Articles

The Obamacare Death Spiral

August 25, 2016

Obamacare is in big trouble. Major insurers—Aetna, Humana, and United Health (the nation’s largest)—are pulling out of most exchanges. Remaining companies are seeking double-digit premium increases (at least 25% in 20 different states, some over 60%), while increasingly offering only “narrow network” plans that severely restrict available doctors and hospitals. With these developments, the scam of Obamacare, and its inevitable failure, are becoming too obvious for even the mainstream media to ignore. The scam of Obamacare was that its main purpose was to ensure, or at least “move toward” healthcare coverage for everyone. Its real primary purpose, however, was to protect and extend the healthcare “market”—the for-profit private health insurance industry and its co-dependent for-profit health delivery system. Obamacare was not designed to, and does not, provide healthcare to anyone. The subsidies it pays go to health insurance companies; not to doctors or patients. It does not, and cannot, ensure universal healthcare coverage. It can only enhance “access” to healthcare—which means actually forcing everyone to purchase whatever profitable insurance plans the private companies decide to provide, at whatever price they decide to charge. Read

Andrea Germanos – Scale of Threat Seismic Blasting Poses to Whales, Dolphins Laid Bare

August 25, 2016

Though the Obama administration in March put a halt on drilling for oil and gas in Atlantic, the dolphins and whales inhabiting the waters are still at risk, says one ocean conservation group, as proposed seismic airgun blasting to look for reserves of the fossil fuels would leave the marine mammals “profoundly impacted.” The scale of the threat they face was laid bare on Wednesday with a pair of new maps released by by Oceana. Based on extensive research from Duke University’s Marine Geospatial Ecology Lab, the maps—one for bottlenose dolphins and the other for endangered humpback, fin, and sperm whales—show the overlapping areas of the proposed blasting in the area stretching from Delaware to Florida and the density of the whales and dolphins in those waters over a 12-month period. “These animated maps clearly show that marine life, including dolphins and whales, would be profoundly impacted by the proposed seismic blasting,” stated Dr. Ingrid Biedron, marine scientist at Oceana. Read

James K. Galbraith – From the destruction of Greece to democracy in Europe

August 25, 2016

IN PROTESTING the Treaty of Versailles ending World War I, John Maynard Keynes wrote: “The policy . . . of depriving the lives of millions of human beings, of depriving a whole nation of happiness should be abhorrent and detestable — abhorrent and detestable, even if it were possible, even if it enriched ourselves, even if it did not sow the decay of the whole civilized life of Europe.” Last year’s third bailout of Greece, imposed by Europe and the International Monetrary Fund, does to Greece what Versailles did to Germany: It strips assets to satisfy debts. Germany lost its merchant marine, its rolling stock, its colonies, and its coal; Greece has lost its seaports, its airports — the profitable ones — and is set to sell off its beaches, the public asset that is a uniquely Greek glory. Private businesses are being forced into bankruptcy to make way for European chains; private citizens are being forced into foreclosure on their homes. It’s a land grab. Read

The Gary Null Show – 08.25.16

August 25, 2016

Today on The Gary Null Show, Gary offers the audience a very special deal with Roy Speiser on "Survival Stuff" and some Gary's Water Filters. In The first half of the program Gary goes into a deep look into the latest in Health and The Environment. Gary covers how magnesium can help lower blood pressure and how fish oils and vitamin b12 can reduce your plasma homocysteine level. In the later half of the program Gary sharing insights and commentaries he wrote with Dr Jack Rasmus.

Deirdre Fulton – In Major Ruling, Grad Students Win Right to Unionize at Private Universities

August 25, 2016

The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) said Tuesday that graduate students who work as teaching and research assistants at private colleges are employees—a ruling with “big implications” for both higher education and organized labor in the United States. Inside Higher Ed explains: The NLRB said that a previous ruling by the board—that these workers were not entitled to collective bargaining because they are students—was flawed. The NLRB ruling, 3 to 1, came in a case involving a bid by the United Auto Workers to organize graduate students at Columbia University. The decision reverses a 2004 decision—which has been the governing one until today—about a similar union drive at Brown University. Paul R. Katz, one of the Columbia graduate students involved in the organizing efforts, told the New York Times: “We are elated that the NLRB has overturned Brown and restored our collective bargaining rights.” This is a huge milestone for graduate workers across the country! pic.twitter.com/RLVpuCNcLY — GWC-UAW (@GWCUAW) August 23, 2016 Read

KENNETH J. SALTMAN – Wall Street’s Latest Public Sector Rip-Off: Five Myths About Pay for Success

August 25, 2016

Investment banks such as Goldman Sachs, Bank of America, and J.P. Morgan, philanthropies such as the Rockefeller Foundation, politicians such as Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Massachusetts former governor and now Bain Capital Managing Director Deval Patrick, and elite universities such as Harvard have been aggressively promoting Pay for Success (also known as Social Impact Bonds) as a solution to intractable financial and political problems facing public education and other public services. In these schemes investment banks pay for public services to be contracted out to private providers and stand to earn much more money than the cost of the service. For example, Goldman Sachs put up $16.6 million to fund an early childhood education program in Chicago yet it is getting more than $30 million (Sanchez, 2016) from the city. While Pay for Success is only at its early stages in the United States, the Rockefeller Foundation and Merrill Lynch estimate that by 2020, market size for impact investing will reach between $400 billion to $1 trillion (Quinton, 2015). The Every Student Succeeds Act of 2016, the latest iteration of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965, directs federal dollars to incentivize these for profit educational endeavors significantly

Elizabeth Schulte – She’ll keep America not so great for workers

August 25, 2016

HILLARY CLINTON is having a lot of fun taking shots at Donald Trump’s economic plan to make America “great” again. She calls it an extreme version of the Republicans’ failed theory of trickle-down economics [1]. The Trump plan would, of course, be a disaster for working people–and another windfall for the rich, with its proposals for eliminating the estate tax and opening up new tax loopholes for the wealthy. But Clinton’s own economic plan isn’t very new, much less positive for working people. It reads a lot like the policies of the Bill Clinton administration–and while Hillary denounces the failed Republican policies recycled by Trump, the truth is Clintonomics repurposed many of the GOP proposals that came before it. Read

Geroge Lakoff – Understanding Trump’s Use of Language

August 25, 2016

Responsible reporters in the media normally transcribe political speeches so that they can accurately report them.  But Donald Trump’s discourse style has stumped a number of reporters. Dan Libit, CNBC’s excellent analyst is one of them. Libit writes: His unscripted speaking style, with its spasmodic, self-interrupting sentence structure, has increasingly come to overwhelm the human brains and tape recorders attempting to quote him. Trump is, simply put, a transcriptionist’s worst nightmare: severely unintelligible, and yet, incredibly important to understand. Given how dramatically recent polls have turned on his controversial public utterances, it is not hyperbolic to say that the very fate of the nation, indeed human civilization, appears destined to come down to one man’s application of the English language — and the public’s comprehension of it. It has turned the rote job of transcribing into a high-stakes calling. […] Trump’s crimes against clarity are multifarious: He often speaks in long, run-on sentences, with frequent asides. He pauses after subordinate clauses. He frequently quotes people saying things that aren’t actual quotes. And he repeats words and phrases, sometimes with slight variations, in the same sentence. Read

Sarah Lazare – War Not Over: U.S. Occupation Is Still Poisoning Iraq’s Children

August 25, 2016

After years and countless lives lost, the U.S. government is refusing [3] to fully acknowledge the health crisis its burn pits in Iraq have unleashed upon the U.S. service members exposed to airborne contaminants, even after the VA was ordered [4] by Congress last year to establish a registry for those who have suffered ill health as a result. But when it comes to the long-term hazards of burn pits, bombings, bullets and chemical weapons upon the people of Iraq, whose exposure is exponentially greater and continues to the present day, such recognition is virtually non-existent. In fact, if it were not for the crusading work of environmental toxicologist Mozhgan Savabieasfahani, key information about the environmental legacy of the U.S. occupation of Iraq would be completely lost to U.S. scholarship. Earlier this month, Savabiesfahani released a troubling new study, which unearths further evidence that air pollution directly tied to war is poisoning the most vulnerable members of Iraqi society: children. Read

Dahr Jamail – In Arctic, Ancient Diseases Reanimate and Highways Melt as Temperatures Hit “Frenzy” of Records

August 25, 2016

By the time I’d reached the end of my 10 years of reportage on the impacts of the US occupation of Iraq in 2013, it was impossible for me to find an Iraqi who did not have a family member, relative or friend who had been killed either by US troops, an act of non-state sponsored terrorism or random violence spun off one of the aforementioned. Now, having spent the entire summer in Alaska, I’ve yet to have a conversation with national park rangers, glaciologists or simply avid outdoors-people that has not included a story of disbelief, amazement and often shock over the impacts of anthropogenic climate disruption (ACD) across their beloved state. Read
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