Salient Policy & Practice News –
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The U.S. wastes $1.56 Trillion/yr on inefficient health care spending compared with the OECD per capita average, which becomes an extra tax on everything American workers make. Let's adopt best efficient practices instead of cutting Medicare and Medicaid coverage as part of some "Grand Bargain"
US per capita health care spending in 2011 was $4400 more per person than in France (acclaimed as having the best healthcare) and is $5100 above the OECD average without better results.
selected 2007 with avg. doctor visits showing we're least cared for for the money
U.S. health care greed, fraud & inefficiency costs $4,727/person/yr too much and is trending higher—especially for the self-employed, making U.S. products expensive and offshoring jobs more profitable.
Lastly and importantly, health worker pay is NOT the problem.
[Sorry I didn't date this, which has been updated over time, my anger unrelenting. It was posted in early 2010. A similar editorial re. triple-play communication services is also much deserved, since many OECD countries pay half as much
One of the nation’s biggest coal companies will pay a record civil penalty and will spend tens of millions of dollars to clean up water flowing from mines in five states, the Environmental Protection Agency and the Justice Department announced on Wednesday.
The agreement is the fifth in recent years between the agencies and coal companies, following deals with Massey in 2008, Patriot Coal in 2009, and Arch Coal and Consol Energy in 2011. [Obviously the fines aren't BIG enough to stop polluting!]
Plants are able to make complex decisions. At least this is what scientists from the Helmholtz Center for Environmental Research (UFZ) and the University of Göttingen have concluded from their investigations on Barberry (Berberis vulgaris), which is able to abort its own seeds to prevent parasite infestation. The results are the first ecological evidence of complex behaviour in plants. They indicate that this species has a structural memory, is able to differentiate between inner and outer conditions as well as anticipate future risks, scientists write in the renowned journal American Naturalist —the premier peer-reviewed American journal for theoretical ecology.
Fewer crop species are feeding the world than 50 years ago - raising concerns about the resilience of the global food system, a study has shown. [Thanks again, Monsanto]
Some members of US Congress demanding closer scrutiny of pipes following serious spills in Arkansas and North Dakota
A school dropout from a poor family in southern India has revolutionised menstrual health for rural women in developing countries by inventing a simple machine they can use to make cheap sanitary pads.
An audacious plan to create a new energy source could save the planet from catastrophe. But time is running out.
[Funding for progressing US fusion research was recently cut by Congress
A.C. THOMPSON and JONATHAN JONES in ProPublica
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 (aka '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 Less Corrupt Health Care Systems
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.
International Healthcare Systems Primer
SOURCE: The American Medical Student Association | Ref.
Global Warming Links
SOURCE: Readers | Ref.
In recognition of the dangers inherent in the consolidation of mainstream corporate media The Baltimore Chronicle & Sentinel
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Energy independence will make for a more honest world politics and remove the advantages that authoritarian states often have over democracies. At the same time, swiftly adopting renewables will mitigate the worst effects of climate change; present policies are taking us toward a 10 degrees F. increase in global world average temperatures, which could destabilize our climate, producing megastorms and raging seas, not to mention desertifying now fertile breadbaskets.
According to a report in Kommersant-Ukraine
, the finance ministry of Washington’s stooges in Kiev who are pretending to be a government has prepared an economic austerity plan that will cut Ukrainian pensions from $160 to $80 so that Western bankers who lent money to Ukraine can be repaid at the expense of Ukraine’s poor. It is Greece all over again.
A day after Crimean lawmakers voted to break away from Ukraine, leaders of both houses of Russia’s Parliament said on Friday they would back the move.
Hypocrisy is the tribute vice pays to virtue. So when you see something like the current scramble by Republicans to declare their deep concern for America’s poor, it’s a good sign, indicating a positive change in social norms. Goodbye, sneering at the 47 percent; hello, fake compassion.
With extreme weather events likely to become more frequent as the climate changes, there is a need to plan what trees to grow where to make woodlands more resilient to the changes, the National Trust said.
Greenhouse emissions from Australian companies paying the carbon tax have fallen by 7% over the past year “in large part” due to the carbon price impost, the Investor Group on Climate Change has said.
Mushrooms are being hailed as a miracle cure for cancer. But can a shiitake stir-fry really work wonders?
As EU leaders meet to decide response to Russia's military occupation, Crimean government says it will hold referendum on joining Russia
Ian Traynor, Paul Lewis, Kim Willsher, Patrick Wintour and agencies in The Guardian
Resource scarcity, competition to dominate Eurasian energy corridors, are behind Russian militarism and US interference
The battle stems from a hotly contested report into the use of torture by the CIA in the interrogations it carried out after 9/11, whose conclusions are so explosive that it has yet to be declassified, despite exhortations from the White House that a summary should be published.
Retaking the House has long looked out of reach, but now there's a real possibility the party could lose the Senate, too.
The proposals differ significantly. Camp would eliminate scores of tax breaks while lowering tax rates for individuals and businesses. Obama proposes repealing fewer tax breaks and using the tax savings in part to pay for more aid to low-income workers. Obama's budget calls for increasing tax breaks for clean energy, benefits that Camp's plan would eliminate.
But the overlap may one day form the basis for the first tax revamp since 1986. Here is a list of tax changes in the president's budget that Camp also highlighted for reform.
The President Barack Obama administration accused Sprint today of overcharging the government more than $21 million in wiretapping expenses.
Lack of good parenting is the real problem here.
What Obama conveniently left out of his narrow narrative is the root cause of the problems facing not just young black men but the American black family today: 72% of all black babies are born out of wedlock [and] there is a direct correlation between kids born out of wedlock and higher rates of crime.
How many more victims have to speak out before US universities and the federal government take meaningful action?
Sexual assault is an epidemic across college campuses; you are more likely to be sexually assaulted if you attend university than if you do not. And too often, the subsequent betrayal from the university is even worse than the assault itself. As one survivor stated: "If I knew what I know now, I wouldn't have reported my case ... I would have rather taken this secret to my grave than to have told anyone at Berkeley." [Like rapes in US military...]
When Scott Walker was county executive, how he handled programs for Milwaukee’s poor will shock and amaze you
Ian Haney López tells Bill that dog whistle politics is “the dark magic” by which middle-class voters have been seduced to vote against their own economic interests.
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Former US secretary of state says Russian president’s argument that he is protecting his people was used by Nazis in 1930s
Across Germany, right-wing organizations are using anti-Islam rhetoric to further their ideas -- and finding a receptive audience. Now legal experts are debating whether it's time for a new kind of hate-crime legislation.
Tensions between Qatar and neighboring Persian Gulf monarchies broke out Wednesday when Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain withdrew their ambassadors from the country over its support of the Muslim Brotherhood and allied Islamists around the region. [Islamists hate each other...]
Violence against women is "an extensive human rights
abuse" across Europe with one in three women reporting some form of physical or sexual abuse since the age of 15 and 8% suffering abuse in the last 12 months, according to the largest survey of its kind on the issue, published on Wednesday.
It looks like a very real possibility that Ukraine will not survive in its present shape and form for much longer. And even though it would first of all be silly to blame that on Russia, even if Ukraine would split according to the wishes of its separate population segments, the pro west western part of the country should never get it into its head to as much as touch the pipelines. Because that would carry with it a serious risk of warfare. It’s time for the westworld to wake up from its hubris induced dreams of what once was. You don’t win a war with a Haircut In Search Of A Brain, not even a PR war. Those days are gone.
Russian President has reportedly ordered an end to army drills in western Russia
Leadership does not consist in flailing around like Reagan, creating private death squads in Afghanistan that morphed into al-Qaeda and the Taliban; nor does it consist in falling wolf-like on other nations that have not attacked us; nor does it consist in supporting allies when they contravene international law. All that is not leadership, it is pandering to the lowest common denominator and it is the height of recklessness.
Special Report: The Ukrainian crisis – partly fomented by U.S. neocons including holdovers at the State Department – has soured U.S-Russian relations and disrupted President Obama’s secretive cooperation with Russian President Putin to resolve crises in the Mideast
When Apple, Google, Microsoft and other tech giants united in outrage last summer over the National Security Agency's unfettered spying, telecommunications giants such as AT&T, Verizon and Sprint --whose customers are also the targets of secret government spying-- remained noticeably mum. But now the phone companies are speaking up.
Marcy Gordon and Martha Mendoza @ Associated Press via Bay Area News
Both "conservative" and "liberal" journalists are held to account for unprofessional work.
We live in an age when hedge fund managers and Wall Streeters complain of class warfare against them, and when, as Harvard professor Lawrence Lessig’s important research has shown, all but a small proportion of political campaign contributions are made by “the tiniest fraction of the one percent.” It’s been years since a high-profile politician has spoken like Warren and not only survived but flourished. Warren has aroused populist tendencies in parts of the liberal base and probably emboldened other senators and members of the House to speak more directly on class issues.
Thousands of ECB auditors have begun examining the balance sheets of euro-zone banks. Stress tests are coming soon. With the European Central Bank in charge of oversight, many hope the EU's financial industry will return to health. But there are risks.
Martin Hesse, Christoph Pauly and Anne Seith in Der Spiegel
In a nearly $13 billion settlement with the US Justice Department in November 2013, JPMorganChase admitted that it, along with every other large US bank, had engaged in mortgage fraud as a routine business practice, sowing the seeds of the mortgage meltdown. JPMorgan and other megabanks have now been caught in over a dozen major frauds, including LIBOR-rigging and bid-rigging; yet no prominent banker has gone to jail.
Russia and Ukraine would benefit from an alternative economic policy based on regional capital investment in economic development. Russia and Ukraine need to halt the capital flight of their oligarchs to offshore banking sites in places such as London and Riga, and instead mobilize their natural resources, real estate and monopoly rents for domestic investment. Such moves would be denounced by the epicenters of “tax dumping” (London and New York). Currently, the IMF/European Central Bank wants supersede post-Soviet governments as their new central planners whose results can only accelerate kleptocratic looting!
“People are really drawn to the Koch model.”
The quiet revolt signals a broader shift in the world of big money. Clubs of elite donors in both parties are taking a more central role in shaping policy and campaigns, displacing party leaders and the outside-spending organizations they helped create after the Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision in 2010. And the sheer scale of their spending is almost certain to rewrite the playbook for political campaigns this year, as candidates reckon with the strongly held views of some of the world’s wealthiest people. [“What A Country!” –Yakov Smirnoff
In other words, if the accusations were true, JPMorgan employees either duped lawyers into covering up wrongdoing, or, worse, the lawyers themselves helped obstruct the investigation.