Saturday, June 30, 2012

US wildfires are what global warming really looks like, scientists warn

Scorching heat, high winds and bone-dry conditions are fueling catastrophic wildfires in the US west that offer a preview of the kind of disasters that human-caused climate change could bring, a trio of scientists said on Thursday. 
 "What we're seeing is a window into what global warming really looks like," said Princeton University's Michael Oppenheimer, a lead author for the UN's climate science panel. "It looks like heat, it looks like fires, it looks like this kind of environmental disaster … This provides vivid images of what we can expect to see more of in the future."
read more

Friday, June 29, 2012

Reactions to Court Ruling on "Obama care."


The courts denounced congress's attempt to force people to buy insurance. Yet it upheld their right to tax. So they can tax people without insurance (well do we tax people who don't buy auto insurance). This may seem picky , legalities often involve "picky." The problem is the original bill expanded medicaid to cover those who aren't on medicare but can't afford insurance. The courst left it up to the states of naturally states like Texas (the capital of retardation--Hey I"m a Texan!) refuse to expand even though the feds would pay for it. They have no good reason. Their argument is basically "It's too good to be true." That realy kills the whole idea, that they can't cover people who aren't on medicaid and can't afford insurance. now turns it into a burden rather than a life saving policy. Just in time for the election, people wont remember Obama's original bill included a way to pay for those who could not afford insurance but the court took that out. Now it's "the evil Obama care." Ne one is going to call it "court care."

The right wingers are furious that the court upheld "Obama CARE." they snear as they say the nasty title name. Some of the agonized protestations of yesterday were hilarious. One guy, who I think was a set up, on a tv station bemoaned the fact that "the President just declared a law and no one stopped him." NO, sweetheart that's what the fuss was about in the summer of 2009. The "Obama care" was before congress as a bill? Yes. It was passed by congress. It sure was. In fact that is why the court said "congress can't force people to guy things." They say "the President' that's the because Congress passed it as a law.

A more serious issue is rising costs I've seen people try to blame the legislation for the rising medical costs. That's absurd becuase there's no reason why it should increase the cost. For one thing it hasn't kicked in yet, for another it means people will be covered and get care more frequently before their conditions deteriorate so over time we will have less catastrophic care and costs will go down.

Health Insurrer Kaiser

Health expenditures in the United States neared $2.6 trillion in 2010, over ten times the $256 billion spent in 1980. [1] The rate of growth in recent years has slowed relative to the late 1990s and early 2000s, but is still expected to grow faster than national income over the foreseeable future.[2] Addressing this growing burden continues to be a major policy priority. Furthermore, the United States has been in a recession for much of the past decade, resulting in higher unemployment and lower incomes for many Americans. These conditions have put even more attention on health spending and affordability. [1]

Since 2001, employer-sponsored health coverage for family premiums have increased by 113%, placing increasing cost burdens on employers and workers. [3] In the public sector, Medicare covers the elderly and people with disabilities, and Medicaid provides coverage to low-income families. Enrollment has grown in Medicare with the aging of the baby boomers and in Medicaid due to the recession.[1], [4] This means that total government spending has increased considerably, straining federal and state budgets. In total, health spending accounted for 17.9% of the nation’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in 2010. [5]

Moderate Ruling With Risks Ahead

New York Times -
THE PRACTICAL IMPACT In general, the decision means that tens of millions more Americans will have access to affordable health insurance and that reforms in how medical care is delivered and paid for can be aggressively pursued to bring down the cost ...

Indianapolis Star -
Buoyed by the U.S. Supreme Court ruling upholding the health care law, Kentucky pledged Thursday to move forward on creating a statewide insurance exchange to help more residents find affordable coverage in a state where more than one in six people are ...
People making that argument are just sitting the stats on rising costs since 2009, but that does not prove it's the result of the legislation. The bill was introduced on the premise that costs for medical care were about to balloon. We had to do something becuase it threatened to erode all other reforms.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Court Upholds Obama's Health CARE

Out USA News

ABC News

By (@MattNegrin) AND (@Arianedevogue)

In a landmark ruling with wide-ranging implications, the Supreme Court today upheld the so-called individual mandate requiring Americans to buy health insurance or pay a penalty, the key part of President Obama's signature health care law.

The court ruled that the mandate is unconstitutional under the Constitution's commerce clause, but it can stay as part of Congress's power under a taxing clause. The court said that the government will be allowed to tax people for not having health insurance.

"The Affordable Care Act's requirement that certain individuals pay a financial penalty for not obtaining health insurance may reasonably be characterized as a tax," Chief Justice John Roberts wrote in the ruling. "Because the Constitution permits such a tax, it is not our role to forbid it, or to pass upon its wisdom or fairness."

The ruling is a victory for the Obama administration and a defeat for Republicans, who had anticipated that at least some of the law would be struck down. But it also means the debate will continue.

"It actually settles nothing. By shifting the debate to the tax arena, and with a four-justice dissent, the decision guarantees only that the broader fight over a suitable national health policy will continue," said Richard Saltman, a professor at the Rollins School of Public Health, Emory University. "In effect, the court decided this was too hot to handle. The focus will (has already) shift back to the political arena, where a deeply divided electorate will have to decide which policy path they want the country to pursue."

Sunday, June 24, 2012

why has the economy stopped working for everyone?

Bill Moyers

Why has the economy stopped working fore everyone?
-- Moyers

see the show

Bill Moyers has had some excellent programs recently on how big money interest changes the rules of American and led to the economic crisis of 2008, the effects of which are on going. Weather one is liberal, conservative, Tea Party or Occupy movement this a must see. It's incredible. This is not just a few little things that led to come of the problems, Moyers, traces the entire crisis back to human greed and literally a plot to change the rules by destroying protections of the middle class enacted by Roosevelt to limit unbridled risk taking by money interests. The entire system as a whole failed to secure us form the problem, and almost brought about systemic financial failure and all of this can be traced to greed.

Moyers is not interviewing wild eyed radicals. He's talking to conservatives who are still involved in the banking industry. John Reed former Citibanck CEO, for example. He's now at MIT. The Glass-Steagall act was eliminated so that investment firms could the middle class and take greater risks. Moyers interview with Reed examines this process. Republicans had been working on the destruction of Glass Steagall for a long time, one of the major leaders in that plot was former Texas Senator Phil Graham. Reed helped bring about the destruction of the act and now is crusading to alter people as to the major mistake that this was.

Moyer's blog
Reed served as co-chair of Citigroup from its creation in 1998 until his retirement in 2000. He later served as the interim CEO at the New York Stock Exchange, where he established new governance protocols as the NYSE became a public entity. Since 2010, he has served as the Chairman of the MIT Corporation, the governing body of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. The same year, he testified before the Senate Banking Committee and came out in support of the Volcker Rule, a regulation that would restrict U.S. banks from taking part in speculative investments that do not benefit consumers. The Volcker Rule has been compared to the Glass-Steagall Act, the same law that Reed worked to repeal in order to make the Citigroup merger legal. Today, Reed continues to be a vocal supporter of strong financial reform.
The most thing that comes out of these interviews is how planned it was. How they all knew what they were doing and just rationalized it with the valuing of greed. The one major thing coming out of republican candidates now is to blame the democrats and liberals for the economy via the cry against government regulation. It was that say tactic that destroy Glass-Steagall; they speak of environmental burdens on small business but what they really want to eliminate is the regulations that protect homeowners, middle class workers, and tax payers. The rich don't pay taxes that much. Wealth among the top one percent has gown 250% while among everyone else it's grown about 10% and that's only becuase this is include the rich who are not in the 1%. It's obvious that real economic loss is in the Trillions and it comes from the foreclosures, the near callable of banking, the near death of American industry and this is all coming from, not EPA, not welfare, not liberals taxing the middle class, but bailouts for big money, the collapse of the housing industry,the two wars and the economics contractions brought on by the ensuring results of these problems.

Each problem in this chain goes back to greed. This is directly traceable to the writings of Ayn Rand. Alan Greenspan was a Randian and the moneyed interests of the 1990s turned to Rand as a means of stoking their ideology of "greed is good" that allowed them justify their rape of the middle and lower class.

Moyers also Talks to former Senator Byron Dorgan. Dorgan fought to save the Glass-Steagall act and also to make banks play by the rules. Speaking of Glass-Steagall Drogan says: “If you were to rank big mistakes in the history of this country,” Dorgan tells Moyers, “that was one of the bigger ones, because it has set back this country in a very significant way and caused so much heartbreak and heartache, and a near total collapse of the American economy. ”

former Senator Byron Dorgan
to see interview click here

"It's the have it all vs everyone else"
see Moyer's show on "winner Take all Politics"

Bill Moyer's Interview with Thomas Frank


Americans are all dispossessed millionaires. Even if we are unemployed and have no money we are not working class, we are really rich we are just waiting for the money to come. We see ourselves as middle or above we always identify with the interest of the rich. Rather than place the blame for your current depression on those who caused it, the rich, the capitalist, the bankers, we place it on those who tried to stop it, the regulators. We all millionaires just being persecuted and held back by evil liberals who resist wealth by government regulation. We totally forget we just fought two wars and long and costly as Vietnam (tw0 at once) and went thorugh a housng crisis what saw the devastation and theft of most middle class neighborhoods, brought on by unrestrained greed which uses houses as poker chips rather than places families can live, and a bail out of the banks to cover their own greedy mistakes, paid for by tax payers; the then turned around and dictated to us government policy at the cost of down grading our national credit. We have totally forgotten that the republicans refused comprise and almost allowed the government to go under, are trying to destroy social security, while lying about the nature of health care reform. We replace these memories with pretense that all we need is more capitalism, more pandering to greed, get the evil liberals out of the way and let the rich have more profits form our labor and purify the nature of our worship of money and they we will all be millionaires.

Thomas Frank's book Pity the Billionaire is a good reminder of reality, and Bill Moyer's Interview with him is eye opening.

This interview with Moyers was broadcasted last night, June 16, 2012. deals with the supreme court decision on Citizen's united and Thomas Frank's book Pity the Billionaire.

The Frank interview deals with the overall system of "free market" and the grass roots right-wing populism that has sprang up to promote it. Franks argues that in the near economic collapse at the end of the Bush administration and the we saw the failure of the entire system. All the problems can be traced to deregulation. All the things we had been doing for short term profits, blinding ourselves to ethics, opening the field to money, power and influence all goes back to de-regulating. Yet Ameircans have never before been more enamored of the idea that regualition is villian and less government is the answer. The whole problem we face today is the result of not regulating the market, allowing big money to get bigger. The populace has never been fleeced before like they are now. Like goo obedient lemmings they they march off the cliff reciting the mantras of big money and capitalism. Never before have Americans been more willing to believe that if we just take the restraints off free market everything will even out in a God ordained natural economic democracy.,

Pity the Billionaire by Thomas Frank - review

Pity the Billionaire tells of the rebirth of right-wing populism after its submergence in 1996. The Tea Party movement in America today is driven by a vision of utopian capitalism, Frank observes, "at the precise moment when free-market theory has proven itself to be a philosophy of ruination and fraud". The bailouts that Bush began, Obama continued as if no change of plan were necessary with a change of administration and mandate; but "the bailouts were one of those moments that crushes the faith of a nation". The new populism that Frank describes is a feverish reassertion of faith.

There were available remedies for the collapse besides charging the losses to taxpayers. One solution would have been to put the zombie banks into receivership. Another was to bring the financial industry under regulation again (as suggested by Paul Volcker, Obama's leading economic adviser until he became president). The explanation for such steps could have been simple; but instead, Obama in 2009 spoke vaguely of "fundamental change" even as he became the guardian of the financial status quo. Either of those moves alone would have been risky. Their combination was toxic. By using big government to protect the firms that were deemed too big to fail, Obama supplied new grounds for every suspicion that government could not be relied on to help ordinary people.

In addition tot he Frank interview Moyers talked about Money buying elections and the supreme court decision. He also interviewed Mother Jone's editors Carla Jeffery and Monika Bauerkein, who talked about their book Dark Money, "the conspiracy of cash that allows the rich to influence our most fundamental political freedoms. On the show, Bill calls out some of the biggest super PAC donors, revealing how easy it is for the wealthy one percent to sway an election.."

The re-call election of Walker (Wisconsin) saw 14 billionaires outspending the unions by eight times. To ensure that America doesn't become a socialist state ran by unions Texas Oligarch Tom Perry and Billionaire Diane Hendrix gave huge amounts of money. The Court deicsion sets this up, it sets up the possibility of "dark money" campaign expenses that can't be traced. We don't know who is buying influence.

I did a piece on the re-call when the campaign began (March 2011) on my blog Need More Shovels.

Capitalism without failure

“Let’s face it,” the founder of a super PAC recently told Mother Jones magazine. “Politics in this country is coin-operated.” True enough, as evidenced by the billions projected to be spent in this year’s elections — untold amounts of it unleashed by the Supreme Court’s 2010 Citizens United decision. Even with all that money being cashed in, the busy check-writers and the influence they purchase remain largely hidden, including those who helped Republican Governor Scott Walker dramatically out-fundraise his Democratic challenger to win last week’s recall election.
Don't miss this amazing episode of Moyer's show. This interview is devastating and alarming but it has to be seen by every voter in America. Email it to your friends.

Watch Interview (Pitty The

Frank did a impervious interview with Moyers about how Ameicans had forgotten (by as early as 2010) what things were like before Obama.

Watch The previous Frank Interview

Friday, June 22, 2012

Evangelicals and health care for the poor

A typically excellent post from Slacktivist
For more than a century, evangelical churches in America have been giving generously, sometimes sacrificially, to support medical missionaries in other countries. Health care for poor people is something they’ve prayed for and donated to for generations — but only overseas.  
Somehow that commitment has never really translated into support for health care for the poor here in America. Not in any form. Here in America, evangelicals do not pray, give or vote for health care for the poor. Here in America, health care for the poor is something that evangelicals pray, give and vote against.  
That’s immoral and generally horrifying. But given those same evangelicals’ support for medical missions, it’s also just deeply weird.
I also liked this comment from "hidden urchin":
My guess is it's the idea of "deserving" vs. "underserving" poor.  If you're poor because you live in an undeveloped country in a state of civil war or the like then it is clearly not your fault and you deserve help.  Indeed, you are probably one of the industrious poor sent by God to show us how to live humbly and gratefully.  If you're poor in The Greatest Country in the World then it's because you Made Bad Choices and so you don't deserve help. /sarcasm
Read the whole thing.