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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...]

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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!]

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

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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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  Why Lieberman Blocks a Public Option
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COMMENTARY:

Why Lieberman Blocks a Public Option

by Robert Parry
Originally published in ConsortiumNews.com earlier today, 10 November 2009

With the health-reform bill’s “public option” truly reduced to the “sliver” that President Barack Obama once called it – and indeed having become a feature that mostly benefits the insurance industry – the next question must be: why is it still being opposed by industry defenders like Sen. Joe Lieberman?

As the health bill has moved through Congress, the public option has been whittled down from an expansive alternative that might have enticed 119 million Americans to sign up, according to an industry-backed study, to a tiny remnant that the Congressional Budget Office believes will attract only six million customers, including many sick people whom private insurers don’t want anyway.

Put crudely, the public option in its current form would vacuum up the chronically ill and thus spare the insurance industry not only the expense of paying for their care but also the administrative costs of figuring out new creative ways to deny these sick people medical coverage.

According to the CBO, the planned “insurance exchanges” thus would give private insurers an estimated 24 million new – and relatively healthy – customers, many with government subsidies that would go directly into the coffers of the insurance industry. Without the public option, the industry might get six million more customers but they would include lots of sick people.

That means the current legislation with a weak public option is a win-win-win for the insurance industry.

It’s most lucrative market – large employers providing group benefits for employees – would be protected from competition from the public option; the surviving public option for individuals and small businesses would be barred from achieving savings by tying payments to Medicare rates; and the public option thus would get stuck charging higher premiums than private insurers because it would end up with the sickest part of the population, the CBO says.

So, from the perspective of an insurance executive, what’s not to like?

One obvious concern for private insurers would be that after the public option becomes available in 2013 through the insurance exchanges, Congress might be pressured by dissatisfied Americans to expand it into a real alternative to the harsh, profit-making practices of the insurance industry. That is called the “camel’s nose under the tent” theory.

Yet, while it’s hard to predict the future, it seems equally plausible that the industry would be worse off if it succeeds in eliminating the public option or killing health-care reform outright. As the U.S. health-care crisis worsens, private insurers and their political defenders could be blamed – and a more radical change might become possible.

That is the view of some progressives, such as Rep. Dennis Kucinich, D-Ohio, who believe the House-passed bill is so thoroughly compromised that it makes more sense to vote it down and start over, seeking either a “robust” public option tied to Medicare rates or a full-scale single-payer system that could prove the death knell for the insurance industry.

On balance, therefore, it would seem that the House-passed legislation and a similar bill in the Senate would represent a fairly safe – and reasonably profitable – bet for the industry, at least relative to the risks of stripping out the public option or simply blocking reform.

So Why All the Fuss?

Which brings us to the question of why industry defenders are determined to sink the bill.

For the Republicans, the answer is easy: they want Obama to fail. Sen. Jim DeMint, R-South Carolina, put it bluntly in July when he declared that “If we’re able to stop Obama on this, it will be his Waterloo. It will break him.”

For conservative Democrats, the answer is slightly more complex. Operating in districts or states where right-wing media is particularly powerful and largely unchallenged, they may think they can achieve some safety by positioning themselves as independent-minded critics of Obama’s agenda.

For someone like Lieberman, however, the political equation is more troubling.

An independent from Connecticut who caucuses with the Democrats and who kept his Homeland Security Committee chairmanship despite campaigning for Republican presidential nominee John McCain in 2008, Lieberman seems eager to let his opposition to the public option be traced to a crass calculation of protecting Hartford-based insurance companies.

However, it’s harder to explain why Lieberman – who portrays himself as a social reformer – would vow to join a Republican filibuster against a bill that, for all its faults, would guarantee insurance for tens of millions of uninsured Americans, especially if the bill also stands to be a multi-billion-dollar boon for his constituent insurance companies.

Suspicions are growing among some Democrats that Lieberman has remained the ideological turncoat that many progressives viewed him as when he aggressively supported George W. Bush’s war in Iraq and urged Americans to reject Obama as someone with dubious patriotism.

On the stump with McCain in August 2008, Lieberman even questioned Obama’s commitment to the United States, calling the election a choice “between one candidate, John McCain, who has always put the country first, worked across party lines to get things done, and one candidate who has not.’’

So, maybe Lieberman wants to punish Obama for his perceived failure to take a harder line against Islamic militants in Afghanistan, Iraq and elsewhere.

As a neoconservative, Lieberman also has long ranked as one of Israel’s most devoted backers in the United States. Mark Vogel, chairman of the pro-Israel National Action Committee, once said, “Joe Lieberman, without exception, no conditions ... is the No. 1 pro-Israel advocate and leader in Congress. There is nobody who does more on behalf of Israel than Joe Lieberman.”

Given Lieberman’s staunch support for Israel, his resistance to Obama’s health-care initiative could be tinged by a desire to weaken the President’s ability to pressure Israel’s hawkish Likud government regarding concessions on Middle East peace.

Much like the Republicans who hope that defeat of health reform will lead to their political revival in 2010 and 2012, Lieberman may foresee neocons returning to power as well or at least a hobbled Obama unable to compel Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to halt expansion of West Bank settlements or to take other steps that might lead to a Palestinian state.

If that’s the case, Democratic Majority Leader Harry Reid may find that Lieberman won’t budge on the public option – even if the bill is sweetened to help Hartford-based insurance companies ensure bigger profits.


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 November 10, 2009.

 

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