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Health Care & Environment PROBLEMS: Because of excessive corporate influence, America allows life-threatening pollution and
high-profit health care.
Ignored in this and past political campaigns, the US wastes $1.56 Trillion/yr on inefficient health care compared with the OECD per capita average. Let's adopt efficient best practices instead of cutting Medicare and Medicaid coverage as part of some "Grand Bargain"
U.S. health care greed & inefficiency costs $4,727/person/yr too much and is trending ever 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.]
This is a brief chronology of the current Conservative Canadian government’s long campaign to undermine evidence-based scientific, environmental and technical decision-making. [Like Republicans (and Obama?) in the U.S.,] it is a government that is beholden to big business, particularly big oil, and that makes every attempt to shape public policy to that end.
Science is under attack. With corporations manufacturing uncertainty to undermine studies that hurt their bottom lines and the sequester cutting billions in funding for scientific research, you’d think the American science community would be hunkered down in their labs avoiding outside interference at all costs.
In the 1990s, a prominent research facility associated with Johns Hopkins University conducted an experiment that knowingly exposed children — mostly African American, some as young as a year old — to varying levels of potentially dangerous lead, as part of a study comparing different degrees of lead paint abatement.
“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.]
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.
A Greed-Obsessed-Plutocracy Is Ruining The World: To maximize profit at the expense of best government and the public, immoral plutocrats donate heavily to compliant politicians and pay millionaire lobbyists to minimize corporate taxes, regulations, public services & worker wages.
Meet the Wall Street-International Monetary Fund Brothers of Destruction; why Ben Bernanke can't count; the 10-year hangover from the Tequila Trap; and the fox guarding the chicken coop. Seek truth from facts with Econned author Yves Smith, Web of Debt author Ellen Brown, former senior financial regulator Bill Black, Balkans specialist Nebojsa Malic, and globalization debunker Dr. Carlos Encinas.
The really remarkable thing about “Abenomics” — the sharp turn toward monetary and fiscal stimulus adopted by the government of Prime Minster Shinzo Abe — is that nobody else in the advanced world is trying anything similar. In fact, the Western world seems overtaken by economic defeatism.
Three months have passed in relative peace after the US government named and shamed Chinese hackers who had been attacking and stealing secret data from US companies, and now the Chinese Army hackers are back.
In the furious fallout from the revelation that the IRS flagged applications from conservative nonprofits for extra review because of their political activity, some facts about the big picture—and big donors—have fallen through the cracks.
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.
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?
The Wall Street Journal called for reform that would lighten the tax burden on corporations without noting that corporate tax revenue has reached historic lows in a time of historically high profits. [What media—and what political party—defends the public's interests?]
PBS declined to show “Citizen Koch, a documentary about the Wisconsin public union issue, treating the influence of the dirty energy magnates who are destroying the world through climate change and funding climate change denial, among the various other nefarious things they do. This according to the New Yorker’s Jane Mayer. It points to the dangers of declining public funding for institutions such as PBS in favor of corporate sponsorships and the donations of the rich. No wonder investigative journalism is an endangered species!
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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Justice Matters PROBLEMS: No enforcement of anti-trust laws; Political Judges and US/States Attorneys; Prisons for Profit; Political Criminals; Unprosecuted White-collar Crimes; Unequal Justice favoring the rich & white
Karl Rove's Crossroads GPS spent untold millions of dollars on behalf of Republican candidates while attacking Democrats during the last election cycle. On the other side, Priorities USA spent a fortune helping Democratic candidates while trashing Republicans. Both rabidly partisan organizations enjoy tax-exempt status under Section 501 (c) (4). They claim to run strictly "issue" advertisements that aren't really political, which is a hoot.
Just as the Justice Department found no crimes it could prosecute against Wall Street, it similarly finds nothing to prosecute within this 29-year conspiracy of Big Tobacco, Koch brothers, and the Tea Party cabal.
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.
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 endgame here is the so-called singularity—the point at which technological development is so sophisticated that humans have become irrelevant. [Good. Using automation and robots for the boring stuff will allow humans to focus on saving life on Earth..., but who will be our employer.]
It's becoming an annual tradition: Spring rolls around, and while nobody is looking, Wall Street quietly lays siege to Washington and reaches a hand out to yank the last remaining teeth out of the government's financial regulatory head.
Yesterday’s action in Washington involved the 2 million workers paid, directly or indirectly, by the federal government, who make $12 an hour or less. The federal government is actually the largest low-wage job creator in America, higher than Walmart, McDonald’s or anyone else. The Demos report detailing this is very thorough and has already spurred a House Democratic investigation (believe it or not, Steny Hoyer’s going to show up at it):
The report gives an inside look on Apple's absolutely genius tax avoidance strategies with a variety of offshore structures and arrangements to shift billions of dollars from the United States to Ireland where it has a negotiated special corporate tax rate of less than 2%. [It's legal but not 'fair': the corporate tax loopholes were bought and paid for and nearly all corporations take advantage. But this is immoral capitalism because it makes the non-rich (you) pay higher tax for necessary lost revenue.]
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''.
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.