your nose if you have to, and vote Democratic.
The Rethuglican Contract on America (which ushered in the Republican Congressional landslide of 1994) and the way the
insurance companies propagandized against the Health-care initiative really mangled anything Clinton might have intended to
do. Clinton did not have control of congress, nor did Clinton have 8 years of a Republican disaster as a historical background.
Oil prices and the economic disruptions in 1992 are nothing like they are today in 2008 where we are on the precipice not seen
This time it will be different, because the Democrats will sweep the Rethuglicans out of Congress ... and the control of media is
not as thorough as it was in 1992-2000 because of the blogosphere and the rise of citizen journalism on the internet. The
power of the corporate spin-merchants to manufacture fear and disinformation has shrunk enormously.
Witness the 2006 campaign, where the so-called experts got overwhelmed, because their models of measuring public opinion
didn't work. Polling companies are based upon 3 things: land-line phones, people being home, and willingness to answer the
phone or participate. In these days of cell-phones and evening working hours, a whole lot of people ages 21 -45 are getting
missed by the polls.
What these polls really measure is the effect of the corporate televisions reiteration on those who watch that reiteration. Notice
how little the "Reverend Wright" nonsense had even though the corporate media played it endlessly, and then produced polls
which were supposed to represent the American people.
Those polls however did not represent the American people.
Republicans do not represent the American people either, and notice the Ron Paul movement as a result. Ron Paul raised more
money than all the Republican presidential candidates (except Romney I think) and still the establishment media refused to invite
Mr. Ron Paul to various debates. Even still, the Ron Paul movement didn't go away.
Likewise, Obama is raising funds from small $100 internet donations. 2 million times $100 is 200 million. Unlike Clinton, Obama
doesn't need PAC, lobbyist, or largest elite donations in order to raise funds. This is another very signifigant difference from
So everyone just calm down, and ignore the insanity of the corporate media that will be trying very hard to make you cynical so
that you don't vote. If we all get out an vote, we will overwhelm them and their pitiful attempts to frame the election issues in
order to control the policy agenda of the American people.
Saturday, 28 June 2008 at 16h 44m 2s
Filibustering the FISA bill by a real Patriotic American
Thank you Senator Dodd, a man who understanding the meaning of the 4th Amendment.
We don't need to throw away the constitution to save ourselves from evildoers and terrorists. The 21st century is not so radically
different that allowing anonymous cronies of partisan political operators totalitarian powers is a good idea.
President Bush and his telecom allies put every single email and cell phone call into a huge database that was collected by the NSA.
The NSA then outsourced the mining of the data to private firms -- which means there is no oversight into how the data was mined,
because private firms do not have to disclose anything.
Wake the hell up people. It is happening here.
Saturday, 28 June 2008 at 9h 57m 58s
Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal is a craven liar
Interviewed by Fox news in order to hype up the "more offshore oil drilling will save us" myth, Louisiana Governor Bobby
says that Hurricanes Katrina and Rita caused "no major" oil spills and was one of the "unwritten success stories".
Nothing could be further from the truth.
the Hurricanes caused offshore oil spills so large that they could be seen from space (check out a picture here.)
The Minerals Management Service reported that 113 oil platforms were “totally destroyed” — a total of 124 offshore
Garofalo | Think Progress | 27 June 2008]
This guy Jindal has been on the fast track in the corrupt Republican political establishment, because he's a brown skin color in a
white man's party -- something like Clarence Thomas. They've got something on him, something blackmail-able, because that's
how these thugs operate. With Thomas, it was his addiction to porn and probably something sexually deviant related to
prostitutes. With Jindal, it could be his freakish religious extremism which caused him to perform an exorcism on a young
woman in college or worse.
The above link is an excellent summary of Jindal's quick rise into political prominence.
Oh, by the way, the exorcism story is primary source material, because Jindal wrote the event himself. It appeared in the
edition of New Oxford Review while Jindal was attending Brown University. Click here.
God bless you George. They all pale when compared to you.
Thursday, 26 June 2008 at 11h 28m 56s
The Hoax of an offshore energy policy
Confirming what I've always said, the Energy Information Agency, yesterday releases a report that confirms more drilling of offshore
oil would not improve the prices of gas at the pump.
Guy Caruso, who heads the federal Energy Information Administration, said consumers would see little savings at the pump.
"It would be a relatively small effect, because it would take such a long time to bring those supplies on," Caruso said during a
briefing at the Center for Strategic and International Studies on the EIA's new long-term international energy forecast. "It doesn't
affect prices that much."
Most energy experts say it would take five to 10 years to find oil in the closed areas and bring the crude to market. Caruso said the
additional supplies would amount to only a couple of hundred thousand barrels of oil a day.
"It does take a long time to develop these resources, and therefore the price impact is muted by that," he said.
Democrats who voted for immunity got campaign cash
Selling out the country for $8,359 in fact. Are they clueless, stupid, insulated from reality, or blackmailed?
In March, the House passed an amendment that rejected retroactive immunity. But last week, 94 Democrats who supported the
March amendment voted to support the compromise FISA legislation, which includes a provision that could let telecom
companies that cooperated with the government’s warrantless electronic surveillance off the hook.
The 94 Democrats who changed their positions received on average $8,359 in contributions from Verizon, AT&T and Sprint from
January, 2005, to March, 2008, according to the analysis by MAPLight, a nonpartisan organization that tracks the connection
between campaign contributions and legislative outcomes.
Retroactive immunity could squash about 40 lawsuits pending against telecommunication companies that helped the government
monitor the telecommunications traffic of Americans without warrants. The telecom industry has lobbied hard to insure that the
provision is included in the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act update Congress is currently considering.
Why are these companies fighting so hard to squash these 40 lawsuits? Are we a nation of laws? If you or I broke the law, would
we be able to bribe lobby our public officials to stop the lawsuits from going to court?
This bill enables telecoms to allow the government to keep databases of every single phone call, every single email, and then
mine the data to filter for stuff. What they do with what they find is unknowable. If they decide to blackmail you, or if they put
pressure on your employer to fire employees for partisan political reasons, we would have no way of knowing, because this bill
allows the telecoms to give the government (the NSA) this data with only a written statement from the Attorney General. There is
no judicial oversight of what is being mined and who gets collected in the mining data filter. Even if the filters are 99.99%
accurate, we are talking about billions of data. 0.01% of one billion is still 100,000 pieces of information. Mistakes are going to
happen even in the most altruistic usage of this data mining, and there is no guarantee that the bad guys are more efficiently
isoltated. Are we willing to toss the innocent to the wolves merely to obtain a mild improvement? And what is going to stop large
corporations from using this power of surveillance to intimidate the work place -- union leaders and political beliefs?
Oh, silly me, this can't happen here, right?
Thursday, 26 June 2008 at 10h 49m 18s
The FISA capitulation
Click here to read
Julian Sanchez at the American Progress magazine on the FISA bill capitulation that is being called a "compromise" by the
clueless democratic leadership.
The FISA provisions were worked out in the latter 70's after it was discovered that Nixon and the FBI were wiretapping and
infiltrating anti-war groups. They give authorities 72 hours to do what they think they need to do the catch the bad guys, after
which they have to go to one of 12 FISA court judges to get oversight. Since the FISA law was put in place there have been about
4,000 times the Feds went to the FISA court, and only twice were they denied approval. The laws are not getting in the way of
catching the bad guys.
The administration had a plethora of evidence about the terrorist attacks that were coming during the first 6 months of 2001,
according to multiple sources, including Richard Clarke. However, Cheney and Condolezza Rice did not convene the terrorism
task force until August 6th when they were briefed about "Bin Laden determined to attack in the United States". Cheney held
secret energy task force meetings with big energy and oil conglomerates looking at oil maps of Iraq. Federal agents knew about
the flight schools. The "terrorists" were living on government paid apartments adjacent to Federal agents, and were allowed in
on expired VISA's. There phones and emails were tapped and known. Secret service agencies in Germany, France, Russia, and
Israel warned the Feds about the chatter.
The FISA laws were even circumvented, but the attack happened anyway, because the Bush administration had other priorities.
They are breaking the laws with the help of telecoms, who incidentally already routinely re-route your emails and phone calls
outside of the United States. The Feds were spying on anti-war Quakers and other anti-wars groups. Telecoms were spying on
their employees and reporters to ensure top-down control.
They are breaking the laws for political reasons people. It isn't about terrorism. It never was about terrorism.