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September 16th, 2009
Last week we (or “current resident”) received a slick 4-color 6×10 card stock mailer that looks at first glance to have come from our NC-11 congressional rep, Heath Shuler. At the top the reverse-on-blue header reads:
“Congressman Shuler Is Fighting To Make Medicare Prescription Coverage Even Better”
and on the bottom reverse-on-red the italicized message reads:
“Call Congressman Health Shuler today at 202-224-3121. Tell him thanks for fighting to improve Medicare without making seniors pay more, and ask him to keep on fighting until we get the job done.”
The wording struck me a little odd. Why would Heath tell me to thank him for his notably atrocious Blue Dog position on health care reform? I mean, it’s not like he cares what Democrats in his district have to say about the issue. So I flipped the mailer over and read on the bottom of the address/postage space:
“Paid for by Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America.”
Whoa. Billy Tauzin’s notorious PhRMA lobby. The one that got a secret back-room deal with Obama before this issue ever got to committees in the House and Senate. And who are now sending deceptive mailers like this all over the country as part of a $150 million PR campaign to promote their continued obscene profits on the backs of senior citizens, while the mandate to force all citizens to purchase junk policies from the for-profit insurance industry amounts to a ~$12,000 per year (plus steep annual hikes at four or more times the rate of inflation) tax increase on the middle class. Earmarked directly to the Murder-by-Spreadsheet crime syndicate, this porker is uglier than Hogzilla.
FACT: According to an analysis of the proposed Part D changes by the Wall Street Journal, the Congressional Budget Office concluded that any decrease in average spending on prescriptions by seniors will more than be made up for by an increase in premiums seniors must pay for Part D. CBS News reported that CBO has confirmed seniors will be paying 20% more for Part D coverage by 2019 under this giveaway to Big Pharma.
FACT: The Baucus plan also abets another huge giveaway to insurers by allowing them to charge older people (age 50-64) up to five times as much as younger people for the insurance policies everyone will be required to purchase.
FACT: The per capita (per person) cost of ALL health care in the U.S. per year comes to right about $3,750. That is all care, for all people, insured and uninsured, Medicare, VA, Medicaid, SCHIP and charity. Why would anyone want to pay $12,000 a year for what actually costs $3,750? A government-run single-payer system could be paid for by graduated taxation based on actual costs and those taxes would be far cheaper even to the richest of the rich than the cost of a single for-profit insurance policy.
According to figures from the Center for Responsive Politics Shuler has received the following contributions from shady players:
$195,262 from the health sector employees and PACs.
$13,750 from health insurance companies.
$74,800 from Big Pharma.
$77,062 from health professionals.
$27,900 from hospitals.
$10,500 from the nursing home industry.
$399,274 in total. Now, the figures from CRP are what the Blue Dogs (individually) have received since 1989 from the PACs and pools of various health related industries, but Shuler’s only been in office since 2007. So that’s quite the hefty haul over less than three years!
Below is the letter I have written in response to this blatant insult from the Drug Pusher’s Union Propaganda Squad…
Continue reading »
September 3rd, 2009
Since January 20 of this year – which was more than eight months ago – we’ve been handed some rather clever lines of defense for the things Barack Obama is NOT doing with his executive power, with his supermajority in the Senate, or his eminently workable majority in the House. Things we the voters gave him in the first actual electoral mandate of the 21st century last November. We voted for change. We haven’t gotten any.
We’ve been told Obama’s “got this” because he can shoot hoops in the WH basement with skill, and grab flies out of the air like a Kung Fu master. We’ve been told Obama’s playing “multidimensional chess” with his opponents by continuing every single one of the illegal and anti-democratic policies of his Neocon predecessor. And now, with the health insurance reform debate gone all Town Hall during recess, we are told we don’t really need health insurance reform, single payer health care, or even a public option to facilitate the expected mandate we’ll be handed that forces us to pay more money than we’ve got to the murder-by-spreadsheed for-profit industry.
We still have “state secrets” privilege on who’s lobbying in the Oval Office. We still have DADT in the military. We still have two illegal wars going, a new third front opened in Columbia, off-the-books deficits accumulated by the fact that there’s twice as many paid mercenaries in those war zones than U.S. soldiers, we’re still rendering and torturing “detainees” who haven’t been charged with any crimes and haven’t been afforded the status of POWs, and we’re still bailing out Wall Street gamblers to the tune of multiple trillions while not even beginning to address reinstating necessary regulations.
A plethora of Democratic/Progressive activist groups have sprung up to pressure Congress and the White House on these issues as well as health insurance reform, letter-writing campaigns, calls and emails to representatives and senators, mass demonstrations… You name it, it’s being done. And what we get from the WH is insults and dismissals as those of us anywhere to the left of center are repeatedly told to STFU.Balance of Power, Barack Obama, Class War, Corruption, Debates, Democrats, DNC, Elections, For-Profit Insurance, Health Care, Legislation, Outrage, Party Platforms, Policy, Protests, Torture, Universal Care, War Crimes | Comment (0)
August 4th, 2009
Something insurance reform won’t fix
a medical disorder caused by the diagnosis, manner or treatment of a physician.
Iatros is the Greek word for physician. -genic means induced by. Iatrogenic disease is a disease caused by a physician. Given the sheer complexity and technological wonders of modern Western [allopathic] medicine have led to some stretching of the strict meaning of the term, which is now applied to ANY adverse effect associated with ANY medical practitioner or treatment. Thus it can be used to describe the cancers caused (years down the line) by radiation and radioactive isotopes used to treat initial problems, prescription errors, hospital-contracted infections, problems caused when a surgeon leaves an instrument or two in the patient, a chiropractor who breaks the patient’s neck, etc., etc.
When I was busy educating myself as much as possible when my daughter determined to have her baby at home, I discovered that the nations that have the best statistical outcomes – fewest maternal and infant deaths or injuries – actually encourage home births because hospitals are dangerous places to both mothers and infants. They’re dangerous places for anyone these days, it seems. According to statistics compiled by OurCivilization.com, there are 8.9 million “unnecessary” hospitalizations every year in this country, which lead directly to 1.78 million “Iatrogenic Events.” Of 7.5 million “unnecessary” procedures ordered annually by physicians, another 1.3 million patients suffer direct harm. That adds up to 16.4 million people channeled into a harmful situation by their medical providers every year, and 3.8 million cases of direct harm to those people that they otherwise would not have suffered.Class War, Debates, Economics, For-Profit Insurance, Health Care, Outrage, Universal Care | Comment (0)
July 22nd, 2009
Those crazy “Birthers” are getting an awful lot of ink and air time lately, offering good comedy fodder for late night television while occasionally making regular people turn away in revulsion. Like the “Teabaggers” weren’t hilarious enough to use the name of a sexual weirdness as their moniker, or to publicize their racist rants and ridiculous charges against the President, after being the very same wackos who accused those who questioned any illegal act of the last administration by calling them traitors.
CNN commentator Roland S. Martin has a piece up today (July 22) entitled, Obama birth issue is nutty that proceeds to make good fun of the wingnuts. But since one of George W. Bush’s first serious actions as President after 9-11 was to arrange the biggest government overhaul since the New Deal – by inventing the so-called “Department of Homeland Security” – there are Americans out in the hinterland who are suddenly quite confused about their legal status. I’m one of them, and so is recent Republican Presidential candidate John McCain. Who, like me, actually wasn’t born in the United States of America.
McCain, like me, was a Navy brat. He was born in the Panama Canal Zone, I was born in the Philippines. There used to be a clear law on the books that held the children of American citizens born in a foreign country are indeed ‘natural born’ American citizens, even if they automatically get dual citizenship for the country in which they were born. I had that until I was 18, though after that I would have had to formalize, and I was never very fond of Ferdinand and Imelda “Shoe-Lady” Marcos. So I let it slide. Still, if nobody questioned McCain’s citizenship qualification for POTUS, the fervor with which wingnuttia rants about Obama seems even crazier. I mean, even if Hawaii hadn’t been a state when he was born, did not all Hawaiians receive automatic citizenship when it WAS made a state? It was a territory, after all. Like Puerto Rico. Which apparently some wingnuts in Congress think is a foreign country too, thus Judge Sonia Sotomayor couldn’t be a citizen. Weird.9-11, Barack Obama, COM, History, Humor, Intelligence, John McCain, Media, Military, Outrage, Racism, Slime Machine | Comment (0)
June 11th, 2009
I wrote on June 3 about the murder of Dr. George Tiller in a Lutheran church in Wichita, Kansas. This week another right-wing terrorist – a notorious hater revered in places like Free Republic and Red State but labeled far too extremist by the neo-nazi group Stormfront – walked into the Holocaust Museum in the nation’s capital and opened fire, killing a security guard. In April of this year a younger neo-nazi wingnut hater killed three Pittsburgh police officers in a suicidal shoot-out because he was afraid Barack Obama was going to take away his guns.
Right wing domestic terrorism is all too familiar in this country. Timothy McVeigh was the most notable in terms of body count, but certainly was not the first or last of his ilk. The problem is present at all times, but the most deadly attacks happen more frequently when there’s a Democrat in the White House. The right wing propaganda machine (a.k.a. FoxNews) provides the verbal incitement, the loyal-but-stupid wannabe Rambos among Fox’s white sheet and dunce cap fan base do the shooting and bombing.Anti-Semitism, Corruption, Hate Crime, Hate Speech, Outrage, Politics of Hate, Propaganda, Terrorism | Comment (0)
June 3rd, 2009
In a Wichita, Kansas church on Sunday, radical anti-abortion wingnut Scott Roeder allegedly gunned down a physician named George Tiller in cold blood. Because Dr. Tiller provided abortion services to women whose right to decide whether or not to have a child has been the ‘Law of the Land’ since 1973. Roeder (and his ilk) don’t like it.
We know these murdering terrorists all too well, as Tiller isn’t the first doctor they’ve attacked and/or killed. The goal of killing doctors who provide legal medical services is not to end abortion. Abortion is as old as the hills. Safe medical abortion is relatively new.
Humans of course have more choices than bears and deer and burrowing critters who consume certain plants to induce abortion. Humans decide to have sex (most of the time), then they decide to have or not have a baby. It is apparently the freedom to choose that the antis so vehemently disagree with, so they engage in acts of terrorism with the intent to scare doctors away from providing the safe medical procedure.Constitution, Hate Crime, Outrage, Politics of Hate, Religion, Terrorism | Comment (1)
November 18th, 2008
ARGH!!! So now that Democrats will in January have the White House, the House and the Senate, Joe Lieberman (Lieberman for Lieberman Party-CT) gets to keep his Senate committee chairmanships as if he were a Democrat. This after Lieberman campaigned for Republican John McCain and several other Republicans for Senate.
Now, far be it from me to try and define regular, ordinary words for politicians, who don’t seem to understand the meaning of regular, ordinary words. Words like “Party” and “Loyalty” and “Procedure” and “Majority” and “Governance.” Politicians don’t want to know these things, preferring instead to make things up as they go along.
During these past couple of years when Democrats didn’t have an actual majority in the Senate, Lieberman has been allowed to be a Republican mole in the Democratic Caucus, reporting to his puppeteers and financial backers every move planned by members. He has been allowed to hold several committee chairs, including Homeland Security, where he has steadfastly refused to enforce subpoenas, investigate illegalities of the Bush administration, or even to investigate FEMA’s horrendously inadequate response to hurricane Katrina.
So Lieberman has been rewarded with a pass from the now-actual Democratic majority, encouraged to do more of the same obstructionism that has made him so immensely unpopular outside of Israel.
One day soon, as the public wakes up to realize the Republicans are now a fringe party of right-wing wackos and religious nuts and the Democrats are what the Republicans were before they purged everyone with any sense, there will be a new Progressive Party for the “rest of us.” And it will, within 8-12 years, be electing more than a handful of representatives and Senators, way more than the fringe Republicans, Greens, Libertarians, Communists and Nazis can ever manage.
Sigh. The more things “Change,” it seems, the more they remain the same.Filed under Appointees, Caucuses, Coalitions, Democrats, Hypocrisy, Outrage | Comment (0)
October 31st, 2008
Janis Joplin once sang someone else’s song very poignantly – “Freedom’s just another word for nothin’ left to lose…” – and that’s semi-true in my experience. We all make choices about what’s important in our lives, and usually become enslaved to that which we choose. At the low end of the scale there’s never enough, just paying the bills is a constant struggle. At the high end of the scale there is also never enough. The thirst for more and more and more rules lives and ruins them too.
As Wall Street melts down we’re suddenly informed we must Spend, Spend, Spend!!! They can never make up their minds. Either we’re not saving enough or we’re not spending enough, it’s always our fault. I call bullshit. Slave wages have not even kept up with the cost of living, they can’t have it both ways.
I read about a 50-something day care worker yesterday who a coworker noticed sitting in the corner crying. When asked what’s wrong, she finally said she couldn’t feel her face. The coworker was alarmed, saw one side of her face drooping as they were talking, speech slurring. She drove her friend to the hospital, but the woman just cried harder and wouldn’t get out of the car. Said yes, she must be having a stroke, but if she walked in the door she’d lose everything – house, car, meager income (job)… she was terrified. Her friend finally talked her into going, she is still in the hospital and her coworkers are trying very hard to raise the tens of thousands she’ll need to pay for the care. There is no insurance at that end of the scale.Barack Obama, Class War, Corruption, Depression, Economics, Eugenics, Foreign Policy, Gay Rights, Hate Speech, History, Hypocrisy, Market Crash, Osama bin Laden, Outrage, Politics of Hate, Propaganda, Religion, Sarah Palin, Universal Care, Voting Rights, War | Comment (0)
October 21st, 2008
My husband, grandson and I voted Monday evening at the library in our little town of about 750 people in western North Carolina. Grandson got to register and vote at the same time, turned 18 in May. He registered Independent – probably so he could be the ‘rebel’ in our household – but his heart’s in the right place.
One of the reasons we voted Monday instead of Tuesday (when the library’s One-Stop will be open until 9 instead of 5) is because of what happened to Obama supporters in Fayetteville on Sunday. Not only were McCain/Palin supporters stationed to shout epithets and harass the long voting lines after Obama’s speech, but about 30 of the attendees of that rally got their tires slashed. Very ugly.Campaigns, Hate Speech, Outrage, Politics of Hate, Racism, Voting Rights | Comment (0)
September 23rd, 2008
What happened today on Capitol Hill:
Secretary of the Treasury and ex-CEO of Goldman-Sachs Henry Paulson called Congressional leadership for a get-together. He tells them something – no doubt using charts and graphs – so horrifying, so absolutely terrifying that they all come out looking like Moses (er… Charlton Heston) after meeting the burning bush. Hair’s grown a foot and is stark white, their beards fall to their bellies, they’ve all got that far-away look in their red-rimmed eyes, and their hands are shaking. None dare breathe the edict: Set My People Free!
So. What was it, exactly, that Paulson told them? Gee, we dunno. Nor are we allowed to know. Just as if this were top secret intelligence pinpointing WMDs that don’t exist right in Saddam’s palace, we don’t get to find out. Even though it’s supposedly OUR trillion or three or four they MUST have right now to bail themselves out. With a laughable “emergency” plan that, Deputy Admin press secretary Tony Fratto said just today, was drawn up over the course of months.
Months. Not days or even weeks. They sure as shit knew it was coming, and simply waited for just the right moment of panic to spring it on us as if the end of the world is mere hours away. Ah, the lively tune reverberates in my mind…
“It’s the end of the world as we know it, and I feel fine!”Analysis, Appointees, Class War, Corruption, Economics, Federal Reserve, Humor, Market Crash, Outrage | Comment (0)