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December 26th, 2007
There is some slight good news on the health care front , which is encouraging after the bad news last week of Nataline Sarkisyan’s unnecessary Murder by Spreadsheet. A California appeals court has ruled that insurers cannot arbitrarily cancel health insurance policies when the covered person gets hurt or ill.
Class War, Eugenics, For-Profit Insurance, Health Care, Universal Care | Comment (1)
Yes, that does happen, and has been happening often enough over the past decade that the judicial system is now very much involved. The 4th District Court of Appeal in Santa Ana further ruled that insurers cannot cancel policies unless they can demonstrate that the policyholder willfully misrepresented his health on the application, and that the insurer had investigated that application before issuing the policy.
December 21st, 2007
The Health Insurance Scam Breaks
Yahoo News issued a release on Thursday evening (December 20) from the California Nurses Association touting the victory of their joint demonstration with the National Nurses Organizing Committee and the Armenian community at the CIGNA insurance offices in Glendale, California, CIGNA Capitulates to Patient Revolt…
In a stunning turn around, insurance giant CIGNA has capitulated to community demands, and protests that the California Nurses Association/National Nurses Organizing Committee helped to generate, and agreed to a critically needed liver transplant for Nataline Sarkisyan, a 17-year-old girl in the intensive care unit at UCLA Medical Center, says CNA.
Meanwhile, activists from all over the country were spurred into inundating CIGNA’s phone lines throughout the day after learning of the situation and protest on websites like Daily Kos, My Space and others.Economics, For-Profit Insurance, Health Care, Memorials | Comments (4)
December 17th, 2007
We’re just over two weeks away from the Iowa Caucus, which will establish the party frontrunners going into New Hampshire and on to the “Super Tuesday” sew-up, months before the summer conventions that supposedly start the race to November. Why Iowa and New Hampshire are considered to be an authoritative gage of America’s best choice of Presidential candidates is something I’ve never figured out. By the time my state has it’s primary the results are already decided.
My own opinion is that the 2008 Presidential campaigns started way too early this cycle, egged on by an erroneous assessment of what Republican defeats in 2006 really meant. The change of Congressional power from Republicans to Democrats has accomplished nothing much. The leadership has steadfastly thwarted all meaningful reform legislation, all meaningful exercise of oversight, and bowed regularly to the spoiled shrubbery in the White House who has suddenly found his veto pen to be more useful than his “signing statements” stating what laws he may ignore with impunity.Campaigns, Class War, Hypocrisy, Iowa, Presidential Candidates, Republicans | Comments (2)
December 15th, 2007
Torture as U.S. Policy and Practice
The recent hoopla about videotapes of the torture of ‘War on Terror’ prisoners Abu Zubaydah and Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri by CIA interrogators has drawn some odd denials from people who ought to know better by now. White House press spokesbot Dana Perino kept insisting to all questions that the US does not torture. Period, end of discussion.
What American with an IQ of over 75 believes this garbage, or the George W. Bush “doesn’t remember” knowing about those torture tapes – or ordering their destruction? Anyone who doubts US involvement in torture (and, too often, murder) should read Jennifer Hardbury’s Interview with Buzzflash for realistic background on this issue.Analysis, Books, Bush, Intelligence, Media, Torture, War | Comments (2)
December 12th, 2007
The Associated Press reported Tuesday that a NYC Subway Attack Possible Hate Crime. Seems a group of overage juvenile delinquents decided to attack two men and two women in a subway car, apparently for being Jewish.
The criminal types doing the attacking have been described as your basic cowardly hoodlums. One was awaiting sentencing after pleading guilty last year to “attempted robbery as a hate crime” for yelling racial epithets while assaulting two black teens in Brooklyn. This time they yelled anti-Semitic remarks at their targets, who had the tumerity to respond “Happy Chanukah” to their assailant’s greeting of “Merry Christmas.”
The victims were helped by ‘A Hero’ named Hassan Askari, a Muslim student at Berkeley College in Manhattan. Askari was also punched and beaten.
The attackers numbered eight men and two women (that’s 10 people against 4 plus one good Samaritan). They have all pled not guilty to assault, menacing and other charges, while prosecutors say the charges could be upgraded to hate crimes.
I’m sure Bill O’Reilly will be tickled with this evidence that his “War on Christmas” has finally gone publicly violent. And I don’t suppose Bill-O has the cognitive capacity to learn anything about the real Pagan roots of the Christmas holiday and all its many trappings – Yule logs, holly wreaths, adorned evergreen trees, etc. The Pagan holiday is Solstice, taking place during the week of December 19-25, a.k.a. ‘Yule’ or ‘Saturnalia’. The traditional African holiday is Kwanzaa, a.k.a. ‘Second Christmas’ in some parts of southern slave states. The Jewish holiday is Chanukah, the ‘Festival of Lights’. In Islam there is the Hajj and Eid-ul-Adha (Festival of the Sacrifice). Buddhism celebrates Bodhi Day in December (‘Enlightenment’ Day). Seems like just about every culture has a solstice celebration or festival of light couched in their own traditional religious terms but with clear roots to prehistoric reliance on the cycle of seasons.
Isn’t it about time Christians figured out that they don’t own the Solstice or control anybody else’s celebrations of it?
Links:Anti-Semitism, Hate Crime, History, Media, Racism | Comments (2)
December 7th, 2007
Unmasking the Puppet Master …hiding in plain sight
Many years ago during the worst of the paranoid breakdown of “Tricky Dick” before his forced resignation, and again during the sneaky, behind-the-scenes horrors being brought to light in those infamous Iran-Contra hearings that made Ollie North such a wingnut hero, I used to console myself with the thought…
“As long as Frank Zappa is running around free, this is still America!”
Today, as we enter year number 8 of the most damaging and destructive American administration of my [Truman+] lifetime, Frank Zappa is dead and the steady erosion of our rights and standing in the world is worse than I’ve ever seen it. But I do have another true hero of freedom to console myself with…
“As long as Keith Olbermann is running around free, this is still America!”
Maybe it’s because I was born into the US Navy (NIS planning officer) where courage and resolve and honesty and patriotism were a way of life my siblings and I were fed along with mother’s milk. Qualities completely expected and always encouraged, a reflection of total dedication to defending and preserving that which was most noble about our nation’s aspirations as a beacon of freedom in the wider world. We were proud of that even if we were always “the new kid” in our classes for moving around the country/world a lot, always picked on by the bigger kids for being outsiders or having funny accents or just for being ‘military brats’.
So when Keith Olbermann looked right into the MSNBC camera this past Wednesday and said to the current occupant of the White House that…
“The Chicken Little of presidents is the one, sir, that you see in the mirror.”
…I just had to laugh out loud. If that idiot child at 1600 was watching, the whole thing no doubt went right over his pin-sized head. I have no doubt he has no idea who the heck Chicken Little is, and hasn’t the IQ to find out. Why, as this nation was being attacked on 9-11 he was having real trouble following along with the kindergartners reading “My Pet Goat,” and was far more interested in how that story turned out than in what was happening in New York City.
God bless you, K.O., and keep you free!Analysis, Bush, Foreign Policy, History, Intelligence, Media, War | Comments (2)
December 5th, 2007
16 US Intelligence Agencies agree, but not with Bush/Cheney…
With Bush and his cadre’s recent hyperbolic rhetoric introducing “World War III” in the same sentence with Iran, it looks to me like the various US intelligence agencies don’t plan to be made scapegoat once again for Bush/Cheney’s delusions of Hitlerian grandeur. They all got together this time and reported in the most recent National Intelligence Estimate that Iran does not have nuclear weapons and is years away from having nuclear weapons even if it tries really hard. CNN reported that…
A declassified summary of the latest National Intelligence Estimate found with “high confidence” that the Islamic republic halted an effort to develop nuclear weapons in the fall of 2003.
Worse, this report was prepared in December of 2006. Which explains why Cheney and the boyz were so anxious to keep a lid on it while they beat the drums toward a opening a new front in their forever-war. Ex-CIA counter-terrorism expert Larry Johnson offered this observation:
Analysis, Bush, Foreign Policy, Intelligence, Military, War | Comment (0)
There are some unsung heroes in the National Intelligence Council who insisted on the integrity of the product. In the face of enormous political pressure to tailor information and pull punches that undermine Bush Administration talking points, the intelligence professionals did their job. They told the truth based on the facts in hand.