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Health Care & Environment

11.16 Scotland was first Industrialized Country to Run wholly on Wind in October

11.16 How pesticide bans can prevent tens of thousands of suicides a year [how many thousands more die early from eating pesticide-laced food?]

11.15  The long read:  The plastic backlash: what's behind our sudden rage – and will it make a difference? [the world wants to throw-up...]

11.15 Claws out: crab fishermen sue 30 oil firms over climate change [workers are waking-up...]

11.15 Trump administration to cut air pollution from heavy-duty trucks

11.14 Backed by Ocasio-Cortez, Youth Climate Activists Arrested in Pelosi's Office Demanding Democrats Embrace 'Green New Deal'

11.13 What would a smog-free city look like?

11.13 Global report highlights Australia’s renewables potential amid mixed signals for coal

11.13 Interior department whistleblower: Ryan Zinke hollowed out the agency

11.12  This Land is Your Land:  The Zinke effect: how the US interior department became a tool of industry [behaving ignorantly again...]

11.12 Planned Parenthood's new president warns of 'state of emergency' for women's health

11.11 Trump responds to worst fires in California’s history by threatening to withhold federal aid [behaving ignorantly again...]

11.11 Interior department sued for ‘secretive process’ in at-risk species assessment [behaving ignorantly again...]

11.11 Keystone XL pipeline: judge rules government 'jumped the gun' and orders halt [behaving ignorantly again...]

News Media Matters

Daily: FAIR Blog
The Daily Howler

US Politics, Policy & 'Culture'

11.17 As Energy for Medicare for All Explodes, Steny Hoyer's Plan Includes Waiting for Trump to Help Make Obamacare Better [Another who is unfit to be Democrat leader]

11.17 'A Staggeringly Bad Idea': Outrage as Pelosi Pushes Tax Rule That Would 'Kneecap the Progressive Agenda' [Unfit to be Democrat leader]

11.17 Trump Is Starting to Panic

11.16 As 'Green New Deal' Demand Grows, Democrats Have Choice: Confront and Defeat Fossil Fuel Industry or Take Credit for 'Doomed' Planet [Two choices: Save life-on-Earth or help Republicans let it die?]

11.16 Trump’s latest interview shows a president who’s in way over his head

11.16 Why the political fight in Georgia is far from over

11.16 Florida judge sides with Democrats, giving thousands a second chance to fix their ballots

11.15 Democrats Won Big. Can They Go Bold, Too? [it's about suppressing the influence and leadership by Republican-like Democrats who counsel 'íncremental' (no) change, such as Nancy Pelosi, Steny Hoyer, Hillary Clinton, Chuck Shumer and Joe Biden]

11.15 Pentagon Officials Forced to Make Fewer Public Appearances to Avoid Provoking Trump [...by revealing Trump's huuuge ignorance]

11.15 REPUBLICANS USED A BILL ABOUT WOLVES TO AVOID A VOTE ON YEMEN WAR [if there are 'defense industry' profits to be made—including congress-critter insider-trading—and political 'donations' to be had, we mustn't stop killing innocent civilians!]

11.15 Big Oil v the planet is the fight of our lives. Democrats must choose a side

Justice Matters
High Crimes?

11.14 The Guardian view on Yemen’s misery: the west is complicit [WAR CRIMES]

Economics, Crony Capitalism

11.16 Amazon’s HQ2 Will Get a Tax Break Designed to Help the Poor [a Republican program that directly helps participating wealthy companies—but only helps workers if and when 'trickle-down' occurs.]

11.16 Trump doesn’t want to punish Saudi Arabia over Khashoggi. His new sanctions prove it. [George W. Bush made a similar immoral decision for the same oily reasons after 9-11, protecting Saudi defense contracts while facilitating the slaughter of poorer Arab "terrorists" in the region.]

11.15 The Earth is in a death spiral. It will take radical action to save us [fossil fuel burning, un-recyclable plastic production/use and methane gas release must cease ASAP.]

International & Futurism

11.17 Saudi crown prince's 'fit' delays UN resolution on war in Yemen

11.17 Thousands gather to block London bridges in climate rebellion [We're losing WWIII because the enemy is invisible while we're like frogs slowly cooking. We aren't informed enough to be alarmed, but must get organized and motivated to fight back. We need a War Plan to ruthlessly pursue the fight of our lives!]

11.17 Policies of China, Russia and Canada threaten 5C climate change, study finds [Climate catastrophe is increasingly likely without worldwide organization, funding and commitment to winning THE WAR AGAINST GLOBAL WARMING.]

11.17 CIA finds Saudi crown prince ordered Jamal Khashoggi killing – report

11.15 Cuba to pull doctors out of Brazil after President-elect Bolsonaro comments [terms must be negotiated for fairness to Cuba's health professionals without disruption of healthcare for Brazil's poor]

11.14 'Appalling' Khashoggi audio shocked Saudi intelligence – Erdogan [Exposing a psychopath?]

11.14 Israel and Hamas launch hundreds of attacks in Gaza clash

11.14 Mueller seeking more details on Nigel Farage, key Russia inquiry target says

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  High Noon in Baltimore at CareFirst Blue Cross-Blue Shield
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PERSONAL EXPERIENCE:

High Noon in Baltimore at CareFirst Blue Cross-Blue Shield

by Charles Loubert

We protested for a Medicare for all system with no pay for treatment. We learned that going to jail gets you exactly what we've been fighting for!

How does an old man get arrested?

Here’s the story. I joined 30-some folks in front of a highrise building housing offices of Carefirst in Baltimore's Canton community. Our collective brightened up a damp, drab October 29th at lunch hour. Marching and chanting slogans like “Patients, not profits!," "Singlepayer now!," "Everybody in, nobody out!," we weren’t welcome. Front doors of this public building were locked so we couldn’t enter.

Later, a group of four walked to the back entrance to confront a Carefirst spokesperson while others continued marching in front.

Heading the small delegation of four was Kevin Zeese, executive director of Prosperity Agenda, US. He organized our little adventure locally for the national group called Mobilization for Healthcare for All. So far there have been 26 sit-ins in 23 cities across the country. 138 arrests have occurred while over 200 people willingly risked arrests. Dr. Margaret Flowers, a staunch Medicare for all activist, accompanied Zeese. She suspended her pediatrics practice to work on this cause full-time. Her sparkling personality and intense dedication has inspired many to to work toward a single-payer medical system. Dr. Eric Naumberg, a pediatrician from Columbia, went with Zeese and Margaret. Eric, a quiet, compassionate man, is single-minded about single-payer. He contends that too much of his time and energy trying to be a healer has been sucked away by fighting with insurance companies over denial of necessary treatments. Rounding out the little group was Maryland State Delegate Jill Carter (D-Baltimore). They demanded of the insurance spokesperson an end to insurance abuse and immediate approval of all doctor recommended treatment.

On returning to us, Zeese reported the Carefist response: “He told us to send it in writing and we’ll consider it.”

My silent response, “Fat chance!”

Four of us then decided to risk arrest. The plan was for our entire bunch to fill the spacious lobby in the back. However, as we approached the entrance, a rushing tide of Baltimore police, ran for the doors to block our way. In the excitement, Margaret and Eric, along with a Millersville teacher, Patricia Courtney, slipped in and sat down. A policeman and I, simultaneously, spied an unattended door. The race was on. This creaky-kneed old body got there first. Huffing and puffing, I fell on the floor with the others.

When asked to leave, we smiled politely but refused. Officers seemed reluctant to arrest, except the young stud that I beat. Of course, they did their duty. We really tried to be dignified as they marched us to the awaiting paddywagon, but it’s tough to do with handcuffs on. On the ride to Central Booking, we tried to laugh about our situation. Don’t know how the others felt, but I was a bit queasy anticipating this new and mysterious experience in my life.

Why submit ourselves to this degrading aggravation? Let me recount only a few of a myriad of well-known reasons:

  • 47 million of our fellow citizens are uninsured;
  • 120 Americans die every day from lack of coverage;
  • One million of us go bankrupt from medical debt, and 78 percent of those had insurance;
  • Sometimes those insurance denials are a death sentence for patients who trusted their insurance company to protect them from harm.

Health insurance injustices should raise everyone's blood pressure to dangerous levels. We should want to buck the political-corporate establishment that shames our country now. If that doesn't arouse frustration and anger, you need to be resuscitated.

Here’s an example of bypassing the present madness. One of my sons lost his medical coverage because the small construction company he works for could no longer afford to carry it. He is an excellent interior house painter and drywall installer.

His teeth became painfully infected. They began to rot, loosen and fall out. He couldn’t afford to get them fixed. On Craigslist he found a dentist who was willing to trade dental work for painting the walls in his house. So, the dentist got a great paint job, and my son got a new set of choppers and a healed mouth.

A young father I met just this week recounted his CareFirst story to me. When his daughter was born, his wife’s water broke earlier than expected. He rushed her to the hospital. His doctor found no pulse in his wife’s tummy. Something was terribly wrong! An emergency caesarian section was performed. The baby’s umbilical cord was positioned so that it cut the flow of blood and life giving oxygen. The doctor’s quick and heroic action saved her life.

There seemed no reason the deny payment for great medical treatment. Ah, but the insurance company manufactured one. They denied payment on grounds that the young dad did not seek a second opinion! Took him a while, but he did pay cash for the life of his now-healthy, vibrant 4-year-old daughter.

Back to our arrest story.

Central Booking was very busy that day. Eric and I waited in a long line of handcuffed men. Margaret and Patty were processed in another area.

When we finally got in the door, the first person we were required to talk to was a nurse. She carefully took our vital signs and asked us about our general health. Next we were shuffled to a physician’s assistant who grilled us thoroughly on our entire medical histories. Finally, we faced an extensive review of what we had revealed earlier.

Can you see the irony?

We protested for a Medicare for all system with no pay for treatment. Going to jail gets you exactly what we have been fighting for! Any incoming inmate with any kind of medical problem can count on a whole team of medical experts to give the full spectrum of needed care.

Eric and I were put in a small, crowded, smelly and very cold holding cell to await a hearing. Our younger cellmates were fascinated and questioned us eagerly about why we were among them. Despite being bored, detoxing, miserable and cold, this mixed-race bunch of so-called “bad guys” coexisted peacefully. No nasty name-calling and no fights. Complaining was directed at people outside the cell. Surprisingly, we became a quasi-impermanent family.

Everyone, other than we two old guys, was arrested for drug offenses. If marijuana were legalized, we would have had the miserable place to ourselves.

Everyone, other than we two old guys, was arrested for drug offenses. If marijuana were legalized, we would have had the miserable place to ourselves.

It took approximately seven hours to get our hearing with the Court Commissioner. When we rose to leave, many of our young brothers stood up, slapped hands and wished us luck.

The Commissioner quickly set our trial date and released us on our own recog. That’s "recognizance" to those of you not educated in a jail cell.

After picking our belongings confiscated by police, we were greeted by the smiling face of Kevin Zeese. We found out he had called several times to track our progress through processing. Thank you Kevin!

Would I do this again? Yes if the cause was righteous.

Did I learn anything? Yes, that we are all One Family, and we ought to take care of each other.


Charles Loubert is a retired counseling psychologist and mediator who has written two unpublished books.



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This story was published on November 9, 2009.

 

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