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07.11 7,000+ Colleges and Universities Declare Climate Emergency and Unveil Three-Point Plan to Combat It [Fox News and Betsy DeVos never talk about this stuff so it must be Bull Shit, right?]

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07.16 US aid cuts to UN agency will hurt vulnerable women and children, critics say

07.16 Trump abortion restrictions in effect for taxpayer-funded clinics

07.15 The response to DRC’s Ebola crisis isn’t working. Here’s what we need to do

07.15 Extinction Rebellion protests block traffic in five UK cities [Non-corporate human animals make their annoying bleating sounds...]

07.14 A Glacier the Size of Florida Is Becoming Unstable. It Has Dire Implications for Global Sea Levels [The willfully ignorant needn't read more, Trump]

07.13 'Climate Despair' Is Making People Give Up on Life [Willfully ignorant governments—having fired many of their best scientists—have made themselves too stupid to despair]

07.13 Trump administration to approve pesticide that may harm bees [The worst government money can buy!]

07.12 These solar panels don’t just generate power—they produce drinking water

07.12 David Attenborough: polluting planet may become as reviled as slavery [1:34 video]

07.10 Plastic Has A Big Carbon Footprint — But That Isn't The Whole Story [Fixing our world begins by educating your consciousness with the best truth from trustworthy news sources—so you'll then insist truly bad things will get fixed. But if instead you are educated by untrustworthy news sources—then your consciousness could be warped to where you are hating and fighting with your best friends. Clue: untrustworthy news sources never seriously report news about the world's most critical emergency—Global warming.]

07.10 Molly Scott Cato: ‘It’s the wealthy who are causing climate change’

07.09 Judge reinstates Madrid's low emissions zone [Yeh!]

07.07 How Solar Panels Work (And Why They're Taking Over the World) [Hope they leave space between panels for wild flowers to grow so birds and butterflies can flourish!]

07.05 Tree planting 'has mind-blowing potential' to tackle climate crisis

07.04 On reflection: how the 'albedo effect' is melting the Antarctic

07.04 US produces far more waste and recycles far less of it than other developed countries [As expected—and made worse by Trump—the U.S. is best at being the worst]07.03 Booming LNG industry could be as bad for climate as coal, experts warn

07.03 Deep-sea mining to turn oceans into ‘new industrial frontier’

07.03 Caravan of Americans battling diabetes heads to Canada for affordable insulin [3:36 video; Like Central Americans flee for their lives from criminal drug gangs, Americans flee for their lives for affordable pharmaceutical drugs]

07.02 American Medical Association sues North Dakota over abortion laws

07.02 'Committed' CO2 emissions jeopardize international climate goals, study finds

07.01 New Solar + Battery Price Crushes Fossil Fuels, Buries Nuclear

07.01 Freak summer hailstorm buries cars in Mexico's Guadalajara [0:50 video]

07.01 Climate Change is Devastating India With Heat Waves and Water Shortages [13:48 video]

06.30 American farmers can't afford this administration's climate apathy

06.30 The US military is a bigger polluter than more than 140 countries combined [Could a world-wide moratorium of military activity dramatically slow the climate crises?]

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07.16 Describing 'Future We Want to Live In' Scores of Groups Unveil New Blueprint for Reproductive Rights

07.16 'Do not take the bait': congresswomen denounce racist Trump attack [3:50 video]

07.16 Money Laundering Scandal Forces Puerto Rico’s Governor to Cut His Vacation Short — Just in Time for Another Scandal

07.16 Turnstile teaching [The problem is NOT the color of students skin, as our fake President reflexively thinks. The problem is the lax attitude and deficient funding by government to always do a much better job for a better future.]

07.15 Finding the Future in Radical Rural America

07.15 Sanders Accuses Biden of Parroting Pharma and Insurance Industry Script With Attacks on Medicare for All [Like Trump, Biden explains why he's unelectable every day.]

07.15 If there is an 'immigrant' who has failed to integrate in America, it's Donald Trump

07.15 Trump tells Ocasio-Cortez and other female progressives to 'go back' to 'original' countries

07.15 Trump Takes Pelosi's Side Against AOC and The Squad as Intraparty Fight Over Immigration Continues [Its about much more than immigration, its about the Corporate Dominance—by many of the same companies, even—over both major Political Parties. With too few exceptions, neither party has represented The Public since Nixon generously raised the minimum wage (Part D Medicare and ACA both became Frankenstein legislation due to excessive corporate price-fixing influence), and that has to change!]

07.14 Trump: People like Paul Ryan almost killed the Republican Party [Then it's too bad he didn't stay to finish the job!]

07.13 Trump's POS Labor Secretary, Acosta, Out. POS Number 2, Linked to Abramoff, to Fill Role [A willingness to perform criminal behavior seems the only competency required...]

Justice Matters

07.15 Australia 'deeply concerned' about China's treatment of Uighur people [What are the reasons, exactly, that justify harsh imprisonment of a million people?]

07.15 Zuma tells South Africa corruption inquiry he is victim of foreign plot [Unaccountable corrupt governments are so in fashion these days...]

07.14 Warren vows to probe U.S. crimes on immigrants if elected [Can you imagine living in a nation with a working Justice System? How far we've fallen!]

High Crimes
Economics & Corrupt Capitalism

07.15 China’s Economic Growth Hits 27-Year Low as Trade War Stings

International & Futurism

07.16 Trump’s race fantasy is clear: the US as home for whites fleeing Europe [1:09 video]

07.15 India’s Terrifying Water Crisis

07.15 Australia now has the highest minimum wage in the world [From 1960 to 2018 – the U.S. has fallen from 1st place to below the tenth place and off the chart]

07.14 Kasich: The chilling effect of British ambassador's leaked memos

07.14 'Just a matter of when': the $20bn plan to power Singapore with Australian solar

07.14 At least 24 Yellow Vests lost eyes in violent protests. Now they're more determined than ever [Protests of all kinds will continue until systemic inequality loses political dominance]

07.13 New Zealand Begins Gun Buyback Prompted by Mosque Attacks

07.13 After a Police Shooting, Ethiopian Israelis Seek a ‘Black Lives Matter’ Reckoning [Since so-called modern humans evolved there have been 10,000 generations of people. It is extremely far-fetched to think anyone is racially pure. SO ALL THIS HATE IS INCREDIBLY STUPID.]

07.13 After a Police Shooting, Ethiopian Israelis Seek a ‘Black Lives Matter’ Reckoning

07.13 Brazil’s President May Appoint Son, Friend to the Trumps, as Ambassador to U.S. [Friend of the Trumps, so we know they're all brain-dead except about near-term profits. They are clear-cutting the Amazon Rain Forest to feed-then-butcher millions of methane farting cows, over and over. Yep, that's there business plan. So therefore the rest of the world will hopefully plant billions of trees elsewhere to sequester CO2 to offset what the Bolsonaro family and investors are destroying. What's wrong with this picture?]

07.13 Trump’s Cruelty and Mexico’s Duty [Our president is immoral to his core and reacts to things like a child, not understanding that his actions are often crueler than they should be. And that cruelty will never completely be excused or forgotten—the people's hatred of Trump is growing, like the Texan's hatred when President General Santa Anna laid seige to the Alamo, which was Mexico's territory at the time...]

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  Democrats Ponder Health-Care Suicide
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CORPORATE CARE?

Democrats Ponder Health-Care Suicide

by Robert Parry
Originally published in ConsortiumNews.com earlier today, 4 September 2009

If Democrats enact something like the health-care bill emerging from the Senate Finance Committee, they may call it a legislative victory and it may keep the campaign donations flowing from the insurance industry, but the Democrats would surely infuriate millions of American voters.

Indeed, it seems like some Democrats, such as Sens. Max Baucus and Kent Conrad, have lost themselves so much in the inside-Washington reeds of legislating a convoluted compromise acceptable to the insurers, that they are inviting an angry backlash from average Americans.

The danger for Democrats is that this industry-friendly legislation would impose new burdens on citizens, including government fines for failing to sign up for a health-insurance plan, without guarantees that the coverage won’t be almost as crappy and expensive as it is now. The bill rejects a public option that would put competitive pressure on private insurers.

Plus, key elements of the bill, like the so-called shopping “exchanges,” aren’t to take effect until 2013, meaning that Americans will have watched this messy process unfold for months and then be told that the current system, which has cruelly pushed millions of sick people into bankruptcy, will get four more years to bankrupt more Americans.

By contrast, Medicare, the single-payer health system for senior citizens, was signed into law on July 30, 1965, and took effect on July 1, 1966, less than a year later.

The Senate Finance Committee bill also is so complicated that few citizens can possibly understand it or how it might affect them. Instead of straightening out the health-insurance maze, the bill makes it trickier to navigate. [To see for yourself, click here.]

While dumping the relatively straightforward public option, which President Barack Obama favors and which is in the four other committee-approved health-care bills in Congress, the Finance Committee bill offers “non-profit, member-run” co-ops for individuals and “small group markets.”

The co-op notion is a populist-sounding alternative favored by the insurance industry because a co-op’s organizational difficulties and relatively small size would make it easy to compete against, much as small food co-ops can be overwhelmed by the pricing advantages that favor large grocery store chains.

The other glaring problem for co-ops is that most Americans, especially small-business people, are extremely busy already. They don’t want to take part in running an insurance company; they simply want to get health insurance at a reasonable price.

Nor do most Americans want to puzzle their way through Baucus’s hodge-podge of private insurers, government subsidies, emergency waivers, penalties for non-compliance, etc., etc. If Americans lose a job or fall on hard times, they don’t want to go hat in hand to some government bureaucrat and have to lay out their financial problems to get some special favor.

What Americans Want

What Americans want is affordable health coverage provided in as simple a package as possible.

That was the finding of a New York Times/CBS News poll which discovered widespread confusion about the health proposals taking shape in Congress, but more than 2-1 support for a public option to compete with private insurers -- 65 percent for a public option, 26 percent against and 9 percent no opinion. [NYT, Sept. 25, 2009]

After all, one of the attractions of the public option is its relative simplicity and cost-effectiveness. It could piggyback on the existing Medicare bureaucracy and thus get started quickly and cheaply. According to congressional budget analysts, it is the only plan that offers significant cost savings.

Cost savings would not only help reduce the federal deficit but they would mean that more Americans would get the health care they need without going broke. In other words, it would save lives, reduce housing foreclosures, and protect families now being ripped apart by brutal financial pressures.

Yet, despite this common sense – and broad voter support for the public option – the Senate Finance Committee rejected the idea. Chairman Baucus conceded that the concept was appealing, but he joined other conservative Democrats in voting no, claiming a public option couldn’t clear the 60-vote hurdle to stop a Republican filibuster.

So, instead of trying to rally the votes – or using the “reconciliation process” that allows a simple majority to enact legislation having budget implications – Baucus kept on cobbling together a nearly incomprehensible construct of tax credits, income formulas, fees and other mumbo-jumbo.

This modified Baucus bill is in line to win final committee approval this week. According to Washington’s “conventional wisdom,” it will then become the vehicle for action by the full Senate, where Democratic leaders have been ambivalent about a public option.

Some observers feel the best chance for the public option to survive may be with a trigger mechanism that would permit it in some parts of the country sometime in the future if private industry doesn’t offer enough competition.

The trigger idea has been floated by Sen. Olympia Snowe of Maine, the only Republican on the Finance Committee who has indicated even a faint desire to vote for comprehensive health-care reform. However, the trigger would push even this limited public option to some point after 2013, when the insurance “exchanges” are finally scheduled to open.

Yet, if a trigger proposal is needed to win over some votes and beat a filibuster, another approach could be a “reverse trigger,” one that would put the public option in place immediately but set up a trigger that would stop the public option from signing up new clients if private insurers cut rates by 25 percent and scored a 90 percent approval rating from customers.

Even then, the "reverse-trigger" public option would stay in place, serving the Americans who had already signed up and ready to resume taking clients if private insurers slide back into their old ways of excessive executive compensation, bloated bureaucracies and huge profits.

By moving up the timetable of reform to “as soon as possible” and putting immediate pressure on the insurance industry for real savings – in other words, letting voters see real benefits in 2010, not making them wait until 2013 – the Democrats could show they're on the side of the people and rack up electoral gains in 2010 and 2012.

However, if the Democrats insist on trading the common good for the favors of special interests, all the industry campaign donations in the world may not be enough to save them.


Robert Parry broke many of the Iran-Contra stories in the 1980s for the Associated Press and Newsweek. His latest book, Neck Deep: The Disastrous Presidency of George W. Bush, was written with two of his sons, Sam and Nat, and can be ordered at neckdeepbook.com. His two previous books, Secrecy & Privilege: The Rise of the Bush Dynasty from Watergate to Iraq and Lost History: Contras, Cocaine, the Press & 'Project Truth' are also available there. Or go to Amazon.com.

This article is republished in the Baltimore Chronicle with permission of the author.



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This story was published on October 4, 2009.

 

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