Highlighting bad policy & practice
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The increasingly contentious issue of hospital charges drew renewed attention last week when the federal government released Medicare data showing that facilities nationwide submitted widely divergent bills
for the same treatments. And while the unassuming, six-story brick hospital here holds a notable place in those rankings, others stand out as well.
Barack Obama was given an opportunity to be the most powerful man in the world at a time of the most perilous global threat to human life in 200,000 years. He needs to lead on this issue. By taking a strong stance, by campaigning in the hustings, by serving as the Great Educator, he can bring the pain and the pressure to the Hill that will make them cooperative.
In publicly discussing her double mastectomy, the actor has challenged the celebrity industry to rethink its bizarre values – and she has done all women a huge service
Marijuana users had smaller waists and scored higher across several measures of blood sugar regulation.
CO2 is at a level not seen in millions of years—if this happened in science fiction, the planet would pay attention.
The promise of delinking research and development from the actual manufacture of drugs, and why the pharmaceutical industry rejects an idea that could turn neglected diseases into profit.
Since August, CBO has now revised down its projections of mandatory health care spending by nearly $500 billion.
In a report
that undercuts years of public health warnings, a prestigious group convened by the government says there is no good reason based on health outcomes for many Americans to drive their sodium consumption down to the very low levels recommended in national dietary guidelines.
We will watch the rise in greenhouse gases until it is too late to do anything about it
The high court's unanimous decision focuses specifically on seed production, but experts say it may also have implications on intellectual property law in medicine, biotechnology and software.
One of the most effective scare techniques employed to preserve our grotesquely inefficient, overpriced health care system has been to invoke the red peril of “socialized medicine”. In fact, business freedom here increasingly means the God-given right to exploit the vulnerability of the public.
The example slouching into view is more corporate control over the practice of medicine. And based on the previews, it will make the horrors falsely attributed to socialized medicine look pale.
Austerity is being wielded to initiate the unraveling of one of the great and humane achievements, indeed inventions, of modern Europe: the universal health care system. To understand why this is the case, let us take a brief look at how Europe came to have what it has today, before we return to the dangers of the present course. [Includes descriptions of how these high quality and most efficient health care systems developed
If global warming approaches 3°C by the end of the century, it is estimated that 21-52% of the species on Earth will be committed to extinction. Fortunately, scenarios are also possible in which such large warming is avoided by placing a rising price on carbon emissions that moves the world to a clean energy future fast enough to limit further global warming to several tenths of a degree Celsius. Such a scenario is needed if we are to preserve life as we know it.
British Psychological Society to launch attack on rival profession, casting doubt on biomedical model of mental illness
A new movement has erupted demanding divestment from fossil fuel polluters – and Big Green is in their sights
Looking at real bills for real patients cuts through the ideological debate over health care policy.
The USA ranks first in the world in health care spending, but only 45th in life expectancy....
Climate change inaction is a leading global cause of death.
If we had the per-person costs of any other OECD country, America’s deficits would vanish....
How Industry Money Reaches (bribes?) Physicians
To remove your appendix in one California hospital costs $180,000, at a different facility the bill is $1,500. [Who has time to 'shop'?
Why is Healthcare Absurdly Expensive in USA: Graphics (Part 2) (Part 1 is here)
Videos of Health Care Systems in Less Corrupt Countries
SOURCE: Public Broadcasting System & ABC News | Ref.
Health Care Reform Reality Check
SOURCE: The White House | Ref.
Health Care Reform: An Online Guide
SOURCE: Slate Mag. | Ref.
OECD Health Data [Updated 11.08.07]
SOURCE: OECD | Ref.
International Healthcare Systems Primer
SOURCE: The American Medical Student Association | Ref.
Global Warming Links
SOURCE: Readers | Ref.
“I’m not making a value statement, but it comes down to emission controls,” Mr. Routt said. “Other people [—especially the Koch brothers—] don’t seem to have a problem, which is why it is going to Mexico, which is why it is going to China.”
[Wherever it’s burned, the pollution will shorten all our lives.
- It is now three years since Europe-imposed cutbacks were first imposed on Spain
- With rampant unemployment, the country's suffering has never been more acute
The TBTF bill’s appeal is its simplicity. It does not require complex formulas.
Enforcement is simple and easily executed. There is no need for new regulatory apparatus that might one day become “captured” by its charges. Rather, it uses basic formulas to mandate adequate capital reserves. The legislation eliminates most opportunities for banker shenanigans, such as hiding liabilities off the balance sheet or in “side pockets.” It also treats all asset classes and liabilities equally – including derivatives.
Bill Moyers is joined by the heads of two independent watchdog groups keeping an eye on government as well as on powerful interests seeking to influence it. Sheila Krumholz
, executive director of the Center for Responsive Politics and OpenSecrets.org, and Danielle Brian
, who runs the Project on Government Oversight, talk to Bill about the importance of transparency to our democracy, and their efforts to scrutinize who’s giving money, who’s receiving it, and most importantly, what’s expected in return.
Money should be made to ''serve'' people, not to ''rule'' them, he said on Thursday, calling for a more ethical banking system and curbs on financial speculation. Countries should impose more control over their economies and not allow ''absolute autonomy'', in order to provide ''for the common good''.
The fight against plutocracy, concentrated wealth and corporatism is decentralized, creative and growing.
Kevin Zeese, Margaret Flowers in AlterNet
You can't hit 400 ppm CO2 and still think "all of the above" is a rationale energy strategy.
Then Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner must have received a copy of the 2011 Miller memo, because it was written on Department of Treasury stationary and Shulman and Miller reported to him. Therefore, to find out if the IRS has been running a massive enemies list for the White House, Congress must demand that Timothy Geithner testify under oath.
Celebrity statistician says data can help challenge common myths about the world, particularly on population and fertility
Billionaires with an axe to grind, now is your time. There is no limit to the amount of money you can give to elect your friends and allies to political office, to defeat those with whom you disagree, to shape or stunt or kill policy, and above all to influence the tone and content of political discussion in this country.
Congressional investigators are pointing fingers in the wrong direction if they want to save more U.S. lives.
President Obama’s decision on Wednesday
to dismiss the acting commissioner of the Internal Revenue Service was a largely symbolic demonstration of anger and authority. What is more important is Mr. Obama’s promise to clarify the extremely vague tax laws, which are the root cause of the problems in both the I.R.S. and the political system.
The Internal Revenue Service has been harshly criticized for singling out conservative organizations
when it investigated which groups were legitimately applying for 501(c)(4)
status, which makes them tax exempt, keeps donors confidential and allows some political activity.
But should the 501(c)(4) status even exist? Should nonprofits be allowed any political activity?
In a world where Kevin Garnett, Harold Ford, and Halle Berry all check "black" on the census, even the argument that racial labels refer to natural differences in physical traits doesn't hold up.
The great Libertarian hero, Rand Paul, wants to cut the program by $45 Billion a year until $322 billion in “savings” is achieved.
The NRA fights liberal efforts to scare people into supporting gun control by scaring everybody into gun-a-palooza.
Today's public acquiescence to militarism was exactly what the government wanted when it ended the draft.
The shooting of a two-year-old by her brother was one of many recent gun incidents to claim a young child's life.
Virginity has no bearing on a person's worth, yet 'purity balls' and shaming victims make our culture more medieval than modern
Where does a woman's value lie? In her brain? Her heart? Her spirit? According to right-wing culture warriors, "between her legs".
The anemic economy has left millions of younger working Americans struggling to get ahead. The added millstone of student loan debt, which recently exceeded $1 trillion in total, is making it even harder for many of them, delaying purchases of things like homes, cars and other big-ticket items and acting as a drag on growth, economists said. [One reader's comment: “Quelle surprise!”]
A few elite institutions at both the grade-school and college levels are doing better than ever. But their health conceals the collapse of private-sector options in the U.S.
Higher education should be closing the gap between the rich and the poor. But college economics are driving them further apart
For neoliberal school reformers from today’s Arne Duncan-led Department of Education to scandal-ridden movement leader Michelle Rhee to billionaire Bill Gates, it is taken on faith that market principles are desirable in education.
Letters to the Editor
In recognition of the dangers inherent in the consolidation of mainstream corporate media The Baltimore Chronicle & Sentinel
(formerly a newspaper) advances awareness of important suppressed news and opinion.
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Readers | Ongoing
The request from Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., came after European Union investigators this week raided the offices of global energy giants BP, Royal Dutch Shell and Statoil. The anti-trust probe is examining whether the companies manipulated oil prices by making false reports to Platts, an energy industry data service owned by McGraw Hill Financial.
Part of the reason the ratings agencies behaved so recklessly is that they were (and still are) paid by the banks whose products they rate.
Credit-rating agencies "effectively took huge bribes from banks to misinform people about risk," says Marcus Stanley, policy director of Americans for Financial Reform
. "This is a critical issue and [the SEC] has taken a complete pass on it" so far.
Fierce consumer advocate and needler of banks Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) called out Wall Street regulators for their habit of giving tepid punishments to misbehaving banks, and asked the agencies to justify their policy of settling with the wrongdoers out of court.
The IRS is under investigation for illegally targeting the Tea Party and other conservative groups. Steuerle offers answers to seven basic questions about the IRS Tea Party scandal.
Since Citizens United, the super rich are using nonprofits to shield their political spending. They need more oversight
In one part of the report, expected to be made public this week, TIGTA officials observed that the application screening effort of thousands of applications from groups seeking tax-exempt status showed "confusion about how to process the applications, and a lack of management oversight and guidance." [Just a guess: Was the IRS Reacting to a surge of 'Tea Party' applications using a template provided by a Koch brothers' group like ALEC?
Kevin Drawbaugh and Kim Dixon in Reuters
Senior Obama officials tell the US Senate: the 'war', in limitless form, will continue for 'at least' another decade - or two
[Why isn't this a beefed-up-InterPol task, supplemented with military only as needed?
Former finance minister and economist say Egypt is in dire predicament as foreign investment and tourism collapse
Hallelujah - sort of. Catholic leaders make timid noises to protest horrific policies that crush millions.
Other countries' retirement systems offer lessons for this nation.
Public faith in European unity has slumped as people become increasingly gloomy about economic conditions, according to Washington-based Pew Institute
Sachs, in separate letters
to the Financial Times the past two weeks, said some residents of the island nation sit on
hundreds of fund boards, limiting their ability to provide oversight. He also said the Cayman banking system has $1.4 trillion in liabilities and assets, citing data from the Bank for International Settlements
. The system is a “house of cards” for the global financial system, he said.
It's a big year for big, messy problems -- the Syrian crisis continues to confound the international community, the U.S. and coalition partners are gearing up to depart Afghanistan, and the so-called "Arab Spring" countries have faced major impediments in their attempts to transition to democracy.
Special Report: Marinaleda is run along the lines of a communist Utopia and boasts collectivised lands
The American academic and firebrand campaigner talks about Britain's deep trouble, fighting white supremacy, and where Obama is going wrong
Africa Progress Panel also calls on resource-rich countries to invest in jobs and development, not squander opportunities
And Many More Covert Wars Without Congressional Oversight ... Let Alone Public Knowledge
[Reminder: War Is Not the answer
Economics isn't like a science were you can run simultaneous experiments with control groups. But the last five years have been pretty darn close to a global stimulus experiment. Europe has been dabbling with its own 21st-century version of the gold standard while enforcing continent-wide austerity. Meanwhile, [the US has] mostly done the opposite -- with high (if not high enough) deficits and aggressive (if not aggressive enough) monetary policy. The results speak for themselves.
Meta debt—on derivatives—can bring down banks and governments, as we have seen. But it can’t be swapped in any obvious way into equity in order to reduce the risk. The only solution is to stop it, by setting rules that take it away. But that would require governments to govern, and that seems to be something they refuse to do – perhaps because they have been bought off, or perhaps because they cannot think clearly enough about their role in global capital markets.
In the case of the rating agencies, I’m sure the SEC would welcome the opportunity to apply more analysis and talk it out until everybody forgets what it is they were supposed to be doing. Meanwhile, the essential corruption of their business model continues unabated.
This was always their plan. To corrupt the political process to overcome the inconveniences that universal suffrage had incurred on the elites.
Bloomberg published an in-depth piece
highlighting the secretive public policy “coup d’etat” that allows corporations to use trade agreements to attack domestic health, environmental, and other public interest policies they feel undermine their ability to make a profit.
The use of this "investor-state" system, which was once considered a last resort for companies that had been wronged by countries with weak legal infrastructure, has exploded in recent years
as a first-resort way to circumvent strong domestic legal systems. In 2012, corporations used the system to launch a record-breaking 62 new cases against sovereign governments.
JPMorgan Chase and other big banks are accused of running a frightening scam collecting on credit card debt.
Corporations have decided to let middle-class workers pay for national investments that have largely benefited businesses over the years.
What is the reason for Watt now? It’s almost certain that the real reason is for him to settle the 17 FHFA lawsuits that could cost banks as much as $200 billion quietly and on the cheap.
More and more companies are stashing their cash offshore
, and they’re doing it at alarming rates. Why? Put simply, it’s about eluding the tax man
. [It's a giggley game with horrible consequences: The more corporations and millionaires elude taxes, the more public services will be cut or taxes of the non-rich will be raised and/or government debts will be increased.
The admission that the IRS improperly investigated conservative political groups only means more trouble for the roll-out of the health care law.
Becoming a worker-owned cooperative is the latest chapter in the saga of the workers of Republic Windows and Doors, who gained the nation’s attention by occupying their factory—twice—and became a symbol of resistance in the face of corporate corruption and the economic crisis.
The recent IRS flap shows an obvious double standard in Washington's reactions to Bush era and Obama era misconduct.
Kessler’s passage seems insane, but this is the way your pundit corps has worked for the past twenty years. Once a public figure like Susan Rice is demonized, she’ll be a demon forever. No matter what later evidence shows, she will always
be judged to be wrong.
Business is cheering Obama’s nominee. That’s bad news if you like your media diverse and your Internet free.
[Like Bill Clinton, Obama has become a plutocrat—Obamacare is the ultimate proof. Republicans are worse.
5 corrupting influences are keeping the public from the facts
Both "conservative" and "liberal" journalists are held to account for unprofessionalism.