Sunday, February 25, 2007

Bush's Proposal Bad Medicine

Yesterday President Bush outlined his proposal for fixing America's health care system, and once again, it is just another tax cut for the wealthy. Sure, I could get a deduction of $7500 for the health insurance I have, but then, because my employer provides it for me, it is also part of my taxable income.
Bush's proposal does nothing to address the 47 million Americans who have no health coverage at all. Sure, 3 to 5 million people who are self-employed, or whose employer doesn't contribute to their purchase of insurance, may now be able to afford insurance (a big plus for the insurance companies), but that still leaves us with over forty million people who don't have any coverage at all.
As Harvard scholar Rashi Fein, says:
But the problem is that if each of us purchases insurance for ourselves, insurance will be more costly. One reason: Because administrative costs per person are higher when you enroll people as individuals rather than enrolling larger groups (think what it costs to enroll all municipal workers as one group and what it costs if they were enrolled one at a time). Another reason: Because insurers will want to be compensated for the increased risk that those who sign up are individuals who are likely to need medical care who are not balanced off by others of lower risk – the problem of “self selection” in the absence of the law of large numbers. Furthermore, insurers will make it difficult, if not impossible, for persons with pre-existing conditions to enroll. After all, insurers are there to maximize returns for their stockholders, not to solve the social problem of universal insurance and access to health care.

Let me add that the “new” system would not solve the fairness problem. Today, higher income people get a bigger tax benefit as a consequence of our not taxing the value of the employer payment for premiums. But under the new system, the deduction would be worth more the higher your tax bracket. If you think of the value of the deduction as a subsidy to help you buy health insurance, it’s a subsidy of $0.00 if your family income is so low that you owe no taxes, a maximum of $2,250 (you won’t get much health insurance for your family for $43 a week) if you’re in the 15% bracket, and $5,250 if you taxable income is over $336,550 which puts you in the 35% bracket. So the rich still get more help than others.

Nor would “spending your own money” lead to lower prices and costs. Think of the consequences as the utilization of preventive care services decrease and early diagnoses are replaced by postponement of physician visits and later diagnoses. The President wants to tear down the house, but he’s not substituting a more efficient, fairer, and more comprehensive house that all of us could enter.

So, in the end, it's another handout for the insurance companies, while insuring that the uninsured remain that way. And it does nothing to address the issue of those uninsurable because of a pre-exisitng condition. No wonder a recent poll indicates that forty-nine percent of Americans don't trust Bush on health care, while only nine percent trust him a great deal.

Friday, February 23, 2007

Tin Foil Hat Time

Why would "terror" suspect Jose Padilla indentify with his military captors? Is it because he was part of a series of sleeper cells of US soldiers recruited by groups with alleged ties to alQaeda? Is it a coincidence that Padilla and Timothy McVeigh were in Florida at the same time alQaeda was creating a finance network there?
Meanwhile, Oklahoma City accomplice Terry Nichols claims that McVeigh was directed by a high ranking FBI official in the plot to blow up a federal building, Larry Potts (who has denied the allegations). And if you wonder why the FBI is behind something like this, ask yourself why would the FBI allow the 1993 WTC bombing to go off?
Also, were the middle eastern men reported by Jayna Davis as being complicit in the OKC bombing Iraqis as she has suggested, or were they from another middle eastern nation linked to 9/11? More importantly, why does John Does #2 not look anything like Terry Nichols, but more like "dirty bombing" suspect Jose Padilla?

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

This Is News?

Elvis was the new Messiah
The apocalypse began yesterday
And we are all living in Hell.
Taunted by big busted bleached blonde bimbos
With a craving for sex on the next Geraldo
-Jim Stoddard, "Geraldo Stomp" 1988

Every morning when I arrive at work, I'm confronted by the old crone and old fag I work with, asking me for my opinion on the recent development in the Anna Nicole case, or the latest antics of britney Spears. Blissfully unaware, I ask what those may be, when one of them asks, "Don't you watch the news?"
What has happened to our news providers? Are these people so important that they need to be constantly covered by "serious" journalists? Haven't we all had enough of bleach blonde skanks? (I know I have) I informed my co-workers that I never watch the news, and they reply, "Then how do you know what's going on in the world?"
The local Fox affiliate has news at ten amd every Tuesday they run a segment entitled "Idol Notes", which is a recap of what you just watched for the last two hours on their station. No wonder we're in the state we're in, our attention spans are so shortened we have to be reminded every couple of hours what we just watched. Is it a conspiracy that every morning radio show plays highlights from American Idol?
Real news are stories such as the second US carrier arrrives off Iran. We should all be discussing how the idiots in charge are ready to plunge the US into WWIII,, not the latest developments in the Anna Nicole story, which effects two, maybe three people and the rest of us can just fuck off. How about the second largest food and beverage manufacturer laying off 8000 employees? It's okay though, because our idiot president says the economy's doing fine!
I get my news from the internet, because I can choose which stories I need to read, and which will have no bearing on my future. That's why I visit a lot of blogs, not only because I like to gain a different perspective, but because they may have found a story I hadn't.
The corporate media accomplishes two things, offering a non-stop distraction to the simple minded who can cluck their tongues at rich celebrities and say "It just goes to show you money doesn't buy everything". Right. If Britney Spears was just some homeless person with a shaved head do you think she'd garner any attention? Only if she was on the same street as you coming towards you, otherwise you'd look the other way as you passed her. But because she is a washed-up pop princess party girl displaying her pubeless pussy for the paparazzi, people feel they need to chime in and say "Think about her poor kids." Why don't you think about her poor children and stop giving her and her type the attention they crave and maybe they'll act right and her children won't have to grow up like this. But because you need to feel morally superior to a stranger, you cluck like a bunch of hens at feeding time. In the meantime, Bush is spending the country ino a debt we may never be able to pay, and you're not even smart enough to wonder who holds that debt.

Saturday, February 17, 2007

Isn't Iran A Sovereign Nation?

Continuing on the Bush administration policy of hypocrisy, the weapons used in an attack in Iran came from the US. Wasn't it last week that the Bush administration laid claims that weapons seized in Iraq came from Teheran? They then backed off the statement and said they were coming from Iran, but not the government. (You remember, these weapons)Meanwhile, US patrol ships are on alert in the Gulf, as the rhetoric escalates like US carrier groups there.
Then over in Afghanistan, al Qaida releases a video of it's attacks on US forces there. The "terrorist" organization is hiding out in Pakistan, which brings to mind Bush's oft-repeated statement:
"[w]e have made it clear to all nations that if you harbor terrorists, you are just as guilty as the terrorists, you are an enemy of the United States, and you will be held to account."

So shouldn't we threatening Pakistan? Well, according to Porter Goss:
when you go to the very difficult question of dealing with sanctuaries in sovereign states, you're dealing with a problem of our sense of international obligation, fair play."

In other words, we can't go into Pakistan because it's a sovereign state, even though it's harboring terrorists. But Iraq and Iran are sovereign nations, too, yet we didn't hesitate to invade them when they didn't harbor terrorists, and Iran even offered to help us with the Taleban in Afghanistan.
The "war on terror" began as we sought those responsible for the terrible attacks of 9/11. 9/11 was also used as a pretext for our invasion of Iraq, even though later, Bush admitted that there was no link.Now Bush isn't even bothering to link Iran to 9/11, instead relying on the resolution passed in 2002 granting him power to invade Iraq, which he acquired under false pretenses, (i.e., by lying). So while the politicians waste time arguing on whether to pass non-binding resolutions on Iraq, instead of investigating and impeaching those who manipulated intelligence to get their oppurtunity to wage an illegal war against a sovereign nation, the Bush cabal is planning to start another war, the third of his presidency. I guess George didn't have to clean his plate before he got dessert when he was a child.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Here Ya Go!

In yesterday's mailbox came a comment from Mark (thanks for getting me unstuck) where he called me "worse then (sic) O'Reily and Hannity". I don't know about that, after all Hannity and O'Reilly reach an audience of millions, and I only reach a couple of hundred people a week. Not only that, I do this for free, while O'Reilly and Hannity makes millions doing what they do, essentially acting as propagandists.
Now, when I do make a blunder (which has happened), I will be the first to admit my mistake. So when I posted the other day about a soldier who had to pay back his enlistment bonus, Mark challenged me on it, as the soldier had never seen combat. He also said:
Give me one example of a disabled combat soldier who was made to pay recuopment on his/her bonus and I will retract.

I give you Kevin Stonestreet, Purple Heart recipient, a combat veteran discharged with PTSD who was ordered to payback part of his signing bonus. Then I kept looking and found this story of another wounded vet who was injured in Iraq who was required to payback his signing bonus. He ended up living out of his car when the Army reported him to credit agencies as having bad debts.
So there you have it, not one but two examples. (Actually, there was over ten pages of stories, but I stopped when I realized My Name Is Earl and The Office were on). But I'm not asking for a retraction, instead could you please shovel your danged driveway?

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Better Off Dead?

If you're an enlisted person, fighting in the endless war on terror, if you happen to be engaged by the enemy, better hope they kill you, rather than just maim or disfigure you. Why?
Because if you're unable to finish your tour of duty, you will be expected to pay back your enlistment bonus. Never mind that your sacrificed part of your self so that military contractors will have enough Hummer juice to drive to their summer (or winter )homes, that's money that could be used to lure another sucker, er, I mean, soldier, off to protect the corpocracy in another part of the world.
Of course, when you come back with out an arm or leg, or suffering brain damage, you'll probably have to go through some sort of rehabilitation, do they charge you for that as well. then if you're lucky enough to find a job, well than you can start to pay back that bonus, while trying to retrofit your house with wheelchair ramps to make it easier for you to access, having given up part of your body so Big Oil can reap record profits. My suggestion? Collect money from all those people with the yellow ribbon magnets on their cars.

Monday, February 12, 2007

Damn The Damning Evidence

Here's the US's "evidence" that Iran is providing EFPs to the insurgency, offered up by three unindentified US officials (which is already a tell, if they had real evidence, they'd use their top guns to promote it). Already, I can see two problems with it that lead me to believe this is beingused as part of the case for an Iranian invasion by the US. And really, that believe the bulk of television watching morons to be too stupid to figure this out, but here goes.
1.)The lettering is in English. In Iran they read and write Farsi. Why would a country manufacturing weapons use a different language other than their own on them? We don't use Arabic on our weapons, because probably 99% of American read English, if they can read at all.
2.)The date of manufacture on this bomb, as indicated by the 3-2006, is absolutely wrong. Sure, for us it's 2007, however, for the Islamic calendar, it's 1428. So nnaturally, weapons manufacturers in Iran would use the infidels calendar as opposed to their own.
Of course, Iran denies any of this evidence, so the question becomes one of who do believe? The people of Iran, who are tring to prevent their country from being nuked by a crazed madman and his disassociatative frontman, or the people who were caught lying to us about our reasons to go to war with Iraq? What was the original idiom Bush mangled oh so many years ago? Fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice, I won't get fooled again.

Friday, February 09, 2007

Do You Really Care?

Who didn't see this train wreck coming? I'm talking of course about the death of Anna Nicole Smith, another in a long line of big busted bleached blonde bimbos meeting an untimely demise. And now we wil be inundated with an endless parade of casual acquaintences and hangers-on, all willing to tell their version of the Anna Nicole Smith story to the media, for a price. And already a line of would-be fathers are lining up to claim paternity to Anna's daughter, who stands to inherit her estate.
And of course the media wil exploit this, too, what better than a tawdry tale of sex and drugs to distract the people from the fact that the people we elected to end the war in Iraq have done nothing to end it, or that the people who lied us into that war are now lying us into a war with Iran. It's a win-win situation for the corpocracy and it's media outlets.
More importantly, this gives a chance for all the poor slobs to cluck their collective tongues and say "This just goes to show you money can't buy happiness". Then they talk about the tragedy of the poor baby who will grow up with out a mother, rather than view it as a blessing, considering how her other child died, and how unfit Ms. Smith was as a parent, no matter how loving.
Since the autopsy report won't be released for anothe five weeks, that means we'll be treated to tabloid television speculation about the mysterious circumstances behind her death. It was the lead story on CNN all day, and the major story in most media outlets as well. All for a person whose greatest accomplishment was taking off her clothes. But do you really care?

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Americans Wreck Everything

I was working on a catering last night, a leadership meeting for an international company, with over 800 guests. There were tables set up reflecting the food and spirits of each country represented, Germany, Hong Kong, Italy, France and Australia. The table I was supervising was the Paris table ( no, not that Paris) where we were serving beef bourquiqnnone, with baguettes and eclairs, along with some French wine. I was joking with the guests, trying out my best French accent when a real Frenchman came over to our station. I offered up some beef bourquiqnonne, to which he just laughed and sneered, then I offered him a bagguette, and he said no, so I pointed out the eclairs.
The eclairs we had were prepackaged machine made pastry puffs. he went over and grabbed one, (after a glass of wine, it was good wine) and came back over with the eclair.
"Thees ees not an eclair," he said, then indicated with his hands the size and shape of a real eclair.
"What can I say?" I offered back "We're Americans, we wreck everything," to which he laughed and nodded his head then wandered off to another part of the hall where the party was being hosted at.

That's right. Americans wreck everything, from remaking great foreign movies badly to destroying whole nations, if there's a way it can be fucked up, an American will find it. Look at how badly we screwed up this once mighty nation.
Take for instance this new packaging for bananas being test marketed by Chiquita. I've never had a problem with bananas going bad in my place, because once they start to turn, I find a use for them, like throwing them in some pancake batter to feed the kids as a way to make breakfast a little more healthy (sort of like when your mom put sauerkraut in your brownines as a way to get you to eat something healthy). But the Chiquita Fresh and Ready Bananas let you buy two packs of three, open one pack and keep the next pack fresh until next week. Another thought is you could just buy three for this week and then buy three more next week, or am I making too much sense?
Leave it to corporate America to find a way to take a perfectly packaged product and place it in plastic and polystyrene. Old bananas came in a natural biodegradeable package you could throw in a land fill or a compost heap and be ecologically sound. Now, some marketing genius has found a way to increase the nation's trash output even more in the name of convenience. I'm sure whoever he is, he's sleeping well, next to his trophy wife after downing a double dose of Lunestra, dreaming of the bonus he'll be getting when this idea catches on with millions of American housefrau.
To me, this proves without a doubt that there is no supreme being, for if he was, he'd be giving some fatal disease to all those at Chiquita who thought they could improve on his original design. I know that all these corporations have whole departments of people who pull in six figures and have the need to justify keeping themselves on while laying off and outsourcing the real work force, and so ideas like this are born.
In the meantime,an effort to find a cure for cancer goes waiting. No one's doing anything about alternate fuels, or global warming. But we found a way to package fruit that already came packaged naturally. No wonder the rest of the world hates us. We wreck everything.

Sunday, February 04, 2007

Forget Bush-Impeach Cheney

A new report by a coalition of unions, faith groups and think tanks in Great Britain has said that war with Iran would be 'disastrous'. Besides destabilizing Iraq, undermining hopes for Iraeli-Palestinian peace, and emboldening hard-liners in Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's government, an attack could also drive up fuel prices, harming economies around the world(although providing more record profits for oil companies like Exxon-Mobil). But it's not only this coalition that has said this, there's also three US ex-military leaders who have stated this as well. Of course, there were a lot of people who said the war in Iraq would be disastrous, and nobody in the present administration listened to them, either.
Remember when the insurgency was in it's last throes? That was almost two yeas ago, but now, apparently, it's being aided by Iran, or so we're told. Of course, there's no intelligence to back up that claim, or at least nothing has been manufactured yet (like the forged yellow cake uranium receipts at the center of the plamegate case). The whole Scooter Libby case is about attempting to cover up the fact that the Bush administration knew the documents it was using were in fact a lie.
Over in Iran, they opened up one of it's nuclear sites to ambasadors and reporters, to prove they are not hiding anything. I can think of another Middle eastern country that has nuclear weapons, who would never agree to that, even as they push the US to attack Iran. Their lobby is so powerful, that even candidates for the opposition party feel compelled to stand before them and advance the lobby's agenda, ahead of American interests.
But don't expect congress to do anything to stop an attack. They're still debating a non-binding resolution on Iraq, which is kind of like debating which Super Bowl commercials were the most effective in June.
In 2005, Dick Cheney said that people who dared to question the White House's use of prewar intelligence were "reprehensible and dishonest" as well as "corrupt and shameless". This from a guy who manipulated intelligence (dishonest) to start a war that made a ton of money for his former company (corrupt and shameless)then oued an intelligence agent whose husband dared to expose his lies (which is an act of treason in war time) is fairly reprehensible himself. Cheney is the one within the administration who is pushing for an attack on Iran, even going as far as having CENTCOM draw up plans for a nuclear strike against Iran in 2005. And if Cheney did direct Scooter Libby to out Valerie Plame, then there is a strong case for impeachment.